Archive for June, 2016

June 29, 2016

Mechanical Doping

doped bike

Mechanical doping is a recent term describing the use of secret motors in competitive cycling events. As a form of ‘technological fraud’ it is banned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body of cycling. One of the first allegations of motor doping dates to the 2010 Tour of Flanders when Fabian Cancellara climbed a steep part of Kapelmuur while unusually seated, leading to allegations that there was an powered device hidden in his bike.

The first confirmed use of mechanical doping in the sport was discovered at the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships when one of the bikes of Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche was found to have a secret motor inside.

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June 26, 2016

AAirpass

aairpass

AAirpass is a membership-based discount program offered by American Airlines to frequent flyers launched in 1981. The program is best known for a previous offering of unlimited travel on American Airlines and unlimited access to Admirals Club locations. Pass holders were offered terms of five years or lifetime. Today the program no longer offers lifetime or unlimited travel focusing instead on pre-paid fares at a discounted, fixed price for frequent travelers. A minimum commitment of $10,000 per traveler, per year is required. Existing unlimited AAirpasses remain valid.

The program initially enabled passholders unlimited first class travel on any of the airline’s flights worldwide. Lifetime membership was priced at $250,000, with the option to purchase a companion pass for an additional $150,000. A total of 66 AAirpasses are reported to have been sold under the unlimited travel conditions with businessman Michael Dell and Willie Mays among those who purchased the original offer. The program was launched at a time when the airline was struggling financially and in need of a quick infusion of cash.

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June 23, 2016

Lenin Was A Mushroom

Kuryokhin

Lenin was a mushroom‘ was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast in May 1991 on Leningrad Television. The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program ‘Pyatoe Koleso’ (‘The Fifth Wheel’). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself.

Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various ‘sources’ (such as shamanic author Carlos Castaneda, MIT, and Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain. The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.

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June 20, 2016

Turboencabulator

ge handbook

The turboencabulator (and its later incarnation, the ‘retroencabulator’) is a fictional machine whose alleged existence became an in-joke and subject of professional humor among engineers. The explanation of the supposed product makes extensive use of ‘technobabble’ (jargon that uses buzzwords, esoteric language, specialized technical terms).

‘Time’ magazine reported on the joke in 1946: ‘The original machine had a base-plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the pentametric fan. The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-delta type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a nonreversible tremie pipe to the differential girdlespring on the ‘up’ end of the grammeters.’

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June 15, 2016

Gringo

Gringo Viejo

Gringo [gring-goh] is a term, mainly used in Spanish-speaking and in Portuguese-speaking countries, to refer to foreigners. In Spanish, gringo refers especially to someone from the United States. The word was originally used in Spain (although it’s mostly unused in the country nowadays) to denote any foreign, non-native speakers of Spanish.

The word was first recorded in a 1787 Castilian dictionary: “Gringos is what, in Malaga, they call foreigners who have a certain type of accent that prevents them from speaking Castilian easily and naturally; and in Madrid they give the same name, and for the same reason, in particular to the Irish.’ The dominant view among etymologists is that gringo is most likely a variant of ‘griego’ ‘Greek’ speech (cf. ‘Greek to me’).

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June 14, 2016

Audism

audism

Audism [aw-diz-uhm] is the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears, or that life without hearing is futile and miserable, or an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear. Tom L. Humphries coined the term in his doctoral dissertation in 1977, but it did not start to catch on until Harlan Lane used it in his own writings. Humphries originally applied audism to individual attitudes and practices; whereas Lane broadened the term to include oppression of deaf people.

Audism has been called a form of ‘ableism,’ discrimination on the basis of disability. Like racism or sexism, audism assigns labels, judges and limits individuals based on whether they can hear or speak. People who practice audism are called ‘audists.’ Although it stems predominantly from hearing people, audism can manifest itself in anyone, intentionally or unintentionally.

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June 13, 2016

Where’s the Beef?

Clara Peller

Where’s the beef?” is a catchphrase in the United States and Canada. The phrase originated as a slogan for the fast food chain Wendy’s. Since then it has become an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event or product.

The phrase first came to public attention in a television commercial for the Wendy’s in 1984. In reality, the strategy behind the campaign was to distinguish competitors (McDonald’s and Burger King) big name sandwiches (Big Mac and Whopper respectively) from Wendy’s ‘modest’ Single by focusing on the large bun used by the competitors and the larger beef patty in Wendy’s sandwich. In the ad, titled ‘Fluffy Bun,’ actress Clara Peller receives a burger with a massive bun from a fictional competitor, which uses the slogan ‘Home of the Big Bun.’ The small patty prompts Peller to angrily exclaim, ‘Where’s the beef?’

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June 8, 2016

Pharmacy

Materia medica

rx

Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing and dispensing drugs. It is a health profession that links health sciences with chemical sciences and aims to ensure the safe and effective use of pharmaceuticals. Since pharmacists know about the mode of action of a particular drug, and its metabolism and physiological effects on the human body in great detail, they play an important role in optimization of a drug treatment for an individual.

The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding (reformulating) and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize use of medication for the benefit of the patients.

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June 7, 2016

Diderot Effect

Homo consumericus

The Diderot [dee-duh-roheffect is a social phenomenon related to consumer goods that comprises two ideas. The first posits that goods purchased by consumers will be cohesive to their sense of identity, and as a result, will be complementary to one another. The second states that the introduction of a new possession that is deviant from the consumer’s current complementary goods can result in a process of spiraling consumption. The term was coined by anthropologist and scholar of consumption patterns Grant McCracken in 1988, and is named after the French philosopher Denis Diderot (1713–1784), who first described the effect in an essay.

The term has become common in discussions of sustainable consumption and green consumerism, in regard to the process whereby a purchase or gift creates dissatisfaction with existing possessions and environment, provoking a potentially spiraling pattern of consumption with negative environmental, psychological and social impacts.

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June 6, 2016

Product Placement

Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Product placement is form of advertising where brands appear in media such as film, television, and video games. Product placement stands out as a marketing strategy because it is the most direct attempt to derive commercial benefit from ‘the context and environment within which the product is displayed or used.’ The technique can be beneficial for viewers, since interruptive advertising removes them from the entertainment.

According to PQ Media, a consulting firm that tracks alternative media spending, 2014 product placement expenditures were estimated at $10.58 billion, rising 13.6% year-over-year, and global branded entertainment growth reached $73.27 billion. The firm noted that brand marketers are seeking improved methods to engage younger audiences used to ad-skipping and on-demand media usage, and branded entertainment provides omnichannel possibilities to more effectively engage post-boomers, particularly Millennials.

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June 5, 2016

I Cut, You Choose

Envy-free cake-cutting

Divide and choose (or ‘I cut, you choose‘) is a procedure for envy-free cake-cutting between two partners. It involves a heterogeneous good or resource (‘the cake’) and two partners which have different preferences over parts of the cake. The protocol proceeds as follows: one person cuts the cake into two pieces, and the other person chooses his piece first.

Divide-and-choose is mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis, when Abraham and Lot come to the land of Canaan, Abraham suggests that they divide it among them. Then Abraham, coming from the south, divides the land to a ‘left’ (western) part and a ‘right’ (eastern) part, and lets Lot choose. Lot chooses the eastern part which contains Sodom and Gomorrah.

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