RW5 - Barf. Doesn't matter.

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John sending only two short replies to Dan's text messages about when to record the show last week.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

2015-September: John got pulled over for talking on his phone (RW5)

John is mad because he got pulled over for talking on his cellphone. He wasn't even talking, but listening to a voicemail message. Talking on the phone in your car is illegal now in Seattle and it is a $136 ticket.

It is rare that you feel good after an interaction with a cop. John believes in the power of the law and he believes the police are doing a necessary job, but at least in Seattle they are culturally not very pleasing. There is that thing in America these days called professionalism, which is meant to make the process efficient and to remove all human wiggle room from any encounter, especially in corporate America. Any time you approach somebody and say you are unsatisfied with the performance of the thing you bought, everybody gets very professional, which is supposed to be something we desire, but it is off-putting, inefficient and imperious.

Professionalism creates a strange and uncomfortable distance between you and the officer who is reading from a script. People in customer service are reading from a script as well. Over the course of the last 20 years there have been enough situations where some policemen or some customer service person said something off script and it got them in trouble, there was a lawsuit and they have learned their lesson. The cop is not listening, but he is talking like "Do you know why I pulled you over today?", as if he fucking cared. Is it going to change anything? Are we having a conversation or are you just running your lines?

Over the course of his life, John has dealt with a lot of police officers in America in different places and there are a lot of different police cultures. The police culture in the South has a lot of institutional racism but that's not to say that the police culture in Seattle doesn't have institutional racism as well. The police in the South are chatty and they like to bullshit. There are obviously major issues about policing in New York, but if you walk up to a New York City police officer and you say you are trying to find the World Trade Center, chances are the cop is going to go "Oh hey! World Trade Center? What's the matter with you? Can't you see it right there? Let me walk you over there!"

This is partly because in New York you have to stay as human as you can, but it is also the culture of the cops there. Out in Seattle it is a combination of liberalism, North-Western efficiency, binders and binders of best practices and all this other stuff. It creates cops who walk around, if not exactly like storm troopers, but seeing inhumanity as being their job description. Citizens are potential lawbreakers and they are here to police them. That is why the Seattle Police Department is in such trouble all the time. For a city their size and for a culture that should be permissive based on the false idea of permissive liberalism, the cops should at least be friendly and they are just not. They are not necessarily unfriendly, but they are not at all humane and therefore you walk away feeling resentful from any encounter with them. They are condescending from the moment they open their mouth.

The police is out there keeping Seattle safe and they are probably pulling over another person who is on their cell phone. We decided that it is safer to have both hands on the wheel and have an ear dongle while we are having the same phone conversation, than it is to hold your phone up. John understands that. There is a lot of opportunity for a police officer to say "Oh you were trying to coordinate picking up your daughter after school, I get it, I'll let you go with a warning!" or even "I'm sorry I really have to give you this ticket because that's my job and have a nice day."

If they are just reading from a script, then John can't wait for cops to get replaced by a robot, frankly! Robots have "Harm no humans" as their first protocol! It is in the laws of robotics for a positronic brain. The first law of robotics is that a robot may not harm or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. That would be a good first law for a cop robot! If Seattle cops are trying to act like robots, why not just have cop robots? "Sir you were using your cell phone. That is automatic ticket!" and they wouldn't have to go through this dance of taking John's registration back to their car and sitting back there jacking off for 15 minutes and John wouldn't be late for his freakin podcast.

John was on the way to his office while his mom was coming in from out of the country. It was one of those days where it's like "Who is watching the baby? Oh shit, I thought you were!" It is the typical American half assed parenting and John was trying to coordinate all that on his way to this delightful podcast recording. He was on an industrial road and he was not navigating downtown traffic while on his cell phone, eating a sandwich, drinking a hot cup of coffee and putting on his makeup.

The road had no stoplights and John was driving the speed limit, not changing lanes, just puttering along, trying to coordinate the situation on his cell phone. He does not have an ear dongle because he is not a black man in his 60s nor someone who walks around having a very loud conversation in a café with an invisible friend. Fucking ear dongles, come on! Instead he should pull over and do his phone business, that is what the Seattle police is telling him.

There are studies that people's reaction time is slower if they are on a phone call, but the ear dongle won't change that! The question is if it is still slower if you are talking to a person in the car or if you are talking on the speakerphone? John is behind people who are obviously texting while driving all day long. They pull up to a stop sign and they won't drive although it is not going to change colors because it is a stop sign, because they are looking at their phone. John doesn't know if Seattle police are giving all those people tickets, too, but it is not about them, it is about John who was violating the law.

