actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

ScienceI am Neuroscientist Bechara Saab, I left my research lab to study the effects of mindfulness meditation. Ask me anything about neuroscience, mindfulness, academia, start-ups and skiing!

Jan 25th 2018 by beshsaab • 45 Questions • 25 Points

Why am I doing this today? So you’ll listen to this new podcast called Edge of Fame with /u/washingtonpost. The first episode follows me to The Tonight Show, a gig and an important time I was shaving.

You can find the episode here via Apple iTunes or on Stitcher here.

Oh. And there are other episodes of Edge of Fame coming up with David Letterman, Ava DuVernay and Weird Al. We’ll get started at noon ET, 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

Proof and here too

EDIT: I'm all done for today. Thanks to Gene of u/washingtonpost for setting this up. Listen to my podcast episode above and thanks for the questions!

EDIT 2: Edit: Also a thanks to the folks at the new reddit/WBUR podcast /u/Endless_Thread, who helped get the word out about this AMA today!"

Q:

When is the app heading to androids Google store?

A:

Can you name some organizations that condemn your work? Why?


Q:

Are you happy? Looking back would you do anything different?

A:

Do you celebrate Canadian or American Thanksgiving?


Q:

You can already download Wildflowers Mindfulness and Am from Google Play. Wildflowers Mindfulness is a full-English experience with all the content packed into a single app. Am is available in multiple languages (so far English and Mandarin) and is completely free until the next upgrade that will come with some major revisions to both UX and UI. To find any Mobio Interactive product, you can search for "Mobio Interactive" on Google Play. Enjoy and let me know about your experience!

A:

Iran and China block us. I suppose that rises to condemnation.


Q:

I am definitely happy. I know it sounds contrived or easy, but I wouldnt change a thing

A:

haha Canadians have a tendency to steal American holidays and make them before the American holidays. It's very a very cunning form of fest that only Canadians can pull off.


Q:

Your thoughts on MCBT and anxiety disorders? Where do you see the future of mindfulness psychotherapies in 5 years?

A:

Would it be possible to publicly share a hypothetical response to a secret government warrant? Like a made-up user with made-up searches and show us exactly what would be handed over to the government? I remember Open Whisper Systems did that for a Signal user and it was really cool to see.


Q:

If Wes Anderson sends you another script, would you say yes?

A:

Which comedian makes you laugh the most?


Q:

MBCT and MBSR offer a lot of potential benefit to people with both anxiety and mood disorders. In most trials complete to date, MBCT and MBSR have been found to be as effective as pharmaceuticals, but they don't tend to come with the same risk and range of side-effects. Mindfulness does change your brain however, and if not practiced properly could lead to undesired effects, such as loosing drive or unusual cravings.

If you don't have time, money or the option for live mindfulness training courses, there is definitely a chance to benefit from an app that you can use on your mobile phone. Of course I recommend Mobio Interactive's apps, because they have demonstrated through random controlled trials to specifically reduce anxiety and boost stress-resilience.

In addition, Mobio Interactive's app try to enforce the notion that mindfulness is a power - a choice. Mindfulness is not about never judging. It is about being able to reserve judgement at will so that you can react to anxiety and adversary in a positive way.

In five years, I predict mindfulness psychotherapies will be predominately delivered through mobile devices - not just because this is more cost-effective and more convenient for the user - but also because a well-designed mindfulness app can remotely and objectively quantify how each mindfulness session affects you. This makes a true personalisation of the experience possible, by re-enforcing practices that work best for you. This is the exact aim of Mobio Interactive's mindfulness app. We want to give the world programs that work in random controlled trials as well as the real world, and do so better than any other program bar none.

A:

We really have nothing to hand over to the government since, unlike say messaging or email, we don't need to collect or share any personal information at all. That's one great thing about web search, that all searches can be independent and so you don't need to save anything about the person searching after the search.


Q:

Im no fool in patrick stewart voice

A:

Of all time, Richard Pryor. At this moment, Brian Regan.


Q:

How do you feel towards mindfulness and treating mental illness? Especially personality disorders, more specifically cluster B's.

A:

How do you guys make money? I did a quick scan of the web site and only saw donations mentioned. I love your product and it is the default search for all my browsers.


Q:

The hotel that you stayed at in home alone 2 does not actually have a pool. What do you have to say for yourself?

A:

All your fans love your podcast. David Letterman, your hero, loves your podcast. Everyone seems to love your podcast. Why do you seem so embarrassed by it, or like you hate doing it?


Q:

One core benefit of training in mindfulness is heightened emotional regulation. A number of studies have shown benefit from mindfulness in personality disorders that centre around emotional regulation. The hard part is knowing when you're doing mindfulness correctly. Having a program that measures the experience and provides feedback is important, but tough to do. How can we measure mindfulness? One trick that we use at Mobio Interactive is to leverage the mobile device camera so that we can extract heart rate from the user's face. This lets us examine heart rate variability, and since heart rate variability is inversely correlated to stress, we can assess how much each mindfulness session affects the stress of the user (in an anonymous way obviously). I personally feel mindfulness is an excellent choice of therapy to treat mental illness, provided the effectiveness can be measured and monitored. For severe mental illness of course, physicians should always become involved, and they may recommend mindfulness as a treatment option.

