Archive for April 11th, 2011

April 11, 2011

Harrison Bergeron

harrison bergeron

Harrison Bergeron‘ is a satirical, dystopian science fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut and first published in 1961. The story is set in the year 2081. Due to the 211th, 212th and 213th Amendments to the Constitution of America, all Americans are mandated equal.

‘They were not only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way.’ In America no one is more intelligent than anyone else, no one is better looking or more athletic than anyone else. In order to stop any sort of competition in society these measures are enforced by the United States Handicapper General.

read more »

April 11, 2011

Jinx

captain jinks

A jinx [jingks], in popular superstition and folklore, is: a type of curse placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck; a person afflicted with a similar curse, who, while not directly subject to a series of misfortunes, seems to attract them to anyone in his vicinity; and an object/ person that brings bad luck.

Jinx is also a children’s game (although not necessarily played only by children) with myriad rules and penalties that occurs when two people unintentionally or intentionally speak (or type) the same word or phrase simultaneously.

read more »

Tags:
April 11, 2011

The Candle Problem

candle solution

The Candle Problem is a cognitive performance test, measuring the influence of functional fixedness on a participant’s problem solving capabilities. The test was created by Gestalt psychologist Karl Duncker and published posthumously in 1945. The test presents the participant with the following task: how to fix a lit candle on a wall (a cork board) in a way so the candle wax won’t drip onto the table below. To do so, one may only use the following along with the candle: a book of matches and a box of thumbtacks.

The solution is to empty the box of thumbtacks, put the candle into the box, use the thumbtacks to nail the box (with the candle in it) to the wall, and light the candle with the match. The concept of functional fixedness predicts that the participant will only see the box as a device to hold the thumbtacks and not immediately perceive it as a separate and functional component available to be used in solving the task. However, if the task is presented with the tacks piled next to the box (rather than inside it), virtually all of the participants were shown to achieve the optimal solution.

April 11, 2011

Beginner’s Luck

Beginner’s luck refers to the supposed phenomenon of novices experiencing disproportionate frequency of success or succeeding against an expert in a given activity. One would expect experts to outperform novices – when the opposite happens it is counter-intuitive, hence the need for a term to describe this phenomenon.

The term is most often used in reference to a first attempt in sport or gambling, but is also used in many other diverse contexts. The term is also used when no skill whatsoever is involved, such as a first-time slot machine player winning the jackpot.

read more »

April 11, 2011

Thinking Outside The Box

nine dots

Thinking outside the box‘ is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This is sometimes called a process of lateral thought. As catchphrase, or cliché, it has become widely used in business environments, especially by management consultants and executive coaches, and has spawned a number of advertising slogans. To think outside the box is to look further and to try not thinking of the obvious things, but to try thinking beyond them.

The origins of the phrase are obscure; but it was popularized in part because of a nine-dot puzzle, which British author, John Adair claims to have introduced in 1969. The puzzle proposed an intellectual challenge—to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, and never lifting the pencil from the paper. The conundrum is easily resolved, but only if you draw the lines outside the confines of the square area defined by the nine dots themselves.

April 11, 2011

Dream Director

lucid

The Dream Director is a touring installation by artist Luke Jerram intended to alter dreams. It continues the artist’s exploration of creating art inside people’s heads (‘on the edges of perception’) rather than in the physical world. Participants in the Dream Director (usually 20 in total) stay overnight in specially designed sleep pods.

read more »

Tags:
April 11, 2011

Street Piano

steet piano

A street piano is a piano placed in the street which passers-by are encouraged to play. The best known examples is the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ project by artist Luke Jerram. The concept originates quite by accident in the early 2000’s in Sheffield, England, where  there was a piano on the pavement on Sharrow Vale Road.

It was left outside temporarily because the owner could not get it up the steps into his new house. As a social experiment he attached a sign inviting passers by to play the piano for free. This offer was taken up by a great many people and the piano became a part of the local community.

read more »

Tags: ,
April 11, 2011

Iron Dome

iron dome

Iron Dome is an Israeli mobile air defense system in development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells. The system was created as a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel’s civilian population on its northern and southern borders, and was declared operational and initially deployed in the first quarter of 2011.

It is designed to intercept very short-range threats up to 70 kilometers in all-weather situations. On April 7, 2011, the system successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza, marking the first time in history a short-range rocket was ever intercepted.

Tags:
April 11, 2011

Macaroni

macaroni

yankee doodle

A macaroni [mak-uh-roh-nee] in mid-18th century England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed and spoke in an outlandishly affected and effeminate manner.

The term pejoratively referred to a man who ‘exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion’ in terms of clothes, fastidious eating and gambling.

read more »

Tags:
April 11, 2011

Amethyst Initiative

Amethyst Initiative

mclovin

The Amethyst Initiative is an organization made up of U.S. college presidents and chancellors that in 2008 launched a movement calling for the reconsideration of U.S. drinking age laws, particularly the minimum age of 21 as established nationally by the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The initiative is currently supported by 135 college presidents.

According to Greek and Roman legend, amethysts protected their owners from drunkenness.

April 11, 2011

Amigurumi

amigurumi pin cushion

Amigurumi [ah-mee-goo-roo-mee] is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ‘ami,’ meaning crocheted or knitted, and ‘nuigurumi,’ meaning stuffed doll. The pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness. To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.

Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn using the single crochet stitch. They can also be knit. Typically, crochet hooks or knitting needles that are slightly smaller than normal are used, in order to achieve a tight gauge that retains stuffing. Stuffing is usually standard polyester or cotton craft stuffing, but may be improvised from other materials. Plastic pellets may be inserted beneath stuffing in order to distribute weight at the bottom of the figure. They are usually worked in sections and then joined, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece.

Tags:
April 11, 2011

Bugchasing

Bugchasing

Bugchasing is a slang term for the practice of pursuing sex with HIV infected individuals in order to contract HIV. ‘Giftgivers’ are HIV positive individuals who comply with the bugchaser’s efforts to become infected with HIV.

Bugchasers indicate various reasons for this activity. Some bugchasers engage in the activity for the excitement inherent in pursuing such a dangerous activity, but do not implicitly desire to contract HIV. Some consider bugchasing ‘intensely erotic’ and the act of being infected as the ‘ultimate taboo, the most extreme sex act left.’

read more »

Tags: