Search Results for “theguardian”

September 21, 2015

Trigger Warning

trigger warnings by Nishant Choks

trigger warning

Trigger warnings are disclaimers that content contains strong writing or images which could unsettle those with mental health difficulties. Angus Johnston, a history professor at the City University of New York, said that trigger warnings can be a part of ‘sound pedagogy,’ noting that students encountering potentially triggering material are ‘coming to it as whole people with a wide range of experiences, and that the journey we’re going on together may at times be painful. It’s not coddling them to acknowledge that. In fact, it’s just the opposite.’

However, students at UC Santa Barbara passed a resolution in support of mandatory trigger warnings for classes that could contain potentially upsetting material. Professors would be required to alert students of such material and allow them to skip classes that could make them feel uncomfortable.

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July 13, 2015

The Truth Machine

Snowden by Laurent Cilluffo

The Truth Machine‘ is a 1996 science fiction novel by James L. Halperin about an infallible lie detector. Soon, every citizen must pass a thorough test under a Truth Machine to get a job or receive any sort of license. Eventually, people begin wearing them all the time, thus eliminating dishonesty in all parts of human interaction, including most crime, terrorism and a great deal of general social problems.

The novel focuses on the life story of the machine’s inventor, Pete Armstrong, a child prodigy whose life has been defined by the tragic murder of his younger brother, Leonard, by an ex-convict who was believed to be capable of committing violent crimes again, but who could not be incarcerated on mere suspicions. Armstrong claimed that as long as it was employed universally (and not just by government officials), the ‘truth machine’ could revolutionize humanity and take it to that next evolutionary step. However, the protagonist places a back door in the device, allowing him to avoid detection when he repeats fragments of Walt Whitman’s poem ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ in his mind.


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April 14, 2015

Road Rage

road rage by ken smith

Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving. The term originated in 1987 at KTLA, a Los Angeles television station, during a rash of freeway shootings. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.

Road rage levels and laws vary from country to country. In Germany, mere insults and rude gestures in traffic can lead to fines and even prison sentences. Australia also has rather stringent laws against malicious motoring. In the US, a 2007 study concluded that the cities with the least courteous drivers (most road rage) are Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. The cities with the most courteous drivers (least road rage) are Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle, and Atlanta. In spite of this, in 2009, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul were rated the top five ‘Road Rage Capitals’ of the United States.

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April 21, 2014

End-of-history Illusion

looking back by Mikel Casal

The end-of-history illusion is a ubiquitous psychological illusion in which teenagers and adults of all ages believe that they have consistently experienced significant personal growth and changes in tastes until now, but will somehow not continue to grow and mature in the future. That is, despite knowing how much they have changed in the last ten years, they believe that ten years from now, they will think and feel the same as they do today. It is thought that the illusion is related to a failure of imagination or an inflated sense of how wonderful they are at the moment.

Because they compare their current maturity against their immature childhood selves and see progress, teenagers believe that they are mature. When those same people look back at their teenage selves from middle age, they are amused or chagrined to think that they once thought their teenage selves so mature—but they make the same error of assuming that their middle-aged selves are fully development. As seniors, they look back at their middle-aged selves with the same amusement, and yet they repeat the mistake once again, by assuming that no significant growth or change is possible for the future.

February 17, 2014

Middleman Minority

The Triple Package

Middleman minority (also known as market-dominant minorities) is any minority population that, while subject to discrimination, does not hold an ‘extreme subordinate’ status in society. There are numerous examples of such groups gaining eventual prosperity in their adopted country despite discrimination. Often, they will take on roles between producer and consumer, such as trading and moneylending.

Famous examples such as Jews throughout Europe even at times when the discrimination against them was at their peak such as during World War II they still had great success in some parts of Europe, Chinese throughout Southeast Asia, Parsis in India, Igbos in Nigeria, Indians in East Africa, people from the Soviet Blocs in the USA during the Cold War, and many others.

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March 24, 2012

Route 36


Route 36 is an illegal after-hours lounge in La Paz, Bolivia, and, according to ‘The Guardian,’ the world’s first cocaine bar. Although cocaine, an addictive stimulant derived from the coca plant, is illegal in Bolivia, political corruption and affordability of locally produced cocaine have resulted in Route 36 becoming a popular destination for thousands of drug tourists each year.

Many customers learn about the bar’s existence through travel websites and by word of mouth promotion. To avoid complaints from nearby business owners or residents, Route 36 does not operate in the same location for more than a few weeks at a time. Its location can only be found by word of mouth information.

