Ispectrum magazine #08
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There was a man who wanted to stop time. So deep was his love for the idea that he actually did it. We refer to Dr. Harold Edgerton, the inventor of the strobe flash. Through his photography, he ...

There was a man who wanted to stop time. So deep was his love for the idea that he actually did it. We refer to Dr. Harold Edgerton, the inventor of the strobe flash. Through his photography, he stopped time in its tracks and for the first time we were able to see the wonderful details that escape human eyes. There is no one better then, than Gus Kayafas, Edgerton’s longtime assistant and editor, to provide an article about him. For those who are in London, I suggest you to visit the exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery about his work.
Our second topic is going to challenge the way that we think about height. We have always been told that taller people have many social advantages. Maybe this is true, but Thomas T. Samaras, author of The Truth About Your Height, shows us that taller height can have a dangerous trend…
I have an important question to put to you before continuing with the summary of this issue. Do you care about first impressions?

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  • 1. THE HALO EFFECT Shorter Human Height has its Merits and Demerits Recording history accurately during a time of technological innovation ISPECTRUMMAGAZINE Issue 08/July - August 2014 The man who stopped time D r . H a r o l d E d g e rt o n
  • 2. 1 Features 03 Dr. Harold Edgerton The man who stopped time 04 The invention of the strobe and electronic flash 05 Thoughts from Gus Kayafas on key works by Dr. Harold Edgerton 13 Shorter Human Height has its Merits and Demerits 15 Environmental impact 16 Performance 17 Health and lifespan 21 Famous Short People 25 THE HALO EFFECT: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST IMPRESSION 26 Experimenting with the halo effect 29 The halo effect in our day-to- day lives 33 Recording history accurately during a time of technological innovation: editorial on the importance of preservation 36 Digital archaeology 39 Conservation and preservation 42 Preservation techniques 13 33 25 17 CONTENTS 3
  • 3. 2 Mado Martinez Editorial Director Editorial Director Mado Martinez, madomartinez@ispectrummagazine.com Art Director Rayna Petrova raynapetrova@ispectrummagazine.com Contributing Editors Matt Loveday mattloveday@ispectrummagazine.com Jennifer James Charlotte Shelton Contributing Writers Gus Kayafas Thomas T. Samaras Rob Hutchinson Mark Miller Images www.commons.wikimeadia.org , www.morguefile.com , www.freeimages.com editorial Ispectrum magazine There was a man who wanted to stop time. So deep was his love for the idea that he actually did it. We refer to Dr. Harold Edgerton, the inventor of the strobe flash. Through his photography, he stopped time in its tracks and for the first time we were able to see the wonderful details that escape human eyes. There is no one better then, than Gus Kayafas, Edgerton’s longtime assistant and editor, to provide an article about him. For those who are in London, I suggest you to visit the exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery about his work. Our second topic is going to challenge the way that we think about height. We have always been told that taller people have many social advantages. Maybe this is true, but Thomas T. Samaras, author of The Truth About Your Height, shows us that taller height can have a dangerous trend… I have an important question to put to you before continuing with the summary of this issue. Do you care about first impressions? Do you know how much a first impression can influence you as an individual, or even an entire society? With Rob Hutchinson, our expert in psy- chology, you are going to learn what the halo effect is and how it works. Finally, there is a matter of discussion that we should be worried about:Will the websites and the electronic documents that we use today last forever? Mark Miller challenges publishers to create digital media that will stand the test of time. As always, thank you for reading. Please share your comments with us. We look forward to your feedback. www.ispectrummagazine.com Follow Us admin@ispectrummagazine.com +44 7938 707 164 (UK) Published Bimonthly ISSN 2053-1869
  • 4. by GUS KAYAFAS abstractions 3 Dr. Harold Edgerton The man who stopped time hotography has illumi- nated so many areas of the 20th century, but none more so than the remark- able work by one of photog- raphy’s true pioneers. As an Institute Professor at MIT, and theinventorofthe‘strobe’flash in the early 1930s, ‘Doc’, as he was affectionately known, stopped time in its tracks. For the first time we were able to see the wonderful arc of the tennis racket or a bullet break- ing a sheet of glass and, of course, a milk drop splash at the moment of impact. P
  • 5. 4 Harold Eugene Edgerton, the first of Frank and Mary Edgerton’s three children, was born in Fremont, Nebraska, on April 6, 1903. As a child Edgerton constantly sought to uncover how things worked. He was fascinated by motors and machines of all kinds and enjoyed taking them apart, fixing them and putting them back together. During high school, Edgerton worked sum- mers at the Nebraska Power and Light Company where he went from sweeping floors to repairing downed lines. After he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineeringin1925attheUniversity of Nebraska, Edgerton accepted a one-year research position at General Electric in Schenectady, New York – where he worked with generators and large motors. Edgerton’s long-standing affiliation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began with his enroll- ment as a graduate student in electrical engineering in 1926. At MIT Edgerton was studying the properties of synchronous motors, in which the speed of the motor is integrally related to the frequency of the electric current running it. Edgerton was interested in the effect of sudden changes on the motor, and, while conducting an experiment, the mercury thyristor switch overheated and began flash- ing. This normally would require wait- ing for the unit to cool down but Edgerton noticed that the flash of the light synchronized with the motor’s rotating parts and made them appear stationary – this flash of inspiration turned a setback into a powerful tool for analysis. His natural curiosity had includ- ed learning photography from an uncle when he was a teenager and this, coupled with the evolu- tion of his observation, changed the photographic world. From 1931 onwards, Edgerton advanced and improved strobes and used them to freeze objects in motion so that they could be captured on film by still and movie cameras.
