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What’s funny? How comedians translate humor.
When it comes to making others laugh, you have to help them observe an absurd fact of life with you.
Paul F. Tompkins is a comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher and Best Week Ever, and he co-starred in There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day-Lewis. He is well known for his numerous appearances on podcasts, including his 100+ appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! He is also the host of the Fusion Channel talk show No, You Shut Up!, The Dead Authors Podcast, the online Made Man interview series Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, the Earwolf podcast SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins, and The Pod F. Tompkast, which was ranked #1 by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment" in 2011.
Paul F. Tompkins is a comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher and Best Week Ever, and he co-starred in There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day-Lewis.
He is well known for his numerous appearances on podcasts, including his 100+ appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! He is also the host of the Fusion Channel talk show No, You Shut Up!, The Dead Authors Podcast, the online Made Man interview series Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, the Earwolf podcast SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins, and The Pod F. Tompkast, which was ranked #1 by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment" in 2011.
PAUL F. TOMPKINS: The first thing you start with when you're trying to write something funny is it has to – it really has to come to you first. I has to be an idea that you have that first makes you laugh, that strikes you as funny. And I think this is – this is always a weird thing to explain to people who are not in comedy what that is like because it's not as if I think of a written out joke that I tell myself. It's really – it's a flash of an idea that strikes you as funny. It's the same for everybody. It's just you, something strikes you as funny it literally strikes you as funny that all of a sudden you're amused by something. And then the job of the comedian, anyone who's trying to express humor to other people, I always think of it as an act of translation. And there's a language that I speak inside my head. There's a language that we all speak. What I have to do is convert it from the language that I speak in my head to a language that everyone will understand. And the heartbreak of it is is that it's never, ever – I'm never ever going to be able to open up my head and let you see it the way that I saw it. I'm only going to come so close. But the goal always is to get close enough. So if I can explain this concept to you I can show you why it is funny than that's the job, you know, then mission accomplished.
But, you know, it's weird to think about but there's that feeling that we all get when we make ourselves laugh, you know. And making yourself laugh is not a shameful thing. It's not an egotistical thing. Everyone does it. Everyone does it. You have an observation and it strikes you as funny. That's just built into us, you know.
I think that the idea of what makes people laugh is the ongoing search and, you know, for me the most heartbreaking thing is there's something that occurred to me as being hilarious that's so funny and I can never explain it to people. I can never fully translate it to people. And that happens occasionally that I can try to reword it, I can try to set it up differently but I can never get it to be as funny to other people as it is to me. And it could be that that's the breakdown of common experience. And that's where our minds are all different. I think that we're the same more than we are different and I think that the commonality of experience that we share is great and broad. And I think those are the things that always hit home the most. I think that we all enjoy silliness to varying degrees but I think everyone can enjoy a relatable thing if it is expressed in a funny way. There's something about that connection that I think is much deeper and much richer a lot of the time. That you may laugh out loud more at a silly thing but it's a different emotion when you're laughing at a thing that you relate to.
- When you're trying to write something funny, it has to be an idea that first strikes you, personally, as funny.
- The reason for this is that, then, it's something you're genuinely amused by. When this is so, it's based on observation of an experience that others may relate to.
- The next step, after this, is to try to translate it for others to understand. Sometimes you can't reword it perfectly for others to appreciate because the words themselves carry different notes of meaning to you. Nevertheless, the aim is to try to keep your audience's jargon, their palette of words, in mind.
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.