Thursday, March 30, 2006


It’s back! With a new, stupid name! There’s a new music trend that is sweeping UNC, and I will only give you one hint: hackey sack. And why are all the cool kids not coming to dinner? When will partying be cool again?

Answers, ho!

Do you have greasy hair and spend all your time throwing the Frisbee on the quad? Well good news: 311 and Phish are up three ranks, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Counting Crows are up one! The hackey sacking laid back boring music movemtn is gaining some real momentum or it would if it ever got up to go to its 10 oclock Psych class! It’s the mid-90s all over again!

No one want to meet you for dinner lately? Well, duh! Eating and cooking are both down one rank. Will this coupled with the music changes signal a return to the heroin chic fashion of the 90’s? Kate Moss sure hopes so!

So you like having fun? Well that goes to show you how lame you are! Having fun is down three ranks, but in a weird twist of events going out is up three. So here’s the new paradigm trendaroos: You are allowed to go out as long as you promise to be miserable.

Well, that’s this week’s Trendilicious, and in closing we offer you the following advice on being cool: Watch as many episodes of I Love the Nineties as possible and seek to emulate that glorious decade past. And remember: having fun sucks!
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dark Humor

My friend is an aspiring stand-up comedian and sent me a list of jokes for possible inclusion into his act. He hasn’t done much but a few open mic nights and showcases, but he’s a funny guy. The jokes he sent me were different from the stuff I’m used to hearing from him and were a little bit on the off-color and dark side. For your examination I present them.

A man walks into a bar, has a few drinks, talks to the rest of the regulars. He watches the game, and pretty contented starts walking to his apartment nearby. On the way home, a man with a ski-mask pulls a gun on him and tells him to give him his money. The man does so, slowly. The man in the ski-mask shoots him and runs away. The wallet had $20, a driver’s license, a VISA, a bus transfer, and the generic picture of a family that comes with the wallet.

A man gets off from work early and heads home to go ahead and see if he can help his wife with dinner. He comes home and sees his wife in bed with the milkman. The wife is surprised and says, “George, you weren’t supposed to be home until 6!” The man looks at her and laughs, saying, “You are horrible and there is no way in hell that I will let you keep the kids.” The milkman says nothing.

A man and a woman are in the desert, trying to get their way to civilization and they see this lamp lying in the sand. They know it’s foolish but they grab the lamp and rub it, hoping something would happen. Nothing does, and they have a laugh about the absurdity of the situation. Two days later, they die.

A man goes to the doctor because he had been feeling some pain. The doctor examines him very carefully, and says that they are going to need some more tests. The man is concerned, but the doctor insists on it, just to be on the safe side. So after the final battery of tests the man is sitting on the table in one of the examination rooms and the doctor comes in with a clipboard and a frown. “So what is it doc? Am I going to be okay?” The doctor looks at the patient and replies, “I’m sorry Mr. Peterson, but you have severe, terminal cancer. We have a few options for treatment, but the chances of them working are very small.” The man is silent and then looks at the doctor and says, “Is there a phone I can use?”
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Monday, March 27, 2006

This Is GMU

Of all the George Mason relates pun headlines, the one above is my favorite.

I don’t watch too many sports, but being a UNC student, I have a soft spot for college basketball. Our men lost this year to a scruffy little team that lots of people thought shouldn’t have even been there: George Mason University.

Much is being said and written about George Mason University’s basketball team this year and their amazing run to the Final Four, and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert commentator. I will, however, give you some numbers for GMU.

400 To-one odds offered by some bookkeepers at the beginning of tournament.
11 Seed.
8 Highest seed to ever win tournament.
1 Other times that an 11th seed has made it to the Final Four.
3 Number of games in NCAA tournament before 2006.
0 Number of wins in NCAA Tournament before 2006.

1 Seed of UCONN team, heavily favored to win it all that fell to GMU.
2 Number of 2005 Final Four members defeated, including champs, UNC.
3 Number of championship ring-wearing coaches defeated by GMU.

