Gaming - LiveIamA former creative director of Maxis / The Sims, and I made the financially questionable choice to leave and make an indie mobile game. AMA!
Jan 3rd 2017 by MergeDragons • 27 Questions • 168 Points
TLDR: Too many words, show me a 2 minute video, instead
A few years ago I heard about a Dutch fitness guru named Wim Hof who claimed to be able to give people what sounded like superpowers--consciously controlling their body temperature, their immune systems and oxygen consumption. I had just written a book and given a Tedx talk about another guru making similarly outlandish claims in the deserts of Arizona. That story ended in tragedy, with a man dying on his search for enlightenment. I thought Wim Hof was just another charlatan, so I got a commission from Playboy to set out to prove he was a fake.
Obviously, I was more than a little bit skeptical when I met Hof at his training center in Poland. However, within a few days, he completely changed my mind. I ended up meditating on the banks of a snowy river, melting the snow around me with my body heat. I learned to hold my breath for three minutes at a stretch and stand in the snow for hours at a time. At the end of the week I climbed a mountain in Poland wearing only a bathing suit while the temperature plummeted to 4 degrees.
The 2014 piece in Playboy turned out to be a hit and I spent the next four years studying the method more closely and examining scientific explanations for why it worked. I interviewed top athletes using cold exposure and high-intensity training to maximize their workouts, and military scientists who are trying to make the perfect soldier. I delved into the anthropological literature on human evolution that suggested that our ancestors survived frigid winters by cultivating a vestigial tissue known as brown fat, which uses ordinary white fat to heat the body. Then I learned how to cultivate brown fat myself.
I know that a lot of this sounds crazy. I thought so too. But as I learned more, I began to see results for myself. I learned to control my body temperature to such an extent that last January, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without a shirt--at a pace that was three times faster than almost anyone ever attempts--making it to the rim of the volcano in just 28 hours.
All of this is in a book I just wrote called What Doesn’t Kill Us
Ask me anything.
Update 2:27 ET - Well this blew up didn't it? I've been typing furiously for two hours and can't keep up with all the questions. This is absolutely humbling and amazing at the same time. I'm going to step out for a little bit I need to drive to BoulderBookstore to sign copies of my book to get them to the people who pre-ordered. But I'll come back to check in throughout the day. If you want to keep updated I've got all the normal social media outlets--I'd be thrilled if you liked myauthor page.
Update 6:24 ET Holy cow, people. How on earth am I going to get through 1537 comments? I want to thank the Reddit community for being so engaging and asking really thought-provoking questions. I especially enjoy the skeptics, because I'm a skeptic, too. I'll keep trying to get to your comments, but if you don't get a response please do either check out the book, or check out some of my past articles on the WHM that are free online. If you are so inclined you can follow me on twitter and all the other normal social media platforms. It has been an absolute blast and an honor to have held your attention today.
Do you play the Sims games on a regular basis? Which one is your favorite and least favorite?
I've heard that trophy hunters actually fund more conservation of lions with the money it costs them to obtain permission to hunt a single lion, is that true?
Do you think theres a lack of accountability in the YouTube scene? Like when you look at what Tmartn and Tom Syndicate did with the whole CSGO betting thing and the probably hundred of YouTubers who dont disclose sponsorship deals properly, but nothing in terms of repercussions ever seems to happen?
Do you think things need to be tighter or they need to be punished, or is this happening but most people dont hear about it?
If I'm being pulled over by a civilian vehicle with a siren light on the roof like a detectives car in tv shows should I call 911 before pulling over? I'd be concerned that it was someone trying to rob me with a $10 light off eBay. What should one do in this situation to confirm the "officer" is legit?
Do you think these are the methods that David Blaine uses?
I used to play Sims games a LOT. The Sims (1) came out while I was in college, and I remember picking it up with my then-girlfriend (now wife) and then playing it for endless hours. The checkout clerk told me, "be careful, or you won't sleep." He was right.
So I developed a love of Sims games before working at Maxis, and I remember playing them alongside Diablo II : )
I loved The Sims 2, but I probably played The Sims 3 the most. What was great for me about The Sims 3 was that even though I was a co-lead designer and I knew so much about how the game operated and I had written so many of the designs, it still managed to surprise me time and again. My favorite aspects were the creative ones -- filling out a town with Sims that I'd made, painting screenshots on the easel from images I'd taken in game, writing novels and naming them, etc. I also loved the first expansion, "World Adventures" for the exploration aspects of going through tombs.
For least favorite, I would say the console games, just because I found the control schemes prevented me from becoming absorbed.
I played Sims games right up until I left Maxis in January of 2014. At that point, I basically devoted most of my free time to working on Merge Dragons. In fact, I have played what I would consider very few games since then, as I've put almost all my free time into developing Merge Dragons.
This is only true in a few parts of Africa. In most places, the hunting fees are far too low to cover the costs of protecting the hunting blocks from poachers, cattle herders, etc. The hunting blocks are typically rented out to individuals with close contacts inside the range-state governments. So the government "official" gets the money rather than the government agency that pays the rangers' salaries, etc. In short, the high idealism of sport hunting fails because of rampant corruption.
I've expressed this to both Tmartn, Tom, and other major players who don't properly explain that what they are putting out is a paid sponsorship or something they will profit from: IF YOU AREN'T UPFRONT ABOUT YOUR SPONSORSHIPS, YOU ARE LYING TO YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOU'RE BEING A DIRTY SHADY CUNT.
As far as accountability there is more and more these days. Will there ever be a perfect system...probably not. Will people still abuse it and try to sneak sponsorships, yes. The more mainstream Youtube becomes, the more governments have become aware and stepped in. I'm not a big believer in government restrictions, but when it comes to people being shady and lying to their audiences, I think those people need to be held accountable/penalized.
