Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Knowledge and Expertise – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 6/28/16

Adam, Norm, and Simone chat about how to approach acquiring new skills and expertise, as well as Simone’s trip to the Shenzhen electronics market. Plus, our thoughts on the Seveneves movie announcement. Place your recommendations for what bits of American culture that Simone should know about in the comments below! (Thanks to TunnelBear for supporting Still Untitled!)

Comments (70)

70 thoughts on “Knowledge and Expertise – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 6/28/16

  1. “Gone With The Wind” is awesome. See it. I know you know the line, “Frankly, Scarlett…” but when it is delivered, you’ll be floored.

    Hey, what’s a chocolate Pop-Tart like? (Just kidding.)

  2. Yeah, to make sure my kids didn’t miss some sort of classic film, I’ve been working through the AFI Top 100 films with them for the past year or so. “Gone With The Wind” was on there. When we saw it together, I realized I hadn’t seen it since I saw it in the theaters some 40 years ago or so (not on it’s initial release of course, but back when they would re-release films to theaters — Oh yeah, and those long movies had an Intermission, hilarious).

    The AFI Top 100 is a fine place to start but of course is lacking in non-American films (sorry, no Kurosawa, but the girls had already fielded a half dozen or so Kurosawa films at this point). The list is not static though — the list I started from had “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at number 100. Wow, what a bad film. I guess you had to have just had an island of yours bombed in order to “get” that film.

    But I digress….

  3. We were shown Gone with the Wind back in fifth grade by one of our teachers over the course of… two? maybe three days? She said that it was a culturally important film and that was cool with us as we got to not sit and be bored in class, but this was the edited version of the movie and the ‘Frankly, Scarlett’ line had been edited to ‘I don’t give a hoot’.

  4. Here’s a few things off the top of my head to become familiar with:

    • DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia – Tested, make this happen!
    • Poutine (it’s a Canadian thing, but I’m a recent convert!)
    • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Andy Samberg police comedy TV show – absolutely hilarious!)
    • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TV show on FX, if you have an appreciation for really messed up comedy)
    • Cajun food
    • Seattle, Washington
  5. Another great podcast with Simone, how about an unauthorized commentary of Blade Runner with Adam, Norm and Simone. The unauthorized commentaries are my favorite Premium content so would love some more.

  6. regarding the disparaging vs encouraging reaction to someone not knowing something: explaining (well) is hard. mocking is easy.

    re rule 34 & people are weird: as much as rule 34 gets laughed at, and quoted for weirdness’ sake, i think it specifically is one of the most reassuring kinds of weird there is. you feel bad about liking something obscure? never forget someone out there gets unseemingly excited about it. you get unseemingly excited about something no-one else does? there’s a close to 100% chance for the internet to tell you that you’re not alone. rule 34’s broad application (if it exists being the qualifier) and extremeness of content (pornography) is like a huge equaliser of all kinds of enthusiasm.

    or maybe i’m just weird.

    anyway, cute to note how simone’s more liberal use of profanity immediately rubs off on adam at ~13:40. am i misremembering or would un-simoned adam not have said ‘shit’ there?

  7. I think the un-official name for the not hover-board id the “twat scooter” at least that’s what my father calls it.

  8. So is Simone a mormon? Spending a year and a half in china learning Mandarin makes me think that she was a mormon missionary because that time is too coincidental.

  9. given simone’s techy nature, and the negligible percentage of the latter-day saints in sweden (under 0.1%, compared to >2% in the US), i’d call that a rather unlikely guess.

  10. Regarding learning new skills I recently gave a talk at a summer engineering program for high school students (BlueStamp Engineering- a really cool program!) where I explained project based learning, my learning experiences building costumes and props and how doing those projects allowed me to learn about mechanics, electronics, animatronics and how persistence pays off. It was my first talk ever and while I was very nervous it was a lot of fun.

    When I first walked into the room I took one look at the kids and threw my prepared speech away. I realized that it was too preachy and it wouldn’t engage them or bring them into the conversation. Learning is very much a give and take and nobody learns if you can’t connect with them. When answering questions on my diyanimatronics forum I always have to remind myself that not only am I still learning (and I have much to learn!) but that everyone there looking for help is in the exact same position I was in at one point. The odds are that I may not have an answer to their question right away but then I can help them research and we can learn something new together.

  11. I would recommend Simone watch/listen to the previous Still Untitled podcasts. It would bring her up to speed with many pop culture references. I’ve been working my way through them. (I’m almost up to 2015) Next would be This is only a test.

  12. No real advice for Simone, just a thought about suggestions. Seems like homework to experience culture defeats the joy and surprise of experiencing it first hand by digging in when something comes up strange and new.

    I’m guessing as a traveler she already knows that.

    My only thought for travelers here in the U.S., try to remember we’re all not like the worst of them, but don’t be surprised if there’s more of that kind than you expected.

