Friday, December 31, 2010

Current Currencies

According to Bas Reu discussions about new currencies in this age of sharing are not new. Many have done research about other means of value compared to money as we know it. During the rise of the internet, we exchange value more easily without the need of money. And then there is this other characteristic what really differs from money: abundance. Nowadays there is an abundance of knowledge.

We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit. . . . We are entering a post-scarcity economy in which Google is teaching us to manage abundance, challenging the bedrock rule of economics, first written in 1767: the law of supply and demand.

Sharing knowledge has one distinctive characteristic which is it's value. Knowledge (in every form, such as experiences or market knowledge) has value. Value for the sender and it’s recipients. But real value is created when people come back to the sender with unexpected responses which can lead to new insights, new ideas, or combinatorial innovation. See, for example, what happens in questions and answers sites such as Quora, or in forum such as the ones that Linkedin has. People find each other, discuss topics, and collaborate which is good for all participants and spectators.

Sharing knowledge is not the same as giving up competitive advantages. In an age where sharing is easy, you’d better use it in your advantage. Of course, first things first, you still need enough money to make a living, but on top of that we exchange more and more without the intervention of real money. So you can ask yourself what our currency really is.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why do people play social games? Why do they pay for social goods?

Facebook has 100M people that play every day an average of 30 minutes. This equals to 50,000,000 hours / day, or 1,5B / hours month spent playing games only in this site.

Why do people play social games?

  • They provide fun outside of their game mechanics. They provide fun via their flexibility and emphasis on customization. FarmVille itself (a social game where the main objective is to take care of a farm doing chores like harvesting plants) is very simple to play. The fun in playing is mainly found in doing things like choosing where to put your barn, how to decorate around your farmhouse and creating an apple orchard in one corner.
  • They make people feel part of a community in which they relate to other people by helping each other with their farms chores, sending each other’s gift, posting messages in the network, competing with each other and allowing others to see the farm built with your own effort, patience and good taste.
  • They require no download or install. They can run on old computers and they are (initially) free.

Why do people pay for virtual goods?

A virtual good, it is most commonly thought of as a discrete digital item upon which a player can exert some level of control. Examples include interior design accessories, and machines. They can be functional or purely visual.

  • Desire to accelerate progress: they provide shortcuts to insider knowledge or to skip-to-the-front-of-the-line. As in the real world, we are willing to pay for access or knowledge to get ahead faster. Some of these virtual goods do the same within the environment they are part of a better barn, a boost, or tools to enhance the game play.
  • Competing: you want to beat others, and desire to be the best, thus you purchase virtual items that can clearly help you achieve that goal.
  • Entretainment: this seems to appeal more to females. Shopping (especially if there is a social feedback loop) and/or collecting (mainly when there is an overlay of social cooperation or competition) can be a strong form of entertainment.
  • Self-expression: often related to aesthetic rather than functional virtual goods, is tied to the human desire to show off a sense of style/identity/personality.
Maybe the truth is based on what Caesar believed 1900 years ago, he said that people need just two things: food and games, meaning physical and virtual goods. Physical goods solve the physical problems of existence, while virtual goods solve mental 'problems' such as curiosity, aesthetic value judgment and boredom.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Buddhist roots and contemporary science

The meaning of ku, which is a part of the Buddhist concept of Three Truths (Ke, Ku and Chu)

Ke/temporary existence- Can be thought of as life's manifestations and earthly phenomena.

Ku is that which can not be perceived with the senses but exists as pure potential. Non substantiality. Ku is used to describe the state we are in after we die. "Ku is entirely different from non-existence. It is the potential-void combining the three views of existence: Ketai, Kutai and Chutai."

Chu/The Middle Way The way which both transcends and unites dualities such as life and death.The realization of the unchanging essence of the universe. This concept is so difficult to grasp, it has been explained by saying what it is not; in the Eightfold Negations: 'neither birth nor death, neither cessation nor permanence, neither identity nor difference, neither coming nor going.'

