Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
An experiment to see how passers-by would react to a tree full of money.
The great comedic actor Peter Sellers would have been 85-years-old today. Here he is seen as Laurence Olivier doing Richard III reciting a Shakespearean version of “A Hard Day’s Night” on the Beatles TV special, “The Music of Lennon and McCartney.”
Scientists say they've carried out the first rigorous analysis of dance moves that make men attractive to women.
The researchers say that movements associated with good dancing may be indicative of good health and reproductive potential.
Their findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
"When you go out to clubs people have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good and bad dancer," said co-author Dr Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University, UK.
"What we've done for the very first time is put those things together with a biometric analysis so we can actually calculate very precisely the kinds of movements people focus on and associate them with women's ratings of male dancers."
Dr Neave asked young men who were not professional dancers, to dance in a laboratory to a very basic drum rhythm and their movements with 12 cameras.
These movements were then converted into a computer-generated cartoon - an avatar - which women rated on a scale of one to seven. He was surprised by the results.
"We thought that people's arms and legs would be really important. The kind of expressive gestures the hands [make], for example. But in fact this was not the case," he said.
"We found that (women paid more attention to) the core body region: the torso, the neck, the head. It was not just the speed of the movements, it was also the variability of the movement. So someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding."
Movements that went down terribly were twitchy and repetitive - so called "Dad dancing".
Dr Neave's aim was to establish whether young men exhibited the same courtship movement rituals in night clubs as animals do in the wild. In the case of animals, these movements give information about their health, age, their reproductive potential and their hormone status.
"People go to night clubs to show off and attract the opposite sex so I think it's a valid way of doing this," Dr Neave explained.
"In animals, the male has to be in good physical quality to carry out these movements. We think the same is happening in humans and certainly the guys that can put these movements together are going to be young and fit and healthy."
Dr Neave also took blood samples from the volunteers. Early indications from biochemical tests suggest that the men who were better dancers were also more healthy.
One Froggy Evening is an approximately seven-minute long Technicolor animated short film written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones, with musical direction by Milt Franklyn. This popular short contained a wide variety of musical entertainment, with songs ranging from "Hello! Ma Baby" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry", two Tin Pan Alley classics, to "Largo al Factotum", Figaro's aria from the opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The short was released on December 31, 1955 as part of Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.
Some critics and observers regard this cartoon short as the finest ever made. Steven Spielberg, in the PBS Chuck Jones biography Extremes & Inbetweens: A Life In Animation, called One Froggy Evening "the Citizen Kane of animated film." (Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 5, Disc 2) In 1994 it was voted #5 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. The film is ranked at IMDb as the sixth best short movie ever. In 2003 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.