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Specialized ProfessionIamA Firefighter. AMA!

Dec 10th 2017 by Fickle_Monster • 17 Questions • 5696 Points

Introduction:

I’m Asher Fergusson. This past September, my wife and I experienced two consecutive Airbnb nightmares that left us and our 10-month-old son on the street in Europe. It was a horrible experience.

As a result, I decided to conduct an Airbnb guest research study, and subsequently wrote an article about its findings. My research partners were Sheana Ahlqvist, PhD and Erin Smith. They are also joining me on this AMA.

We’re doing this AMA because we want to see Airbnb succeed, but our findings indicate they are not doing a good enough job keeping up with their massive growth. We uncovered multiple dangerous loopholes & scams that are going unchecked and we want to bring awareness to these issues.

Summary of our research:

According to Airbnb customer service, 3% to 7% of stays turn into a “problem stay” (that’s over 2 million ruined trips per year). Here’s what’s most likely to go wrong on your next stay based on 839 3rd-party online reviews shared by dissatisfied Airbnb guests:

Host cancels stay (20.5%), Scams (15.4%), Unsafe conditions (13.4%), Not as described (12.2%), Fake Listings or Reviews (3.8%), Discrimination (1.1%)

We found that Airbnb customer service makes everything far worse: 82% of the people who had a problem with their Airbnb stay mentioned customer service as a problem. 57.5% of those people listed customer service as their primary complaint.

See our full infographic that was submitted Monday to /r/Dataisbeautiful here (it has over 2,000 comments, many of which are stories from other dissatisfied Airbnb users) : https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/7hk5xu/according_to_airbnb_customer_service_3_to_7_of/

Other key findings from our research:

  1. Lax or nonexistent ID requirements and background checks for hosts
  2. Price point arbitrage scam with duplicate listings
  3. Co-founder Brian Chesky claims a natural “immune system” is supposed to regulate good and bad users, but the review system is flawed and often biased.
  4. A scammer can use the same listing photos on multiple accounts.
  5. A host who has been "permanently banned" can get back on the platform instantly under a different name.
  6. Listing addresses are not verified so a "bad" host can list any address whether they own the property or not.

Proof:

If you would like to read our full article, our published study or our video with proof, you can find it on Asher’s website here: https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/

ASK US ANYTHING!

Edit: Thanks everyone! We signing off at 4:30pm PST but will check back in the morning to see if there are any unanswered questions. Cheers, Asher, Sheana and Erin.

Q:

Are electric blankets safe these days? I want one for Christmas, but my partner insists that they're a fire hazard! I said I'd ask a fireman, so this AMA is kinda perfectly timed :) thank you for your service - I once called out the firemen for something which turned out to be nothing, and the guy said "we'd much rather come out just to make sure it's nothing, than come out to something bad"

A:

While in Barcelona staying at a VRBO/Friendlyrentals unit, our (well-secured) room was keyed into the night before we were to leave and everything was taken except for our passports. Well over $5,000 in value.

Googling this, I found many other similar horror stories about the Barcelona rentals market.

How often have you run into this type of scam?


Q:

Does Jay treat you as if you exist or does he simply ignore all he’s not “with”?

A:

Hello! I immediately fell in love with APOPO as soon as I discovered you guys and I've been a monthly contributor ever since. Thanks for doing what you do.

1) Is there any way for a traveler to see your workers and rats in action? Perhaps a volunteer mission?

2) I requested hi-res photos of your trainers and rats in action to hang at my home for visitors to see in hopes of encouraging them to get involved. Your people totally hooked it up. Animal-lovers dig it, but since most people think rats are gross, what other ways would you suggest to help turn people on to your cause?

Thanks


Q:

Is there any one case you think about more than others?

A:

How was it to work on Star Wars and then be involved with a Star Trek fan film?


Q:

If your immortal soul had to be locked behind a lootbox or paid content, how would you design it?

A:

What are the answers to our final next Monday? :)

Edit: But seriously though, Professor Bishop is an brilliant mathematician and an engaging teacher. You should all listen to what she has to say!


Q:

How strict are strip clubs about following the rules regarding prostitution? Is there a sense of "for the right price?"

A:

What is the most common misconception about wilderness survival that gets people killed?


Q:

While in Barcelona staying at a VRBO/Friendlyrentals unit, our (well-secured) room was keyed into the night before we were to leave and everything was taken except for our passports. Well over $5,000 in value.

Googling this, I found many other similar horror stories about the Barcelona rentals market.

How often have you run into this type of scam?

A:

They're fine if properly checked and maintained.

The main thing to note with electric blankets is not to leave them on overnight, or for a prolonged period of time. Anything that has a tendency to highly heat up (toasters, vacuums, electric blankets, chargers) have a higher tendency to develop a fault than non-heat up electronics.

Also, bear in mind not to overload your extensions, and get rid of block adapters - the latter are huge hazards for a home.


Q:

ASHER: There were some examples but it was very rare.

A:

He’s always very respectful and polite to me. I have a history of saying stupid things to him though so he makes me laugh in my memories. He always would randomly appear and I would be surprised by him so then when he asks a normal question like “hey man, what’s up?” I get flustered and reply with “good man, how are you” and feel dumb for the rest of the day. I’m not star struck, just stupid I think.


Q:

Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, travelers can see our rats in action - most convenient is in our training centre in Tanzania or in our recently opened APOPO visitors centre in Siem Reap. Thanks also for promoting us with the photos! We appreciate any initiative which will support us, be it word to mouth, be it organizing a group or a visible event - sure everyone has skills to contribute. You can also adopt a HeroRAT which makes for a great holiday gift!

A:

Half a dozen. I transcribed thousands of cases but court officials get compassion fatigue just like medical/emergency officials and have to build up emotional barriers. Because I transcribed the official record I saw every picture and bit of evidence firsthand. Some of it was so traumatic it changed the way I look at other human beings.

One that stuck with me was a toddler who was beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend for refusing to spell God. Another was an obgyn who sodomized his kid and was allowed to plead out to coercion so he could keep working to support his ex-wife “in the matter she was accustomed to”.


Q:

Literal dream come true. Working on R2-D2 was a life achievement. As was playing TOS-era Sulu. I remember sitting in my Sulu costume, at my console, on the beautiful Enterprise bridge set, being SOO giddy because I couldn't believe I was doing it.

A:

Cracks Knuckles Let's do this dance!

  • My soul is the chase prize in a lootbox, along with other, extremely valuable content (gotta be in good company after all). We'll call this box 'The Soul Box'.
  • You can't directly purchase The Soul Box from the store. It's a rare drop on a powerful, Dark Souls style boss monster. High HP, insta-kill attacks, very timing heavy, the works. We'll just call this 'The Boss Monster'.
  • The only way to fight The Boss Monster is with a Boss Fight Ticket, which is the rare chase prize in the 'The Wheel Game Loot Box'. A ticket cannot be obtained any other way.
  • The Wheel Game Loot Box can only be obtained by getting the Five Keys from the Wheel Game. It costs hard currency (currency bought with real money) to spin the Wheel. Getting the Keys is rare, spins usually get you lesser loot boxes. Each of the Five Keys is different, and you can get duplicates. This means that you could have 20 of the other Keys, but still need to get the Fifth Key, just to unlock one of the Wheel Game Lootboxes.
  • The Fifth Key is way rarer than the other Keys. Like, suspiciously so.
  • Keys can be redeemed for other prizes, like event-unique cosmetics, just for that added temptation. They look amazing.
  • The Wheel Game has a ridiculously long spin animation, with lots of flashing lights and grating music. Neither of those can be disabled. You must sit through it. Every. Single. Time.
  • That Boss fight? You can't save up tickets for it. You're not allowed to spin the wheel when you have a ticket (the button just greys out). This means that learning the fight patterns is extremely difficult, as you're looking at hours (and tons of money) between fights.
  • PvP is enabled during the fight against the Boss Monster. If another Player kills you during it, you lose the fight and they get half of the hard currency you spent getting the ticket. Prepare to get mobbed by griefers every time you get within a mile of that thing.
  • Did I mention that the presence of so many PvP players in the Boss Fight will cause terrible lag spikes during the fight? Because that's a thing.
  • The Boss Monster has an unskippable cutscene, every time you fight it. He wants to destroy the world because everyone is too sad. The voice acting is horrendous.

I think that covers everything... I'm feeling pretty good about the sanctity of my soul.


Q:

nice try.

A:

In Vegas they're pretty strict about it. If a club is caught allowing that then they are at a serious risk of having the entire operation shut down. Vegas really markets itself well with the "Sin City" tag, but it's not quite as "anything goes" as people think. Even some cities in the U.S. have more lax rules than Vegas.


Q:

It's just a day hike I don't need a survival kit or training.

A:

ASHER: There were some examples but it was very rare.


Q:

Just to clarify, what do you mean by block adapters?

A:

are there any characteristics to look for that decrease the chance of it being a bad experience?


Q:

My honest respect to you. Where did you live from 13 to 18?

A:

are your humans assigned their own rat to work with, or do they rotate assignments?


Q:

That second one seems like there's no clear winner, though I'm assuming he was paying child support here too.

The way things went, he gets to keep working, and there's an obgyn who is also a sex offender.

But the other way is like "Mom, why don't I get any presents on my birthday and christmas?"

"Because your father abused you."

"O...oh...okay"

A:

What was your favorite myth from a building perspective?


Q:

A 12 year old Korean kid is going to have your soul by April.

A:

How do you handle what seems to be a majority of people's "fear of math" (for lack of better term) when incorporating math in your story telling?


Q:

How many people go just for the free buffet?

A:

What are some general survival tips that everyone should know?


Q:

are there any characteristics to look for that decrease the chance of it being a bad experience?

A:

Yep, popcornpost is right: https://www.kenable.co.uk/images/E261BA.jpg

The reason they're a hazard is because the older style block adapters were actually unfused, which means it could heat up and heat up without cutting out, if overloaded, for example.

Moreover, if it is slightly pulled out from the wall, there will be a gap between the adapter and the wall, which can cause arcing (when an electrical current leaps). This can also cause a fire.

One of the worst fires I've been to was an overloaded block adapter in a child's bedroom.

The child didn't survive.


Q:

ASHER: My top tips are to only stay at places that have a shit ton of reviews, only stay at places that have a 5-star average, only stay with Superhosts. Don't stay with a host who has more than one or two properties.

You can read all 54 of my tips on my site here: https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/#safety-tips

A:

Thanks! I moved in with my dad and stepmom. My stepmom was a little mentally unstable as well (she later killed herself) so it was not exactly a good fit. I was grateful to have regular meals and a warm place to sleep though, for sure.


Q:

Usually they have their own rat, but for example when staff members take their holidays, their colleagues will be happy to take over. This also happens when rats move between countries - they will encounter new trainers.

A:

Exactly. Nobody won in that case.


Q:

Two of my favorites from later episodes were the Earthquake Shake Table and Tennis Wing Walk. The earthquake table was cool because it required a giant air bearing (cushion of air like air hockey). The tennis wing walk required me to design a giant wing structure that we welded to a flat bed pickup. I was neat because of the sheer scale of it all.

A:

My only weakness! How did you know?!


Q:

I find it's best to not tell them it's a math story! One great thing about math is that it's embedded in everyday life, so you can connect it to things that people already identify with.

A:

A lot of the locals


Q:

Always have a small, easy to carry kit that will get you through the night when going to the outdoors.

Always form an emergency signal as soon as possible in an emergency.

Get a wilderness first aid card.

Hydrate well before hitting the outdoors, it's better for every climate/altitude.

Take a class with me.

A:

ASHER: My top tips are to only stay at places that have a shit ton of reviews, only stay at places that have a 5-star average, only stay with Superhosts. Don't stay with a host who has more than one or two properties.

You can read all 54 of my tips on my site here: https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/#safety-tips


Q:

I don’t know what to say to that, but regardless, thank you for your services, you’re doing God’s work.

A:

My friends and I were staying at a home in Nashville for a bachelor party. The owner was coming in to check on us throughout the week (totally understandable). But our third night there we noticed a camera in one of the bedrooms and asked him about it. He said he'd check on it the next day. While we were out getting lunch he stopped by and said there was no camera and he wasn't sure what we were talking about. We went back to the home and sure enough the camera was gone.

We complained to Airbnb and got no response or refund. The big fear that we had was that there were some provocative things happening in that bedroom that we wouldn't like the world to see (remember, bachelor party). If any of those videos were ever to be found somewhere online, do we have a legal leg to stand on in terms of suing the host?


Q:

How do you personally think you got out of that pit of hell you were born into? How do you think you made it when so many others, probably members of your own family couldn't? Do you consider it drive and ambition or genetic somehow?

I believe we're in the same historical boat and we could have been neighbors. Super poor and abused to becoming successful people. I love meeting other people like us. Also: I feel it, and I'll delete this, cause it's my own personal thing, but: https://imgur.com/mpDCdSa I get it.

A:

Is there a registry or memorial of hero rats who have died in the service?


Q:

Tacos of the fat? Count me in.

A:

Do you have any advice for someone trying to get their foot in the door for doing movie props/costumes/set, etc apart from just taking whatever you can get at first?

I have a sizable portfolio, and really have to work my butt off to get involved with any project, which tend to just end with little to no leads after it is done.

Thanks!


Q:

Upvote for Harold and Kumar reference.

A:

What would you say to your students who are reading this thread?


Q:

Any celebrities or famous people walking into your place? Whats the most amount of money you have seen someone spend?

A:

What's the biggest mistake people commonly make in a survival situation?


Q:

My friends and I were staying at a home in Nashville for a bachelor party. The owner was coming in to check on us throughout the week (totally understandable). But our third night there we noticed a camera in one of the bedrooms and asked him about it. He said he'd check on it the next day. While we were out getting lunch he stopped by and said there was no camera and he wasn't sure what we were talking about. We went back to the home and sure enough the camera was gone.

We complained to Airbnb and got no response or refund. The big fear that we had was that there were some provocative things happening in that bedroom that we wouldn't like the world to see (remember, bachelor party). If any of those videos were ever to be found somewhere online, do we have a legal leg to stand on in terms of suing the host?

A:

I like to think I'm doing my work. :P It's hard to believe in God when a child dies for no reason.

Then again, I'm an atheist.


Q:

ERIN: That’s more of a legal question, and it involves several layers of legality. Full disclosure: I am NOT a legal expert, nor are Asher or Sheana. I do not claim to know the laws of every state or governing location.

  1. Some states in the US, for example, are one-party consent states. This means of the recorded parties, only one must consent (obviously the person doing the recording consents, so done and done). Other states may require majority consent, while still others require all-party consent.
  2. Some laws may differentiate between video-only, video+audio, and audio-only recording.
  3. Some legal proceedings may require the incident to have been reported to officers of the law, and may require certain types of and amounts of proof. Other types of infractions may not require such evidentiary support.
  4. If the cameras were disclosed, I seriously doubt there’s anything to be done about it
  5. If they were not disclosed, it may even depend on what was recorded? Hard to say.

Long story short, there are so many jurisdictional overlaps here that it would be hard to say for sure what legal protections there are, but it’s likely that the victim(s) of privacy-infringement in the context of hidden cameras would have some recourse.

In any case, you should absolutely take the matter to the police as soon as it happens and have full photo/video evidence.

A:

I just always wanted to be more. I had nothing and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be nothing. I just kept clawing my way upwards. Sometimes I slid back down, sometimes I had to start over all over again. But I did it. I refused to stop trying to be good enough. Don’t delete it, unless you want to. I’m happy to hear you made it out of the shit.


Q:

We had a ceremonial burial in Cambodia this year when one rat passed away due to illness. It was attended by all trainers in Cambodia.

A:

Phat Phrank’s breakfast burrito is the work of God. Big bacon pieces and crispy potatoes to offset that mushy texture breakfast burritos are always in danger of getting. The dispensary next door doesn’t hurt either.


Q:

If you've done a few projects and have a portfolio, congrats! You're ahead of the game. Now get your portfolio scanned into a PDF. Work on a professional cover letter. Email it out to any shops your can find. Scan movie credits for names and other leads. Do some detective work and get your name out there.

A:

True story: My dream is that, when I die, I'll have the time to say "<Cause of death>, my only weakness! How did you know?!" just to fuck with anyone who watches me die.

The more specific about the cause of death, the better.

Like, imagine if I got hit by a car. And there's this terrified student driver (who just hit me) and some EMTs trying to help my dying ass, and I just manage to wheeze out:

"A '97 Chevy Impala... my only weakness! How did you know?!" Then, just die on on the spot! Everyone would be baffled and traumatized for life.

It'd be awesome.


Q:

Homework is still due tonight. If you're not done, close this tab.

A:

$150,000 was the most I've ever seen spent. It was a husband, wife and their son who came in at 5am and didn't leave until around 3pm. They each had their own VIP room with their own stripper. The guys had a female stripper and the wife had a male stripper.


Q:

Failure to make a signal of any kind. There's usually A LOT of people looking for you; helicopters, atv's, crews on foot, etc.

A:

ERIN: That’s more of a legal question, and it involves several layers of legality. Full disclosure: I am NOT a legal expert, nor are Asher or Sheana. I do not claim to know the laws of every state or governing location.

  1. Some states in the US, for example, are one-party consent states. This means of the recorded parties, only one must consent (obviously the person doing the recording consents, so done and done). Other states may require majority consent, while still others require all-party consent.
  2. Some laws may differentiate between video-only, video+audio, and audio-only recording.
  3. Some legal proceedings may require the incident to have been reported to officers of the law, and may require certain types of and amounts of proof. Other types of infractions may not require such evidentiary support.
  4. If the cameras were disclosed, I seriously doubt there’s anything to be done about it
  5. If they were not disclosed, it may even depend on what was recorded? Hard to say.

Long story short, there are so many jurisdictional overlaps here that it would be hard to say for sure what legal protections there are, but it’s likely that the victim(s) of privacy-infringement in the context of hidden cameras would have some recourse.

In any case, you should absolutely take the matter to the police as soon as it happens and have full photo/video evidence.


Q:

That is true, it is hard to believe in a higher force when you face such horrors, I hope I didn’t offend you. I only meant that you are doing the work of a hero. You are a hero.

A:

put cameras on the doors and windows, disclose active monitoring of security cameras. being someones "house" having security system isnt skeevy. but nannycams in the house are.


