Weird Universe Blog — February 16, 2021

Clair de Lune Espagno

A trip to the moon teaches a lovesick suitor a lesson.

Creator's Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 16, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Aliens | Costumes and Masks | Dreams and Nightmares | Movies | Special Effects | Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy | Foreign Customs | 1900s | Love & Romance

February 15, 2021

Morse Code for Drivers

In 1960, the Automobile Legal Association proposed that all drivers should learn a code that would allow them to communicate with each other on the road via honks.

One short honk would mean, 'Left blinker going'. Three short honks would mean, 'A light burned out'. One long honk would mean, 'Get over in the right lane.' And so on.

The Terre Haute Star - Sep 17, 1960

Although the honking code never caught on, the idea of allowing drivers to communicate with each other has persisted. The 21st-century spin on it are the various phone apps (such as, Driver Talk, or PL8chat) that allow you to send messages to other cars by entering their license plate number. Of course, both drivers have to be signed up with the app for this to work. Which means these apps have, for now, very limited practical use.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Languages | Cars

New Frontiers (of Barb Wire)

Thrill to the history of barb wire with "Little Barb!" (Or "American Barb" if you prefer.)

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 15, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Agriculture | Anthropomorphism | History | Regionalism | Advertising

February 14, 2021

The Human Relationship Simulator

This post seemed appropriate for Valentine's Day, since it's about an engineer's attempt to use machine logic to improve the "ambiguities of the woman/man relationship".

James F. Hollander was a patent attorney with a degree in electrical engineering. In the late 1970s he invented and patented what he called the "Human Relationship Simulator". It consisted of a box with various dials.

Even after reading his patent, and an article about his invention, I'm not exactly sure how the thing operated. From what I can gather, if a couple were having an argument, or needed to make a decision (such as where to go for dinner), they could both adjust dials on the Simulator, and it would give them an answer. And measure the intensity of their feelings.

The Relationship Simulator

Here's more info from a 1977 article in the Asbury Park Press:

Taking a hypothetical issue, such as a man and woman deciding whether or not to go out to dinner, information is fed into the panels. One represents the man; the other, the woman.

Each subject uses dials that represent four areas — compliance with society, attention to own desire, social pressure and personal inclination. The personal inclination and social pressure gauges are intricately detailed to show adamant 'yes' or 'no' responses, or degrees such as strong preference, or very much or some.

Attention to desire is measured in readings of low, medium and high, as is compliance with society.

As the subjects feed this information into the panels, other gauges measure tension, feelings, guilt or pride, emotional independence, like and dislike, and influence, based on each decision.

The machine does the thinking, lights a decision of 'yes' or 'no' and tells the subjects their emotional responses....

In a marriage situation, Hollander said the device could show the individuals why something is going wrong in the relationship if arguments are portrayed and feelings defined.

"I wanted to pick out the ambiguities of the woman/man relationship," he pointed out.

Asbury Park Press - Aug 29, 1977

If that doesn't seem entirely clear, then here's a sample from Hollander's patent:

The decision voltage output of the man-simulator is connected to the threshold detector of the woman-simulator via a sense port. Similarly, the woman-simulator has a decision voltage output port connected to a sense port and input to the level threshold detector of the man-simulator. A switch interrupts each output so that the effect of relationship can be shown. By adjustment and interpretation of the dial settings and decision indications, paradoxes and problems in man-woman relationships are demonstrated.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 14, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Technology | Psychology | Marriage | 1970s | Love & Romance

Lagoa das Sete Cidades

Two lakes, separated by a narrow strip of land, yet each ecologically and chromatically distinct.

The Wikipedia entry.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 14, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, Streams, Swamps and Other Bodies of Fresh Water | Europe | Natural Wonders

February 13, 2021

Diplomacy Rap

The US Ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink, recently released a rap video, in collaboration with Vietnamese rapper Wowy, to mark the Lunar New Year Holiday.

While it may be rap, it also fits into the genre of cringe.

Kritenbrink's rap starts soon after the one-minute mark.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art | Music | Politics

Buster Makes Room for His Mama at the Bargain Counter

Actually, it's Tige who deserves all the credit.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Movies | Shopping | Comics | Children | Dogs | 1900s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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