Archive for January, 2014

January 15, 2014

White Castle

White Castle is a restaurant generally credited as the first fast food chain, known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as ‘sliders,’ the burgers were priced at five cents until the 1940s, and remained at ten cents for years thereafter. For several years, when the original burgers sold for five cents, White Castle periodically ran promotional ads in local newspapers which contained coupons offering five burgers for ten cents, takeout only.

White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas by Cook Walt A. Anderson an insurance man Billy Ingram. At the time, Americans were hesitant to eat ground beef after Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel ‘The Jungle’ publicized poor sanitation practices in the meatpacking industry. To invoke a feeling of cleanliness, their restaurants were small buildings with white porcelain enamel on steel exteriors, stainless steel interiors, and employees outfitted with spotless uniforms.

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January 14, 2014

Edge Foundation

The Edge Foundation, Inc. is an association of science and technology intellectuals created in 1988 as an outgrowth of The Reality Club (as a group of mostly New York City-based intellectuals that met regularly from 1981 through 1996 for seminars on a variety of topics). Currently, its main activity is contributing to the edge.org website, edited by publisher and businessman John Brockman. The site is an online magazine exploring scientific and intellectual ideas. Many areas of academic work are incorporated, including genetics, physics, mathematics, psychology, evolutionary biology, philosophy and computing technology.

Brockman’s 1995 book ‘The Third Culture,’ which has been influential to the foundation, describes the growing movement towards (re)integration of literary and scientific thinking and is a nod toward British scientist C. P. Snow’s concept of ‘The Two Cultures’ of science and the humanities. At the Edge website scientists and others are invited to contribute their thoughts in a manner readily accessible to non-specialist readers. In doing so, leading thinkers are able to communicate directly with each other and the public without the intervention of middlemen such as journalists and journal editors.

January 13, 2014

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde [keh-hin-dayWiley (b. 1977) is a New York-based portrait painter, who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of people with black and brown skin in heroic poses. His portraits are based on photographs of young men who Wiley sees on the street. He painted men from Harlem’s 125th Street, then South Central neighborhood where he was born.

Dressed in street clothes, his models were asked to assume poses from the paintings of Renaissance masters, such as Tiziano Vecellio and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The artist describes his approach as ‘interrogating the notion of the master painter, at once critical and complicit.’ His figurative paintings ‘quote historical sources and position young black men within that field of power.’

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January 10, 2014

Guardian of the Threshold

Dagobah

The Guardian of the Threshold is a menacing figure that is described by a number of esoteric schools of thought. Also called ‘dweller on the threshold,’ the term indicates a spectral image which is supposed to manifest itself as soon as ‘the student of the spirit ascends upon the path into the higher worlds of knowledge.’

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January 9, 2014

Mood Repair Strategies

pat yourself on the back

Mood repair strategies (MRS) offer techniques that an individual can use to shift their mood from general sadness or clinical depression to a state of greater contentment or happiness. A mood repair strategy is a cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal psychological tool used to affect the mood regulation of an individual. MRS are common to cognitive therapy and are often assigned as homework by therapists in order to help positively impact individuals who are experiencing dysphoria or depression.

However, these tools can also be used for individuals experiencing temporary unwanted moods. Many factors go into the effectiveness of MRS on an individual ranging from the client’s self-esteem to their experience with the strategy being used. Also, how the strategy is presented (either to avoid negative moods or to pursue positive moods) may have an effect on its effectiveness. 

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January 8, 2014

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

rorschach

Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall.’ The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences. In ‘De Ira (On Anger),’ Seneca tells of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, a Roman governor and lawmaker who ordered the execution of a soldier that had returned from a leave of absence without his comrade, on the grounds that he had presumably killed the latter. As the condemned man was presenting his neck to the executioner’s sword, there suddenly appeared the very comrade who was supposedly murdered.

The centurion overseeing the execution halted the proceedings and led the condemned man back to Piso, expecting a reprieve. But Piso mounted the tribunal in a rage, and ordered the three soldiers to be executed. He ordered the death of the man who was to have been executed, because the sentence had already been passed; he also ordered the death of the centurion who was in charge of the original execution, for failing to perform his duty; and finally, he ordered the death of the man who had been supposed to have been murdered, because he had been the cause of the death of two innocent men.

