stuff and things


Feb, 2014

The dance cast of the Carnival Dream raised $1,914.84 in additional onboard funds toward helping the families of fellow crew members affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Long before the Typhoon had hit, during a bootcamp session, the cast had joked that by six months–the length of their contract–they would be able to do 1000 push ups for charity.

They gave playful idea serious attention after the Typhoon. They trained for six weeks to accomplish the feat of performing 100 push ups in an effort to raise funds for the tragedy.

Bonus: Blooper Reel

Jan, 2014

Boys and girls, the secret is out: playing video games can make you more creative. According to a study published by Michigan State University, the more people who play video games, the more creative they will be in different daily tasks.

Professor of Psychology of Michigan State University Linda Jackson confirmed that it is the first ever evidence-based study that showed the link between technology use and creativity. This is obviously welcome news because the Entertainment Software Association discovered that over 72 percent of the U.S. households play video or computer games.

Playing Computer Games is Better Than Watching TV

Dr. Daniel Johnson from Queensland University of Technology Games Research and Interaction Design Lab said that watching television is a ‘passive experience’. According to a study conducted by his team, adults are said to be better off playing video and computer games than spending a lot of time watching television shows. Johnson explained that video and computer games are interactive and allows players to develop their cognitive and problem solving skills. “There is a lot of negative press about gaming and that’s not well-supported. Where there is a negative effect, research shows it’s on the minority of people,” he said.

Video And Computer Games Develop Auditory and Visual Skills

Doctors Sue Fisher and Mark Griffiths wrote in the Journal of Gambling Studies that the video/slot/computer games can develop a series of characteristics in players. These include the provisions of auditory and visual rewards for winning moves; the rewards per correct behavior; self esteem; and attention or recognition through competition.

Video And Computer Games Are A Great Source of Friendly Competition

The study also discovered that the key determinant of a game’s enjoyment among movie themed computer games is competition. In fact the recent addition to Castle Jackpot’s movie themed slot games, Star Trek Against All Odds, has infused movie dialogues, cinematography, and references from the recent J.J. Abrams’ reboot. The game, according to International Game Technology, emulates the action-packed storyline of the movie-but with an arcade, skill-based twist that engages the brain and helps trigger many cognitive skills.

Additionally, such games feature high score tables which are pivotal to repeat plays, “as players attempt to not only beat their own score, but the highest score amongst their peers.” Says Karen Collins, et al. On Addictive Gameplay: What Casual Game Designers Can Learn from Slot Machine Research. All of these help aid competitiveness and creativity to overcome boundaries within the player.


Aug, 2013

Don’t believe the hype. It’s not about the amount of hours you put in, it’s about how you perform when that time has come.

All the practice time in the world won’t automatically make you produce great results. But lack of experience doesn’t always mean you can’t hang with the big boys either. Sometimes amateurs–due to necessity breeding innovation–bring imagination to their field along with a previously unconsidered approach that turns out to be a better method than what was done in the past.

And that’s not an exception to the rule. There are no rules. People make them up.

Experts may not be made overnight, but if practice and time was the almighty Lord that created these so-called pros, then they could not only define success, but also draw up a precise map on how everyone else can magically get there too. Impossible sorcery.

What works for others may not work for you at all, ever. Find out what works for you and do that. Not what works for someone else…unless that also works for you, in which case you might want to consider doing both things. Or multiple things.

Whatever works.

Sports Illustrated Senior Writer David Epstein has covered his fair share of athletes. So in his new book, The Sports Gene, he takes a look at what makes the great ones great and in an interview with Outside, he sheds some light on his findings. He starts by debunking the popular conclusions made by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers that all greats have 10,000 hours of practice:

The 10,000 hours is an average of differences. You could have two people in any endeavor and one person took 0 hours and another took 20,000 hours, which is something like what happened with two high jumpers I discuss in the book. One guy put in 20,000 and one put in 0, so there’s your average of 10,000 hours, but that tells you nothing about an individual.