0 Chance I am going to miss the best Cinderella story in years.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trendspotting is Too Trendy

Apparently, my genius name of Trendspotting had already been taken by a very funny segment on The Daily Show. Oops. My bad. I will henceforth call my amazing, in-depth (lame, superficial) look at the fads of the day: Trend Tracking. It’s alliterative, so it has to be good. Wait, hold on lemme Google it… Yeah, apparently someone has taken that already. This is frustrating. We need a new title.

Maybe I should stop trying to be catchy and do the indie rock thing: Choose a long and unwieldy title that no one would ever think to copy, ala And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, and every Sufjan Stevens song ever. Okay, I am ready to unveil the new title: Spotting and/or Tracking Trends Is Something That Is Interesting and Trendilicious.

Or I could just call it Trendilicious. I think I’m going to do that until someone comes along to tell me that it is already taken.

For a lovely piece of recursive and self-referential goodness, I present to you the Blogpulse tracking of “trendspotting.” If you look at the Blogpulse graphs here and click on the peaks, you will say they are all about the Daily Show. Wah-Waaaaaah.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Trendspotting: The Next Generation

In this new edition of Facebook’s Pulse Trendspotting at UNC we update you on the latest trends: Is the outdoors still lame? What’s this about partying? Is your mom cool? What about God?

The results will shock you.

The two biggest rises are a three place rise in knitting and a one place rise in cooking! Looks like your mom is the coolest kid on the block: matronly activities are in!

Hiking recovers from the loss it experienced last week and is back on the rise. Unfortunately, backpacking is still down, and the mountains are the biggest loser, down two. The outdoors is still for losers!

But, what about partying? That’s still cool, right? Wrong! The wild college lifestyle takes a hit this day, with partying down one and Greek life down four. Hanging out with friends is up, however: Looks like mellow is the new crazy! How else can we explain the two rank rise of John Mayer to the thirteenth most popular musician?

The big winner this week: Jesus. Holla! Campus Crusade is up one to the fifth most popular student organization, and is actually even more popular with the alternate full title of Campus Crusade for Christ up five ranks as well. Intervarsity remains strong, still in the top ten campus organizations. The good book, the good book, the Bible holds strong as the third most popular on campus! That’s only lower than Harry Potter and the DaVinci Code!

If you want to be cool, looks like you should look to your grandmother. All the cool kids are getting their Christ and Mom on, and eschewing parties for hanging out, knitting and cooking. Trendspotting: Always Cool.
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Monday, March 20, 2006

Speculation on the Penis Size of Members of the Scottish Enlightenment

The Scottish Enlightenment was a fruitful period and blossoming of philosophical and otherwise intellectual thought in Scotland that took place largely at the end of the 18th century. This event, often overshadowed by the "main" Enlightenment provides the crucial framework of many important ideas. Indeed, some of the minds behind this Enlightenment were the most brilliant of their age. So, you are probably wondering, how big are their wangs? I speculate below.

David Hume

The chief disciple of Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes is best known for writing Leviathan. Is this an honest claim or overcompensation? His autocratic model of leadership does include a social contract. He had to have a pretty big one to be so confident that one man should rule. On the other hand, maybe he was just trying to fake that confidence. I mean, Leviathan is a little too obvious for me. I'm going to guess Hobbes was overcompensating, and that you could expect no less from his protege Hume. He is also sometimes considered "the first politically conservative philosopher" . If that doesn't suggest he is overcompensating, I don't know what does.

Estimate: 4 inches

Francis Hutcheson

Often considered the first major figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. His critique of Hobbes is well thought out and indeed he becomes the first truly viable anti-Hobbesian. Considering what we have said previously about Hobbes, this might lead one to think that he must be well hung. However, his primary interest in moral philosophy makes him seem like a bit of a softie. On the other hand, it's often who you least suspect. Maybe he's a gentle giant? It's quite possible.

