Archive for the ‘information age’ Category

Time for Covidic Database

May 5, 2020

Just looking around, I notice we’re in an information age.

Everywhere you look there’s info.

CovidGraf

The info gets stored and horded and whored in e-bundles to be harvested by humans and their bot-slaves. Then the info becomes digitally transformed into  a magic thing called data.

Now everywhere you go online, or off, there’s  a data trail that is tucked away somewhere in vast e-storage bins. Those gigabytes reside interminably in quiet isolation, until the gigs and megs are retrieved  by a dutifully wonkish  techie or faceless bot for various purposes:

Some purposes good, some bad. It’s all out there somewhere.

The system wants to serve you; the system wants to screw you. Its two sides of a digital coin or crypto coin or a capitalist dream or a socialist nightmare. Maybe its your best friend and maybe its your worst enemy.

We’ve learned that the powers-that-be open some mystical flood gates of that Big River of Idolic Desire. The powers  dangle desirable stuff and images of desirable people in front of your eyes so you’ll buy stuff you think you need to be like them, and by so doing you make yourself contented while  keeping the corporate ogres fat n happy as you become fat n happy like them.

Now many of us have begun to to discern that the data mining environment that we’ve surrounded ourselves with is corruptive.

Then Whammo!

Suddenly we have a worldwide disease that corners us into making judgements about what we must or should do to collectively  strike the disease down, or permit it to continue running rampant across our nation and the world.

Some data you know about; you can figure out what the social media operators are doing behind the scenes; other data is hidden. They say data is being gathered about you all the time in everything you do, and it is controversial because you don’t even know what it is that the wizards of data are putting together right now as we speak about you and yours and your habits and your travels and your social interactions and your blah blah blah and who cares about your stuff anyway. Maybe your mother cares about your stuff, or your boss or your partner or Boomchokka Analytica.

I don’t care about your data, although I am writing about it now in a matter-of-fact way because it does constitute a chunk of megabytes somewhere on that mega database in the sky or wherever the hell it is. You may get a call about it some time from Big Brother, although I doubt that because he likes to keep a low profile.

But I regress. As I was sayin’. . .everywhere you look, data this and data that. Database this and database that. Who cares?

Well now we’ve just found out that everybody needs to know about your stuff because of the damned coronavirus.

I mean, they don’t actually need to know about all your data stuff just . . .

whether you test positive for the COVID-19.

It’s just that simple, but now it happens to be a matter of life and death, not just a question of how much money some corporate entity can make off you.

We need to put together a database, you see, about the coronavirus so the professional health people and the doctors and the epidemiologists and the patholgists and the DHHS can make informed decisions about the best way to drive this damned disease back into the ground, instead of it floating around in droplets and vapors amongst the shoppers and the meat-cutters and the hair stylists and the movie ticket-takers and whoever else is trying to keep you satisfied while themselves  making a living in a public place in this here United States of America.

And furthermore, as it turns out now in this life and death situation of Covidic ruin, that mega database in the sky needs to get some real facts about how many deceased have actually met their demise because of Covid—not because of some other disease.

I just hope that the data-geeks can pull all this stuff together in a useful way without generating a hornet’s nest of privacy doowop flipflops.

We need to get some of these statistics straightened out so that discontented folks with gun-totin’ public tantrums can’t get out there in the public square and confuse uninformed citizens about how many folks actually died of  Covid and how many died of some other causes.

Just the facts—that’s what we need now. Read ‘em and weep.

Therefore we could theoretically make good use a Covid-infection database, so statisticians can project accurately and responsibly about how many people will likely catch the disease in the days and months ahead. . .

and to what extent public and commercial spaces ought to be opened up and made available again for common use so we can move  reasonably, safely beyond the socially-distanced construct under which we presently strain.

You see, just now when we are, as a human race, aspiring to survive and prosper on this planet in spite of the Covid destruction, we now hear reports of protests bustin’ out in the town squares and on the net, exerting pressure on whoever’s in charge to renew the openings and operation of this, that, or the other business, because so-and-so is fed up with the lockdown and Billy Jo is tired of the social distancing and Peggy Sue wants to get her hair done and Arnold wants to go work out in the gym and blah blah blah and mainly . . .

