Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television Media

Cathy Rogers Responds Without Crashing 322

Posted by Roblimo
from the large-hunks-of-metal-slamming-into-each-other dept.
Responding to your questions today in finestkind all-lowercase form is Cathy Rogers, former co-host (the technical term is "presenter") of Scrapheap Challenge and Junkyard Wars, now presiding over a brand-new show, Full Metal Challenge.

1) Time...
by AmigaAvenger

On Junkyard wars it always seemed that the teams had something in running condition before the end of the time limit. Was there ever a time when a team had ABSOLUTELY nothing worth sending into competition? (Wouldn't make for much of a show though...)

Cathy:

absolutely nothing? hmmm. i think that's a question of interpretation... did you see the hydrofoils show? neither of the machines worked at all. so what did we do... repeated the challenge for the british version of the show and that time... neither of them worked again. we just won't learn. but its funny - people use to think i was just being a smart arse when i would go in and give the teams a hard time for being behind, having nothing ready etc - but really i was terrified that we wouldn't have a last part of the show and was imagining that we'd all have to do the can-can or something...

2) Why do you think Engineering is so male dominated?
by Anonymous Coward

You have said in the past that it would be good to have an all female team, but as yet, we haven't seen this.

Why do you think so few women are interested in technology?

Cathy:

oh lord i don't know. i vacillate so much on this one - sometimes i think it is all just habit and training and sometimes i think there really is some different configuration of men's and women's brains - like when i see my little niece desperately wanting to wear pink and play dollies and my nephew constantly deconstructing the alphabet / numbers etc.

but we have actually had all-female teams a couple of times now - twice on junk and in the new show full metal challenge. (in fact there is a fabulous all women team in the show next week - the flamin' aussies who are all drag-racers and are cooool) and they've done well - but they're always a real battle to find. i thought it would be easier in america, where in many ways women's position in society generally is more evolved - but i was wrong. it seems just as tough. and its odd because in other areas of science women are ahead of men. its just something about wirey stuff and digit stuff and big hammer stuff. but any tech-keen ladies reading this, please please apply! you have my ear.

3) how do you do it?
by Suppafly

A lot of people don't realize that not only do you work on all of these shows, you help conceive the initial ideas behind them. How do you do it? Did you just one day have an idea and present it to a network, or did you work from the inside to have your concepts realized? What in your past got you interested in the whole build things from junkyard parts concept?

Cathy:

i was working for an independent tv company (rdf media) when we first hatched the idea for scrapheap challenge (the british name for junkyard wars). so i was in a good position in that i was talking to people at the networks here all the time about all kinds of ideas. and that was just one that hit home. the idea actually first came from the movie apollo 13 and being transfixed by the 'houston we have a problem' part. that scene in which all the very non-typical-hero boys at ground control had to figure out how to save the astronauts lives with nothing but a bit of knicker elastic and a plastic knife. it was that that got us thinking - making life-saving stuff out of rubbish - brilliant, and making the people who aren't normally heroes (i call them the grubby fingernail brigade) into heroes - fantastic. the junkyard and all the rest kind of followed from there. don't know quite how i have managed to end up doing so many shows about boy stuff though. i would much rather go to a nice art gallery.

4) American vs. British contestants
by banda

Have you found any differences between the contestants in different iterations of the show? Speaking as an American who spent part of his youth in England, I find the British contestants much more entertaining, insightful and engaging. Was it easier to work with any particular group? Were there any contestants that made the show difficult?

Cathy:

well here's a funny thing - a lot of americans prefer the british teams and a lot of british people prefer the american teams... what can it all mean? are we all riddled with self-loathing? are we all superbly positive and outward-looking and natural anthropologists? i don't know. i think there is part of the show which is about observing people doing their thing in their natural habitat, a bit like how we might watch a natural history film about baracudas. and in that sense it is easier to watch people who are bit removed from ourselves. i would say in terms of being a host (yuk yuk hate that word) - it is easier to do the american shows because american people are more 'tv-articulate' - they understand what is required for tv - i guess simply because tv is the most dominant medium in american life and history. whereas for brits, other media are still dominant if you look over the whole period of our history; we haven't quite let go of a time when we read dickens serialised in pamphlets, so we are more used to sitting quietly taking things in - rather than 'putting them out there' ourselves. americans can get away with saying things like 'i am the big cahuna' whereas british people just sound silly saying things like that. the only downside of the american show is that americans seem to be more competitive, which can mean that things get a bit serious sometimes. in the new show FMC the brits often lose and find it all rather funny and are very self-deprecating. but the americans sometimes cry!

