Archives for posts with tag: meme

A look into the umbrella that covers you from the rain and allows you to text while walking into other people

by Lory Martinez

Brolly Umbrella with knuckles

I first saw this story on Gawker, and I thought I’d share it with you all.

“Brolly,” once an englishism used to describe an umbrella, is now the name of a “text-friendly” umbrella designed to allow users to stay dry and still freely use their phones.  The promo for the new gadget is a  parody of what is now deemed a classic “first world problem” : Not being able to text…in the rain.

Check it out:

As a New Yorker, I’ve had this problem, and have been the victim of many a joke by my friends who offer no assistance and instead watch with wide grins as I fumble with my umbrella and phone at the same time.  I would often find myself thinking, “the struggle is real,” as the umbrella falls to the ground and I get covered in rain anyway. But of course, the best part is when I walk into/bump into a stranger who is most assuredly having the worst of days, and swears me into a stupor.

Umbrellas 05

Umbrellas 05 (Photo credit: Jethro Taylor)

Business, I’m sure, will be “a boomin” for the company as this is a common problem. However, I’m not sure this solves the issue of inattention while in motion. Maybe people will bump into each other more often and be more polite to each other as a result? Perhaps we will come up with a way for us to look where we are going while still browsing our phones… but that’s just a pipe dream, and dangerously Terminator-like.

Oh, wait.


In the mid season premiere of Doctor Who this past Sunday, the 1,000 year old, two-hearted alien known only as “The Doctor” came face-to-face or face-to-screen with this episode’s villain: Evil Wi-Fi. That’s right. A company controlled by an anonymous benefactor has created a Wi-Fi connection that, once clicked on, uploads its users onto a “cloud” where they are stored as living minds.

Cringing yet? Here comes the worst part: the benefactor and his minions are able to hack personalities and increase the appearance of certain traits, such as confidence, intelligence and even paranoia.

Though this sounds like a Conspiracy Keanu meme, the reality isn’t too far from the science fiction. Chances are, you have all your information stored on a Cloud or online storage center like the one in the hit BBC series. Technology has become far more ingrained in our lives than we realize. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing but, after watching this, I think it’s definitely something to think about.

For those of you not familiar with the show, this isn’t the strangest villian “The Doctor” has had to wrestle with. “The Doctor” has been in constant battle with aliens called the “Daleks,”( angry squids wearing really effective armor) for 32 seasons.

I just wanted to share that with you all. Watch Doctor Who. It is a brilliant show and the source of many a “whovian‘s” happiness is conversation about their favorite time-travelling alien.

Remember to tune-in to The Media Review on at 4pm this Wednesday for  a roundtable discussion on changing accents in both radio and everyday speech.

by Alex Baer


philosoraptor meme courtesy of the

           A look into the history of memes and memetic theory
Have you ever wondered why, or how, things just sort of catch on? While nobody might say “sit on it” anymore, plank, or wear fedoras with their three piece suits, they were both at one point common practice. These are what we call memes.

A “meme” is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”
Despite looking like the French word meme (meaning “the same”), meme is a shortening of the Ancient Greek word mimeme, which means “imitated thing.”

The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book,The Selfish Gene. In his book, Dawkins explores the concept of treating ideas as living things, that is to say that they can “evolve,” much like life does.

Just like natural selection relies on variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, to select for certain traits, so too does culture. Memes that do not spread or spread very slowly could be limited by being negatively impacting the people that act as their “hosts.”

With the advent of the Internet, it has become exponentially easier for these memes to potentially propagate and spread themselves out through a population. Before YouTube, there was Email. Remember the dancing baby?

And it’s only gotten better (or worse) from there. Leeroy Jenkins, MAH BUCKET, Honey Badger. Then there are the Advice Animals. Insanity Wolf, Hipster Cat, Confession Bear, 60’s Spiderman. And more are added every day!

While we could include viral videos in our definition, for now, we’ll think of Internet Memes as the ones you might see on Reddit, reblogged on Tumblr, or even on Facebook. For many years, most memes spawned directly from the forum 4chan.

Veteran memes such as Pedobear, Anonymous, and LOLcats call 4chan home. Others stem from the shared context of the userbase: growing up in the 90s, featuring Will and Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as Milhouse from the Simpsons.

In the years since then, memes have exploded in popularity, with the demise of Digg, the rise of Reddit, and the proliferation of recycler sites like 9gag, Tumblr, and Buzzfeed. 4chan continues to create most of the memes out there, but original content isn’t exclusive to the cancerous site.

There seems to be one for almost every single facet of human interaction, but they can all be reduced to a lowest common denominator: they want to make us laugh. And they do so in a way that wouldn’t be possible outside of the Internet.

The vast majority of “memes” today involve a background (for example, either a stock photo of something, a still from a movie or TV show, or even a funny picture), bordered by two lines of white text at the top and bottom of the frame.

In this way, memes could potentially restructure how we look at jokes. Rather than a contextual set-up to a quick punchline, with the context already delineated, any amateur comedian could get right to the funny part.