Category Archives: Other

Gamification talk at Google

Gamification talk at Google.

The speaker makes a few very interesting points in this talk that I’d like to react to.  Perhaps he makes them somewhere else that it’d be easier to quote, but I need to get my thoughts written while they’re fresh in my mind.

One point was that introducing rewards to an existing behavior will “always” link that behavior to the rewards such that if the rewards are removed, the behavior will end or diminish to significantly less than it was before the gaming began.  One example given is that of United Airline’s 1 million miles frequent flyer club, at the time the highest rewards level.  When people got there, they started flying with different carriers because there was no incentive to continue with United.  United then added higher levels, to keep the “game” going.

My reaction is that maybe there’s another factor at work having to do with some reciprocal value the flyer is getting, along the lines of provenance … or history … but then again, above 1 million miles they would still have had the record of more miles, but were not interested in continuing to acquire them because there was no secondary “status bonus” to get more.

Another point was that in gamification, the biggest winner is the “house,” i.e. the casino.  One example was the X Prize given to the first private space mission.  The X Prize foundation got more free press than anyone else benefitted in the actual prize, and the winner was funded by a billionaire and would have achieved the goal without any contest.

A question this sparked for me is: what happens in a scenario where a game is actually multi-user generated and interwoven such that every player is potentially also a house?  In this situation, then, the winners are not only those who acquire the most bonuses, but also those whose bonuses are acquired most?  This is the closest analogy I can think of to the idea of the kind of inter-trading system that I’m developing.

This is also related to another concept like an internet protocol, and the users of the protocol.  The more people use it, the more successful the protocol is and the more likely people will use it for new projects.  This underscores the benefit in this case of the protocol being open source and public domain, so that the “house” is not siphoning away value from the users.

The second point about the biggest winner being the house relates to another question I have about gamification, which is the effect that the observer or house has on the flows that it’s gaming.  This is akin to the idea of the observer affecting the observed.  It’s not possible to measure a flow without to some degree affecting the flow.  It’ not possible to filter a flow without running the flow through the filter, which at the very least slows down the flow.

And here’s another speaker from a different perspective, talking about how much more effective intrinsic motivation is for a different kind of task,  such as right-brain thinking.  He labels the main drivers as Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.  He’s speaking mainly of the white collar skilled work force.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

the absurdity of banks

Sometimes I get a glimpse of the absurdity of the current reality …. participating in and yet also being tromped on by these giant ‘immortal’ monsters (banking institutions and the corporations that have risen up around them) that play at truly breathtaking levels with the modern forces of compounding debt money creation power … and I find my self enthralled, disgusted, and amused, all at the same time. The playing field is so incredibly skewed … it’s almost unfathomable … a bank is one of the most bizarre entities that I can imagine. And sometimes it seems the only way to have a chance of protecting and benefiting my community within such a system is to create such a similar monster that is owned by my community and have it vie for our benefit. But that’s just joining ‘them.’ It’s not my ideal of living community. In that context, the best solution I’ve seen is the NESARA (National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act) plan defined by a non-banker, non-economist, systems analyst. In it, the rules for how banks operate are changed to ones that are more in alignment with how the human mind thinks about growth. It’s a saner model for a global money system, and it seems like it would be so much more stable.

Prague

I’m sitting in a noisy smoky hostel pub in Prague and drinking a pint of Czech’s pride beer, a Pilsner Urquell. I stayed back an extra day to accompany Amanda on the train tomorrow to Berlin. She’s been sick, and I thought she should have a train buddy with her. The rest of the crew are riding for the next 3 days along the Elbe River to Dresden. From there they’ll train the rest of the way to Berlin. We had an interesting BMF here in Prague 2 days ago. The local bicycle advocacy group Auto-Mat were great, amazing hosts. They did their best on short notice to organize a cool BMF in some local spots like the Farmer’s Market, a local park, and a very unique wine bar underneath a “life-size” Trojan Horse by the river Elbe. They have an impressive level of organization and funding, apparently aided by one of the organizers being friends with the Mayor. Prague is a beautiful city, with so many astonishing buildings from ancient times, even middle ages, with streets that recall horse drawn carriages and long forgotten people, styles, and tunes. I feel pulled again to stay where I am and immerse more into the local flavors, customs, and experiences, but I have to get to Berlin to make another BMF a reality.