A:

It’s a myth you need to track people in web search to make money. We primarily make money by serving ads just based on the keyword you type in, and not any personal information or search history, which we don’t have per our privacy policy.

For example, if you type in ‘car’ you will get a car ad. It’s that simple. For more details see our help page on the subject.


Q:

A pool is wherever you want it to be

A:

I did my podcast in order to see if I could host a talk show. And I think I succeeded and have now been offered a talk show by Netflix. All the podcasts were rehearsals.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm only in negotiations. There's no show yet.


Q:

Hi there, I'm currently considering a bachelor's program in neuroscience.

Is there anything that you looked back on in terms of majoring in neuroscience that you regretted or wished you could change? What path did you take to become a neuroscientist, and was it worth it in the end?

A:

How else do you make your money since you said "primarily"?


Q:

I had a huge crush on you when I was 10. Did you also have a crush on me too?

A:

Norm to what (if any) extent do you portray a persona whether that be on stage or in various interviews?

I've often seen interviews where the hosts seem shocked at some of your answers such as saying you don't participate in sex because you find it boring or your love for Russian literature etc.

I tend to take it at face value because you seem sincere when talking about these things - so, am I the idiot for believing you or are others the idiots for not?


Q:

Hello future neuroscientist!

My path was a funnel. I started with a combined honours biology and chemistry degree at UBC so that I had a strong base in the relevant sciences. I then did my phd in molecular genetics. All my formal training was in basic science. But phd thesis focused on the roll of a protein called neuronal calcium sensor 1 in the hippocampus. This work led me to unravel new insights about the mechanisms underlying curiosity. My post-doc and research lab largely build upon this work. It was therefore directly in the lab that I acquired the vast majority of my expertise in neuroscience.

My advice for you is to to well at whatever you do. Find something at the intersection of what you love and what you naturally do best. For example, I love biology but am naturally good at math, so I mostly enrolled in chemistry classes because this pulled from both and I was able to do well without having to study 100% of the time. The vast majority of the details you will learn in classes will be forgotten. What you want to hang onto is the many methods used by scientists, and all great thinkers, to solve problems. I vividly remember how floored I was to see physicists breaking down changes in gas pressure and volume into two parts so that the results could be solved with very simple formulas. This simple technique can be applied to a variety of scientific (and non-scientific) problems.

The many years I spent in university classes and countless hours in the lab have all been 100% worth it. Moreover, I rarely saw them as a grind. I took classes that truly interested me. I didn't concern myself with grades so much as I concerned myself with learning (unfortunately grades don't correlate perfectly with learning), and this made university fun. Similarly, in the lab, I focused on scientific problems that truly engaged me (but boy was it a lot of work!).

I should mention that there is nothing in the universe quite like the feeling of discovery. When you complete a set of experiments and reveal some fact about nature that has never before been known, even if it's just a tiny new drop in a vast sea of knowledge, you feel incredible. And until you tell the world, you might be the only person to know that one little something about the universe. And after you tell the world, that knowledge could snowball into untold advancements.

Final advice: If your heart is in neuroscience, then do it. And remember to focus on learning different ways of thinking. You'll probably have to memorise all kinds of details, and that's good training for your brain, but focus on how scientists think and think up new ways to think yourself.

Neuroscience is amazing, and we need all the bright minds we can get!

A:

We make a small amount from affiliates, also anonymously -- see our help page for details.


Q:

Is your name Kelly Kapowski?

A:

No I'm absolutely sincere.


Q:

What are your favorite ways to help non-security-aware people that this is a thing they need to not only think about, but implement?

A:

What's your favorite Christmas movie?


Q:

What’s your favorite line to say in Mike Tyson’s Mysteries?

A:

Just today I did a short video address for Data Privacy Day on this issue. The two issues I highlight that I think resonate (as they should) are:

  • Google is now tracking you on 76% of websites, with Facebook lurking on about a quarter. The data they collect as you browse the web, combined with your search history, likes, and other information, leads to huge personal profiles that are used to target invasive ads at you across the Internet.
  • They also are used with sophisticated AI algorithms to put you in the Google and Facebook Filter Bubble, in which both companies show you biased results based on what they think you want to see, filtering out things like opposing viewpoints.

In terms of help we suggest:

  • Get the DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app that blocks Google and Facebook trackers across the Internet along with other privacy essentials.

  • Switch away from Google to private alternatives.

  • While Facebook is harder to leave, it's worth trying to live without Facebook, freeing yourself from their invasive ads and the Facebook Filter Bubble.

  • Secure your devices.


