Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some things I've learned recently

I've been drinking petanque and playing pastis in a basement in Kennedy Town, so I'm a bit distracted at the moment.  Here's a few things that I've learned recently.  Apologies for possible lack of coherence:

1 The Christ! What an asshole theory of New Yorker cartoon captions.  This has been around since at least 2005, which is why I was astounded to find I hadn't encountered it before, but it states that the caption of any New Yorker cartoon can be replaced with that phrase without compromising the comedic value (and in many cases, improving it).  Examples are here.

2 While building my new language generator, I find myself distracted by the phrase "I'm not mentally ill." Type those words into Google or Bing, and you get varying results. (Including this graph about career prospects, and people asking Yahoo to diagnose their condition, or lack of one.) Similarly, there used to be some very strange results that would come back if you typed "I'm not gay but" into Google, but perhaps they weren't so much strange, as predictable. And NSFW.

3 OK Cupid, an online dating site, published data purporting to show that iPhone owners have more sex than those of us with Blackberries or Android phones.  Except they didn't; they showed a correlation between number of sexual partners and owning an iPhone, but that doesn't logically imply more sex; just sex with a more varied array of people.  Unless you think that one ham sandwich and one cheese sandwich is more sandwiches than three sausage sandwiches.

Hmm.  Sausages.

(There is some interesting findings they've got, to show that you want to have your photos taken with as good a camera as you can find ... duh.  But they didn't go as far as seeing if there was a point at which the utility of professional photography might worsen your success rate on an online dating site.  Say, if you used photos from your wedding for your profile...)

4 I found an Excel tutorial on the internet that asked for people's favourite Excel 'hacks'.  Where 'hack' seemed to mean 'finding a complicated way to do something in Excel without reading a manual'.  So I replied with a formula that looked like it would halve the time somebody took to do one of their hacks.  And half an hour later, my reply vanished in a POOF! of internet pixie dust.  I wasn't even being rude, honest.  Maybe I'll come up with my own 'helpful hints for Excel experts when trying to interact with people politely' post later.

5 Our cat keeps jumping around the room late at night, but it was only this evening when we watched her, that we saw her ascend the bookshelf and up to the top of the wardrobe, so she could lick a plastic bag containing our winter duvet.  Can anyone explain why cats (or just this cat) like rubber and plastic so much?  Is there some sort of fetish?  Should I try to arrange some sort of safeword if this gets out of control?


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