Q:

Seriously that strikes a cord. I was absolutely supposed to be nothing and every expectation was I would be nothing. I also did the slide back and the start over (a couple times) and it was hard but I refused to stop. At some point it wasn't about "them," meaning what "they" thought of me and became what I thought of myself.

I'm glad you made it out of the shit too. Do you find yourself distanced from it now though? Like I have a hard time correlating the me today with the family that I still have who is still living in poverty. It's like, I can't pay for your bills people, so I've become a hermit from my family. Have you found yourself in that same situation?

A:

I love APOPO! Thank you for doing this AMA. I have always wondered why landmines and TB? These are obviously worthy causes but how and why were they selected against the many other applications that the rats could have been trained for?


Q:

What is your trick to stay sane in your line of work? How do you walk on the streets and not be paranoid about regular people around you, knowing so well what they are capable of?

A:

Are there any myths you wish you could have covered on Mythbusters but that weren't practically feasible?


Q:

Candy corn shaped anal beads that have been used three times... my only weakness! How did you know?!

A:

How did you go from hating math to being a math major and CS professor? (And why did you hate math in the first place?)


Q:

How has constantly being around a highly sexualized environment affected your perspective and interactions with people in the 'real' world?

A:

What kind of signals would be good? I understand at some point a guy took out a large power line so they would have to send a crew out but I'm not sure how he did that and I also don't know what kind of signals would be good or how to make them.


Q:

put cameras on the doors and windows, disclose active monitoring of security cameras. being someones "house" having security system isnt skeevy. but nannycams in the house are.

A:

No offence, no worries.


Q:

SHEANA: Yes, this study was focused exclusively on guest experiences, and only negative experiences at that. Because Airbnb is a two-sided marketplace (i.e., there are both guests who stay at Airbnbs AND hosts who offer Airbnbs) there is the potential for abuse on both sides. Your concern sounds similar to the finding here, that customer service was a frequent complaint among guests.

A:

I don’t feel like I have a lot in common with my family but I do love them very much. I couldn’t pay their bills if I wanted to and most of the time I call my brother asking for a couple hundred bucks to pay my cable bill. I have distanced myself as much as I can though as they all live in Philly and I live in LA so I only see them once a year at best. It’s better that way


Q:

When we started my colleague Bart Weetjens got intrigued by the landmine problem and after an analysis immediately found that the detection of the landmines is the hardest part. Rats came up as part of a systematic study and brainstorm comparing possible detection techniques. After a feasibility study we moved to Tanzania where our University had a collaboration in the field of rodent research. However, Tanzania has no landmines, but is one of the high burden TB countries. Again - detection was the main problem, as 30% of the people dying from TB are never diagnosed.

A:

I had to actively fight to keep it from making me paranoid and avoidant. You see so many people testify that it trains you to better read people out in the real world. That being said it absolutely affected the way I look at others and how I raised my kids. It’s tempting to put up an emotional barrier and assume everyone is out to get someone but it’s ultimately not helpful.


Q:

The holy grail is the upside-down race car. By virtue of its design, an Indy race car has enough downward force at speed to run inverted. Just needed (1) a helical track (2) an Indy race car and (3) a driver.

A:

The EMT vomits. The priest faints. The bank teller just wishes we would leave.


Q:

When I was growing up, math seemed formulaic and uncreative. It seemed just like regurgitation: if I figured out how to e.g. add fractions, it would be the same method anyone else would use. In particular, I found calculus boring and resolved not to take any more after high school.

In college everyone was required to take one semester of math, so I took number theory, thinking it would be easy. Numbers are simple; how much theory could there really be? Under Jordan Ellenberg, it turns out, a lot. Jordan showed me the creative side of mathematics, and I was hooked! Meanwhile, I got rejected from the Princeton creative writing class.

A:

You get to see some of the more primal side of people. It's interesting seeing wealthy businessmen, a lawyer, a teacher, a doctor, etc. behaving in a way that you just have a hard to imagining if you were to see them in their daily work environment.


Q:

A large triangle, x, or sos on the ground, anything reflective, anything brightly colored, fire, and smoke. Thanks for participating. Symmetry, reflectivity, unnatural coloration, all catch the eye.

A:

SHEANA: Yes, this study was focused exclusively on guest experiences, and only negative experiences at that. Because Airbnb is a two-sided marketplace (i.e., there are both guests who stay at Airbnbs AND hosts who offer Airbnbs) there is the potential for abuse on both sides. Your concern sounds similar to the finding here, that customer service was a frequent complaint among guests.


Q:

That sucks, I kind of like my heated mattress pad.

Another question - is it okay to leave things you may not currently be using plugged in all the time? My dad does wiring but is also a bullshitter and he used to go around the house and unplug things when no one else was home. Always annoying, also wondering if it was practical.

Good morning, and thanks for the AMA!

A:

Where has your study been published - can you please share the DOI link? I can't find it on your website.


Q:

Sweet. One more question doe. You mentioned that he's recording his album rn.. How's that going? How along in are y'all?

A:

Could you put tiny cameras on them with microphone/speaker/gps?


Q:

Did you know any so-called "mob lawyers" (like our ex-mayor!) and did they live as extravagantly as movies like to portray?

A:

Do you play computer games? If so, what are some of your favorites?


Q:

BROTHA I AM PINNED HEAH

A:

What, or who, inspired you to become a writer? What about a computer science professor?

My boyfriend is currently studying computer science, he's unsure of what he wants to do quite yet but I think that's okay. He'll figure it out. What advice would you give to people who want to get into the computer science field? What about those who'd like to write a book?

How long did it take you to write the book for children?

By the way, thanks for doing this for us. I'm usually too shy to participate and ask questions but I decided to try today so I'm really sorry if one of my questions is too nosy or worded bad.


Q:

What is your favorite place to party in Vegas and why?

Edit: no spell good on mobile

A:

Local folklore says that even though the hunter started the campfire, it was a USFS helicopter that fanned the flames and made it spread. What eventually happened was that the hunter was held in jail for 364 days, the charges were dropped, and he was let go. The case never went to trial. Makes one wonder how the fire was really started.


Q:

Where has your study been published - can you please share the DOI link? I can't find it on your website.

A:

It's fine to leave it plugged, as long as you're sure there isn't a current running through it. The exception to this are electricals which are designed to be kept on (fridge, sky box, etc.)

Anything charging should not be left on overnight.

Your Dad is just playing the better safe than sorry card - I admit, it's a bit OTT, but it doesn't hurt anybody, I guess.

You can still use your heated mattress pad! Just not while you sleep. If it start smoking or crackling, you need to be awake to react.


A:

There is literally no way to gauge what Vic Mensa is doing at any given time. He is a mystery


Q:

Yes we can! We did an initial experiment some years ago in first study to use rats for search and rescue. Meanwhile the technology has evolved and we are talking with a Search and Rescue group as well as with engineers to develop the technology for this same purpose, using infrared cameras to find survivors, which would also have to include GPS and communication equipment, all in a small backpack. Currently we are testing a small electronic ball-pull switch around the neck to see if rats can give just an electronic response in situations where we could not observe their behavior.

A:

Oscar Goodman represented me at one point. In Vegas in the 70s, the mob lawyer lifestyle was definitely as extravagant as presented.


Q:

I'm level 204 on Overwatch. I main Pharrah and Bastion (Bastion is making a comeback) as well as Soldier and Symmetra. EDIT: I will play Bastion and Symmetra on Attack, depending on the map.

A:

Shit, now I'm afraid the Magpies are gonna steal my Soul Box.


Q:

What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?

When I was at camp as a kid, we used to always tell ghost stories. But I didn't find them very scary. So I started to come up with my own. My whole cabin got nightmares.

How long did it take you to write the book for children?

We spent about a year on the initial draft, and then another year revising & getting it published. The most important part of writing a book is finishing it!

What about those who'd like to write a book?

As you can imagine, I was busy with many other projects during those two years. I think it's important for writers to have perspective on & experience in the world around them -- otherwise you just end up writing about writing.

A:

I'm not the biggest party person (it helps me keep my sanity while working in nightlife and avoid burnout), but any of the popular nightclubs will do if you want to go hard. Hakkasan and Omnia are really popular since they're newer and so massive. Other clubs like Drai's, XS, Hyde, etc. are fun too. I actually think that the day clubs and night swims are more fun than nightclubs. Rehab was the first day club I went to, and it was awesome. XS night swim is something I encourage everyone to try during the warmer months.


Q:

He wasn't charged, I believe, because he was without water for ten hours on a hot day before using his flare.


Q:

Everyone does, but if you happened to be the proud owner of a Galaxy Note 7, working smoke detectors could mean the difference between losing everything you own and not having to worry about the things you lost anymore...

I really should invest in a fireproof pad for charging my phones...

A:

Fergusson himself is clearly biased into wanting to prove Airbnb and its support are terrible, because of his bad experience with the moldy Airbnb rental. There's no real scientific basis for this, but hey, it does give a nice infographic.


Q:

I'm late, but how does he come up with content for writing music? For example, does he write music based on a certain feeling at the time or some thoughts that pop into his head?

A:

What's your favorite rat story?


Q:

Was there DNA proof when you first started? Like on TV.

A:

I love Overwatch, what's your rank in comp?


Q:

is there any literature or theory that is popular among f2p companies re: psychology of f2p and how to maximize profits along those lines, or is every company re-inventing the wheel from a behavioral psychology POV?

A:

How can I stop my daughter from hating math?


Q:

Whats the craziest thing you've seen in there?

A:

What are your thoughts on the Primitive Technology guy?


Q:

Fergusson himself is clearly biased into wanting to prove Airbnb and its support are terrible, because of his bad experience with the moldy Airbnb rental. There's no real scientific basis for this, but hey, it does give a nice infographic.

A:

It's a hazard. Feel how hot your phone and charger gets while charging.

Then imagine if there's a fault in your phone or charger and you're asleep.

That's how people die.


Q:

ASHER: I partnered with Sheana and Erin to remove my bias. If you read the paper you will see this:

The primary coder studied sample reviews and created a coding system to represent the seven most common complaint categories. A second coder also scored a sample of responses, and their agreement met the standards of interrater reliability (Cohen’s kappa = .82). Team members read the reviews and determined which category or categories each review fit into based on predetermined qualifying reasons or problems.

A:

He can be inspired by anything. A song, a moment, a comment. Anything. When it hits I just gotta be ready to capture it


Q:

Hehe...I will never forget the moment when we just started our feasibility study in Belgium, where a loose rat walked up to a heap of sand. What it didn't know but what I witnessed was a cat walking up the same heap of sand on the other side. They met each other on top of the pile...nose to nose..I thought damn, this is not good for ratty! But what happened, the rat blew its pouches and the cat ran off scared like hell.

A:

No. I had been working 8-10 years before DNA became an accepted science in court. My department did the first DNA trial in the state of Nevada. The defendant was facing 50+ counts of incest with his developmentally disabled daughter. He had impregnated her three times. He insisted on defending himself. He was the one who claimed he was being set up by his twin brother. He did not have a twin brother, proved by the prosecutor simply showing the jury his birth certificate.


Q:

To be 100% honest, I tried comp and found it too stressful. I like to play mystery heroes because everyone isn't playing their main and it's more fun.

A:

Reinventing the wheel, constantly. You would be shocked at how non-standardized the game industry is, from a development perspective.

Obviously, different kinds of games have different development needs, but even things as a simple as job titles can mean completely different things from company-to-company. Which is ridiculous and I think that'll need to change within the next 5 years.

At Kabam, we had elaborate spread sheets to keep track of all of our loot boxes and approximate "market values" for items. Still, sometimes things really came down to observation and the gut feelings you get from working on a game, 8 hours a day, for over a year.


Q:

Tell her that you hate math. Then hating math won't be cool anymore.

(stay tuned for more serious advice to come :) )

A:

When I was working at a previous club, there was a guy who puked in his private booth during his 30 minute session with a dancer because he just drank too much. Once he was done puking the dancer continued to stay and finish the time even though she didn't have to. That one was strange.


Q:

Awesome. I just hope people realize that the footage is done over time, and those projects are done in half a day or anything lol. He's putting a lot of effort into those projects.

A:

ASHER: I partnered with Sheana and Erin to remove my bias. If you read the paper you will see this:

The primary coder studied sample reviews and created a coding system to represent the seven most common complaint categories. A second coder also scored a sample of responses, and their agreement met the standards of interrater reliability (Cohen’s kappa = .82). Team members read the reviews and determined which category or categories each review fit into based on predetermined qualifying reasons or problems.


Q:

What was your scariest call? I was a volunteer peasant for a bit but I don't have any good stories, I mostly just complain about how much I hated wildfires.

A:

What are your thoughts on the Adam Ruins AirBnb segment of his show? Does his claims hold any water?p


Q:

Why is Vic Mensa on a camel?

A:

How do you ensure that your rats stay disease free?


Q:

Do you have any advice for anyone trying to get into the industry? Tips on where to start?

A:

No dwarf fortress though?


Q:

What about common "truths", like never tell the players the odds of getting an item as a drop? Could you give us some or all "truths" that most f2p game companies know?

A:

I also “hated math” when I was in high school so I dropped it after I hit my requisite 2.5 years (I think I really just didn’t understand what its value was). I never finished algebra or took calculus or trigonometry. In college I was a political science major so I got away with only taking statistics.

Now I’m a lawyer and I realize that I probably would have been good at math and enjoyed it. In my line of work I can get by without it, but I deal with a lot of economics/econometrics expert reports and could add value if I understood the math.

Plus I want to exercise my formal logic muscles because they’re getting flabby.

What’s the best way to hop back into it? What websites/apps/etc. will not only teach me in an engaging way, but help me figure out where I should start?


Q:

What are the girls like at work vs. not working?

A:

How many times have you drank your own pee?


Q:

This comment should be higher up. When questioned where it was published he linked his own site. I think this information is pertinent when absorbing information possible for possible bias, inaccuracies and lack of peer review.

A:

I'll categorise the scariest calls I've had.

  • Life threatening - a fire erupted in the basement of a house. Crews were sent down to firefight, and I was part of the team sent to the first floor (two floors above the fire) to search and rescue. There were 2 people missing. On my way into the 4th compartment, I really felt the heat. Now, my kit is designed to keep heat out (something up to the temperature of 600degrees Celsius), so if k was feeling it, it was hot. Really hot. I had a really bad feeling about the environment (I obviously couldn't see anything cos of the smoke). I told my team leader that we should get out, citing that I wasn't feeling good (I was fit, but something was just really off). Just as we left the compartment, the ground shook and we heard a huuuge crack.

The fire had eaten through the internals of the walls, up beneath the first floor. The ground shaking and cracking was the fire having eaten through the wooden floor. After the incident was over, I was told that right where we were standing was where the huge hole was.

  • Creepy - Got a call that there was a fire in a graveyard at 2am. We roll up, and search around for 30 minutes in the pitch black (apart from our torches) in the dead of night. Silence had never sounded so loud.

    • Crap my pants - I was searching a house once when a drug fuelled tit jumped out at me from behind a door and tackled me to the ground. What a knob.

Q:

ASHER: We have seen the video but we haven't gone through it point by point. If I recall, all his points are backed up by major news outlets but some of them might be out of date now. Overall he makes some very good points especially with explaining how Airbnb impacts housing markets.

A:

Vice Mensa does whatever he wants to do


Q:

We have daily visual checks of the rats, and weekly thorough checks by a qualified veterinary doctor. Being native to tropical climates, they are well adapted to the environment they work in.

A:

You’ll need to find a court reporting program in your state to get certified. Some community colleges have programs. Most of the program is devoted to mastering the shorthand and the use of the steno machine. After that it’s a standard job search, courts and private transcription companies put up openings on job search sites.

In order to be certified a court reporter has to write speeds of 180, 200, and 225 wpm in the categories of literary, jury charge, and testimony. Computer skills, grammar and spelling are all incredibly important obviously. Secretarial and general law office work helps, I worked as a secretary for a law office before school. It helps getting familiar when the legal system and building connections that will help you find a good position. Do know that you’ll be taking a lot of work home with you.


Q:

I like paying Torb on mystery. I also like the voice like "I'm giving it all I got!"

A:

Common truths? Hmm... here are some of the guidelines I remember using. Things will, of course vary between teams and companies.

  • Don't publish the odds, it causes more confusion than help. People will think that buying 100 loot boxes guarantees them a 1 in 100 drop, then get angry when it doesn't. That's not how statistics work.
  • Always make the minimum prize the same value as the lootbox cost. That way the player is never losing value for buying a lootbox.
  • The top prize (sometimes called the 'chase prize') has to be something that isn't available any other way. The event is centered around this chase prize.
  • Include several smaller chase prizes, like chase prizes from a few months ago, at better odds. This lets people who missed out last time have a shot at them.
  • Aim for lower lootbox cost when possible. Lower price means a lower barrier to entry.
  • Reward people for buying in bulk.
  • If you're going to do a big event, always give every active player a free lootbox. It feels nice to get presents, it increases player goodwill, and it gets otherwise ambivalent players excited about the event. It's also funny as hell when a new, low level player gets the chase prize in their free lootbox. Rare, but awesome.
  • You can piss the players off, or you can ask them for money. Doing both at the same time is suicide.
  • After every big lootbox event, there will be a 'hangover' where nobody wants to spend money. Make sure that your sales schedule accounts for this.

Q:

Great question! This is something I'm pretty passionate about.

In undergrad, my senior thesis was a book that would gradually introduce formal proof techniques to curious people with no more than a high school background, tentatively titled "Proof By Numbers". Princeton University Press was interested in helping me bring it to a wider audience, but then I left for grad school and didn't have time to go through their revision process. I plan to revisit that manuscript soon -- if you want to be a "beta" reader, please email [email protected] with "Proof By Numbers" in the subject line.

In the meantime, I'd recommend How Not to Be Wrong by one of my undergrad mentors, Jordan Ellenberg.

A:

When they are at work, they are in a different mentality because they have to make money. They know that they have to get guys interested to get them to spend money. Outside of work you wouldn't even know that a lot of the girls are actually strippers. I've seen plenty of strippers that I would never think do it for a living if I were to see them out in public.


Q:

Mine? Twice. My boyfriend's? Countless times.

A:

ASHER: Since we are fully independent researchers we needed to start somewhere and Reddit is a great place for that. If there is anyone who would like to help us get the data peer-reviewed and published in an academic journal we'd love to collaborate.


