ScienceI am Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker. I'm a nuclear engineer with over 100 patents, and accidentally created the best selling water toy of all time. Ask Me Anything!
Jun 9th 2017 by Iinex • 25 Questions • 4985 Points
We will be departing from Brussels, Belgium on July 1st as a part of the Mongolia Charity Rally, and we will be driving 11,226 miles to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia all in the pursuit of delivering an ambulance to be used in rural Mongolia’s fledgling healthcare system. We purchased an Ambulance last week, and had it inspected by a mechanic. Besides a few minor issues, she’s almost prepped for the journey. Our tentative route is below. It currently takes us through 23 countries where 20 languages are spoken, and 16 different currencies are used. If you have any suggestions for places to go, things to pack, skills to learn, please let us know. Otherwise, ask away!
Ambulance Pics: http://imgur.com/a/VDOXl
Edit: Sorry for the slow responses, the new puppy required some attention http://imgur.com/a/gQdJB
Edit 2: Thanks for all the support guys. We'll try to answer the questions as soon as possible. I honestly didn't even think we would make it off the "new" page. I added the donation page for those who are interested. https://www.youcaring.com/onesmallsteppeandgohelpcharity-693232
Edit 3: Here is our playlist. Add some songs if you like! https://open.spotify.com/user/2g3n/playlist/4IaDXkaE85Kwju2Tgao5eE?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
Edit 4: Due to numerous questions/comments, all donations and contributions we have received are going to a cash donation for the charity and towards the purchase price of the vehicle. All other expenses are coming out of our pockets.
Edit 5: Sorry guys, but it is getting pretty late here, and I've been at it for over 12 hours. I'll answer some more in the morning. Thanks for all the support!
Huge fan of your writing, Barrett. Your book 'Keep Rootin' for Putin' was ahead of the curve in calling out the bullshit of mainstream pundits. One of the points you make is that internet can be used as a force for good in order to fact-check all the nonsense they spout; all of their contradictory bullshit is now a matter of permant, public record.
How do you think the media landscape has changed since that book came out? with the rise of Breitbart and the like, and the sometimes-justified concerns over "fake news", it doesn't really seem like the media have gotten any more reliable over the past years.
Anyway, what the US government has done to you is a travesty and I wish you the best.
Also, go on Chapo
How muscular should Chris be? RE5 (SUPER RIPPED) or RE1? (Normal guy.)
Did playing a man so badly bullied by his co-workers have an effect on you IRL?
Also, your dog is awesome.
How do you stay satisfied going over basic material year after year after exploring it in such depth in college?
What is the hardest exercise you do that appears easy to the average person, and what is the easiest one you do that looks hard?
So I just google mapped it and it looks like the "fastest" route is only about 5300 miles. Why is it so important to more than double your mileage just to hit the 23 countries? You would go through 7 if you took this faster route (although a lot of Siberia)
I went to the library and got a book on how to write patents. But before I submitted the patent I went to an Air Force patent attorney. He reviewed it as a favor, and told me it needed a lot of work. Through working with him, and redrafting my patent, I learned how to file patents on my own. As a result I was able to file my first series of patents on my own.
Now I use a law firm to file my patents for me, but having an understanding of patents certainly helps to understand when you have a quality application.
Unfortunately, the mainstream press didn't really have the gravity or the integrity of action to prevent other, even worse outlets from popping up. Had the New York Times not continued to employ Thomas Friedman even after it became clear that he was less than worthless in terms of explaining world politics, they would have more room to make their own case. Same thing with the Washington Post and Charles Krauthammer, who, as I showed in an old Vanity Fair online piece, was wrong about every U.S. military engagement since Kosovo. Those aren't the only problems with these respectable national outlets, of course, but they're very telling regarding the cowardice of editors and publishers who continued to promote incompetent commentators simply because they've made some vague name for themselves.
And of course WaPo's failed attempt to identify some website that could sort out "fake news" is indicative of the chief fact of our press culture - that much of how it operates is haphazard at best, and that falsehoods can creep in to any outlets, regardless of pedigree, if its operators lose track of basic principles such as hiring competent people and firing incompetent ones. Personal relationships, inertia, ambition, and that sort of things are the chief problems facing our political press, rather than corporate interference or anything else of that sort.
Here's an incomplete case against Friedman; a more comprehensive argument as to why he represents a crisis of ethics within the legacy press may be seen in my free book, Keep Rootin' for Putin (the title of which is taken from an actual Friedman column from 2000). column
Matt: NEVER BUFF ENOUGH PUNCH EVERY ROCK INTO THE SUN
Yes. My dog is AWESOME!!! ;) As far as being bullied on the show having an effect on my real life I would say no. The bullying was only on camera. The minute the director yelled cut I was definitely one of the "in crowd". lol
The most unexpected thing is that we are somehow conditioned to think of North Korea as very simple. As in people are hungry & poor & brianwashed. Then rich are like Kim Jong Un & his friends all partying and eating & drinking. Not true. My students were the sons of elite, the creme de la creme of North Korea, but they were under the most strict control every second of the day. They had not been anywhere, outside their country certainly but also within their country, and they didn't know anything, their education thus far seemed to have been totally bogus and built only around the Great Leader. They had no freedom of any kind. Sure, they were of course better off than the rest of the country that suffers, famine-striken etc., but the elites also live under fear. What I am trying to say is that it's not black and white. The control / abuse happens on all level. Basically they are all victims. The entire country is a ladder / web of abuse and control.
One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is continuously learning new things and new ways of presenting even the most basic material. People don't realize how much room there is for creativity in teaching math at all levels. The curriculum that I teach is quite broad and includes topics such as logic, geometry, combinatorics, and other areas of math. One of my favorite things to do is to take an "advanced" math topic and to come up with ways to give glimpses of it to young children.
I will give you an example. The triangle inequality is something that isn't typically covered in most math classes until high school geometry. I created an activity for 2nd and 3rd graders, in which they were able to not only explore but actually discover this "theorem" for themselves by playing with sticks of many different lengths and seeing which combinations of them can make a triangle and which ones cannot.
Well I broke my wrist 3 months ago and so doing a handstand is super difficult for me to do.
Those sideways pull-ups and front-levers are easy for me but look really hard! Because if you haven't trained for it they kind of are.
The route was a little bit of a challenge to come up with. Obviously we aren't taking the fastest route, but we thought it would be the prime combination of both sight seeing, safety, and speed. Going the Northern route, we would possibly pass through Ukraine, and due to all the conflicts there, we decided against it. Also, if we went farther North, we would spend a lot more time in Russia, and with the visa requirements for Russia, we decided it was easier to stay in Russia for the shortest amount of time possible. However, we decided not to go as far South as some teams. There are a few who are going through Iran! As Americans, we decided that would not be a good idea. As for the twists and turns in our route that seem a little random. We will be visiting some friends along the way, but when you're 3000 miles away from home, 200 extra miles doesn't seem to far to visit an old friend. Thanks for the Question!
Edit: Thanks for the Reddit gold!
We can clearly see this product was a hit. Can you tell us about one of your failures, or inventions that didn't "take off"?
Thanks for making childhood a blast
firing competent ones.
Should be firing incompetent ones I suspect
Woo! Saw your tweet Matthew and was happily able to make the start of this AMA! I never catch the start of these things.
I have never really gotten into the Resident Evil franchise, Can i jump into this one without really knowing anything about the story (beyond zombies exist). Or should i just totally just binge everything resident evil between now and june 20th?
secondly Matthew care to give us critical role fans a sneak peak of anything special you have planned for the 100th episode of critical role on thursday?
I love that we eventually find out that he has a beautiful family and has achieved awesome life goals !
How did they feel about learning English? Resentful? Enthusiastic? Indifferent?
What you are doing is inspiring.
One of the reasons I liked organic chemistry so much is because to me, it could be simplified into simple puzzles. I had imagined teaching them to my children when I one day had a family. I forgot about this until I read this.
Jammin' Jet. It was commercialized. It was a water propelled airplane that was pumped just like a Super Soaker with water shooting out the back, propelling it into flight. The manufacturer changed the design of the plane to fly in a circle, but didn't adjust the wings so as it turned it would roll and dive into the ground. Usually causing the plane to break after the first launch. Exciting toy, exciting commercial, disappointing in the end.
Oops, my mistake. Fixed.
Matt: I don't think you need to know everything. If you want to get a quick primer you can take at the wikipedia for Resident Evil or just know that there are zombies and creatures that are spawned by viruses.
Can't let anything slip about Critical Role, you'll just have to tune in.
When the writers realized that Jerry was going to be the office punching bag they also realized that they had to give him some reason not to blow his head off. lol They decided that ultimately Jerry would have the best life of any one of the characters. Jerry's wife and kids adored him and thought he did no wrong. Don't forget...they also gave him a huge penis. I like when real life and TV life come together. ;)
They had no choice. This was what they were ordered to do, and they studied so diligently because they were obedient. It is a culture where they have to listen to the authorities. But little by little, they would show some frustrations. They found it hard. Their dictionaries were outdated, which translated Korean words to English, and they didn't like to use English dictionaries for definition. They found different accents by the teachers (many were missionaries from deep South, with the Southern accent, or from New Zealand etc) difficult to understand. But these were just practical difficulties. Their real feelings about having to learn them? They couldn't really show it. They just felt worried that they were spending all their time learning English when their majors were within the field of science and technology
Thanks. It's always great to hear when someone finds what I'm doing useful and inspiring. I am glad to have triggered this connection.