A:

I like the cursing that makes no sense and interjects itself, like "cock motherfucking son of a cunt bitch."


Q:

As someone that only recently began using more secure internet practices is there anything that I can do about the profile that Google etc have already build on me?

A:

Assuming you are home alone right now doing this AMA..?


Q:

What are your favorite fruits and vegetables?

A:

Yes, we have an article about deleting your Google history.


Q:

You wish

A:

I guess Richard Simmons and Terri Schiavo, I'm now using Bob Hope's old writers.


Q:

Do you use the verb "Google" in conversation?

A:

How did it feel to be referenced in Summer Girls by LFO?


Q:

Norm, what is your opinion of Gene who works at The Washington Post?

A:

I personally don't, though I don't get offended when people do. It has become a generic term like Kleenex at this point.


Q:

Both flattered and conflicted

A:

He's the greatest.


Q:

What made you relate privacy with ducks?

A:

What made you decide to do an AMA? Also- Helloooo from northern Vermont!


Q:

How close were you to becoming a late night show host?

A:

As you might have guessed, they are not related at all :).

I actually came up with the name DuckDuckGo before envisioning a search engine. It popped into my head one day on a walk with my wife, and I liked the name so much that I decided to use it for whatever I worked on next, which ended up being a search engine.


Q:

So you will check out my podcast and my website.

Please.

Im no fool

A:

Razor thin close.


Q:

Would you ever cooperate with government bodies to create a backdoor to any of your programs?

A:

What's your favorite memory of Michael Jackson?


Q:

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career?

A:

No.


Q:

When I almost crashed my golfcart into his and he called me "Applehead"

A:

Due to multiple herniated discs, my pain level on a normal day is through the roof.


Q:

so does DDG have a Government Privacy or other Warrant Canary?

A:

playing any video games right now?


Q:

What are you reading right now? Do you have any thoughts on Thomas Pynchon?

A:

Warrant canaries are problematic for a number of reasons, but in our case it is irrelevant because we do not store any data so there is nothing to hand over. Case in point, for the ten years we've been around, we haven't received any warrants.


Q:

Starfox64

A:

I'm reading "Search for Lost Time" by Marcel Proust.

I find Pynchon to be the most knowing writer of our time.


Q:

thanks for the explanation and the direct refutation of any government attempting to access your service through legal or non-legal means, its good to get a clear answer.

what is it about Canaries that makes them "problematic"?

A:

What is the most important thing in your life currently?


Q:

Which four comedians would be on your "Mount Rushmore" of stand up comedy?

A:

Here's a couple articles on the subject.


Q:

to destroy my enemies, seen them driven before me and to hear the lamentations of their women

A:

Richard Pryor, me, Steve Martin, Brian Regan.


Q:

How can a general young US citizen keep privacy today without being called into suspicion by means of "If you have nothing to hide then why not show what's inside?"

I've tried to understand a way to verbalize why that argument is a bad idea, however, I just don't have the words.

Also, any recommendations for a less "I'm watching you" PRISM/Echelon type experience? I know it's hard today but if there is a way to keep things like UI but allow for privacy, that would be great : )

A:

How's life man?


Q:

What is the most profound piece of life advice has a random stranger ever given you?

A:

Hi! Yes, the good news is that privacy is now mainstream and you needn't feel ostracized for wanting to reasonably protect your privacy. People recognize it is a fundamental right and you don't need to prove the necessity of fundamental rights to anyone. Also, it's a simple answer to say to people everyone wants to keep certain things private, and you can easily illustrate that by asking people to let you make all their email, texts, searches, financial information, medial information, etc. public. No one wants that.

In terms of having a more seamless private experience, that's exactly why we launched our new app and extension - check it out as it seems that is what you're looking for.


Q:

Pretty great. Im here, arent I?

A:

A person once said to me that the homeless never get touched and that without human touch, the mind veers toward madness. So the homeless people I approach, I always give my money to, whatever it is I have, and I always hug them or touch them.


Q:

I've been using DDG for a long time, but Google's search results are often still better. No dead links and search results based on my context (e.g. software development) - how will Search quality be improved in the future?

A:

What book inspires you in your life?


Q:

Norm, I love your book and loved the audiobook version the most. Is there any chance of the TV or movie adaptation happening?

Also, how's a fella go about getting you to sign his copy of your book at one of your shows?

(please come back to Jersey or Philly soon)

A:

Thank you for being a long-term user! We really appreciate it. We've been working hard on making our results better, and really think they have massively improved over the past years to the extent where they are on par for most users. Of course, there are always areas where we can improve, and really look at and welcome all feedback. There is a feedback box on the search results page that is the best way to communicate with the team.

Be rest assured, however, that we are constantly looking to improve search quality.


Q:

When I was younger I used to get "The Little Prince" in the mail all the time.

When I was in my teens, fans sent me Catcher in the Rye.

In my 20s, It was Alan Moores Watchmen.

