Saturday, December 09, 2006

technology: the wave of the future

perhaps you've never had the pleasure of reading my brilliant ruminations on technology -- and i don't mean the paranoid bradbury/orwell/huxley predictions. i mean totally FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY that will save us all. well i've got a new one, and it's good.

so global warming is destroying the world. the temperature's getting too high (can anyone in New York deny the bizarre warmness this winter season?), the cold climate animals are being forced from their habitats, glaciers are melting, the level of the oceans is rising, even more severe weather than we've seen in the past few years is on its way -- and that's not even getting into peripherally related apocalyptic problems connected with global warming, like the waning of oil reserves and -- even further away -- the horrible political messes we're in due in part to fuel. but i digress.

what i'm talking about here is saving the planet on the most immediate physical level by reducing global warming. and how will we accomplish that? why, by keeping the north and south poles cold, of course! and how will we do that? with a COLD GENERATOR, of course, which is essentially a big freezer. now hang on a minute, you might be thinking. if we have a cold power generator on the planet to bring coldness to the poles, that power generator will contribute to the earth's warming as much, if not more, than our current warming does. well that's why we're going to put the cold generator ON THE MOON.

since the same side of the moon always faces the earth (good moon info here) this might be able to work. but since i'm not a technologist, i'm not 100% sure (only like 99%). other options for the cold generator could be to just put it in space within earth's orbit, or have it be a satellite rotating around the moon to keep the lines to the poles in place and untangled. i quote john lennon: you may say i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one. you know what would have happened if they told albert einstein not to dream? we wouldn't have the theory of relativity, that's what.

so the cold generator would reduce global warming, which seems like it would be an unequivocally good thing. but the other problems i mentioned above, like the waning of the oil reserves (and the imminent apocalypse associated with that) and the nightmarish political messes we're in (and the imminent apocalypse associated with that) will not be solved at all if our planet is kept relatively healthy. in fact all a healthy planet would provide is a ground on which those problems can continue to play themselves out. gross. maybe all of the horribleness is meant to happen at once. maybe the apocalypse is one big apocalypse where everything collapses together. could be...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


did anyone else listen to the hearings of the Iraq Study Group yesterday? it was the top story everywhere, but unfortunately i found much of the coverage, yesterday at least, focusing on the fact that the group said the current strategy in iraq is not working. that's just a fraction of what they said. i was completely heartened and amazed at the realistic, bipartisan, mature approach of the recommendations and the general spirit of the panel. the group was obviously already in the works before the midterm elections, but would such an outcome have been possible before then? your guess is as good as mine.

the most incredible recommendation, the one that gave me the most hope, was the recommendation that the U.S. engage with Iran and Syria diplomatically to discuss the issue of Iraq. i'm no fan of ahmedinejad, but because i'm scared of him i think we need to talk to him. the u.s. government's flippant dismissals of ahmedinejad every time he has tried to make contact are some of the worst, most hubristic diplomatic moves i've ever witnessed. the best chance for disarming iran's nuclear weapons, for peace in the region, for israel's survival, entails making friends with iran. if bush can't stand to do that on ahmedinejad's terms, iraq gives him a chance to unite with him against a common enemy (that is, iraqi civil war). this is an incredible opportunity for the tides to turn in the middle east, and i have a lot of hope.

i realize i may be overstating things a bit here, and that ahmedinejad is a crazy, power hungry, jew-hating semi-dictator. there are many incredibly complex problems in the middle east, and i don't expect this to solve everything. but what we've done so far has clearly not worked, has clearly been so wrong, and right now we are presented with a real, viable window to try something else. i hope bush can suck up the machismo and become as mature as the recommendations of the panel.

however, even if bush does not accept the iraq panel's recommendations, there is hope in tom lantos, CA congressman, soon-to-be head of the house international relations committee (he should be confirmed later today), AND holocaust survivor, who urges the u.s. to sit down with syria and iran. lantos was the first member of the u.s. government to reestablish diplomatic ties with albania and libya, and he clearly understands the key component talking plays in peace. whether or not bush accepts the panel's recommendations, lantos, in his new power as chair of the international committee, will probably be able to move forward with the international diplomacy our government so lacks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

the ubiquitous's coming

my friend matt informed me that the next phase of mobile technology is wifi access everywhere and color screens for everyone. since he works in corporate advertising, and has that on good word from motorola, and it seems perfectly logical, i believe it.

actually, on second thought, it seems perfectly crazy and scary as hell. you know those wall-sized screens in fahrenheit 451 where people constantly interact with and watch TV -- essentially live there? this is ray bradbury's vision, slightly modified, come true. him, aldous huxley, george orwell, the visionaries of apocalyptic mind control futures...all of their shit has come true in one way or another. mankind wooing itself into sublimated destruction through technology, rather than exploding in violent armageddon (though that may be happening, too).

on a practical level, this means the disappearance of any kind of media that does not use moving images, which we may be seeing the first phase of in the "multimedia expansions" of print publications. and the trendy desire to do podcasts and sound production? nothing but a passing fad, my friends, nothing but a passing fad. video is gonna be where it's at, and there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it, except, of course, learn Flash and Avid and Final Cut Pro. the one place where radio will survive is in the place where we can't use screens -- the car. i never thought i'd say this, but please god, don't let a subway be built in L.A.

why this pathetic, sappy, luddite attachment to the past? why not suck it up and look to the future with excitement and readiness? because the future is inferior to the past. it is a future where the world's double -- the images of the world -- is about to eclipse reality, where imagination is stifled because the deluge of pictures leaves room for nothing else, and where patience and the value of savoring words are distant memories. maybe they already are.

am i just being overly dramatic here? i don't know. but i don't see myself allowing the ubiquitous screen to take over my life quietly. i don't know what shape the fight will take, but i shan't go peacefully. death first!