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October 26, 2008

Jane McGonigal's 3 reasons why games are better than reality


1. Better instructions

2. Better feedback

3. Better community

Ms. McGonigal, a top game designer and futurist, spoke last month at the 2008 IdeaFestival in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mickey Meece interviewed her for an October 23, 2008 New York Times story about the event.

    From the article:

    When people ask her about how she comes up with an idea, Jane McGonigal, a top game designer and future forecaster, tells them, “You have to systematically expose yourself to things outside your domain because the breakthrough ideas will come from areas where you are not constrained by doing the daily job.”

    Then, when you come up with an idea, or, as Dr. McGonigal put it, “you feel a connection to something,” then, she said, “deep exposure is a prerequisite.”

    “Otherwise, you are doing what others in the field have done and it won’t be a breakthrough.”

    As a researcher of alternate reality games, Dr. McGonigal focuses on how games can help the real world. In her research, she has also found a connection between gamers and the science of happiness, which led her to an moment of inspiration. “Games give you new models for looking at the world,” she said. They are the “ultimate happiness engine,” because they work better than reality — there are better instructions, better feedback and better community.

    Dr. McGonigal stumbled on positive psychology and sensed it was important. The challenge was to bridge the gap between games and reality. That is the focus of her work for the Institute for the Future.

    “It was a light-bulb moment” as a game designer, she said, “because I realized that making things work well matched up perfectly with happiness research.”

    In the end, Dr. McGonigal said her experience and research taught her this: “We don’t have to be famous or rich. But we have to be good at something. We are happiest when we are applying our signature strength.”

October 26, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack



From the website:


    Not just a flashlight but a clever "Tri-Light" that prevents the dangerous stumbles and falls all too common with ordinary single-beam flashlights.

    In addition to seeing what’s 10, 20 or 30 feet ahead, NightWalker’s second beam also reveals what’s right at your feet so, for example, you won’t trip over a box in the basement when you go down to check the circuit breakers in a power failure.

    Comes with a high-output Luxeon LED in front that is 10X more powerful than ordinary LEDs — and never needs replacing.

    The second beam uses two downward-firing LEDs to show you where to step.

    A third LED acts as a flashing-red taillight which can be switched on to make you highly visible to traffic approaching from behind during an evening stroll.

    Produces 13 hours of light from three AA batteries (included).

    Gasket-sealed for use in inclement weather.




October 26, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Be Michael Jackson








[via funnbee.info and Milena]

October 26, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Silicone Egg Separator


I just like the picture.

From the website:

    Silicone Egg Separator

    Separating eggs is a snap with this silicone gadget.

    Just rest its stainless steel wings on your bowl and crack an egg into the basket: the white slides through while the yolk remains.

    Inverts for easy rinsing.

    Dishwasher safe.

    5"L x 2-3/8"W.


$8.99 (eggs not included).

October 26, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Scotch Tape Emits X-Rays


The just discovered phenomenon is so remarkable Nature magazine features it on the cover of its latest issue — you could look it up.

Long story short: Simply unrolling Scotch tape in a vacuum generates enough x-rays to take a picture like that above, of a finger of one the scientists who made the discovery.

The back story is here.

Photos of the apparatus, figures and tables accompanying the original article are here — why not build your own?


Setting up a lemonade stand to make spending money is so last century when instead you can create your own x-ray facility down in the basement and charge $5 a pop.

October 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Super Mario Bros Sound FX Keychain


From websites:

    Super Mario Bros Sound FX Keychain

    The 80s produced some truly incredible sounds, and we're not talking about the Reflex-fle-fle-fle-fle-flex or Lee Majors' dire vocals on "The Fall Guy" theme.

    No, we're referring to the revolutionary bleeps, whistles and "thwingzzz" produced by Super Mario Bros.

    This landmark NES game single-handedly revived the ailing home gaming industry and sold over 40 million copies, so it's hardly surprising that its suitably upbeat sound effects are still capable of raising a smirk amongst slightly more — ahem — mature Nintendo nuts.

    Step forward the Super Mario Bros Sound FX Keychain.

    This nifty little handheld gizmo is preloaded with six classic sounds from the greatest side-scroller in history.

    Simply press a button and you'll be transported back to the Mushroom Kingdom faster than you can say "Mamma mia, dezza King Koopa widda da Princess Toadstool."

    There are six incredibly evocative sounds including Big, Coin, 1Up, Jump, Start and Ouch.

    You'll want to start making a Mario out of yourself the second you hear each memory-jogging jingle.

    Indeed, listening to that legendary 1Up sound is so exciting you might be tempted to grow a mustache and walk around brandishing a comedy mallet.

    We shouldn't need to explain the comedic potential of this take-anywhere device, but seeing as you're sufficiently infantile to waste time reading about bleeping keychains, we will anyway.

    It's hilarious fun at the bar because it seems to contain a bleep for every scenario.

    The "Ouch" sound is up there with the Family Matters "Did I do that?" when friends get hurt, and the '"1Up" jingle is an ideal salutation for anyone — well, within reason.

    In fact, we've taken to communicating solely via Mario Keychains.

    Note: Choking hazard (small parts) — not recommended for children under 3 years.

    Requires 3 AG13 button cell batteries (included).

    Dimensions: 2¾"H x 2"W x ½"D.


Try it out here.


[via gadgetgarden.nl]

October 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

5bases — The new cold fusion or the next big thing?


I saw their ad (above) in the new issue of The Economist yesterday, which led me to their website (below)


which sent me to this page which led



October 26, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

October 26, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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