Archive for October 23rd, 2011

October 23, 2011

Fourth Wall

she hulk

The fourth wall is the imaginary ‘wall’ at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a theater, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The idea of the fourth wall was made explicit by philosopher and critic Denis Diderot and spread in nineteenth-century theater with the advent of theatrical realism, which extended the idea to the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience. Speaking directly to or otherwise acknowledging the audience through the camera in a film or television program, or through this imaginary wall in a play, is referred to as ‘breaking the fourth wall’ and is considered a technique of metafiction, as it deconstructs the boundaries normally set up by works of fiction.

The presence of the fourth wall is an established convention of modern realistic theater, which has led some artists to draw direct attention to it for dramatic or comedic effect when this boundary is broken,’ for example by an actor onstage speaking to the audience directly. The acceptance of the transparency of the fourth wall is part of the suspension of disbelief between a fictional work and an audience, allowing them to enjoy the fiction as if they were observing real events. Postmodern art forms frequently either do away with it entirely, or make use of various framing devices to manipulate it in order to emphasize or de-emphasize certain aspects of the production, according to the artistic desires of the work’s creator. The term ‘fifth wall’ has been used as an extension of the fourth wall concept to refer to the wall between critics or readers and theater practitioners.

October 23, 2011

Self-reference

kool-aid by brian buie

the treachery of images

Self-reference occurs in natural or formal languages when a sentence or formula refers to itself. The reference may be expressed either directly—through some intermediate sentence or formula—or by means of some encoding. In philosophy, it also refers to the ability of a subject to speak of or refer to himself, herself, or itself: to have the kind of thought expressed by the first person pronoun, the word ‘I’ in English.

Self-reference is related to self-reflexivity and apperception. It is studied and has applications in mathematics, philosophy, computer programming, and linguistics. Self-referential statements sometimes have paradoxical behavior. 

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October 23, 2011

Innuendo

hooters

scooby snacks

An innuendo [in-yoo-en-doh] is a baseless invention of thoughts or ideas. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one’s words, taken literally, are innocent. It is an indirect remark about somebody or something, usually suggesting something bad, mean or rude. The word is often used to express disapproval.

The term sexual innuendo has acquired a specific meaning, namely that of a ‘risque’ double entendre by playing on a possibly sexual interpretation of an otherwise innocent uttering. For example: ‘We need to go deeper’ can be seen as both a request for further inquiry on any given issue or a request to go deeper into an orifice. Alternatively the more simple changing the pronunciation of a word in order for it to sound vulgar e.g. innuendo to ‘in-your-endo.’

October 23, 2011

Quiz Machine

Skill with prize

Quiz machine is a term used in the UK for commercial coin-operated video quiz games that offer cash prizes for winning performances. These machines are usually found sited in pubs, bars and other places of entertainment. The term quiz machine is often used interchangeably with the trade term SWP (‘Skill With Prizes’) although not all SWP games are quiz based. The quiz machine first appeared on the scene in the UK in 1985.

The first such machine was called Quizmaster which was made by the Cardiff based now defunct Coinmaster Ltd. This was rapidly followed by quiz machines from other manufacturers. Over the following years quiz machines/SWP’s became a regular feature of the British pub. Leading SWP manufacturers of the 1980s and 1990s were: Coinmaster, JPM, Barcrest, Bell-Fruit, Maygay and Ace-Coin. The themes of many SWP games were (and still are) based on popular TV quiz shows, board games or other aspects of popular culture.

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October 23, 2011

Pub Quiz

pub quiz by Sean O'Connor

A pub quiz is a quiz held in a public house (or pub for short). Origins of the pub quiz are unclear but there is little evidence of them existing before 1970 in the United Kingdom. Pub quizzes (also known as live trivia, or table quizzes) are often weekly events and will have an advertised start time, most often in the evening. While specific formats vary, most pub quizzes depend on answers being written in response to questions which may themselves be written or announced by a quizmaster.