Q:

Damn dude, I don't know how you read my mind but your answer was exactly what I was looking for (was hoping for creepy and dangerous). What became of the friendly neighborhood crack head? Also what happened to the missing 2 from your first story?

A:

I have found what appears to be a number of apartments in the same area run by one person or company under different host profiles.

Is this common? And is there a reason for this?


Q:

Can you elaborate on being shot by a rocket? Where did it hit? How did you survive? Did you leave any pieces behind? Did it leave any pieces behind in you? Sorry if I'm a little fixated on that one aspect of all this.

A:

What's the danger of the rats triggering the landmines and how do you mitigate that?


Q:

What’s your best court story?

A:

If you had once chance to time travel what period would you go to?


Q:

That's interesting -- nobody in any f2p company you've heard of has a psychology background?

A:

Can you tell us more about what it's like to work at IEX? As a quant for a fund that I assume is nonprofit what kinds of problems are you tackling? From what I know, most quants are trying to make more money for their firm.

How do you balance being a quant and a professor at the same time?

For context to others, IEX is a stock exchange founded by Brad Katsyuma to combat the exploitative methods of high frequency traders. He is the protagonist of Michael Lewis' Flashboys.


Q:

It is a common belief that strippers have personal issues in their life that lead to this career path. What do you think of it? How much of it is true.

Also, compared to female dancers, how do the male strippers compare in terms of income?

A:

With a Sawyer squeeze, probably all the time.


Q:

Has Airbnb contacted you regarding your research? Will you continue to investigate more Airbnb cases and have you considered expanding your investigations spectrum into other industries like Uber? What is is the most shocking case you stumble upon in your Airbnb investigation?

A:

The crack head was charged with assault, because he was specifically trying to rip off my BA mask.

The 2 people died, for sure. No-one gonna survive that environment without PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).


Q:

ASHER: From our little look in Paris, London and New York City it is very common. Airbnb seems to be doing nothing to prevent these duplicate listings. If a host is legit they would list all their properties under one profile but if the properties are all listed under different host accounts they will almost always be connected to a scam. This is exactly how I got scammed in Paris and I consider myself a savvy user. I've successfully used Airbnb since 2012 until this past September when I had trouble two days in a row.

A:

It impacted beside me and blew me back a few feet. Unfortunately, the brunt of the explosion was handled by my friend who was very seriously wounded and spent many years recuperating. I was injured pretty badly. I had a tennis ball sized hole in my leg for a minute until it filled back in.


Q:

There is virtually no danger, since rats are too light to set off a landmine. However, demining is fundamentally dangerous work and we take every precaution to keep our rats and human staff safe. We follow strict safety procedures in line with international protocols. We’re aware that a problem could strike at any moment and we keep a trained medic on site at all times.

A:

Goriest, strangest, scariest or funniest?


Q:

Renaissance, maybe? I think it would be cool to visit Leonardo daVinci's shop.

A:

While I'm sure some of my coworkers were psych majors in college, it never really came up. I've never seen (or even heard of, actually) anyone bringing in a practicing psychologist to work on loot boxes.

I don't think it'd be efficient to do so either. I feel like it'd be similar to bringing in an architect to solve a carpentry problem. Yes, they're in similar fields and there's similar study, but one is focused on the large scale problems and the other one is focused on the moment-to-moment problems.


Q:

For a sample of the kind of work I do for IEX, you can see my recent whitepaper: The Evolution of the Crumbling Quote Signal

I try to balance work in industry and academia because I felt that staying only in academia was handicapping me in understanding real world systems, and I wanted to work directly on things that have a positive social impact.

In terms of time and energy, it is a difficult balance. I teach crypto at night.

A:

It is a really common belief. It exists because there is some truth to it. There are those who have issues, grew up in really shitty situations, etc. and feel like they don't have a lot of options to make a lot of money. Many see dancing as a quick way to make a lot of money. The problem is that many of them spend their money as fast as they get it.

The men can make good money, but their earning potentially overall is nowhere near what the women can make. Most women don't spend very much money. It's men who are spending serious cash inside the club.


Q:

Sadly, they don't desalinate. I do recommend them for hiking though.

A:

ASHER: Airbnb has not contacted us yet. We may consider researching other companies. What would be the most interesting is to build upon our Airbnb study by doing a similar study of hotels but that would require a much bigger research budget. The benefit would be that we could make a comparison of what's most likely to go wrong at an Airbnb vs hotel.

Here are some of the most shocking Airbnb guest horror stories we found on major news websites:


Q:

Basement fires are some scary shit. Your officer should have known better if you were feeling that much heat above the fire. If it was that hot for you in your gear, no one without gear was savable and the structure members below you were being chewed through.

A:

What do you think AirBnB should be doing to improve their dismal customer service?


Q:

Wow. Thanks for the explanation. Glad you both made it out.

Also, your empathy for the guy shooting at you is a little surprising and very refreshing. War is dumb; good to see it didn't ruin you.

A:

How many rats do you have in "employment" for lack of better term? And what are your plans for expansion?


Q:

let's go with funniest

A:

Follow up question! Which inventor would you want to meet?


Q:

Is there temptation for the companies to gradually increase the pay-to-win aspect of f2p games as time goes on?

I've played two f2p games a lot: World of Tanks and Total Domination Nuclear Strategy. Have you played them or do you anything about them? Any interesting comments?

A:

I noticed that your TEDx talk uses the gruesome example of hiring assassins to showcase the need for encryption. I understand that the example is far removed from reality (need to replace the head of the Rabbithole IT department to save some kittens).

How do you feel about the stance of some governments against encryption, and the argument that citizens who have nothing to hide shouldn't be using methods that can prevent interception from law enforcement?


Q:

Would you ever date a stripper?

A:

right. imagine if they did? you'd survive for months at sea in a dinghy.


Q:

Sex offender. It's mind boggling that Airbnb does not vett hosts in any way. That is super scary.

A:

To be fair, the fire spread was completely random and unknown.

The fire had eaten into the wall in the basement, bypassed the ground floor, then just made a change of direction into the space under the first floor. The heat wasn't unbearable in the ground floor, but definitely wasn't doable in the first floor.

Fire's strange.


Q:

ERIN: We found that their customer service team is incredibly disorganized, unhelpful and even rude when something goes wrong. They don’t offer enough support for finding new accommodation and may leave their guests on the street to fend for themselves. They also don’t have any customer-facing support ticketing system, instead, they rely on all emails going through [email protected] which is a black hole.

To remedy these issues, it'd be ideal to:

  • Retrain all staff on high-tension call and problem-solving techniques, and have regular reviews to ensure that the trainings are being utilized and implemented successfully.

  • Be sure there is an effective support ticket system which includes call-logging, and which all Customer Experience Specialists have access to so that they can view past calls and current tickets, including who is helping the caller with existing issues. All photos, documents, and logged calls should be in the same place, and the support ticket system should also be customer facing so that this information is fully transparent all cases are logged in a history.

  • Designated calls to very specific, specialized teams so that each type of call finds the most experienced CES possible. Have a superior available to each team at all times to ensure swift assistance and the ability to escalate situations as necessary.

  • Make the Airbnb contact information more readily available on the website and mobile app, and in multiple locations available to both guests and hosts.

Above all, it’s absolutely crucial to execute reorganizations and re-trainings in one fell swoop, and to address this with existing Customer Experience Specialists as a sort of “new leaf”. Customer service and call centers are already infamous for having extremely high turnover rates, and Specialists with Airbnb have been quoted describing Airbnb Customer Experience as a terrible place to work because of the stress, negativity, and burnout. Approaching this as a fresh start will typically re-invigorate existing representatives, and often allows for almost immediate positive results.

These are just a few suggestions that we think will help tremendously. We obviously don't know the inner workings of Airbnb but through our research, we can easily infer that all these problems need addressing.

A:

It did for a little while. I let it define me and it hurt me a lot. I found later that by making more out of myself I was able to let go of that part of me and be proud of bigger things. The first step in that transformation was my daughter being born and realizing that I had more to live for.


Q:

We have about 300 rats, though sometimes I lose count. Several are in use for landmine detection, in Angola and Cambodia, we have rats for TB detection in Mozambique and Tanzania, and just got the export permit to send some to Ethiopia. We have other rats for the wildlife products study, some for trying out new technologies, and of course we have a sizable breeding colony. We hope to send rats in the near future to Zimbabwe and Colombia, and we would also love to start training them on cluster munition - which is a widespread problem in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

A:

Everything that was funny came from a dark place of course. One defendant who represented himself defended his incest by blaming it on his twin brother, when that didn’t work (he didn’t have a twin) he took to arguing that incest shouldn’t be a crime because after all, Jesus was his own father, which irritated our judge enough that he literally threw a law book at him.


Q:

Tesla

A:

I'd say that, on average, pay-to-win tendencies increase as a game's popularity goes down over time. When the game first starts out, balance and preserving the player ecosystem is everything.

As the game gets older, people start moving onto the next big thing, but a core sticks around. There's less of them, but they tend to spend more, on average.

As the game reaches it's final stage (sometimes called Farm Stage), a very small team is in charge of keeping the game on life support. They may love the game, but their development resources are tiny. The only thing they can do is fiddle with numbers. If you can't get your remaining players excited with new art, levels, or mechanics, what do you turn to?

The same items, but with bigger numbers.

Also, check out the Extra Credits video on Design by Accretion. It's a great insight for folks who aren't in the industry.


Q:

In my opinion, encryption and related tools are incredibly important even to citizens with "nothing to hide."

Even if I don't have sensitive information in my communications, I may still want to access the internet in such a way that my view is not filtered and targeted to my identity or my location, for example. Frankly I am as concerned about companies on this front as I am about governments.

Mandating that all information flow must be able to be monitored and outlawing things like end-to-end encryption would make it impossible for people to access information in an unlinked and "neutral" way. Imagine a world where everything you can see is tailored to your identity and history - without you having any way of knowing that this is happening! We need to give people tools to control how they receive information, not just how they send it.

A:

It would depend on the person she is. I've come across a few that were in it temporarily until they had enough to reach a certain goal like build a home, start a business, etc. That's the small minority though. A lot more become dependent and attached to the work with practically no future plan


Q:

they make hand held desal filters but they're like $700.

A:

ASHER: In that case, the guy didn't show up in the sex offender databases so even if they did background check him they wouldn't have found him! :*(


Q:

Older house? I recall newer house builds have fire barriers to slow a fire's movement to other floors through walls?

A:

Why 839? Serious question.


Q:

Have you got any tennis ball stories from Thailand?

A:

what's the logistics like for inventorying so many rats? are they tagged with RFID chips, GPS locators or anything like that?


Q:

Comedy often comes to us in dark places.

That sounds awful, can't believe he would think that those defences would work! Must've been quite the sight I am sure.

Bet you have plenty of fascinating stories.

A:

Hi Grant - thanks for doing another AMA! Would you ever consider returning to Battlebots? (or combat robotics in general?) If not, why not? If maybe.... what would you build?

Also, your book on robotics has been a great help over the last couple of years.


Q:

What do you think about this whole "loot-boxes = gambling" idea?

A:

Thanks for doing this!

How do you come up with ideas for new research?

How do you handle when a research project you spent a lot of time on fails to work?


Q:

The men can make good money, but their earning potentially overall is nowhere near what the women can make.

1) What about gay men as patrons.

2) Why aren't there any good gay strip joints in Vegas?

A:

I've never seen an AMA host answer this deep into a comment chain. Well done for venturing this far into the Reddit wilderness.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the Adam Ruins AirBnb segment of his show? Does his claims hold any water?p

A:

Definitely an older house.


Q:

SHEANA: We looked at all available reports posted in the past 12 months because we wanted to see the current state of Airbnb not what it was like 3 years ago. It just so happens that all the available reports added up to 839.

In case you’re wondering, the sample size is actually quite large (as one Redditor pointed out in the Dataisbeautiful thread, peer-reviewed scientific studies often draw conclusions from fewer than 30 participants.). Given the inherent selection bias, it’s important to remember that this study may not represent how many people experience these problems on Airbnb, but rather what kinds of problems they experience.

These are the kinds of problems people were willing to report when they already 1) had a negative experience, 2) choose to share it publicly with the world, and 3) wanted to share it on one of several specific 3rd-party Airbnb review websites. They did implement some policy changes a few years ago, so we wanted to get a sense of what experiences guests are having now.

A:

I have a story about coke cans turning into sprite cans by magic but that’s not quite a story I’m willing to publish


Q:

The rats have subcutaneous chips indeed with each a unique number. However - most trainers just know their rat and we prefer to use their given names.

A:

One time the DA was carrying evidence up to the witness stand-it was dripping and stank, and sloshed all over me and my equipment. It was a fetus in a jar and it was leaking.


Q:

I might make a return to combat robotics. In the time since I actively competed, the technology has changed so much. The motors and batteries are significantly better. It's a fun but demanding hobby. When I look back at it, I was a much younger man. With apparently a lot more free time!

A:

I have to admit, I'm of really mixed feelings.

Back when I was making them, the justification was:

  • The player always gets something from the box
  • They can't cash anything out for real money
  • The paid content will be grindable in a month or two

This wasn't just internal chatter, this constituted a legal justification in several countries that our games were available.

However, while those criteria take away a lot of the problems with loot boxes/gambling, I also used to be a customer support guy on those same games. I've seen players with lifetime spend counts of over $50,000 on those games. People spend a lot of money on hobbies, that's a given. However, that kind of amount starts to worry you a little. Is this someone who really loves our product, or are we taking advantage of a compulsion?

Still, I don't think classifying loot boxes as gambling is a good idea, because it's going to have huge unexpected side effects. If loot boxes in games are gambling, what about Magic the Gathering card packs (the original pay-to-win lootbox)? What about loot drops on monsters in an MMO? Legally defining a 'loot box' in a game is extremely tricky, especially because most lawyers and lawmakers neither know, nor really care how games work.


Q:

Failure happens a lot!

I like to have multiple areas of research going at once, which increases the chance of something working. It helps that cryptographers are unusually good at turning failure into results: when a system breaks, we all learn something. (when we fail to break a system, we're also happy, for different reasons!) Often, these failures lead to ideas for new research.

Also, I have a favorite boxing gym.

A:

Gay guys come to see male strippers sometimes, but the strippers often times don't want to dance for men.

The market is only so big for straight women to see male strippers, let alone for gay men to see male strippers. There's only 2 strip clubs in Vegas with male strippers. I think one gay nightclub has some male strippers on occasion, but I'm not sure.


Q:

Ha thanks!

A:

ASHER: We have seen the video but we haven't gone through it point by point. If I recall, all his points are backed up by major news outlets but some of them might be out of date now. Overall he makes some very good points especially with explaining how Airbnb impacts housing markets.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Do you have any tips to help pick out AirBnB listings and avoid horror stories?


Q:

As a veteran, and having the depression and addiction issues you mentioned, what’s your stance on pot?

A:

I married into it.


Q:

When you first started this career, what did you expect and how did your first job shatter this expectation?

A:

Did you ever chat about Battle bots with Jamie? What was your take on Blendo?


Q:

What’s the most rewarding thing about being a game designer?

A:

Do you play vidya games?


Q:

Do you guys serve food?

A:

I am a biologist working with anthrax ecology in the Namibian deserts. Sometimes I have American students, and they tend to bring just too. much. stuff. Like the safari tourists who all come in full khaki clothing to sit in their buses. We have to occasionally burn our clothes when they get too contaminated, so expensive "outdoors clothing" would be an intolerable waste of money on a researcher's budget. It is just working outside, and even the lions are almost never a problem as long as we work in pairs. How can we teach kids to freak out a bit less, and not see every contact with nature as a case of extreme survival needing expensive gadgets?


Q:

I have found what appears to be a number of apartments in the same area run by one person or company under different host profiles.

Is this common? And is there a reason for this?

A:

European it is. Single stage high pressure low flow - works a treat! I've not had the opportunity to visit the American fire brigades yet. I had no idea you guys work on low pressure high flow.

What's your maximum outgoing delivery pressure? Working pressure of course - so working off your hose reel and fire hose. What's the maximum pressure for each? Here, we're working about 25 bar pressure off the hose reel on high pressure, and about 7 bar pressure off the delivery (fire hose).


Q:

In my article, I shared 54 tips. These suggestions are based on my experience using Airbnb since 2012 and the collective experience of over 50 travel bloggers with a combined total of over 1200 Airbnb stays all over the world.

If we had followed all those tips we wouldn't have ended up at the moldy place in Paris or gotten scammed at the next place. And I believe these tips would make the likelihood of something going wrong to be less than 1%.

https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/#safety-tips

A:

I use pot and have ever since I left the Marines. At first it was to help me sleep and to help me lighten up but now I find that it really helps with a lot of my issues. To each his own though


Q:

Bart Weetjens, who came up with the idea of using rats for landmine detection was a schoolmate of mine. When I went to do my social service in Africa, in replacement of military duty, he supported me from Belgium by fundraising for our program in schools. So we set up a charity together with him and the founder of our design school. A few years later when I came back to Belgium, he had already prepared the work and we got our first Grant for the idea from the Belgian Government in November 1997. As we were planning to work this all out in Africa, my 3 years overseas experience came in handy.

A:

When I started it was normal to go from court reporter training to working for a private deposition group who would ease you in by starting you with easier jobs. My first depo was an technical engineering case about rocks and soil samples and the deposed had an incredibly thick Swedish accent.


Q:

I actually first met Jamie at Robot Wars circa 1995. Blendo was fearsome in those days. He was actually asked to leave a competition because Blendo was deemed too dangerous to the audience. They gave him the trophy, of course.

A:

Suspension of disbelief. When someone talks about your game, which is really just a bunch of blips on a screen, like it's something tangible and real.

No matter how big, visually stunning, or immersive a game is, there's still a huge gap between the game and reality. The space in-between has to be made by people. When their eyes light up and they tell you about the cool thing they did, or happened to them in the game, you can see a moment that was only possible when they put themselves in your game.

As a designer, you can never do that. You can never bridge that gap for them, but the player can do it themselves. It's rewarding. It's also extremely humbling, the first time it happens.


Q:

No, my little brother Pat (who's always had a dark sense of humor) beat me at Nintendo too many times when we were kids, and I lost the spirit.

