Neuralink and the future of us

So there is this great article that has been going around the social-sphere all day about Neuralink, a new Elon Musk venture that aims to basically melt computers into our brains so that we can download and upload thoughts the same way computers do. What’s more is that the way we’ll do this is by implanting electrodes in our brains. Then, just like computers, we’ll be able to send each other information, or pull it from some database of information.

So here is a conversation that will probably happen in the Neuralink-future:

6:00:00 p.m. (person 1): Have you heard the new Kendrick Lamar album? It’s FIYA!

6:00:15 p.m. (person 2): No, but hold on let me download it to my brain.

6:00:20 p.m. (person 2): Holy shit I just listened to the whole thing because my brain is a computer. However, I can’t determine whether or not I enjoyed it because my brain is a computer.

As that happens, Keanu Reeves will be in your brain shooting bad guy viruses and dodging bullets.

Keanu

Yes… yes I am.

I can’t make up my mind on how I feel about this. I mean, one side of my brain thinks that humanity (I’ve written this before BTW) is destined for a cross between WALL-E and Idiocracy. I basically see a world where we live in chairs and drink nutrient-dense Big-Gulps and robots follow us around and keep us alive.

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The other half of my brain thinks that we can use the technology Neuralink is trying to develop and solve all of the issues humanity faces. The initial goal is to cure brain injuries in humans brought about by stroke, cancer lesions, etc. Beyond that, it’s not hard to imagine this technology solving things like illiteracy, or even monitoring the entire body for any signs of cancer and self-fixing anything at a cellular level before it spreads.

I remember reading an article a few years ago about some Nobel prize winning scientist who was on his deathbed and saying his greatest regret was that he wouldn’t be able to see how far the field of medicine would go in the next 25 years. I think the arc of humanity has seen such a rush of ideas in the last 50 years in regards to technology. I mean, from 4,000,000 B.C.-1900, we basically made fire and figured out how to put that inside a metal box and make things move. Then, fast forward 70 years, and we learned how to fly, played golf on the moon, and sent live video from one side of the globe to the other in real time. Fast forward another 50 years, and we can share information instantly with the entire world through computers, cured just about every single disease known to human existence, and even taught the human body to eat 73 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

What I’m getting at is that technology is exciting and it’s generally good for mankind, but at what point are we going to design ourselves out of existence? That article I linked to at the beginning of this rant talks about how humans got to the top of the food chain because we are the first and only species to think complex thoughts. If computers can do that a million times faster and more efficiently than we can, where do we stack up in the pecking order?

I guess to wrap it all up, I feel more excited than not about what we are doing with Neuralink and I hope Elon Musk figures it out. Rumor has it, he’s a pretty smart guy so I’d give him a fighter’s chance. I think as long as we figure out how to use technology to enhance our existence rather than replace it, we should try and push things as far as we can. I just hope that we figure it out before the Terminators come.

5 “Stranger Things” Thoughts

The other title I had was “5 Things I Think about “Stranger Things,” but I kind of like the way my first one sounds. Anyway, last night my wife and I powered through the second half of Season One of Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen it yet, it means you don’t have Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix, it’s 2016 and costs like $15/mo. Get it so we can move on…

Moving on…oh, and SPOILER ALERTS AND SPOILERS AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION’S are in order. I’m obviously going to be talking about the show, so if you don’t want it ruined, thanks for the site hit, but it’s best you move along.

Thing One: there isn’t a bad character on the show

I was laughing with my wife while we were watching it because, during the show, she noticed I was in a “deep-though gaze.” When asked what I was thinking about, I kind of laughed because it wasn’t like I was wading into the deep-end of my mind, rather I was thinking about a Facebook poll I saw called “which ST character are you?” I didn’t take the poll, but I wish I would have now that the series is over. But the thing is, I can see myself in just about every character. The characters are bold, extremely relatable, and each has depth beyond trying to find their friend or fight the monster. Even Brenner/Papa played his role well, and while his “death” was extremely underwhelming, I read that he’ll likely be rewritten into season two. Oh it’s happening!

