The sucky thing about being on tumblr is it really makes you wish you lived in New York.
…is not scary. It’s actually pretty cool. Facebook Places does not automatically share your location information with the world—you have to access the Facebook Places section of the Facebook iPhone app and click a button every time you want to share your location information. Your location information only gets shared with the people with whom you want it to be shared.
Being able to check in to a place, and then check to see if any of your friends have checked into that place recently too, seems like it’s pretty cool to me. It actually already exists with Foursquare and Yelp (and probably others), but the challenge for both of those services is getting people to use them. Everyone already uses Facebook, so Places will murder both of those.
People are working themselves into a panic about Facebook knowing your location information, but the fact is that in the future, these are the kinds of things that companies will know about you. It’s okay though; it’ll be awesome. Facebook will be able to tell you when you have friends nearby. Google will be able to remind you of a task that you’ve put on your to do list when you are physically close to the place where the task happens.
The scariest thing that any company will ever do with your personal information is use it to try to show you advertising that it believes will appeal to you—this isn’t scary either. I like buying things, and if Google or Facebook get to know me well enough that they can recommend things to me based on what they know about me, this, in my opinion, is fantastic. If Google knows that I like taxidermy and cheese, and knows when I am physically near to a taxidermy and cheese store, I would very much like for Google to let me know about that place while I am close to it. Similarly, if Facebook knows that I frequent The Mirage, I would very much like for it to show me ads for Affliction shirts and douche-scented cologne. If you show me ads that are relevant to me, I’ll gladly look at them.
Stop being scared. This is the world getting cooler.
This question came to me last night (over drinks) and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. If Martians came to Earth and said “so, what’s there to do for fun around here” and you replied “well, typically we just ingest non-lethal amounts of a neurotoxin—just enough to impair our motor skills and kill our ability to make rational decisions—and see what happens next”, the Martians would be like “that sounds terrible”. So why do we do it? I’ve come up with a few hypotheses, but they all seem empty to me:
- Some people are irrationally shy. Alcohol helps to quell these irrational inhibitions, albeit at the expense of other, arguably more rational, traits such as the ability to make sense and not walk into walls, so it seems like not a great trade-off compared to just working on your shyness.
- It is socially acceptable to blame bad behavior on alcohol. For instance, I was at a party recently and some drunken fellow accidentally headbutted the host’s girlfriend in the face. Headbutting girls in the face is typically frowned upon, however since he was wasted, he got a free pass. If you really think about it though, abdication of responsibility seems like a terribly selfish reason to drink, and thus I find it unsatisfactory to conclude that our whole society chooses to drink so that they can head-butt girls in the face (although, Wikipedia claims that “Alcohol has also been linked with lowered inhibitions, though it is unclear to what degree this is chemical versus psychological as studies with placebos can often duplicate the social effects of alcohol at low to moderate doses,” so maybe people do drink just to headbutt girls in the face.)
- Watching other people drink is entertaining, because they make decisions and do things that are clearly irrational. The heart of funny is the violation of your expectations, and nothing violates expectations quite like like your shy friend asking a cop if he can hold his gun. The best way to get someone else drunk is to drink with them. Again, this seems like a hell of a selfish reason to drink, and thus it is unsatisfactory to me.
- Speaking of “the heart of funny is the violation of your expectations”, drinking inhibits our ability to make expectations. When you aren’t thinking straight, it’s harder to predict what will happen next. Since we aren’t as good predictors, our expectations are violated more frequently, resulting in more funny. Think about all the times someone has said something or done something that was hilarious when you were drunk, but looking back sober, wasn’t really all that funny at all. This though, again, seems like it comes at a huge cost. Inhibition of our ability to predict what will happen next means we don’t recognize situations where we are getting into trouble, as I’m sure most people who’ve ever had an alcoholic beverage can attest to. Some things are funnier, but the chances that you’ll get kidnapped by a creepy guy in a van rise immensely.
While I think that all of those factors play a role, and some more than others for some people, and some more than others in certain situations, I am terribly unsatisfied with this list. Anyone have any ideas?
Got this book today. So far it’s fantastic. I had no idea how much we depend on corn. I’ll expand some more another time. If you’re interested a non-preachy treatise on what exactly it is that we eat, this is the one.
I’ve noticed that the frequency illusion is extremely common these days.