A:

Yes


Q:

I would say put them through a basic field course first. Once they are i the field with nothing, they learn to appreciate how little they actually need. Thanks for participating!

A:

ASHER: From our little look in Paris, London and New York City it is very common. Airbnb seems to be doing nothing to prevent these duplicate listings. If a host is legit they would list all their properties under one profile but if the properties are all listed under different host accounts they will almost always be connected to a scam. This is exactly how I got scammed in Paris and I consider myself a savvy user. I've successfully used Airbnb since 2012 until this past September when I had trouble two days in a row.


Q:

What do you think of Fahrenheit 451 novel?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Do you have a huge Veteran Beard?

A:

Do you think Hot Dogs are sandwiches?


Q:

what's 3-5 specific things you've learned that has helped you in your life?

what outside interests do you put a good portion of your time into?

besides this book,

what's your most happy life experience/memory?

what's your most happiest experience/memory that almost nobody else has?

what's a happy + unique experience/memory or yours?

if you could do 1 specific & effective thing change anything you want about this society, what specifically would that be?

it's like 1 wish, but it's 1 wish that would work

A:

Grant, with the advancement of AI, shouldn't the really competitive levels of Battlebots be completely autonomous?


Q:

Now that some countries are investigating loot boxes and possibly ban them, what are the possible alternatives to monetize players in video games? Also, thanks for the ama.

A:

What were the first projects you worked on that hooked you to CS, and why?


Q:

What was your worse night like involving workers or customers?

A:

Good point. Do you have any good suggestions as to where I could refer prospective US students to go get some experience before coming over?

My problem is, I don't have the opportunity to teach basic field to American students, me being a Norwegian working in Namibia in this case. As we in Norway have conscription, and I spent some time deployed after that and work with some other ex-military colleagues from the Namibian and South African armed forces, I expect 25-year old grownups to have a decent amount of field experience before they come to work on my projects, but this is often not the case. So having somewhere for them to get a bit comfy before they come, so they don't burn themselves out unnecessarily just living in a comfy camp would be excellent.


Q:

What do you think AirBnB should be doing to improve their dismal customer service?

A:

Great book. Read it when I was 10. I love reading.

That's what I like most about the job, actually. Lots of time to read.


Q:

ERIN: I think it’d have to be a multifaceted approach. Airbnb’s idea is clearly a great one and we want to see them succeed - we just don’t want anyone to get hurt in the process.

  1. The first step would almost certainly be a customer service overhaul - without that, you can’t clean up your reputation or fix existing issues.
  2. The second would absolutely have to be better security and identity verification, along with address verification for listings to avoid scams and duplicate listings. In many countries, you can sign up to be a host within 10 mins and the only form of ID required is a phone and email. No background checks (unless they have the real name and date of birth of the host and you're a US resident). No proper screening either.
  3. Some sort of insurance might be nice? Or at least an optional insurance package that can be charged a little extra for or something.
  4. Airbnb ABSOLUTELY MUST honor its own policies and refund promises when they make them. This is a top customer service complaint. If they continue to take actions that seem to exploit their users, they’re going to have a hard time solving problems.

Does that answer your question?

A:

No I’m starting to bald on top so I can’t go big on a beard. I’ll look ridiculous


Q:

No, but I do think that Mine Detection dogs are Hot

A:

The job taught me how to listen to people. Not just what they say but how they say it, their modulation and inflection, their little subconscious body movements.

I always have a pet subject I’m studying. From vintage hubcaps to honey badgers. I never get tired of researching something new.

When I was eight years old my father bid and won the original MGM contract for structural steel. One night as the sun was going down he brought me to the job site, which was just bare iron and a man lift, took me to the top and asked me to close my eyes. He carried me out to the edge of the I-beam on the corner of Flamingo and the strip and said “open your eyes.” I felt like we were floating.

End the failed war on drugs.


Q:

I'm not comfortable with autonomous BattleBots yet. I saw a few matches of fully autonomous fighting robots and it was terrifying (because they were basically hunting around semi-blind looking for a beacon).

A:

No problem!

You're certainly asking the right question. Games cost a ton of money to make, to promote, and operate past launch. AAA titles started getting into the loot-box thing because $60 per unit isn't enough to reliably recoup the $100+ million investment it took to make the game. You also need to pull a healthy profit, so you can have enough spare cash to start work on the next game.

However, the price of individual games can't really go above $60. Remember when it went up by $10? It was pandemonium, despite the ridiculously good fun/dollar ratio games provide.

A drink in a bar costs me $6 and gets me 1 hour of fun. A movie costs $10 and gets me 2 hours of fun. Wasteland 2 cost me ~$50 and got me over 80 hours of fun.

Still, people can't afford games being more than $60 right now (economy, etc...). I think micro transactions/opt-ins have a place in all of that, so that people who are really into the game can spend more to get more out of it. It just needs to be done elegantly, in a way that doesn't feel grimy and bad. Expansion packs are a perfect example of this.

Liked the campaign? How would you like more campaign, but in a different enough setting that it wouldn't have fit into the regular game?

Spoiler: I shell out for campaign expansions all the time. I love stories in games.


Q:

I started my PhD in mathematics, but in my first year I also worked on a basic problem in distributed computing. The problem was consensus with malicious participants - which is basically, how do you get many computers to agree on something, even when some of them might be hacked. I had a lot of fun thinking about all the things that could go wrong, and that kind of thinking led me into cryptography.

It was exciting to me to realize that problems that seem to require imagining a long list of possible threats can actually be addressed systematically and rigorously. This made me realize that my mathematical background could be an asset in working on real world systems, and I decided to focus my career on practical applications, rather than studying theory only for its own sake.

A:

I had to tackle a guy once who punched an entertainer in the VIP room, and tried to run out of the club. I was working the door, and was the last guy with a chance to take him down. I had to make an open field tackle like I was a safety lol. I got him down, everyone else jumped on, and we cuffed him until the police showed up. He had at least one warrant out for his arrest. I don't know if it was my worst day, but it was nuts.


A:

ERIN: We found that their customer service team is incredibly disorganized, unhelpful and even rude when something goes wrong. They don’t offer enough support for finding new accommodation and may leave their guests on the street to fend for themselves. They also don’t have any customer-facing support ticketing system, instead, they rely on all emails going through [email protected] which is a black hole.

To remedy these issues, it'd be ideal to:

  • Retrain all staff on high-tension call and problem-solving techniques, and have regular reviews to ensure that the trainings are being utilized and implemented successfully.

  • Be sure there is an effective support ticket system which includes call-logging, and which all Customer Experience Specialists have access to so that they can view past calls and current tickets, including who is helping the caller with existing issues. All photos, documents, and logged calls should be in the same place, and the support ticket system should also be customer facing so that this information is fully transparent all cases are logged in a history.

  • Designated calls to very specific, specialized teams so that each type of call finds the most experienced CES possible. Have a superior available to each team at all times to ensure swift assistance and the ability to escalate situations as necessary.

  • Make the Airbnb contact information more readily available on the website and mobile app, and in multiple locations available to both guests and hosts.

Above all, it’s absolutely crucial to execute reorganizations and re-trainings in one fell swoop, and to address this with existing Customer Experience Specialists as a sort of “new leaf”. Customer service and call centers are already infamous for having extremely high turnover rates, and Specialists with Airbnb have been quoted describing Airbnb Customer Experience as a terrible place to work because of the stress, negativity, and burnout. Approaching this as a fresh start will typically re-invigorate existing representatives, and often allows for almost immediate positive results.

These are just a few suggestions that we think will help tremendously. We obviously don't know the inner workings of Airbnb but through our research, we can easily infer that all these problems need addressing.


Q:

What’s your most ridiculous/comical/unnecessary callout been? Have a few stories from uni involving less than impressed firefighters.

A:

[deleted]


Q:

A little late, but my dream look is a clean shaved head with a big ass beard. But I'm 32 and my beard shines with it's absence. I still have a full head of hair though, which is nice.

A:

Are there any other animals that could be heroes in the sense that the rats are?


Q:

If you can build an impossible machine (machines that goes against the law of physics), which would you like to build?

A:

Are loot box revenues accounted for, or expected, when budgeting to build a game? As in, if they didn't plan on having them would they adjust the cost of the game up front?


Q:

How many math classes did you take to get a CS degree? Would you consider a B.S. in computer science to be worth it?

A:

Are the free limo ride and other offers given out by “promoters” a scam? If not, how much does it actually end up costing the patron?


Q:

That sounds like great fun! I'd love to participate in one of those.

And first aid and map navigation are crucial basics! Very useful!

But apart from that I was more thinking of simple everyday things like:

How to remember to fill the extra jerrycans of fuel and water before going out, but FFS don't tighten the lid in the cold morning so it bursts in the heat of the day. Calculate fuel for gravel roads correctly.

How to drive on gravel roads without fucking up your tires or tipping your car, and without shaking your kidneys loose, and watch out for those overloaded trucks.

How to maintain an old car so it doesn't break down on you. The closest triple A equivalent might be days away if at all.

It will break down sometimes nevertheless. How to make it still go to where you need. Or use a fucking VHF for when you absolutely can't.

Some spiders and snakes are venomous. Some are not. Don't freak out over the ones that aren't, you're not getting them out of the shower anyway.

There are snakes and scorpions. Bring your flashlight when you go out at night, and keep an eye on the ground for the darn puffadders, but otherwise learn that they aren't out to get you so relax.

There are occasional leopards. So have your kid make noise when he needs to go out at night, but remember they don't attack adults.

How to talk to people that don't think your own country is the best of the world. Most are still nice. Including the poor and black ones. Learn to recognize the exceptions to this rule without being scared to go out to the pub at night when we have some days in town!

When to shut up and GTFO. When to stand up and pick a fight. How to not get on the wrong side of the local police or other powers that be.

Learn how much food you need, and what will spoil before you can eat it, so you don't have to trek to the shop every week!

How to maintain your boots and other kit. How to not have your shit stolen.

Learn that jackals may have rabies, so don't feed them from your fucking table! And avoid feral dog packs. But don't kill the neighborhood stray -some kids love that dog and their mom may be manning the local Police checkpoint tomorrow morning...

Etc. etc.

A:

Why 839? Serious question.


Q:

Aaah. Uni students. You guys addicted to using that powder extinguisher at 1am or what? XD

Brings to mind a story I heard about a crew of firefighters who either got demoted or fired for pulling uni students out of dorms and making them wait outside for an hour, because that was the 6th time they were called there that night.

The most ridiculous was definitely a woman who called in that her house was in fire and that she was in the kitchen. When we get there, house is fine, she is fine, her cat is fine. She was adamant, however, that she could see the future, and her house is about to go on fire, so could we wait for a bit. I think she was lonely...

Oh, but one time, I also had to help carry an obese man on a stretcher for about a mile uphill, because the idiot got drunk and drove his disability scooter and himself down into a river. He was still drunk, and kept trying to push me away from him as I carried his 20 stone ass to the ambulance. That was kind of bullshit.

Ah, another time, there was a fire in a house of a hoarder who liked to horde mirrors - free standing mirrors everywhere with a nice thick layer of smoke. I was so confused. It didn't help that there was another team in the house too, so I often found myself talking to myself in a mirror, thinking it was the other team.

A:

What your describing is very fishy and I wouldn't stay in those places as they are definitely going to be connected to a scam. Do they have different price points?

In my video, I show the scammer who got us in Paris having four different listings within 6 weeks all with different "hosts". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAAQgP6Tg-4


Q:

I guess it’s all about perspective. It’s much easier to deal with baldness when it’s a choice

A:

I think all animals are Heroes in their own respect. There is of course a lot of heroic work done by dogs, ranging from rescue dogs, mine detection dogs and dogs for the blind. But mind you that also bees have been trained to detect explosives and we even have bacterial Heroes detecting cancer!


Q:

Perpetual motion/free energy machine

A:

Generally speaking, yes. Every company is different, but I worked in Free to Play and even when a game was in the planning phases, metrics were getting set. For example:

Servers cost $ a month, the team running the game costs $ a month (pay, health insurance, office space, etc...), and total cost of development for the base game is projected to cost $$$. The game's expected lifespan is X.

These costs together show the amount per month the game needs to pull in, in order to make a profit. You don't just to stay neutral, you need to pay back the development costs, and get enough money to pay for the next game the company wants to make.


Q:

My first two degrees were in math, so, a lot! That's not a typical path, but it gave me a strong foundation.

I think CS degrees and math degrees are both valuable, and I encourage people to take classes in both.

A:

Promoters on the strip have a reputation for being some of the biggest scumbags and liars in Vegas. The shit that they tell people to get them to the club sometimes is absolutely ridiculous. That's part of the reason I even started a youtube channel was because I knew there had to be a better way to reach people before coming to Vegas, and informing them of how clubs work.

Promoters have deals that they can do based on contracts worked out with clubs. You won't know what deal they can get at any particular club, so you're at a real disadvantage. I suggest planning ahead and not even dealing with street promoters. Many of them will lie through their teeth about prices, what they will get you (a free dance, a free bottle, a VIP table, a ride back to your hotel, etc).

Many Vegas strip clubs charge anywhere from $40-50 for entry. I've seen groups come to the front to get told what the cover charge is only to say that the promoter told them it was $15 or $20, and that was supposed to include drinks, a bottle booth, a guaranteed table because they're his "VIP"' customers, blah, blah, blah. I say don't bother with them because there's a good chance you won't get what they are telling you, and it will cost you more than what they are telling you.


Q:

It would be simple for us to customize a course based on these needs. It's basic field stuff in austere conditions. One of our team is a certified snake handler (out of Australia no less) and we both have experience in Africa and other remote locations.

A:

SHEANA: We looked at all available reports posted in the past 12 months because we wanted to see the current state of Airbnb not what it was like 3 years ago. It just so happens that all the available reports added up to 839.

In case you’re wondering, the sample size is actually quite large (as one Redditor pointed out in the Dataisbeautiful thread, peer-reviewed scientific studies often draw conclusions from fewer than 30 participants.). Given the inherent selection bias, it’s important to remember that this study may not represent how many people experience these problems on Airbnb, but rather what kinds of problems they experience.

These are the kinds of problems people were willing to report when they already 1) had a negative experience, 2) choose to share it publicly with the world, and 3) wanted to share it on one of several specific 3rd-party Airbnb review websites. They did implement some policy changes a few years ago, so we wanted to get a sense of what experiences guests are having now.


Q:

Ahh the good old mirror situation. I had the pleasure of trying to locate and extinguish a fire inside a smaller appartment which was directly above a brothel and was used for private BDSM parties. So a lot of mirrors and a lot of plastic which made for thick heavy smoke. Took us more than a few tries to actually start extinguishing the fire because we often just watered the mirror image. Fun times.

A:

Who funded your study?


Q:

Would you have still joined the Marines had it not been for 9/11?

A:

Why doesn't every hospital have one of your tb sniffing rats in the lobby?


Q:

I've been rewatching Mythbusters lately and one scene that gets replayed a lot through the series is you and Tori arguing over whether or not you "always use the blue rope" when towing cars. What is never shown is who was actually right. Who was right?

A:

"Check it out if you're interested in rogue-likes/Japanese dating sims set in 18th century France."

Wouldn't it have been easier to just email that guy personally?


Q:

To a computer engineering graduate (bachelor's) with average mathematical knowledge, do you recommend MS in CS or is it safer to just go work in some coding job?

A:

How did you get into this line of business?
What are the best and worst parts about the job?


Q:

Can I send you some of our stretchy tactical pants to get your take on how they hold up? We're a family owned company, been making uniforms for public safety for 81 years. This is not a promo thing.

A:

Do you have any tips to help pick out AirBnB listings and avoid horror stories?


Q:

Haha! Good thing you didn't get tangled up in the bondage room. Entrapment procedure!

A:

ASHER: I did. I have no connection to any organization.


Q:

Very likely. I didn’t have a good path set out and my brother had already joined the marines so it seemed like the right fit for me at the time.

A:

There wouldn't be enough work for them and logistically it would be challenging. Rats are well suited to do mass volume screening - 100 samples in about 15 minutes. Therefore we opt for a more centralized approach where we can also monitor the quality of the work.


Q:

We always use the blue rope.

A:

Would you believe I tried? I think I got caught in his spam filter.


Q:

If you have the option to work in CS, I usually say "take it". You will learn more about what you do & don't know, and what areas of study interest you. If you then decide to go back to school, you have that option.

Otherwise, I typically only recommend a MS in CS to those whose undergrad degree is in something else.

A:

I actually started working in nightlife in CA back in 2006. I did it during the off season from football while I was in college. In CA I mostly worked nightclubs doing security and management operations. After finishing my MBA, I had a ton of debt from school. The cost of living was really high in my part of CA, and they just passed another state tax increase right before I left. I had experience in nightlife, I knew in Vegas you could make good money doing it, and once I saw how cheap it was to live there (plus no state in come tax), I was pretty sold on the idea.

Best part about the job is that it's not a "normal job" in the corporate world. Plus, being in Vegas, you meet a lot of cool people and make connections at other clubs and in the hospitality industry.

The worst part is just some of the bullshit that you have to put up with-drunken idiots, people wanting to fight, threatening to sue, false complaints made about you to try to get you in trouble, unbelievable entitlement some people exhibit, people lying to you, people trying to haggle prices like they're at the flea market, etc. Sometimes it comes from customers, sometimes it comes from dancers and sometimes it comes from coworkers. If the club is managed well, then that stuff can be kept to a minimum and they know when something has merit or it's just bullshit.


Q:

wow that would be great! I love new gear, and all of my work pants must have stretch. please DM me here and I'll send a shipping address. If they're great I'll recommend them!

A:

In my article, I shared 54 tips. These suggestions are based on my experience using Airbnb since 2012 and the collective experience of over 50 travel bloggers with a combined total of over 1200 Airbnb stays all over the world.

If we had followed all those tips we wouldn't have ended up at the moldy place in Paris or gotten scammed at the next place. And I believe these tips would make the likelihood of something going wrong to be less than 1%.

https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/#safety-tips


Q:

I’ve been a (mainly) fully functional adult for a while now. These stories stem from at least 12 years ago. But the fire engine was a common sight on campus. My housemate got really pissed, decided to cook some sausages and then fell asleep. Put the kitchen out of action for a couple of months. Then there was the girl from a few houses down whose mum came to visit - they wanted to have a BBQ but it was raining, so they set it up in the kitchen sink. Plus countless other false alarms from smoking where we shouldn’t, setting of extinguishers and hitting alarm buttons etc etc etc.

