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AuthorIamA Biochemist and author of The Secret Life of Fat, an exploration of your body's least understood organ. Ask me anything about fat or your favorite diet!

Jan 17th 2017 by SylviaTaraPhD • 35 Questions • 59 Points

We are three VO Actors:

Ashly Burch: Hey Ash Whatcha Playin?, Tiny Tina - Borderlands 2, Chloe Price - Life is Strange

TJ Storm: (our mocap guru) Colossus - Deadpool, Godzilla - Godzilla, Avatar, Decimus - Halo

Steve Blum: Wolverine, Lex Luthor - Infinite Crisis, Tank Dempsey - COD, Bob - Toonami, World Record for performing in the most number of video games

We're still striking, we're still here and we still believe that Game Performance Matters!

SAG AFTRA has put out three contracts: experimental, indie and AAA, that have now been signed by over a dozen game companies. We still want to create dialogue with the companies that refuse to negotiate. We had an original AMA, but there were still a lot of questions we didn't get to. We're here to talk about our stike, and anything else you guys think up.

ASK US ANYTHING

Proof:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GamePerfMatters/status/823988046617948160

Game Performance Matters Website

Corporate greed has put the brakes on some of your favorite games, hurting everybody on the team, help us tell them that performance matters to you!

EDIT: Since we're getting some questions that we responded to in the first AMA, there's a FAQ here as well: http://www.gameperformancematters.com/faq

EDIT 2: Everyone has to run to auditions, but we will be back with more VA and Mocap performers soon. We'll also check in through the next couple days to make sure we respond to the top voted questions. Please make sure you check out our FAQ at: http://www.gameperformancematters.com/faq

EDIT 3: THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

thanks to /u/maddking as our moderator

Q:

How do you feel about high fat diets like Keto or Paleo?

A:

So if you used a phased array could you make the lights rotate around the arena?


Q:

That exoskeleton looks really sleek. How much does the whole thing weigh?

A:

I'm from Ohio. How can we keep them from trying to pass bullshit legislation like they tried recently?

To be more specific, they wanted to select a fixed number of 'farmers' in the area and they would be the only sources allowed to supply the dispensaries. These farmers were pre-selected and were close to the group pushing the legislation. They would have been a legal, lawful monopoly and I can only imagine what the prices would have been.


Q:

What's your best tip for people so they avoid being in your previous situation entirely?

A:

Hi Scott,

I emailed you about something specific, and you gave me personal advice based on my situation and even monitored the flights for a little while to make sure I got the right price. That experience really stood out because I didn't even expect a response. You're absolutely amazing.

My question is, how are you able to keep a personal touch while probably getting hundreds of requests (if not more)?

Edit: also, do you see Sydney/Auckland flights being cheap any time soon? (From the east coast)


Q:

So, Steve, my man. How does it feel to be introducing brand new Dragon Ball material on Toonami again? =]

A:

I think they work, but, for me, they are too restrictive. I really like some carbs once in a while. I diet has to work for the long haul, so pick one you don't mind staying on for years. I also find keto diets to be less forgiving - if you go off for a few days you can regain weight very quickly.


Q:

Dude that's brilliant. We have done waves and other things like that, but with a section-entry UI, so the users could tell the program they were in section 101, for example.

A:

Not entirely sure, but not a lot


Q:

The answer to your question is to keep doing what you're doing. Ohio voters clearly thought that initiative was wrong for Ohio, so they voted it down, and in doing so, they sent a message that that type of a proposal isn't going to fly.

I can't imagine anyone would be foolish enough to propose the same thing again. MPP certainly took it into account when we worked with local activists to bring forward a medical marijuana initiative last year. We have never backed laws like the 2015 Ohio initiative, but we took extra precautions to ensure our medical initiative avoided that type of system. I imagine anyone who supports a broader adult-use initiative in the future would also take similar precautions. At least I would hope.

A:

Great question! My best tip would be to not bury your head in the sand and hope that the situation will go away. My initial student loan balance of $74k ballooned to $107k simply because I ignored the problem, stopped making payments, and let some of my loans slip into default. So I always encourage student loan borrowers to take action rather than let what happened to me happen to them. Perhaps that means switching to an income-driven repayment plan or putting student loans in deferment. Either of these options is better than ignoring the bills and missing payments. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. It only makes things worse.


Q:

That is so kind of you to mention, thank you!

Honestly, I just feel like if someone takes the time to write me, it'd be kind of a jerk move not to respond? Maybe I'm old-fashioned that way haha. But I feel like I owe it to people, especially all you early adopters who took a chance on this weird guy with some cheap flight list, you know?

In any case, so kind of you to mention and I really appreciate it :-)

It's true that there are now hundreds of emails a day, but in terms of how, lotsa caffeine, quick typing fingers, and a decent ability to multi-task.

Thank you again!

A:

S: Just like the good old days. Appreciate you tuning in. Only Toonami!


Q:

I keep reading about brown fat. Is that a real thing? can you really burn it off by being cold?

A:

Having them scan their ticket's barcode may be easier.


Q:

Would you completely remove the body parts that don't function properly and replace them with cybernetic parts if we had the proper technology?

A:

AZ voters quashed legalizing recreational use in November. I believe that part of the reason for its failure to pass was that even people who are pro-recreational did not like how the law was structured.

Is it better to pass an imperfect law and tweak later? or should the goal be to have a robust law pass which would require little to no changes after implementation from the get-go?

EDIT: grammar and adding a big Thank you! for taking the time to do this.


Q:

This is why I eat sugary foods, to help poor up and coming dentists pay off their loans. Not because I don't have self control. Not that.

A:

Where is your favorite travel destination that you only discovered after finding a cheap flight there?


Q:

What video game character(s) from the 16-bit era and prior would you like to do the voices for?

A:

brown fat is real, there's also beige fat. Brown fat burns energy for heat, white fat stores energy. It has been shown that cold exposure can increase activity of brown fat. Interested in a cold swim?


Q:

Yes, someone actually mentioned that to me last month and it's definitely something we should implement.

A:

Hell yeah


Q:

I think the AZ initiative would have lost even if every "pro-legalization" voter voted for it. It might have received 49.9% instead of 49.7%, but I don't think it'd have won. The reason it lost is because (1) there was a massively well-funded opposition (spent ~$6 million, which is maybe the second or third most ever spent against a marijuana initiative); (2) a lot of the media outlets were quite slanted in their coverage, including the AZ Republic, which is the largest media outlet in a state with few large outlets; and most importantly, (3) this was the first time it had appeared on the ballot and the media and voters were new to it. There had been no local legalization/adult-use efforts like there had been in CO, WA, CA, MA, etc.

I don't think there is any way to pass a "perfect law" because there is no such thing as a perfect law. It's far too complex an issue and there are far too many viewpoints on it to appease every single person. You also have to factor in the potential for passage. Is a ballot initiative really perfect if it is all but certain to fail?

What we have seen time and time again is that reform is an ongoing process, not a finite solution. As we have seen in Colorado, the initiative laid the foundation and improvements will continue to be made.

A:

haha - nice... fueling the economy one snickers bar at a time!


Q:

Ohhh great question! This is going to sound silly, but Milan. I had zero interest in going to Milan, until I found a nonstop flight there for $130 roundtrip. Who wouldn't go to Milan for $130 roundtrip??

Granted, I didn't spend a ton of time in the city itself (aside from seeing an AC Milan game), but there's so much magic in northern Italy. Took a train to hike Cinque Terre, took a train up to Lake Como for the day, even took a train out to the Italy/Switzerland border to ski the alps right by the Matterhorn. All on a whim! Likely never would've gotten to do any of that if not for the cheap flight.

EDIT: flights were NYC-Milan for $130 nonstop roundtrip. Sorry for ambiguity about origin before!

A:

A: Luca in Chrono Trigger S: I was Dhalsim in Street Fighter so... T: King Koopa


Q:

What is beige fat?

A:

We have done waves and other things like that, but with a section-entry UI, so the users could tell the program they were in section 101, for example.

I think this is one of the most innovative and clever apps I've seen in a very long time. Congrats man!


Q:

What is the best and worst part of your day that might come as a surprise?

A:

Has anyone followed that ~$6million money trail. That seems like a lot of money to piss away on something like this. I would guess that it might be possible that some if not a majority of it cam from those who profit off the black market, especially people south of the border there.


Q:

I'm super overwhelmed with all the options to repay federal loans (~$67,500 direct un/subsidized). I'm working in public service and currently qualify for the forgiveness program. What disadvantages are there to paying back the loans based on an income-driven plan or the public service forgiveness program?

A:

even took a train out to the Italy/Switzerland border to ski the alps right by the Matterhorn.

Cervinia-Breuil? How was it? Did you rent gear or bring your own? I'll be there in 2.5 weeks.


Q:

Hey guys! I've been curious about this. How do you guys work if you're sick? Like if your nose is congested, and you end up sounding nasally all day, what do you?

A:

Beige fat has potential to turn into brown fat. Exercise and cold exposure are triggers that can cause that to happen.


Q:

Thanks!

A:

The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. (I don't actually drink coffee). The worst part is not being independent. I need help with everything. With eating. Getting things. Not being able to go to the bathroom on my own.


