Are first impressions more important than last for TV shows?

In Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky outlined an experiment in which they asked participants to place their hand in a bowl of cold water. In one trial they were asked to remove their hand after 60 seconds and rate the discomfort they suffered. In the other,... [Read More]

Why did the golden age of The Simpsons end? redux - celebrity cameos

Last year, I wrote about the evolving nature of the writing staff as a possible reason for post-golden-age decline of The Simpsons. While I’d hesitate to argue a causal relationship, the decline in episode ratings did appear to correspond roughly to a change in the writing staff. Nevertheless, there are... [Read More]

Am I the asshole?

The Reddit community /r/AmITheAsshole has a simple premise: users describe a particular situation in their lives and others respond with their opinion of whether the original poster (OP) was the asshole in the situation. A vote is made using a set of initialisms: NTA - ‘not the asshole’: the OP... [Read More]

How Ned got Fland-diddly-anderised

One of the many words The Simpsons has given to us is Flanderisation—the gradual erosion of the nuances of a character until they become little more than a parody of themselves. Although, of course, named after Ned Flanders the term has found use in a number of other works; TV... [Read More]

The problem with folding phones

The prospect of a foldable phone/tablet combo has been causing a stir lately, thanks to Samsung teasing their latest innovation: a phone that unfolds into a tablet. While I don’t particularly fancy one of these devices—not that I could afford one—I can appreciate the technological feats that they are. [Read More]

Why did the golden age of The Simpsons end?

Around this time last year, I wrote a post dissecting the decline of The Simpsons from its peak in the mid 90s finding that the golden age of the show spanned an incredible 214 episodes. As a comparison, Friends, which seemed to have been on TV forever, managed 236 episodes... [Read More]

A cynical guide to fixing your gender pay gap

It’s April 5th, the deadline for reporting gender pay gap figures passed last night and your company reported a mean gender pay gap of 23.6%. Already the tabloids are baying for blood and a trending hashtag on Twitter is calling for the boycott of your company’s products. As the headlines... [Read More]

Organising your World Cup sweepstakes using R

Like many others are doing at this time, I’m sure, my friends and I are trying to coordinate a sweepstakes for the upcoming World Cup. For anyone unaware, the general format of a World Cup sweepstakes is: 32 people (or some factor, thereof) pledge an equal sum of money; each... [Read More]

The ups and downs of Arsene Wenger's time at Arsenal

Has there ever been a better case of nominative determinism than a man named Arsene becoming manager of Arsenal, setting the league alight, before ultimately leaving the club like a burning building? The literal seconds of thinking I devoted to that assure me the answer is no. [Read More]

How to avoid getting the middle seat on Ryanair flights

I’ve noticed a lot of indignation lately towards the perceived change in how Ryanair allocates seats. For those unfamiliar with budget airline policies, Ryanair assigns you a seat at random unless you pay a charge—typically between €4 and €10. The ire has been directed at the claim that Ryanair have... [Read More]