  • 6. 5 Edgerton never thought to reserve the strobe for purely tech- nical subjects. By the mid- 1930s, he was photographing every- day phenomena; ten- nis players hitting a serve, golfers swing- ing at a ball, water running from a fau- cet, milk drops hitting a plate and guns fir- ing. Many journalists, photographers, scien- tists, inventors, indus- trialists and naturalists have paid tribute to him for altering the way we look at the world. Although he always saw himself primarily as a scientist his legacy survives not only in the scientific advances he made - Edgerton died with nearly 70 patents to his name - but also in the extraordinary aesthetic and abstract qualities of the images he produced. For sixty years he combined practical and funda- mental engineering tal- ents and aesthetic sen- sibility, making “frozen movement” part of our modern visual culture. Art institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Royal Photographic Society in London, have been exhibit- ing Edgerton’s photo- graphs since the late 1930s and his prints are now in countless museum collections worldwide. Many journalists, pho- tographers, scientists, inventors, industri- alists and naturalists have paid tribute to him for altering the way we look at the world and for controlling and explaining its unseen happenings. In 1940, the French diver, Pete Desjardin, visitedEdgertonatMIT’s new Bauhaus influ- enced pool. Four years previously, Desjardin, a French Jew had won a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. This multiflash image was taken in total darkness, so Desjardin had to perform his dive from the high board with no visibility. The total darkness was necessary as the flash strobes were not Thoughts from Gus Kayafas on key works by Dr. Harold Edgerton:
  • 7. 6 photo: Pete Desjardin Diving, 1940, Silver gelatin print - 1980 © Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
  • 8. 7 powerful enough to overcome even the dimmest lighting. The strobe fired at regular intervals so the sep- aration between images increased as Desjardin’s speed increased – overlapping body images at the beginning and a separated and defined “Superman” graceful entry into the water. Edgerton constantly refined the elements of the prob- lem, always looking for faster films, better lenses, more efficient flash tubes and reflectors (initially hand made). He involved students and other interested people to aim the flash reflectors, help set up the equipment, and tender their insight and ideas. The total experience was often greater than the simple sum. Moran was an American born ten- nis player, who played at Wimbledon in 1949. Famously well known for wearing short skirts (whereas the other female players would all wear long ones) and scandalously lacy knickers, Moran was accordingly renowned on the tennis circuit. Edgerton’s wife (Esther May Garrett) created a black velvet kimono outfit for his subjects – in particular the athletes – to wear whilst they were being shot. The multi flash process could fire around 50 times in half a second, and hence a white outfit would be totally overwhelmed and all the details lost. However head- strong Moran felt that her image dictated that she should wear her short white skirt (and lacy knick- ers!) and therefore in this image there is almost a look of ‘white blast’ where the figure should be. Gus and his fellow students often noted Edgerton’s luck – given that this shot in particular was once again made in total darkness, the ball can be seen at the center of the racket – and yet the flash was started ahead of time. Edgerton counted the photogra- phers Etienne Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge as inspira- tions for his work, but saw that their exposure times were not short enough – and only gave an indica- tion of the flow of the action – rath- er than the specific details as well as the flow as seen in this print.
  • 9. 8 photo:Gussie Moran, 1949, Silver gelatin print – 1975 © Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
  • 10. 9 When Gus was a freshman in 1965, at MIT, he noticed a Xerox black and white post- er all over MIT bul- letin boards of this image, stating ‘Lecture by Harold Edgerton – Doc – How to Make Applesauce at MIT!’ . Featuring a 30” cali- ber bullet (faster than the speed of sound) perched on a long shell from a military rifle, Edgerton, always seek- ing the most effective way to communicate, selected the blue back- ground and the unique support – hence dra- photo:Bullet through the Apple, 1964, Dye Transfer print – 1984 © Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
  • 11. 10 matizing the shot. Edgerton’s work has been shown at MoMA since the 1930s and is included in most major art museum collections worldwide with hun- dreds of exhibitions. He was uncomfortable with the description as artist, but strove for clarity, a sense of won- der, and surprise, and understood the formal beauty that influenced his editing and presen- tation. Edgerton was a true resource for all at MIT. For decades his dark- rooms, lab, and stu- dios were available to all who completed his course and exhibited a sense of responsibili- ty. Many theses, cross- departmental projects, and impressive date- nights saw fruition in the Strobe Lab. There were no face cards left in the decks of cards at the Lab; fruits, light bulbs, and balloons had a very short life, and the lesson of how much work it entailed to design, test, rede- sign, set-up, and clean up to discover a few micro-seconds of clar- ity was as fundamen- tal a life-lesson as any undergrad or seasoned PhD was to garner at MIT. Until 1965, one could even use the high power rifle that made this picture; at that time a group of students, attempting to “applesauce” other fruits, worked into the midnight hours cali- brating, dealing with sensitive and unstable sound triggers, setting up the heavy stand for the gun, finally fired and realized they had not properly lined up the “bullet catcher” – the .30 cal. projec- tile pierced 2 (empty) classroom walls and the use of more pow- erful guns was relegat- ed to the “Destructive Testing Chambers” at MIT. All of Edgerton lab classes were based on series of Experiences; he never referred to these situations as experiments, with one right answer. The results were there to ponder, wonder about, be frustrated by, even to celebrate. Insights gained by what actu- ally occurs instead of simple confirmation of what is thought to be known are fundamen- tal to learning and dis- covery. It is no surprise that Doc referred to his exhibitions as “Seeing the Unseen”.
