vandenberghe_thumbMost players won’t play to the end of your game. That’s not a tragedy — that’s a feature of video games’ design landscape. Ubisoft creative director Jason VandenBerghe explains, in this reprint from the final (June/July 2013) issue of Game Developer magazine.

Came across this article when I googled something akin to “I never finish the games I play” or “getting bored of games” only to discover, to my crowd-sourced relief, that people never finishing the games they start is actually a wider phenomenon, one which seldom gets talked about. Check out the comments.


This here thingie had been sitting inert in my browser’s tabs for months, reloading, closing, waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for now.



This excellent article (don’t let the title fool you—it’s not just about America) came back to mind while I was talking to some people in Samothraki just as the coup in Turkey was hitting social media and the Web. By the way, being in the army sitting on a frontier island when a neighboring country does such a thing is not a fun place to be at all.

While discussing with those guys, I mentioned that some people had been tweeting that the coup might have been an inside job orchestrated by Erdogan to eradicate his opposition. My conversation partners dismissed the possibility out of hand as a “conspiracy theory” and that was that. No more had to be said or discussed. The mere utterance of this magic couple of words is enough to settle any argument that challenges the motives and means of powerful people.

Colour me skeptical. Waaay skeptical.

See also my review of Conspiracy Theories: The Pocket Essential Guide.

While I was writing the above sentence, I couldn’t help but smirk at myself and the accidental Liakopoulos vibe it does exude.


Intelligent article ( about how the switch from scarcity of knowledge to the scarcity of attention that has occurred since we all became connected through the internet means that the new global currency has become our attention, a resource corporations and advertising firms are currently feasting on. In fact,

Limitless access to knowledge brings limitless opportunity—but only to those who learn to manage the new currency: their attention. In the new economy, the most valuable asset you can accumulate may not be money, may not be wealth, may not even be knowledge, but rather, the ability to control your own attention, and to focus.

Because until you are able to limit your attention, until you are able to turn away, at will, from all of the shiny things and nipple slips—until you are able to consciously choose what has value to you and what does not, you and I and everyone else will continue to be served up garbage indefinitely. And it will not get better, it will get worse.




“In the full-blown capitalist version of evolution, where the drive for accumulation had no limits, life was no longer an end in itself, but a mere instrument for the propagation of DNA sequences.”



Article by my favourite David Graeber on how the meaning of life, even matter itself, could in many important ways be to play. If it sounds too out there for you, give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised. The way I see it, it strikes a great balance between being intellectually adventurous and grounded.

Here’s a snippet from the article on the whole concept of the selfish gene:

[…] It came, instead, to be subsumed under the broader “problem of altruism”—another phrase borrowed from the economists, and one that spills over into arguments among “rational choice” theorists in the social sciences. This was the question that already troubled Darwin: Why should animals ever sacrifice their individual advantage for others? Because no one can deny that they sometimes do. Why should a herd animal draw potentially lethal attention to himself by alerting his fellows a predator is coming? Why should worker bees kill themselves to protect their hive? If to advance a scientific explanation of any behavior means to attribute rational, maximizing motives, then what, precisely, was a kamikaze bee trying to maximize?

We all know the eventual answer, which the discovery of genes made possible. Animals were simply trying to maximize the propagation of their own genetic codes. Curiously, this view—which eventually came to be referred to as neo-Darwinian—was developed largely by figures who considered themselves radicals of one sort or another. Jack Haldane, a Marxist biologist, was already trying to annoy moralists in the 1930s by quipping that, like any biological entity, he’d be happy to sacrifice his life for “two brothers or eight cousins.” The epitome of this line of thought came with militant atheist Richard Dawkins’s book The Selfish Gene—a work that insisted all biological entities were best conceived of as “lumbering robots,” programmed by genetic codes that, for some reason no one could quite explain, acted like “successful Chicago gangsters,” ruthlessly expanding their territory in an endless desire to propagate themselves. Such descriptions were typically qualified by remarks like, “Of course, this is just a metaphor, genes don’t really want or do anything.” But in reality, the neo-Darwinists were practically driven to their conclusions by their initial assumption: that science demands a rational explanation, that this means attributing rational motives to all behavior, and that a truly rational motivation can only be one that, if observed in humans, would normally be described as selfishness or greed. As a result, the neo-Darwinists went even further than the Victorian variety. If old-school Social Darwinists like Herbert Spencer viewed nature as a marketplace, albeit an unusually cutthroat one, the new version was outright capitalist. The neo-Darwinists assumed not just a struggle for survival, but a universe of rational calculation driven by an apparently irrational imperative to unlimited growth.


The HE Audiobook: 26 of Our Best Articles For Your Personal Evolution

3 months ago we set out to gather the best articles we’ve ever written and transform them into an audiobook.