If you feel the other car may not be an actual cop, absolutely please call in. All our units advise us immediately that they are doing a traffic stop, for everyone's safety.
No. Funny thing, he actually gets a mention in my book in a chapter where Laird Hamilton talks about how Blaine said he could sit in a special ice-water contraption at Laird's place. Blaine said he could hang out in the tub of ice for 30 minutes. He lasted 5. Or so I was told.
Hey Phil! What do you consider the "biggest" backlash you got from one of your news videos?
How hard is it to understand people in a real state of panic? Do you have a standard procedure?
So statistically, only a small percentage of callers are found to be "too distraught" for us to get any info, meaning we should almost never be unable to get anything unless someone just hangs up/loses connection.
With that said, sometimes it is really hard! With background noise and crappy cell reception it's hard enough.. but add in panic and we have to ask people to repeat things all the time, unfortunately. We do have a protocol we have to follow to maintain our certifications, and it always starts with us confirming the address, phone number, and name. That way, if nothing else we know where to send units and can get info while they're on the way to reduce response time
17 minutes is a very long time. Though there is precedent among the freediving community (which uses a different method). I think the record is something like 22 minutes underwater. But that feat relies in part on the mammalian dive response which suppresses all sorts of bodily functions when in contact with cold water.
Then again, something like 320 free divers have died in the last few years. So there's that.
Imagine triangulating a cellphone signal is not as easy and quick as I imagine it to be.
You ever get chills doing something totally ordinary? Like maybe you're walking down the cold food aisle at the grocery store, get a chill, and then you're like "What the fuck?!"
"Unlike anything" may be a stretch, sure, and you can see my comparisons to other games in my response to /u/kaysea112 with similarities to Triple Town, Okami, Sims, and Bejweled/Peggle. The point is that it can't be summed up by saying "it's like game X, but with Y" because so much is different from what's out there.
Saying it adds "new features to the merge game template" is a little off base I think because merging is really the only similarity between Triple Town and Merge Dragons. It's kind of like comparing Duck Hunt to Modern Warfare because the main mechanic is shooting in both of them. Pretty much everything else is different.
For the past few years, the majority of my funding has come from National Geographic in the US, with additional funding from the National Research Foundation in South Africa.
During the fall semester each year, I teach at the University of Minnesota. For the rest of the year, I work with researchers and wildlife managers in various parts of Africa, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe -- I also advise various projects in Tanzania. This mostly means that i spend a bit of time with lions in the protected areas and the rest of each day working with people who spend all their time in the field.
A beautiful bastard named James, gave my father a kidney. This was after hundreds of people applied to get checked to see if they were a match for a transplant. I was emotionally blown away, and am still thankful and shocked to this day that people cared enough to help.
If you don't know my story, my father and I both have PKD, which slowly kills our kidneys. One day I'll have to be on dialysis and/or get a transplant as well.
Hi Phil, what was the most difficult story for you to cover on PDS?
Does it fail that often?
Not sure. Maybe a few months. I have been leaving a few months between platforms to gauge stability. I'm also aiming to finish translations for other major languages first.
Have you ever realized that if you made a nation out of the "nation", you would lead the 118th most populous country?
With that in mind, how would you rule your country?
And of course most importantly, who is the most beautiful bastard in the nation??
My five-year-old brother called 911 once because he saw a stray cat and he thought it looked hungry (he was sobbing on the phone hahaha). An officer came out and had a chat with him about when we call 911 about a real emergency and when we can just try to help stray kitties. It was sweet.
Anyway, what's your favorite (not sad!) little kid calling 911 story?
How do you test to see if you cultivated brown fat as an adult?
Thank you kaysea.
- The merging mechanic is similar Triple Town, though the similarity ends there.
- The feel of healing the world reminds me of Okami.
- They way the dragons run around and harvest things for you reminds me mildly of The Sims in that you've got a bunch of these little beings that seem to have their own agendas.
- The satisfaction of interacting with the game and touching the objects has a PopCap-like feel to it, and Peggle and Bejeweled have inspired me in many ways there.
You should get excited to play Merge Dragons because it's so different than anything else out there, yet so simple to pick up, that it will at least be an interesting 5 minutes for you in a way that will be oddly novel and satisfying (though if you get into it, it could be hours, days, etc). Personally, I love that the game is so much about discovery... it creates a lot of questions in your mind that drive you to want to keep going, and it also surprises you around various corners. Plus -- there's a dragon named McLovin'... how could you not want to try that : ) ?
However, if you're only into tactics games, or shooters, etc, and haven't ever really like any casual games, then maybe you won't enjoy this.
Usually the only cute ones we get are toddlers going "goo goo gaa" into the phone that they mashed buttons on, then their mother/parent saying "Hey, don't call them!" and hanging up
This is very hard to do. You need to get a PET-CT scan which basically means getting injected with a radioactive dye and being imaged at a hospital. I never directly imaged my own BAT, because the doctors said it wouldn't be ethical.
Hello Phil, what was you favorite Game, Movie and TV show of 2016?
I really wish you'd make a video about that every year because I do like your taste.
Do you ever accidentally slip into dispatcher mode when you're on a regular ol' personal call?
What has been your most difficult personal achievement to date? Physically, mentally, or both
Thank you for your letter! : )
A lot of the developers are into games with fantasy and medieval settings, and so it was something they'd been thinking about. However, I'm sure your letter was good validation that it was something players wanted : ) We liked to hang those letter up around the office.
Ha.. yeah, I do. Especially if I have to spell something over the phone, the phonetic alphabet comes right out
Going up Kilimanjaro was probably the most difficult physical thing that I've ever done. It really pushed me to my limit.
