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Goats Yelling Like People

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • February 20, 2013 - 1:09 PM

But first, take a look at Atlantic City’s new “Revel” hotel casino. It took six years and $2.2 billion to build, and opened last May with the promise of revitalizing Atlantic City. Unlike the smoky caves of yore, the casino had windows! The building was modern and refined instead of a big faux-historical pile. Elegant and sophisticated.

 

 

AP photo

AP photo

 

 

Aaaannnd it just declared bankruptcy. The story had this hard-to-resist link:

 

 

Don’t get your hopes up. It’s just a slide show of the place looking nice, and empty. The story of its troubles can be fund here

 

HAHAHAHHAHAHAH In case you missed it, the fake Guy Fieri Menu is the funniest thing on the entire Internet at this moment. 

 

GOATS Here's two minutes of goats yelling like humans. 

 

 

You're welcome.

 

SCIENCE We’re happier than Iowa. Based on our tweets. Really. It’s Science.

For individual cities, the Vermont researchers note, the amount of swearing contributed substantially to their final scores. They think it's worth investigating this phenomenon, which they call "geoprofanity."
One difficulty I have with the study is that it doesn't take into account that people might just talk about happiness differently in some parts of the country or within some demographic groups. The study identified people with Norwegian ancestry as happier than African Americans. Is that because the Norwegians are actually happier or do they just tweet as if they're happier?

How much nonsense are we talking here, you wonder. Lots of nonsense? Yes. Lots.

The researchers coded each tweet for its happiness content, based on the appearance and frequency of words determined by Mechanical Turk workers to be happy (rainbow, love, beauty, hope, wonderful, wine) or sad (damn, boo, ugly, smoke, hate, lied). While the researchers admit their technique ignores context, they say that for large datasets, simply counting the words and averaging their happiness content produces "reliable" results.

Damn boo ugly rainbow wine! Tweet that and confuse the Mechanical Turk. Which, by the way, was named after an early robot scam. Also known just as "The Turk."

 

WEB Would you like to see some old low-value baseball cards defaced in the style of a 1977 13 year old? Perhaps you would:

 

 

 

There is a tumblr devoted to these things, and I'm glad. Go here

 

TECH Headline: App usage has stalled as Smartphone Users Hit Burnout. Are we hitting app overload?

Jenna Wortham at the New York Times thinks so. With 259 apps installed on her iPhone, she estimates that she regularly uses 16 of them.

She has too many, then. It sounds as if Jenna might have hit app overload, but the first rule of Tech Writing - aside from knowing what Apple must do in the future - is to extrapolate big trends from one’s own personal experience. The article says:

(People) keep using the same apps—Nielsen says Facebook, YouTube, Google Play, Google Search, and Gmail were the top five apps in both 2011 and 2012. And they're not spending markedly more time in apps: 39 minutes a day in 2012 versus 37 minutes in 2011.

Down two minutes. As for those Nielsen ratings, the Verge says it’s “Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search, and Gmail - the same as Nielsen saw last year.” It also notes that we don’t know how people responded to the survey - do people say “Google Search” to mean the app, or the browser, or “the search widget that’s built into Android 4.0.” 

Android Market? Top five? People use that more than Twitter or Angry Birds or Instagram? Possibly, but when the top five app includes one whose function is “buy more apps” it doesn’t make sense, and certainly doesn’t indicate burn-out.

I’m a sucker for weather and photography apps, and usually buy one of each a month. Currently I use Solar, which tells me what I want to know.

 

 

 

Push your finger up to see the weather in the immediate future; pull down for three day forecast; swipe for another city. That’s about all I need. The less the better is my motto for apps, and I suspect for others as well.

Other things I have learned: with the exception of photo apps, anything that goes into a folder is forgotten forever.

Anything that’s four screens back is never used, so confine yourself to three screens. 

If you don’t use it, you won't use it. 

There: saved you some agony over whether we’re all suffering app burnout. Which we’re not.

Another thing I never use: GTD apps. Get Things Done. I have gone through many list apps, which sync and let me tag things and cross off completed tasks, and not one is satisfying. I use these. With a pen.

 

 

 

They're not only sturdy, they're beautiful. Fans slaver for new colors, and they know it. They know we'll buy them if they're just white. The inside copy is clever but deadpan, and sometimes you think the entire thing is a marketing joke: surely they can't be this serious about notebooks. I mean, here's a description of the steno pad (which I have, for no reason): 

THE STENO is 6″ by 9″ with a black Double-O Wiring spiral at the top so it lies flat, open or closed. Inside you’ll find 80 pages of 70# “Bright White” paper Gregg-ruled with a fine, soy-based application of “Double Knee Duck Canvas” light brown ink. The covers are Newark Paperboard Mills 60 pt. “Super Duty Chipboard,” with a screen-printed 1-Color application of “Dictation Smudge” black ink.

They aren't serious. Completely, that is. In a way they are.

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