Thing Two: the show keeps you guessing from start to finish

Remember the movie “Signs?” Remember how good the thing was all the way up until you see the alien, and then you kind of think “well that’s kind of stupid.” Stranger Things is like the best half of “Signs” through all eight episodes. Even after you see the monster, we really don’t know much about it. Is there only one monster? Did the fire/bear trap work (didn’t seem to, but then again…)? Does the gate move around and how does it move? Are El and the monster one in the same, or how are the connected? There is a lot going on, but never really grasping what is going on keeps you excited for what’s about to come.

Thing Three: something is always going on!

There are multiple subtle storylines that play into the show as a whole extremely well. Aside from Barbara (sorry, Barb) who kind of gets killed, semi-searched for, then “meh, we don’t need to really look for Barb anymore,” there is the mystery of the DOE building and the gate, there’s the search for Will, there is who/what is El, there’s the Other Side, Hopper might be my favorite character and we learn a whole lot about him (then get thrown a whole new “what’s his role next season” kind of loop at the end of the last episode). There’s the love triangle with the sister…

Side tangent – how is cocky boyfriend going to get beat up by Will’s brother in the street, then go total bad ass on the monster and save the day?

Anyway, at all times I am watching whatever is happening on screen and thinking about two things that either just happen or are about to happen. It’s a collection of great casting, writing, and actors that really get their characters and play them perfectly.

Thing Four: it’s not like anything else we’ve seen (in a long time)

I admit that when  I watch shows or movies, I have a big part of me that wants to cast it off because it’s too much like that show or basically the same thing at this show, only they changed X for Y. There really isn’t any of that with Stranger Things. The core group of friends are great heroes (brave, funny, unbreakable bond). They have to deal with social bullies, parents who won’t believe them, the government, and the monster, all while using their brains to figure out the things that the adult world can’t. The show is both nostalgic and original at the same time, and each character (and I mean EACH of the 20 or so characters that we see for more than 5 minutes during the show) is really, really fun and entertaining.

Thing Five: I still don’t want to play Dungeons and Dragons

I wanted to throw this in there because, there is a moment at the end when Mike is the narrator for a 10 hour game of D&D, he kind of makes up this story about a six headed hydra and I have the single (SINGLE) moment that thinks that could be fun. But, in the end, I’m much happier just catching the climax and waiting for Mike and the gang gear up for season two.

CAN’T WAIT!

 

Cleveland fans don’t really want to win

Cleveland Cavaliers Fans Gather To Watch Game 6 Of NBA Finals Against The Golden State Warriors
Image courtesy of http://www.cheatsheet.com

I’ll preface this by saying I am not a Cleveland sports fan. My wife’s family is, for the most part, Cleveland sports fans, and living in Columbus allows me to have a pretty good understanding of the Cleveland sports fan’s psyche. I, being a huge Detroit Lions fan, have always said that Cleveland and Detroit fans have always been cut from the same cloth since we all understand how to root for a team whose culture is predicated on losing.

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavs will try to avoid going down 0-3 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. While losing tonight wouldn’t officially eliminate the Cavs, their chances of coming back and winning four games would fall somewhere between my chances of winning a golf medal in the Olympics and zero.

For reference, Cleveland is the only city that has at least three professional sports teams (Indians, Cavs, Browns) that hasn’t won a championship in the last half century. In fact, the last time Cleveland did win a professional sports championship (1964), Lieutenant Dan still had legs and the average home cost less that what most used cars cost today.

Ask any Cavs fan, and they’ll tell you they want to win tonight. They will tell you how starved the city is for a championship and how LeBron winning tonight would validate all sorts of pain and misery the city has gone through over the last 50 years.

But the truth is, deep down, Cleveland fans love the fact that they’re losers (in terms of professional sports teams only). Cleveland loves saying things like “that’s just like the Cavs/Indians/Browns” to do something or other, whether it’s get to the World Series and lose when you had victory in sight, or throw quarterback after quarterback on the field and watch them fail just like the guy before.

