Recorded live in San Francisco. Guests include the keeper of a 10,000-year clock, the co-founder of Lyft, a pioneer in male birth control, a specialist in water security, and a psychology professor who is also a puppy. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.
Tagged with “play” (14)
After you read this sentence, pause for a moment to think back on advertisements you first heard when you were a child.
Perhaps you recall a favorite jingle or the catchphrase of a cereal mascot. You probably can remember more than just one.
On this week’s radio replay, we look at the shelf life of commercials. According to University of Arizona researcher Merrie Brucks, an ad we watched when we were five years old can influence our buying behavior when we’re fifty.
"Children are vulnerable to messages that are fun and sound good. Because their minds are so open to all of that. They’re open to everything," Merrie says.
We discuss Brucks’ research about cereal commercials in the first portion of the show. Later in the program, we delve into the history of the advertising industry with Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants. In his book, Wu reveals the techniques media companies have developed to hijack our attention.
"You go to your computer and you have the idea you’re going to write just one email. You sit down and suddenly an hour goes by. Maybe two hours. And you don’t know what happened," Tim says.
"This sort of surrender of control over our lives speaks deeply to the challenge of freedom and what it means to be autonomous."
Claude Shannon was a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as “the father of information theory.” In the pantheon of cool people who made the modern information era possible, he’s right up there. Today, we’re going to talk about Shannon’s life with Jimmy Sony and Rob Goodman, authors of a great biography of the man called A Mind At Play, How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age. Especially you software engineers out there, if you don’t know who Claude Shannon was, get educated. You owe your livelihood to this man.
Inventing toward delight
Humanity has been inventing toward delight for a long time.
Johnson began with a slide of shell beads found in Morocco that indicate human interest in personal adornment going back 80,000 years.
He showed 50,000-year-old bone flutes found in modern Slovenia that were tuned to musical intervals we would still recognize.
Beads and flutes had nothing to do with survival.
They were art, conforming to Brian Eno’s definition: “Art is everything you don’t have to do.”
It looks frivolous, but Johnson proposed that the pursuit of delight is one of the prime movers of history—of globalization, innovation, and democratization.
Consider spices, a seemingly trivial ornament to food.
In the Babylon of 1700 BCE—3,700 years ago—there were cloves that came all the way from Indonesia,
5,000 miles away.
Importing eastern spices become so essential that eventually the trade routes defined the map of Islam.
Another story from Islamic history: when Baghdad was at its height as one of the world’s most cultured cities around 800 CE, its “House of Wisdom” produced a remarkable text titled “The Book of Ingenious Devices.”
In it were beautiful schematic drawings of machines years ahead of anything in Europe—clocks, hydraulic instruments, even a water-powered organ with swappable pin-cylinders that was effectively programmable.
Everything in the book was neither tool nor weapon: they were all toys.
Consider what happened when cotton arrived in London from India in the late 1600s.
Besides being more comfortable than itchy British wool, cotton fabric (called calico) could easily be dyed and patterned, and the democratization of fashion took off, along with a massive global trade in cotton and cotton goods.
Soon there was an annual new look to keep up with.
And steam-powered looms drove the Industrial Revolution, including the original invention of programmable machinery for Jacquard looms.
Consider the role of public spaces designed for leisure—taverns, coffee shops, parks.
Political movements from the American Revolution (Boston’s Green Dragon Tavern) to Gay Rights (Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles) were fomented in bars.
Whole genres of business and finance came out of the coffee shops of London.
And once “Nature” was invented by Romantics in the late 1800s, nature-like parks in cities brought delight to urban life, and wilderness became something to protect.
Play invites us to invent freely.
An exploration of the cultural shift that began with a leisure space of idle chatter and led to some of our most productive modern work environments being deliberately designed to make space for play. With special guests Matt Haughey of Slack and MetaFilter, Audrea Hooper of Zappos, and the conference rooms of Etsy HQ.
Original video: https://soundcloud.com/wonderland-podcast/party-in-the-front-or-how-we-incorporate-play-into-work
Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Thu, 15 Dec 2016 16:46:41 GMT Available for 30 days after download
An exploration of the power of play, from screen-based games like Pokemon Go or Minecraft, to the imaginative worlds of children inventing playgrounds out of everyday life, with special guests with special guests Alison Gopnik, professor at Berkeley and author of The Gardener and the Carpenter, Youngna Park, head of product at Tinybop, Clive Thompson, journalist and author of Smarter Than You Think, and Ian Bogost, philosopher and video game designer.
Original video: https://soundcloud.com/wonderland-podcast/airplanes-zoos-and-infinite-chickens-or-why-do-humans-like-to-play
Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Sat, 08 Oct 2016 18:18:58 GMT Available for 30 days after download
Thomas Oscar is an Australian teenager who tried to make the most boring Facebook group possible – a group where members pretend to be corporate drones in a non-existent office.
Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” is a sci-fi novel that’s chock full of references to 1980s culture. But is it a good book, or are the references all that it’s got going for it? What will John Hughes movies be like in the future? And what do Cline, P.G. Wodehouse, and Umberto Eco have in common?
HOLY SHIT. People like this book. SMART people like this book. The New York Times liked this book. The problem is that this book is a piece of crap that basically functions as a checklist of nostalgia items from the 1980’s.
Join game designer Mike Sacco and I as we yuk it up over the text of this reference-packed slog through a future world that seems like it was conceptualized in 1985. Highlights include: Aerosmith’s "Revolution X" video game, misidentifying this author as the guitarist of Wilco, and probably way too much on-mic laughter.
P.S. Did I mention that this book is BAAAAAAD? Cuz it is.
Bumper Music: "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey, "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia, and "Before Baywatch" by Donuts N’ Glory
Book Club: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.
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