The Run With Scissors Playset remains my favourite Sims item to this day. The look of pure joy on their faces as they run around like loons, right up until the point of death... gets me every time.
Though I remember a lot of players at the time didn't get the joke and would complain that their Sims died "for no reason". Their loss. I thought it was great.
How do you feel about the Cecil shooting? All permits were in place for the shooter. What's your take on what happened?
What is the difference of the YouTube community from 10 years ago to now? (i.e. knowing all the top people or there being a lot less before and a lot more now)
What's your reaction/thoughts on callers who use phonetic alphabet?
Does it happen often or is it rare?
My family complains when I turn down the heat because I am hot all the time. They claim it's because my blood pressure is a bit high.
What is your blood pressure at?
Reminds me of how our most frequent support call was, "My Sims are speaking French, I can't understand them," and they thought they'd gotten the game in the wrong language. In fact, it was just Simlish.
BTW -- Art Vandelay! I loved your book on Venetian Blinds.
Who at Maxis is responsible for the character canon in The Sims and which characters cross over to new editions of the game?
Thank your for your clear and erudite answer.
Now, for a follow up? Who was to blame? I think the dentist did his due diligence. Also? I heard the lion in question was lured from the park and shot on ground that was, in fact, legal.
I understand that it's murky. I want and respect your opinion. You know more than I do.
Which phonetic alphabet do you guys use?
We call it the "Law Enforcement Phonetic Alphabet"
Adam, Boy, Charles, David, Edward, Frank, George, Henry...
instead of the Military version or the Greek Alphabet
Yes. I guess I was focusing on other things. I probably should have though.
What happens if the caller doesn't speak English? How many languages are supported by the 911 dispatchers?
What tips do you have for dealing w/ failure?
What books do you recommend?
How do you set your goals?
It's certainly possible. The most important things are to be able to think critically about games, and if possible prove that you can make/design them (by doing it as a hobby). Not having a degree may stop you from getting to an interview sometimes, but once you get an interview, degree is mostly irrelevant for design, production, and art, and more important for engineering.
You may want to check out a post I wrote about getting into game design: http://www.raymazza.com/game-design/breaking-into-game-design
The biggest threat, ultimately, is rapid human population growth across Africa == by 2050 population density in much of Africa will be similar to India today. Lions need vast tracts of land -- and open areas outside the parks are disappearing fast while the parks themselves tend to be underfunded.
Sport hunting could only make a difference if it raised about twenty-times as much money per square mile. Lion conservation costs about $2,000 per square kilometer, and lion hunting seldom generates even a third as much -- and in many places, hunting only generates $20-100 per sq km.
This could either be achieved by greatly increasing the fees per client or making it much more difficult to actually shoot a lion -- most lions are shot at baits and outfitters practically guarantee one lion per client. If only 1 in 20 were successful, a lot more revenue would be generated. So big changes would be necessary.
Whats nice about my audience is that for the most part everyone is really nice and respectful. No one has ever threatened/harassed me IN PERSON or done anything negative on purpose when they meet me. Worst case, you have someone who is just very very excited and isn't equipped for that social situation, so they shut down or get a little bit weird/have no sense of personal space/get a little stalky at events like Vidcon. I'm a weird awkward anxious person, but I have years of faking being a socializing normie though, so I am as helpful/respectful as possible.
I attribute this to my audience being a bit older and mentally mature compared to many other youtube audiences/fandoms. Also that when I share my opinions most know I open to a conversation or debate on the topic and don't think of myself as infallible.
We use a translator service, like as a 3-way call, to speak with non-English speaking callers
Some dispatch centers will let you speak another language with callers, some won't, it's an issue of liability. If you "know" Spanish and mess something up, it's on you. If you use the translator service, it isn't your fault if there's a mistranslation
So glad that you asked this. I talk about this concept a lot. I never start anything without first understanding that there is a chance that I'm going to fail. Indeed, I prepare for it. It is much healthier to understand that not everything works out and to expect it, so that in the end if things go well you can be pleasantly surprised.
A friend of mine wrote a book called The Gift of Failure which I'd certainly recommend. I barely made it out of highschool and basically failed my way through middle school. I turned out ok in the end though.
Other books, well, there are just too many to write here. My favorite of all time is "Old Man and the Sea". I love Krakauer's "Into the Wild". And think I wrote a few good books along the way as well.
Did you work on Spore, and if you did, were you in the "Making Of Spore" Video or in the "How to build a better being" video?
Wow. "by 2050 population density in much of Africa will be similar to India today" seems insane. How did this get projected out? Was it sheer population growth historically that was projected out or is there some multiplier tied to things like increased industrialization? Thanks!
Cool. Have you personally had non-english callers?
Does Kilimanjaro in fact rise like Olympus above the Serengeti?
Nope, I did not work on Spore. That mostly took place in our Emeryville studio. I worked in the Redwood Shores studio. Originally Maxis was in Walnut Creek, CA, then shortly after EA bought them the studio split in two, and the Sims portion went to Redwood Shores, and Will Wright went to Emeryville with Spore.
You've talked recently about wanting to create a news network, any new developments or ideas in that regard?
Is 911 the best number to call for non-emergency traffic situations?
For instance, after a windy night, when a tree branch is blocking a traffic intersection? I'm sure there is a city service for this, but if i notice while i'm driving i may not have those phone numbers handy.
If you had to launch a 90kg projectile 300 meters, which medieval siege weapon would you use?
I don't know, but I would guess they have their fundamental differences.
I'm not sure I understand your question. Can you clarify?
There are a few things in the way right now. Current legal/contract obligations and to do what I REALLY REALLY want to do, I will need full creative control, investment AND it has to be money from someone that doesn't want to control the "angle" of the network. Someone who just believes in me and what I want to do.
