Tag Archives | Crowds

Is North Koreans’ Grief Authentic?

nkoreaWig & Pen ponders whether the intense displays of mass, hysterical mourning of the death of Kim Jong Il are genuine, and the facials “tells” for faked sadness:

Two weeks ago, while gazing at photos of North Koreans in mourning–including grown men chewing the scenery–I recalled head shots depicting emotional states in the books and training materials of Paul Ekman. What, I wondered, would Professor Ekman, our leading authority on “reading” emotions from facial expressions, make of that frenzy of facial contortions from the Hermit Kingdom?

Kim Jong Il…knew exactly how the [his] population lined up: loyal core, 5-25%; wavering, 50-75%; hostile, 8-27%. But those who dissented–even in a whisper, even by hanging his portrait askew–ended in prison camps, subjected to forced labor and starvation.

How might Dr. Ekman audit the “grief cred” of our North Korean subjects? He’d certainly have us look for any upward angling of the eyebrows’ inner corners.

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Inflatable Crowds For Rent

In need of a massive crowd of people, but don’t have thousands of adoring followers at your disposal? Why not go with Inflatable Crowd? The company rents out blow-up versions of giant masses of humanity, for use in films, political rallies, or other needs. When decked out in clothing, wigs, and masks and viewed from a distance, the blow-up denizens are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, and are far cheaper than paying large numbers of extras. Their Flickr is pretty disturbing.

The Inflatable Crowd Company was created for SEABISCUIT in 2002. Since then, our Inflatable Crowds have been seen (but not noticed) in over 80 feature films & many TV shows & commercials.


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Why Some Trades Feel Sooooo Good

Photo: Lee Jordan (CC)

Photo: Lee Jordan (CC)

Now we know why most investors act like lemmings. But will we change the way we act next time the crowd rushes to buy or sell? From the Wall Street Journal:

From February through May, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 1000 points in an almost uninterrupted daily march upward. Then came the “flash crash” of May 6 and day after day of losses through May. Now, in mid-June, the market has been up six of the past seven days.

What accounts for these sudden moves? Why do investors so often seem to resemble a school of fish, all changing direction together?

Sometimes the most interesting answers to financial questions come from scientific labs. A study published last week in the journal Current Biology found that the value you place on something is likely to go up when other people tell you it is worth more than you thought, and down when others say it is worth less.

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