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Ark II is an American live-action science fiction television series, aimed at children, that aired on CBS from September 11 to December 18, 1976 (with reruns continuing through November 13, 1977) as part of its weekend line-up. It returned again in rerun from September 16, 1978 through August 25, 1979. Only 15 half-hour episodes were ever produced. The program's central characters were created by Martin Roth; Ted Post helped Roth develop its core format.
- "Ark II" | 2019-04-21 | 46 Upvotes 16 Comments
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a 2018 interactive film in the science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. It was written by series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade. Netflix released the standalone film on 28 December 2018.
In Bandersnatch, viewers make decisions for the main character, the young programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), who is adapting a fantasy choose-your-own-adventure novel into a video game in 1984. Other characters include Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) and Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), both of whom work at a video game company, Butler's father, Peter (Craig Parkinson), and Butler's therapist, Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe). The film is based on a planned Imagine Software video game of the same name which went unreleased after the company filed for bankruptcy. It also alludes to Lewis Carroll's own works that feature the bandersnatch creature. A piece of science fiction and horror, Bandersnatch incorporates meta-commentary and rumination on free will.
Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones were approached by Netflix about making an interactive film in May 2017, during which time Netflix had several interactive projects for children underway. Difficulty in writing the highly non-linear script led to the creation of a bespoke program called Branch Manager for Netflix; the unique nature of the content required adaptations in the platform's use of cache memory. Filming and production took longer than for typical Black Mirror episodes, resulting in the show's fifth series being delayed. A quickly-deleted tweet from a Netflix account about the release of Bandersnatch led to widespread media speculation throughout December which Netflix declined to comment on. The trailer for Bandersnatch was released on 27 December 2018, a day before the film was released. Critical reception for the film was generally positive, though some found the interactive nature to be too gimmicky for a proper Black Mirror narrative. In 2019, the episode won two Emmy Awards, including the Outstanding Television Movie award.
- "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" | 2018-12-29 | 10 Upvotes 5 Comments
Lenin was a mushroom
Lenin was a mushroom (Russian: Ленин — гриб) was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast on 17 May 1991 on Leningrad Television.
The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program Pyatoe Koleso (The Fifth Wheel). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself. Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various "sources" (such as Carlos Castaneda, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain.
The timing of the hoax played a large role in its success, coming as it did during the Glasnost period when the ebbing of censorship in the Soviet Union led to many revelations about the country's history, often presented in sensational form. Furthermore, Soviet television had, up to that point, been regarded by its audience as conservative in style and content. As a result, a large number of Soviet citizens (one estimate puts the number at 11,250,000 audience members) took the deadpan "interview" at face value, in spite of the absurd claims presented.
Sholokhov has said that perhaps the most notable result of the show was an appeal by a group of party members to the Leningrad Regional Committee of the CPSU to clarify the veracity of Kuryokhin's claim. According to Sholokhov, in response to the request one of the top regional functionaries stated that "Lenin could not have been a mushroom" because "a mammal cannot be a plant." Modern taxonomy classifies mushrooms as fungi, a separate kingdom from plants.
The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.
- "Lenin Was a Mushroom" | 2021-01-13 | 28 Upvotes 2 Comments
- "Lenin was a mushroom" | 2016-06-22 | 574 Upvotes 178 Comments
Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle
Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle (alternatively translated as Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle) is a television program that was part of a North Korean government propaganda campaign promulgating grooming and dress standards in 2004–2005.
It was broadcast on state-run Korean Central Television in the capital of Pyongyang and clips from the program were later rebroadcast on the British channel BBC One. The program claimed that hair length can affect human intelligence, in part because of the deprivation to the rest of the body of nutrients required for hair to grow. However, although some researchers have proposed that brain and hair are in competition from an evolutionary standpoint, cutting hair has no influence on its rate of growth. It was part of a longstanding North Korean government restriction campaign against haircuts and fashions deemed at odds with "Socialist values".
- "Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle" | 2019-06-23 | 75 Upvotes 83 Comments
- "Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle" | 2018-09-14 | 13 Upvotes 3 Comments
Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion
A broadcast signal hijacking of two television stations in Chicago, Illinois was carried out on November 22, 1987, in an act of video piracy. The stations' broadcasts were interrupted by a video of an unknown person wearing a Max Headroom mask and costume, accompanied by distorted audio.
The first incident took place for 25 seconds during the sports segment of WGN-TV's 9:00 p.m. news broadcast; the second occurred around two hours later, for about 90 seconds during PBS affiliate WTTW's broadcast of Doctor Who.
The hacker made references to Max Headroom's endorsement of Coca-Cola, the TV series Clutch Cargo, WGN anchor Chuck Swirsky; and "all the greatest world newspaper nerds", a reference to WGN's call letters, which stand for "World's Greatest Newspaper". A corrugated panel swiveled back and forth mimicking Max Headroom's geometric background effect. The video ended with a pair of exposed buttocks being spanked with a flyswatter before normal programming resumed. The culprits were never caught or identified.
- "Max Headroom Signal Hijacking" | 2021-08-11 | 39 Upvotes 2 Comments
- "Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion" | 2019-11-23 | 211 Upvotes 54 Comments
- "The 1987 Max Headroom Pirating Incident" | 2010-03-21 | 15 Upvotes 5 Comments
Mechanical television or mechanical scan television is a television system that relies on a mechanical scanning device, such as a rotating disk with holes in it or a rotating mirror, to scan the scene and generate the video signal, and a similar mechanical device at the receiver to display the picture. This contrasts with modern television technology, which uses electronic scanning methods, for example electron beams in cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions, and liquid-crystal displays (LCD), to create and display the picture.
