While I almost exclusively read Science-Fiction, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of non-fiction these days. One of the most recent books I’ve read is The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed.
I had been telling a group of friends about my recent trip to the central coast of British Columbia when one of them recommended the book
At it’s heart, it’s a book about the history of logging in British Columbia. That might sound a bit dull, but it’s fantastically written and a pretty interesting history, at that. It’s not until the first half of the book that the story really focuses on Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned conservationist who played a large role in what happened to the fabled Golden Spruce.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but I will say that anyone with an interest in history, the outdoors, logging, conservation/environmentalism or just great story should give it a shot. You should even just read it to hear about the legendary exploits of Grant Hadwin.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed
A few weeks ago, the good people at MoGo2Go offered to send me a review version of their new mobile phone wallet. I’ve been using it since then, and have had a lot of people ask me about it:
We’ve got a lot of security doors at work, so it’s pretty convenient to store my card key in the MoGo2Go instead of in my wallet. Our security cards at work are pretty thick, so I don’t think I can fit another card in there but it would probably hold two credit or debit cards easily.
It sticks to the back of an iPhone with some of that fancy 3M stuff, so it won’t leave a sticky residue (I previously had a Gelaskin on the back of my phone with the same material, and it peeled off with no problem). Although I’ve heard that storing cards next to your phone like this can demagnetize them, it seems to only happen to hotel room keys.
If you want one of these for yourself, they’re only $4.95 and you can order them online here.
I really like Instagram, so I’m excited to see that they’ve made it easy for users to embed photos from the site on other sites. It will be interesting to see what this does to spread Instagram photos and engagement across the web.
Here are a few of my own favorite Instagram photos (follow me! Like elsewhere on the web, I’m ParkerNow on Instagram:
Almost a year ago, I hurt my back playing soccer. It got a bit better, but never 100%. I saw a chiropractor and had acupuncture, but I was still spending part of the day at work laying on the floor. At the same time, I started reading about how bad sitting was for your back (and health in general) and decided that a standing desk would be the way to go.
I got the idea for using cheap IKEA parts from this post on I am not a programmer. It turns out that the LACK table was the perfect height for me without the need for an extra shelf. An Anti-Fatigue Mat rounded out the set-up.
I don’t spend the entire day standing, but rather alternate between standing or sitting depending what I’m doing. I also try and go for walks around the office (or around the block, if the weather permits) as often as possible.
My back has been feeling pretty good these days, and while I can’t attribute all of the recovery to the desk (stretches and strengthening exercises definitely played a party), I’m sure it helped.
If you like movies, you’ll probably have fun with the new website that DDB Canada (the place I work) developed for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. To prove that you’re already a fan of Jewish movies, DDB created a website that analyzes everyone who was involved with the movie (from writers to actors and producers) and gives it a score (or gentile percentile) for how Jewish it is.
At it’s core, it is an easily searchable archive of designs for objects that can be created on a 3D printer. Where it differs from competitor Thingiverse is the that Defcad is willing to host more controversial designs. Specifically, the files needed to print gun parts.
While MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis hosted one of the opening keynotes at #SXSW, Cody Wilson was also at the conference spreading his own brand of libertarianism. “People are going to be able to pass this contraband between one another to the point that ‘contraband’ won’t be a meaningful way of describing it anymore,” he was quoted as saying. For a society still grasping at the legal ramifications of simply copying songs, this is a conceptual leap.
It also demonstrates the fine line between free speech and dangerous ideas, a line that Cody Wilson might just crossed. It’s not for us at to decide, but it’s the type of topic that will factor into debates about what a free and uncensored internet means in the future.
For those interested in how long experts estimate the 3D printing revolution will take, take a look at this infographic.
In the past few years, one of the most interesting MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) to emerge has been EVE Online, a game in which each player takes the role of spaceship captain. What’s interesting about it about this game is that the economy is much more open and malleable compared to other games. So much so that the developer had to hire a real economist to help keep things managed as players form consortiums, alliances and trade pacts with other. The result is a capitalist system, one in which players can stand to lose thousands of real world dollars in online, in-game heists and, battles
At least, that’s true for most of the world’s players of EVE Online.