People want to get back to work.

We can understand that.

But We find ourselves in a nationwide conundrum because so many folk are getting  stir-crazy and they wanna push the envelope while others are goody-to-shoes politically correct and wanna play by the rules when we don’t have any rules yet about whether the covid numbers are political hype to impose political control on the clueless masses, or. . .

prudent practice for the defeating of Covid. . .

whichever the case may be.

But really, this whole big baileywick comes down to answering this very important question:

Who has the Covid-19 inside of them? and

Who has not?

So it makes sense (does it not?) to test everybody.

A testing campaign on a national scale and beyond, on a world scale, would not only provide a workable database for informed decision-making by medical doctors and pandemic-preventers but also

such a project as this would generate a whole lot of new employment opportunities for a lot of people. . . especially

Good training for new trainees in the profession of public health. They may be battling this disease for a long time. . . long after I’m dead and gone after 68 years of watching this amazing world cruise by.

Public health becomes more and more of a problem to-be-solved, as covid creeps through the mire of our excessive abuses and misuses.

A reliable Covid database would become an expanding industry during this time of suddenly massive unemployment.

It would require lots of people to be hired to gather information about who got infected and who did not. . . who died of the covid disease and who died of some other dysfunction.

We need to know.

So Get tested soon.

It’s your patriotic duty.

It’s that simple: get tested for Covid. Then we can get on with our lives.

Glass half-Full

Those vague Covid-deaths statistics

April 22, 2020

Pertaining to the dreaded COVID-19, what I am wondering about is:

Reports in the last week or two about “protesters” in several states indicate that patience with restrictive measures is wearing thin in more citizens, as the days roll by. This development is, if you think about it, really no surprise, especially here in the land of the free. Associated with this discontent is a new idea that does legitimately merit some investigation and consideration.

CovidQuest

The idea is based on numbers — numbers of people who actually die from Covid after being infected by it. Some are seeing that the death ratio is actually very low among the large number of persons infected. Associated with this report is that the “numbers” of persons infected is actually much, much higher than generally reported.

This discrepancy over mortality percentage is due, to some extent, to the very fact that we have very few numbers about actual Covid cases to begin with. . . which also gets to the fact of having so few “tests.”

My wife is an ICU nurse. She is 62, working in a small town hospital in a North Carolina with very low infection numbers, as reported by our NC Dept. Health and Human Services. She has completed ~~15 or so~ shifts of 12-hour duration since this pandemic took hold of everything.

She has yet to be tested.

The buzz going round among people who are itching to get back to normal is: many, many more people have actually contracted Covid than we think, and it only makes a small percentage actually sick, and only a small percentage of those infected actually die.

So what about this? Is there any verity to this quasi-widespread interpretation of “the numbers” ? which says a) there are many more people than we think, walking around already infected with Covid, but they don’t even know it, and b) the damned disease doesn’t really make you very sick unless you have co-morbidities associated with old age or some other pre-existing health problem.

Somebody who has reliable information on this popular report — please clear this up, or send a test kit to every citizen in these United States.

Glass half-Full 

The SwanSwoon of our Era

March 21, 2020

In her recent article at Social Europe,  Indian economist Jayeti Ghosh  accurately identifies a major consequence of our worldwide collective anti-COVID restrictions:

  “Supply chains are being disrupted, factories are being closed, entire regions are being locked down and a growing number of workers are struggling to secure their livelihoods. “

  https://www.socialeurope.eu/the-covid-19-debt-deluge

Her statement does indeed identify the crux of our economic problem right now, and the global complexity does unleash trouble on a very large, international scale.

You might say this COVID-crash is the “Crash of ’29” of our era.

Some compare this tsunami to the crash of ’08, or the blah-blah of ’87 (whatever that was.)  But it seems to me this thing is unwinding as an event historically more far-reaching than those two economic downfalls. This Covid thing can be compared to  what happened in 1929.