Now its just letters from Prison

A:

Yes, a movie adaptation is worked on as we speak. You could send the book to Mark Gurvitz at Brillstein Grey and I'll sign it for you.


Q:

Do you struggle with context-based results because no data is stored?

A:

With all of the speculation about drug abuse, how bad did it actually get? What were your drugs of choice?

Do you still use any drugs? Drink?


Q:

Hello Norm,

Did you do your amazing Burt Reynolds impression before SNL? Also do you have any stories from celebrity jeopardy that we might not know about?

A:

Not generally since most of the time intent is pretty clear from the search terms. In cases of ambiguity it is best to add another search term, and that usually clears it up.


Q:

Yes, I consumed and imbibed in drugs in my life. Never as bad as people said. Its not really a thing in my life right now. Im an adult.

I like to drink.

A:

I did do Burt Reynolds and that's why I created celebrity Jeopardy so I could do my Burt Reynolds. No one ever mentioned that I played Burt Reynolds as a 35 year old.


Q:

I just wanted to say thanks. I just checked and I bookmarked DDG on April 3, 2009, so I've been using it at least since then.

Also, sometimes I will link to a DDG search result here on reddit (for example, I love /r/whatisthisthing) and sometimes I get a comment like "Oh, DuckDuckGo? You're one of those types huh? How's that tinfoil hat fit you?"

Does it bother you as much as it bothers me that some people think taking reasonable steps to protect your privacy automatically makes you some kind of whack-job, terrorist, pedophile, or worse? Because it bothers me a lot.

I use that Snowden quote sometimes, "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." It doesn't seem to help much against people who are determined to believe otherwise.

A:

Could you have played Wallace in Scott Pilgrim vs the world better than Kieran?


Q:

at what point in your life/career did you realize you were not everyday person level funny, but comedian level funny?

A:

Yes, that does bother me though thankfully this view is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We've been doing research and have found privacy has really become a mainstream concern and growing fast. This past year has really pushed it over the edge with nearly daily headlines of data breaches, reports of invasive ad targeting, election meddling, etc.


Q:

Absolutely not. He totally killed it

A:

I thought I was comedian level funny during my first year of comedy. Five years I realized I wasn't actually that level of funny. But five years after that I realized I was comedian level funny. So 10 years into my standup.


Q:

What thing on the web is something everyone considers “Safe” but is not actually safe?

A:

What's your biggest regret?


Q:

What's your favorite Phil Hartman memory?

A:

Oh man, these are large pet peeves of mine :)

I'll give you two:

  • So-called incognito mode doesn't do what most people think in that “Incognito” mode doesn't really make you incognito! It’s an extremely misleading name and in my opinion should be changed. All it does is delete your local browsing history after your session on your device, but does nothing from stopping any website you visit from tracking you via your IP address and other tracking mechanisms like browser fingerprinting. We did a study showing how much people misunderstand private browsing modes.

  • Browser "do not track" settings. You'd think if you turned on do not track, you might not be tracked? Not so. It is a voluntary standard and hardly any site does anything to adhere to it, including pretty much all of Big Tech. In my opinion it should be completely removed from browsers until it has mandatory compliance with regulatory teeth behind it.


Q:

I dont have a biggest regret but most of my regrets involve women

A:

He returned to host the show when I was a cast member. And I did a character that pinched girls's asses, and said "YOU LOVE IT." And he's a great fan of it and thought it was going to be a huge character. And then it didn't get past dress rehearsal. And he said, "That's showbiz."


Q:

How do we know that you're not a secret Google project that reports everything to Google?

A:

how on earth did you get the bunnyears.com domain in 2018?


Q:

Norm, I love you. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

A:

If we're a secret Google project, no one's told me about it :).

Also, I would hope it would be easier to get duck.com not to point at Google search and confuse people, easier to get us as a default search option into Chrome (like we are for Safari and Firefox), and easier to change the default search engine on the Android search widget, which remains impossible.


Q:

Practice

A:

Immortality.


Q:

What's the story with duck.com?

Any short aliases to get to duckduckgo.com?

A:

What was your favorite memory playing WoW?


Q:

White or whole wheat bread?

A:

ddg.gg goes to duckduckgo.com. duck.com was inherited by Google in an old acquisition (of On2), predating us, but it used to point to a history page about the old company. Only when I inquired about it did it mysteriously start pointing to Google search.


Q:

When I was maxed out I could run Scarlet Monastery in two pulls

A:

In this day of political correctness, I suppose I should say nine grain.

But I won't. It's white bread.


Q:

If I were to search for "isis bomb making videos" from my home IP with no VPN using duckduckgo, should I still expect a knock on the door? This is hypothetical, but I'm serious about the question.

A:

You seem like a pretty chill dude. Can we hang sometime?


Q:

Norm, have you ever listened to your farts, I mean really listened to them, to see if you can hear words within them that could serve as a warning of something horrific to come?

