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Theodor Adorno in a one-piece bathing suit. Yes.

In the wake of World War II, social scientists from the Western parts of the world found themselves enamoured in something akin to a new sport: spotting radicals in society. That is, psychologists, sociologists and (some) critical theorists started searching for methodologically sound ways of singling out individuals with predispositions for authoritarianism, so as to protect free market democracies from the dangers of ideologies such as fascism, and later communism.

These people came up with what’s called ‘instruments’ — i.e. test that might show how people feel, react, and believe, with respect to delicate issues of modern life. …


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I grew up in the 90s, a time considered by many the heyday of the Sandler’s career. His face was a constant appearance both on TV and on movie posters around town. But despite his success, I never really understood why people around me thought he’s so funny.

Okay, maybe the popularity of his dumbed-down approach to comedy made me react in a much more malignant way than he would (probably) have deserved. But in light of recent times, it seems that there are more of me around than I thought.

Just last September, Brett Bodner wrote that as the actor turns 50, we look at how his films have gone from ‘must-see’ to ‘avoid at all costs’. This would naturally imply that at a certain point his work was alright — something I think deserves some consideration. …


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Think about your favorite color and try to explain the reasons behind having chosen it. Depending on who you are, you might say that your preference says something about you, or that it defines your uniqueness and your personality (to name a few catch-all reasons).

It’s clear that there’s a plethora of things and thoughts one might muster in the hope of justifying color preference — and yet for all the variety behind our choosing of favorite colors, hues, and shades, it seems that our choices are almost always strikingly dull. …


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On a nippy December day in 1773, American colonists in Boston decided to jump-start the proceedings to what would later become the American Revolution by protesting against the Tea Act of May 10th. Essentially, they were damning the implications of English tax laws on their own business.

Since then the American nation has had a love-hate (mostly the latter) relationship with taxation, treating it like a sort of very bitter medicine that’s supposed to help with your ailments, but never really seems to work. Except, of course, this medicine did work.

American taxation has been a rollercoaster ride with Americans either screaming on the ups or indeed on the downs. This isn’t the story of how they learned to enjoy the ride, but it is the plot of how they eventually got used it. …


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Film photography is dead, and we’ve killed it. Sort of. There’s no use arguing that analog met its demise in the wake of digital photography, but it wasn’t the digital camera alone that made analog go the way of the dodo.

How did photography come about, anyway?

Much to the name of the primary optical phenomenon behind the workings of a camera, the origins of photography are nowadays shrouded in obscurity*. …


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Video games are one of the few definitive successes of the modern world. Roughly half of Americans in 2015 played video games — making for an average of two games in each game-playing US household. What’s more, 4 out of 5 US households had at least one device for playing video games.

The average gamer age is 35, but the demographics of gaming paint a very diverse picture. …


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Ever since the Wright brothers first took to the air — albeit for a few dozen feet — the dream of conquering the skies has cast a shadow that seldom gets mentioned in all the romanticism that surrounds flying. That shadow is death or at least the imminent danger of it. So what of it? How dangerous has flying been over the past century since the maiden voyage of man-powered aircraft?

What comes up, must come down. Sometimes unintentionally.

Crashing a plane is not a common occurrence — at least not nowadays. A very rough estimate of the odds of an aircraft going down due to an emergency is about 1 in 11 million, meaning it would take the most lucky of us quite a few lifetimes before actually experiencing a crash. And yet this figure is ultimately so small due to the large volume of flights in the air — so make no mistake, planes do come down. …


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Stories of beastly black dogs have been around since time immemorial. Pictured above, the mythological Cerberus.

Adopting a dog can be a way to express our personality. If the dog breed is rare, there’s a high chance its members become status indicators for owners — as would an expensive car, a big house and other things that mark success. But if a dog breed is common or has commonly found traits — for whatever reason — then the opposite might happen. It’s a sad reflection on our pet choosing habits that we split dog breeds into desirables and undesirables; and yet maybe there’s room for hope.

In recent times owning a dog for the sole purpose of companionship has become a common occurrence all over the world. And it’s due to this that owners have started shifting preferences from usefulness (such as labor dogs in days past) to other more humane characteristics, like friendliness, intelligence, playfulness and, or course, beauty and looks. …


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(pictured above: the $100.000 bill, still the largest legal tender of the US — but one that can only be used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks)

Wrongdoers know that they’re doing something illegal and will go to great lengths to not be caught by authorities. This requires anonymity and the ability to not leave any traces of breaking the law — not only with respect to the activities these people might do (clues for the police), but also in how they attain the benefits of their actions (making sure the money they get can’t be traced).

It’s for this reason that criminals almost exclusively require cash to further their affairs — at least when the amounts involved aren’t that large. And yet the numbers point to the fact that we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift, one by which the concept of money has started to become more and more something akin to a digital record, rather than a physical bill or coin. …


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A month ago I stumbled upon a spreadsheet with the counts for all patents issued in the US up until 2015. Looking at yearly evolution I found that the numbers were oddly stable: states kept issuing patents at a constant rate, with relatively little fluctuation on a year to year basis.

So that got me thinking about their impact. Since I didn’t (and still don’t, really) know much of anything about the influence of intellectual property on the health of the economy, I decided to look at some measurements and see if I can learn something along the way.

A (very) brief history of patents

Let me start by saying that the genesis of patents is a bit fuzzy, but it looks like intellectual property didn’t (at least at first) put a price on originality: in 1474 people could ask for exclusive rights from the Republic of Venice to either sell something they themselves had invented, or for selling something that they had brought over from their travels overseas. …

About

alex ioana

I do some marketing at Booking.com. Former IBM, Oracle.

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