February 28, 2012

Vocal Fry

vocal fry by Noma Bar

Vocal fry (creak, glottal scrape, or strohbass), is the lowest vocal register, voice is next, then falsetto, and finally whistle is the highest vocal register. It is produced through a loose glottal closure which will permit air to bubble through slowly with a popping or rattling sound of a very low frequency. Some authorities consider the use of vocal fry in speech a dysphonia, while others consider it so only if it is used excessively. However, the register is more widely used in singing than might at first seem apparent.

Within the bass part of gospel quartet singing the practice is quite common. The croaking sound produced by male singers at the start of phrases in American country music are produced by moving from this mode to the normal voice. Additionally some Russian Anthems contain bass lines within the vocal-fry register. Within choral music, when true basses are not available, choirs often rely on singers who can ‘fry’ the low bass notes. Vocal fry is also used in metal music, usually in combination with air from the diaphragm, in order to create a ‘growl’ or ‘scream’ which sounds aggressive and harsh.

October 31, 2011



The interrobang [in-ter-uh-bang], ‽ (often represented by ?! or !?), is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the ‘interrogative point’) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ jargon as the ‘bang’). The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks. A sentence ending with an interrobang asks a question in an excited manner, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or asks a rhetorical question.

Many writers, especially in informal writing, have used multiple punctuation marks to end a sentence expressing surprise and question. Like multiple exclamation marks and multiple question marks, such strings are poor style in formal writing. Writers had combined question marks and exclamation marks (along with using multiple punctuation marks) for decades before the ‘invention’ of the interrobang. They were prevalent in informal media such as print advertisements and comic books.

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October 26, 2011



Ubik [ew-bik] is a 1969 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick. It has been described as ‘a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.’ The novel takes place in the ‘North American Confederation’ of 1992, wherein technology has advanced to the extent of permitting civilians to reach the Moon and psi phenomena are common. The protagonist is Joe Chip, a debt-ridden technician for Glen Runciter’s ‘prudence organization,’ which employs people with the ability to block certain psychic powers (as in the case of an anti-telepath, who can prevent a telepath from reading a client’s mind) to enforce privacy by request. Runciter runs the company with the assistance of his deceased wife Ella, who is kept in a state of ‘half-life,’ a form of cryonic suspension that gives the deceased person limited consciousness and communication ability. In the novel Ubiq, a product whose name is derived from the word ‘ubiquity,’ has the property of preserving people who are in half-life.

Dick’s former wife Tessa remarked that ‘Ubik is a metaphor for God. Ubik is all-powerful and all-knowing, and Ubik is everywhere. The spray can is only a form that Ubik takes to make it easy for people to understand it and use it. It is not the substance inside the can that helps them, but rather their faith in the promise that it will help them.’ She also interpreted the ending by writing, ‘Many readers have puzzled over the ending of Ubik, when Glen Runciter finds a Joe Chip coin in his pocket. [It] is meant to tell you that we can’t be sure of anything in the world that we call ‘reality.’ It is possible that they are all dead and in cold pac or that the half-life world can affect the full-life world. It is also possible that they are all alive and dreaming.’

June 21, 2011

False Economy

false economy

A false economy refers to an action which saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved. For example, if a city government decided to purchase the least expensive automobiles for use by city workers, it might be termed false economy, as cheap automobiles have a record of traditionally needing more frequent repairs in the long term and the repair costs will eradicate any initial savings garnered.

The concept is similar to planned obsolescence, whereby the lower initial cost of a false economy attracts buyers mostly on the basis of low cost, who may later be at a disadvantage.

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March 14, 2011


pokerbot by Tim Enthoven

pokerbot by João Fazenda

Computer poker players are computer programs designed to play the game of poker against human opponents or other computer opponents. They are commonly referred to as pokerbots or just simply bots.

These bots or computer programs are used often in online poker situations as either legitimate opponents for humans players or a form of cheating. Cardrooms forbid the use of bots although the level of enforcement from site operators varies considerably.

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March 13, 2011

Silicon Fen

Silicon Fen

Silicon Fen (sometimes the Cambridge Cluster) is the name given to the region around Cambridge, England, which is home to a number of high-tech businesses, especially those related to software, electronics, and biotechnology. Many of these have connections with the University of Cambridge, and the area is now one of the most important technology centers in Europe. It is called ‘Silicon Fen’ by analogy with Silicon Valley in California, because it lies at the south of Fenland.

The so-called Cambridge phenomenon, giving rise to start-up companies in a town previously only having a little light industry in the electrical sector, is usually dated to the founding of the Cambridge Science Park in 1970 (an initiative of Trinity College that moved away from a traditional low-development policy for Cambridge). The area is known for a high degree of ‘networking,’ enabling people across the region to find partners, jobs, funding, and know-how. Organisations have sprung up to facilitate this process, for example the Cambridge Network.