internet, social media, Technology, Uncategorized

The Internet is Stupid

At first I was offended. An artist friend of mine had started doing a series of sketches called, “is Stupid” which was a loose sketch of one of his friends with their name written out followed by the words- is stupid. As he was a recognized artist, I had hoped that a small bit of immortality might be obtained through being portrayed in his work, alas, that was not to be so. However, while the internet was not immortalized by his work, it never the less, is stupid.

When we educate children we teach them at best to think for themselves, to find answers but more than that to value the question. To look at a situation and find ways for themselves to solve it, to overcome the obstacle and to solve it at least and at best in a graceful and beautiful manner. That is knowledge. Answers are a the doorway to a closet while a true answer presents more questions and greater growth. The simple act of questioning invites growth, makes us look at things differently and see things that are not yet there. The internet is a great tool but unfortunately it can only bring us answers, what already is. It will only bring us fish when what we are need now, more than ever, are more people figuring out how to fish.

Internet,covid 19

 

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social media, Technology

You need us….right?

As I read the recent New York Times article, “Economic Pain Will Persist Long After Lockdowns End” I found myself thinking of a song, “You Need Us” by one of my favorite TV bands, The Honeybees….In short the article details how the recent plague has effected the economy, which segments and how they might recover. However a glance at the stock market seems to have shrugged this recent unpleasantness off and is ready to resume its bullish bacchanal it makes one wonder where the true reality lies. Nearly 1/3rd of the country can be without a paycheck but why be concerned. While unemployment soars so does the Dow Jones. While we close many businesses as non essential, it begs the question, what is essential to this new economy. With the possibility of robots and drones doing many “essential” features how long will we need the rest of the work force. Will this virus’s relocation of assets also reassign much of our workforce to obscurity? Will most of us still be needed?

amazon, covid,covid19

 

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social media, Technology

A well lit place

It seems that at one point you become a curator for others. You maintain a well lit place for others to come back to, to recover and to leave, refreshed and renewed. In this modern mid plague world this seems to be more important than ever. That we have a place to retreat to, a home, a tall parapet where we can gaze out upon the world, be it real or electronic. Some of us will be the curators of those spaces for our children, lovers, siblings or friends. That space too, may be physical or electronic, a home, or a website or a shared place to chat. As you keep your social media account, please use it as a place for light, there are enough people flinging mud or useless gripes. More light, please.  As John Donne once said, They also serve who stand and wait,” we also serve who maintain a light in the darkness, a warm hearth and an open heart, we also serve. May we all be blessed, those who keep the light burning in the darkness and those who stay awake, in the dark, looking for the light- know the morning will come.

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social media, Technology

A Plague for Another Time

There is a song with the lyric, “everything old is new again”. With that in mind, the post of a few weeks ago seems strangely relevant. In the post, The Perfect Consumer, we proposed, with tongue firmly in cheek that this current plague might be the perfect way for asset reassignment, with old people dying off to create more housing for younger people, freeing up assets they would use such as health care and benefits pent up there for revitalizing the economy and for the greater good. Well, in saying of Karl Marx, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”, what seems to have started as a tragedy now has become farce. While we joked about a silver lining in this rising, though still small, death toll, others leap to similar conclusions wrapped in a shroud of truth. Once respected commentator, Britt Hume opined, that it was entirely reasonable that the elderly would want to die to save the economy and that perhaps we should override DNR’s (do not resuscitate) orders on the dying as to keep the resources available for those still alive. One can only wonder if such precautions would be taken if the thrust of the pandemic were the working poor or minorities. Alas, we have wars and drafts to take care of that issue. Perhaps that is a plague for another time.

relocation of assets,COVID 19

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internet, social media, Technology

Sold to the highest bidder

While here at the Universe, we try to keep a Janus face looking forward and backward, we are often shocked by the lack of perspective that we see in current “innovations”. Case in point, when we saw the article in quoted in Wired, about how colleges are now taking bets on the future earnings of their students to leverage their college costs against their potential earnings. In short, investors—including wealthy alumni, a hedge fund, and the Purdue Research Foundation—would front her $50,000 to cover two years of college. In exchange, she’d owe them 14.8 percent of whatever income she earned in the eight years after she graduated. “Bravo for the return to indentured servitude” our illustrious Mr Christian, cried when he heard the news, nothing the 18th century form of slavery wherein someone would work for a number of years at little or no salary for an determined period of time. While under this new system, one would only forfeit a percentage of their wages, in this case, a pittance of 14.8 %,- a bargain at twice the price! Imagine, putting your college education on your credit card- yes you get an education but at what price?  How do we decide what ones potential would be? Why not have an open bidding system with the students with the most perceived potential can receive the money we think they might deserve. A sort of educational future market. We can only hope this is the death rattle of a outmoded educational system that takes all and gives little. How else can we keep the university system propped up to teach skills that are no longer needed in the coming economy? Will we need to tie students to the masts to avoid this sirens song of financial ruin or will they have awakened enough to know that what the new frontier needs is those who dance to a music being sung anew.

SLAVERY

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Technology, Uncategorized

Mourning Becomes Electric

I have a fondness for Whitman’s, “When Lilacs Last Round the Dooryard Bloomed” and primarily the first section with the line, “I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring”. The idea of mourning was one hard to get away from in Whitman’s time, in the closing days of the Civil War, where an estimated 620,000 men lost their lives. I think of the idea of mourning and have come back to it recently and what it means in this our electronic age. Of course, everyone has had that moment of rage when a document or spreadsheet we have been working on disappears into the vapor and not to say that it is not a loss (believe me- I’ve been there) but what happens when so much of where we spend our time can be simply wiped away? We can swipe away a potential mate if we don’t find them attractive or dispose of the digital remains of a relationship with the touch of a button. No more going through letters or books from ones we have loved, the therapeutic tossing of clothes out the window, or destroying the once cherished item left behind from the one who once was so dear. Do we lose something therapeutic when we lose a tactile part of loss? Has our loss of physical mourning created a loss in our ability to mourn and perhaps feel as deeply as we have in the past? Perhaps the blue light of the computer has ceased our song and left us with a different and perhaps poorer lustrous face in the night.

The First Canto and a section of the Sixteenth Canto of “When Lilacs Last Round the Dooryard Bloomed”

1
When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

and from the 16th canto…

I cease from my song for thee,
From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee,
O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.

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internet, social media, Technology

Electronic Manifest Destiny

As the debate goes on over allowing Huawei to use its technology in this country- people wondering if the Chinese company can be trusted with our data, would we be giving them a backdoor to share all our data with the Government of China. Strange that we would be so concerned that the Chinese government might mine our data, yet we blissfully donate our data to Facebook, Google et al. without the merest thought. Perhaps there is a sort of cyber racism going on here. We will allow wasps to feast on our data exhaust and grow fat and rich but good Episcopal God no- we won’t allow the Chinese to gain from our detritus. Are they not worthy to exploit people like everyone else? Perhaps our manifest destiny has run amok and on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the needs of Americans are above those from other nations.

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