5) Sounds from the indie records
by Mikey-San

Before the 'Heap, you were in a British indie-crash-twee-pop band called Marine Research, and before that, Heavenly. Do you keep in touch with Amelia and Rob these days?

Cathy:

indie crash twee pop?! yikes. don't let that get out. yes i do keep in touch with the old indies though i must say i don't go and shuffle along to shows as much as i used to. i saw britney in vegas so the tortured lollipops at the dublin castle will never feel quite the same...

6) As a musician, what do you think of...
by CSG_SurferDude

As a musician, what do you think of the music industry these days, specifically about the slave-labor-like recording contracts, industry ownership of copyrights, Peer-to-peer song sharing (MP3s), and the current fruitless atempts to copy-protect CDs?

Is there anything that you can do in your current position to help change any of that to the betterment of recording artists and consumers everywhere?

Cathy:

is this a leading question?! do you have a letter drafted for me to sign?!

er.. where to start? big corporations are scary in many many ways and the music industry is obviously no exception. but although there seem to be so many new issues today where normal people / artists / whatever are exploited i wonder whether it is really that different from when i was a kid and me and my mates used to tape everything off the radio and make compilation tapes (one of the greatest and most overlooked art forms) and never buy a record in our life. except if it was a local band or a band on a really cool label or a record where we just loved the cover and had to have it. its a big discussion - the only incontrovertible good is to support your truly independent labels. k records / kill rock stars / many others have proved that you can have integrity, great music and not go under.

7) Role of expert
by naarok

Watching on TV, it often seems that the expert provides some good initial insight into a problem, but then often becomes superflous. Sitting through many hours of actually watching the challenges unfold. How valuable were the experts in comparison to teams with general inventiveness?

Cathy:

it depends a lot on the challenge. if its something innovative and thought-provoking like 'build a car that fits in a suitcase' then most teams who have the necessary know-how to get on in the first place would be able to make a pretty good stab at it expert-less. but in other challenges, such as making gliders or submarines, they are dependent. it also depends of course how well they all get along....

8) massive disruption to geeks everywhere....
by gclef

So, have you ever been tempted to wander into somewhere like a LinuxWorld conference, just to see if you could stop all productive work from occurring? (you probably could, you know...)

If not, are you tempted now?

Cathy:

er. i blush easily. my sister and i used to have a fantasy about going to this event called 'crufts' (a really pompous but very-seriously-taken dog show in england (like, they show it on tv! ) where people parade their over-coiffured hounds around doing daft tricks and generally proving that to be english is to be humorous in this fairly tragic way) and doing a streak. but maybe just with bottom halves! it would be a totally pointless act of sort-of-harmless-sabotage of a worthless institution and this amused us.

i suppose what i mean (ie not evading your question quite so obviously) is that the notion of committing a minor act that leads to massive disruption is an appealing idea. but i'm not quite sure about yours....

9) Off screen testing?
by The Mutant

How much testing goes on off screen? For example, the episode where participants had to build a diving bell, descend to the bottom of a small pond, and retrieve a chest of gold.

I don't believe that this was not tested off camera, if for no other reason solely to insure you didn't inadvertantly end up making a snuff episode.

Same thing goes for pretty much any device where explosives were used, or even the airplanes.

Cathy:

worryingly little. its always the hardest decision - test them and make sure they work but risk them breaking during the test (which you're not filming) and then you have no show, or fail to test them and have true spontaneity and excitement about the outcome but risk them failing during the show or being dangerous or whatever. we debate it endlessly and there is often a half way house - the diving bells you can put in the water and test-pump some air, the gliders you can tow up on a winch without a person on them. but it never gives you the full picture and what you see in the show is invariably the first time the machines have been properly tested, people and all. scary isn't it?

10) Why Rollins? Why!!
by SanLouBlues

What's the coolest thing you've ever built yourself? Or, what's the coolest thing you've ever tried to build yourself?