Matthew, first off, I'm a huge fan of Critical Role. Granted I've only discovered it within the past few weeks, but in that time, I've uncovered my own love for D&D. After being hesitant to bring it up to friends for fear of being seen as a "nerd", I took the plunge and I have loved every minute of it.
Your work has inspired me to admit and accept my own personal nerdy side, something I've been ashamed to do for years, and I thank you for that.
Anyway, simple question, do you enjoy/hate listening to/playing through your own work?
Also was great that when he was at home he was super witty, had great reflexes etc. Honestly I've always considered that to be a master stroke of the show.
What wildly held belief among your students surprised you the most?
Do you scream "It's DOCTOR Fradkin, NOT Miss Fradkin" and then throw an eraser at the offending child?
When you're doing those pull-ups that landed you on the front page, which muscles are you NOT working out?
Yo I'm from Mongolia and that's really tight. I'll be there in August if you wanna meet up!
Unfortunately Mongolia is very much still a developing country that is having a hard time catching up to the modern world. There is political corruption, alcohol abuse is rampant and we are landlocked so we simply sell our natural resources with no infrastructure in place to adequately grow as a nation.
It's the least densely populated country in the world, and the country side is very old-fashioned. Outhouses, wells and farming.
Thanks for making the country a little better. :)
Matt: Thanks so much for the kind words!! <3
To answer your question, it can be a bit strange... at first, I couldn't help but listen with a critical ear, hearing my performance and taking notes on how to improve. Now, I just got a little use to it, and try to enjoy the game for its own merit.
I completely agree. The episode where Jerry retires and Leslie comes over to talk with him because she felt like they didn't give him a good farewell was one of my favorites. Leslie sees how Jerry is adored by h is family. She also sees that he's awesome around his house. He's funny, smart, quick reflexes. Leslie acts likes she's been thrown to some other dimension. The writers on Parks always knew how to handle each situation. I thought it was a brilliant idea. :)
There were so many things. They just learn totally upside down information about most things. But one thing I think most people do not realize is that they learn that South Korea & US attacked North Korea in 1950, and that North Korea won the war due to the bravery of their Great Leader Kim Il Sung. So they celebrate Victory Day, which is a huge holiday there. So this complete lie about the past then makes everything quite illogical. Because how do you then explain the fact that Korea is divided still, if actually North Korea "won" the war? One would have to question that strange logic, which they do not. So it's not so much that they get taught lies as education, but that that second step of questioning what does not make sense, in general, does not happen, not because they are stupid but because they are forbidden and also their intelligence is destroyed at young age. There were many many examples of such.
In our school we actually go by first names and they call me Miss Sasha.
Great to hear from you! We would definitely love to meet up once we reach Mongolia in early to mid August. Please PM us, and we can try to set something up.
We appreciate the great thoughts and love to see people from Mongolia seeing this as well. Thank you!
What was your reaction when super soakers became as successful as they did? Are any of your other patents as recognizable in their respective fields? Did super soakers help you jumpstart any of your other research either through funding or recognition
Hey Barrett, mod of /r/WikiLeaks here.
Any thoughts on the work WikiLeaks has done, past or present?
How do you see leaks, whistleblowing, and hacks shaping the future of governments and companies?
Do you still plan on leaving the US in the near future?
Thanks for doing this AMA.
What kind of measures did you have to go through to make sure your notes or any other evidence of your actual work would never be discovered?
Thank you for what you do. I tutored math for college kids and found so many people who had been traumatized to hate math when they were young.
I remember one student in particular, Beth. Beth was planning to become an elementary teacher. That's very common for strongly mathphobic students like her. An elementary ed student has to take one, single basic math course, and that's all she wanted. She came to me every week to watch and coach her through homework.
At the end of the semester, she got a decent grade (an A or B), and I thought I'd never see her again.
But she turned up once in the next semester, not because she was having trouble in math, but because she'd missed a lecture and wanted to be very sure it was as easy as the book made it sound. I was startled to find she was taking another math course. Calculus even! What's a math avoider doing in Calculus?
It turned out, that my own love for math had caught on. She'd been exposed to a culture of math achievement and independence. I wouldn't hand her homework answers, but instead helped her find them.
That changed Beth's life.
She changed her major to mathematics.
Because of me, Beth changed the whole direction of her life.
Just telling the story brings tears to my eyes.
Very sobering. "Oh wow my life has changed". I had to sit down and think about what my life would be like going forward.
I am responsible, to a large extent, for the success of the NERF dart gun line.
I was an early supporter of Wikileaks, and continue to support the leaking of files from any state or other institution that engages in criminal activity on a large scale.
I have no doubt that leaking, as well as hacking by various ideologically-motivated groups, will become more common in the coming years.
Yes, I will not remain in the United States after my term of probation is up. Most likely I will move to Berlin or Iceland, at which point I'll revoke my citizenship.
I kept them all on USB sticks which I kept on my body at all times. I erased the trace off my computer every single time I signed off. I also created a document within a document so that my notes looked like a school material. I also created a back up copy on SD card which I hid in secret places in the dark, with the light off, just in case there were camera in the room.
That is a wonderful story; thanks for sharing it. My coauthor actually grew up hating math because she found it formulaic and uncreative. Then she took a number theory course her freshman year of college, and was completely converted. Now she is a Computer Science professor at Columbia. I wrote a blog post about her story here: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/from-math-hater-to-mathematician-and-computer-scientist-the-story-of-allison-bishop/
To both Matthew and Erin, how much inspiration did you guys take from the previous actors who portrayed your roles? Were you aware of the characters at all before auditioning for them?
I always figured it was because of his time share in Muncey.
Hi Suki! I read your book this spring - thank you for writing your experiences; truly enlightening, and also, empathy-invoking. Would you ever go back to DPRK? Do you think you'd be allowed to? Any plans for more books?
Presumably you have done a fair amount of teaching at the university level, but now you're doing curriculum development for K-5. My question is: At the university level, did you ever see common misconceptions or prevalent comprehension difficulties that you believe were rooted in educational problems that started as early as K-5? If so, what were they, and how are you addressing this in your curriculum?
I can't help but notice your map showing you traveling through what appears to be North Ossetia and Inigushetia, what sort of precautions are you taking to handle the instability and corruption in these areas!?
Matt: Quite a bit! I listened and took a lot of cues from Paul Mercier's portrayal (the one that originally drew me in), and then made it my own from there. I wanted to make it familiar and respectful to the previous performances, but also a little fresher.
Yes. A time share in Muncie can certainly sway a girls head. But Jerry's other "head" is what probably turned her head. lol
Hi, for now at least, I would not be allowed to go back, but more than that, even if I were allowed, which I could be in the future, I would probably not go because it would be too dangerous (in a different way than when I was there undercover for the book) and also because I would not feel that I would learn anything new, unless it could be under a different setting, which would be nearly impossible to find for the moment. And yes, there are more books at work:) Thanks for reading.
In terms of my teaching, there was a big selection bias as they were Princeton math and science majors. However, I have met many adults, including highly successful ones, who've had math anxiety and lack of understanding of fundamental things in math.
One common misconception is that math is about memorizing facts and procedures and there is no creativity to it. Another one is that there is nothing more to math than just arithmetic.
In my curriculum, I show children that math is about looking for patterns, generalizing and problem solving. I also make sure to include many topics such as logic, geometry, and probability. Here are just a few examples of lessons with exploration in non-arithmetic topics: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/logical-fun-part-i/ https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/playing-with-symmetry-in-kindergarten/ https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/fibonacci-trees/
I haven't heard many specific situations in those areas, but I have heard about just general corruption in that area. Are there specific things that have happened recently? I have heard about Chechnya and the specific issues they are having there, so we are planning to avoid it. As far as precautions, we are driving through there as fast as possible, as we have no stops planned until Volgograd. Do you have any advice or suggestions? We have a lot to plan for, so any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Will we ever see a toy water propulsion system better than the super soaker or is the super soaker the peak of toy water propulsion technology?
What are your thoughts on the Bilderberg Meetings?
Were you ever in a situation where you had to act against your morals/beliefs to maintain your cover?
Thanks for your AMA, and for saying a number of very sensible things! I have an MS in Math, and I'm about to start my 19th year teaching math in [primarily] public high schools. I usually perk up when people start talking about curricula!
Are you[r students] under the same Common Core mandates as those at a public school? What I'm REALLY asking is whether your curriculum could be successfully applied under the constraints of a public school classroom?
I can't speak for all secondary math teachers everywhere, but my colleagues would LOVE to be able to teach students to love and see math how we love and see math. However, we feel boxed in by outside constraints.
As a former really fat guy but still currently kinda fat guy who goes to the gym 4-5 nights a week, pull ups are the one thing I cannot succeed at. Do you have any recommendations from a broader view of what I can do to get to a point where I can do real pull-ups? Killer videos tho man keep it up!
