Episode 496: True Lies Logic

Patreon only pre-pod: mike check, Devon’s epic phone and family journey, and only Siths deal in absolutes. Have YOU ever dealt with unreasonable family members? NEVER, I’m sure!

This episode contains: We three hosts record on MAR10 day! Ben played so much Mario Kart, not in celebration but just alone, to be cool. Steven’s plans to watch comedienne Taylor Tomlinson in Los Angeles fell through. Steven finally played Fallout Wasteland Warfare for real, shout out to Gordon’s Good Games! Alliteration! What’s up David!? You Fallout Collector you! There’s a local Discord for tabletop games, and Steven has found his people. Ben watched 2010: The Year We Make Contact with his son, and that film holds up! It’s a hard sci-fi film made for normals (not quite like the first film 2001: A Space Odyssey). It’s almost like an entire season of For All Mankind, only filmed in 1984. Why don’t they make film versions of 2061 or 3001? Devon managed to survive an Ewok attack, and then proceeds to discuss doors and rooms. Ahem, SECRET doors for SECRET ROOMS! Devon’s R2D2 replica will get weathered if he puts it in a secret room for sure. Devon then considers making the ultimate scifi Halloween garage.

Hey! Books are smart: Autogenerating a Book Series From Three Years of iMessages. Software engineer Ben Kettle wanted to be able to easily browse through old iMessage conversations from years past, so he developed a process to extract the iMessage database from iPhone backups, query it with SQL, and generate LaTeX source code to create printable books from the messages. How does one pronounce LaTeX? LAY-tek! He made an on-demand printed book containing the longest thread he’d had over three years. He had some issues supporting emojis, but was able to work around it. He split the conversation into three volumes and was able to inexpensively print paperback books through Barnes & Noble Press. The source code is available online for others to generate message books from their own conversation histories. We’re not going to make books like this… will you?


Brain matters: Lack of focus doesn’t equal lack of intelligence — it’s proof of an intricate brain. A new study provides insights into how the brain coordinates focus and filtering of distractions to pay attention. Lead author and neuroscientist Harrison Ritz has a cool name! Researchers used an fMRI task where participants had to distinguish colors and motions of dots. The anterior cingulate cortex tracks task difficulty and directs the intraparietal sulcus to adjust its “focusing and filtering knobs” – increasing focus on relevant information like color and reducing sensitivity to irrelevant information like motion. This shows the brain coordinates attention through multiple regions working together, rather than a single capacity limit. Understanding these coordination mechanisms provides insights into both effective attention and attention disorders. The research suggests lack of focus does not mean low intelligence, but rather shows how complex the brain’s coordination of attention is.


Patreon only mid-pod: Did y’all finish Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix? Ben discusses. Remember Wizards First Rule / Legend of the Seeker?… Ben loved to get drunk and angry at the show. Will they get to do a live action Legend of Korra? That would be cool. 3 Body Problem (Netflix) reviews are out, Devon talks about it. Fallout trailer! What’s a good cadence to release streaming television?

Book Club: You Have Arrived At Your Destination by Amor Towles. Devon picked this one because he really enjoyed Towles’ book A Gentleman in Moscow. The audiobook for You Have Arrived At Your Destination was read by David Harbor. We go over it. Is it about choice? Is it about a multiverse? It’s confusing, but not if you apply True Lies logic to it. We discuss predestination: How accurate can the prediction be? What affects the choices we make? If they can be that accurate, how much does feee will affect the outcome? Do we have free will at all? Do our lives fit a three act structure? What act are you in in your life? Is this act structure about what happens to you, or is it about the perspective you bring to your life? Are you just waiting to die? Is that bad or good? Which of three lives would you pick for your child? Ben gets irrationally angry at the possibility of a different structure for the story that is only hinted at. Steven and Devon give it a high rating, but Ben gives it 1/5 of a star out of 4 stars.


Next week, our book club will be covering How it Unfolds by James S. A. Corey.

Patreon only post-pod: Next week, Devon may talk about Determined by Robert M. Sapolsky. Do you listen to books at 1x, like a MONSTER?!