Category Archives: Etc

I Always Wanted One of These

When I lived in London I wanted a geographically correct map of the London Underground.

Not to take anything away from the iconic excellence of the Tube map, but sometimes you want a better sense of where stuff actually is in relation to other stuff.

More info on the map here; spotted via Boing Boing.

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Some Friday Fun

I love it when someone mashes up two things that I like but that people don’t usually connect. There’s someone else out there who gets it! Here’s a video of sci-fi spaceships (and other iconic sci-fi stuff, some silly), to the tune of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”.

Warning: there are a couple lines in here that might offend sensitive co-workers.

(Spotted via David Brin, Science Fiction round-up: from humorous to inspiring to uplifting.)

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Common Tongues

I enjoyed playing the Great Language Game — in which you have to identify the language being spoken on short clip from among ever-harder choices — even though I only got a paltry 550 on my first try. Maltese and Shona tripped me up, as did a choice among Slavic languages.

Spotted via Fun with languages.

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Michael is a Great Name

In the early ’80s, Pepsi ran a marketing campaign where they touted the success of their product over Coca-Cola in blind taste tests. They called this the Pepsi Challenge. Psychologists had already determined you choose your favorite products often not by their inherent value, but because the marketing campaigns and logos and such have cast a spell over you called brand awareness. You start to identify yourself with one marketing campaign over another. That’s what happened in the all the taste tests up until the Pepsi Challenge. People liked Coca-Cola’s advertising more than Pepsi’s, so even though they tasted pretty much the same, when they saw that bright red can with a white ribbon people chose Coke. So for the Pepsi Challenge, they removed the logos. At first, the researchers thought they should put some sort of label on the glasses. So, they went with M and Q. People said they liked Pepsi, labeled M, better than Coke, labeled Q. Irritated by this, Coca-Cola did their own study and put Coke in both glasses. Again, M won the contest. It turned out it wasn’t the soda; people just liked the letter M better than the letter Q.

from Why We Can’t Tell Good Wine From Bad.

The rest of the article is pretty interesting too: it reinforces my expectation that expectations strongly shape perceptions.

I often say that white hairs are the best teaching aid I ever had: my student evaluations shot up once I got a bit of salt-and-pepper.

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Not Nuns

Maybe all Catholics know this, but I’m not Catholic and I was surprised to learn that the groups of women you see at airports in habits are not nuns, nor were the women who traditionally wielded rulers in parochial schools. It seems all nuns are sisters, but not all sisters are nuns: nuns are cloistered, sisters need not be. “[S]isters working outside their convent cannot possibly be cloistered, and therefore those working in … school are definitely not nuns.”

All this and more in Canon Law Made Easy, What’s the Difference Between Sisters and Nuns?, spotted via the definitely Protestant Slacktivist.

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Proving the Truth of the Old Saying

“A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on” pretty much sums up Day4 – How we screwed almost the whole Apple community. Either that or a lot of people have a screw loose somewhere.

— spotted via the slacktivist

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Someone Is Having a Bad Day

Unqualified Offerings, Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be responsible:

It occurs to me that most of my frustration in life is a product of actually believing my mother and grandparents and teachers. They usually said something about how we need to work hard and be responsible and be on top of deadlines because when we’re older people will expect that from us. Well, what are the things that cause me the greatest aggravation, the things that get me ranting? Chiefly, I get aggravated over the fact that lazier people make more money than me and the fact that companies expect payment from me on time but generally dick around and screw up and take their good-natured time on actually doing whatever it is they’re supposed to do in exchange for that payment.

If I had ignored my mother and grandparents and teachers, I’d be a happier person.

Another vote for the pig over Socrates.

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