- The proliferation of Chinese eugenics. – Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist.
- Black swan events, and the fact that we continue to rely on models that have been proven fraudulent. – Nassem Nicholas Taleb
- That we will be unable to defeat viruses by learning to push them beyond the error catastrophe threshold. – William McEwan, molecular biology researcher
- That pseudoscience will gain ground. – Helena Cronin, author, philospher
- That the age of accelerating technology will overwhelm us with opportunities to be worried. – Dan Sperber, social and cognitive scientist
- Genuine apocalyptic events. The growing number of low-probability events that could lead to the total devastation of human society. – Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society
- The decline in science coverage in newspapers. – Barbara Strauch, New York Times science editor
- Exploding stars, the eventual collapse of the Sun, and the problems with the human id that prevent us from dealing with them. — John Tooby, founder of the field of evolutionary psychology
- That the internet is ruining writing. – David Gelernter, Yale computer scientist
- That smart people—like those who contribute to Edge—won’t do politics. –Brian Eno, musician
- That there will be another supernova-like financial disaster. –Seth Lloyd, professor of Quantum Mechanical Engineering at MIT
- That search engines will become arbiters of truth. —W. Daniel Hillis, physicist
The first time I saw you, you where holding my sandwich. I said to myself, “What? Who… mother fucker. Why the hell is she holding my sandwich?! It’s MY sandwich! I had it right here, resting peacefully on this vintage traveler’s suitcase!” That’s when I remember I was in a very trendy sandwich shop in the Lower East Side of Manhattan (New York) and you must have ordered the same sandwich as me. That calmed me down a great deal. Enough to realize that my sandwich was exactly at the same spot I had left it.
“This is even better! We have the same taste in sandwiches! Maybe you are my soul mate and we are destined to be together! Oh, what a love story! I’m going to hold my sandwich way up high so she can see what an amazing connection we have”. By the look on your face I could tell that didn’t turned out as I hoped. I can’t confirm it one hundred percent but I think you thought I was holding YOUR sandwich (which I wasn’t) and you got very angry (which it’s completely understandable). “I get you, babe” was what I was trying to say when I took that big bite but I think that made things worse.
The second time I saw you, you were holding someone else’s sandwich. You damned harpy. At first I was “Hey, be cool. Maybe someone just went to the bathroom and told her: Can you hold my sandwich for a moment? I have to take a pretty big poop and even though I could take it with me, I don’t want my poop to smell like sandwich”. But then I was “Why would anybody NOT want their poop to smell like sandwich? Is it because he forgot what he ate today and needs to know for a medical exam? Is it because he doesn’t want the next person to enter the bathroom to think he poops sandwiches?” But then again, why someone WOULDN’T want other people to think he poops sandwiches?! Is he planning to have a career in the sandwich business and doesn’t want to hurt his chances? Is his father a very conservative gastroenterologist?” This is the moment I realized you already left.
The third time I saw you, you were holding a bucket of moustaches. You worked on the trendy place the whole time! It was your job to hold other people sandwiches! Oh, what a fool I was. Would you ever forgive me? Would you ever look at me the same way? Would you ever trust me enough to let me hold your sandwich? I would honestly take great care of it. I think you probably noticed by now that I’m pretty good at holding sandwiches (If you want to know the secret, you have to imagine it’s a tiny baby that’s not frown upon to eat. Do not give it a name or dress it in cute outfits. The key is to never get too attached).
The last time I saw you, you were holding a picture of my sandwich. I knew it was my sandwich because I was right there in the picture giving it a good old bite. What I was thinking when I took that picture was “I probably shouldn’t look too good in this one. It’s not about me. I don’t want to upstage my own sandwich.” I think I pulled it off creating a nice man-sandwich balance but it’s not for me to decide.
By the look of the policeman I could tell that it wasn’t his favorite sandwich but I think that’s for the better. It’s good that only we share that. I have the feeling he had a little thing for you because he has been looking for me ever since. Probably he wants to ask me about your favorite way to eat a double-bunner. Man! If you don’t know already that it’s with the mouth, you shouldn’t even try! I’ve been giving away sandwiches around the area in an effort to mislead him while I get to the airport.
I know. I’m leaving. Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner but I think it’s the right thing for us. There’s so many types of sandwiches I don’t think it’s fare of me to tie you to just one. Take your time. Explore and broaden your taste. If it’s meant to be, maybe life will bring us back together and the next time I see you, you’ll be holding me. Or my external colon pouch. Surprise!
