Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013

Seawise Giant

Seawise Giant

Seawise Giant, later ‘Happy Giant,’ ‘Jahre Viking,’ ‘Knock Nevis,’ ‘Oppama,’ and finally ‘Mont,’ was an Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC) supertanker and the longest ship ever built. She possessed the greatest deadweight tonnage ever recorded.

Fully laden, her displacement was 724,239 tons, the heaviest ship of any kind, and with a draft of 81 ft (the distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull), she was incapable of navigating the English Channel, the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. Overall, she was generally considered the largest ship ever built, as well as the largest self-propelled human-made object ever built.

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October 31, 2013

Yule Log

yule log

‘The Yule Log‘ is a TV program which is broadcast traditionally on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, originally by NYC television station WPIX but now by many other Tribune Company-owned television stations, including WGN America. A radio simulcast of the musical portion was broadcast by associated station WPIX-FM (now WFAN-FM) until 1988. The program, which has been two to four hours in duration (without commercial interruption), is a film loop of a yule log burning in a fireplace, with a traditional soundtrack of classic Christmas music.

The concept was created in 1966 by Fred M. Thrower, President and CEO of WPIX, Inc. Inspired by an animated Coca-Cola commercial a year earlier that showed Santa Claus at a fireplace, he envisioned this program as a televised Christmas gift to New Yorkers who lived in apartments and homes without fireplaces. This also provided time for employees of the television station to stay home with their families, instead of working for the usual morning news program.

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October 30, 2013

Slow TV

hurtigruten

iyule

Slow TV is a genre of live ‘marathon’ television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. Its name is derived both from the long endurance of the broadcast as well as from the natural slow pace of the television program’s progress. The concept is an modernization of artist Andy Warhol’s slow movie ‘Sleep’ from 1963, which showed poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours.

The concept was adapted to local TV broadcast in 1966 by WPIX in NYC for a Christmastime ‘yule log’ (a looped film of a log burning in a fireplace, accompanied by classic Christmas music, broadcast without commercial interruption).

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October 29, 2013

Pato

Patrice Wilson is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who goes by the stage names Pato and Fat Usher. He got his start in music as a backup singer with Malian-Slovak pop star Ibrahim Maiga (and learned to speak fluent Slovak while touring Eastern Europe). 

Wilson moved to the US in 2001, where he took his flavor of Nigerian music, along with eastern Europe pop, and combined it with hip-hop. In 2010 he co-founded ARK Music Factory in partnership with Clarence Jey, an Australian record producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician. Jey left the following year, with Wilson remaining the CEO of the company. He co-authored and co-produced alongside Jey the song ‘Friday’ sung by Rebecca Black.

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October 28, 2013

Pharmacy Automation

Omnicell

Pharmacy automation is the automation of tasks performed in pharmacy:

measuring and mixing powders and liquids for compounding; tracking and updating customer information in databases (e.g. personally identifiable information, medical history, drug interaction risk detection); inventory management; and dispensing of medication.

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October 26, 2013

Kessler Syndrome

The Kessler syndrome (proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978) is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade—each collision generating space debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions.

One implication is that the distribution of debris in orbit could render space exploration, and even the use of satellites, infeasible for many generations. Every satellite, space probe, and manned mission has the potential to create space debris. A cascading Kessler syndrome becomes more likely as satellites in orbit increase in number and old satellites become inoperative.

October 25, 2013

Wiki-PR

Wiki-PR is a public relations firm that markets its ability to edit Wikipedia. Its practices have contradicted Wikipedia practices, including those on sockpuppetry (using an online identity for purposes of deception) and conflict-of-interest editing, leading to hundreds of blocked accounts.

Wiki-PR was created in 2010 by Darius Fisher, its current COO, and Jordan French, its current CEO. Clients have included Viacom and Priceline. The firm claimed having administrator access enabling it to manage the Wikipedia presence of more than 12,000 clients. Wiki-PR uses aggressive email marketing to acquire new customers.