Q:

They received a solid chunk of dough from a shady AZ-based pharma company that produces a deadly painkiller and is in the process of developing "pharmaceutical cannabinoids." https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/09/a-maker-of-deadly-painkillers-is-bankrolling-the-opposition-to-legal-marijuana-in-arizona/

A:

Yeah, there’s no doubt that the number of federal options is overwhelming and there’s not a ton of help on choosing the best one for you. But it’s great to hear you’re familiar with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF)! This program is one of the best deals out there. In order to receive full forgiveness on your eligible federal loans (and your Direct unsubsidized loans are eligible), you must complete 120 monthly payments (10 years) on an income-driven repayment plan and/or the Standard, 10 Year Repayment Plan.

So if you’re not already enrolled, getting onto an income-driven plan should be your first move. Counter-intuitively, you want to minimize the amount you pay when you’re pursuing PSLF because anything you don’t pay is ultimately going to be forgiven anyway. one of these plans is the first step. In addition, you must: Work in qualifying public service employment for at least 30 hours/week while making those 120 payments (sounds like you’ve got this covered). Completed the PSLF employer certification form for each employer during that 10 year period. You can find that here. Then, after you’ve completed 120 monthly payments, you can complete the forgiveness application!

Public Service Loan Forgiveness be a great option for public teachers, government workers, or non-profit employees who are struggling to repay their federal student loans. Doctors working in public hospitals can often take advantage of this program as well. You can learn more here.


Q:

that's the one! it's glorrrrious. i rented at a place in town. wasn't very pricey if i recall. doesn't seem worth the hassle to me to bring your own.

have a great trip!! if you are inclined hashtag any instagram photos #scottscheapflights so we can follow along and repost!

A:

A: If it's really bad, you have to call it. Because you don't want to mess up your voice OR get anyone else sick! TJ: For mocap, unless we're injured, we have to do it. Mo-cap studios are booked months in advance, there's a lot of money at stake for the companies. I've been injured and still had to perform. S: For fear of contagion, I generally stay home if it's bad. Sometimes I can record from home.


Q:

What is your view on crio lipolysis, the fat freezing body contouring?

A:

Which 4 books did you use and in what order? Did you have a history of programming? I'd love to know where to start.


Q:

How heavily involved in BMX were you at the time of your injury?

A:

Do you believe in legalizing other drugs or plants, such as psilocybin mushrooms or mescaline containing cacti?


Q:

Are you taxed on the amount that is forgiven? It still would be cheaper regardless but just curious if you should be saving for a lump sum to pay off.

A:

Ever managed to get a 100% discount? Did you then put on shades and say "looks like you got off... Scott free"


Q:

Hi guys! I'm really into voice acting for video games, so I'm pretty happy I got to this AMA early!

What was the weirdest thing you've had to say for a role? The one line or lines that really took you a moment to process?

A:

Fat when removed surgically has been observed to grow back without adding extra effort. Artificially removing fat has the same effect as dieting - our metabolism slows. It's been shown in a study that women who had fat removed from thighs, abdomen, gained fat back in the visceral area unless they added exercise 3x per week. You might as well do the hard work of removing fat the customary way, as you'll have to do that to maintain weight loss in any case.


Q:

For iOS pick up (1) book on learning Swift; (2) Big Nerd Ranch book on making "practice" apps with Swift. For Android pick up (1) book on learning Java; and (2) Big Nerd Ranch book on making "practice" apps with Java.

With those four books, you should have a very strong foundation for getting out to sites like StackOverflow.com and advancing from there.

A:

Pretty involved. It's all I did. I worked at a bike shop. I rode my bike every day with friends. Went on trips constantly to skate Parks or just looking for places to ride


Q:

MPP works exclusively on marijuana policy, so professionally I don't get into addressing those substances.

Personally, I believe the use of any substance should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal justice issue. I think all substances should be treated based on their relative effects and potent for harm. In other words, I don't think it's a legal-vs-illegal situation — it's a lot more complex with different approaches to different substances.

A:

Good news, you don’t have to pay any taxes for loans forgiven under PSLF! You only have to pay income tax on loans forgiven through an income-driven repayment plan (which also only grant forgiveness after 20-25 years depending on the plan). So basically, if you didn’t claim your tax-free PSLF forgiveness after 10 years, you could continue paying for 20-25 years and receive taxable forgiveness. Needless to say, if you qualify for PSLF, this is a much better option.


Q:

Sheeeiiiitttt me at the airport IRL getting five-finger discount flights: http://giphy.com/gifs/deal-with-it-joe-biden-Me9HRX7wrTsKQ

A:

A: Basically every line I had to say for Tiny Tina. S: Having to articulate the thoughts of a landscape made of human feces. T: For a Spiderman game, the girl that was working with us that day was wrapped early, but she ended up having several more scenes. So I had to wrap tape around knees and put blocks of wood under my heels to simulate a woman in a pencil skirt in heels.


Q:

what is the biggest misconception about fat and people have about weight lost?

A:

how much time did you spend learning per day?


Q:

What was the biggest moment in recovery from the time you were injured until now?

A:

Thank you for doing this AMA.

My question involves workplace drug testing. As you know, many companies continue to do pre-employment drug testing as well as others who will also conduct random testing. In states where marijuana is legalized, we are still seeing that companies are not shifting their drug testing policies; they are still testing for and refusing to hire a person who has ingested a legal substance.

In my opinion, marijuana legalization will not be completely successful unless these policies are changed, and while Congress may be convinced to full legalization, I'm worried about the private companies who will continue to punish their employees for consuming marijuana, even if they do it off company time and do not show up to work high.

So my question is, what are MPP's ideas for changing the workplace drug testing policy?


Q:

I currently have 55,000 dollars of student loans. My interest is 6.75% and I feel like I just cannot make a dent. With a mortgage and car payments I just feel like this is impossible. Any advice?

A:

Why are there rarely great deals out of DFW?


Q:

Hi all! Steve - you are my favourite VA of all time, I always wondered tho, have you trained your voice to be this epic or is it your natural voice? And if you do train your voice, how do you do it?

A:

That once you get to your target weight you don't have to diet any more. Weight maintenance is almost as hard as losing weight to begin with.


Q:

About four hours, seven days a week, for six months. Then I spent the next few months with programming as my basically full-time job, so I was pretty immersed from the get-go.

A:

I've had a couple. When I was first injured I had actually no use of any my limbs. I was also on a ventilator. So I couldn't eat or speak. When I was finally taken off the ventilator and could eat again that was a pretty big moment. Then I slowly regain use of my left arm. Then seven months later came my right arm. And then three years ago I started regaining use of some of my left wrist


Q:

Our position is that employers should treat marijuana similarly to alcohol. Employees should not be punished for responsible off-the-job consumption that does not affect their work. Obviously there are some occupations out there that are more sensitive than others (pilots, electrical workers, etc.), but we already have public policies that address safety-sensitive occupations.

The question is how to bring about such policies. And it's worth noting that different states handle this subject in different ways. For example, some states have laws that prohibit employers from firing employees solely for engaging in a legal activity. Other states do not have such laws and allow employers to fire employees without cause. So it could be the case that this will not be handled as a marijuana-specific issue and just falls under other employment laws. But that's not to say it will result in the fairest outcome. Even in Colorado, which does have such a law that protects employees who engage in legal activities, the courts determined marijuana use is not covered because it is still an illegal activity under federal law.

This subject (employment) is NOT unique to marijuana. Dictating employment policies via public policy is always a politically sensitive subject. Lawmakers know it is touchy and so do advocates and political professionals who work on ballot measures.

That is why, ultimately, I think this is going to be an issue that gets sorted out culturally. It might get addressed legally at times, and we have seen employment protections included in some marijuana policy reforms. But overall, it is just going to be a matter of time before more laws change and the public's attitude changes. For the same reason that most employers would not want to fire good workers (and then recruit and train replacements who may not be as good/experienced) simply for legally using alcohol while they're off the job, most employers are not going to want to go through all of that for employees who legally use marijuana off the job. It simply is not good for business.

The problem is that we still have a lot of people out there who still believe a lot of the old reefer madness and actually think a marijuana user is unfit for employment. But people's attitudes are changing and as the old guard is replaced by people who have more modern views on marijuana, businesses will voluntarily change their policies. Changes in marijuana's legal status will help too — there are surely employers out there who don't care so much about marijuana as they do about having a "lawbreaker" on the payroll. And keep in mind that larger companies with offices/locations in multiple states might want/need to treat all of its employees equally, so they might not make these changes until marijuana laws change in all of those states. Or possibly not until there are federal changes.

When it comes to our work, we want to promote the fairest policies possible. But sometimes it is clear that putting something in a bill or initiative re: employment policies will all but guarantee it's failure. If we believe that will be the case, we oftentimes keep measures silent on the subject because we know it will be something that gets addressed quicker if we make progress. If our goals are to end prohibition and protect employees' rights, but it's clear that including the latter will doom both goals, then it makes sense to address the former. It will then be much easier to address the latter.

A:

Hi, and thanks for your question! If those $55,000 are federal student loans, you’ve got plenty of options for reducing your payments while you focus on other debt like that mortgage. One of the best choices may be to look into income-driven repayment plans. These are a set of plans available for federal loans that will set your payments to be in line with your income, rather than using your loan balance as a basis.

I actually was enrolled in one of these plans while I was struggling to juggle all of my debt. You can read more about them here and calculate your potential payments using these calculators. I hope this helps!


Q:

The stupid AA monopoly there :-(

I wrote up a longer explanation here but the tl;dr is that the American Air monopoly in DFW prevents more airlines from competing on price, so fewer opportunities for cheap flights, mistake fares, etc.