Cathy:

well who else would look as good in a power station? i mean, just say the words 'disused power station' and you think of henry. i think he is fantastic - a force of nature. and he makes me laugh a lot.

what have i built? lord how embarrassing. you have outed me. the sad truth is the things i have made which have been the most impressive feats of engineering and construction have been cakes. sshhhhhh.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cathy Rogers Responds Without Crashing

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:05PM (#4548551)
    Contestants try and build a SHIFT key!!!
  • Yay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SargeZT (609463) <pshanahan@mn.rr.com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:06PM (#4548556) Homepage
    She is really a good host, and junkyard wars went to hell without her. I'm glad she's finally coming back. We need more british people on American TV!
  • Other questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:15PM (#4548655)
    I wish she would have read the thread with all the questions and possibly answered some of the questions that were good ones, but perhaps not modded as high (example the one about stocking the junkyard with needed parts). Aside from that It's always interesting to get a little behind-the-scenes on the Scrapheap.
    • Re:Other questions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bobulusman (467474) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:25PM (#4548756)
      And the dog. We had three different people who asked about the dog in the opening sequence, but the votes for it were spread out between the three. :P

      I still want to know about the dog!
    • Re:Other questions (Score:2, Informative)

      by entrager (567758)
      I recently heard an interview with her co-host, Tyler Harcott. He was asked whether or not the junkyard is stocked and I believe he said that no parts are added to the junkyard, but an evalutation is made beforehand to determine if the challenge is possible. I get the impression that if a challenge is deemed impossible or too hard, then it is thrown out in favor of a better one.
      • If he said that... (Score:4, Informative)

        by CoachS (324092) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:18PM (#4549253) Homepage Journal
        ...then he's wrong. Cathy has said before and contestents on earlier shows have confirmed that in some cases they do stock the junkyard with a few essential bits. For example the rocket motors that they've used for the rocket shows -- I don't hang out in scrapheaps but I seriously doubt that you're going to find brand-new rocket motors just sitting in the truck of an old Pinto.

        Also in one of the monster truck shows they even said on the air that some of the tires being used were on-loan from the company that made them.

        -Coach-
    • Re:Other questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:46PM (#4548946) Homepage
      example the one about stocking the junkyard with needed parts

      Why? It's been answered. Repeatedly. They do stock the junkyard. It's a fusion of a real scrapheap/junkyard and stocked parts. Witness the paintball challenge where there just happened to be a plumber's van full of plumbing parts. I mean, come on - what plumber who wants to stay in business would send a wrecked van away while leaving inventory in the truck?

      Meanwhile, if you watch successive episodes you'll notice bits and pieces in the same places repeatedly.

      Oh, and don't forget - this isn't a real junkyard. It's a set.

      Most junkyards are located in areas you would not want to have high priced electronics equipment sitting around in. Hell, some of the machines that get built are more valuable than the average car in such areas.

      It's always interesting to get a little behind-the-scenes on the Scrapheap

      I'm guessing you're in the UK, so you may not have seen the behind-the-scenes Junkyard Wars episode that was on TLC at the end of last season (around May). See if you can find a copy - they talk about what goes on behind the scenes in some depth. You too can discover why they'll probably never do a gunpowder artillary challenge again (lots of licenses, huge freaking caravan transporting the built artillary from location to location, having to decommission the artillary after the test by pouring concrete in the barrells, etc).
      • The scrapyard/junkyard used in both the original British show and the subsequent American one is the same... and it is in London...

        There are several times in both shows where Canary Wharf is visible on the skyline...

      • Re:Other questions (Score:3, Informative)

        by DunbarTheInept (764)
        The scraphead challenge scrapheap, and the junkyard wars junkyard are actually the same place. The shows are the same exact footage. The only difference was the title logos that would appear. Why there was a need to rename it for the American TV I don't know. I remember on several occasions on "Junkyard Wars" hearing people uttering the phrase "scrapheap challenge" despite the fact that I was watching something called "Junkyard Wars". They just renamed it and used the same footage, possibly edited a bit for American TV commercial spacing.

    • Re:Other questions (Score:3, Informative)

      by dpash (5685)
      There was a section about this on Robert Llewellyn's page about Scrapheap challenge.
      http://www.llew.co.uk/home/ [llew.co.uk]

      BTW Cathy come back. All is forgiven. Can we have someone who knows what they are talking about. Who gave Lisa Rogers the job anyway.
    • by tgd (2822) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:12PM (#4549199)
      The N.E.R.D.S. have a pretty good site about their time on the british show a couple years back.

      http://www.the-nerds.org/ [the-nerds.org]
  • Testing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oculus Habent (562837) <oculus.habent@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:15PM (#4548656) Journal
    I don't know about you, but I don't think I could've trusted my life to a see-saw-powered airpump and a welded oil drum, especially without knowing if it would work...