I’m pretty sure we were made to stand out in the cold for a while to try to knock some sense into us. Also, was there any truth in the threat of being charged by the fire service for false callouts?

Thanks for your hard work in keeping us clueless schmucks safe and fire free!

A:

You turned tragedy into triumph, much respect.

Who was the coolest person you've worked with?

Do you get to interact with artists, or stay behind the scenes setting up audio?

Do you have any videos of you in the band? I would kinda like to see your musical style.

Your thoughts on "friendly fire"? It happens waaay more often than people think. It's understandable in the fog of war, but covering it up, which tends to happen, is never cool.


Q:

That's not at all how it works. Watch their videos and listen.

A:

What new technologies or other recent innovations are you excited about right now? How do you think it will make our lives easier?


Q:

When using sliced pancetta for antipasto, do you need to heat it up first or can it be eaten straight from the packaging?

A:

What storytelling techniques are your favorites, for science?


Q:

What's one thing you love about your job, and have you ever played host to anyone famous?

A:

How many pushups can you do?


Q:

[deleted]

A:

The fire service won't ever charge someone for call outs.

What will happen is that the fire service could send a lower level of response to repeat offenders - this means one fire engine instead of two.

How this would affect you is that:

1) If there IS a fire, you're more screwed than if there were two fire engines.

2) You are legally obliged to inform your insurance company of this change, and your premium will go up.

So in a round about way, you cough up the dough regardless - hopefully not with your life.


Q:

I really liked working with Vic Mensa. He and I have spent so much time together that he’s become like family to me and I would do almost anything to help him, which is precisely why I am out on the road with him right now. He’s a very passionate and intelligent artist and he has always given me massive respect.

I typically work very closely with the artists in the studio. A lot of times it’s just the artist and myself alone in the studio. I really enjoy getting to influence popular culture in a very subtle and understated way.

I wish I had a video of myself. The guitarist in the band has a bunch of old home movies but this was really before everyone had a camera on their phone so I don’t know what is all out there. I do know that none of you would be very interested in it, as it was a progressive metal screamy type band.

Friendly fire is an unfortunate side effect of war that can’t be avoided very well. I don’t hold any ill will towards the people who were responsible because I know that on 3 hours of sleep with the fog of war surrounding you, you make some poor choices. No one wanted to hurt me except that dude that shot me with the rocket and even he was just defending himself against someone he viewed as an invader to his country. War is dumb

A:

There has never been a rat which was blown up by a landmine - they are too light to set them off and far to valuable and lovable to let them explode. They scan a minefield systematically on a search string, and they pinpoint the presence of a mine by scratching on the ground...as they would do if they found food.


Q:

Self-driving cars. Foldable LCD panels. LCD contact lenses.

A:

Pancetta is a cured meat, so you should be able to eat it straight from the packaging safely. In the case of antipasto, I actually like keeping it cold, as it provides a contrasting temperature against the other dishes.

Food isn't just about flavor. Texture, temperature, spice, acidity, and color all have a role to play.


Q:

For young audiences, I like to personify abstract concepts as living, talking characters. We took this approach in Funville.

For older audiences, abstract concepts are more likely to become plot devices, with dramatic consequences. So in my TEDx talk, attribute-based encryption became "the safe way to hire an assasin".

Either way, it has to be funny.

A:

I love the fact that it's very different than most jobs. Whenever I tell someone what I do, they usually have a follow up question or two. It's so out of the norm that they find it intriguing. I've come across some famous people. It's usually pretty unexpected. Sometimes the person comes on their own or in a small group and sometimes they have an entire entourage of people with them.


Q:

About 70.

A:

ERIN: I think it’d have to be a multifaceted approach. Airbnb’s idea is clearly a great one and we want to see them succeed - we just don’t want anyone to get hurt in the process.

  1. The first step would almost certainly be a customer service overhaul - without that, you can’t clean up your reputation or fix existing issues.
  2. The second would absolutely have to be better security and identity verification, along with address verification for listings to avoid scams and duplicate listings. In many countries, you can sign up to be a host within 10 mins and the only form of ID required is a phone and email. No background checks (unless they have the real name and date of birth of the host and you're a US resident). No proper screening either.
  3. Some sort of insurance might be nice? Or at least an optional insurance package that can be charged a little extra for or something.
  4. Airbnb ABSOLUTELY MUST honor its own policies and refund promises when they make them. This is a top customer service complaint. If they continue to take actions that seem to exploit their users, they’re going to have a hard time solving problems.

Does that answer your question?


Q:

How safe are Bitcoin from fire?

A:

How did you put yourself in a position to become desirable to successful artists?


Q:

What work were you doing for Disney Imagineering?

A:

Dude I cannot believe I just found a DoA dev while scrolling down reddit! I had a great time playing it with my brother and some randoms on facebook. I remember getting out of school and opening the challenges prizes, checking with my brother who got better loot. Loved your game so much :).

Were you aware at Kabam of the amount of "cheaters"? Tbh literally everyone used add-ons and etc, how did you tried to fight against it? If I remember correctly there was a point at which players got kicked of the game for opening stuff too fast, being marked as cheaters, but that decision received a lot of hate for slowing down a core of the gameplay. In what ways did you have to change designer stuff, what did you learn from that?


Q:

How can Computer Science and other STEM majors attract more women?

A:

I've come across some famous people.

So it's more than just "hosting" for you?


Q:

I can do 12.

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Very safe. Just keep note of your seed phrase. That's used to recover your btc if you lose access to your account.

I'd recommend storing it in a fire proof safe.

A:

I just work really hard. I can't give any answer that isn't that. I always want to please people and in order to do that I go to any length and thats what people want at this level. Someone who cares about the problems and solves them at any cost.


Q:

Due to non-disclosure agreements, I cannot say the exact nature of my work, but safe to say it was a robot.

A:

Dude, you would not believe the meetings we had about add ons. The main reason we banned add on users was because the code in the add ons was complete amateur bullshit. The calls were so numerous and inefficient that it was slowing down the servers. The crazy part? People were even paying for some of these add ons!

An engineer and I were constantly pushing the idea that we should create our own add ons, that integrated smoothly with the code base, then sell them at a tiny price (like $0.99) and cut those guys out of their own market. The game would go faster, we'd make a little money and everything would be fine! Nobody would ever listen to us.

The way I see it, if people are trying to automate away a part of your game in order to have fun, something went wrong and needs to be fixed. The problem is justifying the cost of fixing it, to your superiors.


Q:

For one thing, I think we need to push back against the myth that if you haven't started in computer science/STEM very young, you won't be able to keep up. Also, we need to do a better job of showing all students the role that STEM can play in domains they may already care about: like the role of mathematics in medical imaging, the role of computer science in disaster relief and response, the role of statistics in baseball, etc.

But actually we are starting to see more women in STEM majors in some undergrad programs these days, for example at Columbia, though this trend is far from universal. But retaining women in the academic pipeline and industry at large beyond that remains more of a challenge.

A:

This is why I love reddit


Q:

I love you.

A:

What your describing is very fishy and I wouldn't stay in those places as they are definitely going to be connected to a scam. Do they have different price points?

In my video, I show the scammer who got us in Paris having four different listings within 6 weeks all with different "hosts". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAAQgP6Tg-4


Q:

Or message it to me, I’ll keep it safe promise.

A:

Who were you with?


Q:

it was a robot

Lawsuit filed

A:

Totally agree with you. I'm glad I found a cool dev open to talk about this matter and that even shares an anecdote, you made my day.


Q:

Can you sum up computer science in one sentence?

A:

Is there anything different between a normal strip club and a Vegas club? (other than the income tax)


Q:

What are your thoughts on the show, Naked and Afraid?

A:

Who funded your study?


Q:

Don't trust this guy. You'll get burned.

A:

In Iraq? I was with 1st battalion 4th Marines Alpha company


Q:

DAMMIT

A:

No problem! Glad I could help!


Q:

Computer Science is the study of what can & cannot be computed, and how efficiently. An example of something that cannot be computed is a one sentence explanation of computer science.

A:

Off the top of my head-Vegas clubs are usually much bigger, have more dancers, and the prices are higher than most other cities.


Q:

Fun to watch, I understand that it's entertainment more than anything. I've worked with three of the women; Ky Furneaux (tough as nails), Anastasia Ashley (great and creative girl), and Manu Toigo (can probably kick your ass). Also one of the guys trolled me on instagram and challenged me to a jiujitsu match to decide who the best survival expert is. I like the women better.

A:

ASHER: I did. I have no connection to any organization.


Q:

What’s your favourite piece of equipment you’ve used?

My Dad is in the service in the UK as well (your engine looks like the UK models from what I can tell).

Thank you for your service, all you give up and fingers crossed the government stops f*cking with your pension.

A:

Cool. I was with 3/3 L in Iraq and the stan. Semper.


Q:

Does it Rhyme with Far Tours?

A:

Big picture question:

Do you perceive video games as an artistic medium? If so, does this necessarily mean that making a game with the intent to keep a company afloat is artistically destructive? If not, what worth do video games actually have?


Q:

I'm not sure if you'll see this, but this AMA caught my attention because I'm studying Computer Science, and there aren't many women in this field, so I'm grateful I've found someone I can aspire to be.

What's some advice you'd give another woman trying to survive in this field? I'm so close to graduation, but I'm terrified of the real world setting, and that I'll get swallowed up in the male dominated field.

Also, I'm a CS tutor, and yet I struggle with math (I took PreCalc this semester and did horribly on every exam). How do I get better outside the classroom when I don't give a damn about math? I read your comments about applying math in a 'fun' way, but how do I get through boring coursework in the meantime?

A:

Have any of the dancers (male or female) had regular customer turn stalker? How does the industry protect the help?


Q:

Do you find the show somewhat accurate?

A:

I'd say my favourite kit is probably the SWAH kit (Safe Working At Height) - it's just what rock climbers and abseilers would use.

I love rock climbing. :D


Q:

Oohrah Devil

A:

Ummmm


Q:

I absolutely see games as an artistic medium of expression, similar to theater, film, or performance art. I was actually a Fine Arts major at university. One of the first people to recognize games as an art form was Marcel Duchamp (one of the founders of the Dadaist movement). He was an avid chess player, and said "While all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.”

The act of playing games can be seen as a kind of performance art, where you suspend your priorities in the 'real world', choosing to subsume yourself in an artificial one. How many times have you seen someone go utterly apeshit during a game of Monopoly? To them, in that moment, that game is more real than the actual world around them. If they win or lose, their material world is unchanged, but that means nothing to them. Those pieces of tin, card and paper are their world, and the injustice or triumph they feel is real, in their heart.

Those who make games construct these circumstances for such performances to play out. A painter cannot control the reaction to their painting, but they can influence it by painting a particular way. Game creators cannot control what our players do, but we can guide them in certain directions with mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics.

I do not see art diametrically opposed to material profit. Some of the most profitable games have been the ones that have made us feel most profoundly. However, these paradigms do often come into conflict. A ceramic mug with a stupid Minions meme on it is still a sculpture, even if it's not a very good one. However, that mug and its replicas will probably sell more copies than the avant garde work of some person trying to convey the feelings of their latest breakup through abstract forms in clay. Which is better? Depends on what you want to accomplish. Is it artistically destructive for an artist to be able to pay their rent, buy groceries and pay for medicine? I don't think so.

I don't know if that actually answered your question. I'm sorry.

A:

What's some advice you'd give another woman trying to survive in this field? I'm so close to graduation, but I'm terrified of the real world setting, and that I'll get swallowed up in the male dominated field.

First off, don't disqualify yourself from a game you want to play. If it turns out you can't do something, learn that the hard way. If you quit preemptively, you definitely can't do it. You don't have to commit to this industry (or any industry) for the rest of your life. The skills you pick up in tech will serve you well in whatever you decide to do. And there are lots of different kinds of jobs and different kinds of companies in this industry - it's ok to switch around until you find what suits you in a place with coworkers who don't suck.


Q:

Numerous times I've worked at places where we had to ban someone that was a regular customer getting too close (for lack of a better term), or ex-boyfriends.

A:

I would say somewhat.


Q:

Being a firefighter must be an incredibly ohysically strenuous job. What workouts do you do to keep in shape?

A:

I’m just a silly 15 year old kid with no crazy story. Thank you for your service. Just wondering if you think what happened in your early life impacted you for better or worse? Thanks in advance


Q:

What personal engineering project would you undertake if funding was not a problem?

A:

How big is the target demographic for rogue-like Japanese dating Sims set in 18th century France?


Q:

Any advice for a computer science undergrad looking for internships/work?

A:

I'm organizing a bachelor party in Vegas in a week and trying to find unique stuff to do. What's your favorite place to eat or do down there?


Q:

What's the best pocket knife for under $20?

A:

Great question.

A typical week for me is:

Monday - HIIT (I run up the stairs of my 5 floor tower in the station as fast as I can, then walk down slowly. Repeat 3 times).

Tuesday - Strength endurance, full body. (12 to 8 reps, 3 sets)

Wednesday - Long slow duration cardio (anything, really. a nice bike ride)

Thursday - HIIT

Friday -Strength endurance, full body. (12 to 8 reps, 3 sets)

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest


Q:

Every event in your life will influence you in some way. I was once a silly kid with no stories but I always believed that a man’s worth is in the stories he has to tell because I didn’t have any tangible things to value. So I said yes to things and took risks. I went to extremes to prove my worth in the world. I risked my life for the adventure. I still take big chances even when it’s a bad idea because I know that even if I fail I will still have the story. I wish I had the opportunities that some other people have had and the loving home environment some had but maybe that’s what drives me.

A:

Giant bipedal fighting robot. RobotJox style with live armaments!


Q:

According to our Kickstarter so far, around 646 people. We're also getting a surprising number of people for whom this is the first project they've ever backed. That signals to me that there's an opening in the market that isn't being met. People want to play something like this, it's just not being made.

Though, to be fair, 2 of those backers are my parents. Not sure if they count.

A:

Make sure they pay you in USD, not ETH.


Q:

For bachelor parties, I recommend eating at a steak house at least once. There are a ton on the strip, but I also encourage you to look off the strip. Especially at the Brazilian ones where you pay a flat fee and can eat until you're totally stuffed.

Shooting ranges, ATVs, renting exotic cars, zipline, are all cool things to do in addition to bars and clubs for bachelor parties.

A:

Not quite a pocketknife but the Mora Companion is razor sharp, made in Sweden, and will last you a lifetime. $12-$16 on Amazon


Q:

What's your physique (height/weight) like? Do you track calories / dietary intake? Would you say it's more important to be physically strong or have better cardio endurance?

A:

Always good to hear a success story from someone like yourself. I've seen so many Marines get out and do nothing with themselves and it's heart breaking. I hope you know you're the kind of Marine we all aspire to be. If you're ever around pendleton I'm sure there's a bunch of us who would love to meet you and hear your story. So my question is what is the biggest piece of advice you could give somebody whose about to get out and have to start over?


Q:

Follow up — one kaiju-sized duck or 100 duck-sized kaiju?

A:

I think the model that Elder Scrolls Online uses of paying for cosmetics and content only is the fairest method. Would you agree?


Q:

What would you recommend for someone that wants to get into teaching CS?

I have a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering, a lot of software engineering and dev experience, and I've tutored in CS. I've also done technical training for junior team members at my current job.

I'd love to be a CS teacher, on the high school level—maybe even college, though I'm not so sure they'd take me seriously without a masters or PhD. I'm just not sure where and how to get started. I could take education classes, but my state (PA) doesn't have much in the way of certifications for computer science.

How did you get into teaching CS? Any words of wisdom for someone aspiring to teach CS?

A:

Have you met Larry Flynt? Id so how is he in real life?


Q:

Good to know the morakniv I bought was worth it

A:

It's more important to be physically strong. The job is made up short explosive instances of strength - hitting a door, pushing up a ladder, etc. Of course, you still need good cardio.

I don't track calories. The only thing I track is protein intake. Then again, I eat loads. Looooads. Healthy stuff though.

5 foot 9. 80 kilos.


Q:

Someone told me when I got out that I would look back on my life and being a marine would be the most important thing I had ever done. I genuinely remember thinking at the time, “god I hope not.” That’s been the key. Don’t let it define you. Don’t let anything define you. Don’t be an “ex-marine” with your truck covered in USMC stickers and all your ribbons. Don’t even tell people you were a marine. Let them figure it out in casual conversation and be surprised. When I tell people I was a marine it’s almost always met with a bit incredulity and fascination. “How could this guy have been a marine?” I want every person to find out and be a little confused by it but also to think of course he was, he’s so hard working.

A:

100 duck-sized kaiju LOL


Q:

Sorry, I haven't played ESO (though a few members of our team are active players), so I can't give a detailed answer.

I definitely think that paying for cosmetics is a great way to go for online multiplayer games. It doesn't hurt the game, as long as your clever with the cosmetics (changing character silhouettes too much can cause confusion in PvP).

However, the cosmetics thing only works in online multiplayer. Single player games will need to find another solution.

A:

In general, I do think we need to encourage more people with your kind of experience into the classroom. Unfortunately I'm not an expert on getting through state certifications. You may be better off working backward: find the schools or universities nearest you and ask them how you can pitch in.


Q:

I have not met him. He actually is not the owner of the club. The company just pays him a royalty to use his name.

A:

Heck ya it was!


Q:

What kind of strength exercises/routines do you do? Almost-EMT but I'm gonna pick up some technical rescue training with the FD when I can.

A:

Hope you're still answering, are the members of Crystal Fighters as chill as they seem? Saw them at Shaky Knees in ATL and it's been one of my favorite shows.


Q:

Any chance that another White Rabbit Project like show happen with you, Tori, and Kari?

A:

Thank you for your response.


Q:

Hi can you fill out my course equivalency form for Crypto? lol

A:

I’ve know a few strippers, seems like a lot of them sleep with guys that work at a strip club. Do you notice any of that?


Q:

I do a lot of multi-week motorcycle camping trips in the more remote areas of the western states. I carry a lot of the typical expensive outdoorsy gadgets that you'll find most yuppies have (InReach, jetboil stove, kurydan filter, tent, sleeping bag, etc), but is there anything really simple that you find people often overlook that can make a huge difference to survival or enjoyment of trips?