Ideas (ku) become realized as tangible changes or actions (ke). The nature (ku) of these actions will be influenced by Chu. Chu is the permeating life force of the universe; it may be compared to our essence, which in turn is shaped by our dominant life state.

The concepept of ku, has been translated as latency, non-substantiality, emptiness and void. The first articulations of this idea comes from Nagarjuna. He believed that the state of "neither existence nor nonexistence" described in this concept expressed the true nature of all things. The paradoxical nature of this idea, however, makes it somewhat foreign to Western dualist logic. Ku, however, is down-to-earth, and in fact consistent with the findings of contemporary science.

Modern physics, in attempting to discover the essence of matter, has arrived at a description of the world that is very close to that of Nagarjuna. What scientists have discovered is that there is no actual, easily identifiable "thing" at the basis of matter. Subatomic particles, the building blocks of the physical world that we inhabit, appear to oscillate between states of being and nonbeing. Instead of a fixed "thing" in a particular place, we find only shifting waves of probability. At this level, the world is actually a highly fluid and unpredictable place, essentially without substance. It is this non-substantial nature of reality that the concept of ku describes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Modern loneliness

Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth.
For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures,

and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.- Francis bacon

Studies indicate that loneliness is increasing in spite of incredible communication advancements over the past decade. Isolation is far more than a social misfortune, it is a significant problem of health and happiness that is distinct from but contributes to the likelihood of depression.

In surveys to determine the factors that contribute most to human happiness, respondents consistently rate connection to friends and family-love, intimacy and social affiliation first, above wealth and fame.

Nowadays we're seeing an incredible retreat into virtual worlds. People spend time staring at their monitors more than ever before. This may imply less human interaction, less touch, less accountability, and less human connection. That can be a sure sign of loneliness. In fact, the use of social media sites, when gone unchecked, can actually exacerbate feelings of loneliness, because they remind the user of how little interaction they truly have with others.

Social Networks make a lot easier for people who are shy or socially awkward to communicate with others. This might help to prevents loneliness. But reality is complex. The Web provides large amounts of connection points; people who are truly isolated might end up over-using them. Besides connections might increase in number but not in quality – says John Cacioppo.

With email, communication is instant. And "kissing on that first date" is now more common. Within a couple of emails you are told intimate details you would be embarrased to tell anybody else. Those seem to be desperate attempts to satisfy the need for real human contact.

A recent research by Stepanikova concludes that more time browsing and communicating online appears to be linked with more loneliness, the two even increase together over time. However, it is important to appreciate that we don't know the direction of causation. Increased loneliness may well encourage people to spend more time online, rather than web time causing loneliness. Or some other factor could be causing both to rise in tandem.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Piglet is the material heroes are made of, a great achiever, a gallant fighter, or a courageous rescuer, a piglet can be found if one looks closely enough, so it has always been, and so we are sure it will always be. He might appear to be the most significant of The Tao of Pooh characters. Yet he is the only one of them that changes, grows, becomes more than what he was in the first place. He does this not by denying his smallness, but by applying it. He accomplishes what he does without accumulating a great ego; inside he remains a very small animal but a very different kind of small animal than he was before.

Animal so shy and small
Dreaming you where bold and tall

Time is swift it races by
Opportunities are born and die

You can be a guiding star
If you make the most of who you are
You can find the hidden doors
To place's now one's ever been before
And the pride you’ll find inside
Is not the kind that’ll make you fall
It's the kind that recognizes
The bigness found in being small

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Personal Information Disclosure