    Though, I can't say I would have been able to build anything as good as many of them have...
    • Vanilla is so....bland...now Butterscotch...now that's sumptuous! :)
    • Re:Testing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macdaddy (38372) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:38PM (#4549952) Homepage Journal
      Honestly, where's the risk? You're 15-20 under water with a diving bell that wasn't actually attached to you in any way. Ie, your head is stuck in it. That was it. If the water started getting high and you started to fear for you life, kick off the weights, duck out of the bell, and swim to the surface. Not hard. Not risky. Hell I've been a lot further down than 20 feet with no air line or tanks. Not too hard. If you can't swim, you shouldn't be in the water anyways.
      • Re:Testing (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kallahar (227430)
        Plus they've got 3-4 rescue divers, plus a few dozen people watching through the glass and from the surface. I agree that even though it looked dangerous, and could have gotten exciting if something bad happened, the actual danger was rather low.

        Travis
  • by johnalex (147270) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:15PM (#4548658) Homepage
    ...because american people are more 'tv-articulate'

    I don't know I would take this as a compliment. Maybe I'm just getting older, but I find that many Americans today have a short attention span, sometimes too short to understand a complete explanation of whatever is happening. I find myself forced to condense complex problems into sound-bites just so users can follow the process.

    Too bad life doesn't always apply itself to bite-sized answers....
    • Backhanded, maybe? You have a point, but the flipside is that it is a valuable skill to be able to get your point across quickly and clearly. Clearly, she valued the fact that they were responsive to the needs of the media format, but I suppose we see this taken too far way too often, so there is some value in unselfconsciously going about your business. The comments about these differences are interesting.
      • Oh, no...it's a necessary skill in our (American) society. You wouldn't want to be left unable to respond if some terrible tragedy struck, would you? I mean, suppose someone in your office goes postal, and you're the first person the TV reporter finds. "Excuse me, sir; John Doe just slaughtered everyone in your office, how do you feel?" Do you want to be struck dumb as Zacharias or do you want to reply "I'm going to Disney World!"?
    • by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:35PM (#4548853) Homepage
      "...because american people are more 'tv-articulate'"

      I don't know I would take this as a compliment.

      No no. All she's saying is that she's found that Americans tend to perform better on camera, because of cultural norms of how to behave in that situation.

      She's not saying you watch more, although you lazy TV couch potato North Americans doubtless do ;-)

    • by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:39PM (#4548892)
      Can you summarize this comment please?
    • I would address your post directly but it was far too wordy for me to be able to...oh look, a Shiney!

    • I don't know I would take this as a compliment. Maybe I'm just getting older, but I find that many Americans today have a short attention

      I disagree. Sure, the above is all I read of your comment before moving on, but that doesn't prove anyth...

  • Cathy rules. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:17PM (#4548674) Homepage
    Cathy is the reason I watched the show. I always found her to be a very sexy and engaging woman and after these responses, doubly so. (But she does need to capitalize.)

    Love her haircut on the show as well.
    • by C60 (546704)
      I have to agree. First time I saw the show was channel flipping, and I noticed a quite sexy woman, and lots of power tools, dirt, and strange pieces of scrap metal.

      How can you not pause for that?
  • by 1WingedAngel (575467) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:19PM (#4548688) Homepage
    that scene in which all the very non-typical-hero boys at ground control had to figure out how to save the astronauts lives with nothing but a bit of knicker elastic and a plastic knife.

    He could have made an entire shuttle with a can of cream corn and a ballpoint pen.
  • by bernz (181095) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:19PM (#4548699) Homepage
    That would be cool. Interview henry, roblimo, interview henry.
  • Lure of the exotic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter (3800) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:23PM (#4548732) Journal
    well here's a funny thing - a lot of americans prefer the british teams and a lot of british people prefer the american teams... what can it all mean?

    Reminds me of what I've always wondered anout Monty Python -- if I were British and actually knew where Luton is and the accents were unnoticeable to me, would they be particularly funny?

    • by Rupert (28001) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:31PM (#4548802) Homepage Journal
      Yes. It was.

      You should learn where Luton is. If you lack that knowledge, you may accidentally go there.
      • Brits should do the same for Toledo, Ohio. You never want to end up there.
      • Re:Monty Python (Score:3, Interesting)

        by paradesign (561561)
        i actually did, well not so accidentally. it seems that Ford is the only reason there is a Luton. I was folowing my father around europe last summer and he had business in luton so thats where we stayed while in england. the customs guy at heathro was like "where ya headed" luton "im sorry" my father and i just looked at each other and the guy was like "business with ford" yep, then to me "and i assume youll be taking the first train to London?" and thats exactly what i did.

        although being from detroit, things werent that bad in luton but the trainride into London hade some scary sights off the way.