A:

S: It's the only thing I know how to do. I'm terrible at brain surgery.


Q:

People always talk about a body set point with weight. Is there such a thing? How does this impact this conversation?

A:

cool. any tips on staying motivated and getting disciplined?


Q:

Just how close are we to having an ironman suit?

A:

What can I do to legalize marijuana? How can I help? Who can I contact, and what should I ask them? I live in NC.

Edit: added details.


Q:

This one is for Steve:

I'm a moderator over at /r/CODZombies, and I think there is one question on all of our minds over there.

Do you, personally, hope that Tank Dempsey return, or is this it for him?

Love your work man!

A:

Yes, there is such a thing as body set points. A lot of research has been done on this at Columbia and University of Vermont. Your body likes to stay at it's stable weight. The setpoint can be changed, but it takes a great deal of effort and a long time.


Q:

For me, it's always just been a lot of pressure I put on myself. I want to succeed so that this pressure will finally go away. Me_irl.

A:

That information is classified


Q:

Most importantly and at the most basic level, you can talk about the issue, starting with the people closest to you and working your way out to the people furthest from you. Talk to your family members and friends. Make sure they know this issue is important to you and let them know why. I also strongly encourage you to begin by making sure they understand marijuana is a less harmful substance than alcohol — this is a critical fact that many people still don't know. In the case of opponents, people are more likely to reconsider their long-held beliefs if they are approached by somoene close to them, as opposed to being handed a flyer or seeing an ad.

As for taking things to the next level, find out what's happenign your state. You can do this on our website at https://www.mpp.org/states Find out if there is good or bad marijuana legislation on the agenda this year and then be sure to contact your state legislators about it.

You can also take action at the federal level by contacting your U.S. rep and senator — https://www.mpp.org/federal

Look around online to see if there are any local organizations that have already been formed to work on this issue in your state or city. If there are, try reaching out to them to see how you can get involved.

A:

We hear about a lot of problems with servicers. And we did see the news that came out yesterday about Navient. We’ll be covering this on our blog along with what borrowers can do. If you’re having problems, see here for where you can go to report the issues and potentially find help.


Q:

Ahhh hopefully this year, but lemme explain a bit more about why I haven't started doing domestic US deals yet.

Flights to Europe typically cost $900. Many of the flights I'm able to find and send out cost $400. Savings: $500.

Domestic flights vary significantly by routing, but typically are $350 or less. Let's say you're flying JFK-LAX. Typically $350. A really good price for that route would be like $225. Savings: $125.

Obviously nice to have those savings, of course, just not nearly as much on an absolute level, you know?

A:

I always hope... BANG!!! Explodes in a red mist


Q:

Anytime I try a calorie-restrictive diet, I get irrationally angry, and tend to lash out at those around me. How do I avoid this?

A:

The only question that actually matters: do you indent with tabs or spaces?


Q:

oh hey, I saw your post earlier, and I've been waiting for this AMA since then, would you mind telling me what company made that exoskeleton and how much does it costs?

A:

I support legalization, but I don't want to do it on the grounds that it is more or less harmful than a legal substance, because that would set the wrong precedent for ending all drug prohibition. It's a matter of personal freedom to commit a victimless crime, not an issue of what is better of worse for your body.


Q:

Can you explain in layman's terms what you do to reduce the student debt of individuals?

A:

Hey Scott, love the free emails! I signed up last time I saw you in here and I've already booked two flights to Europe for this year! I was wondering if there'd be a way to filter the emails so that I only receive them if they contain an airport around me? It's really disappointing to see an awesome deal on a flight I'd love to book, only to see that the closest airports are 10 hours away.

Thanks for doing this!


Q:

Fine, I'll say it.

Hey Ash, whatcha playin'?

A:

I tried intermittent fasting where you are only restricting calories for part of the day and not all of it. First month or so was tough, but it got easier to where it doesn't faze me much.


Q:

100% tabs

A:

I'm not exactly sure on cost but here's the website


Q:

Fair enough. Please note I said you should talk about why it's important to you. That could be any number of reasons.

But if your goal is to increase support for legalization, I encourage you to consider why it is that people are opposed it, which 99 times out of 100 is because they believe it poses too much harm to be made legal (be it harm to consumers' health or spirit, harm to non-consumers' around them, or harm to society overall). If you want to convince that person that they should make marijuana legal, you need to address that concern. You don't necessarily need to compare it to alcohol, but that is simply a good basis for comparison given our nation's history with prohibition/repeal and the similarities in the products (i.e. they should be used by adults and not kids, they are part of our culture, they should be used responsibly, etc.). If a person is willing to accept that alcohol should be legal, they will have a heard time coming up with reasons why marijuana — a substance that is objectively less harmful to the consumer and to society — must remain illegal. But as I said, you should make the case you are comfortable making. I'm simply providing my advice for what appears to be the most effective when it comes to shifting people's attitudes.

A:

Absolutely. Let me put on my ELI5 cap for a second. At a high-level, we do 3 major things:

First, we write (A LOT) of blog posts about how to pay off student loans quicker and easier. For example, here’s our Ultimate Guide to Paying Off Student Loans Faster. This is one of our more popular guides.

Second, we have a free web app which helps borrowers manage, track, and pay off their loans faster. Specifically, it helps borrowers keep all their loans in one place and get specific recommendations on how to pay off their student loans quicker. (We use a pretty neat algorithm to help with the latter.)

Third, we talk quite a bit about refinancing student loans to lower interest rate and get out of debt quicker. It’s not right for everyone, but for some people it can make a massive difference. For example, we have a team member here who refinanced his federal student loans with Earnest a couple months ago and dropped his interest rate from 6.05% to 3.43%. Massive win for him, and for the thousands of other borrowers who do the same.

There’s a lot more we do, but in general terms those are the 3 bigger things we’re doing right now. We’re also moving into other areas to help people improve their finances in general. For example, how to lower credit card debt, whether you should rent or buy a home, and more things along those lines. What else do you think we should do?


Q:

Amazing!! Where are you going??

Great question! So we just implemented that functionality (seriously last week) to filter alerts so it's only for airports you're interested in, but alas it's one of the perks for premium subscribers. Really sorry about that!

A:

A: I am playing The Last Guardian, and I love Trico more than life itself.


Q:

What's the biggest guilty pleasure that you had to put down during your journey?

A:

Is selling to Google the dream?


Q:

C5 complete here! If you don't mind me asking, what level are you? I'd be cool if I could try something like that!

A:

What is the primary difference between your group, MPP, and NORML? Do your organizations collaborate?


Q:

Hi Andy. I have just over $31,000 in student loans. I'm severely underpaid making around $30,000 annually. I've been making $500 payments monthly for a while, and my debt is slowly going down, but I'd like to see it go down quicker.

Other than finding a job that pays more, what strategies can you recommend I use to reduce my debt? The interest is the same on each of my loans. Does it make sense to pay off the smaller of the loans first?

Thanks.

A:

Totally reasonable


Q:

Ash, how many times do you say 'hella' in an average day?

Seriously though your work as Chloe was awesome. Super excited for Horizon Zero Dawn

A:

Cookies!


Q:

Yes

A:

I'm C4-C5 complete. If you get the opportunity to use one definitely do it


Q:

NORML has a smaller staff and a large network of state, local, and campus chapters all over the country, which are largely organized by volunteers.

MPP has a larger staff but does not have chapters. At the state/local level, we work with a variety of volunteer activists and organizations, which includes NORML chapters/members/leaders. NORML has also rallied its network to support a lot of the initiative campaigns MPP has organized, and at times contributes to the drafting process for initiatives and bills MPP is supporting.

On a personal level, former MPP staffer Steve Fox and I co-authored a book with NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. And since Paul is the most knowledgable person I know when it comes to cannabis facts/research, I often turn to him as resource or forward reporters his way when they're seeking experts.

A:

Hey, thanks for the question. First, let me give you kudos for making such large payments on your loans, I’m a big proponent of paying down your debt ASAP. So let’s talk strategy. The fastest and most efficient way to pay down your loans is to target paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first (after making the minimum payment on all other loans, of course) and then going from there. You can use our Prepayment Calculator to estimate how much time and money you’ll save by efficiently allocating additional payments. Secondly, you may want to look into refinancing. Based on your current debt-to-income of at least 1, your odds may not be great for being approved. However, you’re paying your loans down fast enough that you may soon be in a position to seriously consider it. Refinancing can lower your interest rate, helping you reduce the total amount you’ll pay. Student Loan Hero also provides a free dashboard where you can sync your student loans and manage your repayment; you might find that helpful.


Q:

:-)

A:

A: No joke, it's worked its way into my speech. Chloe has changed me forever.


Q:

Any thoughts on ketogenic diets being used for body fat loss? I find it interesting that I'm losing body fat this rapidly (and I am already on the thin side, just carrying a lot of extra body fat around my stomach - I'm what you might call "skinny fat"). My appetite has curbed itself naturally, so I'm also eating less and consuming fewer calories. I am certainly not as puffy and bloated, my joints don't ache all the time, I have more energy, and my ability to focus is improving.

Am I doing myself a service or a disservice by eating lots of fat while losing body fat?

A:

How did you extract the inaudible signals from background noise?


Q:

What's the realistic goal and the dream goal for you in using the exoskeleton?