A:

Just a full body exercise - shoulder press, pull ups, chest press, squats, dead lifts, dips.


Q:

They’re great people. They’ve actually been in my studio while I’ve been out of town. They’re so unique and interesting to me. I have almost no way of defining them

A:

There's always a chance. Sadly, there will be no season 2 of WRP on Netflix. Their focus at the moment is scripted series that are binge-able.


Q:

No problem! Thanks for asking questions, it wouldn't be interesting without people like you here!

A:

Your email has been queued.


Q:

I wouldn't say a lot, but it happens. I've seen hosts and managers who openly or secretly date and sleep with dancers. The policy really depends from club to club on their attitude towards that.

A:

Don't do Inreach or Spot, do ACR. Even the Coast Guard uses them and no subscription needed. Also, satellite phone rentals and minutes are more and more affordable.

Making fire from scratch in foul weather is the most difficult survival skill. Not very many people carry a good accelerant. I recommend either esbit cubes, fast fire, or webber grill cubes. Wet fire cubes are also good but they come in smaller portions which mean shorter burn times. They all burn at over 1000F but the first 3 last for over ten minutes, wet fire averages around 5-6. Also, UCO stormproof matches only. Go for the titans if you have room. Once lit they can't be extinguished, they even burn under water. Forget fire steels. Thanks for your question!


Q:

What's your process for being on call at night, by that I mean how the fuck do you get to the station so quickly?

My local 24 hour shop is beside the local fire station and at night if there's a call all the fire fighters all arrive within seconds of each other which I'm assuming means they've all got there super quickly. I just csnt wrap my head around how they can get out of bed and get there so fast.

Also thanks for what you do. It's a dangerous profession and one that is taken for granted

A:

Thanks. I've been recording and mixing music for about 17 years now, as a hobby until about 5 years ago when I took it to the next step. I've been focusing on electronic music since about 7 years now and have a healthy handfull of releases, currently finnishing my album, contract already signed.

My long term goal has always been to make film/advertisement music and sound design in general, not exclusive to the music industry. I am currently looking for an internship/apprenticeship with any post-production houses/agencies in my city at the moment, but i seem to be running in circles, any advanced tips perhaps?


Q:

So here's the plan: a WRP-based superhero series. By day, you, Tori, and Kari build robots. At night you fight crime.

A:

What are games you have played that have inspired you to be a game dev?


Q:

Hello, Ms. Bishop!

I'm in a very similar circumstance to you right now - I've spent most of my teen life dreaming of writing, but now I want to be a cryptographist/infosec specialist.

My question for you: do you feel as if you approach what you do differently from your peers?

I'm taking a programming course in my high school right now, and oftentimes my solutions to assignments are vastly different from others in the class (who seem to have a much lower tolerance for varying approaches to similar but unique assignments). For example, we're currently making a program that determines end behavior of a polynomial - in approximately 200 lines of code, I check for degree (regardless of format - location of degree term doesnt matter), sign of the degree term, and error-check user input (of the polynomial). Many other students in the class are struggling to find the sign of the polynomial's degree term if the function is not written in standard form, and I think my writing background (and probably massive interest) are helping me a lot. There's not a lot of writers-turned-programmers that I know, so I'd be interested to hear what you think. :)

A:

Have you ever thrown out a celebrity?


Q:

Really appreciate the advice! I hadn't thought about fire starting stuff, definitely going to google everything you recommended and get something to carry with me.

I like the InReach not just for the SOS, but so my friends and family can track my progress on maps and for the bi-directional texting.

A:

Where I work, there are whole time stations and retained stations.

In whole time stations, there are crews there 24/7.

What you're describing is a retained station, where fire fighters, who live near the station, are on-call on a retained fee, and if their pager goes off, they have to get to the station in minutes.

Cheers. Keep safe and check your smoke alarms.


Q:

I met more connections for this industry in bars and places where I wasn't looking for connections than I did looking in the traditional places. Its a tough world to get into and people are very guarded against letting people in. I always do things for free for people to build up a reputation too.

A:

That would never work. IT'S TOO CLOSE TO REALITY.


Q:

In no particular order:

  • Mechwarrior 2 - First thing I ever saved up for (I was 8, or so). From the moment I watched the first cinematic, something in me clicked. I knew that I wanted to make games.
  • Fallout 2 - First serious RPG I ever played. The idea of a super violent game where you could still talk you way out, absolutely blew my mind when I was a kid.
  • Planescape: Torment - Best writing in any game (personal opinion, obviously). Solidified my love of pacifist runs in any game that allows them. I legit teared up in a few places.
  • Final Fantasy 7 - My first JRPG, it introduced me to my love of playing as set characters in games (as opposed to build-your-owns). It just felt so grand. I'd never felt anything like it, at the time.
  • Dungeons and Dragons - I've been playing since 2nd ed, back when it was still AD&D. Tabletop will always have a special place in my heart, and is what first got me into writing for games.
A:

My writing background helps me intuitively find the simplest explanation that makes sense. I try to avoid over-engineering for the same reason I strive for brevity.

The best advice writers get is don't be afraid to "kill your darlings". A lot of engineers need to be told that, too.


Q:

I was at the front when we turned away rapper V-Nasty at one place I worked. I had two coworkers who said that they had to turn away Three 6 Mafia and his group at the front door.

A:

they've failed me in the field.


Q:

My cousin is a firefighter in a small town and many of his calls involve getting morbidly obese people out of their bathtubs. What’s your bathtub extraction rate?

A:

What do you think about Bitcoin?


Q:

What was your favorite part of the 'Down the Rabbit Hole' tour? Would you do it again?

A:

Great list of games. As a guy in my mid 30's I grew up on a similar stable of titles and in many ways it has influenced my gaming habits today. None of these (obviously) are pay too win or had micro transactions at all.

My concern, and I would guess the concern for many, is that there a time rapidly approaching where the only way to beat a game is through micro transactions. You've already seen this in online multiplayer titles (COD games, Battlefront Battlefield 2, destiny) where PvP is all but ruined when those who pay get an advantage. It's now entering the realm of AAA titles to simply finish the game. Shadows of War, for example, forces you to go through an absurd slog at the end during the "Shadow Wars" sequence that makes it almost impossible not to pay.

My question is, does it concern you that there won't be games like the ones you mentioned above because micro-transactions have simply made it too profitable to make a game that forces you to get good and win? Are F2P and Pay to Win games raising a generation of young gamers that will only know that and thus leaving our generation doomed to only play older titles?


Q:

Thank you so much for the response! It's nice to feel a bit of vindication.

Followup question: what do you mean by "dont be afraid to 'kill your darlings'" in reference to programming/engineering?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

I've never heard of a "Survival School". What does this entail? Is there a curriculum? Grades/levels? How was this school developed? Grants? Funding? What does an entry-class look like? So many questions. I'm so sorry. But truly. I'm intrigued.

A:

Zero.

I did have to help an obese man out of his wheelchair after he broke his handles and poo'd himself though. That wasn't very pleasant.


Q:

I used to buy large quantities of bitcoin to purchase, uh, stuff, off of the internet back around 2011 or so. I once had 470 bitcoin when bitcoin cost nothing. I wish I had that instead of those jelly beans I bought. Even in the beginning of the year this year I purchased a couple bitcoin to pay a friend back and then right after I gave him it they went up 800%. Im always on the wrong side of money transactions.

A:

The best part of the tour was interacting with my friends in front of a live audience and hearing them laugh and cheer. For our finale, we create a giant cloud of nitrogen and walk through it to do our bows.

[The worst part is the travel. New city every day.]


Q:

The industry is constantly shifting and I'm sure a new financial paradigm will show up to displace loot boxes. Will it be better or worse? No idea.

As for older styles of games, I don't think they're going away. Television didn't kill movies. Movies didn't kill theater.

'Old School' style, micro-transaction free, games will always be getting made, just maybe not with the same level of financial investment as AAA titles.

I thought the Isometric PC RPG was dead, but so many new, good ones have come out in the last 5 years that I haven't even had the chance to play all of them.

There hasn't been a AAA 2D platformer in forever, but indie studios are cranking them out at a rate faster than anyone could ever play them.

Will the younger generation play different games? Probably, but that's always been the case. Tastes change. I could never get into Undertale, and Friday Night at Freddy's feels moronic to me and I've never even played Minecraft, but that's what the next cohort was playing a few years ago.

The world changes, but rarely are art forms truly abandoned.

A:

Don't be afraid to:

  • Simplify your designs, eliminating things that you thought were clever but turned out to be less important.
  • Test your attack surface! Better for you to break your design than other people.

Q:

We shut down the night it happened, but reopened the next for business as usual.

A:

We teach individuals and organizations how to respond to outdoor emergencies, especially in remote environments, as well as wilderness medical certification programs, and technical outdoor skills. I developed the curriculum myself based on my experience as a professional outdoor rescuer and wildland firefighter. I am a Search and Rescue Technician, Ropes Rescue trained, Swift Water Rescue Technician, helicopter host rescue trained, confined space rescue trained, former EMT, and I am working on the first national certification program for basic outdoor safety and survival. Here is my catalog https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/our-courses


Q:

How much do you make a month , and do you believe you should be making more?

A:

I heard he cancelled one of his tour dates because of problems with the video crew, what really transpired there? also any advice for an audio engineer stuck in corporate AV?


Q:

Did you ever try a myth where you got to the end thought "Well that was disappointing"?

A:

Luth, what was it like growing up in a small town, and having your big brothers best friend be so cool? Playing paintball in the jagged teeth with them, driving around in his "super cool" dodge stratus, and uhhh... yeah I got nothing else. Super proud of you buddy!!! Grats on the game and the AMA. Love ya dude!


Q:

How did you find a publisher willing to sign you up when you had no background in writing?

A:

What is your typical night like?


Q:

Confined space rescue. That's gotta be the scariest position to be stuck in. Literally. Do you have any story's from people getting caught in caves or rocks or anything that either made it or did not? I hope most of your rescues have been successful but you must have seen some bad stuff. Not sure how much you're willing to talk about but I and others are interested in failures or body retrievals.

A:

Around £29,000 a year gross pay. After deductions, tax, pension, etc, I take home around £1500 - £1600.

The pay rise is a bit of a contentious issue. The issue at the moment is that the job is changing so much, which means there's a mountain of added responsibilities and skills which a fire fighter needs to have to operate efficiently and safely (everything from near paramedic level medical response, to terrorist firearm mobilisation) - I believe we should be paid to reflect this.

It should be at least £39,000 a year. This would in turn bring in a higher level of applicants too.


Q:

They just did not have the ability to properly hang the screens in those venues I believe.

Advice? Stop doing things you don’t want to do. that’s it. I know it sounds stupid cuz you’re like “that’s how I make money” but that’s also how people know you. Stop being that guy and people will call you for the right gigs

A:

Squash Weightlifter. A growing pumpkin is supposed to have enough force to lift a car. We had champion giant pumpkin seeds and high-tech hydroponics. We couldn't grow a damn thing. Never made it to air.


Q:

Love you too, bro!

A:

We sent a draft to Natural Math and they liked it! I hope you do too!


Q:

Kind of depends on what position you're working. I've worked the front door, the floor and the VIP in multiple clubs. A lot of your job is really just facilitating the operations of the club. If you're at the door then you're mostly keeping underage people, weapons and drugs out of the building. If you're on the floor then you're walking customers to tables, setting them up with requested dancers, getting them change, taking them on a tour of the club, setting up their bachelor or 21st birthday boy to go on stage, handling disputes involving dancers, customers, waitresses, etc. You have to put out fires, and do your best to maintain the operation of the club.

A:

The worst I've seen was a wrecked cattle carrier full of sheep. Detached from the truck and slammed into a hillside at 50mph. It was 90F+ out too. The extrication was some straight PTSD shit lmao. Sheep carnage.


Q:

For anyone interested, that's about $52,000 USD.

A:

You said you were shot with not so friendly fire? That doesn’t mean intentional friendly fire does it? You meant enemy fire?


Q:

What was the experience like working for Disney?

A:

Did you work on Realm of the Mad God, that Kabam acquired but sold off to DECA recently? If so, what was your opinion on the permadeath game which would encourage more players to buy the gear available for real money?


Q:

How do you feel about Columbia's stress culture? Do you think the CS students are overworked?

A:

What is drug use like among VIP clients? Have you witnessed a lot of drug use since you’ve started? If a customer pays to get a VIP room, is he just free to do whatever the hell he wants in there? Like doing a bunch of cocaine off/with his stripper?


Q:

As someone who loves to learn and who has worked in curriculum development, I'm intrigued how your courses must/have to simulate different climates and terrain? How did you plan that? California must be a Godsend because it's such a diverse state (everything from sand dunes to National Forests to the Ocean) but still... What does your planning look like for these kinds of courses? Do you get feedback from others? Or are you kind of a trailblazer in your own right?

A:

What's the wage in America?


Q:

No I was just making a joke about how silly a phrase friendly fire is. Like yeah, that bullet was neighborly as hell when it tore through my body

A:

Very cool. I was working with Disney Research. We were building quick prototypes and testing ideas and making changes on the fly. Very much like how we did things on Mythbusters. Also, they have the most impressive shop I've ever seen.


Q:

I never worked on the Realm of the Mad God team, but I sat a few sections away from them a few years ago. They were fucking awesome.

I once walked by them having full-on meeting discussing the cost/benefit analysis of their team pooling their personal money, to have their team join a 'pie of the month club'. There were Powerpoint slides and everything. They knew how to have fun, but still get the job done.

As for permadeath, it was a fascinating decision to have permadeath in the game, and eliminating that would have destroyed Realm (permadeath was such a central pillar to their design). However, community management was a nightmare for them. Everyday, some high level player would die, lose a ton of stuff and go nuts all over the forums, which would make everyone else angry that someone is spamming and flaming everyone within 50 miles of them. I can guarantee you that they never wanted to kill players, just to reap a few extra dollars. The hassle was way too big.

For those wondering, I don't know if they ever managed to put PvP in there, but they really wanted to. The problem was making the server code reliable and exact enough for it. You can fudge numbers a little for PvE and nobody cares. PvP? With permadeath? It has to be utterly perfect, which would have required them to tear out and remake the netcode. That's too big of an investment and way too risky. What if they fuck up and break the existing game?

A:

I do think students these days are overworked. It's not unique to Columbia or CS, but I think we as a faculty and institution in general should do more to give students better perspective & balance. 5 years from now, nobody will care if you got a B+ instead of an A-. But it doesn't always feel that way at the time.


Q:

Not really. I've caught a lot of drugs at the front door on people. The clubs still have to operate within the law.

A:

I've done long distances survival "expeditions" in the various terrains I teach in, have worked in them extensively in terms of firefighting, guiding in parks, and natural resource rehab. I've been trained in environmental biology and high performance in extreme climates. The curriculum is based on what is most useful when you are out there with little to no gear, weak, and tired. Of course, the curriculum develops as my skill set does.

Yes, I am a bit of a trailblazer. We know of know other school with our diverse offerings and I can lead nearly all of the courses personally (with the exception of the counter custody/tactical stuff). There are many many many schools, like 20 in California alone- many of which simply copy me- the website, prices, all that stuff. I also no of no other civilian instructor/school that has worked this extensively with the military.


Q:

Do you have children? If so, do you tend to take less risks?

If you don't have children, is your job something that you'd take into consideration?

A:

Hey man, stoked to see a vet excelling in the "real" world, a term whose application I generally find pretty ironic.

My question is: how do you think the things you saw and did in the Marines informs your perspective on the new challenges you face today and the ones you expect to face in the future?


Q:

Do you still offer your services to the film industry post-Mythbusters?

A:

Why do you think that AAA game companies are rushing to monetize as much as possible when indie successes like Stardew Valley or Terraria can survive without putting in any monetizing elements in?


Q:

Are you self publishing through Amazon/Createspace or did you go the traditional publisher route?

A:

How important is the biker facial hair in your industry?


Q:

If I haven't overstayed my welcome, are there skills you haven't mastered that you're looking forward to? Like you said, your curriculum develops as your skill set does. That's an interesting challenge. Gives every day some higher stakes.

A:

I have children. I still take the same amount of risks as any other fire fighter - my job is primarily to save and protect lives, and I'll keep trying to do that unless the risks vastly outweigh the gains.

Also, if I die, my children and wife will get a nice lump sum from my life insurance, so all's good. :D


Q:

I remember when I went to school for recording, they told us "don't expect to do anything but clean toilets and get food for people when you first get into the industry" and I thought, "at least they don't expect me to do it with my own toothbrush." The military gave me something amazing that you can't buy anywhere, and that is something worse to compare it to. Its easy to say "I've had worse" and that makes it easier to go on.

A:

There aren't many opportunities for practical models or animatronics in movies these days. That's why I've been consulting for Imagineering.


Q:

Successes like Stardew Valley and Terraria are extremely rare. For a point of comparison, around 20 new games are released on Steam, every single day. Most of them will never make their costs back, even some of the really good ones will get lost in the flow.

Small indie studios go broke all the time, it's just that nobody notices.

Big companies need guaranteed wins, because they're answerable to their stock holders. It's why they go so nuts with marketing and finding a way to get a financial edge with every, single, little thing. Big ads? Go for it! Celebrity endorsements? Pile 'em on! Branded Dorritos? Sure!

Bigger isn't always better, but it's often more reliable. When you're making huge AAA titles, you automatically stand apart from the indie games, just with size and production values. Your competition shrinks massively, but the costs are enormous.

A:

We were published by Natural Math, and also did a Kickstarter for initial funding. So, neither solo nor fully traditional!


Q:

Not very important

A:

I need to up my jungle and arctic survival games.


Q:

If it hasn’t been said yet, thank you for your service.

A:

I'm near Hollywood. What is your rates for recording?


Q:

What would your dream cosplay be?

A:

HI SENPAI ITS ME YOUR FELLOW EX COWORKER PLEASE NOTICE ME?


Q:

Did you always want to write children's stories, or was there another genre you were interested in writing about growing up?

A:

Has the legalization of weed changed anything for you?


Q:

I have a question in hopes of being better. Can't hurt to ask someone who's life is survival training. I don't normally wear my disability on my sleeve (most people I meet are none the wiser) but I am Deaf with cochlear implants. In some ways I've turned this into a major advantage (I read lips proficiently and am always tuned into my surroundings and especially body language for cues) but... I'm Deaf. If I'm not fully focused on something, I'm oblivious. Any advice for my day-to-day life to be safer?

