Archive for September 27th, 2011

September 27, 2011

Multiple Discovery

what technology wants

The concept of multiple discovery is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors. The concept of multiple discovery opposes a traditional view—the ‘heroic theory’ of invention and discovery. When Nobel laureates are announced annually—especially in physics, chemistry, physiology-or-medicine, and economics—increasingly, in the given field, rather than just a single laureate, there are two or the maximally-permissible three, who often have independently made the same discovery.

Commonly cited examples of multiple independent discovery are the 17th-century independent formulation of calculus by Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and others, described by British historian A. Rupert Hall; the 18th-century discovery of oxygen by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Joseph Priestley, Antoine Lavoisier and others; and the theory of evolution of species, independently advanced in the 19th century by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

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September 27, 2011

Stigler’s Law of Eponymy

Alois Alzheimer by Nicholas Wade

Stigler’s law of eponymy [uh-pon-uh-mee] is a process proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication of the same name. In its simplest and strongest form it says: ‘No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.’ Stigler named the sociologist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of ‘Stigler’s law,’ consciously making ‘Stigler’s law’ exemplify Stigler’s law.

For example: Alzheimer’s disease, though named after Alois Alzheimer, had been previously described by at least half a dozen others before Alzheimer’s 1906 report which is often (wrongly) regarded as the first description of the disorder. Historical acclaim for discoveries is often allotted to persons of notoriety who bring attention to an idea that is not yet widely known, whether or not that person was its original inventor – theories may be named long after their discovery.

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September 27, 2011

Eponym

eponyms

An eponym [ep-uh-nim] is a word, usually a person’s name, that is used to name something else. One who is referred to as eponymous is someone who gives his or her name to something, e.g., John Schnatter, the eponymous owner of Papa John’s Pizza. A common nonstandard usage is that something eponymous is named after a particular person, e.g., Julian’s eponymous restaurant. In contemporary English, the term self-titled is often used to mean eponymous in the case of a work with the same name as the person or persons who created it (e.g., the song ‘Black Sabbath,’ from the album ‘Black Sabbath,’ by the band Black Sabbath).

In intellectual property law an eponym can refer to a genericized trademark or brand name, a form of metonymy (a figure of speech used in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept — e.g. ‘Kleenex’ for all tissues).

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September 27, 2011

Nazi Chic

ann coulter

Nazi chic refers to the approving use of Nazi-era style, imagery, and paraphernalia in clothing and popular culture, especially when used for taboo breaking or shock value rather than out of genuine nazist sympathies. Its use began in the mid-seventies with the emergence of the punk movement in London; during the Sex Pistols’ first television appearance a person of their entourage was seen wearing a swastika. Nazi chic was later appropriated by the fashion industry.

In the 1970s punk subculture, several items of clothing designed to shock and offend The Establishment became popular. Among these punk fashion items was a T-shirt displaying a Swastika, an upside-down crucifix and the word ‘DESTROY’– which was worn by Johnny Rotten, seen in the video for ‘Pretty Vacant.’ Rotten wore the swastika another time with a gesture that looked like a Nazi salute.

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September 27, 2011

Nazisploitation

ilsa

Nazisploitation is a subgenre of exploitation film and sexploitation film that involves villainous Nazis committing criminal acts of a sexual nature often as camp or prison overseers in World War II settings. Most follow the standard women in prison formula, only relocated to a death camp or Nazi brothel, with an added emphasis on sadism, gore, and degradation.

The most infamous and influential title (and the one that set the standards of the genre) is perhaps ‘Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS’ (1974), a Canadian production. Its surprise success and sequels led European film makers, mostly in Italy, to produce dozens of similar films depicting Nazi atrocities. While the Ilsa series and Salon Kitty were profitable, the other films were mostly box-office flops and the genre all but vanished by the mid 1980s.

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September 27, 2011

Hypermiling

Hypermiling

Hypermiling is the act of driving using techniques that maximize fuel economy. Those who practice these techniques are referred to as ‘hypermilers.’ Hypermiling can be practiced in any vehicle regardless of its fuel economy. It gained popularity as a result of the rise in gasoline prices during the 2000s. Some hypermiling techniques are illegal in some jurisdictions because they are dangerous. Hypermiling has come under fire from several quarters due to claims of dangerous or unlawful behavior by some hypermilers, such as tailgating larger vehicles on freeways to save fuel by drafting. As a result, the Hypermiling Safety Foundation was formed in August 2008 to promote a safety and public awareness program, advocating legal fuel-saving techniques.

Hypermiling contests have been held on selected courses. The Maximum Fuel Economy contest was held in Indiana, where ‘world records’ for the Honda Insight (213 miles per gallon), Toyota Prius (136 miles per gallon) and the Ford Escape Hybrid (76 miles per gallon) were set. Contestants used techniques which included rolling through all stop signs and having the vehicle tires inflated well beyond recommended specifications. Another contest is the Tour to the Shore, held in New Jersey, which evaluates drivers of cars and trucks.

September 27, 2011

Ryan Larkin

walking

Ryan Larkin (1943 – 2007) was a Canadian animator who rose to fame with the psychedelic 1969 Oscar-nominated short ‘Walking’ and the acclaimed ‘Street Musique’ (1972). In later years Ryan was plagued by a downward spiral of drug abuse, alcoholism and homelessness, but towards the end of his life found himself back in the limelight when a 14-minute computer-animated documentary on his life, ‘Ryan’ by fellow Canadian animator, Chris Landreth, won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film and screened to acclaim at film festivals around the world. ‘Alter Egos’ (2004), directed by Laurence Green, is a documentary about the making of ‘Ryan’ that includes interviews with both Larkin and Chris Landreth as well as with various people who knew Ryan at the peak of his success.

Larkin studied under Arthur Lismer (a member of the Group of Seven, Canadian landscape painters in the 1920s) before starting to work at the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada in the early 1960s. At the NFB, Larkin learned animation techniques from the ground-breaking and award-winning animator, Norman McLaren. Larkin made two acclaimed short animated films, ‘Syrinx’ (1965) and ‘Cityscape’ (1966), before going on to create ‘Walking’ (1969). ‘Walking’ was nominated for an Academy Award in 1970 in the category Best Short Subject, Cartoon, but lost to ‘It’s Tough to Be a Bird’ by director Ward Kimball (one of Disney’s ‘Nine Old Men’). He went on to direct the award-winning short ‘Street Music,’ which premiered in 1972 and would be his last project.