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Mark’s Neologisms #5

“I don’t know about you, but most of my exchanges with cashiers are not that meaningful.”–Jeff Bezos

Coupfusion–noun (koop•fu’•shun)

1. The to-do that occurs at a grocery checkout counter when a clueless customer or cashier can’t deal with expired coupons.

2. The irritation of being stuck on line behind such an occurrence

(Related  word: Scanfusion, noun,–a similar annoyance when a product’s UPC code won’t scan)

This calls to mind my late step-mother’s infatuation with restaurant coupons.  She just wouldn’t go out to eat without a coupon for some sort of discount.  I once observed that if the eatery was giving away free food, she still wouldn’t go if she didn’t have a coupon.  She didn’t disagree.

(Be sure to follow my more serious stuff at www.seekingdelphi.com)

 

 

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Cosmic Quote #79

“If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”–Will Rogers

Here’s a hint.  You can’t fix stupid with stupider. Maybe the biotech industry can come up with a solution.  But then, who am I to argue with Will Rogers?

You can check out my lame attempts to make the world a little less “stupider” on my futurist blog (and accompanying podcast) Seeking Delphi.

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Time way in: 100,000 views!

“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.”– John Jay Hooker

Uh, I don’t think so.  Not only is blogging not saving America, but social media might actually be destroying it.   And promoting my blog on social media?  We won’t even discuss that.  But what I will discuss–and pound my chest about–is that just a few weeks after Millennium Conjecture’s 4th anniversary, it has passed the 100,000 hit mark.  Wow.  I know you didn’t see that coming, and I sure as hell didn’t.  And I’m willing to bet that not more than 97,000 of those views have come from immediate family and close friends.  After all, how many close friends and family do you think I could have?

In honor of this hallowed event,  here a is blast from the past.  It was by far my most viewed post.  Thanks to being “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress,  this post brought in over 1700 views and garnered 230 blogger “likes” on September 23, 2012–exactly four months to the day after my inaugural post.    And yes, it has been all downhill since then.

Anyway, thanks for all the views and likes–and if you are really a masochist, check out my new blog on futurist topics, Seeking Delphi™

 

Equations of Everyday Life #2: Inane Celebrity Memes

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

 

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Mark’s Neologisms #4: Collective Nouns

‘Longshoremen walked off the docks today.  Rescue operations are continuing around the clock.”–George Carlin

A gaggle of geese…a pod of walruses….a murmuration of starlings…a pride of lions.  It seem that interest in collective nouns,  the colorful, if mostly archaic ones that define a specific group of the animal kingdom, is on a comeback.  One article I read suggested some tongue in cheek, punny new monikers for specific groups of us humanoids.   These included “an absence of waiters,” “an attitude of teenagers,” and “a brace of orthodontists.”   So of course, the light bulb in my brain, dull as it is, flashed on.  There are any number of people packs that deserve their own special sobriquet.  Here are a few suggestions.

  • A prevarication of politicians–pretty obvious
  • A Trump of narcissists–also obvious
  • A Cruz of theocrats–sadly obvious
  • A neuter of veterinarians–considering I’ve been living with one for 40 years, it’s a miracle I’m still in tact.
  • An enhancement of athletes–but this works only for those that don’t live with veterinarians
  • A babble of talk show hosts–and it certainly seems there are a babble of them.
  • An angst of existentialists–I resemble that
  • A Xerox® of Copycats–Note the ®, no I.P. issues, please.
  • A largess of lawyers–NOT!! (just wanted to see if you were paying attention)
  • A regurgitation of acid reflux sufferers–Ewwww!
  • A rash of dermatologists–It is, after all, allergy season
  • A drowning of longshoremen–You should have seen that one coming.

Any suggestions for more?  Join the vituperation of posters in the comments below.

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Cosmic Quote #53

“I believe we exist in a multiverse of universes.”–Michio Kaku

“I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.”–Woody Allen

That's where they go!  www.cartoonstock.com

That’s where they go! http://www.cartoonstock.com

Per my usual modus operandi, I revere both those that try to understand the universe, and those that poke fun at them.   JBS Haldane famously said that the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.  I’ll try to make some more sense of the whole “multiverse” idea in Millennium Conjecture #6,  though I can’t say how soon that will appear in this particular universe.  I’m still trying to find my way out of Chinatown.