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January 7, 2014

Carl Safina

Carl Safina (b. 1955) is the author of several books about oceans and environmentalism, including ‘Song for the Blue Ocean,’ ‘Eye of the Albatross,’ and ‘The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World.’ He is founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University in NY where he is active both in Marine Sciences and as co-chair of the Journalism School’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Safina is host of the PBS series, ‘Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina.’

Carl Safina works to show that nature and human dignity require each other. His current research is focused on the ways in which our relationship with the natural world affects human relations, and how the scientific facts imply the need for moral and ethical responses. His early research focused on seabird ecology. In the 1990s he brought fisheries issues into the environmental mainstream. He lead campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, to re-write U.S. federal fisheries law, to work toward international conservation of tunas, sharks, and other fishes, and to achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty.

January 6, 2014

Pelican Products

pelican case

Pelican Products is an American multinational company based out Torrance, California that designs and manufactures flashlights and cases. Their products are used in many industries including military, law enforcement, fire safety and entertainment. Pelican has over 1,300 employees and operates offices across the globe. The company was founded in Torrance, California in 1975 as a mail-order home business offering unique and practical products for the dive market.

Today, Pelican is known for molded plastic containers that seal with an airtight and watertight gasket. They include a barometric relief valve made of Gore-Tex to prevent pressure damage to the case, during transportation or when the air pressure in the environment changes. Pelican cases meet military standards for waterproofing, stacking, impact, and durability, and feature a lifetime guarantee.

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January 6, 2014

Tobii Technology

eyex

Tobii

Tobii Technology is a Swedish high-technology company that develops and sells products for eye control and eye tracking. Founded in 2001, the company has products in several market segments such as people with communication disabilities who use Tobii’s technical devices and language tools (AAC devices) to communicate.

It also has products that are widely used for research in the academic community, and to conduct usability studies and market surveys of commercial products. Tobii also partners with others to integrate eye tracking and eye control in different industry applications and fields such as advanced driver assistance, consumer computing, and gaming.

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January 5, 2014

Format War

vhs vs beta

A format war describes competition between mutually incompatible proprietary formats that compete for the same market, typically for data storage devices and recording formats for electronic media.

It is often characterized by political and financial influence on content publishers by the developers of the technologies. Developing companies may be characterized as engaging in a format war if they actively oppose or avoid interoperable open industry technical standards in favor of their own.

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January 4, 2014

Abscam

Abscam by Aggie Kenny

Abscam was an FBI sting operation run from the Bureau’s Long Island office in the late 1970s and early ’80s. The operation initially targeted trafficking in stolen property but was converted to a public corruption investigation. The investigation ultimately led to the conviction of a U.S. senator, six members of the House of Representatives, one member of the New Jersey State Senate, members of the Philadelphia City Council, the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, and an inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In 1978, the FBI hired Melvin Weinberg, a convicted con artist, to help plan and conduct the operation, forming Abdul Enterprises, Ltd., as its front company for the investigation. FBI employees posed as Karim Abdul Rahman, a fictional Middle Eastern sheikh, in videotaped meetings with targeted government officials. The agents posing as Rahman offered the officials money in return for political favors such as political asylum in the U.S., involvement in an investment scheme for a high-class hotel, and help in transferring money out of his country.

January 4, 2014

Perp Walk

wezorek

A perp walk, or walking the perp, is a common custom of American law enforcement (particularly NYC) where an arrested suspect is escorted through a public place, creating an opportunity for the media to take photographs and video of the event. The defendant is typically handcuffed or otherwise restrained, and is sometimes dressed in prison garb. Originally only those accused of violent street crimes were subjected to it, but since Rudolph Giuliani had accused white-collar criminals perp-walked in the 1980s, it has been extended to almost every defendant.

The perp walk arose incidentally from the need to transport a defendant from a police station to court after arrest, and the general prohibition of prior restraint (censorship) under the First Amendment. Law enforcement agencies often coordinate with the media in scheduling and arranging them. It has been criticized as a form of public humiliation that violates a defendant’s right to privacy and is prejudicial to the presumption of innocence. Courts have permitted it on the grounds that it arises from the limitations and necessity of police procedure, but have also limited it only to those times when it is actually necessary.