As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will undoubtedly be news journalists and magazine writers telling people to not overeat at holiday feasts. So let me preempt their “breaking news” and tell you to not listen to them! Eating more than normal at the occasional feast doesn’t mean you’ll get fat or that you’re a glutton. There has been actual research done on this which showed that the average weight gain for the entire holiday season is just 0.8 pounds. Look at that number — less than one pound! So don’t worry about a meal here or there. It’s your daily habits that determine if you’re overweight or not. Go ahead and enjoy the family get-togethers during the holidays. Enjoy the food and don’t feel guilty if you occasionally eat more than normal.
If you typically concern yourself with counting calories and saturated fat grams and such, don’t let that keep you from enjoying your meal. As I wrote above, one meal is not the problem. But if you feel the need to have restraint (like if your doctor told you to avoid sugars), then decide before the meal what you will eat and how much, then eat the meal within those boundaries so you don’t ruin your enjoyment of the meal, like I wrote about recently in my post about a bowl of chocolate versus a responsible adult. It’s a mindset strategy so you can enjoy your situation even when there’s restrictions.
Oh, and if someone wants to argue about it before or after your family get-together, you can tell them about the actual study in the news, but if they’re determined to not enjoy their meal, that’s on them and it may not be worth your time arguing about it. Just go eat another piece of pecan pie… 🙂
What you are about to see and hear is a story of utter incomptence and ineptitude… a story of a self-proclaimed visionary who is promising to show us the future but is stuck in the past… who is pushing technology funded by tens of billions of dollars, yet it looks like a ten-year-old free phone app…
Is this hyperbole? No, this debacle is for real. And it’s shocking…
Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) launched its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds in France and Spain last week. The promotional image posted by CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been underwhelming, to say the least. It has led to headlines like this: “Wave of Criticism Hits Zuckerberg’s Metaverse for Looking Like Crap“. 🙂 That’s no clickbait there. The article goes on to call it “unfathomably bad”. That’s not hyperbole either. See for yourself:
You might think this is some parody or meme, because it seems like it (plus we often post that kind of stuff here). This looks like someone opened Paintbrush from Windows 3.1 and pasted some clip art, then proclaimed it the future of virtual reality, in a funny attempt at satire or parody. But this is the actual image Zuckerberg posted.
Meta spent $10 billion (that’s $10,000,000,000, to show a lot of zeroes) on the metaverse in just 2021. I tell ya, ten billion dollars just doesn’t buy what it used to… 🙂 That’s after already spending billions more in previous years. They’ve been working on this technology since at least 2014 (when they bought Oculus Rift for $3 billion). And Zuckerberg says this project will lose “significant” amounts of money over the next 3 to 5 years.
The good news (if I can even try to spin it that way), is that Zuckerberg said it’s not finished yet, that some parts of it will not be ready for 10 to 15 years. That’s somewhat encouraging, because it sure doesn’t look finished. The bad news is that Meta already has 10,000 employees working on this project, for years, and that’s what they have so far.
Zuckerberg posted a new image shortly thereafter, saying major updates to avatar graphics are coming soon, and that the current graphics are capable of much more. If so, why would he post that crappy picture to millions of people to promote this new product? He’s been the CEO there for decades now, so he ought to know something about marketing (or at least know to consult his PR team).
Also, avatars (your digital representation) are missing your lower half. That looks weird, creepy, and unnatural. I suppose that saves on CPU/GPU usage, but if this is how it’s going to look, maybe the technology isn’t ready for this yet. But the thing is, it should be. I’ve been interested in technology a long time, and I’ve tried virtual reality tech demos over 20 years ago which were better than this. I realize this will get better, but to invest that kind of money in it over that many years and this is the result? That’s mind-boggling awful.
