Fanboost and other magical manifestations of the will

19.38, Wednesday 16 Sep 2020

Formula E (the electric version of Formula 1) has FANBOOST which is maybe the tech equivalent of some kind of distributed good fortune magick?

The five drivers who receive the highly-acclaimed FANBOOST – as voted for by you, the fans - are awarded a significant burst of power, which they can deploy in a five-second window during the second half of the race.

You vote on the website, or by invoking the drivers name on Twitter as a hashtag.

I am obsessed with this idea.

Because it is obviously bonkers. It’s action-at-a-distance, which is weird. Concretely, it breaks the rules of the game, because why can’t a car use its battery as it chooses.

And yet it makes intuitive sense?

Like of course if a million people WILL the car to go faster, it should go faster? Deep down, I think that’s what humans believe.

And then, in football: what is the home advantage except for fanboost by sheer weight of numbers?

It’s definitely to do with people. As discovered in lockdown, home advantage disappears in empty stadiums: We have found that the considerable home advantage in football is on average almost entirely wiped out in closed doors matches.

I posted yesterday about isoprene in the breath as a person-to-person stress transmitter.

Monique van Dusseldorp on Twitter thought about conferences: Having been in conference rooms for 30 years - on stage, backstage, in the room - I thought it was heartbeats falling into step that make you “feel” the audience. Matt Webb pulls together some info that is completely new to me and makes total sense. Breath.

And I know EXACTLY what she’s talking about. Speaking to an audience of 1,000 people, when I get in sync I disassociate – I feel like I lift up and my words are the exact right ones, the only ones for that moment.

So if you’re a speaker at a rally of thousands of people, all yelling and therefore projecting their breath right at you, and you pick up the mood and rile them right back, a positive feedback loop of accumulating isoprene – well, you can see how those rallies in the 1940s got so elevated.

And football matches: a stadium of 60,000 directing their isoprene right at the players?

What gets me still is FANBOOST.

Virtual isoprene.

I wonder if this kind of idea could help in group video calls?

Say, monitor the gaze of all participants, add it all up, and give everyone an individual, dynamic attention rank.

People with high rank should magically find it easier to get into the conversation; their noise cancelling threshold is set to let them speak a few milliseconds quicker, that kind of thing, or their volume is set slightly higher.


I’m sure I’ve got some friends who know about magick and have talked to me about this kind of stuff before. Anything I should read? Feels like some strong inspiration in this area.


I’m reminded of a paper I read way back in 2002 (that link is my blog post at the time). It was printed in a paranormal special edition of the British Medical Journal.

Let’s put replicability aside for a second. Here’s the punchline, from the abstract linked from that post.

Remote intercessory prayer said for a group of patients is associated with a shorter hospital stay and shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream infection, even when the intervention is performed 4–10 years after the infection

Remote prayer. PRAYERBOOST.

Retroactive. Better outcomes, even 4–10 years after the patient leaves hospital. Wh-wh-what?

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