Estimate: 8 inches

Adam Smith

The father of capitalism, he wrote The Wealth Of Nations. Implications on penis size: As the inventer of economics as a serious discipline the man was certainly gifted and endowed with intelligence. Endowed with anything else? Maybe. As the foremost capitalist, he predicts the pressence of an invisible hand that guides almost all market forces to an equilibrium. So assuming, the genital market is functioning normally, we could use capitalism to assume that that Adam Smith's penis will lie at a size where customer demand intersects with ability to supply. Sadly, this result can be nothing but average.

Estimate: 6 inches

James Anderson

One of the last thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Best known for his work in agricultural economics. His work is noted for its largely scientific character as opposed to philosophical, and his work is often noted as bringing about the shift that ended the Scottish Enlightenment. Does an increased interest in science signal a larger penis size? It's certainly possible. We all know Einstein was hung like a horse. However, James Anderson's main body of work is in agricultural studies. Farming. Now, while farmer's boys may be noted for their endowment, he was just a doctor who studied agricultural economics. He wrote extensively about the Corn Laws and extensive essays on agricultural affairs and rural life.

Estimate: vagina
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Saturday, March 18, 2006


Let’s look at the exciting trends that are listed on Pulse for UNC Chapel Hill, and try to read between the lines. Is chilling in the National Parks cool anymore? Is now a good time to buy a boat? We’ll answer these questions and more!

Backpacking is down five places, hiking is down one, and meeting new people is down two. You know what that means: adventuring in the outdoors is, in the words of Hillary Duff, so yesterday!

But, what’s this? Lacross is up three places and sailing is up two places! It’s never been a trendier time for: patrician white people hobbies!

Synergy alert: With DMB and Wedding Crashers holding strong at number one in music and movies and with Jack Johnson clocking in at a strong number three, coupled with the recent upsurge in patrician white people hobbies now is an excellent time to join a stereotypical fraternity or a sorority! It’s the popular thing!

No hablo espanol? Well maybe it’s time to learn! Spanish is up seven places in interests, and A Hundred Years of Solitude is up two and English is on its way out with its greatest work of Hamlet down two, all the way down to sixty-two. And with the number one book remaining the DaVinci Code, it’s hard to disagree: English Literature is dead!

Hope you are loaded up on trends, because that’s all for this week! Next week, we’ll bring you up to speed on all the new hot trends!
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blogpulse: Completely Awesome

Blogpulse is my new favorite thing in the world.

It’s a trend tracking website that shows how often and when things are mentioned in blogs, as well as indexing all mentions of an item on blogs and the crosslinking paths of a story. It is incredibly useful if you are interested in trying to quantify hype, buzz, and other social internet phenomena.

It’s better than Facebook’s pulse feature. It seems to be even better than the Slut-o-Meter and Google barometer. It may the most effective method for me to procrastinate and call it “trend spotting and pop culture analysis” ever designed.

“What can I do with this?” you ask. Allow me to demonstrate.

You can watch the rise and fall of internet phenomena. Observe the rise of the Cult of Chuck Norris and related facts.

You can observe the times when items are talked about. Enter “Jack Bauer” and you will see the chart spike every seven days or so. If you want to see when two items are involved together, you can chart them together and look at the part where the lines match. This chart, for example, illustrates when UNC beats Duke.

Have I mentioned that when you click on the lines on points on the chart it takes you to a listing of all the citations used to aggregate the score at that point? So if there is an unaccountable peak, a little digging will explain it all. Turns out the strange peaks in the Dostoeyevsky graph are due to a blog meme about books that you have read that became popular at this time. Who knew?

Anyway, I’ll let you know if I find or notice anything interesting.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Today I announce the beginning of a new useful service: Answer-finding. You have questions and I have answers. Definitive answers. Today I seek to answer a batch of questions by Logan of Chapel Hill.

1. Where do you take a ho?
2. What is the speed of light?
3. Are we both trying to remember the same thing?
4. Who started the fire, if not Billy Joel?

Recieve knowledge!

1. To a hotel.
To family reunions.
On the bus.
Home to Momma.
Downtown. Oh yeah!
To the back room.
Aboard the Space Shuttle.
In the vagina.
Behind the Mc Donalds.
The river.