  13. soooo…. when are you going to have Neil Stephenson on the Talking Room??

    I absolutely love his books. There are a couple of Sci-Fi writers I like, but he’s quite unique in taking your brain on a roller-coaster ride of awesome ideas. I usually spend the next few days on Wikipedia (particularly after Cryptonomicon to read up on history and cryptography). After Seveneves I even wrote some simulation code to figure out (micro-spoiler ahead) if the orbital slingshot sequence in part 3 could actually work… (I think it would – and the numbers in the book are totally accurate). Would love to hear his thoughts in an interview! He doesn’t seem to be doing many of those…

  14. My wife yells at me all the time when I tell her I havent seen Blade Runner, or any of the Alien films.

  15. As a Norwegian who rarely handled cash before moving to the states (all chip and pin or NFC over here) I also had that “wtf is this little thing” when paying for something using coins. Doesn’t help that dollar bills are all the same color and size…

    I love how Simone brings the cursing and wildly inappropriate jokes. It’s almost like having Gary back :p

    Fantastic episode, people!

  16. Hi guys, big fan, but mostly from the shadows. Mostly.

    Going along with the “not be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ thing, I’m not sure I understand the distinction between “Am I putting this comment in to add to the conversation,” or “so that I have added to the conversation.” Is it that the former builds on what has already been said and the latter simply exists as a participation consolation prize?

    RE: cultural references–I suppose it’s kind of nationally egocentric to think that anything that matters in this country would probably be renowned the world over, especially considering the connectedness of the age in which we live, but it’s kind of hard for me to imagine anything of worth that wouldn’t be known outside our borders. The one thing that popped into my mind that might be in her wheelhouse was Rick and Morty.

    So yeah, check out Rick and Morty.

  17. There are two kinds of people in the world, those who like pop tarts and those who think that pop tarts taste like (Simone’s description). When it comes to pop tarts, I am in Camp Simone.

    Also, the names of Items in the US vary regionally – check out the Pop versus Soda page (http://popvssoda.com). In San Francisco, it is soda. In Chicago, it is pop. In Texas, all soda/pop is called coke. Moving from Chicago to Houston, I heard the following conversation at the 59 Diner (sadly, it is closed).

    Diner: I will have a coke.

    Server: What kind of coke?

    Diner: Dr. Pepper.

    Welcome to the states.

  18. Can I just say…as someone whose humor naturally skews to the dark/inappropriate, I really appreciate hearing other people getting a laugh out of what might make others faint with apoplexy. Adam himself has said time and time again how dark his humor gets when he’s not in mixed company, and it’s really nice to hear him be so unguarded and freewheeling. Keep fighting the good fight, Adam and Simone!

  19. I’m sure Adam already mentioned this suggestion for Simone: ComicCon?

    Also, the Jeep Mod community…

    And I agree w/ Norm: Seveneves needs to be a trilogy… It feels like the only way to do the story justice, but if anyone can pull it off: Ron Howard…

  20. Simone is a great addition to the team and the dynamics between Adam, Norm and Simone are brilliant. Very enjoyable.

    I’m reading Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson at the moment. I know it was mentioned in a previous Still Untitled; maybe a longer chat about it in the future? If you loved Seveneves, read Aurora. I thought that Seveneves was way more Kim Stanly Robinson in feel that Neal Stephenson.

  21. And as far as shop photos: Simone’s new shop in San Fran??? Care of tested? Minus any septic tank clogs like on the houseboat a few months back??? 🙂 Still can’t unsee that…

  22. Only -bad- things about Dragon Con in Atlanta are:

    1) It’s in Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend, still mid-summer in Atlanta

    2) Mid-summer in Atlanta is 97 degrees F in the shade and HUMID!

    3) the hotel lobbies need to chill themselves down to about 32 degrees F so everyone will be comfortable wearing those marvelous costumes!

    But you and 50,000 of your closest friends will have a great time!

    –Paul E Musselman

    re: long-form TV – see Babylon 5 – a 5-year story arc.

    For entertainment, google Pop Tart Fires – they burn nicely! There used to be a toaster that mounted under your kitchen cabinets. If something caught on fire in the toaster, it would burn until it was ‘done,’ then the toaster would pop open and the flames would roar up the front of the cabinet it was under!


  23. What is really weird is Simone’s accent sounds A lot like people in Wisconsin. It’s hard to explain. But a lot of folks in that state are from Norway or their ethnicity is Norwegian. I remember Simone talking about how the Swedish and Norwegians are very similar in culture and language.

    I just wonder if the inflections of either language end up making native speakers of those languages have their english end up having a certain quality.