The cop asked whom John was talking to and he started to explain, but he was not listening and his ear flaps were already closed! John could have said he was on his way to the emergency room, his father was dying, will you escort me there, but short of that, it didn't matter at all what he said. Nobody in that situation is going to say they were just talking bullshit to their old lady, but everybody got a sob story and John's wasn't really much of a sob story, it just felt like a sob story to him. John is really good about not talking on a cell phone, but he picked it up because he was trying to figure out this baby sitting thing. He didn't text her while driving, but called her and got her voicemail and in the 15 seconds that he was performing that action he just lucked into this $136 ticket and now he is obviously processing a lot of emotion.

Karmic debt for not being prosecuted for every little infraction (RW5)

The other day John was at a store and the guy behind the counter wanted to engage with him as John handed him his driver's license because he was paying with a credit card. They guy said that when he moved to Seattle from Colorado, they charged him $90 to change his driver's license over from Colorado to Seattle. It was maybe not a super-interesting story, but let's go! John wants to hear what was bothering him! They agreed that it was outrageous and they went back and forth three or four times about how outrageous it was. The kicker was that he lived out here for 10 years using a Colorado driver's license and never switched! Wait a minute! It seems like whatever that $90 fee was, it was not even close to the amount of money he owed the state of Washington for skirting the system for so long. Every time you interact with a police officer, you pretend that you just moved here? You should pay $9000 for that license.

Does John owe the city of Seattle $136 for various infractions that he has never been prosecuted for? Yes! What if we could go around and calculate all the infractions that people haven't paid for and all the karmic debt that people owe? It would be the opposite of those e-mails saying that you may be eligible to claim some money that's been left! Imagine our UFO overlords and alien masters had a way of determining people's karmic debt because they have been recording every single person on earth and have been assessing them according to 42 UFO criteria. They would know all the people who have been paying more into the system than they've been getting out, which presumably there are some of those. There needs to be a face to this office, a karmic debt czar and John thinks that would be an amazing job! All the Nebraska farmers who pay their taxes and sit idling at stoplights in the middle of nowhere pay into that bank and you could give them $14.000 for all the extra times they have stopped at yellow lights.

If people were rewarded for doing the right thing instead of penalized for doing the wrong thing, a lot of it would be like unlocking an achievement in a game. If you were the guy who didn't text at the stop sign and at the end of the day you could get a badge like the one you get for a streak on your Apple Watch, that is way better than "Well, nobody is around, so I'm just going to text right now and no one is going to get me." You don't get a badge for that, but you are just avoiding the penalty that you eventually will get. Somehow your phone and watch would have to be monitoring you in such a way that it would put you out of the running for the good conduct medal for today.

There is an app called Waze that is doing crowdsourcing to know if there is traffic or if the police is doing radar. John doesn't trust it, because it doesn't seem legit. Dan agrees, but the app knows if you are in motion and it will tell you that you shouldn't use it while you are driving. You can tap a little option saying that you are the passenger and then it will let you do it. But how soon until we get to a point where if your phone senses you are going 25 miles an hour, you won't be able to use it at all. The cops would love that!

On the other hand, the self driving car is going to put all that stuff to bed. It is going to revolutionize the world in such a way that we don't even have traffic cops anymore. John hopes they go into early retirement and he hopes they will have a hard time making ends meet because he is mad at them right now! He hopes all those traffic cops have to take second jobs as security guards and at community colleges because they made bad choices in being traffic cops and they are shitty.

Self-driving cars (RW5)

Dan loves the idea of of a safer, cheaper electric car that drives itself everywhere, but Dan would need a manual override, because otherwise it is just like being on a private train car. John thinks that all the complaints about self driving cars are coming from the question of how we are going to integrate them with our current way of doing things, but once the self driving car wave hits, it is going to sweep out all of the old way and you are not going to have a manual override on your car, your phone or your microwave.

Dan counters that there is someone flying the plane on autopilot, but if they need to take over, if the autopilot starts doing something wacko, they can take over, which happens all the time, as his friends who are pilots tell him. Aside from the Malaysian jet which we still don't know exactly what happened, every single instance of planes crashing in the last ever are instances where John wishes to God that the autopilot had overridden the crazy lunatic who was flying the plane. The pilots were either making errors or they were actively seeking to destroy themselves or other human beings intervening.

The human error in automobiles is the source of all accidents, all traffic jams, all death and all dismemberment! Driving is not a hard job and it is very simple for computers, but it is a very hard job to put self driving cars into an environment where other cars are being piloted by humans. That is incredibly hard and they have to work out all the technology, but if Google was given an unlimited amount of money to make every single car in Seattle self-driving from a certain date and you would no longer be able to drive a manually piloted car, Google could do that using the technology right now and it would work pretty much flawlessly.

The roads already have stripes painted on them and the challenges are for example what to do if a little old lady pulls out in front of you without signaling, but if it was all computerized, that would never happen. It is not about any one single piloted car, but it is about the whole system of cars being part of a network, understanding their position relative to one another, and moving in different pods where your car is drafting off of these 10 cars now, but then it is going to separate from them and draft with these other cars.

