Tactile

As McLuhan pointed out in Understanding Media, touch has less to do with objects pressing against the skin, as it is a complex interplay between the senses that involves the translating of one sense for another. This is wonderfully illustrated by the following story:

Brice Mellen is a whiz at video games such as "Mortal Kombat." In that regard, the 17-year-old isn't much different from so many others his age. Except for one thing: He's blind.

. . .

Blind since birth when his optic nerve didn't connect because of Leber's disease, Mellen honed his video game skills over the years through patient and not-so-patient playing, memorizing key joystick operations and moves in certain games, asking lots of questions and paying particular attention to audio cues. He worked his way up from games such as "Space Invaders" and "Asteroid," onto the modern combat games.

. . .

"I'll challenge them, maybe. If I feel like a challenge," he said, displaying an infectious confidence. "I freak people out by playing facing backwards."

(thanks to Amateur from Now THAT'S Amateur)

The Golf Manufactory

Resample: "Upon retirement, golf becomes the new work."

Let me rephrase that: In the post-industrial age, we retrieve the industrial in the form of leisure — in this case, the assembly-line manufacture of completed rounds of golf.

Robot Golf Butlers

Courtesy of KolnexI was playing golf the other day with my friend Seabs and was startled on one hole to see the golf cart of the man playing behind us escape him and start to pick up speed as it headed down the hill.

Only he wasn't on a hill. And the bag wasn't running away from him.

It was a remote controlled golf bag! I had never even heard of them before, much less seen one in action. But there it was, humming along about 20 feet ahead of its master.

I couldn't help but think of the Jetsons and robot butlers. And when that foursome came up to the next tee box just as Seabs and I were leaving, the robot golf butler politely paused to let us pass through.

I hoisted my bag over my shoulder, turned to the butler, uttered a "pardon me thank you," and trudged up the fairway to track down my drive.

Keep An Eye On That Boy

Just got back from vacation. Of course, interesting tidbits come from all sorts of places. Case in point: my 6-year-old nephew, as he began to play a videogame on a 68-inch(!) TV, asked if I would like to be his "audience."