Ya, I don't see why people are being so snarky about this. It's okay to help people and make an adventure out of it. Fuck the haters I think these guys are awesome
It's very indicative that they don't receive adequate coverage. The problem is that many journalists and editors have only heard of Bilderberg in the context of what they assume to be wacky conspiracy theories. Although some of the theories about the extent of Bilderberg's importance are clearly wrong, that doesn't change the fact that this is a meeting of influential figures from around the world which is closed to the public, and is thus of legitimate interest. But, again, many journalists are fools and/or cowards.
The premise of undercover journalism is a difficult one. Because you have to essentially "lie" to keep a cover. That is only used when the traditional methods cannot work, which is the case in some difficult topics such as investigating mafia or dictatorship etc. North Korea is one such place, there, traditional methods can even be collaborating in the regime's lie. So it's one exceptional circumstance where the undercover /embedded method can reveal the truth buried within lies. It was hard to be among the evangelicals however because I had to attend the sunday service (which was kept secret from students) at the dormitory, to keep my evangelical cover. The thing is, you have to set your own parameters of decency and integrity. Within my capability, I tried to remain as truthful as I could. I know it sounds odd to say that, but there is no real rule in this kind of independent investigative journalism where you take all the task / risk of finding sources / pursing it / jumping in there etc all on your own. So for me, I just tried as best as possible to be sincere despite the circumstances. But to be amongst such devout believers of fundamental Christianity, I found it difficult to maintain my pose, but I knew I had to, to be allowed to blend in. But I really struggled with it. It was very hard, I would say.
I'm sure that I have a lot more freedom than public school teachers. That said, certain elements and guiding principles of my curriculum could probably be applied in any classroom setting. I do feel fortunate to have a lot of freedom in what I teach.
It is great that you have a goal of teaching students to love math and I bet that it has a great impact on them.
Try doing negatives but for those of a heavier stature need to focus on building the tendons and muscles in isolation first because you'll get injured if you don't.
I think you're awesome
Thanks for making my childhood better, Lonnie.
When you were coming up with the Super Soaker, what kind of R&D did you do to test the spray’s reach, how much the tank could hold before running out, etc?
I’m picturing a makeshift lab of some sort where you guys were shooting each other or objects with the guns to test their effectiveness.
How does your Pursuance system check for and detect agent provocateurs or hostile parties intent on spying or corrupting a work group? Are there any plans to include vetting or granting status within a group – which would imply hierarchies, which might work against the equal collaboration roles.
What security (E2E encryption, TLS, PFS, etc) is planned, or is the system designed more for openness, broadcasting and social aspects?
Not casting shade: balancing security, authenticity and collaboration is a difficult task. :)
1) Build Leon as a DND character. What race, class, background, alignment, flaws, etc. would you put on his sheet?
2) What character would you imagine Leon would choose play if he sat down at a DND table?
3) What is the best zombie survival advice you can dole out?
4) What was your funniest moment in the booth recording for Rebecca Chambers?
I get the feeling they did this to make it up to the actor for all of the abuse he took. That and his hot wife.
I always wondered how actors with characters like this can compartmentalize the experience of being verbally/psychologically abused. I mean, I know it isn't real but the writers are making fun of their physical representation of the character which is their actual physical appearance IRL.
I am guessing it is easier for adult actors but what about younger ones who are still developing psychologically? For example, Anne from Arrested Development. There were some really cutting comments about her on that show and I have to assume it stung a bit.
Are there any linguistic things/cultural habits that North Koreans do that the rest of us Koreans also do? Like the "aigoo" and the "oh moh moh" when surprised?
Okay, I'll ask the obvious question: Presumably with a PhD from Princeton you had a decent number of opportunities to teach and research at universities. Why did you choose to teach children and develop curriculum for kids in elementary school?
How long has it taken you to build your strength as you have?
It depends how the funding goes. My next door neighbor does a charity event each year. This year he did a wing-walk, next year he plans to do bungee jumping off a bridge. He pays for the event out of his own pocket, and gets people to sponsor him - that extra money goes to charity.
I 100% agree, those people who raise £3k to "walk the great wall of china for charity" are raising £2k for a holiday and £1k for charity.
In designing the gun I applied certain engineering principles with the idea of maximizing the distance that the gun could shoot, but at the same time designing it so that a small child would be able to pump it up to very high pressure. The design of the gun evolved over a period of years, litterally. The initial designs did not have a bottle on top. It wasn't until right before I presented the gun to Larami that I put the bottle on top.
Each pursuance has a variety of security options by which to minimize the problem of hostile parties, aside from the conventional encryption tools; chief of all, one can set their pursuance to be opaque to those who aren't members. The structure itself of the average pursuance, which grows on the margins, is far more difficult to effectively infiltrate than the IRC chat rooms that Anon used, which anyone can just drop into for the most part (and did).
Granting status is actually a big part of the system. Everyone is equal when they join the system in the sense that they all have equal rights to create pursuances and apply to join others; at the same time, everyone who creates a pursuance has the right to define how it functions, which will often includes divisions of labor and even hierarchies. Anyone who dislikes that sort of thing can create a pursuance, give full rights to other participants, and attract others who prefer that method. And pursuances of very different organizing principles can still collaborate with each other to the extent that each one agrees to do so.
More info on the exact technical aspects, including what security is involved, will be put out before the minimum viable product is released.
Matt: 1) Oh man... Human Fighter (Gunslinger), with a soldier background. Good alignment, flawed in the need to save others at the expense of his own safety. Fairly high Dex, Wis, and Cha. ;)
2) Hrmm... any class, so long as he could Feat into "Magic initiate" to get the Bard's Vicious Mockery.
3) I'm a bad person to ask, as I fully acknowledge I won't survive much into the first hour of the zombie apocalypse, hehe. Personally? Find the Alphas and let them lead. ;)
That's an interesting insight. Yes. When they're making fun of a characters physical attributes they are also making fun of the actors in a way. Personally I've never been bothered by it. I've been a big guy all my life so weight jokes come with the territory. That being said maybe I should get myself some therapy and figure some shit out. lol :)
Generally it's the same. Yes, the accent is different & they have some phrasings and words that are different or feel quite old fashioned or war-related vocabularies, but in general the difference is almost regional where one has that in South Korea from region to region also, but when you are talking about the basic exclamation you cite, (when bumping into things or surprised) they are pretty much not that different.
Here are the few main reasons: 1) I saw as a big area of opportunity. 2) I felt like I could make a bigger difference here than doing research at a university. 3) It is important to me personally because I am raising two daughters. 4) I realized I really enjoy doing it!
Since High School, I am 26 now so I would say about 10 years or a little more.
Great thing to point out. /u/nough32/ hit the nail on the head. We are basically doing what your neighbor does.
To clarify, all of the donations/fundraising will be going towards a cash donation to the charity as well as to the purchase price of the vehicle. Once, a minimum of $1300 for a cash donation and the purchase price of the vehicle has been raised, the excess donations will then go towards making the cash donation larger for the charity (Go Help, a U.K. based charity).
All of our repairs, food, gas, hostels, and other personal expenses will be coming out of our pockets. Thank you again to everyone for the support!
I live in Atlanta near the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Any chance I can get a tour of your lab?
A friend wants to know if you are single. She has a thing for nerdy ex-cons. Are you single?
What ESL teaching methods and approaches were favoured by schools in North Korea? Additionally, what kind of resources/texts were available for you to use in the classroom?
Reason 4 is enough by itself. Excellent work forging your own path and making a difference your way. Especially being able to balance enjoying work and feeling purpose in it. I bet you'll change some lives in ways you'll never fully see! Good work miss Sasha. Er, I mean, doctor Fradkin.
Only those texts allowed in China. All that was pre-approved by the North Korean authority. I tried to install my own methods of essay writing and letter writing to investigate what they are really thinking, but that was not a part of the official text, but I insisted and got them approved by the North Korean authority called "counterpart".
Thank you for the kind words. I feel very fortunate for having the opportunity.
- That's good to know, but I didn't ask whether you were planning to lead investigations. I asked why you were focusing your tool-building on tools for organizing humans into roles, rather than tools for better intelligence analysis or fact finding.
- What tools do you intend to provide in the pursuance kit, aside from pre-existing comms tools bundled for fast deployment?
- The roles-based organization of pursuances sounds like something that could benefit from smart contracts. Are you implementing anything like smart contracts to enforce roles and task completion? If not, why?
- How do you expect to prevent a slow degradation of competence and quality as the network extends outward from yourself, without specific task and analysis oriented tools, or are there some in development that you've neglected to mention at this time?
Thank you very much (to both of you) for answering. It's always an amazing opportunity to receive advice from someone who's already in the industry I dream to be in, I'll be sure to take it to heart.
You sat in front of my friend and I at a performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on broadway about two years ago. Not only were you kind enough to introduce yourself and my friend and I stared at you in awe, but you took the time to take a picture with us when the show was over since we weren't allowed to take them in the theater. You were so kind and willing to talk to two awkward 18 year olds so I just wanted to thank you, two years later!
My question is: what's your favorite encounter you've had with a fan?
do you make enough money to feed the said daughters and live a comfortable life? Serious question
What is your drive to stay in shape? What goes through your head in those difficult moments when you don't want to work out but you have to?