    BTW: I laughed really hard at the vampire pop-tarts comment! 😛

  24. Interesting spin on the different types of shopper, maximiser and satisfier! On reflection I would say I’m a maximiser, but you need to define what “getting the best” means as it’s different for everyone. Like most people I have aesthetic tastes, functional requirements and of course a budget. With the exception of clothes shopping for myself, I love shopping! I do like to buy nice things, and I apply the same philosophy when buying presents for friends and family.

    So, what does best mean for me? Well, it’s certainly not the most expensive or poshest brand. It’s a combination of what looks good to me, how may boxes it ticks functionally, and of course affordability. I don’t mind spending a bit more to get a bit more, but it’s often the box ticking bit that is my demise! I will research things down there Nth degree and comoare and contrast until I’m brain-dead, and then it starts becoming a game of compromises!

    So, me? I’m an Indecisive Perfectionist, and that can make decision forming a nightmare!

  25. A lot of people from the Nordic countries have a certain rhythm to their English.

    Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Icelandic are all descendants of old norse, and are (somewhat) mutually intelligible… Norwegians, Swedes and Danes can usually carry a conversation with no adjustment. Spoken Icelandic is a lot harder for us (though we can parse it when written down) and Finnish is a completely different language group with no similarities to the others.

    Dialects within a Nordic country will often sound as different to foreign ears as the languages do, but the odd rhythm is pretty universal and infrequent speakers will sound a bit like the characters in Fargo 🙂

  26. Welcome Simone

    I think you bring a good dynamic to the team. Norm couldn’t attempt a segway fast enough. LOL

  27.   a premium tested barter shop would be amazing! I don’t know what platform would be best but I’m serious about helping make it happen.

  28. Do an American road trip from coast to coast. I don’t think most Americans have done this, but you can’t appreciate the size and differences in this country until you do that.

    But more importantly, If you haven’t started visiting National Parks… those are a must do! Here are my top 5:

    1. Great Sequoia – I loved this park. It is beautiful. I was there in middle of the week, so maybe it was a bit more chill. But big, massive trees, beautiful relaxed hikes, and the meadows are gorgeous.
    2. Zion – most canyons you down into. This one you are at the bottom looking up, by the time you leave your neck will hurt from looking up. beautiful colors and rocks.
    3. Grand Canyon – words and photos can not describe this hole in the ground. Unfortunately, way too many people. However, if you can handle the hike it is completely worth going to Phantom Ranch. Getting reservations at Phantom Ranch is really hard. I went with this group https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/8144/hiking-grand-canyon-from-rim-to-river-an-adventure-to-phantom-ranch and had a wonderful time.
    4. Yellowstone – You have to go see Bison! They are so massive and to think that the center of America was covered with them is ridiculous. Also, if you go here you have to get out and hike around. Something like 80% of the tourists never leave the road.
    5. Grand Tetons is just down the road from Yellowstone and those are some beautiful mountains. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to spend enough time there.
  29. Thought of the same thing. There’s always a relevant XKCD, and increasingly, someone who’s already linked it. 🙂

  30. Actually, two weeks ago I just bought for $1 at a garage sale a hardcover copy of Seveneves. The seller told me to look out for two errors in physics–I think he was a science teacher. After Tested’s recommendation, I am for sure looking forward to reading it! As a side note, I just finished the audiobook to William Gibson’s The Peripheral, which was beyond excellent.

  31. Simone, if you like the idea of psychological scifi check out the film Moon. The score is one of my favorites for combining a sense of awe and dread.

  32. I was in Shenzhen when I lived in Japan. Counting back that was when Simone must only just have been born. So now I feel like an old fart… Thanks Norm.

    Anyway Simone, you are a great addition to the gang and I really appreciate another outlook on things. Also your language skills never fail to impress. Great turn of phrase and wit!

  33. I’m sure I have suggested this before but if not I have a place for all the hosts to visit next time y’all are up in or passing through the Portland, OR area. There is a store called Surplus Gizmos. It is everything a maker wants in life. There are isles and isles of bins & boxes & tubs & and parts & pieces & wires & and motors & things. There are boxes labeled “rubber ring thing”, “silver thingamajiger”… You can buy server plates, bearings, switches, old interfaces, random wires. It’s just a candy store for people like us.

    Surplus Gizmos
    5797 NW Cornelius Pass Rd
    Hillsboro, OR 97124
    (503) 439-1249

    Store Pano:

  34. No worries Simone, I had never even heard of Blade Runner until I started watching Tested videos, and still haven’t seen it. 🙂

    I would like to recommend the movie “Man From Earth” it is an outstanding movie, one of my all time favorites.

    I also wanted to say that I look forward to seeing Simone in more Tested videos. 🙂


    Pop Tarts are one nastiest foods ever invented!