There are more independents and moderates than ever. Everyone goes left or right because often emotions control views, but I want to showcase what both sides are saying and let people come to their own conclusions.
TLDR: Worst case, ask me again next year ;)
You can call State Highway Patrol or go ahead and call 911 and we can transfer you or advise them ourselves
This has got to be a trick question. Of course I'd be using a trebuchet. I'm not sure what other medieval siege weapon would be capable of such a feat.
Hey Phil! I've been a fan since I was 11-12 (I'm 18 now) and I'd like to ask you-
How do you feel about the fact that you've had fans that have been watching you all of their lives growing up?
How do you feel or did you ever realize you've helped shape people's adolescence?
When there's a fire/accident/crime on/near a major road do you receive several dozen calls for it? How do you handle that, as in do you tell them that there are units responding and try to free up the line as quickly as possible or do you continue to ask them for information?
What was the reaction of your guides on Kili when you told them you were climbing shirtless? They probably thought you were some crazy muzungu trying to kill himself.
Nope, but I know that Maxis still has its share of Sim Tower enthusiasts : ) Maybe one day they'll make another!
Oh yes. Ohhhhh yes.
And yep, we tell them "we have received reports, units are enroute" and document the call. Unless the original caller gave very little info and the new caller says they are on scene at the accident or were involved or something and we can get more info from them
Yes. I open up the book with one such interaction with a guide telling me to put a shirt on. I didn't.
What are some of your favorite youtubers you watch for nonbiased news?
I saw on a tv show this guy was getting home invaded, and he called 911 and tapped SOS in morse code into the phone to avoid making any sound
Does this happen? And if it were to happen would you be able to follow thru?
What are the benefits of a cold shower after sport? Is it that good for the body ?
I can't remember which Beta you're referring to, but it's likely because a lot of a Sims game pulls together at the last minute as everything starts working in harmony since there are so many interconnected pieces.
There were no devastating office fires in my time there, though a toaster caught on fire once : )
It's always a tough situation when it comes to exotic animals -- lions are just too dangerous!
I don't watch others on youtube for nonbiased news. I do tune in to see what their left/right opinions are. Its why I will check in to see what TheYoungTurks, HuffPo, Breitbart, and The_Donald are saying about a topic.
You can't really have a productive conversation with people if you aren't listening to whats being said.
If we get a call and nobody says anything, we are going to send law enforcement regardless of anything else. It may just be a hang up, it may not.
I personally would probably recognize the S-O-S pattern, but we aren't trained in Morse code or anything, it would just be from seeing it in movies
There is a lot of contradicting research about cold showers after sport. In my experience though, it releases endorphins and feels like it speeds recovery. When I did the training with Brian Mackenzie and Laird Hamilton, they advocate cold plunges DURING exertion. And I think that has an even more powerful effect.
What country/regions are they faring the best? Which areas are they doing the most poorly? Are there any diseases that you are really worried about? I've seen some with terrible flies on them, is that condition normal? Are their numbers down greatly and if so are their prey populations growing? Are other apex predators taking their place? What's the overall effect of reduced lion populations on their ecosystems?
Hey Phil! Thanks for doing this AMA.
Is there anything about the Youtube creator community most people don't know about?
Is there something someone could do to very quietly notify you they're in trouble other than just a hang up?
What scares you? I hear Philippe Petite is afraid of spiders and snakes.
One of my favorite novels is The Fountainhead. For some reason, I couldn't get into Atlas Shrugged, but it may be time to try again?
What Happened to the podcast? Do you not post it to soundcloud anymore?
If you have to do the pizza order thing, how can you discreetly inform the dispatcher it's not actually a mis-dialed pizza order?
SimCopter lived in a different universe of Maxis than me, so I don't know anything about it. I'm glad to hear it still has fans though!
I think you're pretty great at interviewing, can we see more of this in the future?
Don't they talk about that in training at all? I feel like that is a pretty well known ruse that you would at least be told to ask if they are aware they are calling 911 before hanging up.
Hi Craig! What is your favorite lion of all time? Have you ever thought about combating lion poachers first hand by creating a rogue force? If so, please IM me- #JusticeforCecil
As a youtube OG how do you feel about how youtube treats it's content makers and it's viewers?
How much do you want to punch your coworker when they suggest it might be a quiet shift?
How difficult was it for you to learn how to control your body temperature? If someone was interested in learning this themselves how should we go about doing that?
As for saving lions, there are almost no lion "poachers" -- people kill lions that have attacked their families of livestock, so they are trying to protect themselves and their property. The best solution is to build wildlife-proof fences wherever possible so as to protect people from lions and eliminate the need for retaliation. Where fences can't be built, it is important to help local people improve their livestock husbandry.
They do an okay job. Their main problem in my opinion is communication, internally and with creators. Example: There were people in the organization who didn't realize Youtube Heroes was a program that was launching, until they saw my video on it.
I think as long as they realize this flaw and actively work on it, we are headed in a good direction. Sometimes the only way to get them to notice/respond is to make videos complaining, which I hate. It makes us seem like angry spoiled children, when we're really just contractors looking for answers from a company that isn't always the most forthcoming.
The trick isn't so much about controlling your body temperature--as in consciously raising and lowering it without an external stimulus--rather becoming resistant to the environment that your body encounters. Acclimation is a fairly speedy process when you are dedicated to it. When I first stood in the snow in bare feet it hurt like hell and I had to quit in 5 minute. The next day I stood there for 10 minutes before the same panic set in. On the fourth day I was there for an hour. By the end of the week I climbed up a snowy mountain in Poland in just a pair of shorts and boots.
