Eightface

by Dave Kellam

Rejection hurts

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that rejection hurts, and not just in a metaphorical sense. The study found that “social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain” (via nyt). Maybe artists, musicians and poets have been on to something all of these years.

Making oatmeal wrong

McDonald’s has somehow managed to screw-up oatmeal.

Others will argue that the McDonald’s version is more “convenient.” This is nonsense; in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher. […] Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin.

Take a fast and healthy staple, pump it full of sugar and chemicals, serve. Sounds like the rest of the breakfast cereal industry, or just pre-processed food in general.

March 8, 2011 ·

The Disposable Academic

The Disposable Academic is a somewhat cynical look at the world of high-level academia. I’ll take the article with a grain of salt, considering the secondary headline reads, “Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time”.

One thing many PhD students have in common is dissatisfaction. Some describe their work as “slave labour”. Seven-day weeks, ten-hour days, low pay and uncertain prospects are widespread. You know you are a graduate student, goes one quip, when your office is better decorated than your home and you have a favourite flavour of instant noodle.

Yeah, it can be a bit crap, but it’s on par with a lot of other professions. Talk to the struggling artists, apprentices and interns that toil away in indentured servitude for the betterment of their craft. Some make it big, some never will, most end up in the middle of life’s bell curve and do just fine.

January 17, 2011 ·

The ruins of Detroit

Ruined United Artists Theatre in Detroit

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre photographed the the abandoned and decrepit structures of Detroit.

Having photographed old buildings – “mainly disused theatres” – in Paris, they happened upon an image of Michigan Central train station in Detroit while surfing the internet for pictures of abandoned buildings. “It was so stately and so dramatic that we decided right then we had to go,” says Meffre, “but we were naive; we had no idea of the scale of the project, of the vastness of downtown Detroit and its ruins. There is nothing comparable in Europe.”

Be sure to visit the gallery as well.

The lie guy

Clancy Martin is chair of the philosophy department at the University of Missouri and is known as the lie guy. He left his studies to pursue a career in luxury jewelry.

As I would tell my salespeople: If you want to be an expert deceiver, master the art of self-deception. People will believe you when they see that you yourself are deeply convinced. It sounds difficult to do, but in fact it’s easy—we are already experts at lying to ourselves. We believe just what we want to believe.

Eventually, the business and lifestyle got to him and he returned to academia to study lying.

I went to work on deception not because I wanted to learn how to lie better—I had mastered the art, as far as I was concerned—but because I wanted to cure myself of being a liar. What had started out as a morally pernicious technique had become a character-defining vice. I had to save myself. I needed to understand the knots I had tied myself into before I could begin to untangle them.

January 4, 2011 ·

Bartenders as social status

From an NYT article on having bartenders at your party, even in tiny little flats.

In my opinion, if you don’t have a bartender at your party, you’re a loser, said Dustin Terry, who lives a floor below Ms. Argiro and said his job was to get models and Saudi royalty into hot clubs. The bartender brings class and sophistication.

If you can’t afford to hire a bartender,he added, you shouldn’t be having a party.

Ugh. What a bunch of pretentious twats. That said, credit to the bartenders for putting up with them and taking their money.

December 12, 2010 ·