Fusion and beyond …

Fusion Festival was an amazing experience. It’s a huge 60,000 person festival with almost no commercial advertising and almost no security. There’s tons of alcohol and drug use, and yet I saw no trouble of any sort, in terms of friction between people, out of control drunks or violent tendencies. It was the most peaceful festival experience I could imagine, in spite of there being no rules per se. Of course, people just tossed their bottles and trash all over the place, but it was mostly cleaned up early the next day by the many volunteers who trade work shifts for entry. We stayed in the backstage area with many of the crew who work on the many music, theater, and cinema (kino) stages and art projects.

However, I left Fusion yesterday relieved be free from the incessant pounding of 60kW sound systems. I’m finding solace in the meadows, fields, and woods of rural Germany. The German and European rural areas are so much more lush and beautiful than I’d imagined. Apparently this is unique to this area, with its many small lakes (sees) and woods. I am really enjoying the ride along the Berlin – Copenhagen national bike route.

This morning I left Louis and Bobba sleeping at the lake where we swam, chatted around a fire, and slept last night. I’m enjoying the option of riding solo or with a group. The sense of freedom is freeing … 😉

All is bliss…

Close encounters of the Sicko kind

I just read on slashdot a discussion about the late, Haut, who left a signed affidavit saying he saw aliens at Roswell when he worked there as an Army Lt. (link)

I don’t know about that stuff, have never had a close encounter, etc.  It’s entertainment for my imagination.  But I just really think life is so short, as an individual.  Even as a society, our circumstances change change radically based on various factors, the environment, food supply, disease, war.  There are so any variables at play.

If earthlings are in contact with extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional beings, I think we should make the most of it.  Wow, isn’t that profound?  Heh, ya, I suppose I’m so overwhelmed with awe at even the possibility of ET/ED contact, that my ego/self kind of gets dizzy and a bit out of breath, and I don’t have much to say at first bat.

What I think I’m trying to say is that I have doubts that I am, personally, “ready” to meet, engage with, socialize with, people of other planets/dimensions.  I mean on some level, the idea is really fantastic, exciting.  And yet, on another, it’s that I’d really have to have my act together.  What I mean is, the barriers to communication, understanding, and navigating the waters of conflicting and shared intention/purpose, would be higher than even relating to a human from the other side of the planet, which can be hard enough as it is.

Furthermore, I can’t help but look around at our society and think that we, as a whole group, are similarly unprepared to “deal.”  I mean, look at US foreign policy.  That in itself is proof for any judge of character that we as a nation are not fit to engage with even more foreign beings.

I look around and so many people seem so clueless.  They don’t “get it.”  And yet, I question my self about this attitude, “pride before the fall” and all … “who am I to judge?”  I’m just one bubble on a wave of a rapid in the river of life.  Here now for a moment, and then, pop!, gone.  Who am I to have this far-reaching, all-encompassing perspective on this world, this dimensionality that I inhabit, this society of which I am a member.

I guess another way of saying this is that we’re so screwed as a society as it is, we’re in no shape to encounter another.  Maybe my perspective is skewed because I’m an American and I just watched Sicko, which really drove home just how materialistic and greed- and debt-driven our US society is.

Sigh.

But there apparently are some people who are striving to consciously make the connection:

UFO Disclosure Project with the National Press Corps.
government agents, army people, etc come out with their info, proof, etc.

Nature: Human Mating Dynamics on the Techno Dance Floor

In a world shrouded by darkness, deep beneath the floor of a sophisticated cocktail bar with live mellow jazz, a faint rumbling rythm can be heard.  As one descends stairs into the underworld lair, the faint rumble becomes a heart thumping techno beat, a swarm of male and female humans carouse, imbibing drinks of various colors, and orient concentrically around the source of their audio energy.  In the center of the den is an open area bathed in an purplish light causing white to glow brightly on its occupants, and where the droning bass beat is concentrated.  To one side is the control area where the evening’s hosts spin their discs of synchronic acoustic ecstatic madness.  Their listeners communicate with them via calls of pleasure and crescendos of body and sound intereaction.

This hidden dance floor is the location of a strange and ancient form of human mating dynamic that was thought to be extinct from the modern “civilized” human world.

I entered the dance floor, and joined in the festival of sound and light, enjoying the beat and darkness, the splash of neon green glowing stars cast upon the ceiling, rotating slowly as the Heavens do.

I bumped into an old friend of mine, who also happened to be there for the same reason, and she and I danced across from one another for a short while, enjoying each others smiles and company.