Cleveland fans wouldn’t know what to do if the Cavs came back and won the NBA Finals somehow. They’d no longer be able to say their fans deserve a ring, or pity themselves when the Browns lose again because, hey, at least the Cavs won a ring.

I don’t mean to write this as an attack on the city and I hope it isn’t coming across that way. As a Detroit Lions fan, I too can say I identify with a culture of losing. Lions fans love sharing in each other’s misery. And while I’d love a Super Bowl title in Motown, I wouldn’t know what to do once we start losing again.

Basically, Cleveland is the “drunk girl at a party crying about her ex-boyfriend” of the sports world. As soon as that girl finds a stable relationship, she doesn’t seem as interesting.

Cleveland fans love their city, love other Cleveland fans, and love the fact that they can tell other cities fans that “hey, at least you’re not us.” They love celebrating the fact that they can’t win for whatever reason, and I believe they wouldn’t know how to adjust if they ever break the curse.

That said, still rooting for the Cavs tonight!

Eight Things I Learned about Marriage after Two Years

 

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For those that didn’t see, this blog was published in “The Good Men Project” and can be seen (with different pictures) here: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/eight-things-learned-marriage-two-years-dg/

My wife and I just had our second wedding anniversary, and while I haven’t learned the secret to 60 years of coexistence like my grandparents might be able to teach, there are some things I’ve gotten out of the last 730 days that I think are valuable in their own right. After all, if you can’t make it past two years, you aren’t going to be celebrating a 60th anytime soon.

1 – Learn what your partner’s favorite thing is about themselves

It’s one thing to compliment your partner when they look good or get promoted at work. It’s another thing to compliment your wife on her ability to get shit done (if that’s what she’s into).

If you can’t make each other laugh just being who you are, you are going to have a hard time enjoying each other for the rest of your lives.

My wife loves being a trailblazer — as I write this she is planning a community 5K and health and wellness expo from scratch. Telling her that she’s killing it and that I am proud of how well she’s handling such a big project means more to her than telling her she looks good in a bathing suit or how perfect her hair looks after she gets it cut. Figure out what your wife loves most about herself and make a point to let her know you love it too.

2- Find the humor in ordinary situations

Dating was great. You stay out late, have one too many drinks, and usually have sex — a lot of sex. When you get married (and I can only imagine after kids), things slow down and nights out with friends are all to often swapped for nights on the couch being smothered by your dog who doesn’t know the meaning of personal space. It’s in these situations that marriages can be made or broken because this is real life and these moments will be what 80% of your non-working lives will be together. If you can’t make each other laugh just being who you are, you are going to have a hard time enjoying each other for the rest of your lives.

3- It’s still OK to celebrate little moments

My wife and I still celebrate our “date-iversary.” It’s a stupid thing, but it shows that we still remember the day we decided to become exclusive (even if we have some trouble remembering that WHOLE night). You’re expected to do things for her birthday or anniversary, but showing her that those little moments still mean something to you shows her that you value your relationship.

4- Take your health seriously

Another great thing about dating was you probably splurged on some late night eats, a few too many late night drinks, and probably found yourselves eating out more than your budget would have preferred.

I love our together time, but I also appreciate some time to myself.

When you get married, the kitchen becomes more important in many ways than the bedroom. Everything in life starts with your health, including not only your happiness and satisfaction with your partner, but with yourself as well. Cook together, and make sure you both carve out time to exercise. Healthy relationships begin with healthy people, so make sure you are doing your part.

5- Pay attention to your appearance

I know how easy it can be to go another day without shaving or rock the same sweatpants three or four nights in a row after you get home from work. There is a fine line between being comfortable in your home and letting yourself go. Looking good for your partner is an important way to remind them that you want to be your best for them. I have found that the more I shave my face, the more she will shave her legs. Looking your best leads to feeling your best, which leads to confidence in and out of the home, and confidence is something everyone finds attractive.