  35. Wait till she finds out there are 4 versions of Blade Runner and you need to have an opinion on voiceover vs additional content to Level up as a nerd

  36. Came here and registered specifically to mention this. I think it’s such a great attitude!

    With a three-yr-old I’m entering a whole era of discovery and I can’t wait 🙂

  37. … And could Norm be replaced by someone less Prissy and Pissy than he….. for maybe 6 months. Because his pissiness is annoying.

  38. Regarding the Captain America pop-culture list: our company has a number of employees that are either immigrants or still living outside the US. A co-worker and I have started a spreadsheet we call “An American Education” that contains a list of movies and quotes from those movies that are often referenced in pop-culture. It’s been a fun list to build and share.

  39. Hello! I’m a new listener and a new commenter, so I know I have no clout here (hell, I’m not even sure if this is the right place to pose this question) but I have a question for Adam, Norm, Simone, and Will. I’m in a funk creatively right now where I have good, interesting ideas that I want to execute on and bring into reality, but I have failed to execute on a singe one of them this past month. I’m not too busy to bring these ideas into reality, but I find myself making excuses- “the materials will be too expensive and you don’t even have an income,” or “this isn’t really a good idea” or “how will this help you get a job or get into grad school?” My inner monologue has become really debilitating and so my question is: Have any of you been in a funk like this, and if so, how did you get out of it? I love the content tested puts out and I appreciate every one of you that makes that happen. Thanks!

  40. Mind you, the Adam/Jamie gay rumor mill was stoked quite a bit when you went to Mr. S Leather and bought rubber wetsuits for your walking in the rain myth. ( I may have frequented some of those forums at the time.) 🙂

  41. Just Googled you Adam and the first 10 pages are totally safe! Most of it is about Mythbusters (surprise) but also surprisingly many references to how to sear a steak? Even an image search seems harmless, although I’ll warn you that you might run into Jamie there 😉

  42. Oh man – absolutely LOVING what Simone is bringing to Tested! She’s clearly the right person for the team. Adam is clearly excited to mentor her, Norm is enjoying someone younger that he himself around he can share insights with and she has a genuine excitement and enthusiasm that is contagious.

    It strikes me that Simone is probably really a gender swapped clone of Adam that he’s had brewing in the back of the cave for the last 20 years…

  43. I admit to being one of the Mythbusters watchers who wondered if Adam and Jamie were a couple. A lot of their little disagreements had the flavor of being played out for the thousandth time that reminded me of long married couples’ discussions of topics on which they never agreed.

    I was surprised that Simone is not from the US. My suggestion for American obsessions would normally be the many variations of barbecue that my friends obsess about, but Simone said she is a vegetarian. So, I think she should explore the wonderful world of food ‘on a stick’. Americans like to walk around and eat at the same time.

    Simone seems to be a great guest who fits the program.

  44. It’s hard to say what one could offer about the American culture that others might not know since our culture is very readily broadcast to the rest of the world through entertainment but one thing I can think of that is quintessential American culture is Road Tripping. Americans love to get in their cars and drive on the open road and the United States is such a vast country with so many different regions where you can drive to the seemingly middle of nowhere and find an amazing place just off the highway that you might have never heard of. I for one am taking one of said road trips in a week. Starting out in Des Moines Iowa cruising out to hang out in your guys neck of the woods (San Francisco, Salinas, Monterey) then down to Las Vegas then over to the Grand Canyon then to southern Arizona to visit my brother then east through New Mexico stopping in Roswell then shooting up to Amarillo Texas and jumping on Route 66 to Oklahoma City then back to Iowa. 4500 mile round trip. The best way to experience the U.S. is to get in a car and just drive.

  45. I’m enjoying hearing Simone’s input on the podcast – it’s always interesting to hear an outside perspective on things you’ve grown up with (and pleasantly, things haven’t drifted into politics and “stupid Americans” yet).

    Regarding foreign coinage, I had the “hold out your hand and let them take what they need” experience in Australia a couple of times – mostly due to jet lag, because it’s not that hard to figure out, but still. And one time I was counting out coins to pay for something and lapsed into using “nickel” and “dime” and the clerk had no idea what I was talking about.

    One minor technical complaint, though – I listen to the podcast in the car (and therefore sort of loud), and Simone’s voice has a lot of sibilance on “S” sounds and similar. Cuts through my ears like a dagger – is there a way to adjust her mic to cut down on that stuff? (I don’t hear it from Adam or Norm, so maybe it’s just a function of her higher voice?)

  46. Dirk That was my understanding of it – to add value to the discussion, or just to be involved in the discussion. It’s like the youtube ‘firsters’ – no value added, but they feel involved and some personal sense of satisfaction.

  47. I think that if you would like to know more about our nerd/ geek culture go to a card store that does table top games with mtg and other games. I can almost be found at mine weekly and I love to habg out with the people there. I it so much fun to hang out with those people and learn about stuff or talk about stuff you know and trade theories about games/ videos.

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