  • 12. 11 A scientist first and foremost, Edgerton was pivotal in develop- ing early aerial and oceanic recon- naissance. Edgerton’s research for the military began in 1939 when he was asked by the US Army Air Force to design a strobe lamp strong enough to allow nighttime aerial photography of enemy activities on the ground. Gus explains ‘Doc was contacted at the beginning of WWII by Major George Goddard at Wright photo:Aerial views of the Stonehenge Ruins, 1944, Vintage silver gelatin print © Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
  • 13. 12 Field in Dayton, Ohio. He was asked if he could make an electronic flash that could take night pictures from a low-flying plane of the ocean surface along the shore line of the northeast US - the purpose was to reveal German U boats surfacing at night to recharge their batteries.’ A more powerful version could illu- minate a square mile from 1,500 feet. ‘The technique was simply a very powerful xenon flash tube in a highly reflective and efficiently designed reflector, with a capacitor of 1/2 Farad (the size and weight of a very large coffin). It generat- ed one million beam candle power seconds! By the time the flash recharged the plane had flown a mile and was ready to fire again. Development and testing of this equipment, including the D-5 flash unit and other devices, continued until 1944 and included trips by Edgerton to Ohio, Italy, England, and France. Looking for a remote site to do the final tests, just weeks before D-Day, Doc discov- ered Stonehenge; it remained a lifelong interest. His photographs revealed an absence of German forces at key strategic points just prior to the Allied attack on June 6, 1944. For this work he was award- ed the National Medal Of Freedom in 1946. Harold Edgerton was a mas- ter educator, an innovator, a sci- entist and inventor, an Academy Award winner, a collaborator with thousands of thesis students, and with such luminaries as Jacques Cousteau, Brad Washburn, and the National Geographic Society. His images, seen in the popular media as well as art museums, changed how everyone saw and understood the world. A few months before he died he was asked to speak with a group of major donors to MIT by the Chairman of the Corporation of MIT (the former President of MIT and before that, a student and teaching assistant of Doc’s). He was asked what had he learned in more than 60 years at MIT. His reply was “Tell everyone everything you know, close deals with a handshake, work like hell, and have fun!” Good advice….
  • 14. Shorter Human Height has its Merits and Demerits by Thomas T. Samaras 13 ince we were born, our minds have been imprinted with certain concepts related to human height. Unfortunately, not all these concepts are correct. In fact, our idolization of greater human height is based on much misinfor- mation, and many researchers view rapid growth and taller height as a dangerous trend, including the world- renowned anthropologist, Ashley Montagu. In addition, our height bias has caused billions of people to suf- fer abuse as children and prejudice as adults. To challenge this bias, I wrote a book called, The Truth About Your Height. The following summa- rizes my findings. S
  • 15. Almost forty years ago, my focus was longevity and not height. My thesis was based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law says that all systems become dis- ordered with time, and the level of disorder is related to increased mass and energy. I applied this thesis to humans and predicted that as our body got larger and used more energy, it would become disordered faster and this in turn would accelerate our aging. I also decided to assess the impact of increasing the body size of billions of people on our resources, envi- ronment, economy, food and water needs, and energy demands. My findings are summarized next. The value of small or large body size depends on our how it helps individuals and the human race to survive and develop in our environ- ment. Thus, in our earlier history, strength and tall height were useful in warfare and hunting large ani- mals. However, in an environment of scarcity, smaller bodies need 14
  • 16. 15 less food, water and other resources and thus promote survival. For example, in today’s world, a population of smaller people would ameliorate many of our problems. We would need less food, water, farmland, and energy to support billions of smaller people. While some experts may argue that taller peo- ple are more produc- tive, Edmundson and Sukhatme found small- er size rarely reduces productivity. It is well known that taller people get high- er-level jobs and make more money than short- er people. This is cer- tainly an advan- tage. However, this does not prove that small- er people are less capable. After all, the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were short but very productive. In addition, mod- ern Chinese, Japanese, Indians andSouthKoreans have also shown great achieve- ments in spite of being substan- tially shorter than Europeans. On an individu- al basis, shorter people have fast- er reaction times, greater endur- ance and higher maxi- mum oxygen uptake per kilogram of body mass. They are also more agile because
  • 17. 16 they can rotate faster and are stronger in pro- portion to their weight. Shorter people excel in long-distance running, diving, certain skiing events, horse racing, racecar driving, gym- nastics, weight lifting, boxing, wrestling, mar- tial arts, figure skating, and ballet. Under simi- lar conditions and train- ing, shorter people are less likely to damage their backs and joints because of reduced stress on these struc- tures. A large study of car accidents found smaller bodies were less likely to suffer from injuries and deaths. In contrast, taller people excel in basketball, foot- ball, swimming, rowing and field events. Taller people in devel- oped countries have higher life expectancies than shorter people in developing countries. For this reason, many expertsassumethattall- er height is a reflection of better health and lon- gevity. Unfortunately, our greater life expec- tancy in the developed world does not mean we are healthier. Instead, many experts associate our life expectancy with reduced infant mortal- ity, improved sanitation and immunization pro- grams, and better med- ical care. Our medical practitioners are cer- tainly extremely profi- cient in keeping older people with various ail- ments alive but this is not a sign of better health. A Gallup poll found that 86% of the US work force had at least one chronic health problem or was obese. In contrast, Dr. Harold Elrick ,MD and his team studied short popula- tions in Hunzaland, Vilcabamba, and Abkhazia, and found people over 75 years of age to be exception- ally vigorous in mind and body in spite of low calorie and protein intake and lack of med- ical facilities. In the West, most studies find taller peo- ple have lower coro- nary heart disease (CHD) than shorter people. Recent stud- ies indicate that people
