Archive for February, 2013

February 25, 2013

Animal Spirits

Keynes

Animal spirits‘ is the term economist John Maynard Keynes used in his 1936 book ‘The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money’ to describe emotions which influence human behavior and can be measured in terms of consumer confidence. It has since been argued that trust is also included or produced by ‘animal spirits.’ Several articles and at least two books with a focus on “animal spirits” were published in 2008 and 2009 as a part of the Keynesian resurgence.

According to Keynes: ‘Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.’

read more »

February 25, 2013

Kit-Cat Klock

The Kit-Cat Klock is an art deco novelty style wall clock in the shape of a grinning black cat with cartoon eyes that roll horizontally in sync with a pendulum tail that wags beneath. The clock is traditionally colored black, but models in other colors/styles are available. It first appeared during the 1930s. The clock is an iconic symbol of kitchens in pop culture. Having changed very little in the intervening years, the first clock was made in 1932 by the California Clock Company in Portland, Oregon.

The first generation of clocks, manufactured in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, have two paws, while newer models have four paws and a bow tie. The words ‘Kit-Cat’ were added to the clock face in the 1980s. The original clocks were plug-in, but most models sold since the late 1980s use batteries. The manufacturer estimates that the clock has sold on average at the rate of one every three minutes for the last 50 years.

Tags: ,
February 25, 2013

Felix the Cat

Pat Sullivan

Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first character from animation to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences. Felix’s origins remain disputed. Australian cartoonist/film entrepreneur Pat Sullivan, owner of the Felix character, claimed during his lifetime to be its creator.

However, American animator Otto Messmer, Sullivan’s lead animator, has also been credited as such. What is certain is that Felix emerged from Sullivan’s studio in NYC, and cartoons featuring the character enjoyed success and popularity in 1920s popular culture. Aside from the animated shorts, Felix starred in a comic strip (drawn by Messmer) beginning in 1923, and his image soon adorned merchandise such as ceramics, toys and postcards. Several manufacturers made stuffed Felix toys. Jazz bands such as Paul Whiteman’s played songs about him (1923’s ‘Felix Kept On Walking’ and others).

read more »

Tags:
February 20, 2013

Fertility and Intelligence

Fertility and intelligence research has indicated that in humans, fertility rate and intelligence tend to be inversely correlated, that is to say, the more intelligent, as measured by IQ tests, exhibit a lower total fertility rate than the less intelligent. Survival rates are also correlated with IQ, so the net effect on population intelligence is unclear.

It is theorized that if the inverse correlation of IQ with fertility rate is stronger than the correlation of survival rate, and if heritable factors involved in IQ are consistently expressed in populations with different fertility rates, and if this continued over a significant number of generations, it could lead to a decrease in population IQ scores. Other correlates of IQ include income and educational attainment, which are also inversely correlated with fertility rate, and are to some degree heritable.

read more »

February 20, 2013

Bliss Point

In economics, a bliss point is a quantity of consumption where any further increase would make the consumer less satisfied. It is a quantity of consumption which maximizes utility in the absence budget constraint.

In other words, it refers to the amount of consumption that would be chosen by a person so rich that money imposed no constraint on his or her decisions.

February 20, 2013

Sensory-specific Satiety

Sensory-specific satiety [suh-tahy-i-tee] is a sensory hedonic phenomenon that refers to the declining satisfaction generated by the consumption of a certain type of food, and the consequent renewal in appetite resulting from the exposure to a new flavor or food. The phenomenon was first described in 1956 by French physiologist Jacques Le Magnen, and the term was coined in 1981 by food scientist Barbara J. Rolls and neuroscientist Edmund T. Rolls. Its concept illustrates the role of physical stimuli in generating appetite and, more specifically, explains the significance of taste in relation to hunger. Besides conditioned satiety and alimentary alliesthesia, it is one of the three major phenomena of satiation.

This process is most commonly illustrated by a standard buffet. People are more likely to eat a larger amount of food at a buffet because the variety of foods and flavors presented renews a sense of appetite in the individual. A study conducted by Rolls and van Duijvenvoorde in 1984 verified this process by simulating a buffet-style meal. They fed participants four meals that included sausages, bread and butter, chocolate desert, and bananas. They then fed the participants four courses of one of these foods. The results revealed a 44% increase in overall food consumption when exposed to the meals with a variety of foods.

read more »

February 19, 2013

Wireless Power

Wireless power or wireless energy transmission is the transmission of electrical energy from a power source to an electrical load without man-made conductors. Wireless transmission is useful in cases where interconnecting wires are inconvenient, hazardous, or impossible. The problem of wireless power transmission differs from that of wireless telecommunications, such as radio. In the latter, the proportion of energy received becomes critical only if it is too low for the signal to be distinguished from the background noise.

