The Ideas Factory: From crying at bad films to solar cars – five thoughts we liked this week
1. CULTURE: Can a mediocre movie test the science of crying?
When people are asked to name their favourite weepie film, many will opt for Bambi, Steel Magnolias or Titanic. Not many would nominate The Champ (pictured above), a 1979 remake of the 1931 Oscar-winner.
But a scene in which a young boy cries over his boxer father’s dead body has been proven by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley as the scene most likely to elicit an emotion of pure sadness. Since 1995, the clip has been used to test whether depressed people are more likely to cry and non-depressed people. Another blow to Bambi’s mum.
Source : Smithsonian
2. MILITARY: Crowdsourcing military vehicles
Every week reveals another crowdsourcing project – from annotating photo archives to website translations. Crowdsourcing military vehicles hints at a new level of seriousness for the concept though. In June, America’s first crowdsourced military prototype, the FLYPmode combat support vehicle was unveiled by a team from Phoenix’s Local Motors to President Obama.
Darpa – the US military’s advance research projects agency – has since selected Vanderbilt University to set up a crowdsourcing site, vehicleforge.mil, with the aim of drastically reducing the time it take to design, develop and procure military vehicles. It’s hoped that the project will lead to prototype combat machines being made real by 2014.