A:

What's the best way to lobby for decriminalization while maintaining your privacy?


Q:

Hello, I currently have about $35,000 in student loans and just recently bumped my payments to the maximum amount of around $500 per month. I was wondering if it's possible to pay off my higher interest loans (6.5%) first and then move to the lower interest loans (3%) through fed loan servicing? Or should I try to consolidate my loans and get a lower fixed APR if that's even possible?

A:

You seem like such a nice person and I just want to give you a hug.


Q:

Hey, Ash! How's Papa Burch doing these days?

A:

I think ketogenic diets work. I've been on them and lost weight. For me, it is too restrictive. It is as hard to maintain weight loss as it is to lose it in the first place, so you have to pick a diet that works for you for years. I like a bit more carb, so opted for a different plan for the long run.


Q:

A fast fourier transformation. There are some great libraries for doing this in Android/iOS like audiokit and jtransforms.

A:

I'm like Forest Gump. I just like walking.


Q:

This is a great question. I spent countless hours collecting signatures for ballot initiatives in Colorado and frequently came across people who were supportive but feared signing because they feared their employer would find out or that it would somehow become public. I even remember a few saying their husband/wife would kill [them] if they found out!"

Sometimes it was obvious that the person was misguided or just didn't want to stop (e.g. the person who said "I'm a lawyer and I'll be disbarred if I sign," which any lawyer would know is bullshit). But sometimes it was obvious that they were truly worried. People who were on probation or parole or who know their employer is incredibly strict about marijuana, who fear they will be suspected of using marijuana and subjected to a drug test if someone saw them signing or saw their name on the sheet while signing.

Ultimately, I would just encourage you to do whatever you are comfortable doing. Maybe you aren't comfortable being at a public event handing out literature, but maybe you would be okay with dropping it on doorsteps or placng it on car windshields in the evenings. If you aren't comfortable talking to the people you know, maybe stick to strangers by participating in a phone bank where you're calling random people. If it's a campaign, perhaps they need assistance with data entry, licking envelopes, or coordinating other volunteers?

A:

Glad to hear you’ve bumped your payments up! By maximum, do you mean the most you can afford? I’m asking because there shouldn’t be any limit on your monthly payments. And yes, all lenders will allow you to choose which loan you want to apply extra payments to. This as long as your loans have not been consolidated. You can learn how to do that here. It’s likely going to be hard to find a lower interest rate than 3%, so you may be better off using the Debt Avalanche to pay off the higher interest rate loan first, or you could consider refinancing only that loan and leaving the 3% loan as it is.


Q:

Aww I love random Reddit hugs! * hug *

A:

A: He's good. He continues to exclusively smoke cigars and read romance novels to pass the time.


Q:

What does your research tell you about dietary fat if anything? Does it affect or have anything to do with the fat in our bodies?

A:

Did you have a background in DSP or math already, or did you learn that as you went too?


Q:

I know this question is very vague, but how do you go about your daily life? Things like school, using the restroom, hanging out with friends, etc...

A:

What are the biggest obstacles in non-medical states vs medical states? Do you guys shoot straight for legalization, or first medical, followed by legalization?


Q:

Any good honeymoon success stories? Weddings are so expensive, I'm losing hope of being able to travel with my husband for the next few years :(

A:

Hey Steve, big fan of your work, so I hope you see this question. What needs to be done exactly so the strike can end?


Q:

Yes, there is a pathway by which we deposit dietary fat into body fat. Fat in the diet is satiating and balanced, though. Low fat diets don't have great success rates.

A:

My background was economics.


Q:

I just applied to go to VCU so we'll see how that goes As far as restroom, to go pee I have what's called a supra pubic catheter. It's a catheter that comes out of my abs that drains into a leg bag hooked up on my ankle that I have to have someone drain To go poop I sit in a chair with a hole in it then someone shoves a suppository up my ass that makes me go. Then if all the poop doesn't come out someone has to reach in with their finger, which is called digital stim, and scoop the rest out. Then we roll the chair into the shower and someone bathes me. I do this every other day in the morning. Hanging out with friends is just like it used to be except I'm always sitting down

A:

Outdated perceptions of marijuana held by the public and/or their legislators are the biggest obstacles both to medical and adult use laws. There are still too many people who think marijuana is more harmful than it actually is. As for the order in which laws tend to get passed, here's what I mentioned earlier about why medical laws and decriminalization measures passing prior to broader legalization:

This is not because they are a "Trojan Horse" for broader legalization, as some of our opponents often claim. Rather, it is because they are the most egregious elements of marijuana prohibition with the most obvious answers. If the majority of a legislature has yet to agree that seriously ill people should be allowed to access medical marijuana without fear of being punished, or that someone possessing a couple grams of marijuana should not face time in jail and all the collateral consequences associated with a conviction, they probably aren't going to be ready to agree to broader reform.


Q:

Ahh well first off congratulations to you and yours!

Tl;dr: yes!

Longer answer: you're absolutely right that honeymoons can be suuuuper expensive, especially with summer flights and whatnot. But one of the most gratifying success stories I see each day are couples who didn't think they'd be able to afford a honeymoon but ended up getting one because of the list!

Some of the more popular honeymoon destinations for US travelers of late (along with price):

  • Paris for $351 roundtrip
  • Mallorca for $469 roundtrip
  • Croatia for $541 roundtrip
  • Rome for $498 roundtrip
  • Hawaii for $475 roundtrip

Not nothing, obviously, but hopefully much more affordable than the $1000-to-Europe many people are used to paying!

A:

S: Management would agree to pay actors fairly, respect their safety, and let our reps know what we're working on. There's already some companies (indies and AAA) that have agreed to those terms, so really it's just up to the game corps to come to the table.


Q:

Do you have an example of your code? (not necessarily the code you wrote for these apps.)

Mostly I'm curious how far you've managed to get in 18 months. I find that most people who start learning how to program don't actually get very far and level off quickly. They seem to get stuck writing procedural code and never learn software engineering architecture. Though I suspect you may have pushed yourself to actually learning OOP and Design Patterns and Architecture and things like Unit Testing / TDD.

A:

Do you feel physically comfortable? I mean, I understand that you'd feel numb but is that something you have been able to adjust to and become familiar with?


Q:

I'm a felon for $35 dollars worth of weed. My official crime is distribution of thc with the modifier of party to a crime. In Wisconsin this type of felony can be expunged but it needed to be set up at sentencing and it was not. So my question is do you or anyone you know help people in this situation? Kinda seems terrible that I am a felon for the rest of my life, can't find housing, can't find decent jobs, all because I was at a house when weed was sold. Can you help?

A:

$475 round trip on Hawaii!?!? assuming that this is per person which is STILL ridiculous. Food included? Cause god knows those flights LOVE to be technical with it being a "domestic" flight despite the 12 hours it takes.


Q:

Ashly, Steve, TJ, what were your most painful and strenuous experiences behind the mic for game va work?

A:

Yes, I recently posted this software to GitHub. I typically don't work with other devs so my style may be very different, but this is the software that got me to where I am and I'd be lucky if others thought it was good enough for them to use as well.


Q:

I guess so. I forget a lot of times that I can't feel so sometimes I'll hit my foot and instinctively yell ouch then remember that I can't feel it. I get surprised by my farts a lot too. Since I can't tell when I have to fart they just happen. i then look around and see who did that and I'm like oh yeah that's me

A:

I wish I could but that sounds like something you'd need to talk about with an attorney in your state. I'm just a lowly non-attorney spokesperson...

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and I'm sorry I cannot do more to help. I wish you the best with whatever approach you take to overcoming it and assure you MPP is doing everything it can to prevent these cases from occurring.


Q:

Yeah! $475/person. Wish that were for 2! But when prices from Atlanta are typically $700 to Hawaii, $475 ain't bad!

A:

S: Passing out while screaming during a Spider Man audition. Then they recorded it, and passed it around to other directors who played it for me at other sessions.

A: I was on a game where there was a lot of screaming, and while I was trying to maintain my voice the director was talking shit about other actors who wanted to tap out. I felt pressured to maintain and not ask for breaks.

T: Voice: Doing two action games in a row on the same day, and at the end of the day, actually spitting blood. And I was unable to speak above a whisper for 4 days. Mocap: Common days for "navs" (when you're playing the main character and all his possible movements) means that you spend the entire day running in squatted position, or on your knuckles, or in some uncomfortable twisted position while performing sometimes in combat gear. Show Business!


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Hello! I'm a software engineer at a large tech company (whose products you likely use every day) who works on accessibility.

What is the biggest annoyance you run into using software and the web on a daily basis? What can we do to make things better?


Q:

Do you feel the efforts to legalize, or at minimum decriminalize, cannabis will become more difficult under the incoming administration especially considering Jeff Sessions' strong anti-drug stance?

A:

Hey Scott, I've been a premium member for a couple months now and as a Cincinnatian I'm still waiting for that "Holy Crap!" deal that everyone else seems seems to get. My question though, have you ever been burned by third party travel dealers like Travel Merry and Explore Trip? I helped a buddy out by finding him cheap tickets to the Phillipines. It was through Explore Trip and after booking I decided to check their reviews. They were awful so I got nervous and cancelled right away. Has that ever been an issue with you?


Q:

This one is for Steve, Whats it like knowing at least 2 generations of kids have grown up learning about excellent anime thanks to Bob?

