the show: 08-28-06

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(Dubbed "Austrian"): Good evening, Sports Racers. This is The Show, presented to you from Innsbruck, Austria.

Ze: No it isn't. It's brought to you from Brooklyn, New York. You're in Innsbruck.

I have to go to the doctor and I'm scared. Doctor visits never end up like those porno movies.

(Smugly): Nurse, there's something wrong with me. I need my temperature checked... orally.

(With thermometer in mouth): Asshole.

They never pay attention to the things that I think are important.

(To pretend doctor): Yeah, my shoulder hurts and I have tingling in my fingers, but, listen, 2 weeks ago when I was trimming my chest hair, I nicked my nipple with some rusty scissors. And also this homeless dude that I give food to every once in a while, he was telling me a story and he spit while he was talking and it went into my eye. And if I do this (tries to bite shoulder), it hurts (taps jawline). My dear and glorious leader Google said that it could be gout, bursitis, fibromyalgia, cancer, or nothing.

(huge frowny face)

Anyway, new viewers, today is Something from the Comments day, but first, Power Moves.

(Little Pimply Boy and Dark Ranger do power move)

That was the same dude from last week that just did a back flip! This time it's awesome! A duo power move!

I name one of you Little Pimply Boy and the other one Dark Ranger. You guys can sort out who's who.

Hot Sausage writes "I was just marveling at how the Internet continues to shrink our vocabulary and shorten everything from our laughter to our l-u-v. Are we becoming more efficient because our time is more valuable or are we just getting lazy?"

Great point, Hot Sausage. It seems like these days everything around us is being compressed.

We say ROTFL when we mean I just smiled a little bit. The photographs we share online are small and massively compressed. Those pictures have far less information in them than regular photographs and, for that matter, barely resemble the real world. From an information standpoint, a lot of the MP3s we listen to are barely sketches of the real recording. Same with the movies we see on DVD. Pause a stillframe sometime and look up close at the weird patchwork of color that's used to represent an image.

Even the way we tell stories is being condensed.

This diagram comes from Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad is Good For You. It shows all the relationship plotlines that were described in one episode of the 80's television show Dallas. This diagram, however, shows all the plot relationships that were described in a single episode of the current hit show 24. Less time, more information: compression!

We seem to be getting comfortable consuming lower quality information. Some people think that, because of this, everything is turning to shit and we're being robbed of rich experiences.

But I think of it like a dirty pane of glass: If you know the glass is dirty, you can look through it and the dirt just disappears. Knowing that it's dirty allows you to differentiate between the noise and the thing you're looking at.

If people were consuming information without knowing there was noise, there would be a problem. Looking through a dirty pane of glass, you would assume that there was a big streaks on your friend's nose, and I would assume that I had fibromyalgabracitis and cancer.

But the remarkable thing is that, because many of us are participating in the creation of informaiton, we understand the amount of noise that comes with it. The very knowledge that details are missing allows us to consume lower quality information. If a particular detail that's important to us is missing, we know there's a way to find it.

Many publishers make money off of taking time to provide high quality information with little noise. But nowadays, we want our information quickly and that comes with noise. We're willing to sacrifice the trees for the forest because we know that's what we're doing.

It's not worse or better, it's, what would you rather live in: a room with a single small squeaky clean window, or an entire room that was made out of glass... that hadn't been cleaned in weeks?

This is Ze Frank: thinking so you don't have to, and going to the doctor.

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