First: I called 9-1-1 when I was a kid, I can't remember why. It was me being dumb and wanted to see if I could hang up right after dialing and not get caught. I got caught (obviously). I've always felt guilty about that.
Second: I called 9-1-1 only 1 other time and that was because I suspected (correctly) my mother was being physically abused by her boyfriend. This was 7 years ago. I was spurred into action when I heard her in the other room say "Stop it, you're hurting me! Let me GO!" I straight up bolted out of the house and called on the land line. To me it sounded like the dispatcher was trying to not send a unit out and asked multiple times "did you only hear it, or actually see the abuse?" Is there some kind of rule regarding suspicion of domestic abuse? Also, the next thing that happened was she said that she would forward our report to the sheriffs office, then she hung up. about 10 minutes later I got a call from the sheriff and he showed up. Was it incorrect for her to get off the line in a situation like that? Thanks for all your hard work!
Don't you fear a serious cold which could end in your death when you decide not to wear a shirt while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro? Can you control your body climate only through your exercise? When I do so, I begin to sweat and soon after I begin to get cold/freeze. How do you mange it?
First, I'm sorry that happened and I hope she is in a better situation
Second, it sounds like that dispatcher was not doing their job correctly. Could have been a lack of training, or they were just disgruntled, etc. Either way, no, we are trained to take every call seriously and at face value. You say you're being attacked, we tell the police you're being attacked, it isn't our call to decide differently.
I didn't get sick going up Kili, and I think part of the beauty of environmental conditioning is that it builds up an internal resistance not only to the elements, but also ramps up the immune system. While it doesn't make someone impervious to the elements (you can certainly push too far) it adds resistance. I exercise outdoors all the time and am usually sweating in the snow, not shivering.
- What is the weirdest non-emergency you ever answered to?
- Ever happened that someone asked for food or groceries because they were literally starving? I once read this article and wondered how frequently something like this happens
I come from the swimming sport - and I was trained wrong. I was pushed and pushed and pushed and I failed in getting faster, because my pulse was beating to hard and I've got always a red head. Now is it when I swim I'm sweating in the water and later on I need about 30 mins to get dressed again, due to that sweating.
Weirdest thing: one lady said she saw a puma with a bald head cross the road... Surprisingly, responders could not locate it.
I've never had someone actually say they were starving, but we do have social services resources for both adults and children if something like that were reported to us
Last time I called 911 was two years ago when I found that my roommate had hanged himself. Police were at my door in under 2 minutes.
What is the step by step process that goes into a call like that? All I remember is they asked me, "Can you confirm he's dead?" At which point I started screaming and crying. Then someone was at my door.
What are your thoughts on oatmeal cookies?
We will send EMS and Law Enforcement and probably first responders no matter what you say in that situation, and they will come as fast as possible unless you tell us certain things (like his head is off, he is already decomposing, etc) that we call "unequivocal death" meaning there is no doubt he is deceased.
I called 911 when I spotted a butt naked man walking down the street at midnight. It was hard for me to not laugh as I called 911. The poor dispatcher seemed confused, asked me to repeat myself several times then, I swear I heard, a little chuckle. What is the funniest call you have received? (The situation ended up being pretty serious. The guy had some sort of nervous breakdown and was convinced God had told him to commit suicide by walking himself to death. He was also my neighbor who lived across the street but I didn't know it at the time.)
What are the health effects of this practice? How do you feel in comparison to before you began studying this method?
Oh geez, yeah that's not funny at all in the end!
I mentioned in another comment that a caller called 911 to say two "crackwhores" had stolen his wallet and not had sex with him after he solicited them, so he got ripped off and robbed.
We asked their names. His answer?
Crackwhore 1 and Crackwhore 2.
My ability to metabolize fat changed radically after 6 months of training (I measured it). I also have a lot less fear about the cold. I thrive in it.
How do I report a dispatcher? There was an Uber driver outside my house that wouldn'y leave after I accidentally mentioned I would be home alone for a few days. He was banging on the windows and trying to find a way in. When I called the dispatcher it was this very unpleasant and unprofessional woman who kept asking if I had ordered the Uber driver. Ultimately I ended up flashing my airsoft gun in the dark with my hand over the orange tip, so it looked like a real MP5k to scare him away. When I told the dispatcher he left she threatened to have me fined and charged for prank calling 911.
Opinion on thelegend27?
Call back and ask for their shift supervisor to file a report. If that doesn't work, speak with the county manager!
I bet I could beat her in Dota.
Would you ever have a lion as a pet and how easy/hard would it be to take care of one if possible?
Have you ever met a person featured on your show as douche bag of the day or Bamf of the day irl, and if so, what was the interaction like?
How do you know exactly when I am ready to dig into my meal or take off my boots? Are there cameras in our station so you know the worst possible moments to tone us out? Do my sacrifices to the dispatch gods get seen, or should I just stop doing them all together?
In all seriousness, we love our dispatchers (most of them anyway) and really appreciate hearing 'stay safe' from time to time.
EDIT: Huh, this blew up. Thank you for the gold and kind words below. From the EMS community to you, PLEASE STAY SAFE THIS NEW YEARS! If you think about it and have the ability to do so, send a thank-you note to your local EMS station during this busy time of year. It'll mean more than you probably ever know.
This is actually about your other book, The Red Market (hope that's ok - I found it fascinating!). I recently read that self-driving cars will directly impact organ donation in the U.S., because it will reduce highway fatalities (and thus reduce the number of healthy organs donated). Do you think this might give way to a less ethical organ procurement process in the U.S. such as you saw overseas?
Lions should never be treated as pets. Once they grow up, they are far too dangerous and will have to be put down.