Mechanical-scanning methods were used in the earliest experimental television systems in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the first experimental wireless television transmissions was by John Logie Baird on November 25, 1925, in London. By 1928 many radio stations were broadcasting experimental television programs using mechanical systems. However the technology never produced images of sufficient quality to become popular with the public. Mechanical-scan systems were largely superseded by electronic-scan technology in the mid-1930s, which was used in the first commercially successful television broadcasts which began in the late 1930s in Great Britain.
A mechanical television receiver is also called a televisor in some countries.
- "Mechanical television" | 2015-12-10 | 10 Upvotes 1 Comments
Monty Hall Problem
The Monty Hall problem is a brain teaser, in the form of a probability puzzle, loosely based on the American television game show Let's Make a Deal and named after its original host, Monty Hall. The problem was originally posed (and solved) in a letter by Steve Selvin to the American Statistician in 1975 (Selvin 1975a), (Selvin 1975b). It became famous as a question from a reader's letter quoted in Marilyn vos Savant's "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade magazine in 1990 (vos Savant 1990a):
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?
Vos Savant's response was that the contestant should switch to the other door (vos Savant 1990a). Under the standard assumptions, contestants who switch have a 2/3 chance of winning the car, while contestants who stick to their initial choice have only a 1/3 chance.
The given probabilities depend on specific assumptions about how the host and contestant choose their doors. A key insight is that, under these standard conditions, there is more information about doors 2 and 3 than was available at the beginning of the game when door 1 was chosen by the player: the host's deliberate action adds value to the door he did not choose to eliminate, but not to the one chosen by the contestant originally. Another insight is that switching doors is a different action than choosing between the two remaining doors at random, as the first action uses the previous information and the latter does not. Other possible behaviors than the one described can reveal different additional information, or none at all, and yield different probabilities. Yet another insight is that your chance of winning by switching doors is directly related to your chance of choosing the winning door in the first place: if you choose the correct door on your first try, then switching loses; if you choose a wrong door on your first try, then switching wins; your chance of choosing the correct door on your first try is 1/3, and the chance of choosing a wrong door is 2/3.
Many readers of vos Savant's column refused to believe switching is beneficial despite her explanation. After the problem appeared in Parade, approximately 10,000 readers, including nearly 1,000 with PhDs, wrote to the magazine, most of them claiming vos Savant was wrong (Tierney 1991). Even when given explanations, simulations, and formal mathematical proofs, many people still do not accept that switching is the best strategy (vos Savant 1991a). Paul Erdős, one of the most prolific mathematicians in history, remained unconvinced until he was shown a computer simulation demonstrating vos Savant’s predicted result (Vazsonyi 1999).
The problem is a paradox of the veridical type, because the correct choice (that one should switch doors) is so counterintuitive it can seem absurd, but is nevertheless demonstrably true. The Monty Hall problem is mathematically closely related to the earlier Three Prisoners problem and to the much older Bertrand's box paradox.
- "Monty Hall Problem" | 2022-06-09 | 24 Upvotes 116 Comments
- "Monty Hall Problem" | 2019-10-24 | 122 Upvotes 252 Comments
- "Monty Hall problem" | 2010-02-22 | 14 Upvotes 27 Comments
Slow television, or slow TV (Norwegian: Sakte-TV), is a term used for a genre of "marathon" television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. Its name is derived both from the long endurance of the broadcast as well as from the natural slow pace of the television program's progress. It was popularised in the 2000s by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), beginning with the broadcast of a 7-hour train journey in 2009.
- "Slow television" | 2018-12-02 | 36 Upvotes 10 Comments
Surface-conduction electron-emitter display
A surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) is a display technology for flat panel displays developed by a number of companies. SEDs use nanoscopic-scale electron emitters to energize colored phosphors and produce an image. In a general sense, an SED consists of a matrix of tiny cathode ray tubes, each "tube" forming a single sub-pixel on the screen, grouped in threes to form red-green-blue (RGB) pixels. SEDs combine the advantages of CRTs, namely their high contrast ratios, wide viewing angles and very fast response times, with the packaging advantages of LCD and other flat panel displays. They also use much less power than an LCD television of the same size.
After considerable time and effort in the early and mid-2000s, SED efforts started winding down in 2009 as LCD became the dominant technology. In August 2010, Canon announced they were shutting down their joint effort to develop SEDs commercially, signalling the end of development efforts. SEDs are closely related to another developing display technology, the field emission display, or FED, differing primarily in the details of the electron emitters. Sony, the main backer of FED, has similarly backed off from their development efforts.
- "Surface-conduction electron-emitter display" | 2019-11-18 | 26 Upvotes 9 Comments
TV detector van
TV detector vans are vans, which, according to the BBC, contain equipment that can detect the presence of television sets in use. The vans are operated by contractors working for the BBC, to enforce the television licensing system in the UK, the Channel Islands and on the Isle of Man. The veracity of their operation has been called into question in the media.
- "TV detector van" | 2019-08-08 | 151 Upvotes 327 Comments