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Wednesday, February 28. 2007
I've been on-and-off following Ze Frank for quite a long time now, I wasn't exactly ground floor, but I was pretty early into it. The thing with Ze, is that as the show--the story even--progressed, he invited more and more contributions. A wiki, an earth sandwich, show intros, power moves... but the culmination is when Ze himself appears to have been affected by a song sung by a Preacher to his daughter, titled "I'm about to whip somebodys ass".
This song spawned countless numbers of remixes. A video was created. Okay .. get this, a video was story boarded by a member of the "audience", then another member (or the same one?) offered portrait skeches to anyone who would help fill in the video. The video was made, and suddenly, this Ray, this unsuspecting hyper-intelligent preacher now finds the trajectory of his life shifted, as he is inundated with countless versions of his song, in audio and even video format.
But people's lives are forever changed because of this song as well. If life, work, or whatever is just stressful...
Hum it to yourself.
You know the words.
Which leads me to say... over and over again: it's just a video blog, right?
Look, there is no denying, judging by the traffic that hits ZeFrank.com/org that his work has changed people, but if you watch the show, you can see how people change his work. An intro, a question in the forum. Creativity and culture just building and building on itself.
This is culture.
This is our culture re-inventing itself. There is no discussion about copyright. Its as if the contributors, Ray, Ze, the Sports Racers are all too busy inventing culture to worry about that shit. I am too, so that is enough of THAT particular hobby horse.
So on todays Ze, he flies to St. Louis to present Ray with a bunch of materials that the Sports Racers--the watchers of the show, more on this a little later too--have built for Ray, as tokens of gratitude. As you watch the show, you learn all kinds of interesting things about Ray. He is an anthropologist, a psychologist, a healer. He has long views. Just go watch the show.
Okay, so everything comes full circle at this point right? Like, Ray changes the sports racers life with his song, they change his life. It actually kinda brings a tear to my eye, total strangers are doing really deeply positive things for eachother. When I think about the kind of world I want Harmony to grow up in, this is the kind of world I think of.
Now the thing about Ze, is that he is almost through. In march, the show is officially over. I don't know if the wiki will still be around, or if the archives will still be around. I am going to guess that they will, so if you joined the game late, well shit, don't worry, just pick a few shows, and dive in. I have a few favorites, go check em out.
The thing is, that what will be around is a bunch of people who are used to, and demand that their media is 2 way. It's not enough to passively sit back and consume a the show, but it is instead about contributing to it. StrongBad emails are funny because of the encouragement to send StrongBad an email, because it's the interaction that really makes it funny and gives it its spark.
It makes people passionate. When you're that involved in the remixes for Ray project, it shows through in what you do and what you create. Ze's passion comes out in his work, and it infects everyone.
And now, he's made a social networking site about awesomeness, projects, and connections.
So a Project like "Remixes for Ray" which is totally awesome can grow feet a little easier, and then take off.
Maybe we can find more Rays. And I think that is important right now.
Like I said. The show is ending. According to the mythology--yes, this show has a mythology--because a giant baby has been born, the apocalypse is coming soon. Not only that, but Ze's internments into the league of awesomeness is coming to a close--again according to the mythology. But heres the thing, the sports racers believe the mythology. They do, they believe in the apocalypse more then 90% of the Christians, Muslims, Atheists, or Buddhists believe in their token world(limiting)view. They know its absurd, and revel in the absurdity of it all and, like I said, use it as a spring board to create, and I mean really, seriously create Culture. It is a Culture I can get behind. And these fanatical Sports Racers, Racing their Sports, with their Power Moves can all get in contact with each-other.
This is powerful stuff I think. I think Ze has unleashed upon the internet an interesting phenomenon that starts to link together people on the internet. Not in the mid 90's computers-are-being-linked kind of way, not in the yet-another-social-networking-service way where it is just a big popularity contest. But in linking together people who create, because all create. He has created a monster, and he is ready to unleash his hordes across the universe.
Monday, October 9. 2006
If you have some understanding in the ways in which your brain makes flawed decisions, you can stop to think about your decisions, and potentially avoid making them in the future. The first step is to know what these flaws are.
- Sunk cost bias
This one is simple. People tend to put in more value into thing that they put a lot of time, energy and resources into. Think of that project where thousands upon thousands of dollars were invested upon something that ended up not working anyway. If someone would have killed the project at the $10,000 dollar mark, then $90,000 would have been spared, but how many of us can really be the ones to say "We're throwing in good money after bad here!"