If we had no cars on the road right now at all and we were going to populate these brand new empty roads with these computer controlled self driving cars and everybody who wanted to travel by car would be in one of these things, we would be ready to go! If you want to go to the country and drive as a sports person, you will still be able to do that. It is going to be a rich toy at first, but then Uber is going to immediately buy 100.000 of these things and as soon as that happens and as soon as the taxicabs are autonomously piloted, everyone is going to realize "Oh shit, this is amazing! I push one button on my phone, a robot car shows up and takes me where I'm going. Why would I continue to drive my old car?"

The prices are going to be very competitive because they don't have to pay any humans and neither will yellow cab. It will be cheaper to be in an autonomously piloted cab than to be in your own home. John would just ride around in these autonomously powered cars all the time, looking at his phone and sending text messages about childcare. Pretty soon no one will buy a new car and in 10 years, the transformation will have happened.

Dan thinks there is definitely a trust thing for the older generation, but John counters that old people should go right into the grinders. He is saying that as a person who is edging into oldness! Old people should go right into the grinders and make delicious food for the babies, because old people are the worst and they stand athwart progress with their old ideas. Autonomously piloted cars will of course need a lot of government regulation, but John is not interested in the fear of people who are being afraid of them. Bring them! Roll them out! They are going to solve everything!

John has a big vision and this concept is going to supplant mass transit. His kid asks him when she is going to learn to drive and he thinks about when his parents taught him to drive and when their parents taught them to drive. Teaching your kids to drive has been an American tradition for the last 100 years. Before that it surely was a tradition to teach your kids how to handle a horse cart. John's daughter may never learn to drive!

John will still teach his daughter to drive because they are sporting enthusiasts and she should know how to drive. They will go out into the country and drive around on a closed circuit using old Alfa Romeos. In the same way that people still race horses there will always be people who are out there racing cars in the mountains, but it will be an anachronism by the time she will be in High School. John's family often concludes that the next car any of them will buy will be the last car any of them will buy, meaning that they will only buy one more car.

What Dan finds neat-o (RW5)

Dan was never really into cars, they are pretty terrible and they are the worst! He wanted to be in the auto shop in school and he got into fixing cars for a short period of time. He had a stint of a couple of years right around high school, beginning of college where he just wanted to take things apart and put them back together in a meaningful way that would save him money. He learned how to do oil changes himself and he soon realized he could buy $7 worth of oil and a $5 filter and could save $30, which is a lot of money, especially if you're in high school or college. It just takes 30 minutes!

Dan got really into that part of it, but he never read car magazines or talked about cars. Every single human Dan knows, maybe except John, likes the show Top Gear and wonders how anybody could not like that great show, but Dan just doesn't like cars. If he owns something, he wants to own something that is good. It he is spending money on something, he wants to spend money on something that is going to last and work well. He wants a car especially to be very safe because people are crazy, but he doesn't really like cars. He likes the convenience that they bring, but otherwise, he doesn't like jet planes either although he just spent hours and hours on one of them. He doesn't like traveling on them, although he likes that he can get onto one and come out of it somewhere far far away and have a good time.

Yes, Jet-planes are fascinating, especially when you are watching them take off and land and Dan loves the idea of it, but if he didn't have to commute on one ever again and could just be in the new location, he would be all right! Dan has lost touch with his neat-o reaction. When he was young, he felt definitely neat-o about Star Wars stuff. If you had taken an iPhone back to when he was a kid, he would have absolutely lost it. He even lost it in 2007 when they came out and he was pretty blown away by it, but now it is just tough to keep pace with all the changes, as opposed to being thrilled by them.

Anything mechanical still holds a certain degree of charm for Dan. That is why he loves old watches like his granddad used to always have, but he doesn't own any really nice watches himself. He got Timex watches that he bought at Target and he has an Apple Watch, but that is not the same thing. People get into guitars and drums especially, because it scratches an itch. Cars, watches, trains, planes. Dan has a guitar, he can string it, he swapped out the tuning pegs for better ones, he played guitar since he was 16/17, but he is still terrible at it.

John lives almost entirely cocooned in 1000 onion layers of of neat-o. His interaction with the world is all about "Oh, that's neat-o, let me see that!" He does love Top Gear even though Jeremy Clarkson is obviously a total wanker and John disagrees with 85% of the judgments they make about cars. Everything they think is cool is stupid. Every once in a while they buy a car for a £1000 and drive it across Australia, which is awesome!

The two things Dan finds kind of neat-o is experiencing the world through his kids the ways that they come up with things. He almost takes it for granted so much that he forgets that everything with them is kind of really cool: The things that they do, the things they think, the things they talk about, the way they look at the world and discover something, and how awesome and fascinating it is to them. It really charges Dan in a cool way, but a lot of it is vicarious in a way by principle of transference.