Yeah, Joey Salads. Awkward, but I stood by my opinion. I try to give people a chance, but if you're a cunt, you're a cunt. The time I saw him was after he did the fake muslim vs christian bomb prank. I haven't seen him in person since he posted that video where faked a group of black guys destroying a trump car. I think the guy is a straight up scum bag, but I believe he legitimately thinks hes a good person.
We usually try to hold all pages until lunch time, dinner time, and the middle of the night, so it's good to hear we're being effective :)
Thank you, truthfully, for what you do :) The gods are pleased
Very interesting. I think it probably will, however since most organ donors drive motorcycles, we probably have a little ways to go before those go self driving.
That said, after reporting on organ trafficking for 6 years or so, I am VERY hesitant to sign up to be an organ donor in America. There is simply too much profit in the American medical system for me to trust the intentions of a hospital that can make upwards of $250,000 selling my body parts. The entire system needs reform and transparency.
What's the craziest call you've ever gotten? What's the dumbest call you've ever gotten?
Do you meditate regularly?
"Her vagina done fell out" ranks as one of the strangest complaints we've gotten....
I had a call a few months back from a woman saying her neighbor's house was in flames. Turns out it was the sunset reflecting off the windows. (PSA please always call if you think there's a fire, we just might laugh a bit later if it's something like this)
I do the breathing method almost every morning with my wife.
It's pretty ballsy calling yourself the 'world's authority' of anything. Who appointed you? You have some sweeping generalizations about hunting... As a scientist I would have expected more precision in your responses.
Crunchy peanut butter or smooth?
Do you get annoyed at people calling about petty things? like dogs off the leash or personal disputes?
Hey Scott, I can't wait to order and read your book. I've been really fascinated with Wim Hof for the past year since I first saw his VICE documentary, and have been doing his method the past few weeks because it's freezing where I live right now. And the breathing and cold showers have been doing a pretty good job of making it more bearable.
Anyway, Wim Hof was on Joe Rogan's podcast for the second time a few months ago, and Joe called bullshit on you being able to do 80 breathless pushups in a row. Did you see the interview? Are you ever going to make a video to refute him then send it to him?
Also, though I believe heavily in Wim's abilities, in the spirit of what he's doing, and in his abilities to teach his method to others, are there any specific parts of his methods or ideas you feel are deserving of criticism, or at least closer scrutiny?
Thanks for your time, good luck with your book sales!
I agree that it sounds presumptuous, but that's how everyone introduces me wherever I give public presentations on lion biology and lion conservation. I guess it's because I've been studying lions for nearly 40 yrs and have written over 100 scientific papers on lions -- as well as two books. I've also written a number of papers on the population impacts of trophy hunting -- which is complicated in lions because the males play an important role in lion society. If you shoot a male elk or impala, you've only removed a single individual from the population -- the male doesn't do anything to protect his wives or children. But a male lion is someone's daddy -- and once he is removed from a pride, a replacement male will come in and kill his cubs. So lion hunting can have serious repercussions for the population as a whole. Our research confirmed that lion hunting has been excessive in many parts of Africa, likely contributing to population decline in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana at some point over the past 20 yrs. As a result, various African countries have passed regulations that restrict hunting to lions older than 6 yrs of age (thus minimizing the impacts of subsequent infanticide) -- but government corruption is so bad in a few countries that the age minimum is not strictly enforced. If you'd like to read about all this in more detail, you could check out my book, Lions in the Balance, which is available on Amazon, or look for some of my scientific papers which are posted on the Lion Research website at the University of Minnesota.
Heres the deal...it doesn't matter. Some people like crunchy peanut butter and others prefer being HORRIBLE MONSTER CREATURES! To each their own.
We get a little annoyed, we joke about it, we make sarcastic comments after we hang up with the caller... but we still advise our units of every single one! We take your life and safety seriously, even if you're being a little silly or petty :)
Hey there. Yes indeed! The vice doc was amazing. I even get name checked in it. I think they read my Playboy piece and then sent out a reporter. And I'm glad they did. The doc was absolutely epic.
I've been waiting for Rogan to reach out to me. He DID call bullshit and I'd love to set things straight. I'll make a video at some point, though I usually don't do the breath-in breathing method that lets me hit 80 pushups. Instead I focus on doing 50-breath-out pushups in my morning routine.
The reason for this is that breath-in retention power pushups will let a person do a lot more sheer-number of exercises, but carry a lot higher chance of passing out. I know from experience that 80 is my absolute limit and have passed out a few times after I hit that number. I didn't think that would make a compelling video.
In terms of scrutiny, I absolutely think that we should remain skeptical of the claims of the WHM and focus on the science and on results. There's no reason to claim it can cure cancer if we have no evidence of that. That said, there's no reason to NOT do the method if you have an illness as long as you are still doing the correct medical protocol.
Hi Phil! I'm Gordon and I've been a beautiful bastard of the nation since 2009! You've helped me grow up with a better perspective on things and I'm thankful for that! Now for my question:
What happened to the monkey intro? Is it ever going to come back?
I called 911 once because there was a fuck-ton of smashed glass on the highway that everyone was going slowly around (I think it fell off a trailer or something). Was that something I should have done?
I cut it and don't see it coming back soon. The inclusion of an intro actually seemed to hurt video views. Jumping into the story/content as fast as possible helped our watch-through rate, which in turn boosted my videos in the youtube algorithm. Youtube rewards videos that keep people watching longer on youtube.
PS. Thanks for being a beautiful bastard and not running away :)
Sure! In my area, we would send the fire department to go clean it up so it doesn't cause an accident
You know Linz clogged before Trey & marriage, right? You can stillview her older vlogs on her old channel- I'd love to know though if anyone ever recognises him as Lindsay Defranco's husband 😁
Something I've always wondered: can you get an address/gps location without having to speak to the caller? For example, say I call 911 on my cell phone and just put it in my pocket without saying a word; can you find me?