6- Understand each other’s needs for space and togetherness

My wife doesn’t need much “me time.” She loves spending time together and hates it when I have to go away for a night or two for work (for the record, so do I). I love our together time, but I also appreciate some time to myself. I love to get outside and run. My wife has never questioned me when I say I need to go run and I love her that much more for allowing me to do what I need to do to be me. I also recognize her needs to be together and I will gladly trade “guy time” for time spent just watching bad TV with her and our dog.

7- Have an opinion

It all boils down to listening to each other, respecting each other, and having fun with each other.

Ninety-nine times out of 100, my wife seems to disagree with my opinion when it comes to option A and option B, but she respects the fact that I weigh the options and tell her how I feel. Playing the “I don’t care” card shows a lack of interest in the issue at hand. You don’t have to be stern about why you want to go for sushi instead of Mexican, but she’ll appreciate that you put down your phone long enough to tell her how you’re craving spicy tuna, even if you end up having margaritas at El Vaquero.

8- Ego has no place in relationships

It’s easy to stand up for your wife if she is being mistreated in public. It’s more difficult when it’s just the two of you having an argument, but the latter can diffuse a huge fight waiting to happen. Putting your ego aside doesn’t always mean admitting you’re wrong (though that does go a long way sometimes), rather it means honestly putting yourself in her position and trying to understand where she’s coming from. Those “where did that come from” fights usually don’t start because someone is picking a fight, but because they don’t feel the other person is putting in the effort to see things from the other perspective.

There are plenty of other things I am learning about myself, my wife, and our relationship as we go along. It’s hard to narrow down the list sometimes, but I think that my wife and I are on a good path and I believe that we are destined for 60 years together some day. It all boils down to listening to each other, respecting each other, and having fun with each other. If you have that, the first two years will fly by faster than you realize.

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/eight-things-learned-marriage-two-years-dg/#sthash.Llwag0e6.dpuf

Real Men Watch the Bachelor

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Image courtesy of http://www.theodysseyonline.com

Regardless of the fact that this is a show that admittedly I began watching because  of my wife, I feel the Bachelor (and to a lesser extent the Bachelorette) gets a bad rap for being a show that other guys think only women can enjoy.  This, my friends, is not the case, and I will explain why (and how) men can and should enjoy this show.

So the premise is girly. I won’t argue that. A bunch of women who want to be famous go to Hollywood to meet a guy who a bunch of producers painted in a favorable light last season in hopes that he smells as good as he looked on TV and they’ll make pretty babies together in a year or two, in which a camera crew will follow their journey to happily ever after and somehow they will absorb money like a sponge does water through looking pretty and doing nearly no “work” for the rest of their lives. Ladies, I don’t think many of you will tell me that I am too far off.

However, in the same way that anyone can watch their favorite movie and say to themselves, “there is no way that can happen in real life, but I will allow myself to go with it for the sake of entertainment,” so to is how we must approach watching the Bachelor. Real life doesn’t mean your first date involves helicopters, private lagoons, fireworks, and an entire castle to yourself, save the personal performance by Matt Nathanson or Hootie or someone akin to that B- level celebrity who is happy to sing a love song as long as the camera is running. It’s not real life, and that’s fine. It is the only way 25+ women can genuinely believe that they are in love after dating a guy for two weeks and having a total of three conversations with him, two of which were at 3:15 a.m. before a rose ceremony.

Now, before I go on, I should apologize to anyone who watches this show differently than I do. I know that there are people like my wife who do genuinely root for some people on that show because they connect with them. Her two favorite people in the world after our dog are Shawn and Kaitlyn from last season. I don’t judge or care why someone likes a show; if my watching old seasons of Entourage means she wants to image search all the good looking guys in the show, I call that a win-win. The same can be the case for the Bachelor. If she can connect with the women and their stories while I can banter with her about how Chris Harrison clasps and unclasps his hands at least six times every time he addresses a group of people (seriously, if you haven’t noticed, watch his hands when he talks), win-win.