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Time Out: 3rd Annual Funniest Name in the NFL Draft Poll

Note: This post runs concurrently on The Blog of Funny Names

“Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often have you seen a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?”–Jim Boutan

I don’t know if baseball players are smarter than football players.  But I do know that, in recent years, football players certainly have had a leg up on baseball players in one respect: funny names.  One need only look at the previous two editions of Funniest Name in the NFL Draft to realize this.  Not only were the 2013 poll winner Barkevious Mingo, 2014 poll winner Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and 2014 runner-up Jadaveon Clowney over the top  funnynames,  but all three of them were high first round picks.  Clowney was actually last year’s overall number one.

But this brings us to a dilemma.  It is well known that, in any professional sport, some years produce deep draft crops, some not so much so.  I don’t know about athletic talent, but this year’s funny name draft class is just not as over-the-top all-star as the past two years.  And the likely first round is totally devoid of candidates.  That said, the field is wide open and full of lower round candidates whose names look like an explosion in a Lithuanian newsprint factory.  Be careful pronouncing some of these,  your tongue and lips might cramp.

Without further ado, here are this year’s nominees, peppered with quotes that prove that Yogi Berra has nothing on the pundits of pigskin.

Jay Ajayi--his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi–his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi, RB, Oregon State–He was overshadowed by the potent offense of cross state rival Oregon, known for the passing and scrambling of QB Marcus Mariota–but Ajayi is one of the top running backs in this year’s field and a likely second round pick.  Note that if you drop the vowels at the beginning and end of his last name, he could give perennial Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness also-ran Jose Jose a run for his money as best repetitive name in sports.  Anyway, I don’t know if he’ll win the funny name poll, but he has the funniest hair, hands down.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.

“Nobody in football should be called a genius.  A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”–Joe Theismann

Obum Gwacham, Defenseive End, Oregon State–What’s worse than being a running back on a team overshadowed by a cross-state prolific passing-based offense?  Being a defender on that team.  But while Gwachum will likely go in the late rounds of this year’s draft, he’s my early even money favorite to win the funny named poll.  He was born in Nigeria, and considering he’s not the only one of his countrymen in the running, maybe there was an explosion in a Nigerian Scrabble® factory.  By the way, his name, in the native tongue, means “son of god.” If he can walk on wet Astroturf, I wouldn’t bet against him.  Likely draft position: round 6 or 7.

“People say I’ll be drafted in the first round–maybe higher.”–Craig Heyward

Jim Otto--the original double 0

Jim Otto–the original double 0

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Defensive End, UCLA–The second of three Nigerians in the field, I don’t recommend trying to say  this name too quickly.  You could hyperventilate and pass out.  Hey, I just nominate them, I don’t pronounce them.   I pity the TV commentators who will have to do so.  Maybe they will just call him “O O” and they could even give him a double zero Jersey number, like Jim Otto.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.

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 “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”–George Rogers

Huh-RO-niss!!

Huh-RO-niss!!

Hroniss Grasu–Center, Oregon–First things first. That’s  three candidates so far from Oregon, and all of the first four from the Pac-12.  Grasu might be a center, but the country is clearly off-center in funny-named players this year.  For geographical origin diversity, Grasu is of Romanian decent.  His parents emigrated from Romania to Los Angeles in 1982 and opened Greco’s Roman Pizza on Hollywood Boulevard, which is still in business today.  Romanian New York pizza?  Only in L.A.  Likely draft position: round 3.

“I have two secret weapons: my legs, my arms and my brain.”–Michael Vick

Ali Marpet–Center, Hobart College–While we’re going for geographical diversity, let’s also throw in ethnic and academic variety as well.  As an economics major at Division III Hobart, Marpet seemed more likely headed to Wall Street than the NFL.  Then the scouts noticed him and the rest, as they say, will soon be history.  Marpet was named to the Jewish Sports Review’s 2013 All-America Team.  Likely draft position: 2nd or 3rd round.

“If defensive linemen’s I.Q.’s were five points lower, they’d be geraniums.”–Russ Francis

Xzavier Dickson–Outside Linebacker, Alabama–It’s hard not to include any Xaviers in any funny name accounting.   Dickson is borderline to even be picked in the draft at all this year, but hey, we had two Xavier’s in last year’s poll–I just had to continue the tradition.  But that spelling: Xzavier!!?   No, that’s not a typo–well, not here, but  maybe on his birth certificate.  I just couldn’t resist including this one–though maybe he’s more suited for The Blog of Oddly Spelled Names.   Likely draft posit: Round 7, or undrafted free agent.

