The Dichotomy of Shelter in California

California loves to put signs on dangerous thing. But when it's your home or office, it clashes a little bit with the welcome mat at the door. They almost turn going into a building into a gamble akin to hitchhiking. "Yeah you can come in, but if it doesn't crush you, it might kill you with the cancer."

I sort of hope Conan becomes the Howard Stern of the Internet.

It's being reported now that David Zucker is planning to "ice" Conan, keeping him off the air at any network, for the length of his Tonight Show contract, which is amazing. I don't think it would happen, and I would hate it if it did, but if it did actually happen here's what I would like to see (warning: this is ridiculous):

Conan gets iced, unable to have a show on any TV network, so he takes his show, in some form, to the Internet. Bringing celebrity and production value to the Internet attracts fans to view the show live, or watch back episodes as they are available. Advertisers flock to pay big money to be somehow involved with the show. In doing so, Conan becomes the model that proves TV networks are obsolete, the Internet replaces broadcasting as the primary source of video content, and eventually, crushed and out of a job, Zucker has to approach Conan to borrow money.

Totally unrealistic, I know, but I think it would be incredibly cool.

Can ‘ t make more people? Make Robots.

I've been reading a lot about how both China and Japan are having issues with their population. I think they are both incredible circumstances that highlight what is sure to be a more regular pattern of societies having to deal with the realities of a world forever changed by human civilization, population growth, technology, and changing definition on what constitutes a resource.

China's one child per couple policy has led to a preference for male heirs, causing Chinese couples abort female fetus', and all of that is catching up with them. They are reportedly going to be short by 29 million wives in 2020. The article thinks that this will mean an increase in cross generational relationships: young men marrying older women. But it also makes me wonder if it would be necessary to try to bring more female immigrants into the country somehow. Though I guess it'll probably resolve itself in less visible ways.

Japan is having an issue of their own, in that they can't get their young people to have kids. The video below is 28 minutes long, but it's really interesting and it does a great job of bringing the causes of this issue to life. I came away amazed at the unwillingness of the Japanese to ease immigration regulations to allow more people to move there, their unwillingness to have babies, yet total embrace of the idea that if they aren't going to have enough people in the workforce, they will just make robots and release them into society. It's like their entire country is impervious to the idea of the uncanny valley.

There's always been this idea that one day robots will live amongst us, but it's always seemed like a really far off, almost impossible thing, like flying cars and space travel. This sort of changes that in my mind. Not only is Japan consistently the most technologically forward country in the world, but now they have a real reason, survival, to fuel the drive to make robotic citizens a reality.

It'll be really interesting to watch these countries deal with their issues. and it'll also be interesting to watch as other countries look to them as models to learn from when facing their own problems. Has Japan proven to other eastern nations that westernization is a sure way to doom your way of life and eventually an entire people? Will other nations learn some lessons on population control from China's current problems? Kind of a strange world we've built.

Not sure if anyone is still hosting the Account Planning School of the Web, but it seems like these could be some compelling problems to work on.

Digital Natives See the Matrix

Over the holidays I was given the opportunity to get schooled by my nine year old nephew at Madden football on Wii. I accepted the challenge, not only because I'm a good uncle, but also because I've been playing NCAA Football on Xbox and Playstation for a good decade.

I lost.

Partially because I had to learn how passing on the Wii works, and partially because I never learned how to play defense. But I also got the impression that I lost because I was trying to play football, where as he was trying to take advantage of the patterns of a programmed piece of software. I was doing my best to use to proper football technique, while he was doing his best to take advantage of the game. I saw football, he saw the Matrix. He's a digital native.