At least, I hope it gets better. It shouldn’t be too hard — I mean, the bar is really low now — but a graphics rendering engine is not a simple thing to replace in a project this complex. Hopefully they accounted for that. It’s not as simple as just drawing better images. Also, and this is where the story gets even crazier, the graphics have gotten worse over time! I know this just debuted last December, but the technology behind it was developed by Oculus Rift (which had so many potential!). Facebook/Meta bought them 8 years ago, and 10 years ago Oculus Rift could run Doom 3, which had real-time character models that looked like this. So it has gotten considerably worse. I understand why they decreased the graphics quality some, but surely computing power has increased enough in 10 years that it didn’t have to get that much worse.
And while I’m ranting, another thing is that it looks lifeless, boring, bland, devoid of soul, etc. To create an “immersive world”, the graphics don’t have to be realistic, to be fair. There are video games and virtual reality worlds and metaverses already released that will pull you into that world where you feel totally immersed, even without realistic graphics. If the Horizon Worlds is to succeed, it needs to have personality, to be fun, and to bring something to the experience that you won’t get otherwise. It seems like Horizon Worlds is primarily built for investors who want to buy virtual land in this new virtual universe.
If you want to see an intended use of Meta’s Horizon Worlds, here is a video of the first virtual reality interview meeting (along with commentary): Meta Is For Losers.
Another apparent intended use is this commercial for it that debuted during the “big game” earlier this year:
I do not think that ad shows what they think it shows. 🙂 Are they trying to tell you that real life sucks and that you’ll be happy in their virtual world? That’s so ironic given how research has shown that users of Facebook tend to be less happy when using the product. BTW, some of the top comments on that video are worth reading.
FYI, this idea of an online metaverse is not new at all. Second Life is a metaverse that has been out since 2003, which has had over a million regular users and even has its own currency (and has produced real-world millionaires). There are numerous other alternatives out there, too, which are much better, so don’t judge VR on this one app. Oh, and click here to see a comparison between how Second Life looked in 2007 compared to the new Horizon Worlds image. (And someone has compared it to the Zelda game on the Nintendo 64 some 24 years ago, which is amusing.)
To sum up, I think virtual reality (and augmented reality) will become somewhat popular in the future. I don’t have much hope for Horizon Worlds, but that’s okay, because there are other companies making similar projects that are much better. I don’t know if the technology will ever get to the level in “Ready Player One” (great movie, BTW), because corporate interests will probably limit the fun and keep it close-walled so they can control it better and try to squeeze more profit from it. I don’t know how mainstream it will ever become, and while I think it has a lot of fun potential, I don’t know that it needs to be too mainstream. As fun as it is, we still need time around people in real life, which is even better (if done right).
Have you noticed how biased most of the news sources are today? Some “news” stations / websites blame the Biden administration for everything, saying he’s done every single thing wrong, while some other “news” stations / websites blame Donald Trump for everything wrong with America. And of course, while each blames one political party for all the problems, they ignore the problems in their own party while promoting all the good things (even if they have to exaggerate). Actually, both Republicans and Democrats don’t get much done, even when they have majority control in Congress, and that’s probably a good thing.
Anyway, the “news” you hear is mostly full of bias and opinion (particularly about politics). If you only listen to one side (i.e., conservative or liberal), you may not even notice. Here’s a quick test — if you think one party will save America and the other party is to blame for the problems, you have been fed propaganda and bias. And if you are just now realizing this, I apologize. Propaganda seems tasty at first, but when you realize what it really is, it tastes like crap. So don’t eat it!
By now, you’re probably wondering why I’m ranting about politics. Well, this is a big problem in America now, and perhaps Buffet o’ Blog should transition to be a news source you can trust, albeit with humor. (Politics is especially devoid of humor, if you haven’t noticed. It’s like they just care about making you mad these days.) So to be truly fair and balanced, we’re not going to pander to either political party. We’ll tell you the truth! Although I do wonder if the general populace is ready for the truth… here’s why — your preferred party is part of the problem. It’s hard to swallow for people that are lifelong followers of either side — Republicans or Democrats. The truth is, both parties are largely corrupt, incompetent, self-seeking, and are leading America toward eventual destruction. Both will claim they are the solution, that if only their party was fully in charge everything would be great, but it’s not true. Every few years we have one party fully in charge, and not much changes. The same problems still persist and continue to worsen.
