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JulyDiaz

Episode 21 — Parallel Thinking

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Did you know there were like three different books about gawky, dark-haired 12-year-olds going to wizard school before ‘Harry Potter’? Two separate inventors actually filed patents for the telephone on the exact same day. On today’s Cracked podcast, Jack O’Brien, Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) and Kristi Harrison go head-to-head-to-other-head and talk about great ideas a bunch of people had simultaneously.

 

Is it plagiarism, sheer coincidence or Jungian “collective unconsciousness” hippy bullshit? You can find out now if you throw on your headphones and click play above.

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Whoot there it is preceded Whoomp there it is by just a month in 1993. It is funny that both groups were Miami based because the song "whoot there it is" is about pointing out where the girls with big booties are, and "whoomp there it is" seems like a nonsense phrase that has no connection with the theme of the song.

 

Also, it is interesting how similar the backing tracks are on the songs, and how "whoomp there it is" became more popular probably because the beat it just a little bit better.

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One of the best examples of 'parallel thinking' is sheep simultaneously figuring out how to cross cattle grids in England and Australia, after years of not being able to.

Alexander Graham Bell knew other people were trying to come up with a telephone, like Edison knew the light bulb had already been invented.

I always thought Deep Impact/Armageddon came about because the world was supposed to end in 2000.

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I'm surprised no one mentioned the Harry Potter character from the film Troll. The hero is a boy named Harry Potter who discovers his aunt is a witch and must learn magic to stop a troll. It's one of the looser ones (it's really just the name and the magic), but it is also one of the more prominent ones.

 

Also, it is an odd movie:

 

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The Larry Potter incident was proven in court to be a fraud: no coincidence there. Also, there are many allegations of theft by Graham Bell, too: probably not a coincidence, either.

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How about Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz inventing calculus at the same time in different countries???

Instead, we get 20 minutes on wack-ass harry potter.

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How about Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz inventing calculus at the same time in different countries???

Instead, we get 20 minutes on wack-ass harry potter.

 

It's Cracked. The podcast, in particular, leans towards discussing pop culture phenomena.

 

If I want to hear erudite people discussing historical and intellectual topics in a fairly in-depth manner, I'll go listen to In Our Time. If I want to hear writers digging into how pop culture works, I know the Cracked podcast will usually scratch that itch.

 

Chris Bucholz wrote about the Newton-Leibniz calculus controversy a year and two days earlier. His article was all about inventions and scientific advances, so the calculus story fits right in there.

 

If you listen to the whole podcast episode, there's a few brief mentions of the development of the telephone but it's almost wall-to-wall pop culture, so even if they recorded an absolutely brilliant ten-minute discussion of how Newton privately worked out calculus while Leibniz was the first to publish a full-blown paper on the idea, it probably would have been cut out because it doesn't really flow with the rest of the subjects covered.

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This episode is particularly funny to me, since back in January I was telling my mother how I'd finally gotten a DVD of Jake Kasdan's first film, Zero Effect, having watched it back in 1999 and wanting to see if it was as good as I remembered.

 

The film is clearly a refit of the Holmes archetype (Kasdan acknowledges this in the commentary,) and its focus on the detective as intellectually brilliant but emotionally broken and socially inept would be eerily familiar to anyone who watches House.

I'm sure there are other arguments to be made as to why the film went virtually unnoticed despite the deluge of Holmes and Holmes-like characters in the fifteen years after, but in talking to my mother, I came to the conclusion that the zeitgeist just wasn't quite right for Zero Effect to be a big deal.

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Alright, I'm only going to say this once, so pay attention: NIRVANA DID NOT INVENT GRUNGE.

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If Jack is interested in thinking about movies in terms of the collective unconscious, he should look into Slavoj Zizek's ideas.

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