weekly reel May 07, 2017

Hello, humans. Music, with a new Radiohea Grizzly Bear. And damn, realizing I never shared any Syd Matters here. There, fixed:

Grizzly Bear - Three Rings (youtube-nocookie.com)

Syd Matters - Ghost Days (youtube-nocookie.com)

Syd Matters - Brotherocean (youtube-nocookie.com)

On the news,

  • The Oatmeal: You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you. On our variance in rationality and empathy. Read. This. Now.
  • Kottke: Nomadic gardener rents people's yards to grow produce. Awesome: he does “portable farming” — moves from place to place, renting out people’s yards to grow produce, which he then sells to stores and markets.
  • Jonathan Blow - Game design: the medium is the message perfectly expresses how today's manipulative facebook treadmill "games" are not the same breed as good, rich, human video games, and why it's important to differentiate them. Via Samuel, thanks buddy :)

    If you're a game player and you're playing this kind of Candy Crush games right now, just know that what you're doing is the new version of watching Bad TV in the 70s.

    Just like you don't necessarily know right now this is like Bad TV, people watching Six-Million-Dollar Man in the 70s were not cognitively aware how terrible that show was most of the time. It's only in retrospect that we can stand where we are now, look back and say "Wow that show was terrible". Same with these games: you're swimming in them, so you can't see how bad they really are. And just like I can look back at the 80s and say "Man, I can't believe I spent so many hours watching frickin' Knight Rider, Airwolf and all that stuff", it's going to be very easy to look back in 15 years and say "I can't believe I played so many of these illusionary treadmill games".

    And a common response to that kind of statement is: "You know, I sort of hear what you are saying but I don't believe it because when I'm playing a game like Candy Crush, I'm having fun, and there's nothing wrong with that." Note this is also what designers say: "Well people have fun playing, who are you to judge?".

    And it's like, well, sort of, but in other areas of life we don't have this level of confusion. A lot of people going to McDonald's and eating fries will tell you they taste good. But there's not really any confusion that this is good food, right? Nobody thinks this is good food! Nobody thinks you should eat this everyday! But in games that level of clarity hasn't been reached yet.

    The nice thing, though, if you've played this kind of Candy Crush games, is to know there's actually better stuff out there. Stuff that can actually speak to you as a human being beyond just a bundle of reflexes that can be psychologically manipulated. And if you're playing this Candy Crush kind of games, it at least means you might be a little bit interested in games to begin with. So, if you want it, with a little bit of scouting and some good advice, you can find the good things on the opposite side of the spectrum. And you might find them much more interesting; or maybe not and maybe you'd go back playing Candy Crush, who knows? But it's a possibility.

  • Felix Colgrave: DOUBLE KING. So much yes.
  • The Guardian - Facebook admits: governments exploited us to spread propaganda. Direct link to the whitepaper by Facebook's security team: Information operations and Facebook (PDF, 1MB). Via azeem.
  • Why UNIX has short command names: painful keyboards :D . Via cron weekly.
  • Same stats, different graphs, "generating datasets with varied appearance and identical statistics through simulated annealing". Via jwz.
  • [fr] Boulet : C'était mieux hier, 👍. Via l'infolettre Nouveau Projet.
  • 💩😷⚠ Donaldese:
Comments and feedback welcome @ronjouch or by email.