  • 18. of a lower economic class have high rates of CHD, independent of other risk factors. We also know that people with a lower income are shorter, and have higher rates of obe- sity, smoking and sub- stance abuse. When I did a study based on worldwide data, I found shorter popula- tions not only had lower heart disease than tall- er Western people but in many cases were entirely free of CHD and stroke. My findings were published in the Indian Heart Journal about a year ago. I chal- lenged Western studies because early in the 1900s, CHD was rare in Europe and the US; yet people were shorter than today. If being tall reduces CHD, then why isn’t it lower today than in the early 1900s? In addition, a twentieth century study found Northern Europeans had much higher heart disease compared to shorter Southern Europeans, and based on 2 million World War I recruits, Davenport and Love reported that tall recruits had more heart problems than shorter ones. Extensive research shows shorter people tend to live longer. For example, a US gov- ernment report found Asians had the lowest 17
  • 19. overall death rate and were shorter than other ethnic groups. Latinos and Native Americans were taller and had higher mortality rates. The Blacks and Whites were the tallest and had the highest mortal- ities. Everyone knows that women live longer than men. Many experts attribute this to female hormones. However, smaller size seems to be the explanation as Stindl reported years ago. For example, US men average 9% taller than women and have a 9% lower life expectan- cy at birth. The same inverse relationship applies to men and women in Japan and Poland. Salaris, Poulain and I published a paper on male longevity in an isolated Sardinian vil- lage. The men in this village were shorter than the rest of Sardinia and had the highest percentage of centenarians. We found that shorter men lived about two years longer than tall- er men. The heights of the men were obtained from military records and the population was genetically homoge- neous since they inter- married due to their isolation. Their life- style and diet was also very similar. Thus, the many variables in life- style and diet that con- found Western studies were minimized in this study. These findings were consistent with a Spanish study of one million deceased men that found shorter men lived longer. I would like to note that tall people can live a long time and many can reach 100 years of age. The famous econ- omist, John Kenneth Galbraith, was 203 cm tall and lived for 98 years. If tall people experienced slow and protracted growth, they 18
  • 20. 19 should have better longevity com- pared to early maturers. However, tall people need to keep their weight low, eat a healthful diet and exer- cise regularly. Most people are unaware that as the body gets taller and main- tains the same proportions, weight increases as the cube of the height increase. For example, a 10% increase in height increases weight by 33%. Surface area does not increase as fast as weight e.g. sur- face area would increase by 21%. The reason for the disproportion- ately larger increase in body weight with height is due to the fact that when we get taller, we also get wider and thicker. As a result, a population averaging 10% taller, increases demands on our annual food, water and energy needs by 33%. For example, if a population of 300 million Americans increased by 10%, we would require 50 mil- lion more tons of food, 30 trillion gallons of water, and 16 quadril- lion BTUs (BTU-the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temper- ature of one pound of water by one degree F) of energy. Obviously, this would add large amounts of gar- bage, carbon dioxide and other pol- lutants to our landfills, atmosphere and water supplies. If we assume housing, furniture, and transporta- tion vehicles are made proportion- ately larger to accommodate big- ger people, the demand for wood, metals, minerals and plastics would increase by several hundred million tons.
  • 21. 20 An increase in economic costs is also related to a population of larger people. For our 10% taller US model, the costs of additional food, water, energy and natural resources are substantial. Other costs related to increasing human size are related to garbage disposal and clean water production. We will need to invest much of our income in providing drinkable water to our population, which is already a prob- lem in much of the world. Health care costs would also increase due to sicker people. Our diet and life style have already created huge expenses in this area and increased height will increase them further. When all these factors are com- bined they would require an annual US expenditure of about $1 trillion US dollars. As can be seen, increasing body size is not free. If taller, heavier people were much more creative or productive, bigger size might be justified. Yes, many tall peo- ple are successful and productive but are these due to their taller height? I doubt it. It is more like- ly that success is due to motiva-
  • 22. 21 tion, opportunity and family and social support—the business and academic achievements of smaller US Asians prove the point. Some of the world’s greatest achievers have been shorter than average as illustrated next. When famous shorter people meet their admirers in person, they often hear: “I thought you would be taller.” This assumption is unwarranted because the world’s history is full of famous shorter people. Let’s take a look at some of them who range from less than 152 to 170 centimeters. When famous shorter people meet their admirers in person, they often hear: “I thought you would be taller.” In the case of business success, Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City is on the short side. Others include Andrew Carnegie, Aristotle Onassis, Armand Hammer, Ross Perot, Herbert Haft, and David Murdock. Famous short leaders include Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, President Madison, Alexander the Great, Ben-Gurion, Joan of Arc, Vietnamese General Giap, Admiral Nelson, Prince Eugene of Austria, and General Krulak.