2. 299,792,458 meters/second
299,792,458 benz
1,180,285,267,716.5352 yards/hour
9,712,498.6393089 nautical miles/minute
Mach 880,991.0899527
582,749,918.3585312 knots
1,802,613,915,489.709 furlongs/fortnight

3. Yes. Or no. Depending.

4. This question seems a little naive. The song clearly states: "We didn't start the fire, it was always burning since the world's been turning." This makes it seem unlikely that any human actually started the fire as the turning of the earth is a well documented phenomena that predates not only humanity, but any documented form of life on the planet. Therefore, depending on your theological outlook, the fire was caused by natural forces or some divine force, such as God of the Abrahamic tradition.

Indeed, this issue seems largely moot as "the fire" seems to be one of the few elements of the songs that is metaphorical and not referencing an actual event that occurred during the course of the latter twentieth century.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What’s In A (Slutty) Name Part II Electric Boogaloo

Here we continue mildly interesting experiments with the Slut-O-Meter. Today we investigate the questions: Is a less common name sluttier than a more common name?

Well here is the theory: Dawn is sluttier than Amanda, Crystal sluttier than Emily, and Leandra sluttier than Jessica. It makes sense to me, passes the gut check, but of course is not actually backed by any sort of “facts”. Well, sense this is a thing that doesn’t have any real basis or grounding in any real quantifiable measure, I turn to my favorite instrument of pseudo-science: The Slut-O-Meter.

Here’s the data, with the names taken from the 1986 Social Security Online listing of popular baby names for girls. I used these 1986 instead of a more recent year, because the interest in determining the slut-factor of infant names is of less interest to me than determining the slut-factor of the names of 19-20 year olds.


Popularity Rank

Total Number






















































































So this data leads us to the conclusion of absolutely nothing. There is not a clear and discernible pattern with this data set, which points to the fact that maybe I scrap this idea that a weird name is a slutty name. I give my heartfelt apologies to all the Auroras, Dawns, Rains, and Leandras: It was wrong to assume that a girl with a name like that would just give it up. I apologize.
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Monday, March 13, 2006

What’s In A (Slutty) Name?

So my new love is the Slut-O-Meter. This is no secret. It has some pretty silly uses, but on the other hand, there is some potential for some cool pseudoscience. Theoretically it is a pretty good measure of how much a particular word or phrase is associated with obscene and explicit content. So, I sort of touched on it this the first time I mentioned the Slut-O-Meter, but the idea bears further investigation. Let’s solve this great dilemma of modern science:

What makes a name slutty?

There are a couple of traits that I can think of. The first and most obvious is the Sluts Who Came Before. If your name is Paris, Pamela, or Jenna, your name carries quite a bit of Slut currency by mere virtue of your more famous counterparts. Really, this is all the Slut-O-Meter can test: How much explicit material is associated with a particular pre-existing identity.

This is cool, but not nearly as interesting to me as the idea that certain traits of certain names are intrinsically sluttier than others. Some names just trip a slut alarm in my head. More than that, some spellings of some names trigger the slut alarm.

One of these was the “i” instead of the “y” on the end of names. My initial investigation failed to find any instance of a name where the “i” version was sluttier, destroying my preconceived notions of what is slutty. Fortunately I was able to come up with a few counterexamples to justify my ridiculous beliefs.

Jenny -3.41%
Jenni 9.74%
Cindy -0.18%
Cindi 44.6%
Brittany 10.83%
Brittani 22.68%

So I guess we can’t whether the “i” for “y” replacement makes a name slutty due to the mixed conclusions. There appears to be no definitive answer on this one yet. But there are other weird things that make a name slutty, at least in my eyes. I submit this list for your consideration.

1. k instead of c
2. y instead of an i in the middle of a name
3. uncommon variant of a name
4. uncommon name

The last two work on a scale. The less common a variant of a name it is, the sluttier it is. And as for the last one, my bet is that as the name gets reduced in frequency, that it gets sluttier. Are any of these true? We’ll test them in the coming days.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

What To Do Without Me: Part I

"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated." --Alphonse de Lamartine

Yesterday was a mild catastrophe: I did not write anything. I’m sure you had a horrible dilemma, because as we all know, without the Definitive Truth, there is no media to provide you with information or entertainment. I would say infotainment but I would rather be shot in the face. Holy shit. MS Word even thinks that’s a word. Fuck.