A:

No, you should not expect a knock at the door. We've been around for about 10 years and have heard about no such knocks.

The connection between you and us is encrypted, so no one in between you and us can see your search terms. Then, we don't store your IP at all, so there will be no record of it after your search.

Note, though, a lot of sites off the search engine could be monitored, and if you want to browse completely anonymously, Tor is a good idea.


Q:

Im busy that day.

Also what are your feelings on the word Literally.

A:

I'm speechless.


Q:

Thanks for the response!

As a follow-up, what would you say if someone were to challenge you on the ethics of not policing or flagging searches and potentially allowing a user to use your site for ends that could endanger the public at large?

A:

What's next for you?


Q:

Did you ever carry around a tape recorder to take your 'notes to self' in real life?

A:

Real, sophisticated bad guys can easily make their online activity anonymous. These technologies are readily available across the world and can be used with or without DuckDuckGo. We allow everyday people to keep their sensitive information private, out of the hands of advertisers and Big Tech.


Q:

Lunch probably

A:

Yes I do. I'm constantly talking to my phone. Whenever an idea occurs. Sometimes I don't say enough. I'll dictate "large coffee cup" and have no idea of what I thought was funny about that subject.


Q:

What is your goal for this year? What is DuckDuckGo's endgame?

A:

Hey man, just wanted to say you were great in Party Monster.

What's the craziest NYC club/party you've been to?


Q:

How do you build the perfect taco?

A:

Our goal this year was kicked off last week and is to help people more easily protect their privacy as they search and browse the web, no matter where they go on the Internet. In particular, we've made a new app and extension with all the privacy essentials in one seamless package: tracker blocking, upgraded encryption, private search, and more. It's available on all major platforms and the idea is on any device you should be able to look up DuckDuckGo and be easily protected with one download.


Q:

My bathroom gets pretty wild in the early am

A:

You start with a Mexican guy and you pay him a $1.35.


Q:

Any plans for additional duck duck go services such as email?

A:

I know you directed an incredibly deep-pan short film about your adventures with a slice of pizza but have you ever thought about working on a full feature film as a director?


Q:

Do you have more fun performing stand-up or hosting your talk show?

A:

Just last week we launched our first new product that extends our privacy protection beyond the search box while browsing, available for all major platforms. With that, we're going to have our hands full for a while.

However, we do have a list on our blog of Google alternatives for email and other services.


Q:

Yeah, sure; haven't we all? Nothing to report at this moment, though

A:

I have more fun hosting my talk show because I've already perfected standup.


Q:

on the DDG Answers API page there's a line

For the same reason, we cannot allow framing our results without our branding.

What does "framing" mean here? (i.e., what sort of things are not allowed?)

Also is there any hope that we might have a full search API in the future?

Thank you for providing such an excellent service.

A:

What was your experience like working on The Pagemaster? Did you have any involvement with the animation, or did you film your scenes long before the drawing began?


Q:

Will there be a Dirty Work 2?

A:

You're very welcome.

What that means is to make an iframe of duckduckgo.com and make it appear as if it is another search engine, i.e. white-label DuckDuckGo. Does that make sense?

A full search API is not on our roadmap right now.


Q:

Animated takes years to make; I pretty much just showed up in the studio, talked alot; and a couple years later it was done

WhoopieGoldberg
A:

There are people who want to make it but I've yet to make up my mind.


Q:

Have you always been a privacy advocate or events you can mention made you notice the importance of not letting your data public for anyone collect it?

A:

What's your favourite dinosaur?


Q:

Are you still playing poker? Any favorite games / locations?

A:

I've always been into personal freedom, and I believe having privacy is a fundamental constituent of being free. I came across the more nuanced issues with privacy and the Internet in grad school; I went to the Technology Policy Program at MIT.

With search privacy in particular, I hadn't considered the full implications until actually seeing search logs and seeing how truly private they are. People ask their search engine their most intimate questions, such as medical, financial, and political. Those should be private, and studies have shown that people actually curb their searches once they realize they aren't totally private on other search engines.


Q:

Brontosaurus but we know thats not real anymore. Like pluto. Or math.

A:

I play a high limit stud at Hollywood Park and in Vegas at the Aria.


Q:

Ever thought about hosting a free private email?

A:

How do you feel about Steve Buscemi?


Q:

What is the best and worst part of doing stand up comedy?

A:

DuckMail has crossed our minds :), though no immediate plans.


Q:

You mean, Uncle Buscems?

A:

The best part is standing on the stage with your comedy being able to turn a passive audience into an unruly mob. The worst part of standup comedy is the insane pressure on the spine and lower back from standing up for so many hundreds of hours.


Q:

Which Google Services do you still use?

A:

Do you have a favorite piece of memorabilia that you have saved from any of the projects you've worked on?


Q:

Do you have a favorite story of messing with a talk show host?

A:

None on a regular basis. Occasionally I have to go to YouTube when it is the only place a video resides.


