Saturday, November 30, 2013

Exploring Worlds in life and in Video Games - The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes

This world is "Super"
Funnyman Pete Holmes in a discussion with the Indoor Kids' Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon describe the appeal of Videogames. The liberty and achievement found in them that isn't always as accessible in real life.
The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes
EMILY GORDON: (28m 22s) When you're a kid there's so little you have control over... when I was a kid playing games part of it was that I got to exert control over a world because in this world I was a f*cking kid. I had no control whatsoever. And the older you get and the more control you have, you're just using the knowledge you have. "I can f*ck this up"
KUMAIL NANJIANI: And you trying to f*ck it up it is the ultimate expression of control. Like you're now even trying to control the boundaries of the game and get outside it.
What are we waiting for?
Travel to me is taking the time to discover the wonders the world has to offer. Exploring the many people, cultures and landscapes.
PETE HOLMES: (24m 38) Kids get more excited about how is this game going to be made, or what details and Easter Eggs are they going to put into the game... when I was kid I wanted to take it apart... let me give you an example because I'm not being very clear... everytime I got a new Sonic game the first thing I would do was start the level and then have Sonic stand still
KUMAIL: Oh yes so he could do the things, tap his foot, look at his watch
EMILY: Cause you feel like somehow its a communication between you and the people who made the game... what did they think of to thwart what you were thinking of
KUMAIL: So that's interesting for you its more of a dialogue between the makers and not what's inside the world. You're trying to sort of, in a way break the game but just sort of see what the boundaries of what they've thought of are
Let's go out there F*ck shit up
In my travels I'll walk around aimlessly looking for things that pique my interest. I never found the appeal of guide books, preferring just to stumble onto things or take suggestion from others. Better yet ego-tripping with new running mates.
PETE: (30m 07s) Everytime I get Grand Theft Auto and I start from the beginning [I like to play the story] but then I'll try to go to parts of the island you're not suppose to because I want to see what happens
EMILY: and there's always a Police Line or something really stupid set up
KUMAIL: and you know what's really awesome, if you find a place that you're not suppose to get to and when you get there, there's like a little message on the wall and you're like "You knew I'd be looking for this. You win this one"
Other posts on "Life as a Video Game"
- Dan Harmon and Duncan Trussell: We are in a simulation echo. God was originally a mortal programmer who "sacrificed himself as a player"
- Exploring Worlds in life and in Video Games - The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes
- Onnit Blog: Self Improvement in Video Games VS the "Real World"
- Kumail Nanjiani and Pete Holmes talk about "affecting the world TODAY"
- Skateboarders GoPro Train Derailment aftermath - 'Strange Days' visceral experience
- On being a Badass: Comedians Harland Williams and Pete Holmes featuring band 'Biting Elbows'

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Technology VS Human instinct: From Inuits in Northern Canada to Jungle Guides in the Amazon

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines 
The hunters’ ability to navigate vast stretches of the barren Arctic terrain, where landmarks are few, snow formations are in constant flux, and trails disappear overnight, has amazed explorers and scientists for centuries. The Inuit’s extraordinary way-finding skills are born not of technological prowess—they long eschewed maps and compasses—but of a profound understanding of winds, snowdrift patterns, animal behavior, stars, and tides.
Spending a few nights in the Amazonas I was mightily impressed by our Ecuadorian guide. I'm fascinated by human intuition and curious about the effects technology has had on our natural instincts and abilities. With his experience in the jungle and routine habits formed in a job, our guide was able to spot monkeys, frogs and tiny mushrooms with ease in the dense forest.

One of his most incredible feats was to steer the boat in pitch black darkness for 15 minutes after a night hike. I told him I'd recently read an article in 'The Atlantic' that referenced the astounding prowess of Inuit tribes and how recent forays using modern technology like GPS had dulled their abilities.

I quizzed him on his approach and how he viewed his own skill navigating the waters blind. He replied "To me, its just like a Video Game".
Like this. Except in pitch black.
All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines 
Whether it’s a pilot on a flight deck, a doctor in an examination room, or an Inuit hunter on an ice floe, knowing demands doing. One of the most remarkable things about us is also one of the easiest to overlook: each time we collide with the real, we deepen our understanding of the world and become more fully a part of it. While we’re wrestling with a difficult task, we may be motivated by an anticipation of the ends of our labor, but it’s the work itself—the means—that makes us who we are. Computer automation severs the ends from the means. It makes getting what we want easier, but it distances us from the work of knowing. As we transform ourselves into creatures of the screen, we face an existential question: Does our essence still lie in what we know, or are we now content to be defined by what we want? If we don’t grapple with that question ourselves, our gadgets will be happy to answer it for us.
- Comedians Pete Holmes and Eddie Pepitone on the phone as a "Life Companion"
- Comedian Louis C.K. on what Smartphones are taking away

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

National Geographic: The Japanese perspective on aging and happiness

Ecuador is an intriguing place, easily the most striking Country I've seen. A place you truly believe you could relocate too. You'll find many others have had the same idea and followed through. From retirees and escapees to young hippies and entrepreneurs. One of the perks of these settlements are the fancy eateries and artesan spaces that crop up for a fraction of the cost back home.

I found this rasta joint in Baños with some old school National Geographic's for table reading.

Vintage 'National Geographic' magazines at Afro Caribbean joint in Baños, Ecuador
National Geographic, January 1994
Kyushu: Japan's Southern Gateway
"Life is more comfortable than when I was growing up," he said, as we watched the sun dip behind the emerald hills that bordered his rice fields. But he added mischievously: "Too bad people have become so boring".

"Our village has a big electronics plant here now employing 1,200 people" he explained. "Golf courses are popping up, and we've got plenty of tax money rolling. But something's missing. The young people stumble around with a dazed look on their faces". The old folks, whose stories of village life were once the riveting source of entertainment and wisdom, can't compete with MTV...

Nowadays, the old folks watch Game Shows on TV. What good is long life asks Yoshihiro, if it ends in loneliness and boredom?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Comedian Louis C.K. on what Smartphones are taking away

I celebrated my birthday alone in Rio de Janeiro because of a mixup connecting with one of the few people I knew in the city. It was partly because I didn't have a phone. There was a melancholy to the day but stumbling onto this video that night really cheered me up.
I got to hang with my buddies the day after. All's well that ends well.

VIDEO: Louis C.K. Hates Cell Phones  
Louis C.K.'s Explanation of Why He Hates Smartphones Is Sad, Brilliant
You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That's what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That's being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty—forever empty. That knowledge that it's all for nothing and that you're alone. It's down there.