Archive for July, 2003
i’ve often felt that technological progress existed only to add to the convenience of human existence.
domesticating horses: so we wouldn’t have to walk.
the automobile: so we wouldn’t have to walk or get sore butts riding a horse.
the postal system/the pony express: so we could get messages to people fast.
the telegraph: so we could get messages to others even faster.
the telephone: so we could get messages to people even more quickly, but not have to go through others.
email: so we can get messages to people instantly, but not have to look at them or hear their voice. ditto for instant messenging.
bow and arrow: so we can kill people at a distance.
guns: so we can kill people from even farther away.
atomic intercontinental missiles: so we can push a button and kill people who are so far away we don’t even think about it.
the abacus: so doing math is a bit easier.
the calculator: makes math even easier, and with larger numbers.
the computer: does math (and many other things) so easily we don’t even know it’s math.
i could go on and on. well today i saw a link for something that is so convenient it is decadent. it is for an internet startup called eSuds.net and their purpose is to make laundry as brainless as possible. reading this article is the inspiration for today’s entry.
what is it about convenience? are we better off or going to pot because of it? certainly the convenience of better medicine is a boon; no longer do we (as often) die from a simple cut that gets infected. however, certainly we are just as cursed by improved medicine that allows our evolution to grind to a blaring halt as the “weak” are helped, the old just get older and older, and even people with previously fatal diseases are living fuller lives (not to mention living at all).
i realize that last argument seems a bit cold. it’s the best way i could think of saying that medical science allows the genetically weak to not only live but reproduce, stopping (and arguably regressing) natural selection and evolution in humans.
what about convenience of food production? no longer do we have to spend most of our days hunting and gathering. instead we can walk to the corner store and pick up a snack. what convenience! i guess that’s how they got their name. yet at the same time that same convenience is helping make us the fattest nation on earth.
but we love our convenience and really there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. it is a by product of our ability to cognize the world and manipulate it. just as we are neither good nor evil till we do something (let’s ignore the deeper philosophical/theological arguments here), so convenience isn’t good or bad. it is how we use it.
mcdonalds is convenient, fast food. i could eat there every day for the fuel my body needs to maintain its fine balance of living. however, i don’t eat there everyday because it will make me fat and/or unhealthy. my action is not to utilize the convenience.
last night i was out drinking and eating with sean. when we finally parted he took a cab home and i walked. we both live far from where we had drinks. he took a cab to his house and i walked home to mine. i don’t begrudge him taking a cab; he lives miles and miles away, he was drunk, and it was late. i chose not to take a cab or a bus, though, because while i live far, it’s not really *that* far.
anyways, we love our convenience. i love my computer, which allows me to instant messenge or send emails to friends and family, cruise the web for interesting bits of information i crave, or write in this journal/diary my thoughts and get them out there (for whatever that’s worth). it is a convenient method of communication for me. for other people what they love might be their television, which can bring the world to them in the form of documentaries, sitcoms, news at 11, and/or irritation reality TV.
as much as i love the conveniences i have, i have to wonder are these things making me any better? if not, why not? if so, why isn’t it more obvious to me? i would be the same person with or without the computer, right?
the key is what i do with that convenience, and with what i’m doing with my computer, i do think it helps me be a better person. however, the person who watches TV all day and does little or nothing else i would question on being made better.
it is in our natures to make our lives more convenient. it is very important, however, to realize that not everything convenient is necessary.
i used the word “convenient” (or a form of it) at least 17 times in that entry. i am thinking a thesaurus is something i should look into, but right now…
it’s just not convenient.Comments Off on 2003.07.17 | Catergorized: technology thoughts
in a shocking turn of events, sunset’s softball team has won the league championship, beating first the tumbleweeds at 6:30PM and then moved on to beat the freaks at 8:50PM. there is now a first place trophy in the lobby of sunset, and all the players will recieve tshirts.
so strange how far we came from last year’s dead last position to first place… strange and gratifying.
in a change of subject, i’m getting sick of hearing about “intelligence failures” on the part of the CIA, the NSA, the various MIAs, etc. anyone who thinks intelligence gathering is simple or easy should goto any big city and try to figure out who has the largest baseball card collection when you aren’t allowed to let anyone know this is what you are trying to figure out. or goto any field of clover and try to find the only four leaf clover there when you aren’t allowed to bend over and examine the leaves up close (preferably this would be done at night, too).
intelligence is not an exact art. there are sometimes failures, yes, but mostly it is a problem of either too much information to sift through to find problems/answers, or with the information available there could be many possibilities. worse, no matter how good intelligence gathering is, sometimes there is just no way to get the data needed. NO WAY.
i guess i’m just tired of the fact that because there is not big sex scandal in the government, no creepy murder investigation, and no high drama in the entertainment industry that the news picks something, anything, to harp on. the most annoying thing about this is once one news program starts talking about it, every other one talks about it.
dear media news outlets: please shut up already. iraq is still problem. we’re still in afghanistan. liberia is screwed up as usual. bush is an idiot (we’ve known this for a long time; no more evidence is needed). SARS is horrible. democrats running for president are criticizing bush (see bush is an idiot comment). the shuttle blew up on entry. celebrities are dead.
how about some good news sometime soon? and not about the latest hollywood wedding (which will soon be a divorce and you’ll eat that up, too). i just want something that when i hear it i’ll think, “ok, that’s good. i’m happy to be alive and around for this. i’m glad there are decent people out there.”
and once you’ve said it once, SHUT UP. move on.
alright. enough ranting. goodnight.Comments Off on 2003.07.15 | Catergorized: life thoughts