Archive for May 10th, 2012

May 10, 2012


point to abaiser

Mireille Suzanne Francette Porte (b. 1947), better known as ORLAN, is a French artist. She lives and works in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. She was invited to be a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, for the 2006-2007 academic year. She sits on the board of administrators for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and is a professor at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Cergy (a suburb of Paris).

Although ORLAN is best known for her work with plastic surgery in the early-to-mid 1990s, she has not limited her work to a particular medium.

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May 10, 2012

Jumping the Shark


Jumping the shark is an idiom created by American radio personality Jon Hein to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The phrase is also used to refer to a particular scene, episode or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of ‘gimmick’ in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest.

The phrase refers to a scene in the fifth season premiere of ‘Happy Days in 1977: the gang visits Los Angeles, where a waterskiing Fonzie, wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, jumps over a confined shark, in response to a challenge. For a show that in its early seasons depicted universally relatable experiences against a backdrop of 1950s nostalgia, this marked an audacious, cartoonish turn towards attention-seeking gimmickry and continued the faddish lionization of an increasingly superhuman Fonzie.

May 10, 2012

Canary Trap

canary trap

A canary trap is a method for exposing an information leak, which involves giving different versions of a sensitive document to each of several suspects and seeing which version gets leaked. The term was coined by Tom Clancy in his novel ‘Patriot Games,’ though Clancy did not invent the technique. The actual method (usually referred to as a ‘Barium meal test’ in espionage circles) has been used by intelligence agencies for many years. The fictional character Jack Ryan describes the technique he devised for identifying the sources of leaked classified documents:

‘Each summary paragraph has six different versions, and the mixture of those paragraphs is unique to each numbered copy of the paper. There are over a thousand possible permutations, but only ninety-six numbered copies of the actual document. The reason the summary paragraphs are so lurid is to entice a reporter to quote them verbatim in the public media. If he quotes something from two or three of those paragraphs, we know which copy he saw and, therefore, who leaked it.’ A refinement of this technique uses a thesaurus program to shuffle through synonyms, thus making every copy of the document unique.