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Lying in Politics and Business [research studies]

October 20th, 2020

The special Liars & Con Men issue of the magazine (vol. 26, no. 5) includes a selection of research about lying in politics and business.

Pocket-Sized #1038: “Ice Cream & Sluggo”

October 19th, 2020

In this special Pocked-Sized episode #1038, Marc Abrahams extracts some some flash-frozen bits of history from techno-sociologist Gus Rancatore, proprietor of Toscanini’s Ice Cream.

Today, Gus shares with us the tale of Sluggo and the ice cream flavor that manifested thereafter.

Remember, our Patreon donors, on most levels, get access to each podcast episode before it is made public.

Seth Gliksman, Production Assistant

Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Google Podcasts, AntennaPod, BeyondPod and elsewhere!

‘RoastMe’ [study]

October 19th, 2020

The RoastMe practice emerged in 2015 on the online platform Reddit. Devotees of RoastMe post pictures of themselves (i.e. the Roastee’) whilst holding a placard (of some kind) with the phrase ‘Roast Me’ written on it – with the idea of attracting amusing insults (as comments)

The first academic review of the practice appeared in the Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 139, Pages 1-21.

In this paper, we aim to give a socio-pragmatic account of RoastMe against the backdrop of scholarship on humour and impoliteness. Having discovered the phenomenon, we set out to investigate its workings and general characteristics, which could be done only by poring over copious amounts of data (both Roasts and their underlying rules) on the original website, namely the RoastMe subreddit; as well as on other social media, notably Imgur, that repost select specimens of RoastMe. These are also the sources of the examples given in the course of this article. This bottom-up analysis of RoastMe, based on inductive reasoning, yielded the hallmarks of RoastMe.

The full open access paper, replete with roastee photo examples, can be perused here : Risum teneatis, amici?☆: The socio-pragmatics of RoastMe humour

( ☆ Latin: “Can you help laughing, friends?” )

Research research Martin Gardiner

Food for Thoughtful Energy: Sandwich as a Triboelectric Nanogenerator

October 16th, 2020

People eat sandwiches to give themselves energy. A new study explains how to get electricity from those sandwiches without going to the bother of eating them.

The study is: “Sandwich as a Triboelectric Nanogenerator,” Jingyi Jiao, Qixin Lu, Zhonglin Wang, Yong Qin, and Xia Cao, Nano Energy, vol. 79, no. 105411, September 2020. The authors, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Georgia Tech, and other institutions, report:

“For the past few years, triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have been demonstrated as an unprecedented method as self-powered, power generation and blue energy. The materials and electrodes used to fabricate TENGs are usually polymer materials and metals. The article demonstrates a new TENG that use entirely bio- and environmental degradable materials. The basic ingredients of the TENG are wheat bread and vegetable leaves for fabricating a sandwich structured TENG (S-TENG). The maximum voltage and current of this S-TENG can reach about 15 V and 3 μA, respectively, when it works in the single electrode mode under the optimal conditions.”

The opera “Dream, Little Cockroach” [the whole video]

October 15th, 2020

The opera “Dream, Little Cockroach” premiered as part of the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on September 17, 2020. Here’s video of the opera, by itself.

Plot summary: A man dreams that, although he was always a cockroach, he has been transformed into a human being. His family, and scientists, and the whole population, argue about how to respond. They decide to make him their leader.

Here’s the cast and crew of this premiere performance:

Musical Director: Maria Ferrante
Video director and editor: Bruce Petschek
Additional videography and audio editing: Alexey Eliseev

NARRATORS: Karen Hopkin and Christopher Hopkin

Piano: Yulia Yun
Accordion: Dr. Thomas Michel
Cello: Dr. Julie Reimann
Bass: Dr. Bruce Koplan

Maria Ferrante
Dr. Fred Tsai
Bobbie Hill
Jan Hadland
Ted Sharpe
Lizhou Sha

The man who might be a cockroach: Alexey Eliseev

Rich Roberts, Frances Arnold, Marty Chalfie, Eric Maskin, Andre Geim, Jerome Friedman, Alessandro Pluchino & spouse, Andrea Rapisarda, Michael Smith & spouse, May Berenbaum, Sabine Begall, Richard Vetter, Kiyoshi Furusawa, Melissa Franklin, Jean Berko Gleason.

Portaborse: Michele Liguori


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