May 30, 2017

Alcohol Belt

vodka war

The alcohol belts of Europe are regions in Europe which are considered to be divided by association with either beer, wine, or hard liquor.

The alcohol belts refer to the traditional beverages of countries rather than what is most commonly drunk by the populace today, as in terms of drinking habits beer has become the most popular alcoholic drink in the whole world – including various parts of the wine and vodka belts. Continue reading

May 24, 2017

Product Naming

rose by any other name

Product naming is the discipline of deciding what a product will be called, and is very similar in concept and approach to the process of deciding on a name for a company or organization. Product naming is considered a critical part of the branding process, which includes all of the marketing activities that affect the brand image, such as positioning (the place that a brand occupies in the mind of the customer) and the design of logos, packaging, and the product itself.

The process involved in product naming can take months or years to complete. Some key steps include specifying the objectives of the branding, developing the product name itself, evaluating names through target market testing and focus groups, choosing a final product name, and finally identifying it as a trademark for protection. Continue reading

May 22, 2017

Phenakistiscope

Joseph Plateau

The phenakistiscope [fen-uh-kiss-tuh-skohp] was the first widespread animation device that created a fluent illusion of motion. The phenakistiscope is regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for the future motion picture and film industry. It is sometimes compared to GIF animation since both show a short continuous loop.

A phenakisticope usually comes in the form of a spinning cardboard disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed radially around the disc’s center are a series of pictures showing sequential phases of the animation. Small rectangular apertures are spaced evenly around the rim of the disc. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images keeps them from simply blurring together, so that the user can see a rapid succession of images that appear to be a single moving picture. Continue reading

May 5, 2017

McCollough Effect

Celeste McCollough

The McCollough effect is a phenomenon of human visual perception discovered by American psychologist Celeste McCollough in 1965 in which colorless gratings appear colored contingent on the orientation of the gratings. It is an aftereffect requiring a period of induction to produce it. For example, if someone alternately looks at a red horizontal grating and a green vertical grating for a few minutes, a black-and-white horizontal grating will then look greenish and a black-and-white vertical grating will then look pinkish.

The effect is remarkable because it is very long-lasting. McCollough originally reported that aftereffects may last for an hour or more, but they can persist much longer. A 1975 study found that 15 minutes of induction can lead to an effect lasting three and a half months. Continue reading

April 24, 2017

Gary Anderson

Recycling symbol

Container Corporation of America

Gary Anderson (b. 1947) is an influential graphic designer and architect. He is most well known as the designer of the ‘recycling symbol,’ one of the most readily recognizable logos in the world. His contribution to modern graphic design has been compared to those of early pioneering modernists such as Herbert Bayer. His design for a symbol to embody the concept of recycling has been compared to iconic trademarks such as those for Coca-Cola and Nike.

It has been called one of America’s ‘most important design icons’ and has helped to encourage global recycling. In some countries, such as the UK, the symbol carries such implicit meaning that it requires government permission to be used. Although the symbol is the most widely known of his accomplishments, Anderson has also made important contributions in the areas of urban planning and urban development. Continue reading

April 20, 2017

Spider-sense

Spider-Man

Spider-Man’s ‘spider-sense‘ manifests in a tingling feeling at the base of his skull, alerting him to personal danger in proportion to the severity of that danger. For instance, a little tingling such as a happenstance passing by of an enemy would prompt Peter to be alert, while a strong tingling, sometimes to the point of being painful, is interpreted as a need to take immediate evasive action.

Spider-Man can choose to ignore his spider-sense, and distraction or fatigue can cause decreased unawareness. Spider-sense is depicted in most comics as wavy lines appearing around Spider-Man’s head; when he is unmasked, this effect is sometimes accompanied by a symbolic half-mask appearing on his face. In the 90’s cartoon, negative colored shapes appeared around him.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading

April 10, 2017

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Partnership for a Drug Free America

This Is Your Brain on Drugs was a large-scale US anti-narcotics campaign by Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) launched in 1987, that used three televiztelevised public service announcements (PSAs) and a related poster campaign.

The 30-second version of the first PSA shows a man in a starkly furnished apartment who asks if there is anyone out there who still doesn’t understand the dangers of drug abuse. He holds up an egg and says, ‘This is your brain,’ before motioning to a frying pan and adding, ‘This is drugs.’ He then cracks open the egg, fries the contents, and says, ‘This is your brain on drugs.’ Finally he looks up at the camera and asks, ‘Any questions?’

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2017

Eggs Benedict

Delmonico's

Eggs Benedict is a traditional American brunch or breakfast dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin each of which is topped with Canadian bacon, ham or sometimes bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce (egg yolk, liquid butter, water, and lemon juice). The dish was first popularized in New York City. Many variations on the basic recipe are served.

There are conflicting accounts as to the origin of Eggs Benedict. Delmonico’s in lower Manhattan claims on its menu that ‘Eggs Benedict was first created in our ovens in 1860.’ One of its former chefs, Charles Ranhofer, also published the recipe for ‘Eggs à la Benedick’ in 1894. Continue reading

April 4, 2017

Barkley Marathons

Gary Lazarus Lake Cantrell

The Barkley Marathons is an ultramarathon trail race held in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee. Runners may elect a ‘fun run’ of 60 miles or the full course of 100 miles. The race is limited to a 60-hour period, and takes place in late March or early April of each year.

With 54,200 feet of accumulated vertical climb, the 100-mile run is considered to be one of the more challenging ultramarathons held in the United States, if not the world. In some years, no one has completed the entire course. The Barkley starts any time from midnight to noon on race day, with one hour till race start signaled by blowing a conch. The race officially begins when a cigarette is lit by the race director. Continue reading

March 21, 2017

Manosphere

MGTOW

Red Pill

The manosphere (or androsphere) is an informal network of blogs, forums, and websites where commentators focus on issues relating to men and masculinity, as a male counterpart to feminism or in opposition to it. Some of these forums have been described in the media and by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) of the United States as promoting a misogynistic worldview.

The content of manosphere articles varies widely. Common topics include the men’s rights, fathers’ rights, and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW, a movement cautioning men against romantic relationships with women) causes; male victims of abuse; antifeminism; self-improvement; and pick-up artistry (PUA, a collective of men discussing seduction and sexual success with/access to women). Continue reading

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. Continue reading