Q:

I have my platform shoes from Party Monster; I regret not saving my wheelchair from saved

A:

I've never messed with a talk show host. I'm just trying to make my segment as spontaneous and interesting as I saw talk show guests be when I was a boy.


Q:

How do you see yourselves growing over the next few years?

A:

what is your all time favorite finishing move in wrestling ? <3


Q:

Where do you get your ideas from?

A:

Our vision is to raise the standard of trust online. That’s what we hope to do long-term, and we are always open to and thinking about ways to further execute on this vision.

Our current plans on doing so include:

  • Continuing to provide a solid private alternative to Google search. Google has more data on people than any big tech company by far, and search data is arguably the most personal, as people search for their most intimate financial, health, and personal problems.
  • We just expanded beyond our roots in search, with updated mobile apps and browser extensions that protect you beyond search, wherever you happen to go on the Internet. See our announcement for more details.
  • Last year we kicked off a major focus on general privacy education, on our blog, newsletter, and social media.
  • We continue to make substantial donations to like-minded organizations.
  • We plan to continue doing our own primary privacy research and advocacy where we see we can make a significant impact.

Q:

The small package

A:

Ideas exist outside of man. And drift into one's consciousness if one allows it. None of these ideas are mine, I only take them from the ether and put them back out in a more solid form.


Q:

Is there any plans on a website where new urls can be submitted to improve your search results? Like Google has.

A:

What has been the highlight of your 2018 so far?


Q:

Hey Mr. Norm, this mystery has been keeping me up for years now...

What is your favorite cereal?

A:

We generally pick up new URLs without submissions. However, if there are search results issues, the best way to report them is via the Feedback button on the results pages. They are all read and go to the right place in our systems.


Q:

Yellow and Pink

A:

Count Chocula. The least-respected, least-feared of all vampires.


Q:

Where can I learn more about online privacy?

A:

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you?


Q:

Do you still talk to Dennis Miller? I loved your appearances on his shows, and would love to see him appear on NML.

A:

This past year we launched a blog at spreadprivacy.com with great information. In particular I'd recommend signing up for our privacy tips newsletter which will send them to you on a good schedule. All the content is also online here.


Q:

My youthful wit and charm

A:

Yes I love Dennis Miller. Dennis gave me my first job for which I will be forever indebted. He's been kind to me since and I would love to have him on the podcast.


Q:

Hey u/yegg, did you know it was your CAKE DAY?

A:

Hey! Thanks for the AMA. What's your favourite city?


Q:

What's your elevator pitch for the story of humanity?

A:

I do now :).


Q:

I dont want to be "that" guy, but yes; Paris.

A:

Imagine a woman in a sports car, impossibly beautiful, speeding down a winding road and looking out her window at a man who is skiing down a mountaintop. And then the man comes to a stop, snow flies from his feet. The two lock eyes. And both know each will be the other's entire. And the car speeds off.


Q:

What is your preferred web browser for a windows machine?

A:

If you were offered a role in any comic book movie adaptation, what would you wanted it to be the most?


Q:

What will be your pseudonym for your novel?

A:

On Windows, Firefox, Brave, and Vivaldi are all good choices. I personally use macOS though.


Q:

Longshot, cause he's lucky

A:

haha you clearly don't understand the nature of pseudonyms but I will publicize the book under a thick disguise.


Q:

Preferred browser for macOS? What extensions do you use? :)

A:

Hey, you were a massive part of my childhood!!

Could you say hello to my wife, Toni?


Q:

In the podcast Geoff Edgers said you take a pill for anxiety, but didn't state what causes your anxiety. Was it wrong for him to mention that?

A:

I personally switch between those and Safari depending on the context -- and I use our new extension along with Lastpass and Pocket.


Q:

Hi Anthony!

And no. I cant.

A:

Oh no. I suffered from panic attacks. Panic attacks as opposed to anxiety attacks are a feeling of impending doom. When one strikes you, you're paralyzed. One struck me directly before I had to do Weekend Update, and I understood I needed help. My doctor prescribed klonopin and advised me to take half a pill before any performance.


Q:

In another comment from you guys I found this link: https://www.google.com/maps/timeline Any other links to 'instantly' spread awareness?

A:

How did you and Jim gaffigan get set up for working on his show?


Q:

Did you enjoy making Stephen Merchant so uncomfortable?


Q:

I have a friend who owns a comedy club; he reached out. I didnt answer his email till the last minute. We did one episode; I suggested that I come back as a background character sometimes. We ran with it. It was a lot of fun

A:

I was told later that Stephen was uncomfortable but I didn't mean to. The conversation just flowed to British children's entertainers being largely pedophiles and I don't know why Stephen Merchant was tiptoeing around it.


Q:

could you please make "exact phrase" with "-" mean ACTUAL EXACT PHRASE BETWEEN THE " "'s please? it would be nice also if the -exclude this word ACTUALLY EXCLUDED THE WORD AFTER - PLEASE.