Suddenly a young man of stocky weight-trained build, close shaven head, tight-fitting clothes moved in from my left, inserting himself dramatically between me and my friend.  We had been no more than a foot or two apart, but he squeezed in none the less, intent, no doubt, on having the spoils of companionship of my woman friend for himself.  I couldn’t help but laugh and think to my self, “Oh my goodness, this guy really wants my friend.”  He moved in on her like a starving jackal on a tasty meal.  He moved in close to her, consuming her boundary, matching her moves, even steering her to some degree, setting the pace, making her go his way.  At some point, perhaps he took too much, pushed too far, wanted too much, as she moved away, didn’t reciprocate, and changed direction.  He moved on at some point.  I had moved on in my attention, watching the dance floor, the mixing of physical energies.

A little later I saw another young man, a more suave guy, with similarly short hair, but with glasses, a slender build, with a more “intelligent” look.  As I observed the dynamics of the dance floor through the evening, I couldn’t help but notice this man’s method of approaching his counterparts in eros, severa times, several women, all with the same method.  After some as yet still unkown connection had initiated, he would stop dancing, stand still, cock his head down like a bull fighter facing his prey, with a wry smile, slowly advance towards the young, still dancing, woman, who is meanwhile smiling and seeming a bit unsure of what his intentions are, and yet expecting and looking forward to them.

As he gets close he begins a sultry movement of harmony with her, slowing her down, making each movement deeper, longer.  They move together erotically, slowly, grinding on each other.  One time, he moved his head in for a kiss, with slow steady pressure, on the neck, to the side, advancing, approaching her lips, intent on success.  She was laughing, surprised, resisting, feeling pleasure, consenting, then resisting further progress, laughing again, moving with him, laughing “no,” then relenting, but never kissing, maintaining that limit.

Last, but not least, the most memorable of examples of this ancient mating ritual occured as I was reclining on a seat at the edge of the dance floor, admiring the movement of a young woman who was dancing alone near me.  She was of a smaller build, with glasses, having an almost nerdish look, but sexy.  She had me even considering plying some of the techniques I’d been watching.  Maybe I’d be more moderate, and find the pleasure of the anonymous physical contact without making too much of a scene, a nonverbal compliment to her movement.  But I was tired and almost ready to leave, so I was a bit relieved to see another guy approaching her.

This one was the tallest of the men, at least 6’4″, maybe taller, a local redneck type, baseball cap, provincial body language, slow, dominant nature.  He moved in on her, she turned away.  He pressed up against her, she continued dancing, as others had during similar advances, him rubbing up against herr backside, her continuing her booty bumping.  She seems to be working with him, and yet he continues to push on her, a full foot higher than her, with outright physical dominance, further towards the edge of the dancec floor, closer, closer, halfway off the edge of the floor.  She seems unsure of what to do, what his intentions are, she turns, moves aside, he moves away.

They part and continue dancing, she turns moves back onto the floor, he advances again, this time she doesn’t turn away, and they move together, grinding as before.  This time after a short while of this, the guy moves in right away to kiss her, perhaps assuming such overwhelming dominance is on his side, she’s no match for him, and yet she resists, turns, pushes him away, seems offended.  After a short while which seems long, he gets the message and backs off, kind of saunters away.  She returns to dancing where she had been before several feet back onto the floor, but still near the edge, and I could swear I saw her wipe a tear from her eye.

But here he comes again … but just grabs her a bit and says something to her.  She half nods, not turning to lookat him, as if to say, “ya, whatever, just go away.”

But now I am wondering.  Why the tear?  Did I really see that?  Was it because she had been anticipating the approach of a man, had been wishing for some guy to pay some attention to her, to notice her dancing there by her self, to be drawn in by her passion, her seriousness?  Perhaps she had even had her eye on him, the tallest and seemingly most dominant of the men, and yet he let her down, disappointed, was so much less subtle than she had hoped.  Her ideal of balance of braun with brains was denied, and she just got overwhelming braun.  Or maybe she was hoping someone else would come near.  Perhaps even me, as I was sitting near her, watching her.  What if she was inviting me to dance with her, and I was the one who disappointed.

