Got Mongo? Feed On This!"
Become a fan of the STORE on Facebook. Click here.
Become a fan of the BLOG on Facebook. Click Here

Friday, January 11, 2019

Procedurally Generated Humans

Want to Listen to This Post?
Watch below or check out more videos on my YouTube Channel.


I am not completely convinced that life isn’t a simulation.  Now, I know that sounds a little bit tin foil hat flat earth turtles all the down conspiracy theory-ish, but hear me out. Have you ever looked at someone randomly and thought, “They look pretty familiar”?  Not that you mistook them for someone else, but that they could pass for an immediate blood relative.  I noticed this one day in the last couple of years.  It’s almost as if there is only a limited amount facial feature types and everyone is a derivative of those types.  Growing up, I used to play a game called Covert Action and part of the game relied on you identifying bad actors in a plot by watching a building to see if they appeared, then you bug their car or follow them to a new destination that revealed more of the plot. After a few cases, you would start to see the same similar features in the hair or mouth or even shape.  It’s like a game of Guess Who? 

Remember the gang members in GTA III?  Pedestrians in GTA IV and V?  You always saw the same ones walking about.  It would be hard for a video game to have a fully stocked universe of totally random characters that did not look like any other NPCs.  Same goes for Skyrim.  And, of course, No Man’s Sky.  Now, with the latest updates like NEXT and Atlas, we have even more diversity in the universe, but still there are only so many permutations of creatures and alien NPCs able to be conjured up in this procedurally generated game.  That means you see the same type of flora and fauna across the planets you visit.  And that’s where I start to lose the thread that life is not a simulation.

I went to school with this particular person and at the time, he was the only one who looked like him.  I would never have mistaken him for anyone, yet here, 25 years later, every time I see a particular Senator on television, I immediately think of him.  After Bailey’s maternal grandmother died, we were convinced on more than one occasion, that a person we saw in the store was, in fact, her.  Granted, our grief probably manifested in some conjuration of similarities between the two, but it is possible, they shared the same facial features.  Same goes for me.  My freshman year of college, there was a student directory of incoming freshmen and while I wasn’t in it, since I transferred in the Spring, my doppelganger was.  Clear as day, confirmed by more than one person.  Over the years, I’ve been compared to various celebrities, each vastly different in how they looked at the time I was associated to them, but still, I was compared to them all the same. 

And it’s almost like you can look at someone and see what they would have looked like as a young person, or even as an old one.  Same for less weight or more weight.  Hair or no hair.  I constantly see the same facial  types across the spectrum which could be the leading cause of déjà vu when it comes to thinking you know someone you’ve never met, even though you are sure you’ve seen them before.  I’ve even been told by people, after I had met them, that I reminded them of someone they knew all their life.  I suffer from the best friend displacement syndrome, I guess. Of course, that’s something I’ve entirely made up but the definition would be that someone you meet immediately becomes the best friend you lost years ago for whatever reason.

So, if in fact, we are trapped in some simulation, it would make total sense that there are only so many combinations of possible features in this world.  Now, there are celebrity look-a-likes that could fool forensic experts but even in those cases, but chances are, they made their career out of looking like someone by actually having work done to look more like someone.  But there is something to be said out of the idea that there are 7 people on Earth that look like you.  However, chances are, if there are that many, you probably aren’t too far apart geographically.  After all, given your own facial features, gender, race, etc. to find your doppelganger, you have to have similar features and while the US is a melting pot of different ethnicities, you’re probably not going to find a middle aged white man who looks like you living in Cambodia, unless they are an expatriate.

But let’s delve further.  Where I work, I have to park on the other side of the river, walk two blocks to a light rail station, ride that two stops, then walk another block and a half before I reach my destination.  In that time, I constantly see the same people at roughly 6:30 in the morning.  In fact, I can usually tell if I’m going to miss my train if I see the same woman walking, with her  lit cigarette, past me on the street or the older woman with dark shades on coming up the escalator before I reach the platform.  And there’s always the same group of students who pass me coming out of the station, and the same guy with his duffle bag and black trench coat, waiting for a bus near my building.  Also, there was a time when I was parking in an alternate location, and I would pass a gentlemen coming from the light rail station wearing a green shirt with a recycling shape on it.  We passed by on several occasions.  And in the afternoon, while standing at the window of my office, I saw him walking past my building, across the river from our usual passing spot.  It was strange.  It was almost as if I were walking through the streets of Whiterun and passing by Belethor or Brenuin on my way to Breezehome.  I began to suspect that maybe the people, who are always on the same path during my commute, were NPCs in my simulation… Or even more frightening, I was also an NPC in someone else’s simulation. 

Think about it.  I get up and do the same thing every day, drive the same route, go to the same job… have the same routine, I always eat the same foods.  That’s it.  

I’m an NPC.

I mean, I used to be an adventurer like you… but…




Friday, December 14, 2018

Unless

Want to Listen to This Post?
Watch below or check out more videos on my YouTube Channel.

