Posts tagged “shibboleth”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • What is the deal with Jughead's hat? – This is something the Internet is truly great at: as an archive for the exploration and explanation of the obscure aspects of the familiar. What will future anthropologists make of the Internet of our generation?
  • Karachi, Pakistan manufacturing firm produces corsets and fetish wear (for export) – The brothers said Pakistan’s “stone-age production” worked to their advantage. The country, they said, lacks visionary product development. “Everyone’s still making the same products,” Adnan said.

    Then, they discovered a kind of straitjacket online. At first, they thought it was used for psychiatric patients, but it quickly led them to learn about the lucrative fetish industry.

    Today, they sell their products to online and brick-and-mortar shops, and to individuals via eBay. Their market research, they said, showed that 70 percent of their customers were middle- to upper-class Americans, and a majority of them Democrats. The Netherlands and Germany account for the bulk of their European sales.

    “We really believe that if you are persistent and hard working, there is an opportunity, in any harsh environment, even in an economically depressed environment like Pakistan,” Rizwan said.

  • Average frustrated chump – for what's a subculture without its jargon? – Often abbreviated "AFC," is seduction community jargon for a heterosexual male who is unsuccessful at finding sexual or romantic relationships with women] This person seeks attraction and longingly desires intimacy, but only finds cordial friendship and platonic love with women. The term AFC is pejorative, and is attributed to NLP teacher Ross Jeffries.
  • Seduction? Yeah we've got a group for that – The "seduction community" refers to a loose-knit subculture of men who strive for better sexual and romantic success with women through self-improvement and a greater understanding of social psychology. It exists largely through Internet forums and groups, as well as over a hundred local clubs, called "lairs" Supporters refer to the subculture simply as 'the community" and often call themselves "pickup artists." Origins date back to Eric Weber's 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls.

Semiotics of subcultures

Recent political scandals have much to teach us.

…Officers wrote that they knew from their training and work experience that the foot-tapping was a signal used by people looking for sex.

After a man in the adjacent stall left, Craig entered it and put his luggage against the front of the stall door, “which Sgt. Karsnia’s experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall,” said the complaint.

The complaint said Craig then tapped his right foot several times and moved it closer to Karsnia’s stall and then moved it to where it touched Karsnia’s foot. Karsnia recognized that “as a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct,” the complaint said.

Assuming this is true (and recalling humorous-in-retrospect documents that we’ve all seen about law enforcement deconstructing hippies, punks, heavy metal, gangs, etc., it very way may not be), it’s cool to consider a signal that can only be interpreted by those that know what it means. To everyone else, it may not even penetrate your awareness. Until the communication is decoded, it’s almost perfect, especially for messages that may be risky.

I’m fascinated to consider that (maybe, just maybe) someone may have at some point tapped at me, and I wouldn’t have necessarily noticed and certainly not interpreted it as it’s presumably intended.

Supervisors to pay a $1 fine for using bureaucratic lingo

This type of rule may be largely symbolic, but the issue at question does deal with the meaning and usage of symbols, so perhaps it’s appropriate. It’s interesting to see a stand taken for effective communication and creating a smoother more usable “interface” to an organization. Organizations – the more bureaucratic, the better – become very focused on their insides, and not their outsides, thinking about their own processes and nomenclature and expecting their customers to adapt to their systems. It’s unfriendly, takes more effort, frustrating, distancing, and ultimately requires more work on their part to actually clarify or correct mistakes.

Contra Costa County supervisors who use certain dirty words during weekly meetings will have to cough up $1 fines. Under a new policy unanimously adopted Tuesday, bureaucratic acronyms like EIR, LAFCO, ABAG and RFP will be verboten in the board chambers in Martinez, not just from the supervisors’ podium but also in all written materials for board meetings.

‘We throw them around all the time,” said Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who proposed making Contra Costa the first county in California to adopt the anti-acronym stand. Politicians and bureaucrats there now must use phrases instead — environmental impact report, the Local Agency Formation Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments and Request for Proposals.

He asserted that the public, whether sitting in the chambers or watching on television, can be confused when government officials engage in alphabet-soup discussions of programs.


Just last week I received a letter from the Canadian passport office. It was a piece of paper with 2 dozen check boxes available, each indicating a different type of problem. The problem with my form was checked, a couple of words appended, and a pointer to a code (“see PPT 0S1” – although was that 0 or O was unclear) – but no indication of what that code was, how to find the information in that code, and ultimately what to do with the information and card they sent me. No return envelope or instructions about where to mail it. I filled out the attached card and went to the web and found the mailing address and put it in the mail. When it arrives, will they be able to link this supplement with the information they have on file? I never found PPT 0S1. Really crappy experience for something as crucial as a passport. And this is, of course, typical. Especially for governmental agencies.

So, kudos to Contra Costa County for a SITRD! (step in the right direction)


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