Archive for November, 2015

November 9, 2015

Once Upon a Time

star wars

two cities

Once upon a time‘ is a stock phrase used to introduce a narrative of past events, typically in fairy tales and folktales. It has been used in some form since at least 1380 in storytelling in the English language and has opened many oral narratives since 1600. These stories often then end with ‘and they all lived happily ever after,’ or, originally, ‘happily until their deaths.’

The phrase is particularly common in fairy tales for younger children, where it is almost always the opening line of a tale. It was commonly used in the original translations of the stories of Charles Perrault as a translation for the French ‘il était une fois,’ of Hans Christian Andersen as a translation for the Danish ‘der var engang,’ (literally ‘there was once’), the Brothers Grimm as a translation for the German ‘es war einmal’ (literally ‘it was once’). An alternative German fairy tale opening translates to: ‘Back in the days when it was still of help to wish for a thing…’

November 5, 2015

ChromaDepth

chromadepth

Chromadepth is a patented system from the company Chromatek (a subsidiary of American Paper Optics since 2002) that produces a stereoscopic effect based upon differences in the diffraction of color through a special prism-like holographic film. Chromadepth glasses purposely exacerbate chromatic aberration (the failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point) and give the illusion of colors taking up different positions in space, with red being in front, and blue being in back.

The effect works particularly well with the sky, sea or grass as a background, and redder objects in the foreground. From front to back the scheme follows the visible light spectrum, from red to orange, yellow, green and blue. This means any color is associated in a fixed fashion with a certain depth when viewing. As a result, ChromaDepth works best with artificially produced or enhanced pictures, since the color indicates the depth.

 

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November 3, 2015

Quite Interesting

stephen fry by andrew waugh

QI (‘Quite Interesting’) is a British television quiz show hosted by comedian Stephen Fry. There are four contestants in each show, of whom one is always stand-up comic Alan Davies. Most of the questions are extremely obscure, making it unlikely that the correct answer will be given. To compensate, points are awarded not only for right answers, but also for interesting ones, regardless of whether they are right or even relate to the original question.

QI has stated it follows a philosophy: everything in the world, even that which appears to be the most boring, is ‘quite interesting’ if looked at in the right way.

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November 1, 2015

Nudge Theory

urinal fly

Nudge theory is a concept in behavioral economics which argues that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions promoting non-forced compliance can influence the motives, incentives, and decision making of groups and individuals, at least as effectively – if not more effectively – than direct instruction, legislation, or enforcement. The theory came to prominence with a 2008 book, ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness’ by behavioral economists Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

They defined a ‘nudge’ as: ‘any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.’ One of nudges’ most frequently cited examples is the etching of the image of a housefly into the men’s room urinals at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which is intended to ‘improve the aim.’