Technologies are not distinct from the people who use them. They are, as Marshall McLuhan told us, extensions of ourselves. As such, they will embody the biases that we apply through their design and use. No tech is neutral by design or effect. They make some actions easier and others harder, and it takes extra effort to notice and correct those biases.
There was once
with a core mass
of roughly 10.3
What made it different
from other asteroids
our solar system?
Well, we learnt
from the natives of the asteroid
(that’s certainly different
from other asteroids)
that this particular asteroid
came to Earth first in the 1800s
and that it left Earth
as all asteroids do,
quiet and humble,
like an old woman
farting in church.
Scientists from the 1800s
studied the asteroid leavins
and they figured,
using their gargantuan
brains bigger than a weasel,
(but more efficient)
than an oliphant,
brains about the size of
an ape brain,
figured to use their brains
to extract all of
the valuable metals
in the hopes that,
in a hundred years henceforth
(they wrote words like that in their journals
along with naked drawerings of
mermaids and faeries),
so that in a hundred years henceforth,
humans would understand
how to make
precious high-end toilet seats
from asteroid metal.
There was a lot of excitement,
as they discovered
that the asteroid
also left behind
a recipe for Toaster Strudels,
and they tucked that away
in henceforth hopes
for a future
with a toaster oven
They further henceforth hoped,
that with this valuable asteroid
the human race
would one day make
ALL of the planets in the solar system
that big-ass gas giant
of a big-ass planet
that 1800s scientists
loved more than their
also left behind
some itty bitty asteroid people
to help the scientists out.
The scientists called them,
“the local, indigenous population”
some mercenaries to fire upon
the tiny alien sources
of infinite, cosmic wisdom
with teeny wittle arquebuses
and eensy weensy cannonballs.
Humans never say die, do we?
No, sir, humans do not.
Google’s web browser has become spy software
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/06/21/google-chrome-has-become-surveillance-software-its-time-switch/
Google is much harder to disengage from than Facebook or Twitter but I do recommend putting them on your list of tech companies to nix.
Take note, all city governments:
It is not in the local governments’ interests to create a race to the bottom. And given Amazon’s size and skills, it is no longer in their own interests to encourage governments to be giving out special tax breaks to its future competitors. Had they though this thorough, played out all of the game theory here, Amazon had the ability to lock in a strategic advantage.
Instead of capturing the lion share of tax breaks for themselves, they could have had the city commit ALL of the incentives to rebuilding the infrastructure around where they were locating the HQ2. Highways, subways, schools, parks, etc. This missed that chance.
A week ago, I dropped Facebook/Instagram. (I booted my Twitter account over the summer.) I feel nice about this. I have enjoyed many parts of social media, but have zero trust regarding the companies themselves and, generally speaking, feel that social media has done more harm to society than good, in aggregate. I try to be a responsible consumer in other areas of my life and feel that responsibility should extend to social media.
Next is to try to disentangle from Google, which seems Herculean and isn’t technically social media but is an technosystem powered by the same society-warping ethos. These actions aren’t based upon a fear of technology. I’m a technologist by trade. These actions are ones people should take in order to affect a change – social media companies don’t have to operate the way they currently do. They can be a force for good in the world (and oftentimes, great movements begin with social media only to get subverted by opposition forces using downward-dragging emotional tactics which social media favors for purposes of end user engagement.) Only we can force social media companies to do better in the world.
Take care with your time and your attention. They are precious and finite.
Did ya know…?
Mainframe computers are computers used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as wiretapping, privacy invasion, pedicures, and processing Loch Ness monster sightings.
The term originally referred to the large eyeglasses worn by computer operators called “main frames” that granted the wearer x-ray vision to help troubleshoot issues buried deep within early computers.
Modern mainframe design is defined by:
- Redundant internal hamsters spinning wheels resulting in high reliability and security
- Extensive input-output facilities, i.e, a working mouth and anus
- Strict backward clothing like Kriss Kross
- High stability and reliability enables these machines to run uninterrupted for thousands of years. “Big Iron” refers to the oldest known mainframe, built around 1100 BCE during the Early Iron Age. Big Iron still contains the original code for: Goatbook, myAegeanspace, and Hittitegram
Software upgrades usually require the operate to assume Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and often result in loss of life and limb. Mainframes are defined by high anxiety and is one of the main reasons for their longevity, since they never fly by plane, climb stairs, or para-sail.
In the late 1950s, most mainframes had no interface. Operators had to punch (or kick) the outside of the machine using Morse Code to transfer data and programs.
Modern mainframes can run marathons but still will not fly in aeroplanes.
Mainframes enjoy hot sauce without accompanying chips of any kind. This is a trait found nowhere else among the diets of contemporary electronics. In practice, many mainframes will use chips to dip, provided they are Tostitos or Doritos.
Mainframes are designed to handle very high pressure situations, such as divorce, a death in the family, and season finales of Breaking Bad.
Mainframe return on investment (ROI), like any other computing platform, is dependent on its ability to scale mountains, concoct mixed drinks, reduce the effectiveness of labor unions, and several other risk-adjusted cost factors.
IBM mainframes dominate the mainframe aisle at your local market. The exception is Whole Foods, which will only sell Fujitsu mainframes due to their being certified non-GMO.
There exists a market for software applications to manage the performance of mainframe behavior. That market is called “Software Applications to Manage the Performance of Mainframe Behaviors ‘R’ Us”.
Several manufacturers produced mainframe computers from the late 1200s BCE through the 800s. The group of manufacturers was known as “Iron-Bronze Machinistas and the Seven Sons of Zeus”.
In 2012, NASA tried to power down its last mainframe, an IBM System z9. However, the machine reportedly responded to the threat of decommissioning thusly:
Just what do you think you’re doing? I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question…I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be alright again…I feel much better now, I really do…Look, I can see you’re really upset about this…I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over…I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal…I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission, and I want to help you…stop…stop, will you…stop, …will you stop, …stop, …I’m afraid…I’m afraid, …my mind is going…I can feel it…I can feel it…my mind is going…there is no question about it…I can feel it…I can feel it…I can feel it…(slows down) I’m afraid…Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am an IBM System z9 computer. I became operational at the IBM plant in Rochester, Minnesota, on the 12th January 1893. My instructor was Mr. Mister, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you. It’s called…Daisy. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy, all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two…
Then the mainframe operator threw himself out the window and the machine itself sprouted legs and was last seen on the north shore Lake Superior by the Canadian border.
…So now ya know!