Most people are well aware of the undesirable consequences that making their personal lives public can bring, nevertheless they keep doing it. Why does this happen? Here are some possible reasons for it:
  • To stay close with friends and family members who live far away: Social networking permits folks to stay in contact with relatives who live in different cities. College students, sibling in different states and countries and family members who are only on vacation for a few weeks can all find value in being an affiliate of different social media portals. They can stay in touch more often than they usually would without the simplicity of being connected in an internet network.
  • To help construct their own narratives: Narratives are an often ignored aspect of psychology , though they are essential for us and are fundamental for providing us with a framework in which we can reconstruct our memories and think about the future. Narratives of the life stories we tell ourselves help to make sense of our lives.
  • Because they feel the need for more human contact: Social networking sites actually appears to reduce loneliness and improve well-being, as was reported as long ago as 2002 in the Journal of Social Issues, People who have difficulties with conventional socializing, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, experience great benefits.
  • To connect with people who have similar interests: Facebook created it's "Community Pages" for people to connect more easily with others on the social network who share similar interests. It will serve as an alternative to the official Facebook Pages for businesses, organizations and public figures. The aim is to let people create unofficial pages around topics, themes or ideas that don't fit easily in narrowly tailored Facebook Groups.
  • To achieve fame: There's little doubt that the Internet supports new kinds of publicity, enabling average people to develop audiences and speak broadly while also giving those who know how to build an audience new tools in which to do so. This is part of what makes Twitter such a fascinating phenomenon. And Twitter has become a space for celebrities, micro-celebrities, wanna-be-celebrities, and all of their fans.
  • To form part of a community where they feel respected and appreciated: In social media we can recognize how highly respected bloggers receive respect from others. In parallel to honor cultures, where public reputation is more important than one’s self esteem, bloggers achieve huge respect within their community.
  • To maintain relationships with people they meet offline: Social networking sites are a poor alternative to real-world socializing, but they can help people stay in touch.
  • Build on self-confidence: this can be attained through interacting with tweeps who continuously praise your tweets, personality,knowledge and/or looks.
  • To transmit personal experiences that they feel can be valuable for others.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Public lives

Human beings have a natural tendency to protect their privacy. It's in our essence to allow only certain people to see who we really are, what we really do, what we really think, and how we really feel. Nowadays Social Networks make us feel more comfortable sharing more information openly and with more people making people's lives less private.

Twitter can feed the narcissistic tendencies of human beings. A large amount of people believe others are interested in the everyday minutia of their lives. Judging by Twitter's initial success and unparalleled growth, it appears to have fulfilled a need for self-expression far beyond what other technologies allow. This incessant broadcasting of people's lives, however, comes with its own set of dangers beyond its pernicious effect of inflating our egos.
  • When you make private information public it is easier for others to spot your weaknesses and figure out ways to harm or take advantage of you.
  • It is not uncommon to receive inaccurate feedback from others, which can lead to misunderstandings and/or misinformation.
  • The information you publish can be taken out of context, making you an easy target for defamation.
  • People do not fully understand the extent of the impact information disclosure can provoke. Twitter is less than five years old. This is a brand new medium, and we are just now beginning to recognize its potential consequences.
Every one must think hard before they make any data public. Realize that the information, once released, will live forever on the Web. The consideration must always be whether or not it can ever come back to haunt you resulting in any kind of damage (to your reputation, relationships, businesses, job, etc.). It is easy to avoid bad results from happening just by thinking before acting.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coping with Streams

Thanks Wildcat for opening my networking world.

In network culture information is less the product of discrete processing units than of the outcome of the networked relations between them, of links between people, between machines, and between machines and people. A node's relationship to other nodes and/or networks is more important than its own uniqueness - states Varnelis .

Social Networks allow nowadays activity streams to be displayed on third party sites. Therefore this streams became public and can be observed and manipulated inside other sites that can also make public their activity stream.

According to Gelernter Streams are real time, rapidly changing, flowing, dynamic rivers of information. Nearly all flowing, changing information on the Internet is starting to flow through streams. You are able to gather and blend together all the streams that interest you. Streams of world news or news about your friends, streams that describe prices or new findings in any field— they can be blended into one stream. Then your own personal lifestream can be added. The result is your own particular mainstream: a flow of information of all you care about.