  • 23. 22 In music, Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven and Stravinsky were on the short side. If we look at artists, we find Picasso, Juan Miro, Thomas Benton (US), Salvador Dali, and Michelangelo. In the movies, Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman, and Richard Dreyfus are well-known shorter actors. Famousscientistsinclude:Millikan,Michelson,McClintock,Einstein,Steinmetz, and Buckminster Fuller. Great athletes include Tara Lipinski, Maradona, Pele, Jorge Campos, Scott Hamilton, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Olga Korbut, and Suleymanoglu. Great writers include John Keats, Alexander Pope, Voltaire, Jean Paul Sartre, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and Upton Sinclair.
  • 24. 23 A natural question in response to this paper is: Can we do anything about increasing body size? Many research- ers, such as Stini, Walker, Kaplan, and Farb, have attributed our increased height and lean body weight to over nutrition, not healthier nutrition. We also know that a nutri- tious but low calorie diet produces smaller ani- mals that are healthy and live longer than those that eat all they want. However, there is another factor to con- sider. We are not far from allowing parents to have their children made taller through genetic engineering. If we do this, what will stop us from producing taller children for each subsequent genera- tion? We could produce a world of giants. To my knowledge, virtually all scientists and govern- Robert Wadlow (1918–1940) is the tallest per- son in medical history for whom there is irrefut- able evidence. Wadlow reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m)in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22. His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death. Source:Wikipеdia.org
  • 25. 24 weight and chronic disease. Today we eat twice as much protein as we need. However, many sources, such as Tufts University, have reported that red meat and processed meats promote cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Considerable research has shown high protein diets during infancy and childhood promote faster growth and later obesity. In conclusion, it is obvious from the obe- sity epidemic that over nutrition is a worldwide problem. A healthful but moderate calorie diet starting before preg- nancy and continuing through life would avoid excessive growth and the harmful ramifica- tions discussed in this article. Our health and productivity would also improve through bet- ter nutrition. However, these improvements won’t happen unless we de-emphasize our ado- ration of rapid growth and tall height. ments ignore this sce- nario. They don’t see that continued increas- es in body size would only multiply the harm- ful aspects of greater numbers of people. When we were hunt- er gathers and agricul- turalists we ate sim- ply and did not have access to high sugar, fat and salt diets. Meat was not hormone and fat laden. During the industrial revolution, we saw a progres- sive increase in animal protein intake along with increased height, Post Note: This May 2014, a large, 50-year study found shorter men lived longer. Citation: He Q, Morris BJ, Grove JS, Petrovitch H, Ross W, et al. (2014) Shorter Men Live Longer: Association of Height with Longevity and FOXO3 Genotype in American Men of Japanese Ancestry. PLoS ONE 9(5): e94385. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094385
  • 26. THE IMPORTANCE Of THE FIRST IMPRESSION he halo effect is a cognitive bias that results in the judgement of the character of another person being unduly influenced by the overall first impression. This bias is widespread throughout society and can heavily influ- ence feelings of attraction. An example of the halo effect at work would be when we form a favourable opinion about someone despite knowing little about them. Just because someone is good at doing A and B does not necessarily mean they are good at C and D, but we assume they are. This also works in a negative way too - if someone is a thief we may assume they are a bad person, although it is possible that there are good aspects to their char- acter too. Edward Thorndike coined the phrase originally and research has shown how it is especially relevant in not just attraction but the judicial process and education systems. THE HALO EFFECT: by Rob Hutchinson website www.ispectrummagazine.com T 25
  • 27. 26 Thorndike was the first research- er to support the halo effect with any empirical evi- dence. In his article ‘The Constant Error in Psychological Ratings’ in 1920 he created the name the halo effect, due to noticing in a past study that estimates of character traits in a person were very posi- tive and highly correlated. Was it possible that this person could have so many good characteristics across the board? In hope of find- ing a cognitive bias Thorndike car- ried out his own experiment. He asked two commanding officers to evaluate their men in physicality, leadership, personal qualities and intelligence. Thorndike wanted to see if the rating of one characteris- tic corresponded to another. In fact there was a huge correlation, with soldiers rated all highly or almost all negatively in all categories. Nisbett and Wilson (1977) aimed to try and discover how aware people were of the halo effect. For something that is such a key influ- ence in how we judge people and make inferences, surely we would have an inkling of the process? Nisbett and Wilson didn’t think so, and designed a clever experiment to test out their hypothesis. College students were asked to evaluate a psychology professor as they watched a videotape of him being interviewed. The students were divided into two groups, with each group shown a different interview of the same instructor. The profes- sor was a French speaking Belgian who spoke English with a noticeable accent. In one tape he appeared as almost the perfect professor - kind, respectful and likeable. However, in the other he came across as a cold and distrustful person with a rigid teaching style. After the video students in both groups were asked to evaluate the professor based on physical appearance, mannerisms Experimenting with the halo effect
  • 28. 27 and his accent. They were also asked how much they thought they liked the teacher on an 8 point scale. As a final part of the study some of the students were told that the research- er was interested to know if how much they thought they would like the professor had any bearing on their ratings of him, whilst others were asked the opposite - how much the charac- teristics they just rated influenced their liking of the teacher. Amazingly, the students had no idea why they gave the responses they did. They could not draw a link between their lik- ing of the teacher and the ratings of the char- acteristics. This clearly shows that the students were totally unaware of the halo effect in action. In fact, they were con- vinced that their rat- ings had absolutely no bearing at all on if they thought they would like the professor or not. Without realising it, we make inferences and judgements, all the time thinking they are our own and not influ- enced by anything else. Attractiveness com- monly produces the halo effect. How each of us views attractive- ness in a person differs drastically, but it is like- ly that if we find some- one physically attractive we will also see them as having other good qualities such as intelli- gence and a good sense of humour. Numerous studies have shown how the production of a halo effect is tied into our attraction to a person - it is very rare that if we find a person attractive we also think they are mean or uncar- ing. An experiment that demonstrates the halo effect well was carried out by Dion & Berscheid in 1972. They wanted to investigate the rela- tionship between the halo effect and attrac- tion. Sixty participants were given three pho- tos to look at, one of an attractive individu- al, one of an average