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October 24, 2013

Influencing Machine

On the Origin of the “Influencing Machine” in Schizophrenia is a highly influential article written by German psychoanalyst Viktor Tausk in 1919. The paper describes Tausk’s observations and psychoanalytic interpretation of a type of paranoid delusion that occurs in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. The delusion often involves their being influenced by a ‘diabolical machine,’ just outside the technical understanding of the victim, that influences them from afar.

It was typically believed to be operated by a group of people who were persecuting the individual, whom Tausk suggested were ‘to the best of my knowledge, almost exclusively of the male sex’ and the persecutors, ‘predominantly physicians by whom the patient has been treated.’ These delusions are known in contemporary psychiatry as ‘passivity delusions’ or ‘passivity phenomena’ and are listed among Kurt Schneider’s ‘first rank’ symptoms which are thought to be particularly diagnostic of schizophrenia, and still form some of the core diagnostic criteria.

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October 23, 2013

Colossus: The Forbin Project

forbin

Colossus: The Forbin Project is a 1970 American science fiction thriller film based on a 1966 novel Colossus, by Dennis Feltham Jones, about a massive American defense computer, named Colossus, becoming sentient and deciding to assume control of the world. The machine was built in secret by Dr. Charles A. Forbin to control all of the United States and Allied nuclear weapons systems.

Colossus is built to be impervious to any attack, encased within a mountain and powered by its own nuclear reactor, filling the area with gamma radiation. When it is activated, the President of the United States announces its existence at a press conference with Forbin in Washington, proudly proclaiming it a perfect defense system that will ensure peace.

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October 22, 2013

SCS Software

Euro Truck Simulator

bus driver

SCS Software is a Czech video game development company. It primarily produces simulation games, including the ’18 Wheels of Steel’ (based on truck driving in North America) and ‘Euro Truck Simulator’ series. Other titles include ‘Bus Driver,’ ‘Scania Truck Driving Simulator,’ as well as the ‘Hunting Unlimited’ series. SCS Software has also published several screensavers.

In 2013, SCS Software announced ‘World of Trucks’ with its official motto: ‘One Trucking Game to Rule them All.’ The expected map will feature over 150 countries and more than 600 cities, more than 20 truck brands, more than 70 cargo types, and more than 50 fictional or real companies.

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October 21, 2013

Ernest P. Worrell

Ernest

Ernest P. Worrell is a fictional character that was portrayed by Jim Varney (1949 – 2000) in a series of television commercials, and later in a television series (‘Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!’) as well as a series of feature films. Ernest was created by a Nashville advertising agency for local television ad campaigns.

The first Ernest commercial, filmed in 1980, advertised an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at Beech Bend Park, an amusement park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. The format of the commercials seldom varied. The rubber-faced Ernest, almost always dressed in a denim vest and baseball cap, appeared at the door of an unseen and unheard but seemingly unwilling neighbor named Vern.

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October 21, 2013

Stroszek

stroszek

Stroszek is a 1977 film by German director Werner Herzog. It was written in four days specifically for German actor and musician Bruno Schleinstein (known as Bruno S.) and was shot in Berlin, two towns in Wisconsin, and in North Carolina. Most of the lead roles are played by non-actors. Schleinstein was often beaten as a child, and spent much of his youth in mental institutions. He was a largely self-taught musician, who over the years developed considerable skill on the piano, accordion, glockenspiel and handbells.

He was spotted by director Werner Herzog in the documentary ‘Bruno der Schwarze – Es blies ein Jäger wohl in sein Horn’ (1970). Herzog promptly cast Schleinstein (under the name Bruno S.) as his lead actor in ‘The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser’ (1974), though he had no acting experience, and the historical figure he portrayed was only in his teens. ‘Stroszek’ has a number of biographical details from Schleinstein’s life, including the use of his own flat as the home of Bruno Stroszek. He also played his own instruments.

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