Stream difficulties:
  • In a networked mass culture bland uniformity and immediacy dominate over uniqueness and complexity, given that streams emerge from that mass culture, it is not easy to rescue non mainstream and particular interest from such an amazing amount of information.
  • Most of us digest a piece of information as soon as we consume it. We read a blog post or an article, and we must let the information pass through our intellectual digestion system completely until it is processed into knowledge. This process is slow and limits the amount of information we can turn into knowledge during a period of time. So, for most of us is not possible to keep up to date with with our streams. We tend to consume more than we can process.
  • Our Attention is limited.
  • The information we see in the stream tends to repeat. This wastes our limited time because we need to pre-process the same information more than once.
Proposed Solutions:
  • Get out of the flow every so often to rest and reassess the situation. Let the flow pass you by and take a break. The stream will continue to flow without you.
  • Pick a few streams to monitor at a time. Then portage on over to another stream or two for awhile, taking a break from the others (proposes Jeff Sayre).
  • Get rid of redundant information in an automatic way.
  • Develop new tools that help us spot the information from the past we were not able to process in time but we still find relevant.
  • Create new visualizations to allow us to identify most relevant information to us at the present time. This could be done with the use of a personalized automatic data analyzer.
  • Create and use tools to help people filter the information. Filtering in its essence is a process of attenuation - a way to focus attention more efficiently on signal versus noise. Broadly speaking there are many forms of filtering from automated filtering, to social filtering, to personalization, but they all come down to helping someone focus their finite attention more efficiently on the things they care about most (says Nova Spivak).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Random quotes and tweets

More interesting than building a lie detector would be to make a self-lie detecting device.

Widespread fake belief: Each person is it's own puppeteer.

Language is the main currency of WWW (expanding at an incredible rate).I am afraid humans end up believing life consists just of it (language).

The media is a mirror of our culture which is a byproduct of our minds.

People should try to be whatever the situation calls for. The problem is in perceiving what the situation is.

The key is in finding that balance where each persons production is valued by the use of what is produced.

We need to be headed, towards a day worth remembering and a history worth repeating.

Authenticity is invaluable originality is non-existent.Wit is not where you take things from is where you take them to.

Life is always a work in progress.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Path

Remix of a Benjamin Hoff poem

Let’s leave behind
The things that do not matter,
And turn our lives
To a more important chapter.

Let’s take the time,
Let’s try to find
And maybe then
We’ll find again
What we have long forgotten.

The sun is high
The road is wide
It starts where we are standing
But now one knows
How far it goes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Psychiatry today

Psychiatry is a medical specialty officially devoted to the treatment and study of mental disorders. The Discipline of Psychiatry's research focuses on the clinical, psychological and sociocultural aspects of psychiatric disorder, and medical education.

The old psychiatric institutions at the turn of the century give us the earliest look at psychiatry's barbaric practices. These instituti
ons were basically prisons where the "insane" were kept. In this places several controversial methods where applied as an attempt to treat the different illnesses. Some of these methods include:

Trepanation is perhaps the oldest form of neurosurgery. It involves the removal of a piece of bone from the skull, and it has been performed since prehistoric times. It was practiced by several cultures such as the Ancient Egyptian one. The procedure is still performed today, for both medical and non-medical reasons. In the past the procedure was used as a treatment for afflictions ranging from simple headaches to severe mental disorders.

Lobotomy is a psychosurgical procedure in which the frontal cortical tissue is destroyed, the theory being that this leads to the uncoupling of the brain's emotional centers and the seat of intellect. They were used mainly to treat a wide range of severe disorders, including schizophrenia and clinical depression. In the 1940s and '50s, the lobotomy was performed on at least 40,000 US patients.

Electroconvulsive therapy was used mainly for severe depression, which has not responded to other treatments. For some people, it has been a life-saver; but others have found it far from helpful, and consider the risk of its potential long-term side effects to be unacceptable. It is also now most commonly used to treat mania and schizophrenia. The most important side effect of ECT is memory loss. In addition, immediately after treatment people experience drowsiness, headache and nausea, and loss of appetite. Other effects include apathy, and loss of energy.

Corpus callosotomy, used mainly for the treatment of epilepsy, consists in cutting the corpus callosum (fibers that connect the two halves of the brain). It helps the hemispheres share information, but it also contributes to the spread of seizure impulses from one side of the brain to the other. It drops the attacks in about 50%-75% of cases decreasing the risk of injury and improving life quality. Nevertheless it may cause numbness, depression and difficulty speaking among other things.