The second one is that he has become kind of cynical and jaded about a lot of the things that he used to think were really cool, especially the electronic gadgets and computer things that he used to be so into even just a few years ago. Apple came out with a new phone, it looks good, it has been two years, maybe he will get that one. He used to freak out about it and just couldn't wait for it! New operating system came out! When? 30 seconds ago! Are you downloading it? Yeah! Now he will see if it is stable first, maybe he will download it in a week, maybe in a month.

Technology mainly facilitates shopping (RW5)

What are all those machines actually facilitating? It turns out that all anybody could think of for them to do was to facilitate shopping. All these phones were going to revolutionize everything, but what they have really done is revolutionize shopping. Apple and Google all keep trending us back to look at this new thing they rolled out. Won't that make shopping easier? We are still ourselves and we are still not very interesting and all of these new gizmos do not change the fact that we are not interesting. They don't make it easier! For thousands of years we thought that the thing that stands between us and and being philosopher citizens in a state of enlightenment is that we need comprehensive education, we need to solve the problem of clean water, of poverty, of interconnectedness or of transportation or all these problems.

Each time we think that once we will solve this one problem, we can walk into the light and be these philosopher students of great ideas that humans are all meant to be. At each successive level of problem solving, we are left standing there in an empty room, like "OK now you've got clean water and abundant food and you are for the most part safe and we have almost eliminated war and disease and frankly injustice and so: Here you go!" You are completely connected to every other person on the Earth, what do you want to do? Oh, these are cute shoes!

No one grabs the reins, because we're just not that interesting. It is not that we are not interested, but we are not that interesting! We are just smart enough to know that this is kind of sad and dull, but even the best of us sit at home at night and get up and go to the refrigerator and start eating whipped cream out of the jar with their fingers and go "Oh God, am I really doing this?" - "Yes, you are, because you suck, just like everyone else!" Even the top philosophers are eating whipped cream out of the jar with their fingers late at night, every one of them, because they are fucking pig apes!

Sponsor: Pawn 5 (RW5)

Dan explains how Pawn 5 is a stock media site where artists can buy and sell their art. John sees it as being based on sort of an antique mall version of commerce: We have a big warehouse where everybody gets a stall they can populate. John could have a store on Pawn 5 where he could put his music, his old cash register footage (there are 575 videos of cash registers on the platform as they record), his poems, and photocopies of old letters of girls telling him to go screw himself. He could sell them for $0.20! You earn 50% of each sale, which is a better deal than most record companies will give you!

Dan's habit of sending multiple texts (RW5)

Dan is one of these people who sends multiple texts, whereas John, being of an older generation, might type the whole thing that he wants to say into one text.

  • "I am on my way here. I think this is going to happen. Would you care to do this at that time? If you would let me know!" SEND

whereas for Dan, each of those sentences or phrases would be a separate text message. John believes it is a generational problem. Texting is sort of like sending telegraphs or shouting across a mountain valley. It is very expensive to send a telegraph and so you try to put all the information into one with a minimum of waste and then you send it and wait for a reply, whereas Dan will send a torrent, a literal cascade of texts, and frankly he has infected Merlin Mann, who does this now, too!

Before Merlin would send the text like a normal person and then wait for a reply. The text conversations would be like

  • "Hey, how's it going! What are you doing this afternoon? Do you want to meet for coffee?" - SEND
  • "Yes, I am available for coffee and I will come find you. Where are you going to be?" - SEND
  • "I am going to be at the following location" - SEND

as opposed to:

  • "Hey!" SEND
  • "What's up?" SEND.
  • "What are you doing?" SEND
  • "Let's get together!" SEND.
  • "Where are you?" SEND

and John's phone is going "Beep beep beep!"

When John communicates with millennials on the text platform, which he occasionally does, this is the way they communicate. John always chalks it up to the fact that they are young people and they have their own way, but they are also terrible venal monsters. Their pituitary glands are throbbing and they are just pushing SEND over and over because it stimulates something in their pineal gland.

John finds it inexcusable when Dan or Merlin do it. If John gets more than 3 texts from them in a row, he will just put his phone down, go to the kitchen, make a sandwich and when they are done getting all of their sentences out, he will come back to his phone and compose a reply. Dan says he can definitely curtail that behavior easily. If Dan's mom will text him, the first text is like "Hey Dan!" and Dan is like "Hey, what's up?" and then he will see the little typing bubble for 15 minutes while she types and edits and tweaks it and then sends a full-on edited paragraph.