I had had a similar thought earlier in the night when a tall skinny black haired, tight black-clothed young woman, with mascara, to make an intriguing, sultry effect, had come near me, as I danced on the edge facing inward, with the bass beat behind me, as if I was the source of the acoustic sustenance that was feeding this tribe.  She danced near me, close enough to get my attention, sometimes almost facing me, sometimes away, but never having eye contact, never making what I would consider a “connection.”  And yet, she was unmistakably capturing my attention, paradoxically.  This is my first time on this floor.  Is this a “connection” in this new techno beat language?  I don’t know.  I don’t act.  I don’t move in, not really sure if I want to, or if I am even comfortable enough with the music and beats to bring anything to the table of grinding with her hips, of moving in synch.  But, regardless, at some point she seemed to stop, and walk away in a huff, as if she had been denied.  Was that because of me?  Did I deny her without even knowing it?

Perhaps this mating dynamic is more subtle than I’d thought, at least in terms of the women’s behavior.  Perhaps the women only need to give off the most minimal of signals to attract a male, if any, only needing to be in the general vicinity and not currently preoccupied with another onslaught of male dominance.  This will require further study, including some of a more first-person, up-close and personal nature.

How far is too far? … or far enough?

The thought occurs to me that maybe I said too much, too much talk, not enough walk, talked away from the place I could have been had I been a different man, in a different place and state than I am. Or was it that I talked away from the man who I really am, the one who doesn’t fuck around with what really matters, and who doesn’t give a shit what some one thinks about my idea of what matters? I am who I am, of course. God is within me, I am within God. We are one, and yet He is that He is, and I am who I am. Both male and female come from the Divine, come from the same place, and yet are heading in opposite directions towards each other. What a paradox. It is especially ironic when one or both of them tries to touch the other, and they wind up missing each other more than if they had not tried. Why do we do this, behave in ways that we know will push the other away, or cause them to doubt our sincerity, or lose Faith in us? Is it a reflection of our lack of Faith in our Selves? Are we so afraid of our power to be fully our selves and facing what that really means, and what consequences that will bring to us, that we behave in such a way as to undermine that, or cancel it out, to cause the other to think it was just a show, just a trick, so that we don’t have to accept the responsibility for who we really are?

Maybe I did some of that. This is a common thought. Maybe I let my Self down. Maybe I cut and ran. Maybe I sold my self short, yet again. It’s a common theme. Some call it a fear of success. Is it because with success comes a “lock-in?” With success comes a rigidity that says “this is the right way” and so we become lazy and just do that, lose the spirit of experimentation, of trying new things for their own sake? Questions are fun, aren’t they? Trying something new. Can that be overdone? Can it be done to the point where “Me” no longer means what it used to? That it has become a conglomeration of experiments and exaggerations, purposefully disproportionate emphases of sub-topics and related ideas. Where’s the beef? Where’s the heart of the matter? Speaking from the heart. That’s who I think I am. But what if I don’t show that to someone, and only bust on them and make fun of them? What separates me from the bully who used to pick on me? Yes, I’m acting from a place of love. Yes I only tease people whom I like, but do they know that? How can I speak from the heart and still tease and play? It’s easy, yes I know, but why is it that sometimes the other doesn’t receive it that way? Why is it that my impression of reality is different than theirs so much that I don’t realize that I’m being interpreted badly? Is it insensitivity on my part? Is it that I make a trade-off when I tease that tests the limits, and that what seems to me as more play passes some line in the other..s mind into a territory of a darker nature? How do I know how far I can go without taking the risk of going too far? The answer is, I can’t. Or, in other words: I know because I have, don’t because I haven’t, and will, when I do.

Enter a Higher Level

The movie, What Women Want.  I watched it a few days ago.  It made me think.  About higher levels of consciousness.  Aside from its average Hollywood dramatic moments and the love story, etc., I really enjoyed the play on the idea of reading minds.  It’s something that I want to be able to do.  Not necessarily even surreptitiously, but just to be able to communicate like that would be great.  To be able to hear someone thinking to their self would be great too, though, don’t get me wrong.  I mean, it still wouldn’t necessarily make communications any better.  I know I don’t think that much sometimes, or my spoken words don’t necessarily differ from my thoughts, but sometimes I think something like, “woah, you’re cute” to someone and don’t actually say it.  Hmmm, maybe I SHOULD say it.  I wonder what would happen if I did that more.  But then again, I’m not the THINKIEST person around.  I don’t often think something in the first place, but if I do form the words it’s usually in the act of saying it.