Want to know how I know your Kickstarter project isn’t going to get funded? You started with “oh hey, I didn’t see you there” which, in the minds of consumers, means you’re either an unobservant stooge who can’t be trusted with money or we’re really bad at hiding.
The photo above was taken on 3/22/12. At the Wednesday night Improv Jam at the UCB Theatre East, the jammers presented Grandma’s Ashes with a card congratulating us on being moved to Saturday nights. Receiving that card on stage was so overwhelmingly meaningful. Reading the card and seeing everyone’s notes about how the Jam has meant a lot to them, needless to say we were all backstage in the green room reading the card and feeling very emotional.
Tomorrow, Grandma’s Ashes will host our last Jam at 11pm at UCB East. The wonderful Harold Team Guthrie will host the Jam moving forward which is wonderful as they are a fantastic, enthusiastic, and an awesome team. I was just going through e-mails and found the e-mail from Nate Dern on 8/31/11 asking us if we’d like to host Jammin’ With Ralph. As we thought about how to best encourage folks to come and play, we changed the name to “The Improv Jam” hoping it would be an inviting title for anyone who wanted to jam. We have hosted every Wednesday night since then. Little did we know that week after week, more Jammers would come, so many returning each week, sometimes as many as 75 people put their names in the bucket, excited to take the stage.
As I think about tomorrow, I think about how much The Jam has meant to me. It has been the show that has made me feel the most a part of the UCB community. I love seeing Jammers perform for the first time and the 100th time. Giving high-fives as everyone leaves the theatre and chatting with Jammers afterwards about how much they enjoyed jamming or how they put their name in the bucket, but didn’t go up, but are planning to come back the next week to Jam. Being a part of Grandma’s Ashes, a team that loves the Jam so much and each other that we loved taking the stage every Wednesday night. Sometimes dancing long after everyone cleared the theatre and sitting in the green room together, catching up and talking about our weeks. I love my teammates so dearly and the Jam has been another opportunity to spend with them every week—something that I will very much miss.
To all the Jammers, thank you for letting us be a part of your improv experience. Thank you for all your energy and for staying with us until the very end of the Jam, cheering on your fellow Jammers. And in the spirit of the Jam, I hope you all will continue to keep our Jam rules alive:
1) If I can hear your tag-in it’s too hard. Don’t slap each other hard on the backs. The tag-in is an opportunity to make physical contact with someone so they know that you are tagging them out and you are taking their place in the scene. Loud smacks are jarring and unnecessary.
2) Treat everyone’s bodies with care. The Jam is filled with improvisers who are there for the first time and others the 100th. You don’t know everyone’s comfort zones, so play it safe, be respectful. Body slams are not necessary for a great scene.
3) Don’t call people “bitch”, “slut”, or “whore” in scenes. If you do, I’m going to talk to you afterwards. These words are cheap attempts to get a reaction. They are an attempt to impress the audience by putting someone down in a scene. But the truth is, they make you like an idiot. Expand your mind. Treat your scene partner like a gem. Don’t put them down to make yourself feel empowered.
4) Support each other and have fun. The Jam is an opportunity to play with people you’ve never played with before. It’s a chance to work that muscle of support to the max, supporting someone who might be brand new to improv or may have been doing it for years. Listen, react, and treat your scene partner’s words like tiny gifts that you get to open and embrace on stage.
Thank you all for making The Jam so special. I am truly going to miss it, but can’t wait to see what’s to come for The Jam.
I can’t state how thankful I am for having a place to go every week were I was able to be around so many talented, supportive and overall amazing people.
But another thing that always made me come back that I really don’t want it to go unrecognized, is how challenging it was. It required to really listen and to really be accepting of whatever might come your way because usually everything changed fast and without notice.
And no one did it better that Granma’s Ashes. That also made it really challenging. They set a very high bar not by expectations but by example. You didn’t wanted to do bad because you didn’t wanted to let them down even tough they didn’t care about that and always had your back anyway. Inside and outside of it. One simple tweet from @RyanattheJam assembling me to the jam made me feel great on a bad day thousands of miles away.
No one enjoyed it more than Grandma’s Ashes and I think that was what made them so good at it. It was so inspiring to watch them kill every night.
Thank you for all the jams! I wish I was there tonight.
best of 2012 - Ask Amy
I like this lady so much.