So in the event of another emergency where I do not or cannot post anything, I will provide you with this handy guide of what to do without a new post.

Watch television. Don’t give me that snobby moral indignation about not watching television. You are going to watch it and you are going to like it. Here is a handy guide to quality programming which you may enjoy.

Lost9 Wednesday on ABC. Why the fuck aren’t you watching this already? That island is full of secrets and until every last one is revealed I will watch it with a scary passion.
Scrubs 9 Tuesday on NBC. It’s a medical show about interns and young doctors working in a high stress environment and dealing with their problems inside and outside of working. “Like Greys Anatomy?” Yes, except this is funny and not filled with overblown drama and came like four years earlier. Whimsical arbitrary humor beats ridiculously bland drama anyday.
SNL 11:30 Saturday on NBC. Just kidding. The digital shorts are the only funny thing and you can watch them pirated on the internet without having to sit through the painful rest.
Number One Single10 Sunday on E! It’s a reality show about Lisa Loeb looking for a man. I have not watched this show, but I can’t imagine that it is anything but awesome.
Conan O’Brien12:30 Mon-Fri on NBC. “Because Everyone Else On Late At Night Sucks.” Besides he is big in Finland.
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report 11 Mon-Thurs on Comedy Central. What else are you going to watch at 11? The real news? You are not kidding anyone.
The Office 9:30 Thursdays on NBC. Yeah it’s not the British version, but it’s still better than most other shows on television. So suck it up, whiner, and watch.

Also, apparently there are good shows on HBO and Showtime, but I’m not a rich snob, so I wouldn’t know.
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Who Is the Sluttiest Member of the Supreme Court

I bet you’ve always wondered. After consulting the Slut-O-Meter, we have the answer. The sluttiest member of the Supreme Court is…

Samuel Alito?!?

This defies all logic to me. I mean, we all pretty much get that he’s anti-abortion, right? Common sense dictates that being anti-abortion does not make you slutty, because let’s face it: getting knocked up puts a huge damper on getting your slut on.

In general, the results surprised me quite a bit. I mean, I thought liberals were supposed to stand for sex, drugs, and rock and roll? Or at least the rights to all of the above. All the people in Hollywood are all liberals, and I read the tabloids: they are sluts.

I guess I expected the “liberals are slutty” stereotype to hold, but instead, this is how it breaks down.

Supreme Court Justice Sluttiness
Samuel Alito 21.02%
John Roberts 14.83%
John Stevens 5.59%
Anthony Kennedy 3.17%
David Souter 2.72%
Ruth Ginsberg 2.6%
Antonin Scalia -7.7%
Stephen Breyer -39.38%
Clarence Thomas -88.07%

So apparently, here is the generalization I am going to make: the middle of the right is apparently as slutty as it gets. The two Bush appointees are apparently the sluttiest. “MODERATE, MY ASS!” is all I have to say. John Stevens, I’m looking at you too. Apparently he takes the title of swinger on multiple levels.

The liberals all have less than 6% sluttiness. This disappoints me. You guys need to work on this. How are we going to take your liberal credibility seriously. And -39.98%, Breyer? God, I know you have moderate tendencies, but show a little leg. Jeez.

The only thing that is how it should be, are the negative sluttiness of Scalia and Thomas. Because let’s face it, these are the two names that no one has ever called out while making love. It’s a fact that if you say “Scalia” five times in a row, your genitals shrivel up and fall off.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Great Philosophers

I have developed an interest in philosophy as of late, and recently read a fascinating biography of one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. The work of this individual is not widely read, but is the most interesting thing I have read in awhile. I have included a brief biography for your benefit.

Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass was born in Paris an officer of the French Navy and a cousin of Albert Schweitzer. As a teenager in the 1920s, Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass became attracted to philosophy upon reading Henri Bergson's Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness.

