GSB Research Abstract
- To: <csail-related@>
- Subject: GSB Research Abstract
- From: "Michael McGeachie" <mmcgeach@>
- Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 14:13:15 -0500
Below is this year's research abstract for the GSB lab project.
GSB announcements are a developing and promising area of research. We
review current ideas in GSB messages and present a synthesis of GSB message
Although advances in satire and humor technologies have been plentiful,
writing a GSB message is still a tricky and time-consuming intellectual
endeavor. Before we can identify new ways that these advances can be
leveraged to generate smarter, wittier, and more amusing GSB announcements,
we must first catalogue and understand the current state of GSB-writing
This memorandum is organized as follows. First we have presented an
introduction to the topic of GSB message-writing. Then we describe what we
are going to say. Then we actually do the saying of what we want to say.
Following this, we give a categorization of what we have said, and conclude
with the conclusions about our statements.
GSB Trends in GSB History:
GSB messages have adhered to various schemata in the long history of their
writing. One of the oldest, if more difficult, humor devices is the satire
of lab personalities, politics, and trends in computing research. Such
techniques, while often humorous and effective when adroitly executed, the
authors feel, generally fall out of reach of the abilities of current GSB
A more modest and modern technique is what Oltmans (1999) termed the
``top-ten list," where a category is chosen and ten members of that category
are then enumerated. The category is perhaps unimportant, but is frequently
chosen to be familiar to the target audience or relating to recent news or
politics. The humor generally comes from the randomness or incongruity with
which the members of the category are chosen (Karger, 2004).
A brief but bright point in the history of GSB messages were the series of
cartoons incorporating the Stata Center, the ``Neo" character from the
Matrix, and utilizing thousands of dollars worth of avant-garde sketching
technology (Hammond, 2002).
The final category of GSB messaging is, of course, the self-referential GSB
message. These messages either refer to themselves or previous GSB
messages. While the utility of such a tactic is under discussion (Derrida,
1974), the humor elicited is usually heady, intellectual giggles
(Baudrillard, 1995), rather than out-loud ha-ha funny (McGeachie, 2003).
Mentioning ``recursion" in some kind of programming-terminology allusion is
generally required in messages of this type (Sussman, 1982).
All GSB messages must conclude with this salutation:
girl scout benefit -+- 5:30 pm -+- 32-G9 lounge
For those coming from elsewhere: Building 32 is
Once you are in 32, just take the G-elevator to the 9th
floor and we will be in the lounge that you will be looking at
Baudrillard, J. "The Experience of Experiencing GSB Messages." Stata Center
Journal of Continental Philosophy, p1-54, 1995.
Derrida, J. "Derrida's Guide to Referencing Derrida." Derrida Citation
Publishing, New York NY, 1974.
Hammond, T. "Using State-of-the-Art Sketch-Recognition Tools for Drawing GSB
Cartoons." Journal of Spurious Enterprises and Electronic Falderal, p45-57,
Karger, D. "Randomness in GSB Messages: Surpassing
Deterministically-Generated Top-10 Lists?" Third Annual Conference on
Theory and Randomness in GSB, p34-39, 2004.
McGeachie, M. "Things that Aren't Funny, Unless You're Jon Stuart." CSAIL
Lab Abstracts of Current Projects, PPBS, p71-77, 2003.
Oltmans, M. "Advances in Smart-Alecky Humor Writing." Fifteenth
International MIT Conference on GSB, p122-128, 1999.
Sussman, G. "Recursive Function Calls Applied to GSB Messages (with LISP
Syntax)." Eighth Conference on Social Applications of Functional
Programming, p156-162, 1982.
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Last updated: Fri Feb 22 19:38:53 2008