Why dolls are so creepy and other #FridayFunFacts
And they've done it again folks! A Swedish railway company has named one of its trains “Trainy McTrainface”.
And even though it may seem like the world's gone crazy every time you see that blonde toupé atop an orange smudge of a face emblazoned across the news, take comfort in the fact that the world has always been mad. Adolf Hitler was Time Person of the Year in 1938 and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939. (Okay, so it's not very comforting, but it is interesting.)
And speaking of Cinnamon Hitler, have you ever noticed that less intelligent people seem to be more confident? This is a scientifically researched phenomenon known as the Dunning Kruger effect, after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University. The pair were inspired after hearing reports of a man who held banks up with lemon juice dripping off his face. Dermatological effects aside, the man thought that since lemon juice can be used as invisible ink, his face wouldn't show up on camera. Yes, really.
And there's something else you might have noticed - a disproportionately large number of scary characters in movies and television shows tend to be dolls, mannequins, animated masks, robots, or even aliens, who all do that head-cock-to-the-side thing that's just so inexplicably creepy. This is a phenomenon called The Uncanny Valley, which basically says we feel more and more emotional response to things that appear human, up until a point (the uncanny valley) where the thing is almost, but not quite, human. It's here that we feel unease and discomfort.
And now for my favourite fun fact of the month - why all the ands? Because "and" used to be the last letter of our alphabet, represented by the character “&” and pronounced “and’. Kids in school would recite the alphabet (A B C … X Y Z &“) but couldn’t say “X Y Z and and” so they said “X Y Z and, per se and” (“per se” means “by itself”).. eventually “and, per se and” became “ampersand”, and was ultimately dropped from the alphabet.