The conflict between oppressive, spiritually-destructive conformity (mauvaise foi, literally, "bad faith") and an "authentic" state of "being" became the dominant theme of Brittany’s Illustrious And Glorious Ass's work, a theme embodied in his principal philosophical work L'Etre et le Néant (Being and Nothingness) (1944).
As a junior lecturer at the Lycée du Havre in 1938, Brittany’s Illustrious And Glorious Ass wrote the novel La Nausée (Nausea) which serves in some ways as a manifesto of existentialism and remains one of his most famous books.

1939 saw Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass drafted into the French army, where it served as a meteorologist. German troops captured it in 1940 in Padoux, and it spent nine months in prison — later in Nancy and finally in Stalag 12D, Treves, until released in April 1941 due to poor. Given civilian status, Brittany’s Illustrious And Glorious Ass then escaped to Paris where it became involved in the French Resistance, and participated in the founding of the resistance group Socialisme et Liberté. It was while engaged in the resistance that Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass met Albert Camus, a philosopher and author who held similar beliefs, and remained friends with it until Camus turned away from communism, a schism between them that eventually divided them in 1951, after the publication of Camus' book entitled The Rebel.

During the 1940s and 1950s Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass's ideas remained much in vogue, and existentialism became a favoured philosophy of the beatnik generation. In 1964, Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass renounced literature in a witty and sardonic account of the first six years of his life, Les Mots (Words). The book is an ironic counterblast to Marcel Proust, whose reputation had unexpectedly eclipsed that of André Gide (who had provided the model of literature engagée for Brittany’s Illustrious And Glorious Ass‘s generation). Literature, Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass concluded, functioned as a bourgeois substitute for real commitment in the world. In the same year it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but resoundingly declined it, stating that Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass had always refused official honors and didn't wish to align itself with institutions.

Brittany’s Illustrious And Glorious Ass's physical condition deteriorated, partially due to the merciless pace of work it put itself through during the writing of the Critique and the last project of it’s Illustrious and Glorious life, a massive analytical biography of Gustave Flaubert (The Family Idiot), both of which remain unfinished. Brittany’s Illustrious and Glorious Ass died April 15, 1980 in Paris.
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Quantifying How Much Duke Sucks

Here we attempt to use the Google Barometer of Suckitude to try to quantify precisely to what degree Duke University sucks. The methodology and rigorous calculation method has already been recounted elsewhere, so let’s skip to juicy results.

Duke sucks more than ebola, Hitler, Stalin, and yes, death itself. Additionally, J.J. Redick also sucks more than those things, but less than migraines and getting hit. Duke, however, still sucks more than both migraines and getting hit.

For the record, ebola is a deadly virus that causes you to bleed out of every hole in your body, while Duke is a university in Durham, North Carolina. The Internet seems to think that Duke sucks precisely 156.462 times more than ebola. This is hard science, folks. It doesn’t lie.

List of Items in Ascending Suckitude
Ebola 0.238 (62/261)
Stalin 1.152 (501/435)
Hitler 1.952 (890/456)
Death 1.646 (23700/14400)
Redick 2.413 (345/143)
Migraines 4.275 (607/142)
Getting Hit 12.313 (197/16)
Duke 37.238 (30200/811)
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Monday, March 06, 2006

More Fun With Statistics: The Slut O Meter

“I am not a slut, though I thank the Gods I am foul.” –Audrey in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

As a fan of pointless statistical measures I would like to point you to the another such delightful measure of the Internet: The Slut O Meter.

It’s simple, ingenious, and of course uses Google. The equation that explains it is taken from the originating site and listed below. The gist of it is, it compares how many total entries on the entered item are blocked when Google’s SafeSearch is turned on. SafeSearch is mainly designed to keep your kids from accidentally getting porn and such when they are trying to find porn.

Of course the Slut-O-Meter does not stare deep into your heart and determine how skanky you actually are, but simply determines what percentage of sites on Google featuring your name have offensive content. So, it’s a lovely way of seeing the effective connotation weight of names, words, or concepts are.