Instead, he advises, there is no template for greatness:

No cookie-cutter training plan is ever going to work. I’m a great example. Before my senior year of high school, I got up to 85 miles per week of training, which isn’t a lot for a pro, but was a lot for someone my age. When I came to college, I really got interested in physiology and took a scientific approach to my training. I found I was better at cross-country by training 35 miles per week with hill intervals instead of doing 85 miles per week. People need to pay attention to their training plans, because if something is not working for you as well as the next guy, it may be your biology, so you should try another plan.

If you’re not taking a trial-and-error approach to training where you’re measuring something your time, you’re way less likely to find a plan that works for you. The cookie cutter approach to training is purely a facet of having a large group of people to train.

Read the entire interview with Epstein at Outside Magazine. [Syndicated from Behance]

Jul, 2013

From io9:

Jabari Johnson’s rap, titled “Quest for Joulelry,” is the winner of this year’s Science Genius Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S., held last month at Columbia University. The competition is the product of a collaboration between Rap Genius, Columbia math professor and urban science education pioneer Christopher Emdin and Wu Tang Clan’s GZA:

B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching and Learning Science) was conceived as a way to keep students engaged in school and in science… GZA and Jeremy Dean of Rap Genius were among the six judges who watched as teens ages 14 to 20 strode the stage at TC’s Joyce B. Cowin Conference Center and “spat” lyrics that ran a gamut of topics from rock science, natural selection and genetics to how materials freeze or melt.

Johnson’s rhymes are more than just scientific, they’ve also got rhythm and tight, clever lyrics, presented in their entirety here (click through for line-by-line annotations at Rap Genius):

This concept is applied to all lives
We stride times distance
Ill let you be a witness to the prize.
Be a man, understand
You comprehending this is vital, work = FD
The equation for survival;
Your only rival is friction don’t get caught up in the drag
So you better prepare cuz obstacles fight back

When you get knocked down though don’t please don’t cry,
Just get up and apply more force next time

One day I was dreaming with a really strong hope
That I’ll make it but to make it takes more than just believing,
These resistance slash demons were kinda holding me back,
And I let’em but the simple way to get me on track was,

Force times displace, Is work no debate
I’ll take that concept apply it to my mistakes,

And now I’m progressing a natural Rap Genius
And I’ma get an A if I see this on the regent


Here’s the lesson, I know it kinda hurts but if you truly want to work than there must be progression cause,
FD=W the rule and the unit measurement for the product is called joules, Cool.
I did the work I’ma try to let it flow the more people I know kinetic energy grows so,
I’ma go to work convert all of my potential, and as my speed increases then I’ma grow exponential.

[Verse 2: Kinetic Energy]

The work has been applied if my equations are correct
The energy that is left creates a domino effect

My mass is what I’m bringing to the table underestimate
You’ll wish that you had brought a bigger dinner plate.

Separate me from the fakes let me educate
Velocity’s my following and that’s I’ma generate
Through these shows and gigs and just overcoming all the friction

To the point where friction doesn’t even make a difference.
I feed my interest with the laws of physics
When m and v multiply the picture is painted vivid,
The work was just something that got me inside the door,
Now we, squaring the v and it’s exponentially more.
I got a lot in store the v’s
Cuz I’m progressin’ my m
And when you multiply them
There’s no end to the kinetic energy
You better be prepared
Cause I’m fillin’ you up with envy with my ½ m v2


Here’s the lesson, I know it kinda hurts but if you truly want to work than there must be progression cause,
FD=W the tool and the unit measurement for the product is called joules, Cool.
I did the work I’ma try to let it flow the more people I know kinetic energy grows so,
I’ma go to work convert all of my potential, and as my speed increases then I’ma grow exponential.

Link to the rest, including a video interview featuring Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and GZA, at io9.

Jul, 2013

A mysterious flying man hovers over a city and has unknown intentions in this ambiguous short film. The flying man’s actions spark a panic throughout the city as its citizens wonder whether he is a hero or not.

Official Website

Marcus Alqueres
Twitter: @marcusalqueres

Roger Lima at

Additional Credits at The Flying Man on Vimeo


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