Invisibility, Mind-Control, Great Coffee, and a New OS

Lots of interest and blogoshere commentary beginning about “The Mojave Experiment.”

The reaction is reminiscent of one of those Obama or McCain provocative ads posted online, generating far more attention and buzz than the attention they get on the natural by being broadcast.

Sure, it’s a sales pitch, and pretty narrowly geeky at that (thanks GoogleFight!).

But at least it’s an innovative one – as the Wall Street Journal puts it today, “Give Microsoft people credit: They did it with humor, and they weren’t afraid to air the negative stuff.”

Experiments are cool.  Even more fascinating are things that become enshrined as, “The (blank) Experiment.”  Think about it:

Invisibility – there’s the urban legend of “the Philadelphia Experiment.”  That was awesome, inventing a disappearing destroyer (the USS Eldridge) even though it never happened.  Hey, it became a schlocky movie – and the U.S. Navy has had to put up a web page specifically debunking the story.

Mind Control – The Milgram Experiment – fascinating!

More Mind Control – When I was a grad student at Stanford, I wandered over one day to the Psychology Department to see the famous basement where Prof. Phil Zimbardo had conducted “the Stanford Prison Experiment” in 1971.  They say the basement is now haunted… (No they don’t, I made that up.)   That one has been studied incessantly and even controversially recreated by the BBC as a reality show.

Monkeys – But experiments can be fun and surprisingly funny, too.  Ever wonder where the one-hit wonder band Chumbawumba got its name?  From one of those monkeys-and-typewriters experiments, where the term was one of the only vaguely human words produced.  (Per Wikipedia, this “fact” needs citation.)

Fine Coffee – I used to love the Folger’s Coffee hidden-camera commercials, laughing along with everyone at the conceited victims.  Quick set-up, if you (like most) are too young to remember them, people in a “fancy” restaurant would be told they were being served a new richly roasted French coffee, and they’d RAVE and rave about the taste, flavor, depth – but then be told, “It’s actually Folger’s.”  From a can!  My favorite part was the guy who, trying to maintain that shred of haughtiness, asked superciliously, “Can I buy this in a store?”  Oh yeah, you can buy it. And so can everyone else.

Anyway, today’s version: “The Mojave Experiment.”  I like the site a lot by the way – that’s Silverlight as the nifty interface, “you’re soaking in it” to quote another days-gone-by commercial.  Geez I’m old.  [I stand corrected – it’s Flash, not Silverlight.  No correction on the observation that I’m old.]

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One Response

  1. […] Milgram, Stanford Prison Experiment, Philadelphia Experiment, and Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment. with attention deficit disorder who grew up to make Olympic … – IndependentExcepting the New […]


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