A bit of Kafka for the 21st century:
What could be better than that?
A bit of Kafka for the 21st century:
What could be better than that?
The makers of this are asking for money through Kickstarter to make more episodes. An interesting concept.
Because it’s important to understand that we think things are bad, but we can’t even conceive how horrible they really are. For all but 1% of the American population, of course.
A nice bit of animation, but not for the kiddies:
There’s a reason why this video pissed me off, but I’m not a math scholar and couldn’t explain it. Just the basic premise that if you add all positive numbers beginning with one, you’ll get a negative number is absurd.
The answer is infinity. Has to be. What bothered me is the guy pulled a trick by immediately going from 1+2+3+4+5+ …. = -1/12, and saying:
Rather than use these … let’s just think of this series.
No! Stop! That’s intentionally deceptive. If you’re making a case that 1+2+3+4+5+… = -1/12, use the numbers! Don’t use symbols. Using a different series is a red herring!
Well, that’s what I want to say. But as I said earlier, I’m not a math scholar, so I don’t have any defense for my argument because I don’t have the expertise.
Thank goodness for Mathbabe:
I’m not going to just vent about the cultural context, though, I’m going to mention what the actual mathematical object of study was in this video. Namely, it’s an argument that “prove” that we have the following identity:
“1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + … = -1/12.”
Wait, how can that be? Isn’t the left hand side positive and the right hand side negative?!
This mathematical argument is familiar to me – in fact it is very much along the lines of stuff we sometimes cover at the math summer program HCSSiM I teach at sometimes (see my notes from 2012 here). But in the case of HCSSiM, we do it quite differently. Specifically, we use it as a demonstration of flawed mathematical thinking. Then we take note and make sure we’re more careful in the future.
One thing I’ve noticed in the news for a while is that when anyone does anything particularly weird, crazy or murderous, some reporter somewhere finds that person’s Facebook profile and gets all kinds of juicy details.
Because a lot of people spell out their whole lives on Facebook.
There’s even an insurance commercial that talks about how burglars use Facebook to determine when someone is leaving their house vacant for a significant amount of time:
And the thing about Facebook is that it seems to be impossible to remove things from it. Back in the days when I had to hire people for a living, I’d occasionally do a Google search on them and find their life histories on their Facebook pages. (Yeah, dude, that photo of you with no shirt on and in the hat that holds two beer cans that have straws leading to your mouth is really going to impress your future employer.) I tell younger family members to watch what they post.
So wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to erase your Facebook profile? (From Slate):
Wow. That seems like a lot of work!
This is supposed to be a happy game-show story:
Should I break it to her that she’s not going to keep the car? I mean, she looks so happy.
I’m just going with the odds here. I was on a game show once. Won a significant chunk of money and a trip to Europe. I also had to pay taxes on the winnings. Federal tax, taxes to the state I lived in, and California taxes, because that’s where the show was taped.
Now, for argument’s sake, I’m guessing the taxes all together are going to be AT THE VERY LEAST 30 percent of the total, so somewhere in the vicinity of $60,000.
She doesn’t have that kind of money. She said so. Remember when she turned over the first card and got $4,000, and she yelled to her significant other in the audience, “$4,000 is a lot of money.” Yes, when you don’t have a lot of money, $4,000 is a lot of money.
And $60,000 is a lot more money. I’m not going out on a limb here when I say she doesn’t have $60,000 laying around to pay the taxes on $170,000. The $10,000 in cash she won isn’t going to cover it.
So, she won’t keep the car. She’ll probably turn it over to an Audi dealer, who will take it off her hands for far less than the retail price, because as an owner, she now makes it a used car (pre-owned as they say in the classy television ads). And I’m not a tax lawyer here, but she still did get $170,000 from “The Price Is Right.” That’s income. Income is taxed. She still owes about $60,000. All told, she might walk away with cash in the low five figures. But nowhere near this “Price Is Right” moment. Maybe “The Price Is Right” folks have this all figured out and they’ll offer her a cash deal that covers everything. I doubt it, though.
I guess this dose of reality makes me the grinch who stole “The Price Is Right.” But I didn’t steal it. The tax man did. And the folks on “The Price Is Right” know this is going to happen. They also know this is great television. That means higher ratings. That means they can charge more for ads. You know, like giving Audi this six-minute ad for a car that’s never going to go to the contestant who won it.
Oh, you thought Audi gave “The Price Is Right” the car, or the show bought the car from Audi? No, this is product placement. The car will be back in the showroom next week. No cost to Audi. No cost to “The Price Is Right.” A $60,000 cost for the poor lady who’s having the happiest moment of her life.
(By the way, I did pay the taxes on my game-show winnings. Spent Easter in the sun in southwestern Europe. It was very nice.)
I remember when I first saw Santa’s Helpers in Brussels: white guys in black face.
I thought: That’s weird.
This is what they looked like:
I guess I should have been insulted, like everyone else appears to be all of a sudden. Which I find odd. I’ve known this European Christmas story for close to 10 years. Found it more entertaining than hearing about a obese guy living with his wife in a really cold place and commanding an army of pointy-eared little people dressed in green.
That seems pretty offensive, right?
Like if you had a choice between being accosted by this or by the black guys up higher, which one would freak you out the most?
And as a parent, I really wish I could have told my kid when he was little: “Look. You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town with a bunch of black guys, and they’re gonna kick your ass if don’t get your act together.”
But, really, I never saw Santa’s helpers beat up kids in Belgium. They never even looked funny at kids. All they did was smile.
And not just on the street. I was at a fancy restaurant in Brussels called La Quincallerie with my boss, who came from the states around the holiday. So we’re having a nice dinner, and a couple of Santa’s Helpers come in, raising money for charity. My boss looks at me, wondering how he should react, and I tell him the story of the Spanish Santa.
Probably didn’t resolve anything. But there was an internal logic to the story.
Unlike the fat guy with a bunch of flying caribou.
But if you want to see a really disturbing Christmas story (Really, don’t watch this if you don’t want to be offended. This is really vile. You have been warned):
I told you not to watch it. Makes the black guys look tame, right?
We all know fashion magazines have an obsession with making the celebrities on their covers look perfect. But explain this to me:
Why do you need to alter Jennifer Lawrence. They’ve moved her collar bone, stretched out her fingers, narrowed her hips and … well, you see it.
Here’s another interesting map fact that’s been my obsession for the day:
So if these southern hemisphere continents are so big, how come they look so small on every map I look at?
Well, it was explained years ago on “The West Wing.”
Here’s the map that freaked C.J. out (click to enlarge):
Technically, there is no reason why this map is unacceptable. There is no up or down in space (I learned that in “Ender’s Game“). Had the first exploration maps come from the southern hemisphere, this is how they would have been drawn. The North here is pretty squished. The South has plenty of room.
It’s an interesting perspective.