P.S. Hope you master the jungle and arctic survival games! I'd say have fun, but, yeah. Be safe.

A:

Cheers. Stay safe. Check your smoke alarms!


Q:

Pm your info and we can talk. I’m pretty booked right now but the new year is coming and I free up then

A:

My cosplays tend to be uniform-based. My two favorites right now are my BSG Viper pilot flight suit and the Star Trek Wrath of Khan-era ("monster maroon") Sulu.


Q:

NOTICED!!!!

A:

Growing up, I was constantly writing murder mysteries. Even today, in most of my stories, someone dies. (except in children's books!)


Q:

No. It's not allowed in the building or on property.

A:

If it is affordable, there is a lot of great technology out there that may come it handy. Like the doorbells that are also cameras that show the person at your door on your phone. To be honest, this question is out of my league. Thanks and best wishes!


Q:

Should I use smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors?

What Height should they be at?

A:

When you were honorably discharged from the military with a purple heart, does that earn you some sort of monthly disability stipend for the rest of your life?


Q:

Follow up question Kirk or Picard?

A:

What is your favorite loot box/crate opening animation?


Q:

Do celebrities really go into strip clubs and throw down like we sometimes imagine they do? No named needed, but if you feel like naming names/telling stories, go for it.

A:

I'm going through your course catalog. Can I say because I'm seriously impressed with your course catalog and mission that I've noticed some grammatical errors? For instance, "Whether your an individual looking to avoid a group..." It's "you're". It's not a big deal and I know you're not a Writing Camp but it's imperative that you represent yourself well. No response to this required. Honestly, no action required either. If you're interested, you can represent yourself better.


Q:

Both. They do different things, and are both as important as eachother.

Smoke alarms detect when anything obstructs a sensor within the unit - this could be smoke, or dust, or steam, etc. These should be placed on the ceiling, because the characteristic behaviour of smoke is that it rises to the ceiling and plumes. As such, the alarm will have fastest time to detect the smoke if it is on the ceiling.

There should be at least 1 smoke alarm per level of a house.

Carbon Monoxide - these specifically detect carbon monoxide, and should be placed near anything which has some form of combustion (since carbon monoxide is the product of incomplete combustion). Boilers, gas heaters, etc. Just next to it or somewhere next it is fine.

If the Carbon Monoxide detector goes off, get out. The gas will kill you, and you can't smell or see it.

You can also get heat alarms which you put in your kitchen. These detect high heat, so won't go off when you're cooking.

A:

I do get disability and that helps a lot in my lifestyle because I don’t always get a consistent paycheck but mostly it pays my ex wife’s rent every month. So sort of not


Q:

I grew up with Next Gen. Inner Light and Darmok FTW

A:

Hearthstone packs. The Hearthstone team has that shit on lock-down so hard that I actually felt a little disappointed the first time I opened an Overwatch loot crate. It helps that the Hearthstone UI feels so tactile. It makes the cards and movements feel more significant than standard UI, that just looks like boxes and lights.

Also, flipping over the individual cards, one a time, with the different audio reactions/particle effects? Perfection!


Q:

Not really. The most I've known a celebrity to spend was $15,000. It was a boxer that pretty much everyone knows. I wouldn't say that celebrities regularly drop a bunch of money. I've seen several not spend a dollar.

A:

dang it! thanks I'm on it. fixed it. the last thing i want on my site is the internets most hated grammatical error!


Q:

How often do you have people ignore/refuse to move when you have your blue lights on?

A:

Happy to hear that you dug yourself out of a terrible situation and that you made it out alive.

My question: How did you get your foot in the door within the industry?

I just moved to California two weeks ago (Santa Barbara to be specific and very lucky since I also come from nothing) and want to help a friend who's really talented in front of the right ears. Right now the angle I'm taking is using my photography to meet people in LA who might know someone that knows someone but I'm not sure if that's the optimal approach.


Q:

Have you ever consider doing youtube videos?

I Bet you could do some sick science videos with Vsauce and a lot of people

Greetings from Argentina, here we still see mythbusters on discovery

A:

Is consumer trust a calculatable variable when making games?

For example, if instead of loot boxes, you could just buy the outfit you want.

I feel that would produce consumer trust in your product, meaning more long term revenue, but less short term. Is this something that's accounted for when considering monetization of a game?


Q:

Do you accept bitcoin yet? They should put QR codes on strippers' asses which corresponds to a crypto transaction when scanned.

A:

Everything helps in a survival situation. Being well prepared having basic survival knowledge is key but what i have noticed about survival training and information is that it's always based on having these survival items with you. My first question is how do you train to survive with absolutely nothing. Example ; you're hiking in the mountains of northern California in January. You fall into a fast moving river and lose everything now what? Question 2 is a person can be prepared with tangible items but is mental preparation just as important? The ability to handle violence or severe circumstances?


Q:

Never. If you don't get out of the way, we're pushing your car out of the way.

And we're bigger than you.

A:

I took every gig I could. Even if it was free. I once had a boss before I got into music that told me to never lose the value of knowledge. He paid me shit but he taught me a lot about being a good salesperson and a good friend. I used that knowledge so much in life that I now look at it as though that job paid 100k a year. Keep kicking down doors until someone listens to you. Never quit and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I always say that if you’re the type of person who gets told “you can’t do that” and you just give up then maybe you should stick to something less challenging but if you hear that and think “fuck you, I do what I want” then you’ve already made it


Q:

I've thought about it. I don't really like editing, so it involves a bit more effort than I want to exert. I do like livestreaming and have considered starting a Twitch channel.

A:

You've really hit the nail on the head with a real problem in games (and in companies, in general). Consumer trust cannot be meaningfully quantified, so it's often left on the back burner. However, it obviously has real, tangible value.

EA and Nintendo could announce the exact same decision on the same day. People would hate EA for it, and love Nintendo for it. A few months later, a 'hot take' would appear on Twitter, pointing out the disparity, but nobody would care at that point.

So, even though consumer trust is real, and extremely valuable, it's undervalued because it can't be quantified. This happens elsewhere in business too. The sales team makes more money than everyone else because you can easily quantify the money they make for the company (how many units did they sell). But if the product wasn't as good, how would they be able to sell it? Surely the designers and engineers have an influence here, but you can't quantify it because the market is affected by a ton of intangibles.

The sales team makes more money because their value is obvious. Everyone else lags behind because it's easier to minimize their value.

PS: If you solve this particular problem, you'll win a goddamn Nobel Prize in economics. I'll also give you a hug, because I used to be a community manager and tried to argue this like, every other week.


Q:

Working on it

A:

That's one thing about my school that makes it fairly unique; we have minimalist training in actual wilderness environments (namely Alaska). We teach people how to survive with little to no gear. Understand, not everything is survivable. If you fall into a fast river in January, you'll likely drown from the soaked heavy clothing, or rapidly succumb to hypothermia once you self rescue. You have minutes to strip down and make a fire in freezing conditions before your brain switches off. You have to be lucky, in great shape, have close to dry weather, and lots of good accelerant and UCO matches immediately at your disposal, and be in an area with dry wood.

Mental fortitude is key. Anyone can build a shelter on a nice day with a lunch in their pack. It takes fortitude to do it with a fractured ankle while you're going hypothermic. The "I can, I will, I must" attitude and the ability to think critically and use your training in extreme circumstances.


Q:

What percentage of dispatches is for actual fires?

A:

Out of all the artist you recorded, who was your favorite and why?

Thanks for your services as well!


Q:

Do you use a 3D printer in your builds? If so which one do you recommend for general applications?

A:

Any crazy violent stories?


Q:

Do you have any tips on dealing with feet/hands getting too cold? I find myself losing feeling in my extremities anytime I ice climb or even ski now.

A:

I'd say about 5%. The majority are AFA (automatic fire alarms) or UFAS (Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals). This is when the fire alarm system installed in a business or building (hospital, school, etc.) go off for some reason. Most of the time it's just someone smoking near an alarm, or a little kid pushing the manual call point.

I've been to more RTCs/ RTAs (Road Traffic Collisions/Road Traffic Accidents) than fires.

Please drive carefully.


Q:

Vic Mensa is at the top and of course working with my wife is a dream come true. I also really enjoyed working with Frank Ocean and surprisingly, Nickelback are the greatest people in the world. They are the most humble, polite and kind people on this planet. Doesn’t hurt that they’re all Canadian

A:

I've had great luck with my Ultimaker 2+extended for PLA and Zortrax for ABS.


Q:

I mentioned earlier taking down a guy a two different occasions. One for punching a stripper and the other for throwing a rock through the glass doors at the front. Also had a guy that turned out to be a pimp inside one night. He smacked a girl that was working for him, and casually walked out of the club. He was banned after smacking her.

A:

Get hand warmers. They are a game changer. I use them inside jackets and sleeping bags all the time too.

Also if you have yet to try smart wool socks, the heaviest weight and highest percentage wool. expensive but will last for years and years. They also insulate very well when wet, as sweat may be the issue there.


Q:

What do you guys do when there isn't a fire, do you just wait in the station cracking jokes?

A:

What DAW do you use?


Q:

Hi Grant! Big fan of your stuff, both as a Mythbuster... and a tabletop gamer! Loved watching you play that Dracula game with Wil Wheaton :) Will we get to see you do more tabletop stuff in the future? (Would love to get you on Critical Role as a guest, haha, or other Geek&Sundry stuff!)

A:

Would you rather fight 10 duck sized strippers or 1 stripper sized duck?


Q:

What is the longest distance you've walked in a day?

A:
  • Checking and testing equipment.
  • Training
  • Lectures
  • Briefings
  • Gym time
  • HFSV (home fire safety visits - going into homes, educating people about how to stay safe, making sure alarms work, etc.)
  • Visiting schools, care homes, etc.
  • OI visits (Operational Intelligence) to businesses, care homes, etc. to familiarize yourself with high risk buildings/organisations.

Q:

All of them. I rely primarily on protools for my engineering work because it’s the industry standard but I use ableton for the live shows and to create and I am fairly proficient in logic as well. I am going to buy a pc and learn fruity loops when I have time. There’s never any time but you gotta force yourself. I gave up video games so I could have more time to perfect my craft

A:

I would love to do more stuff with Wil and Geek & Sundry! I'm also friends with Matt and Marisha. It all comes down to scheduling and whether they've got an opportunity.


Q:

1 stripper sized duck. It's easier to fight one opponent

A:

Roughly 30 miles.


Q:

Perfect; I've been looking for an authority to settle a friendly dispute for years.

Fighting fire with fire: Yes or no?

A:

Are you turning into a crazy cat person?


Q:

What is the most useful survival tip for beginners to know?

A:

Only if one of them is a leaf/water type too.


Q:

I'm apparently already there. That is Dipper. She was a rescue cat. She is a polydactyl (extra toes).

A:

Always have a small kit on you whenever heading to the outdoors. Have the minimal you need to spend the night. If you're not in an extreme environment (frozen or desert) that can be kept to 1lbs or less. The #1 killer is exposure so prep for it.

Fire: UCO stormproof matches & Wet Fire/Fast Fire/Webber Grill Lighter Cubes (all the sam material which burns at over 1000F for several minutes, the last two brands over ten min)

Water: Aqua Tabs and/or a Sawyer Squeeze

Shelter: Heat Sheet and nylon twine

There's more but it can depend on your climate, activity, and circumstances.


Q:

I want to bring my local firefighters some homemade cookies for Christmas, but I don't know if they would just throw them away since they don't know me. What do you think? Should I do it?

A:

Now you just need a Mabel to complete the pair...


Q:

Other than you under cooking roots..... What's the downright stupidest thing you've seen someone do after or during one of your training camps?

A:

They would eat it like a hurricane, greedy bastards.


Q:

10 points for Gryffindor! Yes, Dipper was in fact named after Gravity Falls.

A:
  1. During a crew hike we found two teen boys trying to catch a bear cub, they had it cornered. Talked them into stopping.

  2. A woman with a folding knife that didn't lock tried to carve a stick with it, backwards, aggressively. 8 stitches. She was a champ though and came right back and finished the course. I've actually done it too.


Q:

How correct is tv dramatisation of firefighting? Specifically talking about chicago fire. They don't seem to actually use much water.

A:

What steps would you suggest for kids interested in robotics to turn their hobby into a career?


Q:

Do you have any knowledge of the Military's SERE school? How do you feel about it?

A:

It's not entirely accurate, but it's fun to watch.

For instance, a typical house fire can easily take up half a tank of water (900 litres).

A car fire can easily take up 1 tank of water (1800 litres).

We love using water. That being said, there clearly isn't enough emphasis on risk vs reward in shows like chicago fire. Though it wouldn't make for good television if the actors were standing around doing ARAs (Analytical Risk Assessments).


Q:

Start with a kit. When I was growing up, I had Lego (not even Mindstorms). Gotta start somewhere!

A:

I taught a 10 day course at the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center and have worked with SERE instructors from more than one branch. It's excellent training, wish I could get in on a course. We have retired instructors running a civilian version at our school. Thanks for the question!


Q:

Thank you so much for doing this job

How do you overcome the fear when you approach a job?

A:

Hi, Grant. I miss seeing you on Mythbusters -- you always had (and usually made) the coolest toys.

What do you think is the coolest thing about Making / electronics? What about the hobby/profession excites you the most?

Bonus question if you have time: What in your opinion makes for a good vs. not-so-good electronics course? (I teach, and am always looking to improve.)


Q:

Can you professionally instruct me on how to survive for a week with nothing but a bag of lays sour cream chips??

A:

I focus on what needs to be done.

En route, we're constantly inundated with information about the incident - persons reported, hazards present, street location, known accident hot spots, key codes, etc.

When we get to the shout, I focus on procedure, checking myself and my partner are safe.

When I'm in the risk area, my training kicks in, and my only objective is to save life or prevent dangerous escalation of the incident. I'm thinking about nothing else.

Literally a robot.


Q:

Giving something the appearance of life. That's the most rewarding part of animatronics for me.

A:

Step 1: Eat Chips, except 1.

Step 2: Use chip for fire tinder

Step 3: Boil water with a hot stone inside the bag to quench thirst from salty chips: https://www.instagram.com/survival_expert/

Step 3: turn the bag inside out to use reflective surface as signal to get rescued


Q:

How many women firefighter is there in your station?

A:

What equipment would you want from games, movies, etc to have in your life?


Q:

Step 4: jerk off a bunch

A:

None.

There's a gross under-representation of women in the service. I think the stats are around 1 in 200 fire fighters are women.

Bear in mind that the physical requirements aren't as extensive as people believe it to be (sure, you have to be fit, but not Jessica Ennis fit).


Q:

I want Tony Stark's shop. Automated assembly line FTW

A:

that's just a given with those greasy fingers.


Q:

Have you ever saved a cat from a tree?

A:

Is Netflix more or less restricting than Discovery?


Q:

How do you ensure that water isnt contaminated (wont give you bad case of the runs), since chlorine and iodine tablets aren't enough usually?

A:

No. If a cat can get up there, it can get down. Proof? You never see skeletons of cats in trees, do you?

I did come across a suicidal seagull once though.


Q:

Discovery was very involved in the making of the show. There was a dedicated executive producer and they reviewed all our episodes and provided notes. We had to be careful about content (family-friendly channel) and we couldn't any brand names (Kleenex, Xerox, Leatherman) because they wanted compensation if we promoted any of those names. By comparison, Netflix was relatively hands-off. Another interesting quirk is that we weren't allowed to actively promote White Rabbit Project UNTIL it was actually live on Netflix. No "coming soon" or anything like that. I was told this was because they wanted someone to hear about it and then be able to immediately log on to Netflix and watch it.

A:

According to the CDC guidelines for backpackers pre treatment with chem tabs then >2 micron absolute filtration and you're good to go. This is why I love the sawyer squeeze and life straw gravity filters (they have pre treatment reservoirs). https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html


Q:

Don't be a tease! You know we all want to hear about a suicidal seagull

A:

If battlebots was scaled up to use remote controlled cars, modified with weapons. Which car and weapons would you use?


Q:

What Survival TV shows are the most informative? And which are full of it?

A:

Not much to say. For some reason, seagulls are a protected species (they're the hooligans of the sky - screw 'em), so someone called us for help when they noticed a seagull with a bent wing on the roof of a building.

We pitch up a ladder, and I go up. I'm moving very slowly, cos I know animals can get spooked - my plan was to get up up close, grab it, then stick it in my tunic so I can get it down to safety.

He didn't agree.

He took one look at me as I was inching nearer, and jumped off, plunging 10 metres to his death.

That was my first death actually... didn't affect me much, for some reason.


Q:

Something with a low center of gravity, and a robust frame. Maybe a mustang. Or a police cruiser. I would have dual miniguns. Rockets are too hard to aim.

A:

Sadly to say they are basically all full of it. All are staged, some claim for safety but it's more for skill, and they often portray methods that just don't work in real life. With one exception, Ray Mears and his stuff. I love that guy, he's a real legend. His episodes are real tutorials.


Q:

What has been your worst day and what has been your best day?

A:

We’ve heard about Adam and Jamie’s relationship on Mythbusters being civil but that they weren’t friends outside of the show. Did that ever effect production and what are your relationships with Tori and Kari like in real life?


Q:

Ray Mears is amazing. I've got all his books. I love how unpretentious and informative he is.l

A:

The day I pulled a dead baby out of a smoke filled flat and tried to resuscitate her with CPR and AED, but after 5 minutes nothing was happening, and I kept trying and trying. I didn't even realise the paramedics were telling me to let them takeover.


Q:

That statement is often misconstrued. They have mutual respect but don't hang out after work. But there's no "bubbling animosity" that's often implied. Since I was always at M7, I didn't often have the chance to interact with A+J, but watching them solve a problem in real time is really cool, actually. They do not bring ego into the suggestions.

Before starting on Mythbusters, I'd already known and worked with Adam, Jamie, and Tory for many years, and worked with Kari briefly. We weren't thrown together as a group of hosts, and I think you can see that chemistry.

I'm friends with Tory and Kari in real life as well, though it's harder to hang out since I've moved down to Los Angeles.

A:

100%. He's my favorite. I hope I can work with him someday.


Q:

Thank you for your service. Have you ever counted the number of people you saved from fire?