She will still do the things that High School kids did about 8 years ago, which is type the letter U for the word "You" and UR for "you are" and things like that. Dan asked her about that, because she is an English professor who taught in college and he will still call her every time he forgets what a Gerund is. She said she picked that up from her students. Dan doesn't know where he got the multi-text habit from. Maybe it is from using a chat client or instant messenger like AIM or G-talk or something, where you have this ongoing open ended conversation with other people. Maybe he is an impatient chatter?

A lot of the people John interacts with online are people who sit at a terminal as part of their job for hours and hours and hours each day. Their idea of the Internet, of chatting online and of texting are very different from John's, and even though he is looking at his stupid phone a lot, he is still nowhere near as much online compared to people who sit at a terminal all day, because they are really wired.

When somebody sends John a text and he pulls his phone out of his pocket and looks at it, he would like it to be a complete thought, but that may be completely anachronistic if he is dealing mostly with people who are sitting just staring at a computer and in one corner is their work and in one corner is cat videos and in one corner is their chat window and in one corner is there Expedia travel plans or whatever. They are super multitask-y! Dan is not fighting over text in that fashion, but he will immediately try to switch to the phone or meeting in person. If there is an important message to be conveyed, he will start typing very long blocks the Rodrick way of typing paragraph and paragraph and paragraph.

John likes texting (RW5)

Texting and emailing becoming widespread was a great relief to John because he could finally argue with people in a way where he really felt like he got his points out, they were documented, you could refer back to them, and they were cogent, right and complete. John loves the advent of these technologies because he doesn't like arguing with people in person. There are things to argue about and within a text thread it is possible to really make a point well. Unfortunately, very few people share this feeling and when most people get into an argument, they want to get on the phone and talk it out.

All of a sudden there will be no document of what they have been saying and two minutes from now they can say they didn't say what they just said or they can deny that they ever said the thing that even started this argument. We are into this whole world of emotional, manipulative tones, but a text allows you to have a very formal argument and conclude a thing together. Still, text arguing has not produced very good results for John. He very rarely feels like they arrive in a place of common or better understanding and he has completely burned three or four friendships based on some text arguments in the middle of the night.

Even with emoji you can never really convey any kind of real emotion or tone the way that the human voice can. There was this really interesting article talking about the age differences in people who use punctuation when they text. Using a period indicates an angry emotion to a millennial or like you are being short. Somebody who is in their 30s or 40s is just using correct punctuation, but to someone who is younger it will sound like "Fine.", although they didn't mean it that way.

One of the people Dan works with has a sister who recently graduated from college and she considers the phone calls and email to be very formal. Anything other than just texting is considered to be a formal thing and they don't want to even talk on the phone because it is too formal, whereas texting in these little blips is enough for people to communicate. Dan never wants to express any emotion by text at all. He wants it to be an information delivery system with no emotion ever intended, unless he puts in a whole bunch of stupid emoji. The exclamation point and an emoji is the closest he gets to trying to convey anything meaningful in a text. It is ineffective and it leads to so many problems and to so many more misunderstandings than clarifications.

While they were talking, Dan looked up some one-word answers from John in their message history. Dan: "Guess I have to take my kid to school 7:15 then flat a couple hours later but don't arrive until like 7:30 Pacific Time". John: "Barf" Dan: "If I'd gone up Thursday I'd have missed the whole day and the kickoff thing, but Friday or Saturday sounds good. I won't have a car so I don't think I could get to Seattle. I'd have to try and find us a place record. I think I've found this place to record, which one do you want to record: Friday or Saturday?" John: "Doesn't matter."

Communicating with John is amazing! The only answers Dan got in a two day conversation about when to record last weeks show were "Barf. Doesn't matter." If Dan had started an argument with John, he would have gotten some long texts back, like "The party of the first parts disagrees with the party of the second." John does say Barf a lot in response to things and there is a period after the "Doesn't matter." John used to put periods at the end of everything, because that is what belongs there, but lately he started to send words like Barf with no punctuation because it looks better when it is just Barf in a bubble.

John has succumbed to exclamation point inflation a couple of years ago, not even because people were asking him why he was mad, but the lack of an exclamation point just felt very flat and with very low affect. Once you go past two or three exclamation points, what else do you have at your disposal? John never uses emoji because they are the worst. Dan felt that way for a long time, too, but over time he gradually started to embrace it, maybe even too much!

John being a word person (RW5)

Like Dan's mom, John is a word person. He believes in the power of words and he is at odds with contemporary culture about words all the time. John really feels that words are very powerful, but a lot of times we say words are powerful in this sense, but not powerful in that sense. Words are great! They are wonderful, not just useful! John lives entirely in words and he knows a lot of people who don't. People live in actions and people live in feelings, but John lives in words. Words do such a good job of communicating, so much better than so many other things.