How... How long did it take for you to figure out how to spell that?
Just kidding. Despite the naysayers, I agree, one of the points is to raise awareness, and donate a usable vehicle to a country in need of it. I look forwards to your pictures from your journey! Don't die!
Having high pressure and a relatively large nozzle. However, as you go to higher pressure and the water comes out faster, the stream breaks up in the air and limits how much further the water travels. There's an optimum combination of pressure and nozzle size.
We're also incorporating tools for analysis, including Transparency Toolkit, but that's not our chief focus, which is getting people to use these tools in the first place in a coordinated way.
We don't have a final list yet, which will be available when we're closer to launching.
We are indeed.
The structure itself minimizes the problem of less competent people joining over time, as each pursuance is something of a "filter." This is explained a bit more in some of the other documentation that will be up this month.
E: Hi! I think Matt would give better advice. The best advice I can give for the moment is to say, ask a lot of questions. Of anyone you admire or is where you want to be. You are off to a great start by asking! :)
I remember meeting you at Hedwig (great show by the way).
Because of the popularity of P&R it's changed many things in my life. 99% good...1% not so good. I can honestly say that part of the 99% is the interaction I have with the fans. I know a lot of actors aren't happy to stop and talk with their fans but I'm always happy to take pics and chat a little. There were many MANY years as a working actor that nobody knew who the hell I was. The fact that I was lucky enough to land a show like Parks and get to have an impact on peoples lives is something I will never take for granted. I'm honored (and humbled) that people like my work and want to come up to let me know.
For those wondering what the 1% is that isn't so great...people sneaking pictures. I would rather have someone come up and ask for a pic than sneak around trying to get it. For some reason that seems much more invasive to me. :)
Yes, frightening every second. Not because I was in Pyongyang, but because I was taking notes / writing the book in secret. For average people who visit Pyongyang for whatever organizational reason (that is not a place for a personal curiosity visit since it's basically a gulag positing as a country), it would not be frightening since everything's so controlled.
I am gainfully employed and we are a dual-income household.
Oh shit this is a good one. My drive is for the people who can't do it. A best friend passed away about a month ago who I served with. He can no longer do it, so I do my best to go harder for the both of us. I am not perfect but I try as best I can.
Thanks! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or our website to keep up with us this summer.
What made you want to go undercover in North Korea considering all of the dangers?
Hi Sasha! Fellow math phd here. I find it interesting that people would frame your choices as selfish and wasteful-- to me that says everything about how many people, especially in America, frame math education (and education in general) as a field for people with "not enough" talent.
We should be thrilled that more subject experts are going into education. The potential for added value coming from even one person who really loves their subject is enormous. I'm sure many of us, who have either gotten our phds or work in a math-adjacent field, can credit that one teacher who inspired us along the way. I had teachers like that in 11th and 12th grade who really changed everything for me.
You know. . .I don't really know. I could give all the usual answers how I was so tortured by the injustice there - which is true - and how I felt horrified watching so many separation that happened to families, including my own - which is also true. But the answer is a far more complicated one. So I recently wrote a long essay on this very topic for Lapham's Quarterly, which should be coming out any day now. So I will tweet that out when the piece comes out. I think it has something to do with fear. How that society is built on fear, and how fear can dictate us, and how we try to fight that fear in life. . .I know it's maybe a bit nonsensical in this AMA answer format, for which I apologyze. . .but the more accurate answer would be that I jumped in there because it was the most scary place in the world for me. . .if that makes any sense.
Yes, it is definitely important to have those inspiring teachers. My love of math initiated from my father who is a math and physics high school teacher. He showed me the beauty and elegance of math from an early age by giving me lots of logic puzzles and having math conversations about everyday things. I also had a few really good math teachers in high school and college as well.
My coauthor, on the other hand, had some terrible math teachers in high school and grew up hating math. Luckily, one awesome professor in college made her fall in love with it, and she is now a Computer Science professor at Columbia. More of her story here: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/from-math-hater-to-mathematician-and-computer-scientist-the-story-of-allison-bishop/
Hi! Which do you like writing more? Nonfiction or fiction? Do you consider yourself a writer of "Korean-American" literature or does that tag/category bother you? I thought The Interpreter was a great novel; one of my favorites.
This so much.
After getting my PhD (Sorbonne) I worked in my industry for a few years. The stress got to me so I quit and - no joke - got a job at the local McDonalds. I was much more happy. I did that for a few years, then started a few companies and retired by the age of 40.
Never underestimate happiness, the feeling of making a true difference, and zero career stress.
You go Sasha! Yeah!
Who do you think will be the first to breakdown and want to go home?
I am always torn between the two genres. But if I really had to choose, I guess my heart is with fiction. But nonfiction makes my brains flow perhaps in a really exciting way. And my nonfiction in general is literary that I get my fiction angst/fill through that way. I don't know which I "like" writing better. Writing is so torturous for me that it's only after finishing it or nearing the end that I can enjoy it:) No, I do not consider myself a Korean-American literature writer. That genre is an odd one for fiction writers. I guess one cannot help that in coming up with genres, but especially fiction, to be limited by my nationality or immigration history is uncomfortable. I guess I just want to be a "writer", period. Yes, The Interpreter -- so many years later, I myself still have a real soft spot for Suzy Park, so thank you.
I don't know about the "zero" career stress, because I can by no means call my current job "stress-free", but I agree with you on everything else. I think that for many people, one of the hard parts is actually figuring out what it is that would make them happy. I feel fortunate to have found something that I feel so passionate about.
Definitely Murphy. He needs chocolate milk to keep his weight up, and I imagine there won't be much past Turkey. I foresee this leading to a mental breakdown, followed by a bit of arguing, followed by Murphy getting out of the ambulance and walking off into the middle of the Mongolian steppe never to be seen again...
Is it true that you are working on a super super soaker contract for the department of defense?
are you going to revive project PM?
Hi Matt and Erin!!
If you were Luchadors what would your gimmicks be?
Did you start this AMA by going to alta vista and typing in "Please take me to Reddit?"
Hi Ms. Kim! As someone who is in the middle of “Without You There Is No Us” I am thrilled that you are doing an AMA for us, so thank you! My question is, while you were exhausted by the lies your students had no hesitation in participating in, were there any students in particular whom you felt was less into the shade of the regime? Or any student who has slipped up and revealed something that shouldn’t have been reveal to you? And I might as well: what was one of the most outrageous lies you remember your students telling you? Thank you so much once again!
Will you keep the lights and siren on the whole trip?
I have worked with and been funded by the Department of Defense in the past for my inventions. It's probably better that I not comment on the specifics of those contracts however.
Not as such, but we'll be running a "pursuance," as entities under the pursuance system are known, that will continue much of the same work of documenting the intelligence sector, private and public.
Matt: I would think my gimmick would be narrating my movesets and attacks in realtime.
Is there another way? ;)
I guess the boys lying broke my heart because they were always so absurd. What was heartbreaking about it was because there was no logic to any of it. Once a smartest, savviest student pretended to go shopping within the campus (when there was no shop & he could not go outside) but he knew that I knew that there was no shopping happening. So why did he lie? It was the way very little children would lie to avoid the moment, not a 19 year old young man. Also the fact that very same young man was normally so bright & quick witted upset me more. What made it outrageous was not that they were lying but that they continued with these nonsensical lies that would be caught instantly. Why? That was complicated which I discussed in the book. What happens to human mind when you have been brought up inside outrageous lies for generations, where lies are encouraged, where lies have different weight or value, where lies become ways of a survival etc etc. . .I guess it was that disconnect that I found unacceptable and outrageous and horrible, because that disconnect was happening in my boys whom I loved and respected and adored. So I would have to say it was the disconnect that I found to be inhumanely imposed by their regime.
I think that they both have their value to society. I felt more passionate about teaching children than about doing research, so that's what I pursued. I think that people should pursue their dreams to the extent that they can and then society will benefit from having more happy and satisfied people.
Unfortunately, that's probably not legal, but being bold students, we may or may not give it a try.
How did you realize Hasbro was undercutting your royalties?
What are you doing for fun these days??
excellent, and will you build "top down" (or at least, like before, bring in many individuals who might be interested to...pursue it) or will you build it organically?
Hi!!! So thrilled you guys were able to make an AMA. Huge fan here, especially of Rebecca since i was like 7yo! and then playing as Leon as a 9yo. Thank you both so much for the delivery you make to every game. Greeting from Mexico!
A question for both of you: What was your most exciting moment that you took part with in the video games?
Do you actually know how to play piano?
Do people in North Korea really see Kim jong un, Kim jong il, and Kim il-sung as essentially a god, or is it an act?
What do the people high in the workers party think of the western world?
As a kid many people never saw the coolest things math does. Even teachers were not great at explaining the places math could take you. As a math major finishing my degree, I am seeing the amazing connections math has to everything.
Now that you have all this knowledge, how will you demonstrate to kids the wonder and far reaches of math to inspire them?
I love that you guys are going to try and do something good but looking at that ambulance and then thinking ahead another 12000 miles...are you not just going to be delivering a piece of junk there? Why not just send them the money instead?
I went to the toy store one day and saw a number of guns being sold under the N-Strike name, and my royalty check did not reflect the number of guns I saw in the store. I took out my contract and did a close review.
