Saturday, September 7, 2013

Slot Machines Play Us to Extinction as I Worry About Zombies When Instead Maybe I Should Really Be Afraid of Rabies

I hope you are having a nice weekend with some good and restful things planned for you and yours.

As I like to do on occasion, here are some "found" news items which are tied together by a theme--in this case the "biting" and/or "sucking" of brains. Feel free to insert pornographic or similar jokes as you wish or find appropriate.

Readers of We Are Respectable Negroes know that I enjoy playing slot machines. While blackjack makes more sense given the relative odds, it would be too tempting for me. The counting of cards appeals to my obsessive compulsive tendencies. Dangerous stuff.

As such, I prefer trying to spread my risk across several slot machines while mocking the silly-folks who fall in love with one machine, throwing hundreds or thousands of dollars into said machine, and that know nothing of the evil wicked random number generator that hides in every modern one armed bandit. Fools!

Insert maniacal laugh...

Funny thing, despite my grand theories and study of the "logic" of how to play slots in a "smart way", I saw several folks win today who would spit in the face of my theories--one hit the machine for 3,000 dollars; a nice older lady hit on her birthday for 1,500 (and was unmoved by the experience); and apparently there was a 300,000 jackpot winner that all the folks were abuzz about with stories of awe and fear.

And anticipating your question, I did not hit the jackpot for 300 large.

Slot machines bite you with the gambling bug and are designed to lull and seduce players into what psychologists and experts on slot machine design call "the zone". The goal? "Player extinction".

MIT's Natasha Dow Schull has a new book out on the subject in which she works through the appeal of seemingly irrational and repetitious behavior for the human brain.

Guess what? As discussed here, the nefarious tricks deployed by slot machine designers are also used by Social Media to keep users present, engaged, and "addicted by design".

Zombies also want to control our brains--in the sense that they need to have physical access to our tasty brains in order to eat them.

I am a great fan of Max Brook's book World War Z: do not provoke me, there is no movie of the same title, such a monstrosity was just some flick with Brad Pitt in it of the same title, one that had little if anything to do with the book.

I have more than a passing knowledge of the zombie genre. Apparently, I do not know as much as I thought I did.

Ignorance on these matters may not be bliss in an outbreak: On his show StarTalk, scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Max Brooks and talks to real like experts in viruses and communicable diseases that thoroughly (and casually) eviscerate--in a nice way--the supposed science which makes a zombie outbreak so frightening to the public.

When said smart folks with real expertise point out the problem with fast zombies, and a disease which subsequently spreads almost instantaneously from person to person, I am pleased. Why? Slow diseases which lay dormant are far more dangerous and easier to spread throughout the populace.

How would a zombie virus that is so "hot" jump continents? Are you letting those crazy folks on your plane or boat? I would not. I doubt that United or Lufthansa would either.

World War Z refers to the zombie virus as a type of human rabies. In reading Brooks' book the first time, and then listening to the audio book repeatedly, such nomenclature seemed suitable for how the media and the government would create a scary, but relatively believable, label to describe the rising of the living dead.

Ultimately, "African rabies" causes folks to pay attention; "zombie" would cause a mass panic.

Maybe I watched the movie Cujo too many times as a ghetto nerd member of the hip hop generation? I am unsure if I want to read Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Dangerous Virus, Bill Wasik's and Monica Murphy's new book on the history of the disease, our efforts to control it, and how rabies remains one of the most frightening and dangerous viruses on the planet.

Real rabies is more scary than Romero's ghouls. The latter are far more entertaining.


DanF said...

In the early nineties (which was the last time I was in Vegas with any regularity), it was common to see large signs at casinos saying, "Our slots pay-off 98% of the time!" which was just a polite way to say, "We'll take 2% of your money for as long as you play!"

Playing "The Odds" in craps is even money, everything else is typically a 1 to 2% house edge (except roulette which is like 5% house ...).

chauncey devega said...

I like that too. Folks believe that if they play 100 times they will get 2 hits. Those odds are in the aggregate and apply all over the house--and w. linked progressives in some cases pooled odds from all over the country. The best way to win is not to play unless one defines winning as having fun and knowing one's limits.