Improvised Reality TV

I’ve never been a fan of ‘reality’ television, mostly for the fact it plays to the lowest common denominator and many times doesn’t seem real at all. That’s why I found this candid interview with reality TV producer Troy DeVolld very interesting. He is open about how reality TV is not strictly ‘real’ and producers have to construct things to form compelling narratives. I especially found this comparison of reality TV to improvised comedy fascinating.

AVC: Most of it is more like improvised reality, just as improvised comedy starts with an outline but the end result is still the cast members’ own words and sensibility.

TDV: Yeah, if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, it’s almost constructed like a lot of reality shows are, where you have the point of every scene, the one thing somebody has to get across in that scene, and they basically say, “All right, we’re just going to go in here, and we’re going to get from A to C, and all you have to do is come up with B.” There are a lot of reality shows that are produced that way. It’s very similar to the way that a lot of that semi-improvised entertainment is.

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Two Kinds of People

Day breaks over the city. Kevin is first at the office, always. He’s thirty years old and already created a multi-million dollar corporation from scratch. He’s at his proffesional peak, yet, something is missing. For all his acheivement in the business world, family still calls to him.

From the Producers of Ordinary People and An Officer and a Gentleman comes a drama about success, loss, hope, and redemption….

Two Kinds of People

Starring Kevin Costner…. coming to theaters Summer of ’83.

Or this is just an Apple commerical for the Lisa computer….

Mysteries of the Unknown

Commercials for Time-Life’s “Mysteries of the Unknown” book series used to be on all the time when I was a kid back in the 80s. I never actually read any of the books, but the commercials were effective in making you think about interesting ideas, even if some of the things in them were just fantasy. There are a number of these commercials on YouTube, including a large compilation video. Here is a classic example:

Casual Weekend Links

A few random links for casual enjoyment on a lazy weekend


Here are some iconic movies posters that have been edited to include the names of the original books they were based upon.

Flóra Borsi has digitally inserted herself in various historical photos. I will now refer to her as the ‘Photoshop Time Traveler.’

Tyler Holman gives a good overview of his visit to the Apple Pop-Up Museum. I wrote an article about the museum a few weeks ago, and from everything I hear it was amazing.

You know that movie about machines destroying the world and enslaving humans? Yeah, G.E. thinks its products are just like that.

Watch this epic Ikea commerical featuring a couple battling garden gnomes, you won’t regret it.


To get a preview of some of my weekend links, follow my personal account on twitter @linusedwards, where I will post random links and say random things that interest me throughout the week.

Reselling Digital Goods

David Sleight writes about a recent federal court decision which basically eliminates a consumer’s right to resell digital goods such as songs, books, and movies.

This creates a world where we’re barred from ever transferring digital goods we own to another person if we use an electronic network. Insert internet, lose first-sale rights.

This decision disturbs me, because it’s creating an artificial distinction between physical good and digital goods. While digital goods are merely composed of ones and zeroes, they are physical things in a sense, and exist in reality. I think people who buy digital goods on the internet should have a right to resell those goods. I guess we’ll see how this plays out in the future.

Life After Death

One of the greatest mysteries of human existence is whether one’s consciousness survives death. Yet, I find most people don’t think about it much and usually fall into three camps: people that believe there is an afterlife pursuant to their religious teachings, people that believe there is simply nothingness after one dies, and people who don’t know and don’t care. There are very few people that actually think deeply about this issue and study it in any type of logical or scientific manner. That is why I found a recent Wired article about Dr. Sam Parnia so interesting. Dr. Parnia is actively studying whether consciousness survives death using strict medical science.

I decided that we should study what people have experienced when they’ve gone beyond cardiac arrest. I found that 10 percent of patients who survived cardiac arrests report these incredible accounts of seeing things.

When I looked at the cardiac arrest literature, it became clear that it’s after the heart stops and blood flow into the brain ceases. There’s no blood flow into the brain, no activity, about 10 seconds after the heart stops. When doctors start to do CPR, they still can’t get enough blood into the brain. It remains flatlined. That’s the physiology of people who’ve died or are receiving CPR.

Not just my study, but four others, all demonstrated the same thing: People have memories and recollections. Combined with anecdotal reports from all over the world, from people who see things accurately and remember them, it suggests this needs to be studied in more detail.