With wireless power, efficiency is the more significant parameter. A large part of the energy sent out by the generating plant must arrive at the receiver or receivers to make the system economical. The most common form of wireless power transmission is carried out using direct induction followed by resonant magnetic induction. Other methods under consideration are electromagnetic radiation in the form of microwaves or lasers and electrical conduction through natural media.

read more »

February 19, 2013

Human Furniture

human furniture by alex stewart

Human furniture (or forniphilia) is a form of bondage and sexual objectification in which a person’s body is incorporated into a chair, table, cabinet or other piece of furniture. The term was originally coined by bondage aficionado Jeff Gord.

Forniphilia is an extreme form of bondage because the subject usually is tightly bound and expected to stay immobile for a prolonged period. They are often gagged and/or placed in position where there is a danger of being smothered. Proper safety requires frequent checks of the submissive’s well-being.

February 19, 2013

Live Insect Jewelry

Live insect jewelry refers to jewelry, made from living creatures- usually bejeweled, large insects- which is worn as a fashion accessory. The use of insects as live jewelry has existed for many centuries, with the Egyptians believed to have been the first to have worn insects as jewelry. Ancient Egyptian soldiers commonly wore scarab beetles into battle as the beetles were considered to have supernatural powers of protection against enemies.

Although live jewelry has featured in Mayan cultural traditions for many centuries, it was not until the 1980s that the Mexican Maquech Beetle, a sub-species of the Zopherus beetle, achieved mainstream popularity as live jewelry. The Maquech Beetle is a large, docile, wingless insect which is decorated with gold and semi-precious gemstones and is attached to a decorative safety pin by a chain leash.

read more »

Tags:
February 19, 2013

Jerky

Jerky is lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt, to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed. The word ‘jerky’ is a corruption of the Spanish ‘charqui,’ which is from the Quechua word ‘ch’arki,’ which means to burn (meat). All that is needed to produce basic ‘jerky’ is a low-temperature drying method, and salt to inhibit bacterial growth.

Modern manufactured jerky is normally marinated in a seasoned spice rub or liquid, and dried, dehydrated or smoked with low heat. Some makers still use just salt and sun-dry fresh sliced meat to make jerky. Some product manufacturers finely grind meat, mix in seasonings, and press the meat-paste into flat shapes prior to drying. Jerky is ready-to-eat and needs no additional preparation. It can be stored for months without refrigeration. When the protein to moisture content ratio is correct, the resulting meat is cured, or preserved.

read more »

February 19, 2013

Jejemon

Jejemon is a pop culture phenomenon in the Philippines. According to ‘Urban Dictionary,’ a Jejemon is a person ‘who has managed to subvert the English language to the point of incomprehensibility.’ ‘The Philippine Daily Inquirer’ describes Jejemons as a ‘new breed of hipster who have developed not only their own language and written text but also their own subculture and fashion.’ Short-hand typing was first popularized by text messaging (limited to 160 characters per text). As a result, an ‘SMS language’ developed in which words were shortened in order to fit the 160-character limit.

The Jejemons are said to be the new jologs, a term used for Filipinos of the lower income class. The sociolect of the Jejemons, called Jejenese, is derived from English, Filipino and their code-switched variant, Taglish. It has its own, albeit unofficial, orthography, known as Jejebet, which uses the Filipino variant of the Roman alphabet, Arabic numerals and other special characters. Words are created by rearranging letters in a word, alternating capitalization, with an over-usage of the letters H, X or Z, and silent letters. It has similarities with Leetspeak, primarily the alphanumeric nature of its writing.

February 19, 2013

Jediism

Jediism is a religion based on the philosophical and spiritual ideas of the Jedi as depicted in the science fiction film ‘Star Wars.’ It has no founder or central structure, but was the most selected ‘alternative faith’ in a census of England and Wales. Jediism became accepted as a religion following the Jedi census phenomenon in 2001 and the preceding email campaign to put ‘Jedi’ in answer to the census religion classification question.

The phenomenon attracted the attention of sociologist of religion Adam Possamai who analyzed it in the framework of what he dubs ‘hyper-real religion’ (religions inspired by popular culture). Jediism believers align themselves with the moral code demonstrated by the fictional Jedi. According to the Temple of the Jedi Order website, Jediism is a syncretistic religion, incorporating beliefs from various religious philosophies including Christianity, Sufism (Islam), Stoicism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism.

read more »

Tags: