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The Daily Word in driving, shooting, falling and dying.

Tony Stewart ran over Kevin Ward, killing him during NASCAR training.

A police shooting sparks violence and looting in MO.

A rocket attack assist resulted in a Ukraine jail break.

James Corden will be the newsest face of late night talk.

A double-decker bus crashed in Times Square.

Be careful what you eat in Colorado.

Which states smoke the most pot?

Cigarette butts can help store electricity.

Don’t take a selfie by a cliff.

APD seeks a suspect in a home invasion on Coal.

There was a shooting at Wyoming and Central.

Happy birthday, Hulk Hogan.

news

The Daily Word in WWI, wacky weather and other worries.

Happy 100th birthday, World War I.

Massive, explosive decompression brought down MH17.

A tornado hit near Boston.

A lightning storm hit Venice Beach.

I wonder if Palin TV will show Lidsville.

Watch the trailer for the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode.

Now worry about kissing-bug disease.

A UFO terrifies Toronto.

Sexual harrassment at Comic-Con exists.

Get ready for the new mass extinction.

Progress Now NM is pushing for $25 fines for marijuana possission.

An Albuquerque hot dog cart was stolen.

What’s happening in Albuquerque today?

Go swimming!

Happy birthday, Steve Morse.

V.23 No.30 | 7/24/2014

The Bugman

New Research Links Pesticide Exposure to Autism

Wherein Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund breaks down new research on the link between in-utero pesticide exposure and autism spectrum disorders.

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news

The Daily Word in celebrity deaths, Germanic sport victories and amazing saucepans.

Germany won the World Cup.

Rest in peace, Tommy Ramone.

Rest in peace, Charlie Haden.

Rest in peace, David Legeno.

Bowe Bergdahl returns to duty.

An inflatable pool could save your life in a scooter accident.

In restaurants, your phone slows down service.

Why do we refrigerate eggs?

The world’s tallest girl … “walked into a ceiling fan.”

Brace yourself for some scary photos.

Making a better saucepan actually is rocket science.

Terrorists: they’re out to get us.

American Idol auditions in Old Town.

Albuquerque could lose Amtrak.

APD filmed Ken Ellis on accident.

What’s happening in Albuquerque today?

I saw you, weirdo.

Happy birthday, Gerald Ford.

music

Now Hear This, Vol. III

Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.

Play Youtube Video
Blouse - "Into Black"

The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.

Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"

Play Youtube Video
Beat Happening - "Black Candy"

Play Youtube Video
Cosmetics - "Black Leather Gloves"

Play Youtube Video
Nick Drake - "Black Eyed Dog"

Play Youtube Video
Nina Simone - "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"

Play Youtube Video
Pictureplane - "Black Nails"

The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"

Play Youtube Video
Timber Timbre - "Black Water"

Play Youtube Video
The Velvet Underground & Nico - "Black Angel's Death Song"

More Videos

news

The Daily Word in faster speed limits, the hot coffee lawsuit and raises for APD.

The kidnapped girls were converted to Islam.

I believe clouds are actually alien spaceships.

What’s the real story behind the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit?

How to buy used stuff.

Rest in peace, Leslie Carlson.

A hipster cruise ship plays “Seven Nation Army.”

Nightclub owners take note: obstructed exits provide for more efficient evacuation without stampeding.

Speculation abounds about Apple buying Beats Electronics.

Learn what’s next in the saga of the exploding whale.

Social media and mental illness are a bad mix.

The Albuquerque to Bernalillo speed limit is going up to 75 mph.

The Signal Peak fire near Silver City has consumed 3,000 acres.

Do APD officers need a raise?

Happy birthday, Burt Bacharach.

news

The Daily Word in baby names, APD sidearms and a Black Mass at Harvard.

Mexican drug cartels will find you in Minnesota.

Noah and Sophia are the new most popular baby names.

In Saudi Arabia, a web editor was sentenced to 1,000 lashes.

A woman beat her child with a baseball bat for clogging the toilet.

It’s hard to make it through a whole song.

Check out these douche chill celebrity photos.

A Harvard student group plans to hold a Black Mass.

APD officers may no longer carry their lucky guns on duty.

KOAT did a nice story about the mentally ill in New Mexico.

There were silent protests at Thursday’s city council meeting.

What’s happening in ABQ today?

Happy birthday, Billy Joel.

news

The Daily Word in Cinco de Mayo, an APD shooting and vampires had it right.

It’s Cinco de Mayo.

A gunman was killed in an APD standoff.

Blood transfusions may hold the secret to eternal youth.

X-Men director Bryan Singer is facing additional sexual allegations.

It’s raining spiders. Hallelujah, it’s raining spiders. Amen.

Here’s the latest in data storage.

What’s going on today?

Some lady doesn’t know if she’s using the personals right.

Happy birthday, Tammy Wynette.

Comedy Matters

Coding Humor

A professor, a reporter and comedy

The draw to comedy is strong. It angers us, offends us, heals us and for some of us, it defines an entire life. Psychology professor Peter McGraw and journalist Joel Warner study comedy extensively in their new book, The Humor Code. These two men are profoundly drawn to comedy and travel the world to try to understand it at a deeply human level.

In the Humor Research Labor HuRLin Boulder, Colorado, McGraw developed a concept about comedy he calls the Benign-Violation Theory. “Humor only occurs,” according to his and Warner’s explanation in The Humor Code, “when something seems wrong, unsettling or threatening (i.e., a violation), but simultaneously seems okay, acceptable, or safe (i.e., benign).” They use various jokes to exemplify their theorysuch as, “Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? Because it was dead.” A monkey falling out of a tree seems to be benign but it turns into a joke when it is revealed that the monkey is dead, a very clear violation.

In the book, McGraw and Warner travel the world testing this theory and asking questions about what makes something funny. This all began with McGraw wanting to try comedy for the sake of science, “so I took him to the Squire,” says Warner. The open mic at the Squire in Denver is notorious for being the most difficult in the country. Or as Warren explains in The Humor Code, “As a local comic put it to me, ‘If you fail at the Squire, not only will you fail hard, but then you will be cruelly mocked.’” As expected, McGraw failed horribly. So badly, in fact, that not only did he break the mic, but after his set the host of the show said, “That’s a sweater vest he’s wearing, not a bulletproof vest. So go ahead and shoot him.” This failure bothered McGraw. He had applied his theory to create jokes and yet he wasn’t able to secure laughsand so began his quest with Warner to test his theory further and perfect his execution of it.

The Humor Code

“The conversations are broader out in the real world,” says McGraw. “Academics are interested in minutiae. But comics are interested in the big questions like: What does it mean for something to be too soon? I got a lot of inspiration from those kinds of conversations.” The structure of the book reflects the kind of conversations McGraw and Warner were having on their travels. “Each chapter deals with a specific question,” says Warner. “Who is funny? How do you make funny? Can you find humor where you least expect it?” Through this process his questions about comedy deepened. Although McGraw still focused on his B/V theory, in this book it becomes much more of a way to look at how to frame discussions about comedy than a prescriptive or formulaic way to construct humor.

Joel Warner and Dr. Peter McGraw in Osaka, Japan
Joel Warner
Joel Warner and Dr. Peter McGraw in Osaka, Japan

Like any good theory it is still under debate and testable, but B/V does seem to hold up in various contexts while providing a nice framework to ask those deeper, broader questions. In The Humor Code, the theory’s application around the world isn’t what’s most interesting or valuable. What makes this book fascinating are the moments we see McGraw on stage working through his material and creating comedywhether he’s failing at an open mic in Denver or getting laughs from a major comedy crowd at the Just for Laughs fest in Montreal, which he just so happened to work his way into even though he had only done comedy once before.

Comics ask themselves, “Who the hell do I think I am, trying to make people laugh?” They often debate vigorously about what is and isn’t funny. They defend their stances or shift their thinking about comedy. The feelings and philosophies comics have about comedy are based on acutely visceral reactions to being on stage. McGraw took to the stage, tried comedy and used himself as a case study. That alone was a bold and noble move toward finding and defining what makes humans laugh.

---

Genevieve Mueller is a writer and comedian living in Albuquerque. She performs all over the country and runs two monthly shows in Albuquerque: Comedians Power Hour and The Comedy Storytelling Show at La Tortuga Gallery. More information can be found at genevievemuellercomedy.com or on Twitter: @fromthefloorup.

The Humor Code:
A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny

by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner
hardcover, $26
Simon & Schuster
news

The Daily Word in Atari, Netflix, Nike and DOJ hearings.

Paul Simon and Edie Brickell were arested at their home.

A woman died in a car crash while posting to Facebook.

Introducing the edible water bottle.

Donald Sterling made racist remarks.

They can turn off your brain with flashes of light.

A Nike employee sold rare sneakers on the black market.

When Netflix works again I will try Netflix Roulette.

The DOJ will hold the first of three public meetings on APD reform tonight.

They dug up the Atari mass grave.

Happy birthday, Jay Leno.

news

The Daily Word in APD protests, mudslides and how you got that dent in your lip.

Mayor Berry held a press conference to address APD protests and concerns of excessive force.

Improper logging led to the Washington mudslide.

A baptism ceremony was swept out to sea.

Elton John is getting married.

The healthcare deadline is here.

Ronan Farrow faces ratings woes.

Learn the proper way to eat Tic Tacs.

You can actually sell your crappy CDs.

How much pee in a swimming pool could kill you?

Learn to flirt scientifically.

Psychedelic drugs can relieve despair in terminal patients.

Happy birthday, Christopher Walken.

V.23 No.13 | 3/27/2014
Red blood cells
All images by David Goodsell

Art Magnified

Inside Information

The science of cells paints a pretty picture

The bedrock of discovery is observation. That’s where a scientific demiurge like Dr. David Goodsell comes in. He’s spent years translating the utterly tiny into the comprehensibly visual.
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V.23 No.5 | 1/30/2014
“42 Horse” by Ralph Greene

Culture Shock

A horse is a horse, of course

Culture Shock zooms you around the city creative to East Meets West, Testimonios de una Guerra and Roll, Drop, Bounce.

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Today's Events

Corrales Growers' Market at Corrales Growers' Market

Fresh, locally grown food and fantastic local music.

Broomdust Caravan • honky tonk at Corrales Growers' Market

Rail Yards Market Opening Season at Albuquerque Rail Yards

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