Full disclosure, I am not a quote/unquote Pittsburgher by residency.  I have been a lifelong fan of Pittsburgh teams.  I attended and graduated the University of Pittsburgh.  I currently work in the city.  To that end, I consider myself a Pittsburgher because I am very attached to the area in one way or another. And even if I wasn’t I would still have been affected as deeply by the events that took place in Squirrel Hill at the Tree of Life Synagogue last month.  And I’m here to say that it, along with the rest of the world won’t get better.

I say that as I try to raise a daughter to not look at the most horrible negative aspects of humanity.  I say that as she, too, has expressed that the world is a horrible place and everything sucks.  And quite frankly, I cannot disagree with her. But I can reassure her and I want to reassure any of you that think that just because we are living through unusually extraordinary times that it means the world is never going to not suck.

Let’s face it, we’re not getting out of her alive.  The moment we were born, we began to die.  And that’s OK.  After all, we are a living thing and like any plant or animal, our physical beings are only able to endure so much over so long a time.  And no matter how much we try to prevent or protect ourselves from disease or disaster, the end result is the same.  We will all die.  We are born and we die.  Those two points are fixed in their existence. The degree to which we exist within two points is flexible and therein lies the challenge.

Now, more than ever, we are bombarded with news and information about the world.  Now, more than ever, we are aware of things that are going on outside our doors.  Now, more than ever, is that information shaped to illicit a heightened reaction, physical and emotional.  And our children are not immune to it.  We can only guard them against technology for so long.  It’s everywhere.  News alerts, crawls, social media posts… It’s all out there and the more we try to wrap our children in a blanket of ignorance to protect their innocence, the harder reality tries to creep in.  There is no escaping the wolf that is already in the doorway.  Because of that I embrace the news and offer you a caveat in your digestion of it.

The world sucks right now.  People are dying from hate and violence more than just old age.  People are more divided now than they were at a time when we were actually divided by laws.  People are more willing to accept that everything will get worse before it gets better.  And they aren’t wrong.  I’m sorry, but this is the reality we live in. 

Everything we eat will kill us.  If we buy it, it’s got chemicals.  If we grow it, it comes into contact with chemicals.  If we synthesize it, it is a chemical.  The reason you like the way a certain food tastes is because they are designed that way. Natural foods have a real taste that isn’t as fun or zingy as processed.  But real food tastes good if you know how to prepare it.

Our leaders all serve someone else’s interests other than our own.  Oh, sure, they tell us they do.  They say they will remove the corruption and drive out the evil.  They dangle a small carrot to us while giving others huge bushels.  But if that’s what they’ve been telling us for decades, and we keep falling for it, then why has no one actually done it?

Death is everywhere.  As I said, your body is literally trying to kill you every day until it actually succeeds or loses that honor to another killer.  If you eat X, it will give you Y, which is bad. But if you try to avoid X, by eating A, B will happen.  If you take F it will cause you worse side effects than what G’s symptoms are.

So, there you go. It all sucks.  Our food will poison us. Our government won’t protect us.  And our medicine will make us sick. 

UNLESS

Instead of sitting there, making excuses for why it doesn’t matter what you do to your body or the environment, instead of crawling into a hole and waiting to die of old age, covered in bubble wrap with no sharp edges on anything so you don’t get a cut, or instead of simply deciding that maybe a long life isn’t worth it because what reason do you have to make it to 30 when you can just gorge on processed cheese and chocolate and accept death at an early age maybe you can do something to change it.

Stop being complacent that the world is horrible and make it better.  Come up with new solutions to old problems.  Shout YES louder than the loudest adult who shouts NO to changing the world.  Get off your ass, take a stand, and start making little changes that improve things.  Get help.  Organize.  Make a statement. 

Stop listening to what they’re telling you is wrong and start telling them what you can do to fix it.  We used to make things.  We used to solve problems.  Now all we do is make ways for us to be enslaved by the problems we’ve created.  We scare everyone into thinking the world is horrible and that it’s all coming to get you, so hide behind a shield of hate and lies and you’ll be safe from the truth. 

We have access to the greatest wealth of technology and information than we have ever had and it can be used for good.  All it takes is enough people to band together and use it that way.

So, unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.


Friday, December 7, 2018

The Information Super Highway Was Paved With Good Intentions


Want to Listen to This Post?
Watch below or check out more videos on my YouTube Channel.

As we continue to hurl ourselves into Idiocracy territory, I thought about the last 25 years of my life.  After all, my 25th reunion is this fall.  Good time to reflect.  Look back on my adult life.  Cry in the corner a bit.

What I discovered is that for all the technological innovation we’ve seen in the last two decades, we’ve become incredibly stupid and selfish.  If I could go back in time and change one thing, I might actually make the ultimate sacrifice.  I might try to prevent the invention of the Internet.

I know.

I KNOW.

What madness is this?  Why, on Earth would you un-invent the Internet?   Aren’t you selling shirts, online?   Aren’t you trying, and failing, to produce YouTube videos?  Yeah, but that doesn’t change the truth.  And, before you start clutching your routers and barking madly, understand where I’m coming from on this.  It’s like Terminator 2.  No matter how hard they tried to keep Skynet from happening, it happened.  Granted, it happened in a bad way, a la Terminator 3, but it was inevitable.   Now, I don't want to keep the Internet from ever happening.   I only wish to delay the process until we are better equipped, mentally and emotionally, to handle it.

