Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Life of the Party

From Jay Leno's monologue on Monday's Tonight Show
Scientists have been working on a device that will tell when you are boring or irritating in social situations. Who really needs this device?…Scientists.
Normally I'd complain about such stereotypes, but social grace is just not one of our strengths.


  1. I fully agree with Lance says, and I beg to disagree that we cannot be articulate enough. Just that due to the nature of our work we have the capacity to take more criticism, and hence often do not outrightly resent/object/protest some one elses views about us. It is specially a problem getting a second date because girls start assuming that you must be geeky.

  2. Please, please stop propagating this ridiculous stereotype.

    There are a million reasons why someone might not get a first date, but not getting a second date is all your fault.

  3. That suggests a question which should be popular at a party!

    Does the ditribution of people on dates follows a Zipf law?

  4. There are no women on the soda 2007 PC.

  5. There are no women on the soda 2007 PC.

    How is this related to the topic of this post? The remote connection I can see is dates, but that seems to be pushing it....

  6. " grace is just not one of our strengths." Give me a break. There are plenty of excuses for not being empathetic to others' reactions in social situations, and they are generally just that: excuses.

  7. This device is invented to help autistic people relate to those around them.

    It doesn't detect if someone is "boring".
    It works in the opposite direction.
    It detect if someone is "bored" by detecting their facial expressions.

  8. Lance, your comment shows the limited usefulness of this device. We scientists know that we are very often not exciting in conversation. A device seconding this gives us no added knowledge. We need a device to tell us how NOT to be boring. This device is like a nagging back-seat-driver, who readily informs you that you're lost, but cannot help you find your way.

    Seems like the second date test can perform the same task as this machine.

  9. Anon Fri Apr 07, 03:26:43 PM:

    Isn't interesting conversation self reducible?

  10. Somehow I am reminded of the Laputa mathematicians (from Gulliver's Travels), who are always followed by a servant who strikes them with a stick when they are too lost in their thoughts.

    It seems the Minds of these People are so taken up with intense Speculations, that they neither can speak, nor attend to the Discourses of others, without being rouzed by some external Taction upon the Organs of Speech and Hearing; for which Reason those Persons who are able to afford it always keep a Flapper (the Original is Climenole) in their Family, as one of their Domesticks; nor ever walk abroad or make
    Visits without him.

    And the Business of this Officer is, when two or more Persons are in Company, gently to strike with his Bladder the Mouth of him who is to speak, and the right Ear of him or them to whom the Speaker addresses himself.

    This Flapper is likewise employed diligently to attend his Master in his Walks, and upon Occasion to give him a soft Flap on his Eyes; because he is always so wrapped up in Cogitation, that he is in manifest Danger of falling down every Precipice, and bouncing his Head against every Post; and in the Streets, of jostling others, or being jostled himself into the Kennel.