For a second I thought clog was a weird sexual term and I was like, "WTF YOU SAY ABOUT MY WIFE MATE?!"
If it comes from a landline, we get a location that is reliable in most cases
If it comes from a cellphone though, we might get a location within 30 yards...or we might never get an automatic GPS location (called a "phase 2" plot) which means we have no idea where to send them
Hi Phil! I admire your empire :)
How did you originally start promoting your content & what was your tipping point towards becoming a huge YouTuber?
What is the worst call that you have ever faced?
We had video responses back in the early days of Youtube. On top of making rant videos about news topics, I would make parody's/video responses to whatever was trending on Youtube's homepage. Also putting a very attractive girl in the thumbnail aka clickbaiting supercharged my early growth. Clickbaiting back then was the only way to compete with all the other people out there who were just buying views from click farms.
Whats funny is now I get fewer views if there are boobs in the thumbnail, so my thumbnails often include my stupid face FRONT AND CENTER.
I don't know if there was ever a tipping point though. I was a slow grower.
Last winter, I took a call from a guy who says he was going to shoot himself, and then he did it while I listened. The silence after that gun shot was... heavy
Do you think there are still avenues and ways for aspiring creators to "hit it big" on YouTube anymore?
The reason I ask is because it seems like a lot of the guys that are getting big nowadays seem to be either heavily promoted by already popular YouTubers, or they randomly have a fluke video go viral.
i am sorry for having to listen to that! did they take you off work and give you counseling for it?
Its possible without help, but it is far far far more probable if you have help. Its one of the reasons I do TodayInAwesome and consistently check my subreddit to see if the community found something awesome I can share with my larger audience.
They always offer counseling after major incidents, and it's an available resource any time we want it. I didn't take it after that call
My sister was being attacked by her boyfriend and called 911 and he hung up the cell phone. The dispatcher called back and spoke with the boyfriend and told her it was fine, she believed him because he said he was a paramedic and hung up and no help was sent. Is that normal to take ones word for it when there is a person yelling for help in the background or did the dispatcher drop the ball? How much of your job is based on judgement vs. protocol?
I've joked about it before, but I feel like I can do more good out of office. That said...DEFRANCO 2024!! :-p
No no no no! Bad dispatcher!
If someone says they're being attacked, the proper response is to send law enforcement and EMS and let them sort it out. We as dispatchers should never, ever make decisions like that.
The only time we don't send EMS is if the victim declines it. If someone says they were being attacked, there's no way in hell we would cancel law enforcement. Even if the victim is just making it up to get someone in trouble, that's not our judgement call to make, that's for the officer/deputy who responds.
I'm genuinely, earnestly sorry that was handled so poorly, and I really hope your sister is okay and in a better situation.
Do you keep making money on videos even after you post or like 1yr old videos?
Have you ever had anyone call you up to admit to a crime and summon the police?
We do, but it is far less because most of my views come from the first 36 hours it is up. In fact if it doesn't get shared somewhere, 1/2 the views usually come from the first 3-5 hours.
We do get people wanting to turn themselves in for outstanding warrants. I did have a guy report that two "crackwhores" had stolen his wallet after he solicited them... genius
Interesting. Are you able to share what those people turned themselves in for and why? Or is it confidential?
And another question: Let's say I broke into a building and its alarm system goes off. Does it call a security company that then call you?
It varies, I think the last one was for receiving stolen goods if I remember.
Yep! It triggers the alarm company who then call us and then we dispatch
What do you think the impact of "fake news" will be in 2017? Do you think "common sense" will prevail?
Is it difficult for you to detach emotionally once you know there's nothing more you personally (or anyone if that's the case) can do for the caller?
Common sense prevail? No. Humans more often than not are controlled by their emotions over logic. But as long as we can continue to grow the number of involved, interested, and open people I will take that as a win.
It is easier for me then some of my peers for whatever reason. I just don't get very emotionally invested unless it's someone I know or care about. I know it sounds very heartless, but I'd argue it makes me better suited because even seasoned veterans in this job can get a horrible call and freeze up... and that's when things go really wrong
How many times would you get a call concerning someone you know or care about? I can't imagine that happens very regularly.
Watched? Probably the TMNT parody on WoodRocket. I covered it on the show. As far as in actual consumption, its pretty tame; asian granny choking cake farts. Obviously...
Thankfully not! It hasn't happened to me yet (fingers crossed) but I have gotten calls about people I am familiar with or acquaintances
How do you decide when you should stay on the call instead of just take the call and dispatch and then disconnect?
It's kind of a hard thing to put into words, sometimes you just get a feeling like "hey, those background noises are weird" or " this caller's voice sounds scared even though she says she's fine".
Other times, the caller themselves asks you to stay on, especially with some bad medical calls
Please call if you need to test the system! For landlines, we are supposed to get an accurate, automatic location, but it's technology and things do go wrong
When calling 911 as an adult, what are the most important pieces of information that you, as the dispatcher, need and what is the preferred order? Does any of that change for teaching children? For example, if I was talking to a child about calling 911, what should points should I stress?
Location, first and foremost.
Then your phone # in case we get disconnected.
Then what is going on/what's the emergency
I know it seems like we should ask the emergency first, but if we get "he's on fire" and no location, then we can't send help, but if we get a location and nothing else, we can still send responders.
I can't believe I haven't seen anyone ask this but what is the pay like?
MOst areas you probably start around $30k-$35k, but for big metro areas, I'd be surprised if it wasn't closer to $40k starting out
What's your favorite call you've had? Weird, I know, but something you know had a good resolution that you helped achieve, I suppose, might be the best way to interpret that.