That does it for the ballot nominees.  Among the also-rans eligible for write-in are Jaquishi Tartt, SS, Samford; Jeremiah Poutasi, OG, Utah; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon (another Oregon player of Nigerian descent!); Deiontrez Mount, OLB, Louisville; and Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State.

Perhaps it’s not as rich a crowd as in the previous two years, but they are still worthy of note.   The draft begins tomorrow night, but our voting opens now.  The balloting closes at noon EDT, one week from today–results will be reported in next weeks Funny Names in the News.  Vote as often as you like, but don’t forget the words of Joseph Stalin: “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”   Mwah-ha-ha.

 

 

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Mark’s Neologisms #3

“I would stare at a map of Delaware for hours.”–Ken Jennings

“Men read maps better than women because only men understand the concept of one inch equaling 100 miles.”–Roseanne Barr

directile dysfunction**–noun

1. The inability to read a map, or follow simple directions, generally caused by over-dependence on GPS monitors.

2. A wrong turn or disorientation caused by dysfunctional GPS software.

www.cartoonstock.com used with permission

http://www.cartoonstock.com used with permission

Away back in the 20th century, my wife referred to the malady described in the first definition above as geographical dyslexia. She suffers from it.   I actually use her as a sort of reverse GPS–the surer she is we are going the right way, the surer I am we are lost.  Now all we need is a neologism for whatever ails Ken Jennings.  Any suggestions?

**OK, I admit it. After thinking this one up, I Googled it and discovered it already exists in the urban dictionary, but c’mon, it’s just too good not to use.

 

 

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Mark’s Neologisms #2

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out the window.”–Steve Wozniak

computus interruptus— n. the spontaneous unwanted shutdown of a program or app on a computer, tablet or smart phone.

 

 

computus interuptus

We’ve all been there.   You’re just about done with the spread sheet, or you just found the eatery you want on Yelp, or you are on the verge of a record score on some dumb game.  And then you click or tap or swipe and the program or app shuts down.  Poof.  It’s gone.  Dear Mr. Hawking, please tell us which black hole it fell into and how do we get it back?  Or do we do the Wozniakian thing and throw the device out the window?  Oh look, I just created another neologism.  Wozniakian.  Isn’t this fun?

 

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New Feature: Mark’s Neologisms

” I can’t wait to go home and wash all those socks.”–Julianne Moore

Let’s face it:  daily life in the new millennium is full of any number of experiences that, well, there is just no word or words to describe.    Enter Mr. World’s Most Cluttered Mind to come to the rescue.  Herein lies the ultimate descriptionary for everything you wanted to curse out but had no easy descriptive way to do so.  We’ll start, though, with a low tech dilemma, rooted in the 20th century.

Dysoxia–n.  The anxiety caused by inability to match socks when they come out of the wash.

Somebody is not following directions.

Somebody is not following directions.  (Cartoon attribution unknown)

We’ve all experienced it.   You get to the end of folding a basket of clean clothes, and there they are:  two socks that don’t match.  Even worse, maybe there is an odd number of socks left with no matches.  Three. Five. (1083)+1.**    There are any number of theories to explain this phenomenon.   The socks are alien beings, and the missing one has reported back to its home planet.  Socks are the larval form of wire hangers.  A more scientific approach is my theory of frequent wash color drift:  as socks get washed over and over, the color of each sock fades at different rates over time.   This causes subtle mismatches which, when compounded by folding several pairs,  may leave you with two socks at the end that are far apart in hue.   How does this explain being left with an odd sock at the end?  My guess is somewhere one sock disintegrated and its remains will be found in the lint drawer.

Please feel free to share your theories, and to suggest subjects for future editions of Mark’s Neologisms.  Oh, and my advice to Ms. Moore?  You’re a rich movie star.  Don’t ever wash socks,  you can afford to wear them once and throw them away.

** In case you were wondering how many socks (1083)+1 is–it is probably enough to fill the entire visible universe.  And none of them would match.

 

 

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Cosmic Quote #13 (redux)

“The main reason Santa is jolly is he knows where all the bad girls live.”–George Carlin

Hmmm.I Wonder what he's looking for...(www.savagechickens.com, click for link)

Hmmm.I Wonder what he’s looking for…(www.savagechickens.com, click for link)

I knew there was a reason I was jealous of the guy.  I also now know what he is doing the other 364 days while the elves are making all the toys.  At any rate, this non-theistic, almost-atheist existentialist wishes you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, happy pagan winter solstice, or whatever it is you celebrate.

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