So, naturally, I wanted to test some of my assumptions about certain names. I have always held the assumption that “stripper names” can be recognized for a few essential characteristics: one of these being the “i” replacing the “y” at the end of a woman’s name. I figured it would be reasonable that Staci would be sluttier than Stacy.

I was wrong. Here’s the breakdown:

Stacy: 8.52%
Staci: -2.87%
Kristy: 19.33%
Kristi: 9.05%
Misty: 19.23%
Misti: 18.75%
Mandy: 17.28%
Mandi -20.1%

So yeah, basically, apparently the “I” substitution doesn’t have the stripper connotation that I thought it did in the minds of the public at large. Anyway, for further discussion (and trying to figure out how you get a negative rating, which shouldn’t be possible) there’s the “About” section of the site proper, and there are a couple of posts on the Language Log about it.

Also, for the the record: Kellen Carpenter weighs in at a lovely 0% sluttiness.
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Google Barometer of Suckitude and Rockitude

“De gustibus non est disputandum” -- Latin saying.

There are some things that seem to me to be generally acknowledged. Now of course, this is just my perception, usually. My friends tend to be pretty similar to me and we tend to agree on the same things, and, of course, I don’t talk to anybody else.

However, I really believe that there are a few things that are just cultural givens. Kenny G sucks. It is, was, and shall always be this way. But how can I prove to someone who naively believes that they hold the widely held and accepted view? Shouldn’t there be some sort of universal standard for judging the general opinion on thing?

Using Google and the cultural theory teachings of Beavis and Butthead, I have found the solution: The Google Barometer of Suckitude and Rockitude, a revolutionary tool for finding the value of something amongst people who say “rocks” and “sucks”.

Google is a useful tool to survey the impressive corpus of human writing and opinion that is the Internet. Indeed, sharing your idiotic opinions on the Internet often seems to be its chief purpose (At this point I avert my eyes). In the words of Kevin Smith, “The Internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another.” And it’s not just movies people bitch about: it’s everything. Therefore a Google search should yield a ridiculously large cross-section of people’s opinions on a particular topic.

Of course, Google only actually locates the uses of particular texts and not opinions, and indeed usually returns way too many results to conceivably sift through them all. This is why we turn to Beavis and Butthead and their profound contribution to cultural criticism: The Sucks/Rocks Dichotomy. In the minds of these two scholars, things have a binary value of cultural merit: it either rocks or it sucks.

So here is the formula for calculating the degree of suckitude (degree of rockitude is the inverse of degree of suckitude) of a particular item: Google hits for the phrase “x sucks” divided by the phrase “x rocks”. If the name is plural, omit the s on rocks and sucks. You will then get a numerical value that you can use with scientific certainty.

Anyway, for reference here are some sample values (given in suckitude, and sorted for ascending suckiness) of various bands and musical artists:

Ella Fitzgerald 0.000 (0/1560)
The Beatles 0.008 (705/84900)
Linkin Park 0.039 (835/21500)
My Chemical Romance 0.042 (612/14600)
S Club 7 0.186 (67/360)
Sufjan Stevens 0.257 (18/70)
Animal Collective 0.375 (3/8)
Ace of Base 0.468 (168/359)
Bob Dylan 0.537 (245/456)
The Mars Volta 0.755 (538/713)
Slipknot 0.860 (14100/16400)
Britney Spears 1.778 (20800/11700)

Also, by scientific certainty, I meant haphazard curiosity. The method reflects obvious bias in a few areas: namely it only works for the kinds of people who say “sucks” and “rocks”. Fortunately, the Beavis and Butthead mentality as so saturated our culture that lots of people talk like this. However, people who talk like Butthead, aka highschoolers, are over-represented by their virtue of using sucks and rocks more than anyone else. I like to call it Butthead Bias. This explains the ridiculously high ranking of Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance

Also, there is something of an inherent Indie Kid Obscurity Bonus, so named because of Indie Kid Syndrome, a terrible condition which causes image obsessed young people to deride things popular and only like things obscure. This mainly manifests in that lesser known things get positive ratings on this scale, because they aren’t worth talking about to most people, but they have a few fans singing their praises around the clock. This is demonstrated by the apparent rockitude of Sufjan, and the relatively high rockitude of The Mars Volta (despite sucking beyond all common sense).

