Archive for December, 2011

December 30, 2011

Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT (pronounced ‘vehement’), is a movement which calls for the voluntary gradual self-extinction of the human species through abstaining from reproduction. VHEMT’s motto is ‘May we live long and die out.’ Proponents of VHEMT concepts are characterized either as supporters, or as volunteers (extinctionists).

Les U. Knight of Portland, Oregon is generally cited as founding VHEMT in 1991, although he does not take credit for it. Knight is the owner of and acts as a spokesman for the movement. In his mid-twenties, he underwent a vasectomy in support of his conviction that, ‘It’s obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can’t be justified today.’ During the 1970s, he joined the organization Zero Population Growth.

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December 30, 2011

Last Tango in Paris


Last Tango in Paris (Italian: ‘Ultimo Tango a Parigi’) is a 1972 Italian romantic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci which portrays a recent American widower who takes up an anonymous sexual relationship with a young, soon-to-be-married Parisian woman. It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, and Jean-Pierre Léaud. The film’s raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy and drew various levels of government censorship. The MPAA gave the film an X rating upon release in the United States. After revisions were made to the MPAA ratings code, it was classified as an NC-17 in 1997.

The idea grew from Bernardo Bertolucci’s sexual fantasies, stating ‘he once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she was.’

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December 29, 2011

Hair of the Dog


Hair of the dog is a colloquial expression in the English language predominantly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the wound. The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back at least to the time of Shakespeare. It is possible that the phrase was used to justify an existing practice, ‘similia similibus curantur’ (Latin: ‘like cures like’), which dates back to ancient Greece.

Similarly, in the 1930’s cocktails known as Corpse Revivers were served by hotel staff to guests ailing from too much drink.

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December 28, 2011

Wife Acceptance Factor


Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) refers to design elements that increase the likelihood a wife will approve the purchase of expensive consumer electronics products such as home theater systems and personal computers. Stylish, compact, unobtrusive forms and appealing colors are commonly considered WAF. The term is a tongue-in-cheek play on electronics jargon such as ‘form factor’ and ‘power factor’ and derives from the gender stereotype that men are predisposed to appreciate gadgetry and performance criteria whereas women must be wooed by visual and aesthetic factors.

Larry Greenhill first used the term in 1983, writing for ‘Stereophile’ magazine, but Greenhill credited fellow reviewer and music professor Lewis Lipnick with the coining of the term. Lipnick himself traces the origin to the 1950s when hi-fi loudspeakers were so large that they overwhelmed most living rooms. Lipnick’s wife, actress Lynn-Jane Foreman, arrived at a different term: Marriage Interference Factor (MIF). Foreman suggested that audiophile husbands should balance their large and ugly electronic acquisitions with gifts to the wife made on the basis of similar expense, with opera tickets, jewelry and vacations abroad among the suggestions.

December 25, 2011

Google Goggles

google goggles

Google Goggles is an image recognition application used for searches based on pictures taken by handheld devices. The program proposed will be able to identify virtually anything. Currently the system can identify various labels or landmarks, allowing users to learn about such items without needing a text-based search. The system can identify products barcodes or labels that allow users to search for similar products and prices, and save codes for future reference, similar to the failed CueCat of the late ’90s, but with more functionality. The system will also recognize printed text and using optical character recognition (OCR) produce a text snippet, and in some cases even translate the snippet into another language.

Google is currently working to make the system able to recognize different plants and leaves, which can aid curious persons, those wishing to avoid toxic plants, and botanists and environmentalists searching for rare plants. Goggle applications are in the process of being used for metaverse virtual world image indexing and catalog applications. Regional coordinates are cammed by avatar-based movement in virtual camera scripted vehicles. In 2011, version 1.3 was released; it can solve Sudoku puzzles.

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December 24, 2011

Word Lens

word lens

google translate

Word Lens is an augmented reality translation application for the iPhone from Quest Visual. It uses the built-in phone camera to identify text, such as a sign or a menu, in one language and have the words shown translated into another language. The words are displayed in the original context, on the original background, without connection to the internet. When it was released in 2010 only English and Spanish were supported. Word Lens is best used on clearly printed text and was not designed to translate handwritten or stylized fonts.

