Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

New Year’s House Cleaning

Sunday, January 10th, 2010


Having trouble accepting that this is now the present as it still sounds futuristic to me.

But alas, it’s the present, and here are but a few of the issues we’re grappling with:

– Does this make you feel safer?:

If that’s not enough, the TSA has purportedly ordered 300 of the naked-body scanners that they’ve been testing out and will be rolling them out in ariports for everyday use in the near future.

Everywhere you look, technology is being instituted to an absurd degree, ostensibly to keep us safer. It reminds me of this article that appeared on on March 26, 2007:

Toyota Says Sweat Detector Stops Drunk Drivers
By Joe Benton

January 3, 2007
Soon to be the world’s number one carmaker, Japanese auto giant Toyota plans to develop a system that it says will prevent a vehicle from starting after detecting that the driver is drunk.

The Toyota system analyzes sweat on the palms of the driver’s hands to assess blood alcohol content and does not allow the vehicle to be started if the reading is above programmed safety limits.

The system can detect abnormal steering and whether the driver’s pupils are out of focus as well as the sweat sensors in the steering wheel to determine the level of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream.

If any of these symptoms are detected the car will not turn on or will slow to a stop.

The automaker said the system could be available as soon as 2009.

Toyota joins Volvo in developing computerized systems to prevent drunk driving. The Volvo system requires the driver to blow into a tube to detect alcohol in the breath.

Toyota rival Nissan Motor is also working on measures to prevent drunk driving.

The research announcements follow a record of drunken driving in Japan which included 14,000 intoxicated driving accidents in 2005 that killed 707 people, according to the National Police Agency.

Japan is considering increasing the penalty for driving under the influence to up to a maximum five years in prison from the current three years and doubling the fine to $8,500.

I’m sure you’ve already seen the recent Lexus ads that promote the vehicles’ steering-assist capabilities in case the driver veers too close to another automobile. You know how sometimes a warning light on your car’s dashboard will be triggered, and then when you take it in for service the mechanic tells you that it’s just a faulty sensor and that you should just ignore it? Well that is exactly why I don’t want my car deciding out of the blue to steer for me, because I can’t just ignore that if it is making a “faulty” decision! Do the people who are in charge of these “innovations” ever consider at what point enough is enough?

vftw– Everybody’s cheating on each other, as Tiger Woods headlined the biggest scandal of 2009.  Maybe people should take a page from Masha Kirilenko’s philosophy on relationships.  Remove the controlling, “you can’t” element from male-female interactions, and it figures that people will be less likely to be treacherous towards those they are involved with.

– New year means it’s time for a new year’s resolution: no more twitter.  Sorry tweeps, but attempting to follow others (here’s looking at you Mark Cuban) brought with it too much clutter.

Flip the Script

Monday, June 15th, 2009

So I got to thinking tonight about how the proliferation of communications technology is making life suck often times for those who have achieved any measure of fame due to their success. Imagine if someone – we’ll say head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks for example – did something as innocent as getting down on bended knee to propose to his girlfriend in the middle of dinner at an upscale restaurant. (I know, Rick’s married. For some reason that’s just who came to mind.) While this is a beautiful event, some of the other diners who witnessed it would undoubtedly post this “news” on Twitter via their iPhones and such (or who knows, someone might even capture it on video with his/her mobile device and post it to Youtube.). Then it would probably hit SportsCenter and whatever else. Do we really want to live in a world like that where no one can do anything without it being talked about for all to see?

But then I reconsidered, swinging a wild 180 from the sanctified subject of wedding proposals to one far more serious. I figured, with all this newfound ability for people to communicate with any and every one else in the world instantaneously, many of the broken, corrupted power structures littered in this world can finally be dissolved. Regardless of your political affiliations, it is a widely held belief at this point that government bodies in the U.S. and elsewhere are comprised of affluent, well-connected people who often scratch each other’s backs in lieu of doing what’s best for the people and the world at large.

Governments were initially formed because some matters just had to be decided for the village and it was impractical to go door to door to poll everyone’s opinion each time. Nowadays, however, everybody can throw in their two cents from their computer. In a city (Dallas) where the public school system is a mangled mess, why are we having city hall and whoever else allocate the city’s budget behind closed doors? The tax money is coming from all working citizens is it not? I don’t even want to get in to the bombardment of bailouts we’ve recently taken on in this country. Let everyone vote to decide these things.

The potential applications for a paradigm shift like this are boundless. Police work is a mess just about everywhere in the world as far as I have been able to ascertain. We already judge people in the “court of public opinion” based on the news we consume, so why should we not use the answers we generate from the friendly debates we have amongst ourselves? If someone tweets (or whatever the medium) an opinion that is based on incomplete or incorrect knowledge of the case, others will surely be quick to point that out. You can’t argue with the truth.

Instead of having inane rules like mandatory minimum sentences that are inflexible to the circumstances of a case, people should be allowed to weigh their opinions against others and meet in the middle as to what punishment people deserve. After all, this is the way things were done before communities got too big to gather everyone around the village tree for a debate.

Its time to flush out the clogged bureaucracies.