  • 29. 28 looking individual and the last of an unattract- ive individual (how did they make sure that each individual fell into the category of attrac- tive, average and unat- tractive to each partici- pant? Good question…). Participants were asked to judge the photos along with the charac- ter traits they thought that each individual in the photos had. The results showed that overwhelmingly the more attractive indi- vidual was judged to have the most desir- able personality traits, demonstrating that just because someone is good at A (being phys- ically attractive) they are good at B (warm), C (friendly) and so on. Essentially, first impres- sionscount.Whenmeet- ing someone we usually assess them first physi- cally, as we are able to construct an impression of if we like someone or not before we even talk to them. Interestingly, once this first impres- sion is made it is very difficult to change it. This is not just applica- ble to attractiveness, as the halo effect can be produced in the world of business and media. At a job interview we
  • 30. 29 all know how important a first impression is, and the likelihood is that if you make a good one then the interviewer will assume you are not just good at what you do, but are in fact a good person. In the media many of us have people we look up to, be it actors or athletes. They are good in their chosen sport or career, and if they advertise a new product, for example, shampoo, we may even go out and buy it based only upon their endorsement. Are they experts in shampoo? Doubtful, but if we view them as a good and trust- worthy person, we assume they know what they are talking about and the shampoo really is going to give you the smoothest hair in the office. The halo effect is particu- larly prominent in the world of business. One example can be found in how man- agement go about making redundancies. Do people lose their jobs because they were the worst at what they did or the most expendable? You would assume that the ones who would go are those with the least experi- ence, shortest time at the company or on the biggest wage. However, it is not as cut and dry as that. Often those who dodge the bullet are being pro- tected by the halo effect, which is a common bias in performance appraisals. If a supervisor is bas- ing an evaluation on purely one The halo effect in our day-to- day lives
  • 31. 30 characteristic, such as dedication to the job, the halo effect comes in to play. If an employee turns up ten minutes early every morn- ing then he or she would surely be assumed to be highly dedicated to the company. However, if they turn up early because their train arrives at a certain time and and not out of a desire to get cracking on a Monday morning, then the supervi- sor has been conned into giving a high score for nothing. Especially if that employee did virtually nothing all day when the supervisor cannot see them. If the supervisor draws a general impression based on one characteristic then this person might well keep their job - even if they are the least productive in the whole office! It is not necessary that the one characteristic they evalu- ate and generalise from be a mis- taken view - someone can be very intelligent and rightly appraised as being so, but if they generalise this intelligence into meaning they are an all round good employee this is not necessarily true. How can the halo effect be avoided? By mak- ing informed decisions and looking at staff as a whole and not basing evaluations on individual character- istics. This may well be easier said than done, as Nisbett and Wilson previously showed, people are very unwilling to accept that their views have been influenced by anything other than their own judgement.
  • 32. 31 Have you ever noticed how you can view oth- ers in your life as all good or all bad? Doesn’t it seem strange that if someone we know, and view as generally a good person, does something wrong we are surprised and say how out of character it was and that they should be for- given? After all, every- one makes mistakes. But if someone we don’t like and view as a bad apple makes a mistake we come down on them like a ton of bricks and remark how it’s just so typical of them. Our perceptions have been influenced by general- ising one characteristic to the whole person. There is one period in time that this becomes even more pronounced - at the time of death. When people die our perception of them can undergo a huge change. How many people speak badly of someone after they have died? Even if in life the person was truly awful with hardly a grain of goodness in them, after death we tend to latch onto some pinprick of light or one good deed, and remem- ber them for this. Not only is this active with our friends and family, it also extends to those in the public eye. Of course, this isn’t true for everyone. The stop-and-search policies of the police have been brought into question over the last few years in England and the United States. Claims of racial profil- ing have been strong- ly made as evidence shows that the major- ity of stop-and-search suspects are black peo- ple, even though they are the minority in their respective coun- tries. Could the halo effect be influencing the police when they stop a suspect? If this sus- pect acts aggressively towards them, swears or does any other action that gives a negative first impression, then the police may well decide that this per- son warrants searching. For example, if a sus- pect is stopped and is seen smoking in the
  • 33. 32 car next to his or her child, blowing smoke in their direction, this one negative action would make most of us assume that the per- son has an unfavour- able personality. From this we extrapolate one bad aspect to cover the characteristics of the person as a whole, which is essentially how the halo effect works. Of course, this still doesn’t explain why more black people are stopped and searched than whites, but it is likely that the police’s first impression of a suspect, or the sus- pect’s initial behaviour is a contributing factor. In the United States, where in some minority communities the police are viewed with sus- picion and aggression, the suspect’s response to the police is more confrontational, mak- ing it more likely that a halo effect is produced. The halo effect is very powerful in helping or hindering us when we form opinions. In the classroom a teacher may see a child act- ing naughty on the first day and generalize from that one situation that the child is always badly behaved and treat him as such for the rest of the school year. In court a jury may judge based on first impres- sion rather than the facts. The question is, now that you are aware of the halo effect, will it stop you judging by first impression alone? The research suggests that you won’t.
