We live in stories all day long—fiction stories, novels, TV shows, films, interactive video games. We daydream in stories all day long. Estimates suggest we just do this for hours and hours per day—making up these little fantasies in our heads, these little fictions in our heads. We go to sleep at night to rest; the body rests, but not the brain. The brain stays up at night. What is it doing? It’s telling itself stories for about two hours per night. It’s eight or ten years out of our lifetime composing these little vivid stories in the theaters of our minds…

Stories are very predictable. No matter where you go in the world, no matter how different people seem, no matter how hard their lives are, people tell stories, universally, and universally the stories are more or less like ours: the same basic human obsessions, and the same basic structure. The structure comes down to: stories have a character, the character has a predicament or a problem—they’re always problem-focused—and the character tries to solve the problem. In its most basic terms, that’s what a story is—a problem solution narrative.

Why are stories that way? On one hand, it may be obvious to you that stories are that way, that they’re problem focused. That’s the first thing you would learn in your first day of creative writing class. You get there, your teacher would say, “Hey, your story has to have a problem, a crisis, a dilemma, otherwise no one’s interested.” But if you think about it, it’s not at all obvious that stories should be that way. You might really expect to find stories that really did function as portals into hedonistic paradise. Paradises where there were no problems and pleasure was infinite. But you never, ever find that.

Why are stories so trouble-focused? You have quite a bit of convergence among scholars and scientists who are looking at this from an evolutionary point of view, and what they’re saying is that stories may function as kind of virtual reality simulators, where you go and you simulate the big problems of human life, and you enjoy it, but you’re having a mental training session at the same time. There’s some kind of interesting evidence for this, that these simulations might help people perform better on certain tasks.

So in the same way that children’s make believe helps them hone their social skills, it seems to be true of adult make believe, too. If adult make believe is novels and films, it seems they’re entering into those fictional worlds and working through those fictional social dilemmas actually does, as hard as it may be to believe, enhance our social skills, our emotional intelligence, our empathy. That’s kind of a neat finding. Maybe stories have a function as a simulation of the big problems of life that helps us cope better with those problems when we do experience them.

http://edge.org/conversation/the-way-we-live-our-lives-in-stories (via cdixon)
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What Bitcoin can Learn from Somaliland

The cryptocurrency community talks — at nauseum — about how it deserves to be taken seriously. Really? Why? What has it done to deserve being taken seriously? Certainly there is some very interesting technology that has been built. And that technology should be taken seriously. As technology.

But Bitcoiners, and the cryptocommunity more generally, should not somehow be free from the normal rules which apply. If those inside the cryptocommunity want cryptocurrencies to be treated as currency, then they must abide by the normal rules which attend to handling money.

These rules are onerous, precisely because businesses which deal with folks’ money are, well, dealing with folks’ money.

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Paper Boys

the-feature:

Inside the dark, lucrative world of consumer debt collection.

This was posted 2 weeks ago. It has 14 notes.
One of my rules of thumb is that whenever everyone agrees on something, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong, but it almost certainly means that nobody’s thought about it.
Peter Thiel (via brycedotvc)
This was posted 3 weeks ago. It has 63 notes.
Value of the Stellar Currency

thegongshow:

Stellar is fascinating. I’ve spent much of my day today learning everything I can about it.

I’m curious about what the total value of the currency is worth at this beta beginning. There’s a couple answers:

1) Stripe made a $3,000,000 loan to Stellar to fund initial operations. Stellar repaid…

This was posted 1 month ago. It has 9 notes.
A Checklist for App Developers in 2014
  1. What is the single, simple mission of your app? If you had to reduce your app down to a single sound bite, what would it be? Is that sound bite compelling? Is it unique to you?

  2. What existing community will your app appeal to? What group of people will care about and talk about your app? The biggest challenge here is (a) not picking a community that is already saturated with other apps and (b) picking a socially active community.

  3. **How will your app be naturally shared via social networks? **In today’s market, building an app without Facebook and Twitter integration (at least) is like playing baseball without a glove. You could do it. But you’ll disappoint your team, audience, and probably hurt yourself.

dbreunig:

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Some Sort of Union

It’s really interesting how (employers) have resorted to strong arming their engineers with these shot in the back non-competes, and couple it with salary collusion and hiring agreements.

Throw in the golden handcuffs (that turn into golden dental floss after a few funding rounds — long after they’ve gotten their 60-70 hour work weeks out of the true believers) and you see how they are trying to stymie that labor movement.

It’s really a wonder that technology workers haven’t started forming some sort of union.

This was posted 2 months ago. It has 0 notes.