Egocentricism is something that everyone else has except you, right? The thing about egocentricism is that it is in our nature. There is really only one ego in our brains (usually) and ultimately, according to our brain, it is the only ego that counts. This can cause problems however, because we tend to see things happening to us as being more severe then they actually are. This is exemplified by an experiment described in the linked-to article:
In a study conducted by Sukhwinder Shergill and colleagues at University College London, pairs of volunteers were connected to a device that allowed each of them to exert pressure on the other volunteer’s fingers. The researcher began by exerting a fixed amount of pressure on the first volunteer’s finger. The first volunteer was then asked to exert the same amount of pressure on the second volunteer’s finger. The second volunteer was then asked to exert the same amount of pressure on the first volunteer’s finger, and so on. Although volunteers tried to respond with equal force, they typically responded with about 40 percent more force than they had just experienced. Each time a volunteer was touched, he touched back harder, which led the other volunteer to touch back even harder.
- Confirmation Bias
This happens when our rational brains are short-circuted and we take an event and show it to be linked to our already established notions and opinions. This may be related to memes, and the tendency for memes to self-reinforce.
Even if you are suffering from the deepest of self-esteem problems, chances are you are overconfident about some aspect of your life. For a good example, talk to any given driver out there "All the over drivers are idiots, but I know how to drive!" Programmers are similar in this regard.
- Dysfunctional Competition
This is essentially the fact that our happiness tends to be measured relative to the other peoples happiness around us. We like to think that this is not true, but as this experiment shows:
Max Bazerman from Harvard [who performed the experiment, said:] "When I ask people whether they would prefer a) $7 for themselves and for another person or b) $8 for themselves and $10 for the other person, people choose 'b.' However, when people are simply given 'a' or 'b,' 'a' makes them happier."
- The Endowment Effect
This is related to egocentricism. We tend to put more value on objects we already own, rather then their absolute value. In another experiment with mugs performed by Kahneman, Knetsch and Thaler, a random set of people were given mugs, and another random set of people asked to buy those mugs. The people who had mugs were only willing to part with them for $7, while the buyers were only willing to purchase them for $3. Now that's a seven dollar mug!
- Availability Bias
This is the effect where we tend to see probability in terms of memorable events, rather then in terms of their absolute probability. Look at the amount of fear around, and energy spent on the War on Terrorism. It is more likely that you will die from a car crash, or even an STD then a terrorist attack. This also has an effect on the micro-scale of your personal relationships. Sometimes the most negative aspects of a relationship are the ones you remember the most. When this gets combined with confirmation bias, it can make for an insidious combination.
This is an obvious one. Now I know that a lot of my frequent readers pride themselves as being non-conformist, but the kind of conformity being referred to here goes a little deeper. Buskers have known for years that if you seed your hat/guitar-case with some money, especially bills and higher denominational coins, people will generally give you more money. This is also called the "Restaurant effect", if you have 2 restaurants with one across the street from another, and one of them is seeded with people on its patio, and the other is not; the seeded restaurant will get more patrons. The effect of conformity is so subtle because most of us believe that we are somehow different, and immune from it, when we truly aren't. That means you Mr. or Miss non-conformist.
- Illusion of Control
This is the effect that causes gamblers to bet more on crap shots that they role verus shots that other players role, even though the probabilities are exactly the same. We seem to think that we have more control over a situation then we actually do.
- Attribution Error
We tend to think that people act and do things exclusively for our benefit, despite evidence to the contrary. That guy who cut you off in traffic quite likely didn't do it because he was an asshole, he was probably confused, a new driver, or even just distracted. In fact, maybe he is generally an asshole, but we tend to take his actions personally, as if he was cutting you off to be a prick at you, rather then because he is generally a thoughtless prick. The main effect here is that people tend to favor personality based explanations. It is similar to the old saw "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity." except, again it focuses on a character trait of the individual (stupidity) rather then what might be a more realistic explanation, such as a mistake, circumstances out of their control, or even other motivations.
Tuesday, May 30. 2006
Normally when I write a blog entry, there are 2 ways that I can go about doing it, I can either slam out an entry in a matter of minutes or I can lovingly craft an entry over a period of what can sometimes be months. As you might imagine, there are problems with both styles.
When I am just slamming out an entry there are spelling and grammatical errors, and it is definitely not my best writing. This is usually because I am pressed for time, or I just want to get something out the door, mostly to say "Hello" to my readers, and let them know I am still alive. Something that is very important as I am pressed for time.
If I lovingly craft an entry, it is basically the exact opposite. Some of my best entries in terms of structure, grammar, and clarity have gone through multiple drafts and revisions. In fact, frequently I will start one of these entries and then finish them off 2 months later. They really are the cream of the crop.