A:

Any chance you would collaborate with Redlettermedia again?


Q:

Would you ever consider doing a sports show again? That show was awesome!

A:

Thank you for the feedback. Duly noted.


Q:

I havent been asked but Im a big fan of what they do

A:

I would consider commentating golf which I think I can do better than anyone except Jim Nantz


Q:

Google has become a verb to search for things. How could you make DuckDuckGo into a verb?

Started using your search engine a couple of months ago. I hated that Google would track my location in maps and suggest Home or Work without me telling it to store those addresses against my name.

Now that Ive turned off the setting to monitor places I often visit, whenever I go Home or to Work, it asks me if I want to turn the setting back on. Only those two places. Bastards.

A:

Hey Mr Culkin,

Are there any movies you passed on, or didn't get the chance to make for what ever reason, that you wished you would have taken?


Q:

What are you wearing?

Sorry, I meant wat r u waring?

A:

Hah, thanks for being a DuckDuckGo user! "Duck it," "DuckDuckGo it", "DDGd it" could be a thing :), but sadly I don't think we're going to get rid of Google as verb -- it's too ingrained at this point to the extent it is generic like Kleenex.


Q:

I was sent the script to Rushmore; I was still retired then.

That's a perfect movie

A:

I'm wearing sweatpants, and a T-shirt with beef stew spilled all over it. I had some beef stew for breakfast.


Q:

will ddg ever be able to filter by dates beyond 1 month? filter by past year would be great. while i'm at it....how about showing web page dates in search results? i prefer using ddg and will continue to do so but dates are lacking. thanks!

A:

What's your best hangover remedy?


Q:

What is life's purpose?

A:

I hope so :). We are working on it. Past year (or better yet custom range) is closer.


Q:

Whiskey.

Hair of the dog

A:

Well, it depends on your view I suppose but it's been my experience is that life's purpose is to suffer. To abide the inevitable pain and to bear it in a noble way.


Q:

Have you ever been contacted by bigger data-tracking services? Google or Facebook for example?

A:

Do you still have and/or use a Talkboy?


Q:

Hey norm. Big fan. Do you have any plans to do the Joe Rogan podcast? I would love to see you on.

A:

It depends what you mean by contacted. We've spoken to a lot of different companies in one way or another.


Q:

Yes; thats what we record the podcast on every week

A:

I will do that.


Q:

Why is the US so far behind Europe on data privacy? While they're implementing GDPR, we're rolling rules that allow ISP tracking. Is it a cultural or political thing?

A:

What was it like working on a Frasier episode?


Q:

Who do you think does the best impression of you?

A:

It's political. Culturally, the US is similar on privacy and in fact protecting privacy has truly become mainstream. I believe because the will of the people is there, it is only a matter of time until we follow suit.


Q:

It was easy; I did it from my room over the phone.

I have no regrets

A:

I don't like any impressions of me but since Jimmy Fallon is the best impersonator I've ever met, when he does it I must believe that that's what I sound like.


Q:

Is there any desire for DDG to become politically active in any way, shape or form? Endorse candidates? Create forums for politicians to discuss and debate privacy issues? Also, what organizations do you believe are most effective right now in terms of fighting for privacy rights? (EFF and EPIC come to mind - any others?)

A:

I always wanted to ask whats your favorite athlete?


Q:

Back in August you said you'd been invited to meet with the world's greatest novelist. My friend thinks that means Cormac McCarthy or Thomas Pynchon. Me, I go with Rosie O'Donnell. Can you tell us who you met, and if they enjoyed your book?

A:

We've been donating to organizations that share our vision and values for many years, and our donations page lists and links to a lot of great organizations that fight for privacy rights.

We've also become more active ourselves, such as signing on to court cases where we can add unique value or putting out our own statements. We would like to do even more though, and plan to step up these efforts over the next few years.


Q:

Chris Jericho. Cause hes a boss

A:

I'm not allowed to say. But it was one of the first two. And they invited me to discuss my book. Yes he liked it very much but had critical things to say that will help me out in future books. It was a very kind gesture.


Q:

On a scale of 1-10, how good a kisser is Har Mar Superstar?

A:

Big fan, Norm! Aside from your own book, what are a few personal favorite books of yours that you recommend like-minded individuals read? I'm looking to have my perspectives SHIFTED.


Q:

I give him a 16 and three quarters

A:

The two greatest living writers are Cormac McCarthy and Alice Munro, so I would suggest a collection of Alice Munro short stories and McCarthey's masterpiece "The Road." My personal favorites are "War and Peace" and "The Death of Ivan Ilych" both by Tolstoy.


Q:

Would you rather travel back in time and meet your ancestors or forward and meet your descendants?