It is much more interesting to have someone over-communicate in words and utterly fail to perform the accompanying action than it is someone who just does the action and the work is done and "Let's move on!" It doesn't necessarily make a better world, because the people who just do the action and get it done and move onto the next thing are very necessary and great and they built the railroads and they are the ones who get the flag up on the flagpole in the morning and take it down at night, but they are not interesting to John and he is not compelled by them particularly. Instead, John loves the people who talk endlessly about things and use a storm of words to communicate simple matters.

That is his world and there will always be people who use words this way who are hopefully useful to other people and hopefully they create something in their word storm world that isn't just confusion and garbage. There is a lot of confusion created by wordy people, but there is also a lot of clarity in the long run. If action people or emotion people want to send images to one another, like a smiley face, an eggplant, a woman in a mariachi outfit dancing, the Saudi Arabian flag, and a steaming pile of poo, then John doesn't know what it means and he is not interested in deciphering the hieroglyphics either because he would be much more interested in the words.

John never uses emoji (RW5)

John put an emoji on a Facebook post the other day. He was reading a thread of somebody he knew from Alaska, like "Remember back in the day where we used to skip school and go skiing? Boy those were the times!", which had replies from all the different people who skipped school so much to go skiing that they didn't even graduate. The next person never once skipped school, but always knew he would wait until school was over to go skiing. The cool kids and the nerds were talking about going skiing after school.

Then there was a comment from Martin Molyneux completely off topic saying they were the first kids to ever snowboard in Alaska. They went up to Hatcher Pass, he and Andy Barr and Juan Gomez and they were snowboarding on Burton Woodys back in 1985. It really didn't have anything to do with the guy's posting about skipping school and go skiing, but Martin was establishing his bonafides as the first ever snowboarder in Alaska.

It reminded John that Juan Gomez actually tried to teach John how to snowboard using that selfsame Burton Woody and John broke it, because he did not understand how to negotiate his body in that way, he was just too big for the technology, and he actually broke the snowboard in half and Juan was super bummed. John still doesn't know how to snowboard. Who was John going to tell this story to? This is not a story that anybody is going to care about. He couldn't tell that story on a podcast, for instance. Who would care that he broke Juan Gomez's original Burton Woody?

Martin Molyneux on the other hand knows all the players in John's story and so he commented on Martin's comment, which was already a random comment on this other guy's thread. When he got to the end he didn't know how to close it out. Was he sad about it? Was he happy about it? Was he trying to one-up Martin's random story with another random story? Eventually he realized that what this needed was a frowny face emoticon, because John is not actually sad about this thing that happened 25 years ago and he didn't give a shit about it even at the time, but it was exactly the right thing for "I broke Juan Gomez's snowboard. Frowny Face!" John noticed that Martin faved it right away, so his job here was done! He closed his computer and told himself that he had done a good job of facebooking today and he shouldn't mess with it anymore. He had used an emoticon to punctuate a comment on a comment on another thread.

Dan's kids call emoji for stickers and say they were going to put a sticker on it. Now that Dan's son is older and can read and type, Dan got him an original iPod Touch in case he ever wants to text Dan while he is at work or especially if he goes on a trip like he recently did. His son was texting him using emoji as most of his way of communicating. It is mostly what he does, which Dan doesn't really care about, because it is fun chatting with his kids and however his son wants to do it is fine. Dan used to think that emoji was something for kids until he eventually realized the value of it.

The two primary complaints people give Dan about the way he would chat or text is 1) He would send lots of responses to convey something that could be typed in one immense paragraph, and 2) he might come across sounding terse and pithy. Adding emoji helps frame or set the tone of the message. You can soften the tone of a message that might not sound good, even if you try to word it carefully. Twitter's 140 character limit is forcing us to think in smaller chunks and adding emoji replaces having to type out "I feel kind of sad and also a little crazy about this thing that I just typed" Instead you put in the kind of sad stressed out face or something! But John still rejects it! No Fluffernutters! No emoji!

Putting the eggplant into a text message to a certain group of friends is funny, but also ironical. Aimee Mann will comment on his Instagram page with a string of emoticons and he won't bother trying to interpret what she was saying, but he will just send some random string of emoticons back to her. It would be hilarious if she was trying to interpret what John was saying!

Lately John got intrigued by Black Twitter and spent a lot of time over there just as a voyeur. There he noticed the red underlined 100-sign and has no idea what it means. He has been watching it used now for a few years and it seems to mean Good Job! or 100% or Yeah! Lately he has found himself occasionally putting it at the end of a text or a post, but he doesn't know what he is doing or what it means, but he is imitating a thing he has seen. It may even even fall into the category of cultural appropriation!

It is just randomly sitting there on the emoji keyboard and it is not even around a bunch of other numbers. There is a flag and a popsicle and then a 100! He doesn't know how the various cultures who use the 100 collectively decided that it mean a certain thing and he hopes he is getting it right and that it means what he thinks. Dan looked it up at some point and the origin is from Japan and it is called the 100 points symbol. It expresses pride or general acceptance of an idea. It can also mean "keep it real". So John is mostly using it right although he just tripped into it.

