(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘flamingo

“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!”*…

 

poker

 

For many years, my life centered around studying the biases of human decision-making: I was a graduate student in psychology at Columbia, working with that marshmallow-tinted legend, Walter Mischel, to document the foibles of the human mind as people found themselves in situations where risk abounded and uncertainty ran high. Dissertation defended, I thought to myself, that’s that. I’ve got those sorted out. And in the years that followed, I would pride myself on knowing so much about the tools of self-control that would help me distinguish myself from my poor experimental subjects. Placed in a stochastic environment, faced with stress and pressure, I knew how I’d go wrong — and I knew precisely what to do when that happened.

Fast-forward to 2016. I have embarked on my latest book project, which has taken me into foreign territory: the world of No Limit Texas Hold ’em… The biases I know all about in theory, it turns out, are much tougher to fight in practice…

Maria Konnikova. a New York Times bestselling author and contributor to The New Yorker with a doctorate in psychology, decided to learn how to play poker to better understand the role of luck in our lives, examining the game through the lens of psychology and human behavior.  An excerpt is adapted from her new book, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win: “The Hard Truth Of Poker — And Life: You’re Never ‘Due’ For Good Cards.”

* Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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As we ante up, we might spare a thought for Don Featherstone; he died on this date in 2015.  An artist, he is surely best remembered for his creation of the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament in 1957, while working for Union Products.  It went on sale the following year– and now adorns lawns nationwide.

In 1996, Featherstone was awarded the 1996 Ig Nobel Art Prize for his creation; that same year, he began his tenure as president of Union Products, a position he held until he retired in 2000.

170px-Flamingo_1

A Featherstone flock

source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 22, 2020 at 1:01 am

“The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo”*…

 

flamingo

Flamingos (alive)

 

Why do flamingos stand on one leg?

… because it’s the easiest way to stand: their knee locks up and they balance perfectly, so they don’t have to engage any muscles. They can sleep standing one one leg.

Scientists tested whether they really didn’t have to use any muscle tension by getting dead flamingos and trying to balance them on one foot. Which apparently works.

The reason flamingos sleep on one foot is because the waters they live in are toxic. They live in lakes that are either filled with blue-green algae (usually a menace, its poisonous to most animals) or lakes so salty they can strip off human skin. (I imagine this is an advantage because there’s not much competition for food and nesting space in a toxic lake.)

Their legs are covered in tough, scaly skin, but their bodies are softer. If they were to sleep floating on the water like ducks do, the water would burn them. This idea of living your whole life perched…

Via @mckinleaf and her ever-illuminating newsletter The Whippet: “Dead flamingos can stand on one foot.”

* Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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As we achieve balance, we might recall that it was on this date in 1913 that cartoonist John Randolph (J.R.) Bray first exhibited his animated film, “The Artist’s Dream” (later retitled “The Dachshund and the Sausage” for reasons that will be obvious).  Bray was not the first animator; indeed, he was following purposefully in the steps of fellow cartoonist Windsor McCay, who had added animations of “Little Nemo” and “How a Mosquito Operates” to his stage presentations.  But Bray earned a place in the history of the art by being among the first– arguably the first– animator to organize his work and his studio according to the principles of industrial production (that’s to say, with division of labor)– an approach that has survived to this day.

 

 

Bray source

 

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 12, 2020 at 1:01 am

Giving them the bird…

source

Forgoing the more traditional sales of unwanted periodicals, over-priced gift-wrap, and grocery chain cupcakes, parents of students at Washougal (WA) High School have landed on a new approach to raising money to cover graduation night expenses, a fund-raising program that the school is calling “You’ve Been Flocked!”…

For a suggested donation of $20, a supporter can unleash an army of polymer Phoenicopteridae– plastic lawn flamingo– on the target of their choice. The organizers have made it clear they’ll remove the flamingoes for free — or move them on to the target’s choice of new location for another $20.  And in a nod to fund-raising techniques perfected during Prohibition, one can even donate by taking out $5 “Flamingo Insurance,” assuring themselves that no pink horde will appear on his/her lawn…

One notes that the fact of the program must mean either that school parents in Washougal have enough lawn flamingo among them to make up a flock– or even more interestingly, that one family has *lots* of them…

TotH to Zug.

As we rethink pink, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Uganda, having just achieved independence from Britain, joined the United Nations.  Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to many lesser and greater flamingo.

The real thing, at Queen Elizabeth Park (source)

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