The marketing geniuses at Neutrogena, realizing how crowded the women’s skin care product sector is, have been selling vibrators. But not just any vibrator, a vibrator that a woman can, with head held high, take through airport security, buy at the drugstore, and leave in plain sight for the kids to find. Brilliant.
Can physicists produce insights about language that have eluded linguists and English professors? That possibility was put to the test this week when a team of physicists published a paper drawing on Google’s massive collection of scanned books. They claim to have identified universal laws governing the birth, life course and death of words.
The paper marks an advance in a new field dubbed “Culturomics”: the application of data-crunching to subjects typically considered part of the humanities. Last year a group of social scientists and evolutionary theorists, plus the Google Books team, showed off the kinds of things that could be done with Google’s data, which include the contents of five-million-plus books, dating back to 1800.
Published in Science, that paper gave the best-yet estimate of the true number of words in English—a million, far more than any dictionary has recorded (the 2002 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary has 348,000). More than half of the language, the authors wrote, is “dark matter” that has evaded standard dictionaries.
This creepy PR salvo consists of turning homeless human beings into walking hotspots at SXSWi, and having them wear t-shirts identifying themselves as such. Much like hailing a cab, you flag down a homeless person and have them stand next to you while you feed your jones for sending pointless texts to you friends via human antennae – texts that probably read, “this is so cool. using homeless dude as as WiFi spot at SXSWi. not going to pay him LOL!”
Yep, they don’t necessarily get paid. There is a suggested donation of 2 dollars per 15 minutes.
Their dehumanization is complete. They are just part of the machinery now – Borgs.
Par for the course from what has become the soulless, self-indulgent juggernaut called SXSWi. This cruel novelty is brought to you by marketing firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty via BBH.
Ben & Jerry created “Yes Pecan!” ice cream flavor for Obama.
They then asked people to fill in the blank for the following:
For George W. they created “_________”.
Here are some of their favorite responses:
– Grape Depression
– Abu Grape
– Cluster Fudge
– Nut’n Accomplished
– Iraqi Road
– Chock ‘n Awe
– Impeach Cobbler
– Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker… Swirl
– Heck of a Job, Brownie!
– Neocon Politan
– RockyRoad to Fascism
– The Reese’s-cession
– Cookie D’oh!
– The Housing Crunch
– Nougalar Proliferation
– Death by Chocolate… and Torture
– Freedom Vanilla Ice Cream
– Chocolate Chip On My Shoulder
– “You’re Shitting In My Mouth And Calling It A” Sundae
– Credit Crunch
– Mission Pecanplished
– Country Pumpkin
– Chunky Monkey in Chief
– George Bush Doesn’t Care About Dark Chocolate
– Chocolate Chimp
– Bloody Sundae
– Caramel Preemptive Stripe
– I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands…with nuts
John Updike’s sex scenes — including a romp with a “Widows of Eastwick” witch in a beachside motel room — won a Lifetime Achievement Award at Britain’s ever- anxiously awaited Bad Sex in Fiction Awards.
Rachel Johnson, the sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson, captured the 16th annual Bad Sex Award itself for a scene in “Shire Hell” that begins with moans and nibbles and works up to screaming and other animal noises.
Previously won by Tom Wolfe, Sebastian Faulks and Norman Mailer, the contest seeks to dishonor the author of the year’s worst sex scene. London’s monthly Literary Review inaugurated the prize in 1993 “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down…
…Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.”
“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.
What the hell, let’s give him the “Moronic Statement of the Decade” award while we are at it, for, one more time:
“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work”.
The last six months??? How about the last fifty thousand years? Jackass.
Here’s an idea, you know that program whereby the I.R.S. may audit you? Let’s make that voluntary — you know, opt-in / opt-out, whatever works for you.
Or that annoying thingy where the cops pull you over for drunk driving? Same deal, you want out of that program? No sweat, we’ll give you a special decal for your windshield. You know, the “honor” system. Worth a try. Who knows, it could work.
Sometimes imitation is flattery, sometimes it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and / or corporate ethics.
Naming and branding parody site Landor has posted an article in which they claim authorship of called “How not to name“, accompanied by a photo of Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor. It is posted on a section of their website that they ironically named “Thinking”.
Here is an except (from point 2, paragraph 3):
This “positivity principle” explains why a scandalous name (Virgin), a slur (Banana Republic), and a small, hairy larva (Caterpillar) are perceived positively.
