Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, November 23, 2002day link 

 War is Fun
picture Part of what keeps us all from living in an entirely peaceful world is that, if we're honest about it, most of us find guns and violence and war very entertaining. War makes for great programs on the History Channel. Violence makes for great action movies, and most of us cheer when the good guy kills the bad guy at the end. Guns are kind of cool and sexy. It is a powerful feeling to shoot a gun. Part of what motivates people to be police officers or soldiers is that you drive fast, or fly expensive toys, and you chase bad guys and you blow things up.

But what we like is exactly the game aspect of it. The thrill and risk, the power, the rush, the gadgetry, the stimulating special effects. But if we are really exposed to the effects of violence and war, very, very few of us would think that it is cool. Just one bullet, or the tiniest of bombs, do horrible things to human bodies. Just one life lost, or one life lived as an invalid, can be a huge tragedy for the people involved. The only way we accept it as a society is to be detached from it, by just watching it on TV and thinking about it abstractly. Yeah, let's go whip Saddam's ass real good. Looks good on TV. But we aren't able to fathom the scope of what several hundred thousand dead Iraqi children means. It is just numbers. And most Americans have never even heard about those numbers.

We'll have to embrace our desire for action and violence, and provide for it, without leaving all those innocent victims behind. I hear people giving visions of the future where there is no violence. "In the New Civilization there must be no violence!" Aha, ok, then what are you going to do with the people who want it? Outlaw boxing and wrestling? Action movies? Body piercing? Jackass stunts? That's all violent stuff, but it is violence that people volunteer for. And it is entertaining. Hoping that nobody will be interested in watching it just isn't going to work. Finding a harmonious relation between all sides of ourselves is more likely to take us somewhere.
[ | 2002-11-23 20:21 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Stimulating article by Fabio Sergio, covering many aspects of the connected world that's emerging, with many references. In the near past the concept of 'information anxiety' emerged. You know, there's so much information available that there always seems to be an ever-widening gap between what we know and what we think we should know. Now most well-connected people have probably given up on trying to know everything, and are probably getting used to the fact that you can figure out most things rather quickly, if your Internet connection is just close by. So, that opens up to the new concept of 'interaction anxiety'. I know that one. You know you could figure things out if you could just go to Google, or if you could just send a message to so-and-so, but if your DSL connection is down or you're on the road, you can't. Next step would be that everything would be more automatic, so you don't have to worry about what database you left that phone number in, or how you dial up to your ISP. The technology might become more invisible so you can concentrate on what you're doing.
[ | 2002-11-23 20:21 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Space Station 3D
picture My son and I watched the Imax Space Station 3D movie. Imax is this system with huge screens, and it is also in 3D now. So here with the International Space Station, it was very much like being there. It gives a feeling of virtual presence that can't be conveyed through regular film or video. And that whole space station thing presents an optimistic, collaborative, global view on things. Here are a group of astronauts and scientists from a number of different countries, looking down on an earth without borders, working on interesting projects for the benefit of humanity, and having fun doing it.

Now, one thing that always strikes me about our supposedly most advanced earth technology is all those messy wires. That space station is just stuffed with cables and wires and tubes and stuff, lots of it hanging loose, and I'm sure that bad things happen if you cut any one of them. It is so vulnerable. Same thing in an airplane, if you look out the window by the wings when they're moving the flaps. Just a lot of wires and tubes out in the open. Our most advanced electronics, like in computers and satellites, seems to be done the same kind of way. Lots of flimsy wires and copper conduits soldered together with little dots of metal. A tiny crack in any one of them will bring down the whole thing. Seems awfully primitive.
[ | 2002-11-23 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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