Lately, watching the Bachelor has gotten more interesting with the advent of FANTASY BACHELOR, a game in which you spend fake–nay “fantasy” money to build a roster of women after episode one. Points are scored on drunkenness (more prevalent in the Bachelorette, because the guys tend to get drunker earlier on that show than do the ladies), kissing (bonus points for makeouts or doubles+), roses, fights, and all sorts of other little things that make watching the show that much more fun.

Ultimately, it’s OK if the men of the world watch the Bachelor. The fact that I haven’t even mentioned that there are twenty-five 21-35 year old good looking women (for the most part) should be enough to at least allow you to watch an episode or two, especially now that Monday Night Football is on hiatus.

Potty Talk

What I am about to say is equal parts uncomfortable and necessary. It’s about public bathrooms, primarily ones around the workplace or at places like Starbucks where you might recognize someone if you go there more than once. There is an issue with public bathrooms that has gone on for too long and no one has the courage to talk about it. Well, that ends today.

At my office, there are a three bathrooms that the men can use. Two of them are your standard, two-piece bathrooms that have a sink, toilet, and very private door that keeps the outside out, and the inside in. It’s comfortable (enough) and offers as much privacy as one could ask for outside of the comforts of their own home.

The third bathroom is a bit bigger and falls in line with what you might expect to find at most restaurants, department stores, concert venues, or any place that has a maximum occupancy of more than 18 people. This bathroom features two urinals, two sinks, two stalls, and, oddly enough, two showers.

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Harmless enough, right? ABSOLUTELY NOT! This is me, a man, complaining about something I can only imagine women feel all the time for having to use stalls anywhere they go. We can all pretend it doesn’t exist, but there is a window into that little cage that doesn’t need to be there and it’s time to address it!

What window?

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That window.

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THAT WINDOW!

Like a magnet, our eyes are drawn to that little sliver of space in between the door and stall wall and God forbid someone is using it because somehow our eyes manage to connect with whoever it is in the stall. The stall sits in direct view of anyone walking in to the bathroom. No I don’t want to look, but of course I do. Even if I am going in just to use the urinal, I have to take inventory of everything in a split second to know if I need to find another bathroom.

Did someone just #2 it in there? I’ll pass.

Is someone #2 in there currently? I don’t want to be the guy who is just peeing while someone else is pretending they’re not there, uncomfortably NOT doing their thing while I do my business and wash my hands.

It’s an unwritten rule that if someone is using the stall in a men’s bathroom, anyone else has to pretend like they don’t notice anything is different.

It is. You know it is and I know it is. But in order to not be weird in the office, I’ll play the game.

You might say, “everybody poops,” to which I would agree, but not everybody has to know about it. Women have been living by that mantra for generations and men pretending that’s true is the only thing that lets us humans coexist for the first couple weeks of dating.

The best inventions identify when there is a problem and solve it simply. At some point, somebody got really tired of his papers blowing all over his desk, and the rock he found outside just wasn’t feng shui enough so he invented a paper weight. It’s time we stop pretending that we can’t see people pooping when we walk in to public bathrooms and close the window for good in this very serious issue!

My first thought is to have some piece of loose fabric covering that sliver of window so that it wouldn’t get in the way of the door swinging open or shut, but it would also allow the privacy needed to #2 in peace.

Another idea would be to have the door almost wrap around to the side of the stall so that the window gap would not face directly into the stall. You can keep the handle where it is, but protect the gap by moving it.

Whatever someone decides, feel free to take 100% credit for this and make your millions. As long as I have my privacy when I need it, I’m a happy guy.

