June 15th, 2019| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


The MIT Technology Review recently published an article based on a study by Jonathan Touboul, associate professor of mathematics at Brandeis University: “The Hipster Effect: When Anti-Conformists All Look the Same.”

Observed one blogger ten years ago:

Hipsters avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity. Doesn’t the fact that there is a hipster look go against all hipster beliefs?”

But now what we’ve always suspected has been proven to be the case. They all do look alike!

Touboul’s esoteric math in the paper is way beyond me, but his conclusions are somewhat more edible.

We showed that, in contrast to cooperative systems, populations of individuals that take decision in opposition to the majority undergo phase transitions to oscillatory synchronized states.”

Or, as Gideon Lichfield, editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review, said:

What the study found essentially was that when a group of people decide to be different, to do something nonconforming, there comes a point when they all end up adopting the same behavior or the same style.”

Or, in other words (as one could easily gather from the subtitle of the paper), “Anti-Conformists All Look the Same.”

Said Touboul, asserting that his work goes beyond just finding the best outfit to don this winter:

They can have implications in deciphering collective phenomena in economics and finance, where individuals may find an interest in taking positions in opposition to the majority (for instance, selling stocks when others want to buy), but also, more abstractly, in neuronal networks where high levels of activation inhibitory neurons results in silencing other cells, thereby enforcing opposite reactions on others.”

But that wasn’t the only interesting thing related to this article.

Reporting on the paper, MIT Technology Review also used a stock photo image from Getty Images with the caption:

Shot of a handsome young man in trendy winter attire against a wooden background.”

Well, guess what? The magazine promptly received an email from a man claiming to be the “hipster” in the photo, and that he hadn’t given his consent for MIT Technology Review to print his picture.

You used a heavily edited Getty image of me for your recent bit of click-bait about why hipsters all look the same. It’s a poorly written and insulting article …. Your lack of basic journalistic ethics and both the manner in which you reported this uncredited nonsense and the slanderous unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response and I am of course pursuing legal action.”

Editor Lichfield and his team immediately checked with Getty. Yes, their model had signed a release, but that person in the picture wasn’t the originator of the angry email.

The once-furious emailer now responded contritely:

Wow, I stand corrected I guess. I and multiple family members, and a childhood friend pointed it out to me, thought it was a mildly photo-shopped picture of me. I even have a very similar hat and shirt, though in full color I can see it’s not the same. Thank you for getting back to me and resolving the issue.”

Lichfield tweeted this scenario and wrote that the incident just proved their story:

Hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other.”

All I got to say is …

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed.
Romans 12:2

But, yes, all such transformed people will look alike, because they are conformed, as God wanted all his children to be—

—conformed to the image of His Son [Jesus Christ].
Romans 8:29

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