Last month saw PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video break big online. If you’ve not seen it, you should. The music’s catchy, and they clearly had far too much fun making the music video. Go on, watch it.
After a few days’ trouble keeping it out of my head, I took a look into some of his other tracks and found those amusing enough to prompt me to grab his album. And I discovered something interesting: rap other languages is way catchier than rap in English. Because I can’t understand the lyrics, the vocals become rhythmic instrumentation and, again because I can’t understand what’s going on, I’m not distracted or offended by the drivel that sometimes passes for lyrics in rap. That’s not to say PSY’s lyrics are drivel – I haven’t the foggiest what he’s saying. All I know is that I have trouble excising from my mind what seems to me to be musical nonsense phrases.
For kicks, here’s another of his videos. Again, having too much fun.
Recently, via the IEET, I’ve come across two excellent films exploring the possible impact of augmented reality on our lives. There are positives, but also negatives.
The first, Sight, is only 8 minutes long, and focuses on a guy using AR apps to help him date. All goes well, until, well, I’ll let you watch it. This one’s neat because it also explores different ways in which people might employ gamification to steer their behaviour.
The second, H+, is an ongoing web series. I’ve only just started watching it, but the production quality is excellent, as is the narrative pacing. It’s not yet clear how much of a role AR will play, but it’s clear and present from the beginning. The first episode starts out slow, but quickly grabs you and draws you into the setting and its characters. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest.
There are 10 episodes out so far, and it seems they’re still going strong. If you’re using RSS, grab the episode feed here.
I’m more than a little impressed by the audacity of Philippe Croizon. Despite having had his arms and legs amputated, he’s successfully swum the English Channel, the Straits of Gibraltar, a chunk of the Red Sea, and is now swimming Bering Strait.
To do this, he swims freestyle, with flipper-like leg prosthetics attached to the stumps at his knees. I’m intrigued that he still does arm strokes, despite having clearly atrophied muscles and no arm prosthetics – I’m guessing they help him with stability and steering.
What with Oskar Pistorius coming in 8th in the 400m at the London Olympics with his Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics, we’re closing quickly on a line where the performance of human engineered body parts exceeds that of natural ones in certain contexts.
There’s a double standard in the rhetoric around markets that’s always intrigued me:
The first claim is regularly heard in political discourse, while the second is rarely made openly, but is instead implied by the status quo. The double standard comes from the fact that absent some clear distinction, if market-based solutions are the best approach to organizing society at large, they ought also to be the best approach to organizing large organizations. Worse, the first argument is most commonly heard from people established in positions of power within some centrally planned organization. Given that, it’s very hard to hear this as anything other than hypocrisy designed to maintain power and wealth.
This issue is not unknown to economists. This afternoon, I read Yanis Varoufakis discussing the issue in the context of Valve, a game company that uses a radically different management structure to most companies that is arguably much closer to the philosophic ideals behind free markets. He describes the situation as follows:
Interestingly, however, there is one last bastion of economic activity that proved remarkably resistant to the triumph of the market: firms, companies and, later, corporations. Think about it: market-societies, or capitalism, are synonymous with firms, companies, corporations. And yet, quite paradoxically, firms can be thought of as market-free zones. Within their realm, firms (like societies) allocate scarce resources (between different productive activities and processes). Nevertheless they do so by means of some non-price, more often than not hierarchical, mechanism!
The full article is a little long, and could use a little editing, but really interesting, particularly if you’re interested, as I am, in how to build organizations that can attract good people to work on interesting consulting jobs and projects in an open and distributed manner.