Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘metaphors

Friday Morning!

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* Waste your weekend the Manufactoria way. This is one of the best flash games I’ve ever played, I think—it hits the same sweet spot of manic focus for me as doing discrete math problems did back in college. (Thanks, Neil!)

* xkcd finds an impressive new angle on the ancient killing-Hitler time-travel gag.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a clever about a cliched political metaphor.

* Photos of People Riding Invisible Bikes.

* Superhero photobombs. (Thanks, Lindsey!)

* Tom Chatfield interviews China Miéville.

Tom: Today, of course, you go online, and you can see that the Wikipedia entries for something like Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes are higher quality, better-referenced, longer and better-researched than many entries about the Second World War. You have this strange inversion in collective belief and emphasis, which ends up generating a lot more material a lot more confidently around the small stuff than the big stuff.

China: This is one of the bad things about the geekocratic moment. Even speaking as someone who loves geek culture at its best, nevertheless I think the sense of priorities is often skewed to the point of being demented.

Tom: Passion is very distorting. If the only reference you have is the strength of your own feeling, and you don’t temper it with something like a sense of social good or importance…

China: Yes, if you don’t contextualize it, it becomes disaggregated from totality—and ultimately it’s totality that one is interested in, social totality.

* The Two Guys from Andromeda are on Kickstarter looking for funds for what sounds like an unofficial Space Quest sequel.

* And in a rare bit of good news: Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls.

Life on the Lowest Difficulty Setting

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Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

John Scalzi is pioneering bold new horizons in privilege metaphors for straight white men to get upset about on the Internet. MetaFilter is already there!

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May 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Quote of the Night, Kim Stanley Robinson Edition

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“So there are lots of Brunners now; but Brunner was first, and The Sheep Looks Up still stands as a powerful warning. Two years after it came out, in 1974, the Club of Rome published a study called The Limits to Growth, which warned that the natural resources of the planet could not sustain an ever-expanding population consuming ever greater amounts of resources, and unleashing on the planet ever greater amounts of pollutants and poisons. For thirty years after this report came out, conservative think tanks and governments never tired of mocking the Club of Rome for their prediction, pointing to the always-increasing world population and resource consumption and noting that no disaster had struck, that here we all were consuming happily away, with only a few of us starving and the whole engine of capitalism humming along. But then around the time of the new millennium the scientific community began to speak up about climate change and habitat degradation and fisheries loss and topsoil loss and groundwater depletion and all the rest of it; and sometime in the last few years the scientific community started going off like the fire alarm in a hotel—saying exactly the same thing that the Club of Rome had said a quarter century earlier! So as a culture we had been like the man in the story who throws himself off the top of the Empire State Building and reports as he passes the tenth story that everything is fine, that the dangers have been exaggerated, and so on. The happy report has simply been premature.”

—Kim Stanley Robinson, Introduction to The Sheep Look Up (Centipede Press edition 2010)

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December 5, 2011 at 12:26 am

Tuesday Afternoon!

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Tuesday afternoon!

* The conspiracy goes deeper than we ever suspected: the state of Hawaii claims to have a copy of Obama’s original birth certificate.

* Behold Christoph Niemann’s Periodic Table of Metaphors. More inside scuttlebutt from the illustration world at his site. Via Drawn!

* North Carolina in the news: everyone is talking about the terror arrest here last night.

* The Tennessee Valley Authority failed for more than 20 years to heed warnings that might have prevented a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee, then allowed its lawyers to stifle a $3 million study into the disaster’s cause to limit its legal liability, an inspector general’s report said Tuesday.

* DFW on footnotes.

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July 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm

The Frog Metaphor

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It turns out Al Gore’s famous frog metaphor is not quite right; as Friedrich Goltz has demonstrated, “frogs will indeed remain in slowly heated water, but only if their brain is removed.” Please adjust your expectations of global human intelligence accordingly.

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July 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

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Science Proves Metaphors Are Literally True

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Science proves metaphors are literally true.

For every congenial character who can warm a room, there’s another who can bring a draft from the north, a whiff of dead winter. And even if the thermometer doesn’t register the difference, people do: social iciness feels so cold to those on the receiving end that they will crave a hot drink, a new study has found.

The paper, appearing in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science, is the latest finding from the field of embodied cognition, in which researchers have shown that the language of metaphor can activate physical sensations, and vice versa.

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October 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm

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