You know, scratch that. I don’t think we could make the truth very funny. So that part about starting our own news broadcast, let’s not do that. It is April Fools Day after all, and that part was made up. (Sadly, the rest of the rant is true. Sorry to rain on your parade, but it’s important to know.) So we’re going to remain focused on humor and randomness here. Regardless of our government leading us to a bad future, we should do our best to make the most of each day. Most of us cannot do much about the political debacle other than voting, so why let it sour your attitude and ruin your day? Focus on what you can do to make today great for you and those around you.
That’s all. This was an attempt to be funny about a topic that isn’t funny, and while it probably wasn’t funny, perhaps it could help you feel better anyway. If it failed, sorry; just go to the next post and it’ll not be about politics. I was just trying to mix humor and awareness and life improvement, hoping perhaps someone will look at their “news” consumption and think, “They’re just telling me what to be mad about, and every day there’s some seemingly huge problem that is blamed on the other party. I’d be happier if I didn’t consume all this. I could find better uses of that time.” Find what works for you… personally I’ve cut back on news. Watching it was often like watching a train wreck — it’s a disaster, but it can be hard to look away. However, watching too much of it makes you feel like you were run over by the train… 🙂 And then there’s that whole taste of propaganda thing… ugh!
Oops, sorry, I meant to stop but kept rambling. That happens sometimes. This blog is supposed to be an outlet for rambling and randomness, but there I go trying to help people again. I’ll stop again. 🙂
We need to have a certain amount of focus in our day to be effective and efficient with our daily tasks. But new studies show that a certain amount of unfocus actually helps us in many ways. When we can completely relax our mind, it helps us organize our thoughts and regulate our emotions, among other things. I highly recommend you read this short article about it: your brain can only take so much focus.
But do you realize what this means in layman’s terms? Slacking can make you more productive! I know some people will want to argue with that because it sounds so wrong, and our culture prioritizes busyness (even if it’s not all that productive). I’ve actually heard this concept before, that our brain needs time to organize our thoughts (like what happens while dreaming, but without the crazy randomness).
You’ve probably experienced this before. Have you ever been taking a long shower or bath, not really thinking about a particular situation, then suddenly you realize a solution? It’s happened to me. That is the kind of experience the article is talking about. There are various other ways to reach that state, since you can only take so many showers and naps in a day. Going for a walk is a good method. Talk with a friend where the conversation is allowed to roam freely with no pressure to keep up appearances.
I’m glad science is realizing this. The all-too-common state of constant busyness is not healthy. The time of relaxing can also help you unwind, to release some of your stress buildup.
If you’re wondering why a serious post got published at this blog of randomness, it’s because of this one statement: Slacking can make you more productive. That sounds like something we’d write to be random and funny, yet it is actually true! And I could’ve taken it to a more humorous extreme, but I wanted it to be taken seriously, because it can help you.
Also, a great way to relax is to enjoy a glass of freshly brewed sweet tea. The idea of “afternoon tea” might seem quaint in our modern culture of busyness, but think about it in light of this conversation. You take a break from whatever you’re doing, drink tea, enjoy nature or talk with friends or read a book. Maybe this is a tradition that should return! (Feel free to adapt it to your use, of course, but simplicity is important here.) Be sure to “slow down” enough to be in the moment, to savor the tea and just enjoy the experience.
To the Buffet o’ Blog staff, let’s take off the rest of the afternoon to be more productive. 🙂 To all my favorite readers, what are you going to do to help your brain focus by relaxing? Try to find a way to spend 15 minutes (or whatever you can fit in) where your brain can relax. Let me know if you discover any useful tips or methods.