Friday, June 25, 2010

Whisper media

It's rude to whisper.

Why? Well that part is complicated.

It's obvious why it's rude to burp: you're subjecting people to something they don't want to hear.
It's obvious why it's rude to interrupt someone: you're treating them as though they are unimportant, and being disrespectful.

But whispering to the person next to you isn't doing either of those things. You're not subjecting the group to anything, and you're not interfering with their speaking.

Some would say that whispering is rude because it gives the impression that you're talking about another person in the room. But that theory doesn't hold up, because we have a similar negative reaction to any "1 to 1" communication in a public venue, even if the communication isn't "whispered," or otherwise obscured.

For instance, it's rude to discuss topics that the group isn't in on. Even though everyone can hear the discussion, and are free to talk amongst themselves, they take it personally that a private conversation is going on in their presence. The classic example of this is "shop-talk," where people that work together talk about their jobs in social settings.

The real problem, then, isn't one of paranoia. It's an issue of "us" and "them."

When you "whisper," you draw a line in the social sand. By creating private communication in the midst of public communication, you inadvertently create a class structure. You've made a distinction between people, which is something people often resent.

Which brings me, quite naturally, to the Walkman.

Technology provides lots of new opportunities for 1:1 communication, and each time a new one pops up we have to reconcile it socially. When cell phones became common there was something of a backlash against them, if you used your cell in public people thought you were self-important.

Portable music devices (which, as time goes on, are also portable video devices) are an interesting case of 1:1 communication. Traditionally, entertainment has been communal in nature because the only efficient way to send it out was to a group. But as technology advances, entertainment has become more personal.*

And I wonder how we'll reconcile it.

*Except for reading, which has always been a 1:1 thing. Imagine how bad it must have been when the skill of reading became common! Not only was a person engaging in a 1:1 communication, it was a form of expression that many people couldn't interpret.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Experience Watching the Sony E3 2010 Press Conference, Explained with the Medical "Pain Scale"

Oh boy, the Sony E3 Press Conference!
I'm hoping to see some cool games for
Playstation Move, some new Team ICO
content, maybe even a PSP2!

This is gonna be one heck of a show!

Okay, some 3D stuff. I don't really care
about 3D, and it costs way too much
for a 3D rig right now.

But I guess that's cool, they're trying new things.

Alright, Playstation Move time! Let's
see some titles!

A wizard game? Hmmm, looks a little
rough, but that's a good concept.
What else you got?

Oh . . . golf.

Wow, golf demo is still going huh?

I mean it's not even a new game, just
a patch for a current game. Uh huh,
you swing the thing and it moves the
other thing, we got it. Thanks.

Here we go! New game announcement!

"Heroes on the Move" So it's like a
Smash Brothers for Playstation? That's
a great ide . . . oh it's over already.

So, . . . no real details?

And what the hell was that? They trotted
out the actor from their advertising,
had him rehash the opening scene of
Patton, then showed us their new PSP
ad campaign?

Commercials? That's an announcement?!
That's what you have to show?

Little Big Planet 2 will let me make stuff.
Awesome. First of all, I already knew that.
Second, I want to play games, not make them.

And Playstation Plus? Wow. How come the only features in it that I care about seem like the kind of thing that should be built in for free?

Exclusive content for multi-platform games, huh?
Is that the new feather in your cap?

Listen. "Exclusive content" means "we signed a
a deal to keep someone else from having
this." It's not really a benefit to me, its
a punishment for someone else.

And here, "someone else" means "many of my friends."

Do I even like video games? I can't remember
anymore. There are probably better uses of my time. Maybe I should go outside . . . start Living. You know what I mean? Get myself in really goodshape, maybe go on a hike or something. That sounds nice.

Whelp, now my brain has melted. Yup. Just mush
now. Caaaaaaaaaaan't really focus. Urrrrrrrr!

If I didn't know better, I'd say they were talking
about a new Twisted Metal, but it's probably just a delusion brought on by two solid hours of watching Sony meander through the most boring
presentation of video games ever conceived.

Prediction for game of the year, 2011? The game where I bang two sticks together and laugh at the sound they make, because watching this has made me crazy.*

*But not this crazy

Friday, June 11, 2010


Despite what skeptics say, it's quite clear that the Mayans predicted incredible things for the year 2012! The Mayans, as we all know, are the ultimate authority on future events, since they lived a long time ago and wrote stuff. Their findings are supported by other valid researchers, such as the Aztecs, this new age writer guy I heard about, the BCS computer rankings*, and the internet!

So what will 2012 hold for us? Find out in:


In 2012 . . . The world will enter a golden age of humanity! But it won't matter because . . .

In 2012 . . . The world will be destroyed by a rogue planet!

In 2012 . . . The rogue planet will itself be destroyed when Earth's magnetic poles flip!

In 2012 . . . Survivors will have to throw away their compasses, or else like . . . they'll have to keep remembering that it's the other way! It will mess with people!

In 2012 . . . The magnetic reversal will catapult Earth, which will already be destroyed, through the center of the universe!

In 2012 . . . The center of the universe will immediately enter a golden age, then be destroyed by a rogue planet!

In 2012 . . . That rogue planet will be destroyed by a Mayan god!

In 2012 . . . The Mayan god will come in the form of a rogue planet!

In 2012 . . . Woooooooooooooooo!*

*Also considered a pseudoscience.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sam's guide to weight loss: Part 5, Steady Burn

"If you want something to happen, begin by creating an environment where it can happen"

That's where we started, and it's where we now end.

Are we products of our environment? Or do we get to determine who we are?

Yes. Yes to both.

Your Environment (capital E - meaning the physical and social environments around you, the environment of your physical body and health, your internal psychological environment, all of it) is always going to shape you. However, you have the power to act on that Environment.

As such, you have the power to author who you are, and who you will be. But to do it effectively, you have to let go of the idea that it's as simple as a decision.

The reason people have trouble losing weight, the reason they get so frustrated by it, is because they're trying to start a fire while standing in water. We are convinced that failure is a function of flaws, that if we can't accomplish something it's because of our own personal weaknesses.

If you are overweight, it's probably because your Environment made it easy for you to become that way. If you struggle with losing weight, it's probably because that Environment is fighting you.

And It may, in theory, be possible to overcome that Environment by sheer force of will, but isn't that demanding too much of yourself?

It may, in theory, be possible to start a fire with damp wood on wet ground. But if you tried it, you'd just wind up frustrated and dejected.

Sound familiar?

This isn't a quick fix. It's difficult*, and anyone that tries to tell you otherwise probably has something to sell. But it can be done. And you know what?

It's worth it.

*Believe me, I know it is.