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Archive for June 11, 2011

Speculation About Anthony Weiner’s Treatment: Jun 11, 2011

June 11, 2011 5 comments

So, it is official- Anthony Weiner is the latest male ‘celebrity’ to seek treatment for behaving like a normal (albeit hypocritical) guy.

I wonder if his treatment is going to be something like this..

Does anybody want to make a Photoshop of Weiner undergoing the “Ludovico” treatment?

Comments?

Categories: LOL, Musings

Why Older People Cannot Grasp The New: 1

June 11, 2011 12 comments

Almost everybody has their favorite stories about how old people are befuddled by new technology and social mores. Many attribute it to age, brain function, senility etc.. but that is bullshit- as I will soon show.

In my opinion, the assumption that old people’s inability to grasp the new is linked to declining brain function has a major flaw-

Why do small kids and even toddlers have little problems grasping new concepts? If you make the argument that their brain is more plastic, here is my counter question- Do you remember your life as a 1-year old, 3-year old.. 6-year old in any detail? Think about it.. But weren’t your crucial experiences, acquisition of language, basic literacy etc also during that time period.

So why can’t you remember your most crucial learning experiences?

Let me give you an example- Imagine that you are playing a new and novel first-person shooter (FPS) for the first-time. What do you focus on? The maps, meta-objectives or just playing the game? Now imagine playing it from a predominantly third person perspective. What do you focus on? and how do you play it?

FPS games are an immersive experience and you tend to play a novel one without using much of your previous experience with similar games. It is hard to play bioshock 2 like doom 3 or doom 3 like half-life 2. While the basic mechanics are not that different- the style of gameplay is vastly different. In contrast, RPG/strategy type games are very similar to each other in one important respect- they require the player to use a lot of their previous understanding of similar games to play them well.

Remembering things in the third person requires a third person perspective- aka a previous set of mental maps.

Coming back to the topic of this article, there are two types of change- evolutionary and revolutionary.

Evolutionary change includes things such as using word processors instead of type writers, excel instead of visicalc, HDTV instead of CRT based TVs, automatic transmission instead of manual etc. These changes are based on concepts which already existed when older people were growing up and are thus not truly new. Note that these befuddle older people far less than revolutionary changes.

Revolutionary changes are changes for which there are no real precedents. For example- there are no real precedent for e-mail, spam, texting, blogs, malware, selfshots and a host of other things. Similarly there is no real precedent for women’s behavior today. The same can be said about things like the role of financialism in the economy.

Most older people abandon the unstructured,immersive first-person perspective as they “grow up” and “mature”. The reasons behind this have more to do with ego, worldview and projecting competence than any changes in the brain. Grownups abhor uncertainty, even if their version of certainty is full of shit. Children do not abhor uncertainty because they don’t yet have anything to compare it to.

Therefore kids are more likely to explore, look around and test various aspects of a novel system rather than stick to one path. The lack of previous mental maps and excessive attachment to a previous world view makes them far more willing to do so.

They are also far less invested in sticking to the old ways, if something better comes along.The worldview of older people is based on an interlinked set of “facts” which they “know” to be optimal. Disturbing one “fact” can set of a chain-reaction capable of destroying other parts of their world view.

For example: acknowledging that their average 15-year-old daughter willingly send nekkid pictures of herself to guys she barely knew undermines many of their cherished ideas about how average women behave and think like. Similarly a POV blowjob shot of her makes them confront the possibility that there is no fundamental difference between a porn star and their average daughter. Most people cannot bear such thoughts.

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