  • 34. 33 ecording the story of human- kind is an important, sometimes arcane job assigned to scribes, printers, publishers and librari- ans. Scribes in ancient times received training to record and duplicate error free books, laws and stories. The scribes took care in their use of the ink, paper, format, corrections, stor- age and destruction of documents. The printing press, heralded as one of the most significant inventions of humankind, employed many of the same standards used by the scribes. The scribes and printers of their time were critical of how they recorded history. They ensured today’s generations the ability to R
  • 35. by Mark Miller Iowa, USA Recording History Accurately During A Time Of Technological Innovation: 34 enjoy copies of books hundreds of years old as well as books thousands of years old. Classic books, fables and poems passed down from generation to generation – from story tellers, to clay tablets and to paper. Today we see a new format for books and literature. Similar to the past, con- temporary scholars seek to preserve text by digitizing it into bits and bytes; as technologies evolve we need to secure history and record it accurately. One new challenge for publishers is to create digital media that will stand the test of time. editorial on the importance of preservation
  • 36. A group from London, Internet Week Europe 2010, has renewed interest in how we have archived digital media since the birth of the web by creating an exhibition organized by Jim Boulton. They sought to uncover and restore some of the first websites to appear on the World Wide Web. The sites they restored were only 20 years old, yet the software and hardware had become fragmented. In some casesthesiteshadcom- pletely disappeared. The exhibit archived the formative years of digital culture. Curator Jim Boulton said of the importance of the event “Today, when almost a quarter of the earth’s 35 The first look at the World Wide Web. 1993
  • 37. 36 population is online, this artistic, commer- cial and social history is being wiped from the face of the earth. Unless we act now to archive our recent digital past, we are in real danger of losing the building blocks of the web that have so shaped mod- ern culture.”1 In 100 years the inter- net will look vastly different from today. Technology will change; HTML 5 will not be the standard internet lan- guage. Media compa- nies of today buy and sell technologies rap- idly - formats evolve with each sale. 200 years from now it’s possible that the inter- net could be replaced with something entirely new: today we see the development of the first quantum networks. We can not predict, with certainty, what text will survive the next 1,000 years, but we can use techniques to make preservation more like- ly. Librarians and publish- ing professionals study the past to anticipate the future. By looking at what we have saved from the past, they can see what we need to preserve for the future. Take the Dead Sea Scrolls for example. Archaeologists have Choosing formats. Library of Congress Digital Preservation
  • 38. 37 recovered an amazing amount from the fragmented text. Almost every book from the Hebrew Bible was part of the origi- nal manuscripts found in 1947. It’s incredible to see scientists identify the circumstances that allowed sometimes fragmented scrolls to survive more than 2,000 years – the type of ink, the arid condi- tions, the lack of tanning materi- als, the type of parchment, stor- age techniques and they way the text was reproduced over time. Archaeologists who restored the Dead Sea Scrolls worked in a basic mindset similar to the digital archaeologists from London in 2010 by uncovering, searching through and restoring files. Increasingly media is transferred or originates in a digital format, and much of the information is now considered digital-born. The text Dead Sea Scrolls Before Unraveled (Habermann, Abraham Meir, 1901)
  • 39. 38 of digital-born media does not exist outside of bits and bytes. It is fragile. This fragility will pose new problems for future generations of digital archaeologists. Professional archivists of today make an effort to ensure success for future treasure hunt- ers. They study the digital equivalent to the conditions that allowed the Dead Sea Scrolls to survive. Some of today’s professionals delve into the type of computer code, file for- mats, electronic stor- age devices, meta data and duplicate records used for communica- tion. The goal for con- temporary digital pres- ervationists: make sure digital media is inter- pretable in the indefi- nite future. The value of rare books, news- papers, magazines,
  • 40. 39 research, photographs, art and music are part of what is regarded as important. The mes- sage of the value of these works seems to be getting out to the general public. In pop- ular culture today we witness examples from the recent past that may prove instructive to us about our future. In the 2014 movie Monuments Men, the character Frank Stokes states, “You can wipe out an entire genera- tion, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they’ll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it’s as if they never existed.” This dialog echoes the future value in digital-born media. As valuable as digital- born media can be, we need to remember it is also inherently fragile with a short shelf life. This became evident when my editor and I began research on George Lambert, a two time Olympic medal- ist and WWII veteran. Born in a small, Iowa town in the United States he passed away in Wisconsin, US in 2012. Few people with whom we discussed Lambert knew of his accomplishments. In fact, the Preservation Society for his home county had no records of his achievements. We conducted our orig- inal research by look- ing at his online obitu- ary. On the first visit to the obit, everything seemed fine and nei- ther of us had thought