Inventing energy converting technology and batteries that will be 2x better than lithium ion.
I haven't decided on the exact form it will take or who will be in charge of day-to-day operations. I'll be involved to consult and give some direction where needed, but I don't plan on overseeing it myself at this point.
Matt: Finally seeing the E3 trailers for RE6 and seeing Leon's face talking with my own voice. It was such an incredible moment for me, having been a fan of the character for so long. <3
Not a note. lol :)
The difficulty of this question is that they are also human beings and complex. Sometimes it is possible to believe as well as not believe. They do see him as essentially a god, but some also don't. Sometimes these beliefs co-exist. My students were like this often with me. I was their enemy because I came from the western world as well as South Korea (which is their enemy) but then I was their teacher, the only one they saw everyday they relied on, so they loved me at the same time. And it is that conflict within their humanity vs the inhumanity of their world that makes North Korea exceptionally tragic. Also, imagine, they were brought up in that system for 3 generations. It is a bit like a cult religion, so even if you might have some doubts, it is literally the world they come from, the only world they know and are allowed to see and be in. So it's a bit like hating a father you also grew up to worship. It's as conflicted as that. Because they are not "brainwashed" or robots, the problem becomes far more complex. Yes, they view the western world as their enemy but a part of them might want to see it or feel a bit worshipping of it, but they live in a world that is not allowed so they cannot ever show it. So it's a combination of all those things.
In the curriculum that i'm developing I make sure to cover a broad range of topics, from logic to probability theory, to geometry. I also make sure to have plenty of activities where they can explore and discover some of the math for themselves.
Here is an example, I recently did a lesson on logic using problems from Smullyan's book "What is the name of this book?" I was amazed at the freedom and depth of my students' thinking. They were really questioning all the assumptions and not just trying to look for "the one right answer."
Here is a post I made about the conversation: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/logical-fun-part-i/ and I describe many similar in spirit lessons on my blog.
The reason for delivering the car, is that the industry in Mongolia is far behind that of Europe and the US, so they can't just buy an ambulance. The ambulances have to be imported from somewhere else. While it might get a little beat up on the way there, we are having skid plates installed along with some other precautions to keep it in the best condition possible. The charity we are working with coordinates with the Mongolian government to approve the vehicles in order to make sure they are vehicles the government actually wants. Also, if the ambulance is going to be used in rural Mongolia where there are no roads, driving it there is a testament to the fact that it can actually do its job when it gets there. Thanks for the question!
Matt: What is your opinion the relationship of Ada and Leon? Does Leon miss or mention Ada at all in Vendetta?
Erin: Does Rebecca ever say her famous "OH NO!" line in Vendetta? lol
You've kind of been defined by your role on Parks & Rec, but you've had a long and impressive career. Is there one movie or TV show you've been in -- other than Middle Man -- that you'd recommend to people looking to see a little more of you? A performance you're particularly proud of?
I'm in the midst of a math education degree and work as a private tutor for grades 7-12 , it seems like the broad underlying issue for most of my students is that they never really got on the math bandwagon when they were younger and have been playing catch up for years.
From your experiences and research, is this type of hangup as common as it seems in my experiences?
And a follow-up, in the same vein: what are the keys to getting students in the K-5 range genuinely interested in math? Or if not interested in math, at least not scared of it.
What made you decide to go north of the Caspian Sea instead of south, through Iran?
Sounds like you are well prepared anyway. I did the Mongol Rally in 2003 so I can confirm it's an awesome trip. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people do the same thing as you every year so you will have loads of support. Enjoy!
Matt: Leon and Ada have a very interesting, complicated relationship. What romance that is there is peppered with mistrust, yearning, and playful denial. I imagine he misses elements of her, and REALLY doesn't miss others.
Great question. I've been blessed to have been working in this crazy business for over twenty years. Because of the popularity of Parks I'll always be best known as Jerry which is a gift. I love when I get to sink my teeth into a dramatic role. Dark comedies are my favorites. It's one of the things that led me to Middle Man. I'm not the "funny" guy in the film yet I get a lot of laughs. I love getting a new script and figuring out what I'm going to do with it.
As far as finding something I did in the past...hmmm...I did an episode of Diagnosis Murder where I got to play a crazed serial killer. I had a lot of fun with that. I would also check out a remake of Harvey I did many years ago with Leslie Nielsen, Swoosie Kurtz and Harry Anderson. It was one of my first films. I look like a baby. It was an amazing experience. :)
"Enjoy" would not be the right word, I think. But I have great empathy for the place because they are suffering. I am American but I am also Korean, and as a Korean, I feel for the less privileged half. Also as a human being, I find the existence of the place and the inhumane treatment of the people there unacceptable. So it's not that I enjoy North Korea -- which I do not, I find the place to be horrifying -- but I am drawn to North Korea. But joy is of course there. My students I met there and fell in love with were all full of joy, because they were young and sweet and adorable and innocent and there were some fun times we shared, but they were also full of darkness, because of their society.
I believe it's quite common.
I think that the key to getting K-5 students interested in math is by making it creative and letting them explore and discover concepts rather than imposing it upon them. You make it visual, you let them play with it.
For example, when we study nets of cubes, we actually build them with magformers and students figure out which ones can actually fold into a cube. When we study functions, they're not abstract but we literally put objects in and out of a "function machine." For example, I describe this activity here https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/kid-in-the-machine/, and there are many other such examples on my blog.
You also need to show them a wide range of topics. It is generally believed in our society that being good in math means being good at computation. However, there is so much more to math than arithmetic, and children should be shown that. I have students who struggle with arithmetic but are incredible at spacial reasoning or logic puzzles. They need to be shown that this is also math and given an opportunity to be successful at it.
Thanks for the question. Being students, we are on a tight budget, and from what we researched, the Iranian visa itself is quite expensive and they tax the vehicle itself as well. So, we decided that would be too costly. That would also require another visa to go through Turkmenistan. We are excited for the route we are taking though! Can't wait!
Was it an instant success? How long did it take to become popular?
What books about COIN and political repression (past and present) and about useful countermeasures and "security culture" would you recommend, if any ?
What advice would you have for the general public regarding "how to understand the world, especially the "other" who we have not personally encountered?" Specifically, in the age of infinite information, fake news, and polarized sources, how does the public sift through and make meaning of their world?
"Okay kids, today I'm going to tell you a story about Hoppity the Math Bunny.
Hoppity was hopping down the lane when he saw a book lying in the road! What sort of book was it? It was a book about math, kids! We love math don't we?
And what do you suppose that Hoppity read in the book, kids? He found out it was a book about graphs! What sort of graphs do you think he read about, kids? CLAW FREE graphs, that's right.
He read all about Dr Hadwiger who was a VERY smart man who lived in Switzerland! We love Switzerland, don't we? That's where they make chocolate and cukoo clocks isn't it?
So anyway, Hoppity read that Hadwiger’s conjecture states that every graph with chromatic number χ has a clique minor of size χ. Let G be a graph on n vertices with chromatic number χ and stability number α. Then since χα ≥ n, Hadwiger’s conjecture implies that G has a clique minor of size n.
And after reading that, Hoppity was so tired he lay down in the road, and fell asleep. Then he got run over by a truck. The End."
Do you recommend rowing machines as an "at home" exercise? I do Jiu Jitsu, and do a little mountain biking, but I'm still in need of more core strength and (a lot of) conditioning. I'm 41, 6'3", about 240-250 lbs.
I had a friend do the London version of this rally. I have no questions but share a couple of tips if you'd like to read them.
1) get the European AAA-equivalent (ARC?) membership. You got the ambulance checked out, but it may not always cooperate.
2) Keep vodka bottles with you in Russia. For "gifts" (when official-types stop your vehicle). I have no idea about crossing borders with liquor, so maybe try to stock up fairly soon after crossing.
Friend's team ran out of gas, had the damn thing break down multiple times, and they even tipped it on its side in Mongolia after another truck coming head on at them was taking his half in the middle. I think it was a much older vehicle and I'm glad to see that Mongolia is enforcing some standards in these kinds of rallies. Best of luck to you!
I got the idea in '82, had a number of false starts, and it wasn't until '89 that I made the presentation to Larami. It was on the market a year later in 1990 as the "Power Drencher". We changed the name in '91 to Super Soaker and because of the consistent sales success in both years by word of mouth, Larami decided to run TV commercials. In 1992 it became the number 1 selling toy in the world.
The Burglary and The Devil's Chessboard. Most of all, read anything by Peter Dale Scott, the former diplomat and Berkley professor who carefully documented a great deal of the amorphous security culture from the early '60s to recent years, mostly in regards to JFK and Southeast Asian drug running by CIA affiliates.
This is really relevant. Fake news seems to dictate our world now, but I do believe due to the rise of fake news (or the method in which they can travel has grown tremendously due to the internet & the ease / speed of the internet publishing), the need for the real in-depth news has also risen. So if you were to look around, you will see so much more information on almost everything. I do think this means we have to just look more. And also I think because of the policing that happens as the result of the surplus of info, we can't get away with bogus information anymore the same way. North Korea is a perfect example of there being so much junk out there posing as info. So then you have to check who is saying that, who is writing it, what do they know etc etc. In the past, the story of the "other" belonged solely to Orientalists, who basically imposed their colonial view of the "other." Much of that still goes on, but I hope with all the policing, we are enforcing more quality control, perhaps. So that you can't just claim yourself "expert" when you don't speak the language, or hardly had been to the place, etc. So in fact, the general public can in fact inform themselves more thoroughly and resposibly these days, if they care to.