Predicting the Top 5 Fads of 2016

A quick Google search of trendy words in 2015 will populate your browser with words like bae, dadbod, on fleek, turn(t) up/down, #WCW, #FridayFail, #mindthegap, basic b*tch (usually followed by emoji with girl holding an invisible serving tray), and all sorts of other goofy words and terms that we like to occasionally use with our friends and pretend that we’re super-trendy. Ellen (my wife DVR’s her show, I watch when we’re out of our main lineup of shows, #SINS <— trendy!) even did a piece this month about some of these words and asked her 35-50 MWF audience if they knew what a lot of these words meant. I think she used “bae,” “on fleek,” and “netflix and chill” and asked audience members to use each phrase in a sentence. A lot of the audience laughed when she said the words, as if saying “oh yea, Ellen, we know what THAT word means,” but a quick read of their faces suggested they might have just been pretending to know so to appear like they’re more “with it” than they all know themselves to be. dr-evil-air-quotes-laser

In a world where eggplant emoji’s are penis’ and drinking isn’t drinking unless you snap yo drank, we all need to “Netflix and chill” out over this age of talking in hashtags and answering each other by mimicking little yellow people in our text bars.

But allow me to digress. The point of this post is not to bash this generation of new-slang-slinging communicators, but rather look ahead to 2016 at what might be trending in terms of how we talk to one another, what it is we talk about, and what will captivate our lives for the next 365 days (provided it’s not a leap year… too lazy to check).

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  1. Evolved Emojis – In 2015, we could hold entire conversations by texting tiny pictures. Taco – fork and knife – Mexican flag – two beer mugs – question mark, to which a reply of face with hearts for eyes – thumbs up – girl waving – clock face showing 5:00 pm. We have embraced emojis because it allows us to be hilarious and also save time in using those annoying letters all the time to communicate our thoughts, but who has time to scroll our eyes from left to right reading 5-10 emojies at a time? That is why to stay current, emojis will evolve into tiny GIF-like animations of sunglasses face morphing into two girls holding hands morphing into beach scene morphing into a cocktail glass. We can stare at one emoji and let it do all the work instead of us having to remember the last two emojis in a linear row…
  2. Craft Vaping – I don’t know where the idea of “Craft things” came about — maybe it was literally crafting, which allowed us to personalize things in the 80’s like bird houses or Christmas cards and make them unique. While we don’t know where it came from, we certainly can recognize where crafting is in the form of craft beer, craft cheese, and a whole slew of other food and drinks that just weren’t good enough before so we had to make them better. With vaping picking up steam around the country, I can see craft vaping making a charge into mainstream America in 2016.

    Hipster 1: This vape has a little kush, a little kettle one, and some rosemary that really mellows your buzz. Hipster 2: Crafty, bud. 

  3. Camo-Flannel (aka Flamo) – If I see someone wearing a flannel shirt in 2015, I think, “cool.” If I see someone wearing camo (and they’re not hunting) in 2015, I think, “cool.” 2016 will blend these two mega-trends into one, and 2016 will be covered in “Flamo.” I can just see it now, flamo shirts at all the coolest parties. “Check out the lining of my jacket…flamo for days!” Of course, flamo will be locally sourced, cruelty-free, and for every flamo you buy, a pair of Warby Parker glasses will be sent to someone in a third world country.
  4. The Beginning of the Ban on Red Meat – Two years ago, pink slime was a trending word thanks to fast food joints stuffing this disgusting joke they called “meat” in between piece of bread and calling it a sandwich. 2015 taught us that bacon causes cancer and that we would solve a lot of this country’s food issues with we lessened our dependence on animal products. There is a feeling that red meat is this generation’s cigarette. We will fight the idea that we shouldn’t eat red meat because it tastes good, but ultimately something needs to happen to lessen people’s dependence on it for our health and for our planet. 2016 will be the year we see taxes on red meat that will lead to price hikes and ultimately a ban on certain red meat.
  5. Our spending will go up SIGNIFICANTLY – With the trend of “one-click buying,” it is becoming easier and easier to see something you want and buy it. In 2016, we won’t be able to help ourselves. We will see a hat on one of our friends on FB, and we will tap their hat and it will pop up a price and one-click buy button and it’ll be at our door in 36 hours. Amazon already makes it too easy to find literally (figuratively) anything on the planet you could possibly want and have a buy it now price. With how attached we are to our phones, we will be spending machines in 2016 and we won’t know why we are struggling paycheck to paycheck!