Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Cool Factor

Swami Gulagulaananda said:

"Almost everything that an average person does, is based on the cool factor..."

People do various things for various reasons - money, fame, goodness of their hearts... but there is one thing that drives most people - perception, what others have about them... This is something that I like to call the cool factor and you may already have other names for it. Coolness is the generally perceived notion of a certain activity or quality, and if more people think it is cool, the stronger will it stick and harder it is to remove.


Now, let's start off by taking a simple example. In the picture on the left, Actor (Guest Character) from Artistick is standing in one of the most typical poses that is normally shown in movies - As you can see, there is a quality in him that makes him look really cool. One, the "cooling" glasses, two, the slightly bent head, three, no smile and four, the cigarette.

Whether you think of it as cool or not is immaterial. I am just pointing out to what we have made to be cool. That is, our mind is tuned to quickly pick out these qualities and tag it as cool. There is no logic that is used here - It is hard wired. Our minds work around these stereotypes all the time!

Smoking and Drinking - Cool factors?

Like I showed in the picture above, the cigarette goes really well with the ensemble. However, in reality, cigarettes are hardly cool. In fact, I consider them as disgusting, life threatening - Everyone knows why, so I am not going to go on a rant there. Same goes for alcohol. And yet, people continue to do it. Whether they do it for the jollies or the coolness is the differentiating part. Those who get sloshed till they puke on themselves or pass out in bars, and the chain smokers are not among the "cool dudes". It's the rest of them, who say that they are trying to 'destress', but more often than not, subconsciously feel that they are cool. They get a kick, not out of the cigarettes nor the drink, but from the fact that they are doing all the cool things that they saw on TV - exactly like that, like the mean ass movie stars who just beat up the villain.

Nip the bud - Make them seem uncool!

This kind of emulation is dangerous - It is because many people do it only for the cool factor. This cool factor is decided by the society. If the society does not shun you, then it is considered as acceptable. Therefore, if you are really serious about getting rid of social evils, and that includes smoking, drinking, speeding and breaking rules, then you should nip it in the bud. The next time you are with your friends, and one of them decides to light up, openly criticise it. Don't sit quietly because you feel that he or she might be offended. This is because you know it is wrong. Yes, they may feel that you are exceeding your brief by telling them what not to do, but you can try, if he or she is close to you. And this has to be a group effort. When people refuse to hang around you when you are smoking, and consider you as unsociable at that moment, you will start feeling like an outcast.

Will it work?

Of course it will! If you watch Friends, the popular sitcom, you will see how Chandler's friends make it seem disgusting every time he lights up, and force him to put it out! It works... Always... Similarly, spare some time to watch this beautiful ad, which shows all the ill-effects of speeding, and towards the end shows how people make the people who speed and show off with their vehicles seem uncool - Watch the video


People will continue to do such things - If they are addicted, or if they think they are cool. Addiction is a serious problem and needs proper care. There are various centres for deaddiction. However, the people who do it to seem cool can be cured easily by removing the perception of coolness - Live a clean life, and live it with dignity! YOU might think you are cool but nobody else thinks big of you

You may also want to read...

Pub Culture - Lot of people think pubs are cool...

Comments from Facebook

Mac Nirmal Lobo: Welll you are forgetting the significant addiction factor in cigarettes

Srivathsan Lakshmipuram: Oh dude I know man! It's like if you don't booze and smoke, you're some social outcast! It should be the other freaking way around!

Arvind S Murthy: ‎"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" so instead of thinking of deaddiction the best thing is to not start at all..Coz nipping in the bud is not easy..

Subramanya Adiga: Proud to be a teetotaler :-)

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Mac - I have not forgotten. I have said that addiction is an issue and needs to be handled carefully. I am talking only about the "cool" factor

@Arvind - You are right :-) But if a person wants to be accepted or wants to seem cool, then he will do it. It is only a rational person who is able to weigh consequences and decide it who will not start

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Curio Shop

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Sometimes, little stories are really funny... and have a certain amount of truth hidden in them"

The following is an email forward that I got... I found it quite witty and worth of sharing. So, here goes.

An Indian tourist walks into a curio shop in San Francisco. Looking around at the exotica, he notices a very life-like, life-sized bronze statue of a rat. It has no price tag, but is so striking he decides he must have it.

He takes it to the owner: "How much for the bronze rat?"

"Twelve dollars for the rat, one hundred dollars for the story," says the owner.

The tourist gives the man twelve dollars. "I'll just take the rat, you can keep the story."

As he walks down the street carrying his bronze rat, he notices that a few real rats crawl out of the alleys and sewers and begin following him down the street. This is disconcerting; he begins walking faster. But within a couple blocks, the herd of rats behind him grows to hundreds, and they begin squealing. He begins to trot toward the Bay, looking around to see that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and are still squealing and coming toward him faster and faster.
Concerned, even scared, he runs to the edge of the Bay and throws the bronze rat as far out into the Bay as he can. Amazingly, the millions of rats all jump into the Bay after it and are all drowned.