A:

Yes, I actually have yet to cooperate with a single other developer so I've ended up (unfortunately) with a different style that might be hard to work with. It's something I'll need to fix in the future, but thanks for the tips!


Q:

I'll have to think about this and get back to you. I want to make sure I give you the best answer I can. I'm terrible at thinking of the spot right now that with all these questions

A:

It is too soon to tell. Based on what we currently know, I think there are just as many reasons to be optimistic about the incoming administration as there are to be pessimistic. That could change. But for now, we're cautiously optimistic.

Sessions is obviously no fan of marijuana and in his ideal world he very well might want marijuana to remain illegal and to roll back the progress that has been made in many states. But it will not be an ideal world for him if he's nominated. It will be a world in which 8 states + DC have already legalized marijuana and 28 states have legalized medical marijuana. A world of very limited enforcement resources, steadily growing support for legalization (among the public and in Congress). A world where hundreds of thousands of people now have jobs that were created by or are partially supported by the legal marijuana industry. Where states and localities have begun to generate millions of tax dollars that they will not want to lose. And it will be a world in which the president, others in his administration, and other key figures in his party have much bigger policy priorities than marijuana.

I think it is very noteworthy that Sessions was asked directly about the conflict between federal and state laws during his confirmation hearing, and he opted to not make any strong statements about wanting to interfere in state laws. He also noted that there was a resources problem when it comes to enforcing these federal laws.

Also, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer was asked about the apparent conflict between Sessions' anti-marijuana stance and Trump's support for medical marijuana and a "leave it to the states" approach. He said that it will be Trump's administration and Sessions knows as well as anyone that he will be implementing Trump's agenda and not his own. See here for the full comment + MPP's reaction to it all — https://www.mpp.org/news/press/statement-re-jeff-sessions-marijuana-comments/

And see here for everything Trump said on the issue during his campaign — https://www.mpp.org/federal/trump-marijuana-policy/


Q:

Hey there, thanks for checking in! Ahh the Delta monopoly puts a damper on cheap flights out of CVG, but it was one of my home airports growing up and I search for it with every possible deal.

Were you on the list in November when the flights from Cincinnati to mainland Europe ($400 roundtrip) or Greek Islands ($500 roundtrip) popped up? Those were the bees knees.

I haven't been burned personally by any OTAs like those you'd mentioned, but I've read the same reviews you have. I'm torn about how much weight to give them -- after all, how many people take a flight that went as scheduled and feel motivated to write a review of the company they bought it from online? So I think there's a bit of a response bias at play, you know?

That having been said, there are real differences between buying from OTAs and buying directly from airlines. Without typing a total wall of text I'll just link to the FAQ I wrote up about OTAs, but if anything there you're unclear about happy to go into it more!

A:

S: I hope I didn't screw them up psychologically. I've been apologizing to parents for 10 years.


Q:

Did you have do anything to protect yourself and your development from the minor hockey team you first intended to use it for? Like claims that it should be exclusively theirs?

A:

How did you get access to an exoskeleton?


Q:

While some states have taken steps to fully decriminalize personal possession of marijuana, I'm under the impression at least some municipalities (Houston, for example) are doing something similar in conflict with the laws of the state where the city resides. How many other cities are doing this? Is there significantly more decriminalization in the US right now even past the handful of states that have already legalized it?

Thanks for your work -- ending the Drug War is the single most important societal change we can make.

A:

Yeah it killed me when I saw the $400 flights. But it was Christmas time and with two kids I didn't have the extra cash to throw around. I got lucky on the Phillipines flight though and booked directly through EVA airlines for pretty much the same price.


Q:

Why do you think Jesus Christ 64 had no sequels?

A:

This is a very tricky subject. Basically the issue was solved by letting the owner of the hockey team in on the software startup.


Q:

My mom found it online as a trial and signed me up. When I went to use it the trial was already over but they decided to use it as physical therapy anyways

A:

You are correct that there are a lot of efforts taking place at the local level to roll back prohibition. The extent to which this can be done often depends on the states' laws. Here's a recent article about this that touches on several cities that have taken action — http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/11/04/marijuana-decriminalization-cities-vs-states/66414/

Oftentimes states do not allow for significant changes to take place at the local level. For example, in some states, such as TX, they are basically giving law enforcement the ability to opt out of enforcing harsh possession penalties. The localities still have the ability to enforce the harsh penalties, but they no longer are required to enforce the harsh penalties.

This can be effective if you have good local officials who recognize the foolishness of such harsh penalties. But in some cases you do not. Take Denver, for example. Back in 2005 we passed an initiative that gave the city the ability to stop arresting adults for simple possession, but they CHOSE to continue enforcing the state possession law.

But we are seeing an increase in good local officials taking action. Philadelphia is a good example.

Another important aspect of these local reforms is the impact they have on public attitudes. We ran the local ballot initiatives in Denver in 2005 and 2007 with the primary goal of forcing a public dialogue about the issue. When these measures are on local ballots, they generate media coverage that fosters important conversations. They are also good organizing tools. And if you look at the states where a lot of these local measures were first passed, you can see how they contributed to bigger-picture changes over time. For example, Seattle passed a lowest law enforcement priority measure in 2003, and several cities around California adopted them around 2004-2006. Denver, Breckenridge, and Nederland passed local measures in Colorado leading up to legalization. Several localities in Mass. passed non-binding referenda questions over several years prior to legalization. Several Michigan cities have passed local measures, and it's quite possible that state will be up next to pass a legalization initiative (2018).


Q:

Ahh well congrats on that! I've never been to the Philippines but the snorkeling there looks unreal

A:

A: We're all still waiting for the second coming.


Q:

What do you credit as the biggest resource that allowed you to be successful at programming, and how do you rate resources such as Code Academy?

A:

I'm not 100% sure what quadriplegic means but how do you type?

Also do you still miss BMX and what do you do now instead?


Q:

What is the best argument to make for marijuana when talking with someone who is very sternly against it? Living in Tennessee, I know quite a few people who are simply ignorant to the facts and refuse to accept them when they are brought up. What can I say to them that might set off a light in their head and make them rethink what they previously thought was true?

A:

The hookers are awesome, too!


Q:

I know Ash showed up in that Goblin-based special for Tabletop Day, but what does everyone think about Critical Role and the possibility of guesting on it?

A:

Definitely StackOverflow. I haven't used Code Academy but have heard really good things about it. For me it was a few good books and a very large dose of SO.


Q:

I use a combination of both voice recognition and typing with my knuckles one letter at a time since I have no use of my fingers. If I'm on my phone though, I have it velcroed to my armrest and I use my thumb to type and navigate.

A:

Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. See https://www.amazon.com/Marijuana-Safer-Driving-People-Drink/dp/1603585109/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383084981&sr=1-1


Q:

Fair enough!

A:

S: Critical Role is badass, but I am not yet qualified. Starting my first game this week. A: I will always come back for Critical Role under any circumstances. T: Matt came to our D&D game right before he started the show, and I love what he's doing. I'm an old-school player, and I'd love to be on his show.


Q:

How much of your own money did you spend before making money?

A:

How has your relationships been with people before and after the accident? Did people just stop hanging out with you because of the accident?


Q:

Thanks for taking some time to do an AmA.

With the DEA recently reclassifying CBD as schedule 1 do you think that they are a large obstacle to legalization? If so do you think that the organization can be re-structured or does it need to be abolished/replaced?

How do you recommend approaching the subject of marijuana being safe with more socially conservative people?

A:

I've booked a flight from Frankfurt to Cincinnati with a layover in Detroit and back I have a layover in Washington DC. Do you know if it is possible to skip the flight from Cincinnati to DC if I want to visit the city a day or two before the departure?

I booked the flight for 500€ 3 month ago. I think it is way cheaper in winter. The last time I was in Cinci it was summer and I payed around 1200€. Someone told me that CVG is one of the more expensive airports in the US.

And if you have time: I am in Cincinnati the whole February. Any suggestions which US city I could fly to on a low budget for a short trip?


Q:

Hello Steve! Huge fan since you flexed vocal powers in Dawn of War series. Do you play any Tabletop games or Pen and Paper RPGs?

A:

We didn't invest a single dollar. It was all contributions of time, way way too much free time.


Q:

Yeah some people have disappeared but some of my relationships and friendships have grown to a new level that I never thought possible. I've had some friends do more than what's asked of them. I can truly say that I love them with all my heart.

A:

This was a totally misreported story. The DEA's recent action has NO effect on the legality of CBD under federal law. The DEA has always considered CBD to be a Schedule I substance.

This was not an announcement/response regarding a rescheduling petition and it was in no way a reflection of any kind of process to determine if CBD has medical value. As I mentioned above, the DEA has always classified CBD under Schedule I, so they have never recognized its medical value and still do not recognize it.

This was simply an announcement of a final rule creating a new source code for "marihuana extracts" (7350). "Marihuana" (7360), THC (7370), and CBD (7372) all have their own unique source codes already. We believe they were in fact doing this to better comply with international treaties and could be anticipating a need to have a separate source code for extracts if and when they register more entities to grow marijuana for research. In other words, this might be the first time we have ever believed the DEA's stated intentions for taking an action related to marijuana.

As for the DEA's fate, it's very difficult to imagine the agency would be entirely abolished any time soon. It's quite possible that marijuana could be removed from its jurisdiction, which is what would happen under Congressman Jared Polis's proposal to regulate marijuana like alcohol at the federal level. It would move marijuana from the DEA to the ATF.