This looks familiar :-)
Get some ab straps. I owe a lot of my core strength to them!
Those are some very good suggestions. The vodka bottles will definitely come in handy! Did they end up making it to the end?
Hello Ms. Kim.
I enjoy your Twitter posts and found your Guardian piece comparing the political chaos in Korea to the U.S. very enlightening. In your experience, what are the biggest misconceptions Americans have about either North or South Korea?
I am sorry I assume you speak Russian but have you heard of Приключения Капитана Нулика? It's a math-based adventure book too. I was raised on it.
Edit: prepositions, or an alternate title Фрегат Капитана Единицы
Do you have a story about a time when your muscles and ability to lift your body/ do crazy athletic shit came in handy in the real world? It looks cool in the gym and all, but has it ever come in clutch falling off a cliff or something practical? Thank you for your service !
Hey guys. My question: Do you want a beer? I literally live on your route (south Germany) and would happily invite you for one...
I think the biggest misconception goes back to the basic premise. Most Americans have no idea why there are two Koreas, or why there are 30,000 US soldiers in South Korea and why North Korea hates America so much. That very basic fact has been sort of written out of the American consciousness. By repackaging the Korean War as a civil war, it has now created decades of a total misconception. The fact that the US had actually drawn the 38th Parallel that cut up the Korean peninsula, not in 1950 (the start of the war) but in 1945 at the liberation of Korea from Japan is something that no Korean has forgotten -- that was the beginning of the modern Korean tragedy. That the first Great Leader (the grandfather of the current Great Leader) was the creation of the Soviet Union (along with the US participation) is another horrible puzzle piece that Americans have conveniently forgotten.
I have heard of it but haven't read it. Will check it out!
Actually the opposite, my over confidence got me a broken wrist 3 months ago...
Heck yes. I'll PM you, and we could figure things out! Prost!
Anyone know where can I find information regarding how the first great leader was a creation of the USA & soviets? I'd love to read about it
What was your go to hoagie from Hoagie Haven?
That would be taking it out of the context to claim that first Great Leader was "created" by US. He was a soldier (protege of the Soviet), while US participated in that set up handpicking the US educated South Korean first president. US had drawn the 38th Parallel, and that division was trumpeted by the Cold War, two separate gov't formed by 1948 & war broke out in 1950. That is a very simplified version of the history of the two Koreas which most Americans don't remember and now wonder why they are in South Korea today and why is North Korea mad at them. If you are genuinely curious, there are many many books on this topic by serious historians.
This is going to sound blasphemous, but I was a Wawa girl.
Hey Matt, big fan and I've loved your work across everything Blizzard related, and beyond!
I have three, you can pick and choose if you want.
1) What got you really interested in voice acting, and kept you going? 2) How did you go about practicing and getting better at voice acting? 3) Have you ever thought about going back to facial hair? You could cosplay as McCree at cons!
Thanks for the enjoyment you bring!
Who was the funniest cast member on Parks and Rec and who was the most fun to work with?
Also how similar is Nick Offerman to Ron Swanson? (in my head they're the same person)
How long did it take between the time you had this idea and actually going through with it? (Apologies if you covered that in the book, it's been a while since I read it.)
That's amazing ! There are not many people like you who are willing to follow what they believe in over making a lot of money! So mad respects for you ! Have you experienced a lot of people who criticised you over your decision/ tried to stop you?
Matt: Thanks, friend!
1) My love of cartoons and video games merging with my love of theater. 2) Many, MANY classes and workshops over the years while performing on stage whenever I could. Improv helped tremendously. Cold-reading and reading outloud when alone. 3) I have, but many projects I have going on require facial mocap, and I need to shave for those... it's frustrating.
They were all funny. What a lot of people don't know is that after every scene we did a "fun run". That's where we got to play around and do whatever we wanted while telling the same story that was on the page. Most of us had an improv background so it made sense to let us play together. We did that EVERY DAY. I think it's one of the reasons we stayed so close as a cast. That being said...Chris Pratt is so off the cuff funny that it's crazy. Really really funny. I had fun working with each and ever one of them. That's not Hollywood bullshit. I loved them all...and still do. :)
The whole idea for the literary nonfiction on North Korea came in February 2002 when I first went to Pyongyang for the 60th Birthday celebration of Kim Jong Il & wrote the NYRB cover essay. I realized then that an essay was just not enough, and there was just so much more I felt about this topic, also given my family background etc. From then on, it was trying to study the topic as thoroughly as I could, by literally researching it from afar and close, i.e. following defectors through the defection route, interviewing separated families, and situating myself in places where I could either go to North Korea or learn more in-depth stuff about it. Even my Fulbright research grant which allowed me to live in Seoul for 14 months in 2009 was for this book. As well as each visit that allowed me to get a different perspective. Understanding it from all sides was a key, and I felt that I had exhausted that by the time I lived there in 2011. So all in all, I would say about a decade.
Typically, people have been very supportive. Also, people might not realize, I am still gainfully employed, just changed my focus.
What was your favorite book you read while in Prison? Favorite book of all time?
Erin: in case Matt hasn't already invited you to make a guest appearance in Critical Role, would you? I'm sure you'd have loads of fun...what class would you pick?
I was listening to an interview with him and Ron was based off nick but everything is greatly exaggerated.
How much did u make as a teacher? Easy thing to get into (teaching English in N Korea)? Last one - any dangers associated with just teaching in N. Korea?
Could you be so kind as to explain the pros and/or cons between the former traditional educational model and the rising popularity of "common core"? I want to ride they hype train as it sounds like people love it but gosh darned if my ignorance just makes it look LONGER to do. Thank you!
Can you confirm this redditors comment about Ninja Warrior: This show is bullshit.
Asking for a friend.
It's hard to really narrow them down to a particular favorite, but I very much enjoyed the series of George Orwell's notes, articles, and letters, which someone sent me a volume of and which I eventually obtained in full.
E: Ha! I just showed him the question and told him I would love to be part. :)
That's pretty much it. Nick is such a great guy and so is Ron. They just took Nick to an nth degree. What he did with that character was something I have never seen on another show. I've always been confused on why he never received an Emmy for his work. :)
It was an unpaid job. I believe every teacher was sponsored by their church. There is not a danger in teaching in North Korea, but this is a gulag nation, and America is their enemy, and there is no diplomatic relations between them, so if you are a teacher from the US, then, yes you are in danger, as evidenced by the recent hostage crisis where two American detained by North Korea (currently still held there) are from the university where I taught.
First, what most people don’t realize is that the Common Core is not a curriculum but rather a set of standards of goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills that a student should obtain. These standards are quite reasonable, but how they’re implemented is another story. The content actually is very similar to what was there before .
And the main problem I believe is with the assessments. For example, the common core may list multiple ways to do simple addition or subtraction. Administrators see this and say, oh we must not only teach all 5 ways, but we must also test all 5 ways, and for that, we also need to give the ways names.
That is not the goal of the 5 ways though. The goal is to give children a choice and flexibility. The main failure of the common core, in my opinion is not giving support to administrators, teachers, and parents for implementing the standards.
Nothings perfect. It rained right before I went and I still had to go.
Great question! I'm surprised it took this long to get that question directly. That's the first question all of our friends (and in particular our moms who think we're going to die) ask us. Actually though, we had some friends have the adventure of a lifetime doing a similar rally a couple of years back. We wanted to seek the same adventure but thought buying a car then junking it upon arrival seemed kind of wasteful. So, we sought to find something that had a charitable aspect to this. We then came across the Mongolia Charity Rally, which aims to help improve Mongolia's fledgling healthcare infrastructure by raising awareness in a unique manner (the wild adventure), raising funds, and donating a vehicle that had stringent requirements by the charity as well as Mongolian government to qualify. We found that this rally was perfect for us. We are aiding the Mongolian government in a manner out of the ordinary/other than simply donating cash. We are able to directly impact people and see it for ourselves while also having a fulfilling adventure of a lifetime.
Hey there Barrett, I wish you the best. Are you allowed to use a computer now? Or have you always been? I remember reading something on Frontburner that said you are not allowed to.
Just wanted to say thank you all for taking the time to answer all these questions!
Matt: How do you find time to sleep? It seems like you're everywhere doing everything!
Everyone: What's your favorite sandwich and beverage?
Jerry/Kerry/Larry/Terry/Gary Gengurch was one of my favorite characters. I can relate to being the clumsy one who's always the butt of the jokes. You never failed to make me smile while portraying him.
What are your dog's names, and can you tell me a bit about them?
In '92-93 I taught English in Prague in the Czech Republic. Eastern Europe had just been opened up from the communists. The sense of euphoria among the people was palpable. Hope exuded from everyone.
I taught businessmen and women who for the first time in their lives had freedom for their entrepreneurial spirit. They came to me every day with hopes and bottles of champagne.