    • by JoeBuck (7947) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:42PM (#4548914) Homepage

      If you were British the accents in Monty Python would be very noticeable to you, because there are hundreds, or maybe thousands, of distinct accents, and of course the Pythonites chose the appropriate accent for each character. As soon as a Brit opens his mouth, other Brits will know his social class, the town he was born, where he went to school, etc.

    • by Dan D. (10998) <duhprey.tosos@com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:54PM (#4549020) Homepage
      From what I hear of my ex-patriot friends (or that canadien guy I know) the Brits tend to find it *more* funny. Where as Americans tend to laugh at things like the accents and strange situations, the British are laughing because the accents are those of the upper class, yet the activity is something of the lower class. That sort of thing.

      Anyway, I don't know it entirely, so I don't want to be elitist, but Monty Python becomes even more brilliant when you put them in context. Give them a zeitgeist, and they become subtle comic genius.

    • by HorrorIsland (620928) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:10PM (#4549184)
      a[b]out Monty Python -- if I were British ... would they be particularly funny?

      Not at all. In England, they were viewed as a "slice-of-life" documentary-style drama - rather like an early "Hill Street Blues". It was only later that its comedic value (in foreign parts) was recognized. The material was edited, animations and cut-aways added to cover the gaps, and a legend was born!

  • Streak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by invid (163714) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:23PM (#4548733) Homepage

    my sister and i used to have a fantasy about going to this event called 'crufts' and doing a streak. but maybe just with bottom halves!

    8-)

  • U-S-A U-S-A (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:23PM (#4548734) Homepage Journal

    in the new show FMC the brits often lose and find it all rather funny and are very self-deprecating. but the americans sometimes cry!

    As an American, I feel a strange sort of pride at this. Yeah, it's just a TV show, but dammit, I've always felt that if you're going to commit to something, then commit yourself to doing the best job you can.

    • by sczimme (603413)

      I am sure the contestants did their very best to cry as effectively as possible.
    • Re:U-S-A U-S-A (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Izeickl (529058) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:40PM (#4548901) Homepage
      Being a Brit, I see that being competitive is far more prevelant in the USA than here in just about every single thing, it seems more of a way of life in the states and drummed into you at an early age. E.g. Fear Factor, the British version and Amerian version are so far removed, the American version without fail the contestants are all "Yeah I am the best, no one can beat me..." yada yada I laugh so hard when they fail miserably, theres being competitive, and theres arrogance and inflated egos that so often goes with it. Then again I think that sometimes the British lack the drive and motivation that comes with being competitive which is a bad thing. On the whole though, I think the best is somewhere between the US and the UK attitudes, UK goes not far enough, US, to far.
      • Re:U-S-A U-S-A (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kisrael (134664)
        Well, keep in mind that Americans who strive to be on tv are kind of a self-selected group to begin with, off the bat more likely to be chest-thumping and with high-self-esteem-issues. I certainly have a big does of self-deprecating humor durintg competitions (and come watch me play darts in my dart league and you'll see that that humbleness is richly justified...) but maybe that's more spread out for the UK population.
      • being competitive is far more prevelant in the USA than here in just about every single thing

        In your FACE!

      • Re:U-S-A U-S-A (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RebelTycoon (584591)
        I think the best is somewhere between the US and the UK attitudes, UK goes not far enough, US, to far.

        That person would be called a Canadian!
      • by PunchMonkey (261983) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:16PM (#4549743) Homepage
        On the whole though, I think the best is somewhere between the US and the UK attitudes, UK goes not far enough, US, to far.

        Hmmm... somewhere between the US and the UK attitudes, eh?

        A place like that sounds like paradise.... but then again, I might be a little biased... ;-)
    • Uh, isn't this just a good example of the western fixation on being #1 (not #2, #3, or even thinking about the journey itself as being rewarding?)

      And please, I'm on western soil, so I'm all my rocks are staying inside our glass house here. :)

      Thats the way I see it; Western culture lives by the 'ends justify the means' mantra, where as other cultures seem realize that investing too much in realizing ones goals just means you cant have any fun or learn much from the journey. Or worse yet, this attitude encourages attempting to find loopholes in the rules of the journey for the end's sake .. I think alot of corperate America's 'growth at all costs' fiasco of recent years was a good example of this.

      One last thing. If it means that much to them when they lose, do they really wish that kind of emotional pain on other people .. and what does that say about them? ;)
    • Re:U-S-A U-S-A (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andre060 (99353)
      in the new show FMC the brits often lose and find it all rather funny and are very self-deprecating. but the americans sometimes cry!