Nowadays there are new institutional configurations for doing scientific research. Some celebrate these changes but others are seriously worried about them. Currently the commercial sector invests more than 70% of all American R&D budget. In psychiatry a large part of this money is invested by Big Pharma companies. These companies spend $19 billon a year on promoting their products; nevertheless they do not always address the correct sector of the population with their advertising strategies.

One of the main mistakes made by contemporary psychiatric practices may be encouraging patients to alleviate their afflictions just by taking medication; not by having a holistic approach that might also include a change in lifestyle, playing sports and the practice of meditation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Thanks to val for her help, support and encouragement

You might not want
or even realize
there are some times
the melancholic look
stemming from your eyes
becomes so pure and real
that I can glance at the soul
behind the headlights.

This is when I perceive
the pain you try to hide
during those deep silences
in the cold somber nights,
they leave my heart
broken in halves.

But those are the times
when hope arises.
When it seems as if we could
make wounds become small scars,
just by becoming part
of each other's lives.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The world as idea

It too easy to build castles of pure intellect with foundations on clouds.

A simulation can never be the truth. The truth is what hides that there is no truth indeed.

Reading a post from Nova Spivack, the creator or Twine, made me think for the first time about the possibility that consciousness was as much a fabrication, as space and time. This article triggered a cascade of thoughts in my self, mind, universe, you, ??? (Quantum physics theory makes sense here, it seems impossible to avoid the observer's influence over the phenomena).

I thought that consciousness as well as space and time could be thought as constructed frameworks, artificially generated contexts, and also as boundaries were existing entities can be identified. Actually one common definition of consciousness is a certain context or grouping of objects.

History shows us that the concepts about these fabrications varied among cultures. Greeks believed time was circular, not linear. Space's shape was thought to be of many different forms. Consciousness did not exist in some cultures, instead men thought they where automatically obeying the voices of god according to Julian Jaynes.

It looks like space, time and consciousness were conceived by men. We might have thought that by creating them we where building the firsts universals, but indeed what we were doing was setting the foundations for globalization.

According to Baudrillard the problem with global is that it brings along violence. Global can be characterized by technical efficiency, total organization, integral circulation and the equivalence of all exchanges; it is related to technology, the market, information and tourism. Contrary to it there is the concept of universalization that has to do with human rights, liberty and culture.

He leads us to understand that in a globalized word there are no real sacrifices, which leaves us just in the situation of receiving. Not from God or nature, but by a technological mechanism of generalized exchange and common gratification. Everything is given to us here; we have gained the right to all things. The problem is that eventually we start hating our excess of comfort, our definite accomplishment. It makes us desperate and hopeless because is indeed the result of the realization of our desires.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Out of order

My dear friends, I am sorry to inform you that I won't be able to spend much time blogging (just for a short while) due to health problems (nothing serious). Meanwhile I wanted to share with you some places that I enjoy visiting.

No one loves me
this is a blog where several fantastic artist posted entries, trough here I was able to discover 2 bloggers who I became fan of:
1. Imogen posts on
doggerel. Here is a nice example of it: I decided to stop being me and start being you. I'm easier, I think, and much more tangible in pretend.
2. Andre Jordan posts on A beautifull revolution. The picture on top of this post is a nice sample of this.

Miranda July
Check out the following things she did:
3. This and this sort of dada videos.

Design and the Elastic mind
This was an amazing exhibition at the moma with a really innovative user interface and
tons of wonderfull artists including:
1. AMOEBA: a circular basin built to evaluate effects of waves on ships.
2. Accesories for lonely man: scroll down all trough the eight fascinating and beetersweet photographs.
3. Shadow monsters: monsters materializing from shadows.

An experimental view of reading a text.
Read Alice's adventures in Wonderland in a hole new way here.

Origami Simulation Software
TreeMaker Software allows you to desgin, preview and even assemble your origamis trough a home computer.