John is embarrassed to say how much time he has spent studying the emoji keyboard, trying to find something there that is for him. Back in the day like 1985/86 he decided for a brief moment that Jethro Tull was going to be his band. A lot of people said Led Zeppelin was their band or The Beatles, but nobody claimed Jethro Tull and John was just going to do it. They had a lot of records, not just Aqualung, but the question was if they were any good. John was pretty baked when he made the decision and then he spent a concentrated day listening to the work of Jethro Tull.

By the end of the day he was glad there was no Internet and he didn't post it anywhere. He only told it to his friend Peter Nosek who just shrugged and said "Whatever!" It was not that hard to take it back. Peter was not even thinking about it and if John would go to Peter resending that thought, Peter was not going to out John, he didn't even think that he had been serious. John looked at the emoji keyboard in the same way, looking for the Jethro Tull in there. There was no bearded guy with glasses he could use as his digital signature. The house is nice, he could put a house next to a tree and build a little Lego place in emoji, but then he stumbled: "What am I doing? I should be shopping!"

Social media as a step in becoming conscious as an organism (RW5)

To Dan, it seems like John does not dislikes technology. He is a very active Facebook user and Dan doesn't know why this surprises him, but it does. John tweets frequently and he will cross-post his Instagram to Twitter. John is taking a lot of pictures and his phone is not just for making a call. When he sees something neat, he is not just going to take a picture, but he is going to share it on Instagram. If it is really good, he might also tweet it or put it on Facebook. It seems like John enjoys doing all that, but then some other times, especially if Dan is with him in person, he almost gives the impression like those things are an additional responsibility that John must bear the burden of!

John feels like social media are a great place and a great gift. It is a wonderful evolution for people, it has been a very positive step for humanity, and we are just starting to navigate it. John's generation of people who are now in their 40s were talking about the Internet a long time before it was anything in the in real space. He remembers his first conversation about interconnected computers from the early 1980s. They had a dial up modem and there were limitations of putting your handset into the cradle. There were not that many places in the world that you could call and John was in Alaska, meaning long distance charges to make those phone calls to connect with places. But John understood that one day you would be able to talk to people through your computer.

John had an IBM PC 64k with an extra disk drive installed in the empty bed, so it had two disk drives that allowed you to copy. It probably cost $4500 in 1983-money which is like $15.000 dollars now. He remembers sitting down in the basement writing a story and when he wrote a risky passage, the fact it was on a computer made it even dirtier. He looked around the room, but he was alone in the basement, and he wondered what would happen if he wrote some pretty dirty story right now.

Then John wrote a dirty story about a girl and a guy who were doing sex. He couldn't believe how transgressive and hot it felt to write a dirty story on a computer, hotter than any Playboy magazine! If he had written it on a typewriter or with a pencil on a piece of paper he would have asked himself why he was doing this, but on the computer it had a different realness. You could send this to somebody, you could put this on a disk and give it to somebody. John immediately deleted it, but it was there for a moment!

The promise of the Internet was that we were going to be interconnected and that interconnectedness was ultimately the stumbling block between us and our intended lives as philosopher kings. This was the real obstacle! It wasn't clean water, it wasn't an end to war, it wasn't even justice, but it was connectivity. Once we could share our common mind, we could ultimately become the intelligence of the single organism Gaia. We are the intelligence of Gaia! We are the mind of Gaia!

The only way that we can become that mind is through this connected neuronic network that will give us the understanding of being a single mind. The ugly side of it is the borg and we are afraid that we will become a borg. The beautiful side of that is the potential of understanding our purpose on a cosmic scale. Do we have a purpose on a cosmic scale? Certainly not now and in our lifetimes, but maybe that is one way of expressing it? Maybe planets are organisms and when they become self-aware, they interact with one another at a cosmic level? Who knows!

That stuff is exciting and social media seems like the first little tiptoe into those shallow waters. In the long term we will hopefully understand that we share more with one another than we differ, but in these early days all we do is focus on how much we differ, on our individuality and on our uniqueness. This group against that group! In a funny way social media have been more polarizing than the things that used to define polarizing: State on state war, famine and all the things that used to kill millions and millions of people who went to their graves unrecorded and unrecognized. Now all of our uniqueness is increasing with every passing day.

There are a billion people on Facebook, but we are not yet trending toward a collective consciousness, even though every atom has its own unique individuality that it feels it has to express, We are starting to evolve a sense of self as a collective organism. It might be the natural evolution of intelligence in the universe. Step one is that we figure out how to sharpen the end of a stick, step ten is that we invent social media and step 500 is that we transcend the physical form or something like that.

