Archive for ‘Humor’

April 6, 2018

Chernoff Face

Chernoff

Chernoff faces, invented by American statistician Herman Chernoff in 1973, display multivariate data in the shape of a human face. The individual parts, such as eyes, ears, mouth and nose represent values of the variables by their shape, size, placement and orientation.

The idea behind using faces is that humans easily recognize faces and notice small changes without difficulty. Chernoff faces handle each variable differently. Because the features of the faces vary in perceived importance, the way in which variables are mapped to the features should be carefully chosen (e.g. eye size and eyebrow-slant have been found to carry significant weight). 

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March 19, 2018

Sheats Goldstein Residence

Jackie Treehorn

The Sheats Goldstein Residence is a house designed and built between 1961 and 1963 by American architect John Lautner in Beverly Crest, Los Angeles, just a short distance from the Beverly Hills border. The building was conceived from the inside out and built into the sandstone ledge of the hillside; a cave-like dwelling that opens to embrace nature and view.

The house is an example of ‘American Organic Architecture’ that derives its form as an extension of the natural environment and of the individual for whom it was built. Lautner, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, sought to create unique structures that solved the challenges of their sites.

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January 12, 2018

Sweater Curse

knitting

The sweater curse, or the ‘curse of the love sweater,’ is a knitting folktale which claims that if a knitter gives a hand-knit sweater to a significant other, it will lead to the recipient breaking up with them. In an alternative formulation, the relationship will end before the sweater is even completed. In a 2005 poll, 15% of active knitters said that they had experienced the sweater curse firsthand, and 41% considered it a possibility that should be taken seriously.

Despite its name, the ‘sweater curse’ is treated in knitting literature not as a superstition governed by paranormal forces, but rather as a real-world pitfall of knitting that has rational explanations. Several plausible mechanisms for the sweater curse have been proposed, but it has not been studied systematically.

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December 7, 2017

Tommy Wiseau

Tommy Wiseau is an American actor and filmmaker. He produced and directed ‘The Room’ (2003), which has been described by many critics as ‘one of the worst movies ever made’ and has gained cult film status. He also directed the 2004 documentary ‘Homeless in America’ and the 2015 sitcom ‘The Neighbors.’

Wiseau is secretive about his early life. In various interviews, he has claimed to have lived in France ‘a long time ago,’ asserted that he grew up in New Orleans, and described having ‘an entire family’ in Chalmette, Louisiana.

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October 12, 2017

The Tramp

Modern Times

The Tramp (also known as ‘Charlot’ in several languages) was British actor Charlie Chaplin’s most memorable on-screen character and an icon in world cinema during the era of silent film. ‘The Tramp’ is also the title of a silent film starring Chaplin, which he wrote and directed in 1915.

The Tramp, as portrayed by Chaplin, is a childlike, bumbling but generally good-hearted character who is most famously portrayed as a vagrant who endeavors to behave with the manners and dignity of a gentleman despite his actual social status. However, while he is ready to take what paying work is available, he also uses his cunning to get what he needs to survive and escape the authority figures who will not tolerate his antics.

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October 6, 2017

Eric Andre

Eric Andre (b. 1983) is an American actor, comedian, and television host. He is the creator, host, and co-writer of ‘The Eric Andre Show,’ a surreal parody of low-budget public-access talk shows that airs on ‘Adult Swim’ (a nighttime programming block on ‘Cartoon Network’). Andre also played ‘Mike’ on the ‘FXX’ comedy series ‘Man Seeking Woman.’

‘The Eric Andre Show’ premiered in 2012. The series is hosted along with comedian Hannibal Buress, who serves as André’s sidekick. The show was influenced, in part, by surreal spoof talk show ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast,’ a series that has previously aired on ‘Cartoon Network’ and later ‘Adult Swim.’

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August 3, 2017

Nominative Determinism

Implicit egotism

Nominative [nom-uh-nuh-tivdeterminism [dih-tur-muh-niz-uhm] is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their names. The term was first used in the magazine ‘New Scientist’ in 1994, after its humorous ‘Feedback’ column noted several studies carried out by researchers with remarkably fitting surnames.

These included a book on polar explorations by Daniel Snowman and an article on urology by researchers named Splatt and Weedon. These and other examples led to light-hearted speculation that some sort of psychological effect was at work.

