First of all, the full article is pretty great. Give it a read; it’s not too long.
Adam Cole (the guy who runs skunkbear) makes note of the surveillance implications of this research. What is more interesting, I think, is the potential anthropological research you could do with it. Think of all of the silent films out there. Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear the actors, the directors, and everything else that is going on?
Of course, it seems that this works best with highspeed cameras or (at the very least) digital ones. I would be surprised if they could get anything useful from the curtains in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
But then, there is so much surprising stuff going on in science.
MIT researchers have reconstructed the sound of speech by analyzing a high speed video of the minute vibrations of a nearby chip bag. They reconstructed “Mary Had A Little Lamb” from the vibrations of the leaves of houseplant. They reconstructed Queen’s “Under Pressure” from a video of earbuds. That’s a cool trick (with some interesting surveillance and forensic implications).
Q:Requesting your thoughts on language: In the recent movie "Guardians of the Galaxy," there is a character who's native language is completely literal. I was wondering if it would be possible for a language like that to develop naturally or if it would have to be the result of a concerted effort by a society to make their language unambiguous and literal. Thoughts?
But these are aliens, so this question is impossible to answer.
There are languages like that on Earth already! Lojban is an attempt to build an unambiguous language, or at least, a language built on predicate logic. Since metaphors in language are ambiguous (It is the east, and Juliet is the sun? Wait, how precisely IS Juliet the sun? Is she a mass of incandescent gas?), you’d expect you could use a language like Lojban to speak unambiguously, especially if you avoided all metaphors.
The catch: with humans metaphor is central to so much of what we say and think so I’d be really surprised if a natural language developed that was metaphor free. Aliens I dunno, but with humans: not gonna happen!
One reason metaphors creep in everywhere is that they’re so insanely useful. If I say someone is trash, you instantly know what I think about them. One word, but it carries with it everything I (or rather, you) think about garbage! Metaphors are too useful not to gonna creep into whatever language you build, because one day someone is gonna look at someone else and say “this awful person reminds me of garbage in all but the literal ways, and I’d like to express that in an evocative and efficient way.”
AN ASIDE: it sucks that this character in Guardians who says everything literally calls another character a whore. It’s a stupid line that doesn’t even make sense for the character, because everything he says is literal and she has not been having sex for money.
One of the nice things about getting questions answered by person with such a large internet following is that I not only get his excellent musings but also those of a bunch of other people. For example, this "Zanmor" fellow had some interesting points.
I AM ABOUT TO BLOW YOUR MIND:
The Big Mac song goes like this:
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.
BUT CHECK IT OUT: these lyrics don’t even mention the defining feature of a Big Mac: that it’s a double-decker burger. There’s a slice of bunstuff between the two patties! That’s really important! THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT A BIG MAC.
The Big Mac Song lyrics are actually describing a different burger! They are describing a mere double cheeseburger. Or, as you might know it:
A Double Whopper With Cheese.
Your argument is that they’re failing to mention the bunstuff in the middle but then you clearly missed the tomato in the middle of the Double Whopper With Cheese.
Please revise your theory before wasting my time any further.
1 - Burger King’s slogan is “Have It Your Way” and one way you can have a Double Whopper Meat Sandwich your way is without tomato. OH SNAP
2 - Also, I’d argue that the Big Mac song is the minimum sufficient standard for a Big Mac: you can get extras put on it if you want, like oh I don’t know TOMATO
3 -CHECK AND MATE, REMEREBLOG
Check, perhaps, but not mate.
You see, the song specifically mentions that it is all “on a sesame-seed bun.” If you argue that “bun” does not include the middle piece, then why do you not require the song to also mention the top piece, too? Or, at the very least, why not request that the preposition “on” be replaced with something more like “in?”
Now, I really enjoyed the metro in DC, but their new ads are VERY misleading. This happened, AT BEST, only once a week.
This is me singing “Bein’ Green” by Joe Raposo on the Carolina Alive Spring 2014 Concert.
Made famous by Kermit the Frog on Sesame Street.
Peter Huddlestun, Guitar
Manning Paul, Bass
Brad Parliman, Drums
Aletha Jacobs, Piano
Why Are My Sneakers Fuzzy?
Following yesterday’s post on sneakers, I thought I’d share this great find by GazEtc. If you look at the bottom of your Chuck Taylor All Stars, you’ll notice that certain parts of the sole are fuzzy. The hairs are hard to notice at first, especially if you’ve already worn your shoes, ‘cause your soles will just look like they’ve collected gunk off the street. If you look closer, however, you’ll notice that little hairs are embedded into the rubber.
Why? GazEtc investigated the patent for Chuck Taylors and found that they’re actually classified as house slippers with fabric bottoms, rather than sneakers with rubber soles. As he explains:
Since my shoes were made in China, they were subject to an import tariff when they were shipped to the United States. And the import tariff is much lower for shoes with fuzzy fabric soles (like house slippers) than it is for shoes with rubber soles (like sneakers). According to the inventors, changing the shoe material can lower the duty from 37.5% down to just 3%.
To benefit from a lower tariff, it isn’t necessary to cover the entire sole with fabric. According to the inventors, “a classification may be based on the type of material that is present on 50% or more of the bottom surface.” This explains why the “fabric” fuzz extends mostly around the edges of my shoes, where it can take up a lot of area without interfering too much with the traction of the bare-rubber centers.
So the invention embodied in my shoes is not a technological advancement. It actually seems to be a small step backward in quality. Instead, my shoes embody an advancement in “tariff engineering.” But perhaps, by putting up with a bit of fuzz, I can pay just a bit less for each new pair of sneakers.
You can see the original patent for Chuck Taylors here. The Smithsonian also has an interesting clip about how Marvel went to court to argue that the the X-Men weren’t human in order to get lower tariff rates.
Converse have been my primary shoe since I was in elementary school. I remember noticing the felt on a new pair after I’d had them for a few weeks and thinking I’d stepped in something very strange. That must’ve been sometime around 2000, but a cursory Google search couldn’t tell me when this started. Even if I don’t know when, I’m glad to finally have an answer for why.