I'm curious about the demeanor of your students. I cannot imagine 'hope' was anywhere around. How can one teach without hope? Thx and best wishes.
The way it's been implemented in my school district is by abolishing advanced math classes and putting everyone in the same math class, resulting in some really bored students who would be doing great in a higher math class but instead do poorly in a class that is mind-numbingly boring to them.
Well let's see. Going very well. Busy day. A number of meetings. I got to spend some time in the shop making some parts for my engine. I got an update from my team working on the solid state battery. Got a hair cut. Had a very good lunch. And now I'm enjoying my first time here on Reddit.
The BOP had claimed that I couldn't use computers during my home confinement period, but now I'm on probation under DOJ, which allows me to use a computer so long as it's monitored, which it's going to be anyway.
Matt: The nutrient broth that maintains my consciousness also keeps the majority of sleep necessity at bay.
Sandwich - French Dip with Au Jus. Beverage - Thai Iced Tea.
Thanks so much. My dogs names are Chase (the white one) and Stella (the black one). They're both rescues. Last year I lost both of my other dogs to cancer. I don't have kids so the dogs become like children (some people think that's crazy...that's OK). When they passed away I didn't think I could ever go through it again. After nine months my gut was telling me that it was time again. I went to the Linda Blair World Heart Foundation and found Chase. I knew within two minutes of meeting him that he needed to be with me for the rest of his life. A few months later I went to the Amanda Foundation and met Stella. She had obviously been abused and needed some loving. They're brought the smile back to my face after losing my other two pups. :)
I wasn't there to teach, so that was not what I was looking for. My students were so busy, every hour of their day was mapped out, so it leaves no time for thinking. I found that world to be without hope. That does not mean that there is no joy in moments. There are because human beings are resilient, and my students were very, incredibly humane and lovely and their youthful spirit was sparklingly beautiful. But there was no real time for them to celebrate any of it. They would relax a bit but the immediately hauled off to their many duties that all had to do with regime & great leader. There was no hope there. So I wrote down what I saw. But I do not know about other teachers who were there to teach, but if you read my book, you will see that the other teachers weren't mostly there to teach but there as a part of their fundamental evangelical missionary purpose.
Unfortunately, the mind-numbingly boring classes are not benefiting anyone, advanced or not.
With this being described as a "black comedy", how was this role different for you in comparison to past roles, and how do you feel audiences will react?
Does your book try to teach math abstractly or traditionally?
When I learned math in school they just told us operations and the rules to use them with.
But my love of math really started when I learned more pure constructs like functions as a means to map from a source set to a destination set.
I realized that all the rules that people found hard to remember came from these abstract principles, where they made sense, and we're not simply arbitrarily defined.
But abstract math also seems much more complex to reason about.
So to ask my question again in a different way, is your book teaching applied mathematics or pure mathematics?
Do you have any gymnastic, dance or performance background?
Some of the moves in the longer video where you show some amazing locking of position (fake stairs/steps) are the kind of moves people practice for ages.
You're like a super mime!
The solid state battery uses a solid electrolyte instead of liquid. So it's an all ceramic and metal battery with twice the storage capacity. We are in the process of transitioning the battery out of the laboratory. We have working cells at this point. There are improvements I'd still like to make. We have not yet set up an investment vehicle structure. Stay tuned.
It's totally different than any other role I've played. My character Lenny starts out in the same vein as Jerry from Parks. A sweet, nice guy. Unfortunately for Lenny he makes one terrible mistake and on his way to Las Vegas he picks up a hitch hiker (played by Andrew J. West). This turns his life upside down. From that moment on we slowly watch the mental unravelling of an otherwise normal dude. Playing the character was terrifying because if I didn't make it work the film doesn't work. From what I hear I did it justice. :)
The book is doesn't teach math per say. It is first and foremost a fantasy with math intertwined. You wouldn't call the Phantom Tollbooth or Alice in Wonderland a math book, but there is certainly some math to be explored in the stories. Similarly with our book, you can make the experience of reading it as mathematical as you want. We also have a mathematical addendum that addresses the math concepts more directly.
There are many more details about this on the kickstarter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/419899136/funville-adventures-a-math-inspired-childrens-book
That is honestly a question I have never thought about haha. As found on bladderandbowel.org, the average person goes to the bathroom about 6-7 times a day. I would guess that means we'll need to stop about 4 times each day for at least 41 seconds: 10 to run to the bathroom, 21 to pee (the amount of time it takes every mammal to go to the bathroom no matter the size), and 10 to run back. That will add at least two whole hours of bathroom stops
Hi Mr. Johnson, I've got a question for you: why aren't you wearing the awesome shirt some redditors gave you recently in your proof pic?
What do you think of the DNC Leaks?
What's your favorite flavor of Crayola?
When the word came out that Amy Poehler was doing a show it was something everyone wanted to be involved in. Amy had just come off of an amazing run on SNL as well as a couple of awesome films. My agent called and said that I had an audition for the show for the role of Ron Swanson. I found out later that most male actors in LA audition for the role. The thought of anyone playing Ron Swanson other than Nick Offerman is ridiculous. I think Nick was always who they wanted but the studio made them read tons of people. That is what helped me. Though I didn't get the role of Ron they did see something they liked and brought me back in for Jerry. The producers tell the story that after my Jerry read they just said "He's funny. Let's put him at a desk. It'll work itself out".
As far as my audition for Ron Swanson I don't remember exactly what I did but for I do remember being very stern. Probably too stern. As much as Ron was a ballbuster he was also a softy. I should try and see if I could get a copy of my audition. I'm sure it's horribly embarrassing but it would be a great to see. :)
A few of my favorites are: The Number Devil, Cat in Numberland, What is the Name of this book? (and others by Smullyan), The Greedy Triangle, How big is a million?, How big is a foot?, books by Martin Gardner. I have more on a slightly outdated list on my blog: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/kid-oriented-math-reads/
It's the little things that we're clearly going to struggle with
How many super soakers would it take to cool a reactor core safely?
Hey Barrett, 2 questions.
1) I always thought it was ballsy of you to plead guilty while staring down the possibility of 100+ years in prison. Were you aware at the time that your sentence was likely going to be much shorter?
2) Is Leiderman as awesome as his "chicken-shit assholes" rant belies?
Big fan of both RE and Critical Role (and many of your other projects, like Final Fantasy 15, and going waaaaay back... Sailor Moon)
My Not Resident Evil related question: (I'm sorry, but you expected this right?)
When using your resurection ritual rules does rolling a natural 20 on an attempt to aid a resurrection ritual (Vex for Percy's first res and Pike for Scanlan) have any benefit mechanically? Or was that just another example of the dice reinforcing awesome story/character moments?
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the many many hours of entertainment you've provided me, and for inspiring me to start a D&D game with my own friends. A year ago I picked up the 5e starter set and DM'd my first game. Now we're playing Storm Kings Thunder, and I credit or monthly game for bringing us all closer together.
I know you hear it all the time, but I wanted to add to the many many people out there you've had a positive influence on.
Also I hope you have a fantastic wedding whenever that is! Congrats to you and Marisha!
Was it difficult playing such a wholesome and naive character, when a lot of your other work is so dark and twisted? It's great you have such a wide range.
Hi Sasha! I had the pleasure of having your father Boris as my teacher throughout my years in high school (from Algebra I MG to BC Calculus). I really admire him for influencing my future and nurturing my love for mathematics, eventually guiding me to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering.
So my question is, how has your father influenced you to the position you are in right now?
Depends on the size of the reactor.
I love when I get to different types of characters. That's what actors do. Like I mentioned earlier it's hard not to be typecast but it's part of the challenge of being an actor. :)
My father had a HUGE influence on where I am right now. First, he was the one initiated and then nurtured my love of math. He gave me logic puzzles and had math conversations with me from a very young age. His love of teaching was also a great inspiration, and the fact that he was so respected and loved by his students.
Consistency is key because you start to not see instant results and get discouraged. So stick with it!!
First we had to come up with the name which probably took a month (We're a very indecisive group). Then since we chose One Small Steppe, we decided it need to be an astronaut. With that idea, we sent it off to one of our friends (Shoutout to Kat), and she made this masterpiece of a design!
Is there a Super Soaker model which reached an unexpected commercial success? Likewise, is there a model which failed to meet expectations?
Six years ago, you told me I was not allowed to join Anonymous.
You then asked /u/kiltrout why I "prank called" you, when you were the one who gave him your cellphone number, asking me to call you.
After you went to prison, and I was free to join Anonymous, I carried your torch - inspired by your instrumental role in Arab Spring (you deserve all the credit, afterall) - and I used the Anonymous brand to promote similar Brazilian and Venezuelan Springs in your name. I also assumed control of Project PM.
My question is: What future libertine activities do you have planned to promulgate the corporate American agenda abroad, and do you plan to continue using Anonymous, for which you are the official spokesman, as your vehicle?
For parents of young children out there, what are some things you can do as a parent to encourage math literacy at a young age?
How long have you had your dog for? Could you tell us more about the dog?
Did you ever expect it to take off in popularity the way it did?
Did you trip the soap? Trip report?
Matt and Erin: Who in your opinion is the most dynamic, interesting character in RE:V? You can pick yourselves. I won't judge.