My pondering on this topic was also fired up by a friend recently telling me about having two way conversations with people completely mentally, and that just totally intrigued me.  I WANT TO DO THAT.  Any teachers out there?  I can read and write and speak, but I have not yet found that I can consciously think two ways with other people.  Is it possible?

I would imagine that the ability would put you in a whole nother league of existence.  I mean, deaf people are left out of so much, and I would think that telepathy would be similar.  WOW.  That’s fun to think about.

So Many People

Look around you, every where you go, especially wandering around in this virtual mind space here in this online land.  There are SO MANY PEOPLE.  So many attitudes, intentions, desires, loves, hates, egos, wills, sex driven manias.  It boggles my mind.  I am boggled by the sheer multitude of people.  In some ways it is comforting to know at some level that all are more similar in our desire for physical comfort and genetic one-upsmanship, but at the same time, that’s the worst part.  I mean, I at my most selfish and optimize-my-genetic-exchange oriented mindset am not as selfish and genetically oriented as some other Joe _____ Blow out there.  I know I’m not.  I know I’m mellow and not as fucking driven in that regard as other people are.  Does that mean I will naturally mate with someone who is similarly not as driven to optimize their procreation opportunities and will give birth to a line of people who don’t try as hard to screw the hottest piece of ass on the block?  It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I don’t want to as much as some other hot ass seeking dude (or dudette).  I mean, I’m just mellow, you know?

And another thing that boggles my mind is that all those people, so many masses of them, are, for the most part, getting better every day.  You know, like the Beatles song, getting better everyday.  It is my firm belief, in spite of the propaganda by the religious extremists to the contrary, that most people are in general getting better.  True, maybe their educational levels in this country are slipping in relation to other countries, but humantiy as a whole is getting better.  I think that is what the moneyed elite are afraid of more than anything, that the people at large are improving every day and so must continually be kept down, so that they, the moneyed elite, can maintain their position at the “top.”

Cut Your Hair

Today I recorded some guitar tracks for my friend Grace on her song, Family.  It’s a song about having family all around the world, and that sometimes you have to cut your hair, and cut your losses.  I haven’t cut my hair in months, and it’s grown to be a big ass afro.  Grace hasn’t cut her hair in a longer time, so, I’m not sure what the meaning of that line is, unless perhaps its symbolic, or metaphorical, which is something fundamentalists don’t get very well.  They think Jesus literally walked on water and literally died and then literally, physically, rose again three days later.  There’s no symbolic meaning allowed there.  Come ON, people, he rose again in SPIRIT, his spirit rose, as in the spirit of the truth, the spirit of the message.  His life had meaning even without the way he died.  It’s not all about his death.  Jesus Christ!  Sigh.  Grace’s boyfriend, Sy, cuts his hair from time to time though.

I was thinking of getting my hair cut tomorrow, but I’ll probably wait until I get some good video of my self with my shag, for inclusion in a music video I’m working on for my song, Beauty Revealed.  The story of the video will unfold in such a way that the cutting of my hair will be symbolic of an internal transformation I undergo as a result of the loss of 3 women, all of whom will be played by really hot up and coming actresses.  My interactions with the women will be with the shag, and then after I lose all 3, I’ll go through this self discovery of what really matters, and then I’ll cut my hair, and shave my beard/scruff, and I’ll get up at dawn and meditate as the sun rises over the misty mountains under the oak trees and BE.  And then my dream woman will descend from the clouds on a flaming chariot, clothed in gleaming pure white raiment, holding a golden staff with a symbol on it.  Ya, that’s right, a SYMBOL.  Can you say, SYMBOL?  (If you’re a fundamentalist, you might want to avoid this since it will require mental activity)

Well, maybe her raiment will be off-white white, since according to Ken Nordine, even the purest whitest white that one can possibly imagine, is still, slightly, just a bit, off-white white.  Individual existence is, after all, intrinsically, relatively limited, and only spans a spread of the spectrum, and only to a limited degree, or amplitude.  You only exist to a limited degree.  Nothing that you think is absolute is experienced by you to an absolute degree.  Yes, you DO experience the absolute, but not as much as it seems to you that you do.  Hence, the truth of the off white white.  But, really, focusing on the relatively limited nature of existence can kind of take the fun out of living.  So, screw it.  Even If you think you know the absolute truth, just don’t go expecting me to know it the exact same way you do.  I think it’s great that you have that faith, but it loses its meaning when you force it on someone else, because forcing it inherently admits that it is not absolute, because if it was, you wouldn’t have to force it.