Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene + random guy's junk = good times.

I am sooooo glad someone got this video! I was watching when it happened. Tip o' the hat to BoingBoing for posting it.

You were expecting a post with "random guy's junk" in the title to be safe for the kiddies?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Territoriality and the public self (draft post).

People who have bumper stickers are more aggressive. The more bumper stickers, the more aggressive. A quote from a Washington Post article on aggressive drivers:

Social scientists such as Szlemko say that people carry around three kinds of territorial spaces in their heads. One is personal territory -- like a home, or a bedroom. The second kind involves space that is temporarily yours -- an office cubicle or a gym locker. The third kind is public territory: park benches, walking trails -- and roads.

Increased territoriality leads people to treat public and temporary territory the same as personal territory. So as the public becomes the personal, it seems so would more abstract public notions become personal--the sense of ownership and territoriality would extend to ideas, which would bring about frustration when different or opposing ideas came into that extended personal space. Read my bumper sticker, love my stance, as it were.

This is something I'd considered, so I'm glad to see the validation. The article also notes that the more bumper stickers a car has, the more aggressive the driver (where owner and stick-er are the same person). What strikes me about people with lots of bumper stickers is the noise level of their expression--so much to say, and making damn sure that it gets broadcast. I think this goes equally for t-shirts, buttons, tote bags, whatever.

More on this as I think about it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

LivingSocial ad art: Where timeliness and poor taste intersect.

LivingSocial has an ad on DCist that is inadvertently timely. Check out the art for the ad.

We hear a lot about Robyn Gardner's disappearance in Aruba because she was from the DC area. Natalee Holloway's disappearance helps up the newsworthiness, too. It could be that because of the news coverage, I'm more sensitive than I would be otherwise. And if you talk to any of my college buddies, they'll assure you that I might not be the first person to avoid saying something that could be in poor taste. (If it weren't for poor taste, I'd have had no sense of humor at all back then.) However, even I'm wondering if LivingSocial shouldn't reconsider the art and text combination for this ad.

Edgy? Sure. But was it intentionally so? That's what I'm curious about.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's the difference between a banjo and a ukulele?

It takes you twice as long to burn a banjo.

Interesting event at the Strathmore, near DC: UkeFest 2011. I must admit that I can't think of a ukulele without seeing Tiny Tim playing it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

HP Lovecraft: Mayan cosmonaut.

Okay, not really.  That statement would hack off Lovecraft, I think, but I'd hope he'd laugh. 

Here's a quote from an excellent interview on BoingBoing by Maggie Koerth-Baker with John Hoopes, an authority on ancient Mayan culture and one of MKB's former professors at the University of Kansas. Think the 2012ists are crazy? You're right, and here's why. There's more to it than you think.

My interest was piqued with the following quote:

[T]he most recent research I’ve been doing, and I haven’t published on this yet, but I’m finding links between the work of H.P. Lovecraft and influence of that on 2012. Michael Coe was a huge Lovecraft fan, even. I’m working on a manuscript on that right now. But Lovecraft is at the root of a lot of the ideas here, like the cycles of destruction, for instance. That’s not Mayan, that’s Lovecraft. Lovecraft himself had a lot of skepticism and felt that spiritualism was appropriate for fiction but didn’t believe any of it in everyday reality, and he kind of used his fiction as a way to mock those beliefs a little. But now that’s being used as reality.

Whenever I read items like this interview, I am first grateful that there are still rational thinkers out there. I'm also concerned about how to change culture so that there's less crazy and more sane, with more sane being better critical thinking. I admit, I could've done a better job of teaching critical thinking when I was a university instructor; it's a hard task to take on, and it requires at the very least cooperation from students, with the best ones being the ones who change their process. 

So can this task be done? Can we make people into better citizens? Accusations of racism and classism fly when the term "better" comes out. But there has got to be a "better," because otherwise we are doomed to the lowest common denominator.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sir Bertrand Russell: Wise consideration.

Say what you wish about Russell's beliefs, lack therof, and attitudes, this is the sort of advice from which we all--yes, I mean everyone--could benefit. I find myself wishing more frequently that I had people like this in my life as I was growing up. If you're not familiar with Sir Bertrand's work, be careful about dismissing his words too easily, and be especially careful about quoting Rodney King back at him.

Tip o'the hat to BoingBoing for this one.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Haters gonna hate.

Haters gonna hate.

Love me some scientific nerdliness first thing in the morning. Post updated with image; link goes to original source (sort of).