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June 8, 2017

Schedule Chicken

Chicken

Schedule chicken is a concept described in project management and software development circles where when two or more parties working towards a common goal all claim to be holding to their original schedules for delivering their part of the work, while knowing those schedules are impossible to meet. Each party hopes the other will be the first to have their failure exposed and thus take all of the blame for the larger project being delayed. This pretense continually moves forward past one project checkpoint to the next, possibly continuing right up until the functionality is actually due.

The practice of schedule chicken often results in contagious schedule slips due to the inter team dependencies and is difficult to identify and resolve, as it is in the best interest of each team not to be the first bearer of bad news. The psychological drivers underlining the ‘Schedule Chicken’ behavior are related to the ‘Hawk-Dove’ or ‘Snowdrift’ model of conflict used by players in game theory. The term derives from the game of chicken played between drivers, as depicted in the movie ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ in which two drivers race their hot-rods towards a cliff edge. The first driver to jump out of the car is labeled a ‘chicken,’ while the one closest to the edge wins bragging rights.

April 17, 2017

Idiot Plot

Burn After Reading

In literary criticism, an idiot plot is ‘a plot which is kept in motion solely by virtue of the fact that everybody involved is an idiot’ and where the story would otherwise be over if this were not the case. It is a narrative where its conflict comes from characters not recognizing, or not being told, key information that would resolve the conflict, often because of plot contrivance.

The only thing that prevents the conflict’s resolution is the character’s constant avoidance or obliviousness of it throughout the plot, even if it was already obvious to the viewer, so the characters are all ‘idiots’ in that they are too obtuse to simply resolve the conflict immediately.

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March 13, 2017

Absurdism

myth of sisyphus

Absurdism is a type of philosophy centered on the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. The conflict itself is called ‘the absurd,’ by absurdist philosophers.

Absurdists, most notably French philosopher Albert Camus, believe that when human beings realize this fundamental absurdity the most sensible response was to  accept the absurd, and also to keep trying to overcome it. He believed that a human being could become happy by finding meaning in their relationship with the absurdity of their existence. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing meaning from the search alone.

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January 23, 2017

Filthy Frank

filthy frank

George Miller, commonly known by his internet pseudonym ‘Filthy Frank,’ is a musician and YouTube personality. He was born to Australian and Japanese parents, and attended Canadian Academy, where he graduated from in 2012. Aside from the comedic and often rap based music he creates under his ‘Pink Guy’ alias, Miller also creates more serious and traditional music under the stage name ‘Joji.’ He first became known for his absurdist YouTube channel, ‘TVFilthyFrank,’ which features music, rants and a bizarre ‘show’ featured in an alternate universe, with all of the main characters played by him.

Miller’s video titled ‘Do the Harlem Shake (Original)’ has been viewed 57.2 million times and spawned the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme. The earliest known video of Miller is a YouTube video titled ‘2cool4u92,’ uploaded to a channel sharing the same name in 2006 and features a young Miller performing a break dance move in front of the camera. Miller created the ‘Filthy Frank’ character during his time on his ‘Dizasta Music’ channel, where he created other content but started gaining popularity once he conceptualized Frank, who is described as the anti-vlogger of YouTube. The first known video on this particular channel was uploaded in 2011, and was titled ‘Filthy Shit.’

January 16, 2017

Steeplechase Park

george tilyou

Between 1880 and WWII, Coney Island (a peninsular neighborhood in southern Brooklyn) was the largest amusement area in the U.S., attracting several million visitors per year. At its height, it contained three competing major amusement parks, Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park, as well as many independent amusements. The area was also the center of new technological events, with electric lights, roller coasters, and baby incubators among the innovations showcased there in the 1900s.

Steeplechase Park was created by George C. Tilyou (1862–1914) and operated from 1897 to 1964. It was the first of the three original iconic Coney Island parks (Luna Park opened in 1903 and Dreamland opened the following year). Steeplechase was also Coney Island’s longest lasting park. Unlike Dreamland, which burned in a fire in 1911, and Luna Park which, despite early success, saw its profitability disappear during the Great Depression, Steeplechase had kept itself financially profitable. The Tilyou family had been able to adapt the park to the changing times, bringing in new rides and new amusements such as the Parachute Jump.

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