In China, like much of the country, players are behind their own great firewall. Their version of EVE Online only lets them interact with other Chinese players, as The Mittani reports, and that this has resulted in the players creating an in-game economic and political system more like the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China “with long term decisions and diplomacy being made by a politburo comprised of the CEOs of major member corps and a Chairman who handles immediate decisions and day-to-day operations. While fleet commanders have some initiative, it’s ultimately the Chairman who gets the final say on major ops.”
It’s a fascinating insider’s account of an incredibly complex game, and the type of system that the world is starting to pay closer attention to.
It’s been four years since the video game industry surpassed the movie industry, and 90% of Canadian teens and kids are gamers. At Radar DDB, we’ll definitely be staying on top of emerging trends in video games (and getting a few games in of our own when we can).
For more, read “Socialist State Emerges In China’s Alternative EVE Universe“
A few days ago, Ryan Holliday posted an article on BetaBeat about the Fakery of Brands on Reddit.
I’m a longtime and active Reddit user, and I disagree with a lot of his article, and the idea that Reddit users will be so easily fooled by marketing trickery here. It’s tough to even MENTION a brand without getting a /HailCorporate comment (the fact that the author refers to “HailCorporate” as a tag indicates he doesn’t really use Reddit, either).
The examples he cites probably aren’t examples of brands trying to work their way in there. If he’d read the comments or had a better idea of how the Reddit community worked, he’d know this. In the example of the Audi image, many of the commenters clearly point out that a.) it uses the wrong font for Audi b.) it uses an unlicensed poster from Lord of the Rings c.) the Photoshop job is incredibly amateurish. In the example of Subaru getting their content to the front page, the author of that article fails to take into account that it’s unlikely Subaru (Canada, Japan, America) would use the username “GodFree.”
Similarly, his “TIL” (Today I Learned”) examples are weak. People are sharing these things because they are interesting. I didn’t know that Volvo invented the 3 point seat belt, but it’s a cool fact.
Sometimes good content bombs on Reddit. Sometimes weird shit makes it to the top. There’s no hidden corporate conspiracy like this guy makes it out to be.
My Favorite Reddit AMAS:
Why was it good? They used the strength of their team, and showcased their uniqu personalities and areas of expertise to answer questions. Being engineers/etc, they didn’t shy away from really technical questions
Why was it good? Louis was just Louis, and like all of his projects it showed how human he is, spelling mistakes and all.
Why was it good? Although it was obviously done the same day as the Old Spice “Muscle Music” Vimeo launch to promote the deodorant, Terry didn’t just stick to Old Spice-related questions. As with Louis CK, he was simply himself.
Why was it good? Although probably inspired by the Simpsons episode where they go to a cardboard box factory, it was still a great IAMA on what could have been an otherwise boring topic. He was very patient with the questions, even though he had never seen the episode, went into a ton of detail and kept answering questions long after the standard one-day of IAMAs.
Why was it bad? He only focused on the current film he was promoting. He only answered a few questions from fans, and kept trying to steer the conversation back to the movie “Rampart.”
Why was it meh? It wasn’t an officially sanctioned Reddit, but it wasn’t particularly enlightening either. Interesting that a lot of the questions went right to the “ethics” of Apple (FoxConn factory employees, etc), even though the guy doing the Reddit was just an employee at the genius bar. Notable as our
Some Reddit Stats
10% of Reddit users are Canadian, so that works out to 3.4 million YEARLY unique Canadian visitors.
The main problem with getting this data from Reddit is that there isn’t really anyway to track these users. Reddit doesn’t ask for ANY user details, they don’t have an ad network. You don’t even need an email address to register.
Otherwise, your best bet for data is this blog post. It’s self reported data (well, I guess so is Facebook), and focuses on things like what the favourite cheese of Redditors is. Pingdom also has some interesting data which says that 65% of Redditors are male and 58% are under the age of 35.
A few weeks ago, I saw a Tweet asking users to submit questions they’d like to ask Kim Stanley Robinson in an upcoming interview. He’s one of my favorite authors (he wrote the Mars trilogy, one of my favorite series of books), and he always has a lot of intelligent things to say about the future of humanity and the role science will play.
It’s a great interview, and I’ve embedded it below. My question, “On which planet, asteroid or community from your novels would you most want to live?” is near the end. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that Kim Stanley Robinson’s first reaction to the question is “Oh, my lord…” The rest of his answer actually surprised me, but I’ll let you listen for yourself (around the 33min mark in the video).
You can also check out the interview on the Mendel’s Pod website. Thanks to Theral Timpson for using my question!