The Detail - an indie adventure game worth playing

There's this tiny game studio that released a very playable point-and-click adventure game, and I played through it just now. Put simply, the game is HBO's The Wire in old school PC adventure game format. It's about than an hour of story and action but a very enjoyable one with real suspense. They've stripped down the mechanics of a typical point-and-click to just that which will progress the plot, which makes the whole mechanism quite streamlined and cuts back on the hunt-and-click aspect of these games. They've managed to really generate palpable tension in this storyline. You're never sure if your character will make it through, and your actions feel like they have weight. 

The game was created by a small team in Finland, and it looks like they were recently greenlit on Steam. They've released episode 1 of 5, and as a fan of these kinds of games I do hope this studio keeps going and brings the whole series to fruition. This thing is compelling, so if you've got a PC, check it out on Steam

I love seeing people create something new, and this is one game that deserves to have a bigger audience.

Generational shift: Millennials buy smartphones, not cars

Cars, unending tract homes, and cul-de-sacs are all ways of the past that are fading out. People want to live in more urban centers with rich public transit options, like the above futuristic vision of Urban Alloy Towers in would-be Queens, NY. 

The Atlantic Monthly expanded on this recently in The Cheapest Generation:

Smartphones compete against cars for young people’s big-ticket dollars, since the cost of a good phone and data plan can exceed $1,000 a year. But they also provide some of the same psychic benefits—opening new vistas and carrying us far from the physical space in which we reside. “You no longer need to feel connected to your friends with a car when you have this technology that’s so ubiquitous, it transcends time and space,” Connelly said.

In other words, mobile technology has empowered more than just car-sharing. It has empowered friendships that can be maintained from a distance. The upshot could be a continuing shift from automobiles to mobile technology, and a big reduction in spending.

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The old cul-de-sacs of Revolutionary Road and Desperate Housewives have fallen out of favor with Generation Y. Rising instead are both city centers and what some developers call “urban light”—denser suburbs that revolve around a walkable town center. “People are very eager to create a life that blends the best features of the American suburb—schools still being the primary, although not the only, draw—and urbanity,” says Adam Ducker, a managing director at the real-estate consultancy RCLCO.

And why buy a car and have it sit for 23 hours a day when you can get a car via Zipcar or Uber on demand via smartphone? 

This makes me hopeful for the future of cities as the younger generations surge into voters and key positions of power in government. 

The Internet isn't here to ruin us: Refutation of technophobes in this month's Fast Co

It was 1925, and the car was destroying America's youth. "The general effect of the automobile," wrote Princeton University Dean Howard McClenahan, "was to make the present generation look lightly at the moral code, and to decrease the value of the home." With a car, the youngsters could drive anywhere on Sunday. McClenahan didn't think they'd drive to church. And if they didn't, he argued, they'd become devilish and depraved.

This did not come to pass. Nor did phonographs create a "marked deterioration in American music," as composer John Philip Sousa feared in 1906. Nor did the telephone "break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends," as the Knights of Columbus warned in 1926. Nor did writing--a growing activity in the ancient world--"create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories," as Plato himself hypothesized. Some 2,400 years later, the Atlantic floated the same thesis about search engines. Its headline: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Proclamations like these should remind us that every technological revolution will spawn naysayers, who for the most part should be ignored.

Cars. Phonographs. Telephones. Writing. Enabling technologies are scary. They change our brains. I agree with this hopeful article — we are pretty happy about having cars, being able to talk to people on the phone, and, well, being able to read and write. So let's make the Internet continue to be a thing for which future generations will be thankful.

Short imagined monologues: Glengarry Bob Ross

Okay, I’m just gonna use that same old brush, its working so well. Gonna tap that corner into a little bit of yellow ochre. Just tap the corner, I want very little paint.

What am I painting? Fuck you, that’s what I’m painting. You know why, mister? You drive to the store to get your paint supplies in a Hyundai, I drive an $80,000 BMW. That’s what I’m painting.

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Read the whole hilarious thing at McSweeney's

BCG predicts unemployment in the US to remain high for decades as Germany, others experience labor shortage

BCG reports recent findings indicating US unemployment will continue to be high for decades:

The surplus in the U.S. presents a starkly contrasting picture. Again, we modeled labor supply and demand using the same two sets of assumptions: GDP and productivity growth rates for the past 10 and 20 years. In each scenario, the supply of labor in 2030 will exceed demand. In the best case (the 20-year demand scenario), supply will exceed demand by at least 7.4 million people. 

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Of the six unemployment measures used by the U.S. Department of Labor, the one commonly reported in the press is U-3. The broadest unemployment measure(U-6) has hovered around 14 percent since late 2012 and mid-2013, versus the 8 percent rate that is generally reported.

There's an obvious and huge mismatch in what the economy needs, and what our education systems are training people to do. Meanwhile, politicians juke the stats, and the mainstream US media makes like the US labor force and economy is doing just fine. 

The Louis CK 70% decision rule — if you're 70% happy with it, just go with it

From GQ's recent cover story on Louis CK:

These situations where I can't make a choice because I'm too busy trying to envision the perfect one—that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It's part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. 'Cause here's what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.

"And," he continues, "when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it's a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you're stuck at 90, but who the fuck do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It's incredible!