The man walks back to the curio shop.

"Ah ha," says the owner, "You have come back for the story?"

"No," says the man, "I came back to see if you have a statue of an Indian politician in bronze!!"

Monday, 4 April 2011

Entanglement (Game) - A Review

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"Entanglement is one of the best games I have played"

Gopherwood Studios have come up with a brilliant game - Entanglement. The beauty of the game lies in the simplicity of design and the fact that you will never stop playing it!

You have a hexagonal board (by default) and have hexagonal tiles that you have to place within. The tiles have small paths etched on them, and you can rotate the tiles clockwise or anti-clockwise. The objective of the game is to create a path out of the tiles. Each time you place a tile, a little red streak goes through the path. You have to try to make the path as long as possible...

But don't be deceived into thinking that it's trivial. The game is quite hard, for pretty soon you will run into all kinds of dead ends. Every time you place a tile, you should not only be thinking of your way ahead at that instant, but also should try to create multiple paths in parallel that can be used some time later. It's these parallel paths that are harder, because your tiles will not always be conducive to form that path you had in mind. But fret not, there is one extra tile that you have that can be used to swap with your current tile.

Theme and Music
One of the best features of the game, apart from the game itself, is the theme - The screen looks extremely beautiful, and relaxing if I might say so. The graphic design is excellent, with the border walls looking like polished stones and insides having rougher stones. There is a small pebble at the centre and the whole board is placed on fine sand with some plants at the edges. The theme essentially seems Japanese (and is Japanese as well) with an excellent score being played in the background. The menus and dialog screens that appear have the characteristic Japanese styled roof (buffalo horn shaped)

I just love the music!

The default game is completely free of cost. Play the default version and see how addictive it is. There are other screens available, with a variety of puzzles and board shapes, that have a very nominal cost and are definitely worth trying. So, I strongly recommend buying the game - After playing the default version, there is no doubt that you will buy it!

Chrome Appstore
If you have Google Chrome, then you can install this as a web app and play it offline as well. To do that, you should have one of the latest versions of Chrome that supports the app store, and here is the link to install the game.

Gopherwood Studios - The link to the home site
Entanglement - The link to the game

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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Economic Warfare - In my games and in the world

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Nothing works better than economic strangleholds... Whether it is a game or a country"

Economic stranglehold is a simple concept... Stop the money supply, and people will start acting like fish out of water, gasping, suffocating... Money, from ages together, has been an extremely vital component. You need money to do almost anything - Starting from buying basic amenities like food and clothing, till items of luxury.

Economic strangulation technique in a game
Red Alert 2 is a superb Command and Conquer game (akin to Age Of Empires, except that it has modern weapons and tanks instead of sword wielding horsemen) and when I used to play it in the beginning, I used to fight head-on, by continuously engaging in periodic skirmishes with the enemy, destroying their units, while I also lost a lot of mine. In the beginning, my techniques involved bloodshed, involved a lot of losses on both sides. And at times, I found that when I needed a lot of units as soon as possible, I was in trouble, because continuous production of units required continuous supply of money, and when I was low on cash, I couldn't produce any units. Then I thought to myself - What if I employ the same technique on the opponent? Subsequently, my strategy took a paradigm shift - I didn't keep attacking their units... Instead, I kept destroying their ore miners, the units that collect money in swift powerful attacks. With time, his unit production slowed down - and what's better for me, he started selling his own defence units to get money so as to build more ore miners, that I kept destroying. With time, he had no defence units, and I could easily overpower him.

Similar techniques in real life - Economic sanctions and more
Now visualise the same techniques used against countries. If you are a very powerful country (Read USA) and want to bring a country to its knees so that you can dominate it - Simple! Use economic control... Create some scenarios, put sanctions on it - *Boom*. They can't do anything. Then USA can dominate them and become the puppet masters.

Extend the same thing to a smaller scale - You have a poor person... You can make him become anything, using the lure of money - You can make him a terrorist (happened in 26/11), you can convert him to a different religion (evangelists use this) or make him commit crimes of various kinds. In fact, he himself will become a criminal, because he will want money...

To summarise, with great money, great number of things can be controlled and you are aware of it - whether it's people, politicians, media or whatever...

What if there was no money in this world?
Imagine a world where there is no concept of money... Imagine all resources will be given to you, including food, a place to stay comfortably and all means of travel. A futuristic world. There is absolutely no necessity to do something to "feed your stomach". You are free to do anything because you want to do it. No more "Yeah, I know you love that job, but it doesn't pay well" or any other excuses.

Do you think such a world will bring about greater development? Or do you think people will have no incentives or motivation to do anything because they already have everything...? Do let me know!

Related reading...

Related watching:

Comments from Facebook:
Mithun Shroff: As soon as I read "world without money", I was about to comment "Hey .. you've heard of project Venus?" .. But then I saw it at the end of your post.. :-)