Friday, October 30, 2009

2009 - 42% less fun?

After the layoffs, and the bailouts, and the economy doing the two-girls-one-cup on itself, we here at Shadow Government headquarters have noticed a significant drop in our initiatives of FUN. StreetWars and Rental Car Rally have combined to have 42% drop in sign ups for 2009, an unprecedented decrease in our five years of operation.

My own theory is that so many people just have the wind knocked out of them these days, and somewhere in the fear and discomfort, we all lost a bit of our adventurousness and fun seeking (especially if it costs money). Excessive merry making to some degree seems inconsequential or inappropriate.

Case in point is the general lack of costumes I have seen all day today in downtown San Francisco.

Of course, the presentation I attended at IDEO this week on "Innovation", reminded me of the fallacious theory that product innovations are stifled as companies entrenched during recessions.

Also, video games are doing great. So people still want escape. But halloween costume making, and investing a whole month of your life to be destroyed (in a fun way), is not exactly escapism oriented fun.

I could be entirely wrong and I am making too much out of a small sample size.


Monday, October 26, 2009

NBA weirdness. China = Lower Merion High?

Current system:

At the beginning of each game, the NBA uses the player's last U.S. based school as part of their introduction. For foreign players, they use the country they came from.

A problem of taxonomy: 

China, a country of over 6 billion people, is essential being presented as of the same object class as Lower Merion, a high school of roughly 1,500 students. That is a strangely incongruent and possibly denigrating way to frame our view of the world outside of the United States.

We can do better:

I understand that Americans love NCAA basketball, and this tradition is responding to that passion. But I would like to argue that as basketball continues its rise as a truly international sport, if the NBA is to remain the top draw internationally as the premiere basketball league, we should strive to expand past our provincial prejudices to fully embrace and respect  what the rest of the world is offering to our beloved sport.

Two possible solutions:
  • No references to school/countries
    Discard this process all together. Just introduce the players.
    "at guard, in his 5th year, number 3... Chris Paul!" 
  • A more relevant and balanced history
    If we want to ensure a player's history/roots/past stays in the folds of the NBA story, where they grew up makes for a better narrative than where they played mercenary basketball for a college coach for a year or two. I think the fact that Dwyane Wade grew up in Chicago, is a lot more interesting than the fact that he played two years at Marquette.
    "at forward, from New York City... number 37... Ron Artest!"
    "...from Barcelona... number 16... Pau Gasol!"  
Thoughts? Disagree? Hit me up on the comments.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to name your children

The old ways of automatically naming the children with the father's family name is sexist and unfair.

We can do better.

But before we get into the ideal solution, let's first take a look at some ideas that do not work.
  • Name the child after the mother
    Just as unfair as automatically naming the child after the father, though one might make a claim for it as making up for thousands of years of lost female heritage
  • Hyphnated names
    First, we still have the problem of whose name comes first. More importantly, the problem is that it is not a scalable solution. The name length will be on an exponential growth curve.
  • Let the child choose between the two last names when they are old enough
    As a person who has lived in the world with three seperate names, I can attest to the impact a name can have on an individual's life. A person's name should be one of the lasting gifts that the parents can give a child, it is not romantic enough of a notion for me to choose this option. Plus, it can put the child in an awkward position of having to pick favorites.
  • Make up a new name
    Having a sense of history, and connection to the past is one of the main features of having a family name in the first place. This seem to defeat the purpose of a family name.
  • Put the mother's name as a middle name
    Unfair. Sexist.
Here is my proposal:

Name the daughters after the mother, and the sons after the fathers.

  • It is fair.
  • It preserves a sense of history.
If everyone took up this naming scheme, let us say a Jane Smith and a John Doe were to have children together, there could be a proud lineage of Smith women before and to follow Jane, and also a proud lineage of Doe men.

Why should we continue to accept that everytime a woman marries and reproduces, the history of her name and family gets absorbed into the men's lineage?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NYC2009 Promo

Part of our promo campaign for the NYC2009 tournament, designed by Midnight Toker.