It does appear Congress's appetite for spending on DEA marijuana efforts is growing smaller. They see state laws changing and public opinion shifting, and they are questioning the efficacy of things like the DEA's marijuana eradication program. Hopefully that trend will continue this year.


Q:

First off, happy Pie Day!!

Ahh alas if you skip any leg of an itinerary the rest of the itinerary gets automatically cancelled. So you can only skip a leg if it were the last leg of a trip you didn't want, but what you're talking about would cancel your return flight to Frankfurt.

Chicago's not far and a great city! And be sure to go on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, it's fantastic.

A:

S: Nope. I'm about to do my first one.


Q:

How did you pay the bills while you were learning / coding for 18 months?

A:

How long after your accident did you come to terms with your situation?


Q:

What is MPP doing to add retroactive ameliorative relief into bills in states that want to legalize? In my opinion, legalization means nothing if we can't make up for past wrongs done to people who shouldn't have been in prison in the first place.

A:

I have seen some real bargains but the stopovers can be long. How long would a stopover have to be before you decide it isn't worth the saving? Back in 2012 I got cheap return tix to Amsterdam with Garuda, stopovers in Jakarta and Dubai before Amsterdam. The stopovers really added to the exhaustion.


Q:

To Steve, or anyone with knowledge of the matter,

How might I go about obtaining the scripts for the English dub of Cowboy Bebop? It's for a fan project I'm working on, so if it's not possible due to legal stuff, totally understandable.

A:

Doing econometrics for the hockey team. It was a place where, say I finished my work at 1 PM, I could spent from 1 to 5 PM studying how to code.


Q:

I don't know if I've ever come to terms with it really. I accept where I am now and Still trying to move on but I have both good and bad days

A:

This is a complex legal issue and it's my understanding that there aren't a lot of clear-cut solutions that can be applied across the board in every state. There are also political questions associated with it.

Generally, our mission is to end these prohibition laws ASAP so that we can stop the bleeding and prevent this type of retroactive relief from ever being necessary. While it would be great to include such relief would be great, it is often a lot more difficult than it seems and raises significant legal and political issues that can prevent the law from passing (meaning people not only get retroactive relief, but people will continue getting busted and need relief later).

In these cases, it often makes more sense to pass the law and address the retroactive relief situation after. It is not as if these legalization initiatives are the one and only chance or even the most effective way to provide such relief. But once marijuana is a legal product, that is an issue that can be addressed and it also seems like one that will be easier to address. For example, in Colorado, there were no retroactive elements included in the initiative, but the legislature began looking at the subject immediately after the initiative passed.

Our director spent some time behind bars for cultivation and based on my experience, all of our staff members primarily motivated by the human rights, social justice, and criminal justice reform aspects of this issue. So it is very frustrating when we get accused of being insensitive on this subject because a particular initiative does not include a retroactive component. We all care just as much as anybody, and we are simply taking what we believe is quickest and most effective approach to ending the harms of prohibition, both past and future.


Q:

Great question. The answer is partly to-each-his-own, but also partly depends on the city you're laying over in.

If it's in a city like Frankfurt with a quick-and-easy train from the airport to the city, I actually like half-day layovers because it gives me a chance to sample a new city that I might not have seen otherwise and then decide if it's worth coming back to. I've gotten to do that in places like Frankfurt, Seoul, Hong Kong, etc.

But you're definitely right that multi-leg trips are usually much more exhausting than direct flights. Nice if you can get em cheap!

A:

S: I think we have some on my website. Go to www.steveblumvoices.com.


Q:

How much time average did you spend to develop your programming skills? Daily average, weekly and monthly or whichever is easier to quantify.

A:

What is your inspiration when you're feeling down? What keeps you going so infectiously positive ? - Love from Holland


Q:

What is the goal of the MPP? Decriminalize marijuana? Limited use of marijuana?

What policies would be ideal for marijuana use, according to MPP?

Thanks for your time.

A:

Yeah I agree. 5 years on I mainly remember the nice cheap price of the Sydney to Amsterdam flight and not the stopovers. A cheap flight allows you to stay longer in destinations so that's always worth it.


Q:

Ashly, Bae or Bay?

A:

Daily is probably the easiest. For the first six months after I picked up my first programming book, I put in about four hours a day. Then I started actually working on apps. At first these were minor league apps for hockey teams, and they kinda sucked. But it helped me improve to the point where I could pretend to hang with the big boys. Classic tale of fake it till you make it.


Q:

When I'm feeling down I try to remind myself that I'm still alive. I may not be able to do what I used to but I still have a lot of potential. I also have the ability to choose which something that can never be taken away from me. I also have the greatest friends and family the anyone could ask for. They're always there when I need them. I try to stay positive and laugh at myself because if I don't the injury wins

A:

Our goal is to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol for adult use and available for medical use to those who could benefit from it. We support reasonable, evidence-based policies that treat marijuana use as a public health/safety issue rather than as a law enforcement issue. We support comprehensive reforms, such as initiatives/bills to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult and/or medical use. We also support incremental reforms that reduce the harm caused by prohibition, such as legislation that reduces penalties for (but does not go as far as legalizing) possession.


Q:

Fair point

A:

A: I can rewind time, so I choose both.


Q:

How did you market yourself initially?

A:

What are your dreams like? Are you injured or paralyzed in your dreams, or do you have full mobility? Thank you for sharing :)


Q:

What's your battle plan if we get the worst-case scenario and Sessions-Trump goes on the attack? Has the MPP drawn out possible outcomes for the incoming administration and what is the most likely path MPP think they'll take, given what you know now and are hearing from Capitol Hill?

A:

P.S. what kind of dog is that? He's so cute!


Q:

Hey Ash,

What's your favorite Say Anything song? Are you going to see them in April? Also what other music are you into?

A:

Strictly emails to marketing guys at college/pro sports teams. Literally, look the guy up, snoop for his email address, and send him a letter asking if he's interested. We finally started getting some traction as fans started sharing our videos, and this has made it more of a they-come-to-us instead of we-spam-them business model.


Q:

My dreams are still the same. Depending on the dream I can be paralyzed or not. Mostly I'm walking in my dreams. It's really weird because I think to myself oh this is so easy why the hell am I still sitting down.

A:

See my earlier reply about Sessions/Trump.

While we're cautiously optimistic, we certainly aren't taking anything for granted. Our efforts are currently focused on preventing the "worst-case scenario," but we will be ready to shift gears should shit go down.

There are a wide variety of different scenarios that could play out, both in terms of what the administration does and how others react to it (i.e. members of congress, state/local officials, the media, etc.). So we aren't able to prepare detailed plans. But we have been working for decades to build support among citizens, members of Congress, state and local officials, and others, and we'd certainly put as much of that political capital to use as we can to fight back.


Q:

Hah! Aww that's Chela. She's a rescue so not 100% sure what kind of dog, but we think a dachshund mixed with a pit bull. Definitely a Grade-A pup :-)

A:

A: I haven't listened to them in so long, but my fav was 'Alive with the Glory of Love'. These days I'm listening to Anderson Paak, and feverishly listening to Haim on repeat, waiting for their next album.


Q:

We finally started getting some traction as fans started sharing our videos,

That's exactly how I heard about it for Purdue. A buddy sent me a video of it when he was at a game.

Have you looked into getting it into an Olympic opening ceremony? That would be huge.

A:

Does the exoskeleton also give you function in your arms? Or is it only to assist with mobility?


Q:

Do you think it's possible to sell adult use legalization to a GOP legislature? If so, what do you think is the best approach to that with messaging?

A:

I've been waiting for a usable USA > Hong Kong flight. Hoping I can finally get some family members to visit me for the first time. Been here since 2012! You have or think any will pop up for summer?


Q:

Ashly!

Are you a soprano or an alto? And can we sing a duet together? Pleeeeease

A:

Awesome to come across someone who's heard of my work! Yes, I've thought (dreamed) about doing something with the Olympics but easier said than done. We have recently gotten into some other continents though, such as for Cricket in Australia and we plan to work with some Soccer teams in Europe as well.


Q:

It only assist with mobility

A:

Yes, but it is certainly a bigger challenge than in a state with a more Dem-leaning legislature. Many of the GOP-run legislatures still have not passed comprehensive medical marijuana legislation or decriminalized simple possession (removed threat of jail time), so those are probably better places to start. This is not because they are a "Trojan Horse" for broader legalization, as some of our opponents often claim. Rather, it is because they are the most egregious elements of marijuana prohibition with the most obvious answers. If the majority of a legislature has yet to agree that seriously ill people should be allowed to access medical marijuana without fear of being punished, or that someone possessing a couple grams of marijuana should not face time in jail and all the collateral consequences associated with a conviction, they probably aren't going to be ready to agree to broader reform.

The discussion about medical is a good opportunity to talk about the benefits of marijuana and to dispel a lot of the myths. The discussion about decrim is a good opportunity to talk about the harm caused by prohibition, the relative safety of marijuana compared to legal products like alcohol, and the fact that marijuana prohibition is more harmful than marijuana itself. These conversations will help break down opposition, and while they might not convert every legislator to a supporter of broader legalization, they could reduce their degree of opposition.