We were given fire by the Gods and we ended up torching the world.  We literally did not understand what we were given.    For awhile we just did silly things with the Internet.   Hell, we still do.  Cats playing keyboards, planking, Hadouken pics, Horse Head Mask videos, memes, vines...  But soon, it warped and became something different.   There was porn… so much porn.  Then there were cell phones and soon commercial WiFi.  iPods. Tidepods  iPhones. 

Facebook, Instagram, Elvis Presley, Disneyland.

It spiraled out of control.   Slang (OMG, WTF,  ROTFLMAOBBQ)

We became addicted to technology.  Our lives revolved around little devices that did everything for us.   A phone replaced a pager, a camera, a gaming device, a laptop, watch, GPS, radio, Walkman, and tons of other devices.  It became the Swiss Army Lazy Man.   Texting gave way to sexting.   Polaroids gave way to selfies-in-a-bathroom-with-duck-face being Instagramed and put up on Facebook.  “Like, please!”  (read: I have no self-esteem and need constant and instant approval to maintain my shell of an existence.)  Soon, there was cyber-bullying.   Hacking phones, emails, the need for 24/7 news that may or may not even be accurate spread like a wildfire. Hacking of elections and influencing voters' minds.  Fake News, trolls, and bots.  We have become unable to put the genie back into the bottle.

And, I don’t think we ever will.   Isn’t it odd that in the last 25 years we’ve invented things that bring us closer together, more so than ever before, yet they put us farther apart in terms of actually connecting with people.  Used to be, if you wanted to reach someone, you had to catch them at home, by phone.   Now, you call their cell.  And, in a lot of cases, they want you to hang up and just text.    Also, isn’t it odd that in the last 25 years, so much technology has come about yet, what’s the last thing we cured?  Polio, I think.  We’ve created a generation of customers.

Our kids?  Our kids have become over-privileged and entitled. 

“Well, Johnny has an iPod and he’s seven.” “Well, Johnny is also a selfish brat that can’t wipe himself yet, but can send a text.  He probably still wets the bed.”

Nobody wants to work for anything.  And I don’t mean the entitled vs. the uneducated.  I’m talking about EVERYONE.   Somewhere along the way, we lost our mission.   Our grandparents went to WWII.  They sacrificed a lot of things in order to keep the country running.   Now, we’re asked to give up something and suddenly, since 9/11, our government is either out to control or enslave us.  Take away our rights.  Funny.  Our grandparents sacrificed a lot in order to give their family a better life.   Our parents, well, at least mine, gave up a lot of stuff in order to make our lives better.   They scrimped and saved.  They went without new clothes or fancy appliances.  They made ends meet and did what they could to ensure that we never had to live like that, ever.   And somehow, we thought, “Oh, cool.  Great.  Thanks.”  And that was it.  We accepted their generous offer.  We watched as they worked hard and bled for us and we just took that better life and continued to not pay it forward, but instead we cheapened the thought.

We were given so much without having to ask for it and yet, when it came to our children, or the next generation born into the millennium, they didn’t understand what our parents did to provide, because we were the end result.  We didn’t continue the trend.   We didn’t have to work hard anymore.   Technology caught up and made it easier.   Hell, I am just as responsible.   I work in an office all day, but I also run a business where I don’t have to put a lot of effort into it and am rewarded, monetarily.   Granted, I wish I could work more on it.   I know the quality would benefit, but at the end of the day, I get emails saying , “Congrats on your sale” with no deserving of that praise.  The Internet has done the work for me.

We take to Facebook and instead of sharing our lives with each other, we share half assed researched and cited examples of hate against one group or another.   I can count on at least one hand how many friends I have on Facebook that never say a word, yet post CONTINUALLY their disdain for one group or another in this world.   And 9 times out of 10, they share from one subjective group that is not even factual all the time.  It’s just a funny picture, or what they claim to be funny, slamming another person/group/religion/etc.   They don’t say “Hi”, or “How are you” they say, “Here’s why you’re all wrong and I’m right” in graphic form.  And for all that friending and sharing that goes on, I believe we are more so divided than we ever were as a civilization.   Friends are not friends, they are an audience for our amusement and our agendas.  We don't connect, we try to redirect.

We do not deserve the Internet.    If aliens were to come here, looking for intelligent life, we’d be blown off the face of the galaxy like we were a plague. 

“For the love of Blurg!   Zyphos, we must eradicate this menace on Earth before it spreads and infects us.”  

“How do you know that, Lishu?” 

“I saw it on Reddit.   And Grimjor saw a post on Zarnbook that he shared from "I bet this Gorpcar can get more likes than Firtarp.”

100 Andelorians like this.  (Picture of a tentacle in a thumbs up position.)

So, yeah.  Let’s go back, blow the servers and tell the geeks of the 90s to keep working on it and we’ll work on being better humans, so that one day, we may be deserving of such an awesome power.


Shredded Tweets