      As an American, I feel a strange sort of pride at this. Yeah, it's just a TV show, but dammit, I've always felt that if you're going to commit to something, then commit yourself to doing the best job you can.


      I am a Canadian myself (and proud of it) but in all seriousness it is easy to see that this is exactly why the USA is the most powerfull nation in the world today... think about it... its not just in TV that americans are this way...

      • No, that's not the reason. Mainly it's just because it's one country covering a lot of territory with pretty decent natural resources. Being one big country means it has a huge internal market- this means that goods can be made cheaper just because of economies of scale; that in turn means it competed well abroad. Of course that meant that more money came into the country, and that pushes up the standard of living, until the goods no longer compete so well... and it balances out, but that's still where the USA is now.

        Being fairly well off helped during the second world war; America had lots of weapons, and so it was able to cut 'deals' with Britain- loans that aren't yet repaid. America left WWII as the major player on the world stage.

        It's unclear how or whether attitude helped with these things.

        • Mainly it's just because it's one country covering a lot of territory with pretty decent natural resources.

          Certainly natural resources don't hurt, but it's not that big a help. If that were true, South America would rule the world.

          On the other hand, the British Empire and Japan have done pretty well with small, relatively resource poor islands.

          • The British Empire was built on trade initially; but once we had an empire, then it was built on the resources of that empire- it tended to act much like an internal market.

            Japan is another story. The Japanese manipulated their economy- for example they introduced regulations that pushed up the price of land. This mean that in order to be able to afford to live anywhere the Japanese had to work like maniacs. This in turn meant that the per capita productivity was really good, which in turn lead to Japan being rich. Of course the Japanese were living in quite small living quarters... And of course the crash occured when this system fell apart is a sight to behold.

        • Re:U-S-A U-S-A (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zathrus (232140)
          You're right. I mean, look at the other major industrial powers in the world today. I always boggle at exactly how much territory and resources Japan has... er... maybe Taiwan... no... England?

          Oh... hold on... that's not true at all.

          Yes, natural resources and territory help. But tell that to Russia or China. They have as just as many natural resources and more land area. But the governing bodies have totally failed to utilize it... or the individuals have. Or both. Probably both.

          I'm not trying to go "hip hip hooray" here for the US, certainly there are things that could be better managed (of course, a lot of those things that the US gets poked about - like environmental waste - are actually managed even more poorly in Russia and China), but the whole Protestant work ethic and "can do" attitude has certainly been a key component in where the US has ended up since the early 1900s (before which the US was a 2nd tier country at best - something most US history books don't really bother noting).

          and so it was able to cut 'deals' with Britain- loans that aren't yet repaid

          Shall we start the litany of loans that the US has made to virtually every European government that have never been repaid? No... I don't think you want to go down that route.

          Frankly, Russia (and/or USSR - take your pick) and China are better indicators of how much national attitude and direction matter compared to resources and territory. If you don't have the desire/incentive to do better then you won't, and no amount of riches can help that.
          • Yes, well Russia has been communist for quite a while- it is a very inefficient system; and their land is nothing like as good as American land; to climb out of an agricultural society, you need the farming to be good enough that you have spare people.

            China, ever since about 12th century, it has employed an isolationist policy. That means that it doesn't get the influx of ideas from the other countries that allow a country to improve. America, Britain, Japan and Europe in general have been passing the ideas around with abandon- and some of these ideas stick and make lots of money.

        • America didn't leave WW2 as the major player on the world stage, they entered it that way. The US accounted for 51% of the world's industrial capacity during that time, which is what makes Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor so crazy. They thought a nation that could output a battleship a day was going to curl up with their tails between their legs because the lost about a third of their fleet. Post WW2 our economic dominance of the world swifty declined as we rebuilt Japan and German in our image and allowed them to become much larger players then they had been before, and it bought us 50 years of peace which may be the best use of capital ever. Today our internal economy keeps the standard of living high but we live well mostly because we are raising the average stanard of living across the globe. China is the new center of technology development and will be one of the larger industrial countries if they want to be. This will raise the standard of living in China, but the lowered cost of goods will unsure that at least a few more generations of Americans will have a growth in GDP and standards of living. Natural resources have almost nothing to do with America's sucess today, with the possible exception of crude oil.
          • Oh well only oil ;-)

            Incidentally, there is some evidence that, for most, of the standard of living in the USA is no higher than, say, Sweden. The number of people with obscene amounts of money skew the statistics. CEOs have been getting ~1000x the salary of the lowest in the company- although it may be dropping slightly now.