A:

The greatest comedic novels (Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Pale Fire, Based on a True Story) all make heavy use of metafictional elements. I'm leaving out A Confederacy of Dunces because I hated that book. Anyway, were you consciously drawing upon that tradition in BoaTS? Or did the story you wanted to tell naturally take you in the direction of metafiction? I ask because you have claimed to hate meta.


Q:

My ancestors are mostly Irish cops and fireman; I have a feeling theyd be pretty racist. So let's go forward; plus Im in the market for a hoverboard

A:

I love all those books. I do hate meta but I was forced into by the scriptures of convention. I was hired to write a memoir, but secretly wrote a novel so I had to use the techniques of meta to mask it. I did it so well the New York Times called it a nonfiction.


Q:

How's your mom's meatloaf?

A:

What does Bob Saget smell like?


Q:

Meaty and delicious but not as good as Stew's moms.

A:

I will say about Bob Saget that he's so recognized it's amazing. And people come up to him and say "You're Bob Saget." And he says "thank you." I guess that's what fame is.


Q:

What Is your current favorite band / artist?

A:

Hi Norm Macdonald and Gene at The Washington Post. Norm, did anyone ever tell you that you look like you're related to Bruce Campbell? Gene, has anyone told Norm that he looks like he's related to Bruce Campbell?


Q:

I always listen to the Talking Heads but I've been listening to a lot of Beirut lately

A:

I presume one person has but none before this morning.


Q:

Hey :) What is you favorite place in Europe? Greetings from north Germany :)

A:

What are your thoughts about separating artists work from their behavior? Specifically in cases of comedians like Bill Cosby and Louis C.K.


Q:

Hello, North Germany.

Centre Pompidou in Paris. I know their collection inside and out.

A:

I separate their work completely from their transgressions. Everything about their work is extraordinary. Everything about their transgressions is utterly ordinary.


Q:

You ever smoke weed?

A:

Normy Normy Normy!

Any chance you'll invite Conan to your podcast.?

Your book is phenomenal, and loved the audio narration. Stay amazing sire.


Q:

I totally forgot.

Wait What?

A:

Yes.


Q:

Do you play videogames? If yes, which game is your favorite?

A:

Toe Jam and Earl; I play it on a daily basis


Q:

Do you get sick of people talking about Home Alone?

A:

Its a self-answering question


Q:

Has Matt managed to get you to watch any One Piece or any other anime?

A:

Not yet but on my list is One Punch Man, One Piece, FLCL, Cowboy Bebop- I have homework


Q:

Every time I see a photo of you, you look hungry and it kicks in my desire to feed people. You're not hungry are you?

A:

No I have all the pizza a kid would ever want


Q:

What do you like most about podcasting? Why do you think so many people choose to do it?

A:

I like to talk at people and I like the sound of my own voice.


Q:

Play any mmo's?

A:

Not anymore- Warcraft really took it out of me


Q:

Play any DnD? Favorite class/race?

A:

I always liked being a tank; something like a fighter


Q:

Macaulay... What's yr favorite kind of 🍕?

A:

It's always Joe's Pizza (in NYC), and not to be all normal about it, but I do like a proper plain. That's how you can judge a place. I've been with lots of vegetarians so I can get with that, but I wouldnt kick a pepperoni and sausage out of bed.


Q:

Snickers or Milky Way?

A:

Snickers Snickers Snickers

also Snickers send me free Snickers


Q:

Have you thought about doing theatre work again?

A:

I love doing theater- its my favorite form, however Im not really perusing anything at the moment. Not looking for any gigs.

But yah. Sure. What ya got?


Q:

What will it take to fully expose/overthrow the culture of exploitation in hollywood?

A:

The Illuminati/PizzaGate/Kony2012


Q:

Where did we go wrong?

A:

I ask myself in the mirror everyday


Q:

Wait who's Matt?

A:

Matt Cohen. My podcast co-host. And some dude


Q:

Why bunny ears? What's wrong with koala ears?

A:

Nothing against other ears, but Bunnys happen to be the best


Q:

Do you ever think you’ll return to acting or the movie industry?

And how did you get into podcasting?

A:

I do gigs here and there- its not a job. Its a hobby.

I just did Seth Green's directorial debut- "Changeland"- find it wherever Changelands are sold.

My buddy Matt Cohen hit me with a microphone and made me. Also I like the internet. And talking.


Q:

Hey Macaulay, how was your weekend?

A:

Totally Rad. I loved the Royal Rumble this year. Big Nakamura fan.


Q:

Hey! Thanks for doing this, I guess I'll just ask: what's new and exciting? Any upcoming goals?

A:

I have a new weekly podcast called Bunny Ears; coincidentally I have a website also called Bunny Ears. You can check out the site now, but it officially launches in March


Q:

What two wrestlers, alive or dead, would you have play Harry and Marv so you can torture them in your funhouse maze twice?

A:

Heath Slater and Mantaur


Q:

The first time you heard of/saw the Culkin Christ, what was your reaction?

A:

My first thought was "What took them so long?"