The problem is, that neither style is working for me. I want the speed of option one, with the beauty of option 2. Where is my damn cake, and a fork to eat it with?
Back in junior high, we were taught to outline our thoughts, before we wrote our paper. Very complex things—these outlines. First you have to make sure everything is indented properly, and your first level of indentation should be in Roman numerals, the next level uppercase letters... oh the structure! The problem with this method of outlining is that it isn't conducive to writing down thoughts as we think them. Mind Mapping is a great technique, but I don't want to pull out a scratch piece of paper every time I want to write a blog entry.
The thing is, that outlining is a really powerful technique of writing a blog entry (or essay, or book, or..) before actually writing it. It provides a focus and a structure. Because there is a clear delimiter of where the end goes, it is easy to write out an entry in a short span of time, and not get lost half way through, or run out of steam. As ideas come and go, the outline can be added to and subtracted, and there is an easily visible road map of what you are doing and where you are going.
Here is an example outline that I did for this entry (how wonderfully meta):
- what i did in past - slam one out real quick - spelling errors - not best writing - write revise write revise write revise - good writing, clear - takes forever, months even - new idea with outlines - speed up entry writing - make writing clearer - outline using simple text - this one for example - see how it goes - maybe publish more entries
I've already written this entry in half an hour, which isn't really that bad. Maybe I can end up publishing more entries and still maintain my extremely busy 2 job with family day. I guess we will just have to "see how it goes".
Monday, May 29. 2006
This is part 2 of the Abridged Harmonese dictionary. Please also see Part I
The Abridged Harmonese Dictionary, part II
- How dududat?
"How are you" or " How are you doing?" Also "How dududoing"
- Stucken Dere
Literally "Stuck in There". Used when something is stick, unmovable, or too high to reach. e.g. "I cannot reach the Cinderina on the top shelf, she is stucken dere"
A drink, usually coffee, juice or pop; but anything that is not water or milk.
- Five Minutes!
- f-iii-ve mi-nits!
An expression used when leaving the room to go away for awhile. It is always uttered as a single statement, i.e. "Five Minutes!", not " I'll be Back in Five Minutes"
- Be Right Bak!
- Bee riet bak
I'm leaving for awhile, and I actually have no intention of coming back, but instead will remain wherever I am going for an undisclosed period of time.
- Birday Cake
- bird-ay-caek Cake, whether or not a birthday is involved.
Wednesday, May 24. 2006
Greg Said this. Pretty funny
The shear volume of data that google can mine about an individual is truly scary. I still like google reader though.
Friday, April 21. 2006
No, this isn't about Podcasting.
My daughter is just the most adorable little creature in the whole damn world. She is also the kind of girl that makes her own language apparently. So I present with out much further ado..
The Abridged Harmonese Dictionary
- Apple Pie!
A general purpose answer to anything that you don't know the answer to: "What shape is this?" "Apple Pie!"
"How often does the 78-23 train go by?" "Apple Pie!"
Note that "Apple Pie!" does not have a question mark following it. It should never be used as a question, it is always as an answer to a question, and always has an exclamation mark afterwards.
This has spread across to native English speakers as well. My main man Reverend Craig told some of his friends at work about this catch-all answer. During a company meeting, the big boss asked a question, and one of the workers replied with "Apple Pie!"
Literally means "Please, I would like that very much, Thank you.". Usage: Milk-Kakai, Hug-Kakai. The object being requested always precedes the Kakai expression.
"Morodor Kakai" means "Please, I would like some water very much, Thank you."
Snow, or anything to do with snow. Just as the Inuit have more then one word for snow, Harmonese has only one word relating to snow. Like if the smurfs went arctic. Snowflakes, Snowmen and snowfalls are all snowma.
A Cinderella, Belle, Snow White or other faery-tale princess; a ballerina; a beautiful woman. From the combination of "Cinderella" and "ballerina"
- gkeeoh gkeeoh gkeeoh br/> The first consonant doesn't exist in English, but is a cross between a hard g and a k. Gyeo-gyeo-gyeo is an expression of anticipatory excitement, and can be translated as "Giggle Giggle Giggle*quot; or "Ok! Ok! Ok!". The number of "Gyeo"s determine how exciting the anticipated event is to be.
- Baby Ifan
- beh-beh iii-fan
A baby between the ages of 0-12 months, perhaps able to crawl, but not able to walk. From the English "Baby Ivan"
A toddler between the ages of 12-30 months. Able to walk, but still learning language. From her own name "Harmony". This may come from the Japanese pronunciation of the name "Harmony".