Archive for August 9th, 2012

August 9, 2012

Transgressive Fiction

Naked Lunch

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressional fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sex, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime.

The term ‘transgressive fiction’ was coined by Los Angeles Times literary critic Michael Silverblatt. Rene Chun, a journalist for ‘The New York Times,’ described is as, ‘A literary genre that graphically explores such topics as incest and other aberrant sexual practices, mutilation, the sprouting of sexual organs in various places on the human body, urban violence and violence against women, drug use, and highly dysfunctional family relationships, and that is based on the premise that knowledge is to be found at the edge of experience and that the body is the site for gaining knowledge.’

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August 9, 2012

What’s the Matter with Kansas?

What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America’ (2004) is a book by American journalist and historian Thomas Frank, which explores the rise of populist anti-elitist Conservatism in the United States, centering on the experience of Kansas, Frank’s native state.

In the late 19th century, Kansas was known as a hotbed of the left-wing Populist movement, but in recent decades, it has become overwhelmingly conservative. The book was published in Britain and Australia as ‘What’s the Matter with America?’ According to the book, the political discourse of recent decades has dramatically shifted from the social and economic equality to one in which ‘explosive’ cultural issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, are used to redirect anger towards ‘liberal elites.’

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August 9, 2012

Irrational Exuberance

 

Alan Greenspan

Irrational exuberance‘ is a phrase used by the then-Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Alan Greenspan, in a speech given at the American Enterprise Institute during the Dot-com bubble of the 1990s. The phrase was interpreted as a warning that the market might be somewhat overvalued.

Greenspan’s comment was made in late 1996: ‘[…] Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?’

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August 9, 2012

The Ultimate Computer

m-5

The Ultimate Computer‘ is a season two episode of ‘Star Trek,’ first broadcast in 1968, written by D.C. Fontana, based on a story by Laurence N. Wolf and directed by John Meredyth Lucas. In the episode, a skeleton Enterprise crew are assigned to test a revolutionary computer system, the M-5, that is given total control of the ship. Designed by the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom (who’d also invented the currently used computer systems), the M-5 handles all ship functions without human assistance. While Captain Kirk and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy are unhappy about the test, Science Officer Spock is impressed with M-5.

At first M-5 works well, performing ship functions more quickly and efficiently than a living crew. Later, M-5 exhibits quirks such as turning off power and life support to unoccupied parts of the ship. It draws increased power for unknown reasons. Daystrom maintains M-5 is working properly. In a drill, M-5 defends the Enterprise against mock attacks from starships Excalibur and Lexington. The Enterprise is declared the victor, prompting Commodore Wesley to call Kirk ‘Captain Dunsel.’ Spock explains the term is used by midshipmen at Starfleet Academy to describe a part serving no useful purpose. Kirk is visibly shaken by this.

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August 9, 2012

The City on the Edge of Forever

Harlan Ellison

The City on the Edge of Forever‘ is the penultimate episode of the first season of the television series ‘Star Trek,’ first broadcast in 1967. The teleplay is credited to Harlan Ellison, but was also largely rewritten by several authors before filming. The filming was directed by Joseph Pevney. Joan Collins guest starred as Edith Keeler. This episode involves the crew of the starship USS Enterprise discovering a portal through space and time, which leads to Dr. McCoy’s accidentally altering history.

The USS Enterprise investigates temporal disturbances centered on a nearby planet. Once on the planet, Spock finds that the source of the time distortions is an ancient ring of glowing, stone-like material. When a question is directed at the ring, it speaks identifying itself as the ‘Guardian of Forever,’ explains that it is a doorway to any time and place, and displays periods of Earth’s history in its portal opening. McCoy, driven mad by an accidental self overdose leaps through the portal. Suddenly the landing party loses contact with the Enterprise. The Guardian informs the landing party that history has just been altered and that, as a result, the Enterprise now no longer exists.

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August 9, 2012

Birth Order

Frank Sulloway

Birth order is defined as a person’s rank by age among his or her siblings. Birth order is often believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development. This assertion has been repeatedly challenged by researchers, yet birth order continues to have a strong presence in pop psychology and popular culture. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist, and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, was one of the first theorists to suggest that birth order influences personality.