This application was created to help tourists understand signs and menus. The application was not designed to read books, but journalist Ben Rooney managed to understand a page from ‘Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban.’ The Google Goggles application for Android and iPhone also has the capability to translate text or identify objects in an image, but it requires users to take a picture with their phones, and an active internet connection. Word Lens does it on the fly, meaning it’s interpreting frames in video, almost in real time.

December 23, 2011

Schreiber Theory

David Kipen by Don Bachardy


The Schreiber theory is a writer-centered approach to film criticism which holds that the principal author of a film is generally the screenwriter rather than the director. The term was coined by David Kipen, Director of Literature at the US National Endowment for the Arts. In his 2006 book ‘The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History,’ Kipen argues that the influential 1950s-era Auteur theory has wrongly skewed analysis towards a director-centered view of film. In contrast, Kipen believes that the screenwriter has a greater influence on the quality of a finished work and that knowing who wrote a film is ‘the surest predictor’ of how good it will be.

Kipen acknowledges that his writer-centered approach is not new, and pays tribute to earlier critics of Auteur theory such as Pauline Kael and Richard Corliss. He believes that the Auteurist approach remains dominant, however, and that films have suffered as a result of the screenwriter’s role being undervalued. Kipen refers to his book as a ‘manifesto’ and in an interview with the magazine ‘SF360’ stated that he wished to use Schreiber theory as ‘a lever to change the way people think about screenwriting, and movies in general.’ In seeking a name for his theory, Kipen chose the Yiddish word for writer – ‘schreiber’ – in honor of the many early American screenwriters who had Yiddish as their mother tongue.

December 23, 2011

Auteur Theory

François Truffaut by Luis Grañena

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a director’s film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary ‘auteur’ (the French word for ‘author’). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference and through the collective process.

In law, the film is treated as a work of art, and the auteur, as the creator of the film, is the original copyright holder. Under European Union law, the film director is considered the author or one of the authors of a film, largely as a result of the influence of auteur theory.

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December 23, 2011

In Living Color


In Living Color was an American sketch comedy television series, which ran on the Fox Network from 1990 to 1994. Brothers Keenen and Damon Wayans created, wrote, and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions. The show was taped before a live studio audience in Hollywood.

The title of the series was inspired by the NBC announcement of broadcasts being presented ‘in living color’ during the 1950s and 1960s, prior to popularization of color television. It also refers to the fact that most of the show’s cast was African-American, unlike other sketches comedy shows like ‘Saturday Night Live’ whose casts are usually mostly white.

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December 23, 2011

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

tim and eric

dr steve brule by homeless cop

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is an American sketch comedy television series, created by and starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, which premiered in 2007 on Cartoon Network’s ‘Adult Swim’ and ran until 2010. The program features surrealistic and often satirical humor (at points anti-humor), public-access television-style musical acts, bizarre faux-commercials, and editing and special effects chosen to make the show appear camp. The program has featured a wide range of actors such as Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis, as well as alternative comedians like Neil Hamburger, and television actors like Alan Thicke, celebrity look-alikes and impressionists.

The creators of the show have described it as ‘the nightmare version of television.’ The show expands the genre of the live-action material featured in Heidecker and Wareheim’s previous show ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor,’ such as Gibbons, the ‘Channel 5 Married News Team,’ and the Cinco Corporation with its variety of inefficient and tasteless products. New recurring characters and sketches include ‘Uncle Muscles Hour,’ a Public-access television variety program hosted by a gravelly-voiced ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and Channel 5 News Correspondent Dr. Steve Brule, played by John C. Reilly.

December 23, 2011

Radium Girls

radium girls by erik opergeist

The Radium Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with glow-in-the-dark paint at the United States Radium factory in Orange, New Jersey around 1917.

The women, who had been told the paint was harmless, ingested deadly amounts of radium by licking their paintbrushes to sharpen them. Some also painted their fingernails and teeth with the glowing substance. Five of the women challenged their employer in a court case that established the right of individual workers who contract occupational diseases to sue their employers.

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December 23, 2011



Undark was a trade name for luminous paint made with a mixture of radioactive radium and zinc sulfide, as produced by the U.S. Radium Corporation between 1917 and 1938. It was used primarily in watch dials.

The people working in the industry who applied the radioactive paint became known as the Radium Girls, because many of them became ill and some died from exposure to the radiation emitted by the radium contained within the product. The product was the direct cause of Radium jaw in the dial painters. Undark was also available as a kit for general consumer use and marketed as glow-in-the-dark paint.

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