When it comes to a legislature that is actually willing to consider the issue of broader legalization, it should be made clear that this is just as "conservative" of a proposal as it is a "liberal" one. We're talking about ending a failed government program. It is inefficient and wasteful. It harms public safety by using law enforcement resources to enforce failed prohibition laws, which could otherwise be used to prevent and respond to serious crimes. At the federal level, it's a national security issue. Prohibition is contributing to border violence and propping up cartels. These are all arguments that Republicans should appreciate. And of course there's the civil liberties aspect — the government should not be punishing adults who use marijuana responsibly and cause no harm to others.


Q:

Ohhh awesome! Where in the US are most of your family members?

Yes, I think there's a strong chance cheap-ish flights to Hong Kong will pop up for this summer. Plenty of time for it to happen.

P.S. Where's the best dim sum in HK?

A:

A: I think I'm still a soprano. My voice has dropped. And I'm singing right now! Sing with me! "Somewhere Out There!"


Q:

This is awesome, did you make a lot of $$$ from it?

A:

What's a typical day like for you?


Q:

Hey Scott! What do you think about solo travel? Is it a good experience or better to go with a friend?

A:

Hey Team,

With the advent of new media, and the decline of traditional media, there seems to be subconscious fear building within the union community. What would you say is the biggest obstacle between traditional media and new media in regards to fair wages, unions, work protection, etc?


Q:

Considering our initial investment was $0, the ROI has been infinite.

A:

I get out of bed. Which I need assistance with. Someone dresses me and puts me in my chair. That I either listen to music or watch TV. Trying to read stuff. A lot of times I get sucked into the dark hole of reddit. Then I go to bed which I also need assistance with. Then repeat


Q:

Oh man. I highly recommend everyone travel solo at least one, purely as a learning and get-to-know-you experience.

But personally once I've gotten that growth out of the way I'm a big fan of shared experiences. Misery loves company :-P

A:

T: I'll take this because mocap and VR (which is rising quickly), and are combining, need to be addressed in the areas of wages, credit and safety, large issues in the current negotiations. For example, I've been Iron Man in Civil War, but I'm not credited because of the nature of the industry.


Q:

Well you had to buy the books...

A:

This may sound dumb, but where do you see yourself in 10-25 years? Do you think technology will make your quality of life significantly better? What type of things do you see yourself wanting to do?

Thanks in advance!!


Q:

Thanks for the advice ;)

A:

Is there anything we can do to help you and other VA's?


Q:

You're right. That lowers our ROI from infinity to around 3.50%.

A:

I don't know where I'll be in the future but I do hope I'm walking. I do think technology who do something amazing. Some things that I would love to do would be something space related. I love science in Space. Maybe working at a telescope or something? I also like to give standup comedy try. I'm also trying to learn voice acting so I'd like to see if that whould get me anywhere


Q:

Anytime!

A:

ALL: Absolutely! 1.) Visit SAG-AFTRA’s website (sagaftra.org/interactive). Get informed. 2.) Vote with your dollars. Be aware of what games the corporate 11 are releasing. Look at games put out by other publishers. 3.) Dispel misinformation with facts. For example, we’re not asking for royalties, they’re bonuses, which is an important distinction. 4.) On social media, talk about the performances you love in games, and use hashtag #PerformanceMatters.


Q:

What was your educational background before you started programming?

A:

Firstly, you're inspirational as shit.

Now, questions!

  1. Given that you injured yourself in a BMX accident I take it you were active before - has that made being a quadriplegic particularly hard?

  2. What does the future look like? With physio how much improvement can you expect?

  3. Have your hobbies/general interests changed post-accident?

  4. How do you stay so positive? It's such an amazing outlook to have on life.

Apologies if you've already answered any of these, I'm about read now!


Q:

Hi Scott, love your service! I am curious if you would ever consider adding 'business class' section to your premium service? Do you see these type of mistake fares or big discounts on business class flights?

A:

Hey Ash, what was the first game you played that made you actively think of the constructs of a game?


Q:

Economics degree from Northwestern. I have always been really introverted but had a love of learning, so I finished up high school and moved out at 16, and was probably very lucky that Northwestern chose to let me in at that age.

A:
  1. it's made it very hard.
  2. no idea what the future looks like but I'm hopeful for the future with technology
  3. well besides BMX I also love playing guitar so that's another thing I can't do. But now I have a huge fascination with space. I'm trying to give voice acting a go. And I watch a lot of TV and movies
  4. I just try and laugh at everything as much as possible

Q:

I am considering it! Hoping to do it a bit later this year :-) It'd probably have to be a slightly different list since what's "cheap" for business class would shock people used to econ prices, you know?

But yes, I do every once in a while see big discounts for business fares! Found some $377 roundtrip US to Peru business class seats last year and just this week sent out €500 roundtrip Oslo to Zanzibar/Seychelles/South Africa in business.

A:

A: Metal Gear Solid, because it forces you to think of it as a game. Particularly the Mantis fight.


Q:

You started undergrad at 16 years old?

A:

Can you still feel your penis? And can you ejaculate? If not what do you do in your free time?


Q:

You have to fly somewhere on the basis of food alone, where are you going?

A:

Hey Steve how was working with Logic on his album? Also, if you have played any zombies maps which is your favorite?


Q:

16 and a half

A:

Sadly no. I haven't had an orgasm since I could walk. Honestly I don't know if I can ejaculate. I watch a lot of TV in my free time


Q:

Ohhhh great question. Can I give you three? If so, Japan, Mexico, and Spain, in no specific order.

A:

S: So much fun. Love that dude. He's my brother now. A MONSTER talent I'm not a gamer, so can't comment on the second part.


Q:

I started coding apps 1.5 years ago, and am doing very well. However, I have reached the point where I'd prefer some more advanced content to follow rather than Big Nerd Ranch - Any materials you could share that are practical, yet significantly more advanced (tutorials)?

A:

What exactly does your physical therapy consist of? Is your therapist just there to make sure you don't fall or is she actively teaching you how to use that cool ass exoskeleton?


Q:

Scott! Love your site! Have you ever thought about leveraging your service for larger group travel? You have fans. Many of us are like minded. Why not help put a group of us together and have us invade a small tropical island for a week? It could be good PR too.

A:

What is the video game strike about? What are you guys trying to get?


Q:

If I were you, and past that BNR point, I would just start coding projects and start looking to build a reputation or earn some additional income. Maybe look into freelance (some of those freelance mobile developers really rake it in) or try to build a reputation on GitHub. StackOverflow is the only resource material I've really needed following those first four books. There is just so much info on SO, if it goes down the internet is history.

A:

Therapy consist a lot of strengthening what I do have and also maintaining what I don't. Ordinarily I do physical therapy in Baltimore at Kennedy krieger Institute but I'm doing it now in Richmond as a test run in case I get into VCU. The exoskeleton is good because it's good for my bones by weight bearing. I also use a FES bike for my legs. I attach electrodes to my muscles and it fires as I ride the bike. This helps keep my legs from atrophying and it is good for cardio


Q:

Hmm good question! I haven't yet, though it does sound like a perfect stepping stone on my path to world domination...

And your talk of a small tropical island just sweetens the deal. I'm in! Where do I sign up for your tropical excursion list, u/happytrailz1938?

A:

ALL: In short, fair compensation, safety and transparency are the issues at hand. Check out http://www.gameperformancematters.com/ for all the details, including a new FAQ.


Q:

Like you I had ideas and issues which I solved. Any tips on discovering cool libraries to work with? or Apis? Stack is so huge, how do you find out whats "hot"?

A:

Okay... So... If they offered you built in fog machine and lasers... Would you wear that bastard all freaking day?


Q:

Hey Scott!

Have you personally gotten on a cheap flight to a certain destination that turned out to be an instant regret?

A:

Union, local 18 operating engineer here, stay safe and I hope you get the contract you deserve! You guys make the games and shows memorable


Q:

I love to browse GitHub. I typically do keyword searches, but they have trending pages as well.

A:

You forgot the disco ball


Q:

Ooo great question! Like I regretted going there or regretted buying the ticket?

A:

Thanks!


Q:

great job, what books did you read?

A:

What is it like walking in the exoskeleton?does it feel like it's holding up your body weight well or not?


Q:

Because of your emails, my husband and I booked flights to Munich from Memphis for less than 450 each(typical prices from Memphis to Munich is about 1500)!!! This was in November when there were so many great deals to European cities. Great deals hardly ever come from Memphis Airport so I ran around my office telling everyone to start booking trips and you got a whole bunch of new subscribers that day!

Are there times of year where whole groups of flights get crazy discounted? I thought it was interesting that almost all the major cities in Europe were <$500 the week of Black Friday. Coincidence?

A:

Hey Ash, what caused your brother to lose his mind and go crazy?


Q:

The exact four books I read are:

Learning Obj-C

Learning Java

iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide

Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide

However, I would now recommend learning Swift instead of Obj-C. At the time when I was looking into iOS books, good books on Swift were few and far between.

A:

It's hard to explain but it's awesome I can't help but smile when I'm using it. It's so strange seeing my feet move below me and not being able to feel it. I forget how tall I actually am. It holds me up pretty well but I still need three people around me at all times. One person behind me to hold my hips. Someone in front to guide the walker. And someone to my side to hold my chest in case I lean too far forward


Q:

Amazing!! Ahhhh I so love hearing success stories :-) And thank you for spreading the word!

Re: timing, I think it was a coincidence. The biggest cause is an unadvertised fare war between the major airlines, and those pop up because of a multitude of factors like demand, unsold inventory, pricing, fuel costs, etc. but not so much a particular time of year.

