Posts Tagged 'Technology'

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

Oil-covered sea-turtle

“Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right – right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.” ~ from It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.

I’ve noticed a not-so-surprising correlation in my statistics here on WordPress.  The less I post, the fewer views I get.  Remedy?  Post more.

I actually didn’t know what I was going to post until I wrote in the title.  The title inspires me to write about two things – the oil spill, and Facebook.  Two such different, unrelated things.  And they are going to stay different and unrelated (I have no conspiracy theories about how Facebook may have been an indirect cause of the oil spill in the Gulf).

Oil in one of the waves.The first- the oil spill.  Wow.  Everyone’s been talking about it.  Of course they have been- it’s big news!  It has even come up in our improv group (in a light-hearted, respectful manner).  Serious news almost never comes up there, unless it’s directly related to our lives.  Since it’s a group of teenagers in New England who aren’t going to the Carribbean or anywhere else adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico any time soon… you know that it’s pretty big news.  But what do we do?  Do we boycott BP, do we just scold them?  In the end, was it really their fault or was it a disaster waiting to happen?  I think everyone has to make their own decisions on the matter.  It’s a question of environmentalism, of ethics, and of rationality.  In the end, nobody will truly have a correct answer.  I think the real answer to the question of the oil spill isn’t finding a place to point fingers (Obama, BP, none of this is productive).  I think it is in finding a solution.

Everybody and their mom is mad at someone for this tragedy.  In the end, it’s hard not to be.  We’re human beings- we need to find someone to point fingers at because once we have someone to blame, we can lift the responsibility off our shoulders and on to theirs.  If we need someone to blame, there’s no one person we should be blaming- it is all of us.  Why are we drilling so much oil anyway?  Because the public demands it.  We use oil in plastic, and we use plastic in, well, everything.  So if you’re concerned about the oil spill, why are still getting plastic bags when you’re shopping?  In Washing ashore in Louisianathe end, that’s made of oil.  BP and other companies wouldn’t be drilling it if they didn’t think they could make money off of it.  Food for thought.

But anyways.  I mentioned a solution.  Every since attempt to completely stop the flow of oil has failed.  I think a lot of the pictures I’m using speak for themselves as to the tragedy of this event.  All the pictures of the spill, by the way, are from Huffington Post, and there are hundreds of them, just in Louisiana.  If you feel like getting your heart broken, go take a peek at them.  I digress (again).  I’ve found that a lot of people out there who are enraged at the oil spill have no idea about Kevin Costner.  Pshaw, Kevin Costner, he’s that actor, right?  Who did Dances with Wolves?  Yeah, that guy.  And I didn’t like that movie, but I do appreciate what he has been doing to help out with the oil spill.  Yeah, so he’s profiting from it, but the point is, he’s doing something.

What is he doing?  Excellent question!  There are news articles all over the web to this effect, from NY Daily News to this CNN video to, of all things, StumbleUpon.com!  In short, if you’re too lazy to click those links, Kevin Costner has been working on a machine for upwards of Oil-covered birdsfifteen years that will separate oil from water.  He was inspired by the last huge oil spill, and this time, his machine may be essential to saving our environment.  As you can see from the pictures embedded into this entry (and elsewhere on the web), the oil is devastating the ecosystem in and around the Gulf of Mexico.  BP has purchased 32 machines from Costner and is planning to use them to remove the oil from the Gulf and all surrounding areas.  It’s not going to be an overnight process, that is for certain, but it’s a start, and that’s better than nothing.  Now we can see why we idolise movie stars!  Every once and awhile, we find one who’s a real hero.

For those who live in areas that are currently being affected by the oil spill, or close enough to get to them… stop pointing fingers at Obama and BP and find out what you can do to help clean up this mess!  We can point fingers later.  Since I live in New Hampshire, a good while away from where the spill is (for now; we’ll see what hurricane season brings) and I have no means to travel to Florida and Louisiana, my goal is to stop buying plastic products and to absolutely stop using plastic bags.  I know that I’m only one person, but heck, if a quarter of the United States started doing it, maybe it will catch on.

And now, on a completely different subject- Facebook.  It is entirely irrelevant, but it makes me a little worried about Judgment Day, for those Facebookwho have had the (mis)fortune of being acquainted with the Terminator series.  Facebook has this kind of evil voodoo that attracts every computer saavy and some not person with an internet connection in the entire world to it.  I am such a victim.  Chances are, you are too.

I think almost everybody knows about the privacy issues that have been going around on Facebook.  While Facebook itself may not actually be snagging users information to use it in the great big wide world of spam, it allows other things to do so.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that does mean that when you buy Island Cash on Treasure Isle, you’re not only allowing Zynga Games to know your information and spam your email account, you’re also giving them the 16-digits to steal your soul.

And yet… not a lot of people are acting up, despite all the claims.  I’m one of those guilty people.  See, I don’t think I give Facebook enough information to steal my soul (i.e. I do not spend real money on that social networking site, kthx).  Only, despite my self-assurance, I probably do.  See, I have over fifty photo albums, and it’s hooked up to three email addresses (one doesn’t even exist anymore) and I regularly play Bejewled Blitz and Treasure Isle and FrontierVille and use the Bumper Stickers application.  All these things learn a little bit about me as a human being.  Ever since I “liked” Disney/Pixar, I’ve been getting offers from advertisements to go see Toy Story 3.  Um, more information than you need, A.I.!

