Hypothetical Marines v. Roman Legion is happening. Yes.
The Interpipes Are Leaking of the Day: Author, military historian, and two-time Jeopardy! champion James Erwin has just sold his first screenplay to Warner Bros. — a war epic developed from comments he left in response to a question on the social news site Reddit.
The Des Moines native’s reply to a hypothetical scenario involving time-traveling marines battling Augustus in ancient Rome proved so popular that it shot up to the top of the comment thread (spoilers), where it was eventually noticed by Adam Kolbrenner of Madhouse Entertainment.
Kolbrenner, who worked with Erwin to polish the idea, pitched it to Warner Bros. exec Chris Gary, who convinced the studio to buy it.
The project will be overseen by John Ridley and produced by Kolbrenner and Gianni Nunnari (Immortals). No word yet on a director, or if the working title “Rome, Sweet Rome” will become the film’s official name.
[variety / reddit / image: hustlersquad.]
4:08 pm • 14 October 2011 • 220 notes
Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m thwahting, tehwowists.
This is an imaginary conversation that occurred entirely in my head. Don’t take it too seriously.
Me: Hey, you remember that amazingly scary terrorist whose attack that was thwarted at the last possible moment?
Terrorism Pro: You mean the one who tried to blow up his shoes?
Me: No, the other one.
Terrorism Pro: The one who tried to blow up his underwear?
Me: No, no. The *other* one
Terrorism Pro: You mean the guy who was going to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge? I mean, cut it down with a blowtorch.
Terrorism Pro: Oh!…You mean the guy who tried to blow up The Lion King?
Me: Nope. Not him either.
Terrorism Pro: You are thinking of the ones that were going to attack an entire Army base?
Terrorism Pro: Maybe you are thinking of the guy who wanted to shoot down a aircraft with a fake Surface to Air Missile he got from the FBI?
Terrorism Pro: Never mind, you are thinking of the guys who were going to attack an entire army base *and* shoot down an aircraft (with a fake Surface to Air Missile they got from the FBI).
Me: I don’t think so.
Terrorism Pro: You must be thinking of the one who was going to blow up the Pentagon and the Capitol Dome with model airplanes.
Me: I don’t think so.
Terrorism Pro: Are you thinking of the one who wasn’t going to blow anything up himself, but instead tried to outsource it to a Mexican?
Me: Nope. Thats not the right one either.
Terrorism Pro: I give up. I don’t know which amazingly scary terrorist you are talking about.
Me: I don’t either.
Seriously. Lets reflect a little bit.
Take a look at this list. There are some truly dangerous people on this list. There were some legitimately sinister plots that were uncovered and stopped by a combination of our intelligence community, the military and federal law enforcement.
But, the majority don’t fall in that category. The majority of these guys are just idiots.
We can have a more measured response to preventing terrorism. We can allocate appropriate resources to this cause. We can treat it like a crime instead of an threat to our very existence. We don’t have to be so extreme. When we do we are playing the wrong game (seriously read this book)
When its appropriate, we can even laugh at it.
7:00 pm • 12 October 2011
Turn up the Feedback
I’ve been thinking a lot about feedback loops lately and this post is largely inspired by a Wired article I read yesterday.
A feedback loop involves four distinct stages. First comes the data: A behavior must be measured, captured, and stored. This is the evidence stage. Second, the information must be relayed to the individual, not in the raw-data form in which it was captured but in a context that makes it emotionally resonant. This is the relevance stage. But even compelling information is useless if we don’t know what to make of it, so we need a third stage: consequence. The information must illuminate one or more paths ahead. And finally, the fourth stage: action. There must be a clear moment when the individual can recalibrate a behavior, make a choice, and act. Then that action is measured, and the feedback loop can run once more, every action stimulating new behaviors that inch us closer to our goals.
My first meta observation on this is captured here:
I tweeted about Wired’s piece on feedback loops and then, poetically, over the next few hours received positive feedback in the form of retweets and comments from several people, both friends and strangers. This really highlighted for me part of the reason that twitter is such a powerful tool. It reinforces “good” behavior and weeds out “bad” behavior. In this instance, its not necessarily a value judgement, but it is a reflection on how your followers, and to a certain extent the broader community value your contributions. When you receive positive feedback on a certain type of tweet (humor, snark, informational, etc) its natural to trend towards those types of comments in the future.
The second half was talking about how our feedback loops inside the broader DoD are largely non-functional. Organizational feedback loops are an entirely different discussion, so I’m going to leave that on aside for now, but I think it is an interesting topic.
Now, on a personal level, I try to gather information for my feedback loops in a number of different ways. This is the “data” stage discussed above. I use a FitBit pedometer to track the distance I walk and my sleep patterns every day. I also log the food I consume every day through their website or app. Coupled with that I have a Withings scale. I also use Google Latitude on my iPhone 4 to passively track my location anytime I’m carrying my phone (which is pretty much all the time). I use the free version of a software called RescueTime that tracks your computer behavior [Warning: *All* your computer behavior] and determines how effectively you are using your time. Lastly, I use a service called Mint, which is an online budget and financial tracking system.
All of these systems have their relevant strengths and weaknesses, but one historic, personal issue is that I am bad at self-imposing the “relevance” stage. I don’t do a good job of forcing myself to observe the data that I collect on myself. For the most part I know its bad (I didn’t run yesterday, I spent too much on gadgets at Best Buy, etc) so I choose not to look at it and that lessens the feeling of consequence
This afternoon, I decided to make a small change to the way I interact with this information in an effort to create a bigger personal impact and strengthen my feedback loop.
I set my Chrome browser [FTR, if you aren’t using Chrome, you really should have your head examined] to launch the monitoring sites for each of these feedback loops when it launches. That means every time I turn on my browser I’m confronted with all information I may not necessarily want to acknowledge. Now its true that I can simply click these close with barely a glance, but just forcing that action may be enough to cause me to be more responsible with my exercise, eating and spending.
If you want to set up something similar, click the ‘wrench’ in the upper right-hand corner and select ‘Options’ in the dropdown menu.
6:41 pm • 5 October 2011 • 3 notes
All Things in Moderation
I’ve recently started writing on a regular basis over at Gunpowder and Lead. While this has been a great experience, I have decided that I need to be more committed to writing small amounts on a regular basis.
I need a forum for thoughts that are longer than Twitter, but shorter than blogging, so I decide to set up this tumblr account. My goal is to update this with short thoughts that may or may not turn into blog posts.
11:49 pm • 3 October 2011