He argued that birth order can leave an indelible impression on an individual’s style of life, which is one’s habitual way of dealing with the tasks of friendship, love, and work. According to Adler, firstborns are ‘dethroned’ when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them. Younger and only children may be pampered and spoiled, which can also affect their later personalities. Additional birth order factors that should be considered are the spacing in years between siblings, the total number of children, and the changing circumstances of the parents over time.

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August 9, 2012

Purple Earth

Purple Earth is an astrobiological hypothesis that life forms of early Earth were retinal-based rather than chlorophyll-based thus making Earth appear purple rather than green. According to Shil DasSarma, a microbial geneticist at the University of Maryland, chlorophyll appeared after retinal (another light-sensitive molecule) was already present on early Earth. Retinal, today found in the plum-colored membrane of a photosynthetic microbes called halobacteria, absorbs green light and reflects back red and violet light, the combination of which appears purple. Scientists believe that if future research validates the purple Earth hypothesis, it would have implications for scientists searching for life on distant worlds.

Eventually other microbes came along that used chlorophyll instead of retinal. And since all the high energy green wavelengths of sunlight were being absorbed by the retinal using microbes, in order to survive, chlorophyll made use of the available blue and red light that the retinal was reflecting. Some scientists believe that for a period of time in Earth’s history these two coexisted, but eventually the chlorophyll using microbes overcame. The retinal based microbes may have absorbed the highest energy green light waves, but the chlorophyll using microbes made better use of what energy they received and were victorious in the end.

August 9, 2012

Banchan

Kimchi

Banchan [ban-chuhn] refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine. This word is used both in the singular and plural. The basic table setting for a meal called ‘bansang’ (usually consists of bap (cooked rice), guk or tang (soup), gochujang or ganjang (fermented condiments), jjigae (tofu stew), and kimchi (fermented cabbage). Kimchi is the essential banchan of a standard Korean meal. Some Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi.

According to the number of banchan that is added, the table setting is called as 3 cheop, 5 cheop, 7 cheop, 9 cheop, or 12 cheop bansang, with the 12 cheop used in Korean royal cuisine. Banchan are set in the middle of the table to be shared. At the center of the table is the secondary main course, such as galbi or bulgogi (grilled meats), and a shared pot of jjigae. Bowls of cooked rice and guk (soup) are set individually. Banchan are served in small portions, meant to be finished at each meal and are replenished during the meal if not enough. Usually, the more formal the meals are, the more banchan there will be. Jeolla province is particularly famous for serving many different varieties of banchan in a single meal.

August 9, 2012

K Tape

Athletic taping

Elastic therapeutic tape, commonly referred to as ‘kinesiology tape,’ is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used with the intention of treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders.

Numerous studies have failed to show that elastic therapeutic taping produces clinically significant benefits. A 2012 systematic review found that the efficacy of Kinesio Tape in pain relief was trivial.

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August 9, 2012

Euler’s Disk

Leonhard Euler

Euler’s [oi-lers] disc is a scientific educational toy, used to illustrate and study the dynamic system of a spinning disk on a flat surface (such as a spinning coin).

This phenomenon was first noted by Swiss physicist Leonhard Euler in the 18th century, hence the name.

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August 9, 2012

Feminazi

Rush Limbaugh

Feminazi is a term popularized by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh to describe ‘an extreme or militant feminist.’ In 2004, Limbaugh named feminist activists Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lahti, and Camryn Manheim as ‘famous feminazis.’

Feminazi is a portmanteau of the nouns feminist and Nazi. The term is used pejoratively by some U.S. conservatives to criticize feminists that they perceive as extreme.

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August 9, 2012

The Manipulated Man

Esther Vilar

The Manipulated Man (German: ‘Der Dressierte Mann’) is a 1971 book by author Argentinian-German writer Esther Vilar, which argues that, contrary to common feminist and women’s rights rhetoric, women in industrialized cultures are not oppressed, but rather exploit a well-established system of manipulating men.

A third edition of the book was released in 2009. Vilar writes, ‘Men have been trained and conditioned by women, not unlike the way Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves. As compensation for their labors men are given periodic use of a woman’s vagina.’ The book contends that young boys are encouraged to associate their masculinity with their ability to be sexually intimate with a woman, and that a woman can control a man by socially empowering herself to be the gate-keeper to his sense of masculinity.

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