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16.48, Wednesday 10 Jun 2015


Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling. e.g.:

  • You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  • When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

Reminds me of Michael B. Johnson talking about Pixar’s process…

  • Make a believable world
  • Create a character that is believable in that world
  • Create a story
  • Repeat until done

I seem to remember there was a precedence ordering to this. Like, the believable characters in the Toy Story world are toys, right, so they don’t have tear ducts. Which means you can’t have them cry, no matter how much the story demands it – you have to show that emotion some other way, perhaps with rain and clever camera work. World > character > story.


16 Perfect Japanese Words You Need In Your Life.

Tsundoku. The act of buying a book and leaving it unread

Yugen. A profound awareness of the universe that triggers a deep emotional response


General Orders for Sentries.

On the surface, it’s a pretty simple thing, being a sentry. “Watch this area. Tell us if anything odd happens.”

In practice, there’s thousands of permeations of things that can go wrong when you’re guarding an area, and a sentry failing in his duty could lead to – literally – thousands of people getting killed.

And so there is a list of 11 rules - short enough to memorise - that covers what to do. The Three Laws of Robotics only for soldiers.

Reading these rules, I have a picture of the military as a machine – or rather as agent-based hardware, and these rules are the software. In a sentry role? Load the General Orders for Sentries.

It’s the playbook.

(I’ve been writing a playbook recently… just for a project I’m sketching out. Keeps me out of trouble. It’s interesting to think of a project or “business” as a platform of people and technology, running “software” made of actual code and of playbooks. Included in the “software” is the capacity for learning and self-healing. The playbook/software I’m sketching is made of scheduled triggers, plays which are like checklists or state machines, and pipelines. In the future, business bureaucracy will be automated – it’ll turn into software, just like everything else that doesn’t require human ingenuity or human dexterity.)


Animals that do not synthesise their own vitamin C:

  • Fruit bats
  • Guinea pigs
  • Primate monkeys
  • Humans

Our word for the colour orange comes from the name of the fruit; the first recorded use was in 1512.

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