We have already decided that the way we use computers is distributive. The cloud! Distributing it across a million platforms and allows us to compute more efficiently. Human beings are already a distributed intelligence, but we didn't have real time connectivity. We were already communicating with each other through books and songs, but it was slow because it took a while to spread the books around and only certain people read them. Songs made their way around, but not everybody could hear those. That was our way of distributing the thought work.

Then there were the people raising flags and building dams, but they were all part of the same sort of organism, shaping its environment and preparing the Agar for its real work, which is thought work. Now we have this great opportunity to identifying ourselves to one another, saying "Hello! Here are my ideas! Here are my ideas!" and of course we are arguing, because that is how you figure stuff out and that is how you make decisions, but ultimately it is a lot of work to have your planet achieve consciousness and then recognize that it is alone in the universe.

Let's hope that is not true. Let's hope we don't achieve self-awareness as a single entity! All this time we have been sending radio signals out into the universe and nothing ever comes back. That is why we are so interested in colonizing Mars: We want to give ourselves somebody to talk to. At least we can talk to Mars, and even if it is just us, we will get a friendly face to look out at! 1000 years after we colonize Mars they will have a very different set of ideas, the Martians will be like "What? Earthers! Eggplant! That is what we say! We say 100 to you, little Earthers!"

Time traveling to trade stocks and relive your childhood (RW5)

John always imagines if he could go back in time and take an iPhone that was still connected to the future internet, because going back to 1979 now that we had iPhones, you would be so bummed if you couldn't remember the stock that did really well this year. John knows that the Hunt Brothers were trying to corner the silver market, but that is no way to get rich. Instead he wants to know the stock that was worth $0.05 on January 10th and was worth $1100 by March. Even if the stock totally crashed by June, what you want is to know that data about the big flash in the pan.

You can go back in time and take your iPhone to be able to do that research about what was the best performing stock in the spring of 1979. How fun would that be! People would lose it, but you would still have to be dealing with stock traders in the old school. You would have to sit in their office, sit on the phone with them, and get them to move your stock money around. If you would connect with services like Wealthfront, you would not be buying those stocks in 1979, but in contemporary times. Maybe you wouldn't even need to do the stock thing, but just get some Star Wars toys and put them in their original box, that would be neat-o!

You wouldn't even need to go back to 1979, but you could buy some original Apple and Netscape stock. You do two transactions and you are done! Dan would go back when Apple was new and cheap, he would go to his granddad and ask him for all the money he could possibly spare, he would put 100% of it into Apple when it was at its low point. "I'm 13 years old but I've got a hunch!", that would be frustrating because if we could go back in time, there would have to be some limits around it. Maybe you could just take your consciousness back in time, but you will be 10 years old and you'd have to convince the adults that although it sounds crazy, you have special knowledge!

Dan thinks about this constantly: If you went to sleep tonight and you woke up tomorrow morning and you had today's consciousness in the body of a 10 or 13 year old little Johnny Roderick, how would you mitigate this and prove to people that you were really your future self, if you even knew it for sure and remained convinced of yourself that you were your adult self? John would not even try! He would do his best to imitate the behavior of a 10 year old whilst consolidating his resources. John couldn't say that he liked being 10, but he did not have the adult knowledge. If he were 10 now, but he had his adult brain, he could manipulate the adults fairly easily.

All you'd have to do is just be like "Oh here I am. I'm 10! I really want some macaroni and cheese tonight!" while you are going out into the world, developing relationships and securing your quadrants. All you want for my birthday is one crisp $100 bill, no Star Wars toys. Then you would take those $100 bills and buy Apple stock. As you would get older, you would get more franchise and you would already have a plan in place.

When a 10 year old walks into a stockbroker's office and wants to buy some stocks for $100, they would get their folks on the phone. To a certain extent you could get your folks to buy you some stocks and if you did it really well four or five times, everyone in the world is vulnerable to magical thinking enough that you could convince adults that you are a magic 10 year old that had the stock picking gift, but you would be under the pressure of your folks staring at you to pick another great stock. Therefore you don't want to give it all away early. You wouldn't want to become a freak kid, but you would be laying the groundwork.

You have already been through your childhood, so you don't need to do that again. You don't need to watch your parents fight and you can tell your mom and dad to relax, because you know it is all going to turn out fine. John would do his homework instead of not doing his homework and that would have relaxed everybody a lot. Then he could just set about gradually building his empire and by the time he was 18, he could say "See yah!" He would be one of those 18 year olds who had a real estate empire, there are kids like that.

He could just be one of those instead of the ones who didn't know how to do their laundry. Rather than doing his laundry, he would just throw away all his clothes, but then he would be sleeping outside because he didn't think this all the way through. He learned a lot on this trial run that he made through one human life and it will come in really handy when his actual life arrives.

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