A:

A: He was always that way.


Q:

Did you read them in that order or sort of all at once? Is learning obj C your first introduction to code at all or did you have any prior knowledge whatsoever?

A:

Did you lose touch with close friends after the accident?

What new hobbies did you pick up after the accident?


Q:

Steve how has your perception of Tank Dempsey changed over the years?

A:

No prior knowledge whatsoever. Learning Obj-C was my first introduction.


Q:

Yeah. Some friendships were based solely on BMX and sometimes people just grew apart regardless Still trying to find new hobbies, any recommendations?

A:

S: I've grown to love him more as a brother than just a zombie-splattering muscle head.


Q:

Thanks! I mean had you ever even used a terminal before that?

A:

Start a podcast, especially if you're looking into voice acting.

Write a book (audiobook).

Karaoke

The first two are things I enjoy listening to, so I'm biased in my recs.


Q:

Here's a question mostly for TJ: since motion-capture has a lot more in common with doing theatre, with its full-body engagement, what kind of warm-ups do you do before sessions? Physical, vocal, etc.

A:

Lol I had no idea what a terminal was. Well, actually once at age 11 I bought a "hacking" book and managed to completely destroy my parents desktop. Everything was gone, and ubuntu was now the operating system.

Edit: destroying my parent's desktop was totally on accident.


A:

T: A lot of motion capture actors are part actor, part athlete, so we train as if we're in both worlds. Since the stage is usually well air-conditioned, we have to warm up quite a bit before we begin. Running, skipping, jumping are all common things, as well as some vocal exercises if we're speaking.


Q:

How old are you? I'm a 30 year old civil engineer and I sometimes feel like my mind is not "plastic" enough to learn something new.

A:

How's the dating life going? I mean you're Iron man so I imagine you're just killing it out there. Also wishing you the best on PT and recovery!


Q:

To Steve,

I would like to start off by saying you are my favorite incarnation of Starscream (oops! Sorry. Lord Starscream), even surpassing Chris Latta's G1. Do you know if Darran Norris or Knock Out will return in RID? Starscream and Knock Out together are one of my favorite parts of Transformers Prime. Oh, and what's your favorite song to sing in his voice?

Thank you for being so awesome, Screamer!

A:

I am 23. If you ever feel like you can't do it, do what I do and head over to r/CrappyDesign. If some of those guys are professional programmers why can't I be?


Q:

it's meh. The last girl I dated said the chair was too hard for her. But I can't be mad at her because she was honest and upfront with me and to be honest it is pretty hard. Luckily I have some awesome friends that really make me feel loved

A:

S: Thank you.


Q:

Hi congrats on the app and more importantly teaching yourself a valuable new skill. Have you received any flack from purist event attendees who don't believe audience members should be encouraged to be waving their phones around all night?

A:

What is your favorite leisure activity?


Q:

What's your favorite Nic Cage performance, and why?

A:

Actually, not yet! Have received a lot of spam though.


Q:

I just like being outside and hanging out with friends. It's hard to pinpoint exactly my favorite leisure activity is since I'm on the spot

A:

S: I kinda liked him in "City of Angels." I'm ashamed to say that.

A: "Bangkok Dangerous."

T: "The Rock"! The first time I did extra work was with Nic Cage. We had a great conversation. I had no idea who he was at the time.


Q:

Did you enjoy working with Clemson? How much work did you do with them? I am an undergrad there in compsci

A:

how did you become quadriplegic??


Q:

Steve I love your voice! You've been in so many of my favorite anime series! Are you currently working any new anime projects?

A:

Clemson has been the nicest team to work with. After publishing their app, they sent me a signed thank you card and a bobble head. Class act all the way.


Q:

I broke my neck in BMX accident. I was trying to grind a handrail and I was going to much at an angle and my bottom bracket caught the rail so I flipped it went headfirst into the ground. No I was not wearing a helmet. The doctor said if I were wearing one it would've killed me giving my neck the extra leverage to internally decapitate me. Having said that I do believe that everyone should wear a helmet. Mine was a freak accident

A:

S: Not new ones. Continuing with Naruto, but most of it is being done in Texas.


Q:

Were you good at math before you started learning programming?

A:

Are you first in line for experimental exoskeleton stuff or are you a customer/commercial supporter for stuff already on the market?


Q:

Hey steve :). would you ever consider coming back to christchurch armageddon in new zealand? would be great to meet you again. :)

A:

Yes, I've always been pretty decent at math, but math has so far not played a major role in my programming. There are usually libraries that can take some of the heaviest math problems (like fourier transforms) off the table for you.


Q:

Just a customer/commercial supporter

A:

S: Absolutely! Packing now.


Q:

Would you say being good at math facilitated your ability to become proficient at programming at such a quick pace?

A:

Hey man, what's your favorite movie?


Q:

wait will you actually be there in april?

A:

It had a lot to do with math, but not necessarily in the way you'd think. I did some alternative schooling in high school, which ended up in me teaching myself Algebra II, trig, pre-cal, and calculous all from books I bought off eBay. I think having a history of teaching myself new skills made this round much easier than it would have been otherwise.


Q:

Shawshank redemption. And any of the MCU movies

A:

S: Sadly no, not this year. Hopefully next time!


Q:

As someone who frequently has ideas for apps but has no idea how to get them off the ground is this more of a hobby or a job for you?

A:

Have you ever considered a stem cell transplant to regenerate some feeling in your body?


Q:

Corporate greed has put the brakes on some of your favorite games, hurting everybody on the team, help us tell them that performance matters to you!

Alternatively:

Voice actor greed has put the brakes on some of your favorite games, hurting everybody on the team, help us tell them that performance matters to you!

I am not against voice actors, and am very much against corporations (for the most part), but I do think it's a bit disingenuous to paint this as only one side is greedy here. Both groups want more money, and just because the corporations currently have more of it doesn't mean they are inherently the bad guys. Of course I also can't actually read the website at the moment, so I guess my question is: tl;dr?

A:

It's definitely a full-time effort. I'd say learning to code was a hobby, but programming has been a job.


Q:

I would love to but it's still in early phases in the US

A:

T: Performance bonuses based on a shared prosperity model. When a game sells 2,000,000 unit,s give an actor $200. It's not going to break the bank. Less than 20 games crossed the threshold last year, and almost all of them use union actors. We at least want to negotiate, which the companies refuse to do. An insider said the best quote from the the game corps during the last negotiation was, "We aren't interested in problems that have solutions."


Q:

Can you share what languages youve studied to make the apps? Thanks!

A:

Assuming you can use the exoskeleton, would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?


Q:

Hey Ash, huge fan!

To everyone: Hardest character to voice act?

A:

Yes, at the time there were no reputable books on Swift, so I learned Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. I also picked up some basic PHP for backend server-side stuff.


Q:

One Horse sized duck. Then find a way to domesticate it and then give it to my brother. He loves ducks

A:

A: Chloe was the most emotionally challenging (but rewarding for that reason), but apart from that, I had to scream a bunch in "Call of Duty," so that was difficult.


Q:

Guess I'll ask here instead.

How is your stomach muscles? (where is the injury/complete or incomplete?) Doesn't seem to be much stability from the waist up on that suit. I've tried the ekso bionic suit, and there you have like a backpack strap in addition to what you have in this pic. Maybe making it very different to operate? Anyway, really cool to see someone else in almost the same situation as me!

A:

I have no use of my muscles from the chest down but the exoskeleton grabs my stomach it holds me up pretty well


Q:

T7 Incomplete here! I've used an exoskeleton and had a lot of fun with it.

Do you find it heavy and tiring? I did after awhile and I was wondering if that was the general thought.

Wishing you well :) http://i.imgur.com/YY3XCqR.jpg

A:

Nice! I'm a little tired afterwards but not that much


Q:

How can I help you and other quadriplegics?

I used to ride my BMX when I was a kid and I fell plenty of times. Through sheer luck I never got hurt. Life isn't fair. I want to know how can make your life better.

A:

Do you have any spare spinal cords laying around? Just treat us like any other people I think that would be the best way to help


Q:

How many times have people asked you if you can jerk off?

A:

It's usually the first question once the awkward barrier comes down


Q:

Are you part of any research or clinical trials?

A:

Not yet, I'm keeping my options open for the right one. Because depending what you signed up for you can accidentally close the door to others that could be more beneficial


Q:

Where do you find the motivation to continue pushing? I guess I am asking how you rose out of what I anticipate was a dark depression when you became quadriplegic. I don't know if I could find the strength within myself.

A:

Just laugh and Make sure you have people around you that you can talk to


Q:

What's something that you're burdened by that you didn't expect to be a problem as a quadriplegic?

A:

Quite a few things. I have a strong opinion of inclines now. I have to be constantly aware of my body now. I have to do what's called weight shifts a lot. Basically my chair will lean back to 45° angle to relieve pressure off of my ass. If I don't I'm susceptible to a pressure sore. I've had one last year it was the worst thing ever. You can feel your butt getting numv when you sit too long but I can't which is why have to do pressure releases. This also means that I have to be turned when I sleep in bed. So in the middle the night someone will turn me to make sure I don't have constant pressure on one spot. Another thing is, and this is me in particular this doesn't apply to everyone, I can't sweat. So I have to drink a lot of water and be careful in the heat. If I'm outside I usually have one with me to pour on my head to cool me down. And of course going to the bathroom which I answered in another comment