Treasure Isle Loading ScreenBut the information that Facebook gets from me isn’t all I feel I need to be concerned about.  I feel like I have a pretty good feeling of what does and does not need to appear online.  There are things that you do not tell people face-to-face and they don’t want to know about it online, either.  Things like stalking and oh-my-gosh cyberbullying have become huge, huge issues, thanks to Facebook.  The internet creates a place where there are no boundaries and you don’t have to be yourself.  Inhibitions?  Totally gone.  Not always a good thing.

Annother huge issue I have with Facebook is a similar issue that comes up with blogging, or with chatrooms, or with LiveJournal or any other online system- there is no more personal contact.  You see your friend in real life and they go to tell you a story, but BAM!  Not so much, I read your Facebook status.  Oop, fail.  Suddenly you don’t need real friends, because you have Facebook friends, and being plugged in is so much more interesting than real life, because you can chat with your friends and play Farmville at the same time.

Yikes.  What is this world coming to?

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Tweet Me This.

Sammy texting, always plugged in.

“Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite ‘The Iliad.’” ~ Bruce Sterling.

I’ve been thinking today about what to blog about.  That, my friends, is when you know you need a social life.  When, instead of reading a good book on your break, you think about what you’re going to blog about when you get home.  But isn’t that sort of behavior normal?  Very few people bring actual books anywhere (I have a Nook; guilty as charged).  We’re all texting.  Or toting laptops (or netbooks.  I dislike netbooks.  But I know them well and have rationally thought-out reasons).  And you know what people do more than anything else?  Tweet.

Seriously.  I’m not talking “I have nothing to do and so I think I’ll tweet something intelligent in 140 characters.”  It’s “oh hey, I’m walking across the street!  I think I’ll tweet it!”  I’m sure there are plenty of fascinating things that one sees while crossing the street.  I for one know that yesterday, while crossing the street, I came upon some Free-Staters standing in central square with their shirts off screaming “It’s Topless Tuesday!”.  I think they’re petitioning for public nudity or something alone those lines.  Honestly, though, I think I could have waited until I crossed the street to tweet that.

I have a Twitter account.  I never, ever use it.  Once in a blue moon, I’ll log in to see what Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan are saying, because Rose passes on interesting news articles, and Alyssa passes on interesting tidbits period.  Yes.  I am following both of them because I have an unhealthy obsession with the television show Charmed.  But those two perfectly wonderful women are the only thing that keeps me remotely interested in Twitter.

A month ago announces that Twitter had almost 106,000,000 users.  The stats for Twitter are all over the board.  People use it from everywhere.  40% from inside the United States, but that means 60% is from the rest of the world.  The most followed Twitaddict?  Ashton Kutcher.  His grammar needs some work, but some people just can’t handle 140 characters.  But on the flip side, a lot of Twitter’s buzz is people like me:  people who want to try because everyone else is, then aren’t so jazzed about it in the end.  For example, about 80% of Twitter users have tweeted less than 10 times.  That certainly not a lot.

Why?  Why, when we can write so much in blogs, or call each other up on the telephone, are we so obsessed with the 140 character limits?  I am a writer, and short of the call of “social networking,” I don’t understand the attraction, as a writer.  Me?  There are never enough characters.  If I cut something short (like tonight) it’s going to be because I’m tired, not because I’m out of words.

What do I think Twitter is really good for?  Instantaneous spread of information.  Like about this: a moment in time.  Thousands (millions?) of photographs taken all over the globe all at the same time.  Thank you for all your hard work, New York Time.  And thanks, Alyssa Milano, for sharing it.

Modern Wonders of the World

Ray and Libby filming the Colour of Magic; Temple.

“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.” ~ Doug Larsen

Whoever invented the first personal electronic device must’ve thought he was the man.  You know, sometimes I think we’d’ve been better off if we had to write everything by hand.  We’d have hardcopies, at least!  …  Not to mention it would be a lot less wasteful.  And, you know, if I was writing my novel by hand, I wouldn’t’ve almost almost lost the whole thing last night.  A little of me died.  It’s true.  Currently, the Flash Drive of My Life is okay, but my nightmare of a computer isn’t reading it.  I don’t know why, only that I am not amused.

See, everyone is so gung-ho about computers.  Computers are super machines, they can do anything and everything really fast.  If you work with a computer every day with your job then clearly you must know everything to do with any computer in the world every and you can make them do magic tricks.  It’s a lie.  I get so frustrated at work when people look at me as though I’m incompetent because one of our great big super-powered machines is broken.  Machines, according to most people, have two ways of breaking.  The first way, if it isn’t your machine, is by a clumsy operator.  The second way, if it is your machine, is because it was a piece of crap that you were over-charged on anyway and you want your money back and a repair.  Damn it.

Now, sometimes things work out in the end really well.  You get what you want and you get it fast.  That makes computers one of the modern wonders of the world.  It really took genius to invent them.  I’ll give them that credit.  But they are fickle things.  They don’t play well outdoors, they don’t like the sun, they’re self-centered and needy.  Computers are like badly raised, spoiled children.

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Weather ReportWeather Report: It looks like today is going to be a perfect day.  I’m going to be optimistic.  Not too hot, not too cold, and bright and sunny out!  So far, so good.  I’m still waiting for my thunderstorm, though.


tweet-a-twitter-twoo?

something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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