    • I think it is less about being competitive and more about showing your feelings. The brits are notorious for showing as much feelings as a dead trout and the americans are equally notorious for being an over-enthusiastic bragging bunch.
    • my $0.02 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kingkade (584184)
      OK, all of you have valid points and I'd liek to bring in mine if I may.

      I'm a US citizen and I think the reason SOME of us are so confident/arrogant is that we seem to subliminally absorb more talk of our 'greatness' throughout history as a superpower and a free and fair country (now I'm not here to debate whether the US is the perfect Camelot like so many people who just say that and eat steak for dinner watching Fear Factor and I'm not saying that the US is a facists gov't masquerading as a Democracy like so many conspiracy theorists here).

      This arrogance (again, of SOME of us) is annoying but calling all 'Americans' arrogant is a generalizations and generalizations usually are filled with trouble even seemingly harmless ones (gee, that Asian kid's sure good at math).

      We US citizens, are more isolated from a lot of the world. Over here, going to another state is as easy as for one to go to another country in Europe. We seem therefore more, nationalistic, self-centered, etc.

      But most of us are taught one good thing in childhood (usually). I'll never forget one of my 4th or 5th grade teachers telling us that competition is good, that competition built this country (the good along with the bad, but competition is not itself bad). He said that competition is the foundation for capitalism (not is so many words), and that it brings out the best in people.

      Of course some people will take this previous remark as 'win at all costs' when one can take it as 'honest competition is noble' (etc), so that will immediately give you a good indication of what type of person you are.

      I see nothing wrong in failing and being upset about it, whether you cry or not depends upon your personality and how seriously you take the competition or maybe how important it is to you. Failing miserably is much more worthwhile that never trying at all, IMHO. Regret is a bitch.
    • As an American, I feel a strange sort of pride at this. Yeah, it's just a TV show, but dammit, I've always felt that if you're going to commit to something, then commit yourself to doing the best job you can.

      Can someone please forward this concept to Detroit so that our automobile manufacturers know that we pay attention?

    • in the new show FMC the brits often lose and find it all rather funny and are very self-deprecating. but the americans sometimes cry!

      As an American, I feel a strange sort of pride at this.


      Wuss... ;- )
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Editor, n. One who edits; esp., a person who prepares, superintends, revises, and corrects a book, magazine, or newspaper, etc., for publication."

    Seriously, do we have any here?
  • smart and sexy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zonker (1158) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:33PM (#4548821) Homepage Journal
    what self respecting geek doesn't like that combination? too bad there aren't more like her as the computing (not just tv) industry needs a little more gender diversity than the standard overweight male basement dwellers and insecure pimply dorky guys that seem to occupy most of it. this will hopefully change as time goes on and technology is more prevalent in schools and understood by 'the masses'. this seems to be the biggest open gap i see in the industry today...
  • Full Metal, etc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:33PM (#4548823) Journal
    almost feels more like robots wars

    That said,when I saw "Bumper Cars" I thought that it was the bumper cars you see on the board walk at the beach, or at a the carnival that comes to towm.

    But aside from sumo, no car can deliberately damage each other...

    [sigh ...]

  • If you want to know who she is, then follow this link [llew.co.uk].

    C'mon you don't watch Junkyard Wars?!?
  • by stuporg (236493) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:37PM (#4548868)
    This just in...

    The organizers of the Crufts dog show have just reported that tickets for the show have sold out for the next three years...seems like especially heavy sales from /. readers hoping for to spy a bit of the 'streak'.

    Anyone have the ph#/web site for this crufts show?!?
  • Rollins? (Score:4, Informative)

    by K-Man (4117) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:12PM (#4549202)
    Why not Mark Pauline [srl.org]?

    Sample episode:

    Arguably the most dangerous machine ever fabricated at SRL. Going by the inocuous title of the Pitching Machine, this device when it was originally built, launched 6 foot 2"x4"s at a velocity of 120 mph. This provides a calculated range of 800 ft. It is equipped with an automatic loading system holding 20 boards and is powered by a 500 cubic inch Eldorado engine.

    It has since been modified to discharge 2x4s at 200mph.
  • one of the greatest and most overlooked art forms Anybody else catch that quote from John Cusak's movie High Fidelity? I didn't catch any Douglass Adams quotes, so maybe she's only pretending to be a geek.
    • Actually, High Fidelity was first a novel by Nick Hornsby before John Cusack adapted it to film. It was also set in London, so maybe that's why she knew it. :) Of course, I have no idea whatsoever if that line appears in the novel (which I have not read.) It certainly does appear in the movie.
  • A conundrum (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:30PM (#4549342) Homepage Journal
    At odds are my ever-present lust for telegenic renaissance women and my contempt for those pretentious art-school floozies who consider it cute and original to eschew the shift key. Such a contradiction! This is sort of paradox that destroys lesser beings....