  • 41. to print or save the website for future read- ing. Weeks later, when we went back to reread the obit, we received a 404 error: the page was already missing. Just six months after this Olympic medal- ist died, his obit went missing! Lambert’s obit had the typical lifes- pan of a webpage: 10 months.1 Factors that may contribute to rela- tively short lifespans of websites are dynamic URLs, companies which stop supporting a blog or publishing platform and fragmentation of hardware/software. The speed in which websites appear or dis- appear is so dynam- ic that the Modern Language Association has changed their cri- teria for a bibliogra- phy. Much of their rea- soning stems from the short life-span of web- pages. MLA no longer requires a URL for text cited from a webpage. Author, the company publishing the mate- rial, the format for the publication, date pub- lished along with the volume and issue num- bers are the recom- mended way to cite a digital material. Athletes like George Lambert can’t guaran- tee themselves a leg- acy because of their greatness. Sports pub- lishers and media boss- es will have to make sure a story of a life is truthfully preserved through the years. On the other hand, a fun example of an ath- lete who built a last- ing legacy was Johnny Weissmuller, one of the best competitive swimmers of the 20th century. Weissmuller’s name is recognized by many swimmers, but for the majority of the public it’s the char- acter from the movie Tarzan of the Apes for which he is most well known. Tarzan has been described as one of the best- known literary charac- ters in the world.2 Even though the copyright for the movie expired 40
  • 42. 41 in the United States, the character name is still trademarked by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Those interested in the movie should download the trail- er at https://archive. org/details/Tarzan_ the_Ape_Man_trailer. The movie served in large part to preserve the Weissmuller lega- cy. While his athlet- ic awards may be the grander of achieve- ments, his legend sur- vives on the back of the movie. There are greater athletes whose fame is less well pre- served; a total of about 17,500 Olympic medals have been won by thousands of athletes, many great- er than Weissmuller. Weissmuller may or may not have known it at the time, but his acting has permanent- ly placed his swim- ming accomplishments on the podium of his- tory. As long as the movie remains avail- able in formats people can collect, his swim- ming legacy will live longer than so many other athlete’s accom- plishments. Johnny Weissmuller (1904 – 1984) 5 time Olympic swimming champion
  • 43. 42 Two other events, from my work in newspaper, sparked my interest in the subject of preser- vation. In 2000, one of my jobs was to assist in publishing legal notic- es. It interests me to see the newspaper’s legal requirements to make notices archive- able, assessable, verifi- able and reproducible. I have inferred that these criteria were developed to ensure the legals’ have proper reference in the future. The other event occurred during a conversation with the director of the histori- cal room at our local library. We discussed the way in which the library archives PDFs of newly published papers. I mentioned to him that while I worked in the online depart- ment, I saw numerous articles published to the newspaper’s blog that were not reproduced in the print edition. When I asked him if those stories were preserved at the library, he said, “No.” Since then I’ve begun my journey to learn more. I’ve joined the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Program and partici- pated in the email con- versations. Readers in Europe can lookup Digital Preservation Europe. Many of the preser- vation techniques sug- gested by these pro- grams are rather advanced; but we may do simple things that can make sure e-books, digital magazines and papers survive longer.
  • 44. • Software and hardware that intro- duces incompatible technologies during updates causes fragmen- tation. Publishing in standard for- mats reduces the process of frag- mentation. • Programming languages them- selves change rapidly. Developers build the first websites with HTML 1.0; Current developers use HTML 5. Many outdated technologies from HTML 1.0 do not work with browsers supporting HTML 5. • Relying on the survival of a sin- gle copy of a work dramatically reduces the chance of it’s avail- ability in the future. Duplication increases the likelihood that a text will survive. • Too much low quality informa- tion reduces the overall worth of all work. Placing real value on important works can help con- sumers prioritize the information they save. • Publishers who get locked into selling on a single storefront reduced total circulation. Making the text accessible on multiple distribution channels increases the chances that it will be saved in multiple languages and geo- graphic areas. • Online websites that can be edit- ed by the general public can con- tain errors. Verifying sources can 43
  • 45. 44 make the text more reliable for the future. • Too much data creates informa- tion overload. Using metadata will make the searching of large volumes of documents in the future more efficient. • The design of many file formats allows readers to open, edit and change content. Fix formats, like PDF, can make tampering with text difficult. • We can not guarantee interop- erability of files in the future, and technology changes quick- ly. Teaching new generations of students the value of media will improve the chances that files will survive new challenges.
  • 46. 45 1. Weiss, Rick. “On the Web, Research Work Proves Ephemeral” The Washington Post, November 24, 2003, p. A08, Print. 2. John Clute and Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, St. Martin’s Press, 1993, ISBN 0-312-09618-6, p. 178, “Tarzan is a remarkable creation, and possi- bly the best-known fictional character of the century.” REFERENCES When we look back at history, we can see that man-made and environmental catastrophes have caused destruction of countless texts and artifacts: the fire that destroyed the Library of Alexandria, the Nazi book burning and destruc- tion of what was regarded as degen- erate art. Destruction of librar- ies also occurred in the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. It’s troubling to see some- thing so important in our history becoming so overlooked in modern times. We see local communities slowly deconstructing their physi- cal libraries. Blog companies drop- ping support or changing technolo- gies. Publishers writing APPs that become outdated with upgrades just months later. Proprietary file formats that are unreadable to many. It’s my hope that publish- ers and librarians will be wise to preserve digital-born materials as innovation of the World Wide Web speeds along. Communities in 20, 100 or 1,000 years deserve to and should be able to observe their own history. Librarians and archivists can be useful in this field by using the techniques outlined by the preservation groups and by study- ing the experiences of people like Jim Boulton and his digital archae- ology exhibit.
  • 47. 46 www . ispectrummagazine . c o m “Tell everyone everything you know, close deals with a handshake, work like hell, and have fun!” - Harold Eugene Edgerton FREE SUBSCRIPTION