A:

Did you get Geoff Peterson back from Craigy, or did that become the property of his production? Shouldn't Geoff have his own TV show by now? What's the hold up?


Q:

If you were in the movie Cast Away, how differently would you have handled it?

A:

No, but I count the ones I didn't save.


Q:

Actually, I get asked what happened to Geoff a lot. Last Christmas, I was at Craig's christmas party and I asked him. He said, "would you like to see him?" and I said "yeah" so we went to Craig's personal office, and there was Geoff, sitting in a chair. So he's safe and sound with Craig.

A:

I would have poked a hole in wilson and filled it with coconut guts... for snacking.


Q:

is this something you struggle with or do you have some coping mechanisms?

A:

It makes me happy to hear that they are still together. It was clear that Craig and Geoff had a "special" relationship.


Q:

This guy Reddits. Thanks for your time on this AMA!

A:

I don't struggle with it, but I've seen the occupational therapist at work before, just so my boss could make sure I was okay.

My coping mechanism is to cherish my family and friends, since life is so short and can be cut out through no fault of your own.


Q:

One of my great regrets is that we were planning on adding a pelvic thrust to Geoff (without telling Craig). This was right before they announced Craig leaving the show.

A:

Thank you!


Q:

Some people are dead before you would even make it to them. You kind of have to just chalk it up to there's nothing you did or didn't do that would have changed it.

Finding children sticks with you. The ones that don't know what to do in a fire. Finding them in a closet or under a bed because they thought hiding was their safest option.

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Are you able to accurately predict who's going to fare best in a survival situation when you meet the people ahead of time?

A:

The one death which sticks with me most was a dead baby.

Smoke filled flat at 1am. Drunk mother outside insists the flat is empty. 2 minutes later, I find the baby, non-breathing, in a smoke logged bedroom upstairs.

I would have punched the Mother if I wasn't so shocked and desperate in doing CPR to the little bundle of nothing.


Q:

OLD school: Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist New stuff: Your Name, Netflix Voltron is also pretty good

A:

I always say you can never predict how someone will act in an emergency. When we're operating field courses, sometimes the most unsuspecting people will dominate. Sometimes office social dynamics change after our corporate events, because of what it brings out in people. People always surprise me, I love people, I want them to survive.


Q:

Do you always win the fight?

A:

Are you actually afraid of spiders (or other creepy-crawlies)? I remember an episode of MythBusters where you seemed more than a little nervous to be surrounded by them :)


Q:

Greetings from Down Under Sir,

Have you had any strange / freaky experiences you can talk about in any searches or your time in the field?

Thankyou in advance.

A:

Haven't lost yet.

COME AT ME FIRE.


Q:

Yes. And NEVER tell a television producer what ACTUALLY scares you.

A:

One night two people woke up on a desert field exercise screaming from nightmares at the same time, on opposite sides of camp. Freaked everyone out.


Q:

I’m currently 27 years old and an EMT for about half a year. I’ve been told by 2 different fire captains that I need to apply as a firefighter and I will get hired. My problem is I’m afraid of my work history. I’ve worked at some awful private practices and have maybe 1 good reference from 5 different awful jobs, but I’ve never been fired.

Also, I have had roommates who were heavily into drugs and alcohol. I don’t do drugs or drink, but I’ve always had to live in low places to save money. I’m afraid that will also make me look bad.

Will this affect my chances of getting hired? I’m getting worried about my life and where it’s going, considering I’m almost 30 and EMT’s get paid minimum wage here. I am finally able to go to college, so I’m also working on getting my associates in hopes that it will further my chances.

I’d really just appreciate any advice I could get. The fear I have for applying is frustrating me. I’m just afraid of getting rejected due to a bad background check on previous work history or living spaces and then having that follow me everywhere.

A:

Do you build robot friends?


Q:

Growing up in Idaho I used to take flint and steel with me everywhere in the backcountry. It worked well for most situations outside of when it was wet and I didn't have anything dry on me... but best of all the thing seemed to last forever.

What's your preferred/recommended fire starting tool/method?

A:

Your new employer cannot discriminate you for living in a bad area.

If a fire captain says apply, then apply. You have nothing to lose, and the only one standing in your way is yourself.

If you get rejected on the basis of bad work history, then just give it a few years to show you have a good track record as an EMT, then apply again.

Good luck!


Q:

Yes, I'm working on a personal BB-8 and R2-D2 right now.

A:

There's plenty of great ways to start a camp fire, but for emergencies I only recommend:

UCO Stormproof matches combined with either esbit/fast fire/or webber fuel cubes.


Q:

I'm a firefighter/paramedic in Virginia as well, so I appreciate your public service, man.

My question is do you guys wear your radios in your riding pockets on the front of your jackets, or do you put them on a strap and wear them underneath your turnout coat? Or another way entirely

A:

What build did you make that legitimately terrified you?


Q:

Quite an impressive biography. How can you make a simple fire with stuff you find in the woods ? I know its difficult but what would be the best way?

A:

We hold them in our hands, unless we're going in BA, in which case there's a holder on the waist of the set.

Keep up the good work! Are you trained up to paramedic level? So do you do everything a paramedic can do, such as applying medication, IV, etc.

They're thinking of bringing that role over here.


Q:

The big nitrogen cannon that flipped over a car for one of the james bond episodes. I designed and built it, but I had to crawl underneath to arm it. Nitrogen gas sits at about 3000 psi and has huge energy potential.

A:

Thanks! Bow and drill friction fire method. That's really the only viable way that's useful anywhere. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb-OZvbjE9S/?taken-by=survival_expert


Q:

considering many fire injuries come from smoke inhalation, is there a rule of thumb where to know when to get away? say in case of small fire?

A:

Hey Grant! A pleasure to be able to chat with you today!

As we all know, Adam has a small warehouse in the San Francisco Mission District an undisclosed location near the south of France that he has loaded with shop equipment, tools, and other treasures of jobs and movies past.

My question to you then is, do you have any such space that you do hobbies, tinkering, and/or robotics in? I can't recall having seen one that you have posted (but it's entirely possible that I'm one of today's lucky 10,000 and I would love to be proven wrong!). I'm sure more than a few of us would like a photo/video tour!

As a side question, do you have any advice for makerspaces that are on a bit of a tighter budget (I ask as a member of a 501(c)3 makerspace in Denver with a lower member count)?

And finally, what is the one tool or piece of equipment that you think every single shop should have?

Cheers, and thanks for reading!


Q:

Can you please tell me a funny story of something that happened to you? Would love to see everyone's reaction here. :-)

A:

PleasurePit is correct - If I ever go into an area with dense airborne pollutants, I will be wearing a BA set which supplies me with fresh air.

I will always monitor my gauge reading, and get out when the low warning whistle (time of whistle) sounds.


Q:

I have my own shop. My tools include multiple 3D printers (Ultimaker and Zortrax), a laser cutter, a Tormach CNC machine, birdgeport mill, industrial lathe, and welding equipment. I put together the shop after leaving MB because I always wanted a place where I could make things. In fact, the mill is the same mill I used on MB. They let me buy it after we shut down M7.

A:

I took the US Marine Corps lead survival instructor, and a Master Sergeant on a 3 day 40 mile backcountry hike, with no food or water and almost no gear (a knife/bottle/piece of string/filter, that's it- not even a med kit). The hike was mostly above 7000' and up to 10,000 at time. I was showing them how I do my expeditions after the 10 day course I taught at their base, as they wanted to learn more. Day 2 we cooked soap roots I harvested for breakfast. I under cooked them. I also ate the center. They felt a little queezy for a few minutes, but I puked bad, real bad, for about 5 hours off and on. I refused to end it or quit. I was so embarrassed. It happened at 9000'+. Step step puke step, step step puke step. Cleared up just fine though. In the end they were almost more impressed. Type 3 fun.


Q:

Is the scene cold for me to comment? Just a few quick questions, sir. Why do you show up with 6 pieces of equipment and block the entire road for a fender bender?

Also, do you bring a favorite pillow from home everyday? Or just keep one with you at the fire house?

Finally, do you guys have an Xbox or a PlayStation?

Sincerely, A Cop (seriously, we love you guys)

A:

Favorite car that you dealt with while filming Mythbusters?


Q:

Most people would just wanna puke after reading this. I, however, cracked up because I saw that's what you wanted people to think. I find that humorous.

A:

The scene's blazing. I'll answer all questions.

We block the road to make the scene safe for personnel to work int and around it - at road traffic collisions, the majority of accidents and deaths to personnel are done after the incident has been resolved, due to oncoming vehicle. Also, we only bring what equipment we need - the hydraulic cutting gear weighs around 40 kilos each.

We're out nearly every night shift - busy station.

Neither - SM won't allow it.

I thought so. :)


Q:

That Chysler Imperial (Black Beauty) from Green Hornet. It was a shame we had to destroy it. I still feel bad about that.

A:

there was A LOT of pride on the line lol


Q:

I passed my firefighter exam about a month ago and have no experience yet, do you have any advice for people like me?

A:

What was it like on the last day of Star Trek Continues? and Favorite Star Trek phaser prop


Q:

I'm guessing this was at MCMWTC Bridgeport, CA. I was stationed there for a few years, and it was a phenomenal place to do survival training at.

Edit: After reading your bio, if this is Sniper Saunders, whats up dude. I was at MLC at the same time, you were there.

A:

Do you mean you passed the entire application process? Congrats!

I recommend becoming a volunteer first aider to train up your medical response skills.

Aside from that, relax. You'll learn in time.


Q:

Very emotinal. THe whole week, actually, because as each cast member would do their final scene, it would be announced and the whole cast and crew would applaud.

A:

Ha sick, he does teach here. I'll pass it on.


Q:

What do you think about that guy that cemented his head in a microwave, and needed emergency help from firefighters? Could that have gone from embarrassingly funny, to possibly fatal? Have you been called to a situation like that? How would you react if you were?

A:

Can you weld?


Q:

Have you ever worked with the USAF’s SERE? If you have, what is your impression with their overall skill?

A:

I'd think he was a bit of a prat. And he was a bit of prat.

Not fatal, but I might have been rougher taking it off than I needed to be. A house could have been on fire while I was dealing with him, after all.


Q:

Yes, though I do not have certification. And I really need to practice my TIG welding more.

A:

That's the only one I haven't yet. I have worked with 2 or 3 of their EOD teams though, which are outstanding.


Q:

Have you ever almost died while fighting a fire? Also, is there any situation in a burning house where you’re like “fuck that! It’s not worth dying over. I’m out of here.”

A:

Have you ever thought of doing a building camp to teach kids (or kids of all ages :-)? My 8 and 12 year old daughters would love to go to something like that!


Q:

What would be in your terms, the easiest region/area to survive in? I live in eastern ky, spent many nights camping and many days hunting. I would assume a region such as mine would be very productive for survival. Abundance of easily made shelters with rock out cropping, caves, dense forests, and plenty of food sources with a relatively mild climate.

Also the hardest?

A:

Life threatening - a fire erupted in the basement of a house. Crews were sent down to firefight, and I was part of the team sent to the first floor (two floors above the fire) to search and rescue. There were 2 people missing. On my way into the 4th compartment, I really felt the heat. Now, my kit is designed to keep heat out (something up to the temperature of 600degrees Celsius), so if k was feeling it, it was hot. Really hot. I had a really bad feeling about the environment (I obviously couldn't see anything cos of the smoke). I told my team leader that we should get out, citing that I wasn't feeling good (I was fit, but something was just really off). Just as we left the compartment, the ground shook and we heard a huuuge crack.

The fire had eaten through the internals of the walls, up beneath the first floor. The ground shaking and cracking was the fire having eaten through the wooden floor. After the incident was over, I was told that right where we were standing was where the huge hole was.


Q:

Kari Tory and I briefly considered some kind of Myhtbusters summer camp where you could get the MB experience. In addition to the obvious liability problems, there were licensing concerns, etc. So it was a fun idea but ultimately not feasible.

A:

Really if California was in the original shape we found it in, like say Alaska, it would be easiest. A Mediterranean climate that also has extensive aquifers filled by nearby mountains, with plenty of coast to fish and game to hunt is awesome. Really any place remote and wild is good. It still has life. Hardest... I'll say anywhere arctic.


Q:

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to become a firefighter?

A:

Hi Grant! I just wanted to say thank you for chatting with me at that short film premiere party in the same building as your workshop. I was the scientist turned actress and it was wonderful how friendly and open you were to showing me your workshop and discussing the whole acting/science dichotomy we both shared. It was such a pleasant surprise because I grew up watching Mythbusters and Battlebots. Thank you for always being such a positive influence in the industry as well as being a wonderful, down to earth person!

To elaborate on that, do you ever feel like one industry ever overshadows the other in your life, or have you figured out a way to balance both your engineering/science side with your actor/entertainer side?


Q:

What is the worst situation you have been stuck in where your survival skills saved the day?

A:
  • Learn what it takes to become a fire fighter (check the PQAs).
  • Become a volunteer first aider.
  • Visit your local fire station.
  • Get fit.

Feel free to ask more questions! :)


Q:

Hey Kara! Was it the western one? That was fun.

Fortunately, my Imagineering gig allows me to take time off to do TV projects, so it's still a nice balance. I've been actively keeping the skills sharp since Mythbusters by building my own projects (like BB-8).

A:

Gosh I can't really say I was stuck but this hurt really bad: https://www.mensfitness.com/life/outdoor/miles-to-nowhere-hiking-death-valley


Q:

Currently sat in a retained station. Is the snow causing you much logistic trouble?

A:

If you had to pick a favorite between Adam or Jamie, which one would it be and why? (In terms of working with AND personality)


Q:

Oh wow. I've never been to death valley and even lived in California for about a year... I always wanted to go on a brutal march there.

A:

Not much. Road traffic accidents might be on for tonight... drive carefully.


Q:

That's a tough one. I have so many common interests with both. As a movie prop geek, I definitely share a lot with Adam. He's also active in many of the geekerati (is that word?) circles that I hang in. Working with Adam is sometimes challenging because he is very fast, but it also means he's like a tornado whipping through the shop leaving a trail of devastation LOL

Jamie and I share a keen fascination with mechanics and we could talk for hours. (In fact, insider info: Jamie has a few code words that will trigger him into deep discussion. Magnets, for one LOL) Working with Jamie is very quiet and methodical. When alone, Jamie often plays music in his shop. Sometimes classical, sometimes whatever is on the radio.

So, sorry. Can't choose just one.

A:

Train and acclimate first. It can easily kill in the time of year I went. https://www.mmamania.com/2008/09/08/evan-tanner-dies-in-the-desert-seriously


Q:

Whats the oddest music genre or song you'd recommend?

A:

Honestly, Death Valley is a must see


Q:

Too Many Zoos

A:

Agreed, it is beautiful. Darwin Falls runs year long and fresh celery and watercress grows along the banks. Most people don't know there's a beautiful oasis there.


Q:

Is Jamie really as grumpy as TV makes him out to be?

A:

As a structural FF, what drove you to the insanity it takes to be a smoke jumper?


Q:

He's not grumpy when he's not on camera (usually) LOL

A:

Ha thanks. Helitack Rappeller actually, I slid down a rope. Grew up in abject poverty. For me it was just such an honor to have that title, to be able to make such a difference, and I've been into extreme physical challenges since I saw Jack La Lane on tv when I was 12. The opportunity presented itself, so I lept on it.


Q:

Do you own any Bitcoins or crypto-currencies?

A:

Hello, thanks a lot for doing this! I've always loved to go on long hikes and do outdoor activities, but never really looked into learning any sort of survival skills. Living in the UK, do you know if there are any courses that are similar to what you have to offer? I am sceptical of the few that I have found and not sure if they will actually teach anything that can be applied in real life scenarios or they are just there to make money.


Q:

No, I had a friend many years ago who was trying to make a career mining. The technology leapt too fast and he couldn't get it going. They are super volatile currencies, which makes me a little wary.

A:

I would recommend ray mears. I think his schoo is called Woodlore. He is a legend. Thanks for participating!


Q:

Is anyone else allowed to use the calculator with your name on it?

A:

I've heared that they are not comparable, but noone could explain why exactly, so can you explain why swiss army knives and leathermans are so different, while both are considered multitools?


Q:

Yes, absolutely. My name is on it so that it finds its way back to me.

A:

Leatherman implies pliers while swiss knives don't. Usually multi-tool is reserved for models with pliers.


Q:

What programing languages do you know to code in?

A:

Which celebrities have you trained? Been on television? Written any Survival Books? Ima big fan of Baer Grills and Less Stroud. Do you agree or disagree with their skills/training?


Q:

My first language was Applesoft BASIC. So I'm good with most forms of BASIC. In college I studied PASCAL and FORTRAN (but not C, to my undying shame). Finally picked up C and Arduino variations recently.

A:

Rob Riggle, Stephanie Beatriz, Mike Rowe, and The Golden God off the top of my head. I love Bear and he's very talented- but his stuff is all staged with a lot of help with outside experts. Les isn't too bad but I don't know about his bigfoot stuff lol. I've been on tv a lot, CNN with Mike Rowe's old show Somebody's Gotta Do It, CBS News, ABC News, KTLA, a bunch of news stuff mostly. A lot of publications as well, and some YouTube stuff like with the Try Guys. Book coming early 2018, DVD on wild plants available on Amazon "Off The Land"


Q:

Let's go back to 1999. Which did you like more: the Playstation or the Nintendo 64? What was your favorite game?

A:

By Golden God, do you mean Dennis Reynolds? Or...


Q:

Playstation. Resident evil 2 FTW. Played in the dark with all drapes closed.

A:

You know exactly who I mean. Is this not reddit?


Q:

Hi Grant, how you answer this question will determine your status on reddit.

Toilet paper: over or under?

A:

Oh shit! How was it?

Are you his source for the dangers (implications) of sea travel?


Q:

Over, obviously.

A:

Hardcore dude. Highly motivated and intelligent. Very skilled. Insists on personal success. Great conversation.

No sorry lol!


Q:

What is the best route to start a career in search and rescue? I'm currently a pre nursing student and would love to get into that field as well. Thanks for sharing!

A:

Most SAR teams are volunteer and through your local sheriff's departments. You simply attend meetings and fill out the ap. It's tons of great free training and rewarding. Also, join NASAR (National Assoc for Search & Rescue). Something similar that would be paid though is a flight nurse.