Oh also, there is the Old People Bias, which is similar to the Indie Kid bias but for things that are old as opposed to obscure, though it operates in much the same way, I suspect. This explains why Ella Fitzgerald has the highest score: the Buttheads haven’t bothered to say she sucks, because they haven’t heard or don’t care about her.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Presidential Nicknames

I've been on a sort of Presidential triva kick lately, and I keep finding better and better things. Latest discovery: Presidential Nicknames. I dropped a reference to Old Hickory and the Little Magician in my last post. But, that is only the tip of the iceberg. The full link is here, but below I have some of my favorites.

Machiavellian Belshazzar
Old Public Functionary
Elegant Arthur
the Cyclone Assemblyman
Withered Little Apple-John

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Excerpts from A Brief History of Western North Carolina’s Jackson County

For the interest of virtually no one, I present for your edification, my transcribed copy of a book on the local history of where I was born and raised.

Excerpts from A Brief History of Western North Carolina’s Jackson County

The first major people to inhabit the lands presently known today as Jackson County, were the Cherokee Indians who were later forced out by President Jackson(1). The Cherokee Indians were only semi-hunter-gathers and spent much of their time engaged in tending to their polkberry orchards. Their currency was based on these small, generally poisonous berries and the chief of the tribe was decided by a ritual of ingesting as many of the polkberries as possible. The man who ingested the most without vomiting or dying became chief for that season(2). These people were isolated from the other Native Americans, and lived without any major societal or cultural changes to their way of life until the coming of the Europeans.

While North Carolina had been the site of a number of early colonies established by Sir Walter Raleigh, the mountains had largely been devoid of contact with the Europeans until 1708, when the Travelogue of Kristopher Krumholdter was published, sparking widespread interest in the region. The account describes Krumholdter’s travels through the region and interactions with a people he called the Horeps. His log told the tale of living for five years among the Horeps and helping them to fight the fierce giant bear-bird hybrids that nested in the mountains and guarded nests that were often filled with hoards of silk and ivory. The Horeps were pushed out of the region by these bear-birds, and eventually Krumholdter fled the region to avoid the atrocities of the increasingly bloodthirsty raids of the bear-birds. The account, though now generally acknowledged to be entirely fictional(3), sparked an interest in the mountain regions, leading to an influx of Europeans, seeking silk and ivory, to an area that had not enjoyed such luxuries since the Carboniferous Epoch.

As throngs of would-be bird-bear hunters arrived in the area, they inevitably encountered the Cherokee people in their polkberry groves. The Europeans and the Cherokee were unable to communicate due to the language barrier, and trouble was bound to ensue. While the Europeans unsuccessfully sought the bear-birds’ nests, winter came, and the new-comers finally found themselves in a difficult predicament without food, shelter, or any basic supplies. Relations up to this point with the Cherokee had been friendly, but an ill-fated exchange of the poisonous polkberries and the resulting death of the Europeans upon ingestion, led to a year long conflict that claimed many lives on both sides and the term “Indian-giver,” an English expression for “polkberry poisoner”. While a peace was eventually made and then affirmed by the Treaty of Zeke’s Bend, low-grade hostility continued until the Cherokee were finally forced out during the Presidency of Martin Van Buren, the Little Magician to Andrew Jackson's Old Hickory, and owner of the third most exquisite sideburns of the history of the United States (4).

(1)President Jackson is not the man for whom the County is named. Jackson County is actually named for Ezekiel Jackson a 19th century semi-fictional gold digger and adventurer. While he was not born in Jackson County, the giant red rock in the bend of the Tuckaseigee is named after one of the most famous exploits of the hero: Ezekiel Jackson Fights the Giant Eagles.
(2)The year was determined solely by the growth patterns of the polkberry.
(3)A number writers (all Scientologist) maintain the existence of the Horeps.
(4)As determined by the Journal for Political Facial Hair (Spring 1994).
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