Generally someone (either one of the bar staff or the person running the quiz) will come around with pens and quiz papers, which may contain questions or may just be blank sheets for writing the answers on. A mixture of both is common, in which case often only the blank sheet is to be handed in. Traditionally a member of the team hands the answers in for adjudication to the quiz master or to the next team along for marking when the answers are called.

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October 23, 2011

Factoid

spiders

snapple facts

A factoid [fak-toid] is a questionable or spurious (unverified, false, or fabricated) statement presented as a fact, but without supporting evidence. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context. The word is defined as ‘an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact.’

The term was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. He described a factoid as ‘facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper,’ and created the word by combining ‘fact’ and the ending -‘oid’ to mean ‘similar but not the same.’ ‘The Washington Times’ described Mailer’s new word as referring to ‘something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact.’

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October 23, 2011

Trivia

trivial pursuit by Andrew Miller

The Liberal Arts is a curriculum of seven subjects, the first three of which are called the trivia (grammar, rhetoric and logic). Its literal meaning in Latin could have been, ‘appropriate to the street corner, commonplace, vulgar.’

In medieval Latin, it came to refer to the lower division of the Liberal Arts (the other four were the quadrivium, namely arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy, which were more challenging). Hence, trivial in this sense would have meant ‘of interest only to an undergraduate.’ The meaning ‘trite, commonplace, unimportant, slight’ occurs from the late 16th century, notably in the works of Shakespeare.

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October 23, 2011

Liberal Arts

seven sisters

The liberal arts (Artes Liberales) are a curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities, unlike the professional, vocational, and technical curricula emphasizing specialization. The contemporary liberal arts comprise studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science.

However, in classical antiquity, it denoted the education worthy of a free person (Latin: liber, ‘free’). Contrary to popular belief, freeborn girls were as likely to receive formal education as boys, especially during the Roman Empire—unlike the lack-of-education, or purely manual/technical skills, proper to a slave. The ‘liberal arts’ or ‘liberal pursuits’ were already so called in formal education during the Roman Empire.

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October 23, 2011

Independent Investigations Group

The Independent Investigations Group (IIG) is a volunteer-based organization founded by James Underdown in 2000 at the Center for Inquiry’s Los Angles branch, a non-profit, secular educational organization. The IIG investigates fringe science, paranormal and extraordinary claims from a rational, scientific viewpoint, and disseminates factual information about such inquiries to the public.

IIG offers a $50,000 prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The IIG is involved in designing the test protocol, approving the conditions under which a test will take place, and in administering the actual test. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant is asked to perform a simple preliminary demonstration of the claimed ability, which if successful is followed by the formal test. Associates of the IIG usually conduct both tests and preliminary demonstrations at their location in Hollywood or affiliates.

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October 23, 2011

Center for Inquiry

The Center for Inquiry(CFI) is a non-profit educational organization with headquarters in the United States whose primary mission is to encourage evidence-based inquiry into paranormal and fringe science claims, alternative medicine and mental health practices, religion, secular ethics, and society.

CFI is dedicated to promoting and defending science, reason, and free inquiry in all aspects of human interest.

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October 23, 2011

Secularism

world belief

secular buddhism

Secularism [sek-yuh-luh-riz-uhm] is the idea of something being not religious or not connected to a church. An example in government is the First Amendment (which guarantees, among other things, Separation of Church and State). This means that anyone can choose to practice or not practice any religion they want, and the government cannot make them be a part of a religion.

In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief. In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be unbiased by religious influence.

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October 23, 2011

Spiritual But Not Religious

wade clark roof quadrant

sbnr

Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) is a popular phrase and acronym used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that rejects traditional organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth. The term is used worldwide, but seems most prominent in the United States.

Those that identify as SBNR vary in their individual spiritual philosophies and practices and theological references. While most reference some higher power or transcendent nature of reality, it is common to differ in their ideas of the existence of God as defined by the Abrahamic religions.

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