Open tabs: Linguistic relativity, nightclub stampede, Baron Munchausen, Black Sabbath Vol. 4

Baron Munchausen pulls himself out of a mire by his own hair (illustration by Oskar Herrfurth).

See a pin and pick it up, and all day long you’ll have a pin.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.

“If I could just say a few words… I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson

“If I am reading this graph correctly—I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx

The claim that Eskimo languages have an unusually large number of words for snow is a widespread idea first voiced by Franz Boas and has become a cliché; it is often used to illustrate the way in which language embodies different local concerns in different parts of the world.

In fact, the Eskimo–Aleut languages have about the same number of distinct word roots referring to snow as English does, but the structure of these languages tends to allow more variety as to how those roots can be modified in forming a single word.

Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says only that linguistic categories and usage influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behavior.

The E2 nightclub stampede occurred on February 17, 2003, at the E2 nightclub located above the Epitome Chicago restaurant at 2347 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois, in which 21 people died and more than 50 were injured when panic ensued from the use of pepper spray by security guards to break up a fight.

The fictional Baron’s exploits, narrated by himself, focus on his impossible achievements as a sportsman, soldier, and traveler, such as riding on a cannonball and traveling to the Moon.

Munchausen by Internet is a pattern of behavior in which Internet users seek attention by feigning illnesses in online venues such as chat rooms, message boards, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

While the original 100 m design would not exceed the angular resolving power of interferometric telescopes, it would have exceptional light-gathering and imaging capacity which would greatly increase the depth to which humanity could explore the universe.[1] The OWL could be expected to regularly see astronomical objects with an apparent magnitude of 38; or 1,500 times fainter than the faintest object which has been detected by the Hubble Space Telescope.

In June 1972, Black Sabbath reconvened in Los Angeles to begin work on their fourth album at the Record Plant Studios. The recording process was plagued with problems, many due to substance abuse issues. In the studio, the band regularly had large speaker boxes full of cocaine delivered.

Iommi claims in his autobiography that Ward almost died after a prank-gone-wrong during recording of the album. The Bel Air mansion the band was renting belonged to John DuPont of the DuPont chemical company and the band found several spray cans of gold DuPont paint in a room of the house; finding Ward naked and unconscious after drinking heavily, they proceeded to cover the drummer in gold paint from head to toe.

One of several reasons that aversion to happiness may develop is the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur that will taint their happiness, as if that individual is being punished for satisfaction. This belief is thought to be more prevalent in non-Western cultures. In Western cultures, such as American culture, “it is almost taken for granted that happiness is one of the most important values guiding people’s lives.” Western cultures are more driven by an urge to maximize happiness and minimize sadness. Failing to appear happy is often a cause for concern. Its value is echoed through Western positive psychology and research on subjective well-being.