We compiled a huge stash of inspiring, thought-provoking, ego-breaking, magical content and re-created them with the mesmerizing voice of Simon from

The result is a whopping 5-hours of audio content that transforms the way you absorb our articles.

You get our best 26 articles for less than two cups of coffee.


You can listen to them while commuting or use them to get your grandma interested in DMT 🙂

They’re also DRM free so you can share them with anyone.

This is our first attempt at supporting HE through original content. Rather than ads or affiliate links, this audiobook further empowers us to do what we love without sacrifice.

This is where I, qb, come in. I bought and download this several months ago and it was quite worth it. I uploaded it on my server for sharing with anyone who might be interested but wouldn’t know where his or her $5 would be going. This is valuable info and each one of the 26 articles-cum-sound files are wonderful partners for walking and/or running.

Get it now.


Remi Coulom (left) and his computer program, Crazy Stone, take on grandmaster Norimoto Yoda in the game of Go. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED

Wired article on the state of things in developing a Go-playing program that will beat the grandmasters, something that apparently might not only be farther off than we thought, but also more difficult.

I was surprised to hear from programmers that the eventual success of these programs will have little to do with increased processing power. It is still the case that a Go program’s performance depends almost entirely on the quality of its code. Processing power helps some, but it can only get you so far. Indeed, the UEC lets competitors use any kind of system, and although some opt for 2048-processor-core super-computers, Crazy Stone and Zen work their magic on commercially available 64-core hardware.


Many Go players see the game as the final bastion of human dominance over computers. This view, which tacitly accepts the existence of a battle of intellects between humans and machines, is deeply misguided. In fact, computers can’t “win” at anything, not until they can experience real joy in victory and sadness in defeat, a programming challenge that makes Go look like tic-tac-toe.

The Ocean Is Broken

IT was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it.

Not the absence of sound, exactly.

The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fibreglass hull.

And there were plenty of other noises: muffled thuds and bumps and scrapes as the boat knocked against pieces of debris.

What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.

The birds were missing because the fish were missing.


North of the equator, up above New Guinea, the ocean-racers saw a big fishing boat working a reef in the distance.

“All day it was there, trawling back and forth. It was a big ship, like a mother-ship,” he said.

And all night it worked too, under bright floodlights. And in the morning Macfadyen was awoken by his crewman calling out, urgently, that the ship had launched a speedboat.

“Obviously I was worried. We were unarmed and pirates are a real worry in those waters. I thought, if these guys had weapons then we were in deep trouble.”

But they weren’t pirates, not in the conventional sense, at least. The speedboat came alongside and the Melanesian men aboard offered gifts of fruit and jars of jam and preserves.

“And they gave us five big sugar-bags full of fish,” he said.

“They were good, big fish, of all kinds. Some were fresh, but others had obviously been in the sun for a while.

“We told them there was no way we could possibly use all those fish. There were just two of us, with no real place to store or keep them. They just shrugged and told us to tip them overboard. That’s what they would have done with them anyway, they said.

“They told us that his was just a small fraction of one day’s by-catch. That they were only interested in tuna and to them, everything else was rubbish. It was all killed, all dumped. They just trawled that reef day and night and stripped it of every living thing.”

Macfadyen felt sick to his heart. That was one fishing boat among countless more working unseen beyond the horizon, many of them doing exactly the same thing.

No wonder the sea was dead. No wonder his baited lines caught nothing. There was nothing to catch.

If that sounds depressing, it only got worse.

One of the saddest articles I’ve read in a while…

Reminded me of this.


We Need To Talk About TED

“Science, philosophy and technology run on the model of American Idol – as embodied by TED talks – is a recipe for civilisational disaster”

Great article on how TED makes people hungry for innovations they’re not willing to follow through with making a reality, and how the ruling class, willingly or not, likes it this way. But TED is so cool…

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs

Bullshit Jobs Rage

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it…

Excellent article by David Graeber that had been sitting on my tab stack for a few months now waiting for me to post it here. It confirms my suspicion that we don’t need to work as much as we do and that much of what people are paid to do is purposefully not useful.

Of course, it could also be that I’m looking for further evidence and support to ground my avoidance of these bullshit jobs, what has made me prefer unemployment to -in my idealistic, INFP eyes- ridding my life of meaning. Some people would call such behaviour laziness, but I suspect those people probably wouldn’t agree with the article anyway.

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

Another article I found through Ran Prieur on how working 40-hour weeks works against the welfare of people, forcing us to consume more because there’s less time for us to enjoy life and the types of entertainment or habits that contribute to personal development and are free but take more scarce time than their costly counterparts. It is however necessary for the economy to keep going.