I gave CPR instructions for a 3 month old girl who made it to the hospital because of it, that felt really good
Do you usually trace the callers location without explicit permission? I imagine it could save lives in case of kidnapping/hostage situations
We can have a cell traced but there is a process and it has to be done at the request of law enforcement under very specific circumstances
What happened to that whole being charged for calling 911 thing?
People still get charged, it just requires a pattern of behavior and calling for no reason at all/ every little thing.
In the day and age of cell phones I imagine many people do not know the address of where they currently are located. With a landline it could be easily traced to an address. How do you track a cell phone to a specific address?
It shows up as a little dot on our map and we look at the closest valid address and hope for the best
The last time I felt panicked, I was listening to a woman scream "god please let him start breathing"
If she had instead came back to the phone I could've talked her through CPR and maybe saved that guy
If I call in and once you answer I blurt out something like, "A minivan just ran off highway, rolled down hill, Highway X, mile marker Y, send help!" and immediately hung up or stuffed my phone in my pocket so that I could run and help, would that have been helpful or useless? Would I be better off standing there talking to you? Do you have everything I said on recording to go back and re-listen if I blurted too fast? Do you often replay recordings as part of a dispatch effort?
With the highway and mile marker we would send fire and ems immediately, and hopefully they would find the accident!
We can go back and re-listen, and we hope you are correct when you give us that info! Sometimes people say one location and really they are a few miles past it, it's just the last thing they saw
First off, good job for doing what you do and secondly I'm Dutch and not American so things most likely will be a bit different here. Do dispatchers ever try to keep you occupied if you call? Two years ago our chicken barn was on fire and I called the Dutch version of 911. I got the feeling they tried to keep me on the line just to prevent me from doing (possibly stupid or dangerous) anything.
Is that a thing that gets done or is there a big chance I imagined that?
If the dispatcher thinks the caller is in danger by staying on the line, they should tell them to put the phone down and leave the area if possible and get to a safe place.
If there is more information to be gained, or you might hurt yourself/commit suicide, we will try to keep you on as long as possible to help you until responders can find you
Have you ever taken a call from someone you know and how did it affect you having to listen to someone you know asking for help? Also did they recognize your voice or did you tell them it was you? Did they calm down if you did?
Thank the gods I have not yet had a call from someone I care about, but other people in the center have and it's horrible for everyone...
It can be pretty stressful sometimes, but where I work that tends to come in spurts. There will be periods where it's slow and we get a few calls in ten minutes maybe... then the next moment we have thirty units headed out on six calls all at once and things are just crazy.
The hardest part sometimes it's just having the 12 hour shifts and just being seated and indoors for that long, but people do burn out and get secondary PTSD from what we have to deal with :/
Is it ever OK to call 911 from your cell phone to make sure you are routed to the proper call center? I remember people being concerned about this early on but I don't know if it is still a problem.
Absolutely! Just please stay on the line and tell us why you called. Not every call center does this, but we send law enforcement to every 911 hang up, and your call comes through immediately after you hit send, so don't hang up, it wastes time :)
When I accidentally hung up on 911 they just called me back and had me report the accident I just saw all over again. You'd think the CAD would be able to say "this person just called and spent so long on the line with this dispatcher" but I guess it just sticks everyone in a queue and has someone call them back.
Not that I mind the diligence, it's good to know their standard procedure is actually to verify that the call I said happened did happen.
We will tell the responding officer "Joe Smith just called back and said it was a misdial/pocket dial" and it's then the officer's discretion to continue responding or not
I'm curious to get your opinion about a 911 call I made for something that I felt was an emergency: I was driving about 25 MPH towards a bridge that led to the freeway. As I merged into the left hand lane a bee flew into my truck and I swerved, almost hitting the car next to me and then came close to rear-ending the car in front of me.
After I stopped and rolled up my window I noticed a sign next to me on the median that was covered with a huge swarm of bees. There were hundreds of bees in the air and it was the kind of day where a lot of people had their car windows open. I felt it was a dangerous situation that was sure to cause an accident or worse, that the bees might sting someone who's allergic.
So I called 911 to report this road hazard and I was curtly told that 911 was for emergencies only and then they hung up on me. I was stunned because those bees needed to be removed ASAP. So who should I have called if not 911?
I would have called 911 in that situation too! I think if I got that call, I'd end up having to send Wildlife Enforcement because Animal Control really only does domestic animals like dogs and cats and farm animals. Yeah, that could cause wrecks though!
Am I supposed to call 911 if I suspect someone of drunken driving? Is that considered enough of an emergency?
Please do! Drunk drivers kill way too many people every year
How long have you dispatched? How often do people call by accident? What call turned out to be the most rewarding?
I've been with this agency for a few years now, almost five in total in the job.
Accidental hang up calls are and will always be our most common call, haha
Any time we guide someone through giving CPR and the patient survives is extremely intense and extremely rewarding because we literally just saved a life
Say I call in and can't speak for some reason: choking, held captive, etc
What should I do?
Try to keep the line open as long as possible and make whatever noise you can manage to let us know you're there.
So sometimes kids call 911 for funny reasons simply because they don't know any better or they perceive something to be more of a problem than it actually is (for example, "I need help finishing homework." Have you ever had calls like this and if so how frequently?
Haha, sometimes we get kids who "prank call" and call us names or swear at us (I had a kid say "crap you, you bastard" then hang up)
We send law enforcement :)
Ive always wondered if it is okay to call 911 to confirm an unmarked car pulling you over as an actual police person on duty. Is this allowed? I see so many unmarkes cars now that it could really be anybody posing as a police official.
As I told another caller, all our law enforcement units tell us as soon as they stop a car, and give a location, for everyone's safety. So if it's a legit car, we know about it and will confirm with you