Unless everyone understands the positioning and the correlation between it and an evocative name, this is the type of feedback that evocative names will generate:
Says “we’re new at this”
Public wants airlines to be experienced, safe and professional
Investors won’t take us seriously
Religious people will be offended
Tiny, creepy-crawly bug
Not macho enough – easy to squash
Why not “bull” or “workhorse”?
Destroys trees, crops, responsible for famine
Derogatory cultural slur
You’ll be picketed by people from small, hot countries
The Landor article “How Not to Name” is written in a format that states popular misconceptions and the debunks them. Here they attack the mistaken idea that focus groups are helpful in choosing company or product names (from point 6, paragraph 1):
As a rule, it’s smart to entrust strategic business decisions to someone who trades an hour of their time for $25 and a few handfuls of M&Ms.
Those fun-loving Aryans at Volkswagen are at it again. Producers of the horrendously named “Touareg” SUV, they remain true to form by naming their new “compact, more fuel efficient SUV”, wait for it… “Tiguan“. A truly phlegmatic choice, from both a personality and linguistic stance.
The Touareg has the distinction of being “The number one most polluting vehicle of 2008“. The Tiguan is being marketed as a “Greener SUV”. The obvious third problem is that the names are so similar, that the Touareg name betrays the Tiguan’s positioning.
How was the name “Tiguan” chosen? Why, by a focus group consisting of a mere 350,00 mortals. But the other name choices were worse. Funny thing is, the other names were so bad, it is obvious to us that VW stacked the deck, subverted democracy, and got the name they wanted all along. Be careful what you wish for.
As part of a marketing strategy by Volkswagen the name was chosen by the public through the Auto Bild group with over 350,000 voters through Auto Bild’s magazines and Web sites. The other possible names were Namib, Rockton, Samun and Nanuk. Tiguan is a combination of the German words Tiger (“tiger”) and Leguan (“iguana”).
We often fantasize about cats and reptiles mating here at Igor, we just never pictured the 17-inch chrome wheels.
THE CABLE SHOW ’08, New Orleans — May 19, 2008 — At NCTA’s Cable Show, Seagate Technology (NYSE:STX) announced it will introduce its Seagate® Showcase™ storage solution, a new series of products that extends the storage capacity of your Digital Video Recorder (DVR), so you never have to say goodbye to your favorite movies and television shows. Seagate also announced that the Showcase family of products will be designed to be compatible with Motorola’s market leading e-SATA capable high-definition (HD) digital video recorder (DVR) set-top portfolio.
The new Showcase™ products will provide television and movie fans with the ability to store even more shows, movies and sporting events. With initial capacities up to 1TB, consumers will be able to keep up to 200 hours of additional HD movies or 1,000 hours of additional standard definition television. You’ll never have to choose between your kids’ favorite shows or the big game. Plug-and-play capability, via standard USB 2.0 or eSATA connection, makes setup easy while the stylish design fits seamlessly into entertainment centers and complements the look of existing A/V equipment.
Can you tell which aliens are good and which are evil, the Smoothheads or the Bumpyheads, based on whether they are called “leebish” or “grecious”? If so, you’re a good candidate for testing at Carnegie Mellon, where researchers have shown that naming things with labels creates mental categories, helping people learn faster. So reports today’s New York Times, in the article, When Language Can Hold the Answer:
The finding may not seem surprising, but it is fodder for one side in a traditional debate about language and perception, including the thinking that creates and names groups.
In stark form, the debate was: Does language shape what we perceive, a position associated with the late Benjamin Lee Whorf, or are our perceptions pure sensory impressions, immune to the arbitrary ways that language carves up the world?
The latest research changes the framework, perhaps the language of the debate, suggesting that language clearly affects some thinking as a special device added to an ancient mental skill set. Just as adding features to a cellphone or camera can backfire, language is not always helpful. For the most part, it enhances thinking. But it can trip us up, too.
The gist is that language “greases the wheels of perception.” However, after that initial greasing, it can then get in the way:
In another experiment, Dr. Lupyan showed subjects a series of chairs and tables using pictures from the Ikea catalog. Some subjects were asked to press a button indicating that the picture was of a table or a chair. Other subjects pressed a button to make a nonverbal judgment about the pictures, for example, to indicate whether they liked them or not. Dr. Lupyan found that the subjects who used words to label the objects had more trouble remembering whether they’d seen a specific chair before than subjects who had only pressed a button in a nonverbal task.
Language helps us learn novel categories, and it licenses our unusual ability to operate on an abstract plane, Dr. Lupyan said. The problem is that after a category has been learned, it can distort the memory of specific objects, getting between us and the rest of the nonabstract world.