NOVA Absolute Zero A Sense of Scale PBS – StumbleUpon. This is a fun interactive graph. Nova does a great job with shows and making things understandable.
You probably haven’t seen these photos of TV’s before. Isn’t it amazing all the stuff we see on the Internet that we probably wouldn’t have known about without it? It really improves the quality of our lives. Not that we want or need these things, but that we can appreciate why things are like they are now.
When I was growing up certain comedians seemed very funny. Now I am watching those shows again and I am not laughing. I know that I have changed but then I wonder why I ever liked them at all?
I wonder if our desire for variety and new things is driven more by personality or by groupthink? For example, many people used to like MC Hammer and I was one of them. Looking back at it now I can’t listen to it. What seemed so new and interesting suddenly you can’t really understand why you did it. I wonder about that sometimes when the temptation to go along with the majority is present.
Right now the temptation is to get an iPad just like it was one to get an iPhone. I waited for years before I got an iPhone and only because I had to support them in my job. Now that I don’t have it, I don’t really miss it. Oh sure it is cool to surf the web when you are away from the computer but it’s not essential. I use that time to think or be present in the moment. I have to wonder if the benefits of things like the iPad have more disadvantages.
Certainly it isn’t the tool that is at fault. You can go overboard on a laptop, desktop or any kind of technology. It isn’t the iPad per se that is the problem. It just makes the use of technology even more tempting. I kind of view temptation as something like groupthink. You aren’t always aware of its influence until you live without it. I’m not saying these things are bad, but sometimes they are unhelpful.
The iPad/iPhone are probably the strongest examples of technology looking for a problem. Certainly there are business cases where those things save money or time. I have to wonder however if it is the right tool for the millions of people who have them. Isn’t it interesting that people hate the 50’s because of the perceived cookie-cutter approach to living? That one way or pattern is the best for society and it is your job to conform to society? Now we seem to accept that the iPhone/iPad is the way things should be, and that it is our job to conform to devices and structures that other people set.
So what if everyone has the iPad or everyone uses the iPhone? Isn’t that a small thing to be concerned about? After all there are bigger problems in the world. Yes that is true. It is true that computer viruses and hacking are successful because of the commonality of design and logic. It is my concern that our future security, creativity, and freedom are limited by over adopting any technology no matter how wonderful. To me, using one platform is as concerning as only having one language in the world. Maybe that would make things more efficient, but you also lose the diversity of thought and world-view that those languages represent.
Or maybe the world wants the US culture to dominate and no matter where we go in the world, we only see the reflections of ourselves. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
I was doing something else and I remembered something that I hadn’t thought of for years. Here is what happened.
It was a hot August day. I had come back from my trip and had taken a shower to get the dust off. I was in Mexico and many cities there are dusty. If the city isn’t dusty the roads are, because many of them are in poor shape. If the roads are in good shape then the cab is dirty, so generally you have lots of opportunities to take showers. I always wondered if the cities were so dusty, where are the hotels getting the endless supply of water from?
I had sat down on the bed and was reading a magazine that was kept in the room. Suddenly I heard a knock at my door. Since the hotel staff never comes by and knocks and I hadn’t told anyone but my friend I was staying there, and she was doing a project, I didn’t know who to expect. I answered the door and my friend Benetta was standing there all dusty and so were 3 of her friends! Surprised I let them in and Benetta said “Can I use your shower?” Apparently their showers broke. “Ok.” I said. I do what I can to help people. So her friends where using the bathroom while I talked to my friend.
Why am I sharing this with you? I have had some surprises lately in my life and I was thinking how funny life works sometimes. These were good surprises and I am glad they are part of my life. I have also been reading about how conditions are in other countries for people and how difficult life is. I think that it is natural that we sometimes forget that no matter how hard we have it in the US others have it worse. I can’t imagine not having Medicare, Social Security or Unemployment Insurance. Those help so many people who fall on hard times. When I have traveled to Mexico in the past, it was shocking to see old women and men who could barely move, out on the street selling things. I asked my friend why this happened and she said that they probably needed the money to survive. I asked what about the strong Mexican family structures and she said that it isn’t strong for everyone.
Sometimes friendships don’t work out and that one didn’t. She is a good person and I wish her the best. I think that we both had some issues that prevented us from being totally honest with ourselves and thus each other. It is sad that one of the problems of being immature is that you sometimes you hurt people you don’t intend or want to hurt. I forgive myself and her, and everyone isn’t going to be a friend forever unfortunately.