Thanks. Really excited for the release in a couple weeks!
Nick Offerman as Lenny in "Of Mice and Men" would be interesting
I knew it would be successful because I knew it was a fun toy, but I didn't anticipate it to be a number 1 toy in the world. That's not something one can predict.
Damn. Should have read this before my previous comment. I guess Nick and Lil' Sebastian are going to have to fight this one out. :)
LMFAO, that was funny.
If i asked really really nicely, could i have a free super soaker ?
Do you still think the Kosovo War was a good thing? If so why?
What exercise regimen would you recommend to get close to the shape you are in now?
- What's your diet, routine, etc.?
Depends on who you ask.
Tell you dad thanks from me. Without our Kickstarter campaign we would not have been able to make the film that we did. I'm still blown away that strangers gave us their hard earned money to help us make our dream project. It's very humbling.
I mentioned earlier that I have too many all time favorite actors to mention. I'm been blessed by being around not only amazingly talented people but also amazing good people. For me that's more important.
Getting to work with Andrew J. West, Josh McDermott and Anne Dudek on Middle Man was an unexpected treat. I didn't know any of them and they came with their A games. Really amazing people and actors. :)
My diet is just don't eat shit all the time. Put down the cookies once in a while but I don't count my Macros or get too into it.
Right now I am on a routine that is 500 pull-ups, 1 gallon of water, and 500 crunches a day for 30 days.. lol today is day 1 but successful so far!
What is the advantage of the JTEC over regular solar panels or a solar power tower?
It seems extra complicated to me with so many moving parts which could break down vs something static, and I don't understand how it's more efficient than regular solar cells.
Why was there a stuffed leopard on your wall in We Are Legion?
My dad is a prolific hunter and I've had it since I was a kid.
Matt: That's a hard choice between FFVI and Chrono Trigger.
Don't make me choose. Please.
This is definitely the most important question I will answer today. The answer is Rob Lowe. I only say that because he has his own fragrance line and it would make sense that he smells better than the rest of us. :)
I partake, on occasion.
I gotta ask did the super soaker pay off ???? If so how comfortable are you?
What's the reason behind the timing of this ama? There doesn't seem to be anything topical in your life to inspire this ama. The only topical events that tie into your ama are 1) The intercept (whom you're promoting) is being accused of revealing a source. 2) James Comey, former director of the FBI (which you're decrying) is about to testify.
The questions in this ama seem staged and this whole thing stinks.
Hi, Matt! Huge huge huge fan of your work, specifically Ryoma and Yusuke.
My question is simple: Who are, let's say, the five favorite characters that you've ever done VA work for?
Was the cast of Parks and Rec overly nice to you off camera to make up for how Jerry was treated on camera?
hello ridiculously-photogenic-pull-up-rowing-machine-marine-guy! here are some awkwardly forward questions:
How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
What's the best fitness advice you've ever received?
What's the best fitness advice you'd give someone working on getting in shape?
The Super Soaker and NERF allowed me to pursue the other projects that I'm working on.
I wouldn't say overly nice. We were all just good friends doing good work and laughing our asses off every day. :)
Remember the guy who quit? No one does...
It's going to be hard at first and you'll want to quit but don't.
I understand that the JTEC could be used at nuclear power plants. Is it possible to apply that technology to nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers, or other nuclear powered vessels? If so, do you think there will ever be government contracts to install one of these converters on a carrier?
What's your opinion on RPGs becoming more and more about appealing to a wider audience rather than being made specifically for people interested in RPGs? Do you think there's a balance and is it currently perfect or tipped too far to one side?
Thanks for being so damn entertaining, by the way.
Who was your favourite director and actor that you've worked with?
Have you ever been approached to make a ridiculous infomercial for like Mike Eckert's totally insane ridiculous rowing in the air workout?
Yes. Eventually JTEC technology will mature and become widely used. The nuclear community is very conservative with respect to implementing new technology and want to rely on the tried and true. But eventually the performance of the JTEC will warrant its use in nuclear applications.
Matt: I feel RPGs can only benefit from a wider love and appreciation of the hobby. All systems evolve with the times, and while some may lend their efforts towards a more accessible gamer base, others will still cater to the more classic gamers who carried the hobby all these years. I don't see any trends or changes being able to alter or change how you play your game at home unless you somehow let it.
My favorite director was a guy who started as our editor on Parks. He had also worked on The Office. His name is Dean Holland. He really understood all of our characters and knew how to get the best out of us.
My favorite actor that I've worked with is too broad of a question. I've fallen in love with so many people I've worked with over the years. By "love" I mean I loved being around them. :)
Hahaha no but I think you're on to something!
How often do you pull a classic Jerry move?
Also: I remember seeing you in a Castle episode, and I swear it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen, as I decided that your character (who was a butcher with anger management issues, if I recall correctly) was Jerry Gergich trying to process everything he was put through in Parks and Rec.
When's leg day?
LOL That's a great analogy. I'm not sure that's what I was thinking at the time but who knows?
As far as pulling classic Jerry moves....every day. We all do.
I won an Emmy last month and as I was walking up the steps to get the award I just kept thinking "don't fall...don't fall". If I had fallen it would have been another "Jerry" moment that I would hear about forever even though I won the award for a different show. lol :)
I just yawned.... I can't do leg day today...
Would you rather fight 100 Aziz-sized Li'l Sebastians or 1 Li'l Sebastian-sized Aziz?
Credit to /u/GodDamnNameDoesNotFi for the tweak to my original question
What are you favorite basic exercises?
I've thought about this question many many times so credit for the question goes to me. ;) The answer is ... 1 Li'l Sebastian-sized Aziz. :)
Pull-ups, I hold the world record for most in 60 seconds
I have many ideas, but so afraid to move forward in them because I fear they will be stolen and I well . . I don't think I can handle watching a million dollar idea be stolen from me while I cannot afford legal representation to fight it off. Uh, how did you overcome that fear (if you had it that is)?
Matt I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do! I am a huge Critical Role fan and have been binge watching to catch up! Please come to Pax Unplugged in November!
My question is what made you start voice acting and how did you get so good at doing many types of voices?
Thank you! ❤️
If you could be anything other than an actor, what would you be?
First off, you can't make money unless someone knows about it. Secondly, I was willing to put my idea out there and to lose as long as I learned from the experience. I felt that subsequent ideas I had I would be able to use that experience to become successful.
E: I agree they both have their place. I also like the slow and scary moments. I like the suspense! I'm a total horror fan. Scare me, Baby!
I thank God every day that the acting thing worked out. Otherwise I have no idea what I'd be doing. I guess because I'm a talker and a bit gregarious that I could have gone into sales but honestly I don't know. A lot of my family around me are in the trades...like pipe coverers and fitters. I'm too damn uncoordinated and lazy to do that so again...THANK YOU GOD FOR LETTING THIS WORK OUT!!!!! :)
lol yeah I had inflamed tendons for a week after that one!
Do you have a giant wall / room in your house dedicated to displaying every super soaker ever made?
If so, can we see this holy super soaker hall of fame of yours?
Mr. Mercer, Ms. Cahill, what's been the highlight of your VA careers?
Was the makeout-fest on Late Night planned between you and Aubrey or just improvisation?
How long have you been a Marine?
Yes and no. I do have a display of Super Soakers and I have a display of prototypes we built over the years. My collection is not complete, there are some that got away. Periodically I'll go on ebay to find ones out of production, and some are stored away to protect them. The room in the background of my proof picture is the prototype "museum" we have at my laboratory.
E: This is so exciting for me! Absolutely this and Call of Duty.
Totally thought up by Aubrey during the last commercial break. My favorite part when watching the video is how the other cast members reacted when they realized what was happening.
Aubrey is a super funny person. She knew it wouldn't be funny to make out with Pratt or Scott. She knew it had to be with the old fat guy to get the real laugh. I was happy to oblige. :)
If you had one story to tell people what would it be?
I get my pizza with sausage, onion, extra sauce and crispy. mmmmm Now I've got to have pizza today. :)
My dad once told me while I was competing, he said, why not you. I couldn't give him an answer and I wound up winning.
Matt: It VERY much informs my performance. He carries the weight of each person who died under his watch, every failure he incurred, and every victory that was torn from him. To still stand and fight in spite of such crushing experiences shows his true heroism, in my opinion
I typed "please bring me to a site on the interwebs called reddit that will let me answer questions". ;)
What running regimen do you do/use?
Who is your inspiration for being a better athlete or person overall?
And what is your favorite base you've been stationed at?
E: I would say I would like to be bitten in a non-critical area, then hopefully get a vaccine ASAP!
I've never been able to see if I have mumps. When I go to look I'm always distracted by the largest penis I have ever seen. ;)
I am not the best runner but I can still make around an 18 min 3 mile. Short interval training to get the HR up helps!
I have met a lot of good and bad people and I choose to take the best qualities from them and try to inspire others. My dad would be someone I would like to be like as a person.
Long time RE fan here and I grew up with it with my brother. How did it feel being called up and given the voice role of your respective characters?
How much can you bench?
Matt: My fav RE character for a long time, and when I had the opportunity to audition for him, I gave it my all. :)
275 was my max, but now... after a broken wrist I haven't even tried.