    I have decided to stand by my principles, and not accept any sexual proposition from Miss Rodgers. I implore the rest of you to follow my example. Let's not be soft in the face of bad syntax!
    • Syntax is the structure of a sentence and the order in which the words are uttered or written. cummingsed sentences do not necessarily have flaws in syntax.
  • hey! (Score:2, Funny)

    by jaroslav (467876)
    she never said whether she'd go out with me.
  • ...mp2 is here:

    http://www.southern.com/southern/band/MARIR/soun ds /hopefulness.mp2

    Oddly enough, I've heard this song may times on spacelab transmissions (spacelab.org) and didn't make the connection. Now I understand the fit with Rollins (though I don't think both bands would fit on the same bill).

  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by moyix (412254) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:45PM (#4549455) Homepage
    i saw britney in vegas so the tortured lollipops at the dublin castle will never feel quite the same

    What on earth does this mean? I feel like I'm violating the DMCA just trying to read it...

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:01PM (#4549611) Homepage Journal
    well here's a funny thing - a lot of americans prefer the british teams and a lot of british people prefer the american teams... what can it all mean?

    I've got a theory as to what it really means, so I'll share it with everyone to make myself feel important :).

    Basically, I think we find the unknown interesting, especially people in the "geek" croud likely to be watching SC/JYW. As an American, I live with Americans, and see them daily. I know American culture, I live it, daily, and am frankly not that interested in it. It's part of my life, and is something that is common to me now. I don't really notice it - it's "normal."

    However, I'm not British. I'm American. You Brits talk with those cool accents and have these different ways about solving problems and interacting with each other. That's why I find The Register [theregister.co.uk] to be a refreshing alternative view at the computer world I am used to seeing from an American perspective. It's different, it's "new," and it's interesting from someone who, while living in a very similar culture, is an "outsider" to it. It's a glimps at something I don't see daily. That makes it interesting and more fun.

    It's not more of the same - it's something different.

    I'd have to assume that British viewers find it to be similar with the American teams. We're different from what they're used to. We can't spell. We talk in a different manner.

    So yes, it does makes sense that Americans would find the British teams more interesting and the British would find the Americans more interesting. Working with Americans daily makes watching an American team seem to be just more of the same. And it must be the same for British viewers.

    And now, for anyone who missed the small joke in the top:

    "what can it all mean? are we all riddled with self-loathing?"

    Apparently! :)

  • I've gotta say, this part of Slashdot is VERY entertaining. I'm reading this with an ear to ear grin cause I can _hear_ Cathy responding.

    And you guys get some really popular, top-notch people on here too.

    Again, Kudos!
  • by Wonko42 (29194) <ryan+slashdot@wo ... m minus math_god> on Monday October 28, 2002 @03:15PM (#4550333) Homepage
    Cathy on why the engineering world is so male-dominated:
    "oh lord i don't know."

    Cathy on how she comes up with these shows:
    "don't know quite how i have managed to end up doing so many shows about boy stuff though."

    Perhaps, Cathy, the engineering world is so dominated by males because females think of it as "boy stuff"?

  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by Coppit (2441) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:10PM (#4550900) Homepage
    my sister and i used to have a fantasy about going to this event called 'crufts' (a really pompous but very-seriously-taken dog show in england (like, they show it on tv! ) where people parade their over-coiffured hounds around doing daft tricks and generally proving that to be english is to be humorous in this fairly tragic way) and doing a streak.
    Wow. A gal who can not only form a gramattically correct Faulkner-like sentence, but can also do it while juggling nested parens.

    Meanwhile, my wife asks me what a got-o statement is. ;)

  • by cascadefx (174894) <morlockhq@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:38PM (#4552975) Journal
    what have i built? lord how embarrassing. you have outed me. the sad truth is the things i have made which have been the most impressive feats of engineering and construction have been cakes. sshhhhhh.

    Dangerous stuff. My wife has this great T-shirt with a 50's homemaker on the front with head tilted to the side. The caption reads "If you can bake a cake, you can make a bomb." True too. Given the right recipe, many interesting things can happen.

    So, Cathy "the Baker" may be more dangerous than you think.

    Nice benefit of the shirt... all the great looks.

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

Working...