The Crash of ’29 exposed the vulnerability of a newly-Industrialized USA. This present Covid-crash exposes the vulnerability of a newly-Internetted World.

Ms. Ghosh is correct in her observation when she writes:

  “Today’s financial fragility far predates the Covid-19 ‘black swan’.”

The black swan represents the unlikely possibility that something like this could happen . . . . even though it did.

It seems to me the immensity of our present global Covid co-morbidity is indeed directly related to our newfound world connectivity in trade, travel and talk. The black swan in the background represents this unprecedented development in world history.

Swans

In that same technocratic network to which Ms. Ghosh contributes, Social Europe, Karin Pettersson posts her insightful analysis of our Covid conundrum, which includes this accurate assessment:

   “Already however, we know this: this type of disease cannot be efficiently fought at an individual level, but only as a society. It requires preparation, co-ordination, planning and the ability to make rapid decisions and scale up efforts. A strong state.

But nor is government enough. The situation demands personal responsibility, a sense of duty, concern for one’s neighbour. “

     https://www.socialeurope.eu/the-corona-crisis-will-define-our-era

What she writes there is so true. I agree.

Karin goes on to pose  a question that is surely the crux of the problem for millions of earth-inhabiting workers:

   “Yet what will you do if you simply cannot afford to stay at home?”

And I’m thinking . . . because of this widespread affordability problem, the response of governments and corporations in the days ahead should reflect benevolence, not authoritarian oppression. At least I hope it will.

Karin Pettersson also presents this profound thought:  

   “I wonder if young people might come to think that authoritarian China dealt with the crisis better than the US—the land of the free.”

We shall witness, in the days ahead, how this dilemma is dealt with between China, USA, and all the other nations of this planet.

Karin’s bright insight becomes dimmed, however, when she criticizes, in the same article cited above, Vice President Mike Pence’s public act of leading scientists in prayer.

She is displeased that Pence, a former Indiana governor, had cut funding for HIV-virus research and prevention, back in the day. . .

I can understand Ms. Petterssen’s emphatic let’s fix this humanism. It is quite the de rigeur among technocrat intelligencia who would like to run the world, because they could certainly do a more equitable and better job than all those corporate 1%ers whose rabid profit-taking shenanigans have now made such a mess of things.

 Yes, Virginia, the news is bad. Read ’em and weep. . . but act, benevolently. That also  goes for all you 1%ers out there who think you’re in charge of things.

But I also like to remember, and take seriously, a statement that I heard, many years ago, from a fellow who was then what I now am, an ole geezer.

  “What we need now is some damn prayer!”

So Let’s all work together harmoniously to get these problems solved. And remember that a little help from the OneWhoIs could only render our burdens a little easier to bear.

Glass half-Full

Bypassing GooFacAmzEtcetera?

January 16, 2020

Have you ever ignored a very long “Terms and Conditions” contract,  by scrolling past all the fineprint so that you could sign at the bottom and move on?

Maybe you remember doing that a time or two—maybe ten or twenty times—just so you could gain access to some online service that you felt you needed to have right away.

I don’t know about you; but I have, many times.

Could it be that those unread contracts were the slippery slope where we began sliding into GooFacAmzEtcetera’s blank-check permissions to move us around like tokens around on an online monopoly board?

Could it be that that data-mining-manipulating-mindreading AI-bringing bundle all started with those fine-print contracts that we ignored back in the day?

Did we sign-off all our legal rights, for the sake of quick and easy internet surfing?

Maybe that’s the crossroads where we sold our data-souls to the devilitating database from hellbot.

Maybe that’s the bush bearing megabytes we’re better off not having bitten into?

TheMegaByte

Maybe that’s the open window where data analytics, data mining, data snooping and data mind-manipulation snuck in to abscond our online data-booty that we didn’t even know was booty because we were too occupied with bling or blather or boobs or blobs of blahblah.

Are you benefitted by googoo reading your mind? Do you feel the warm-fuzzies when faseboo gets you hooked up to a cyber-buddies. Do you buy into Amz  tossing up product images to instigate your next purchase?

In those ultra-long documents that we so hastily dismissed, there’s just no telling what details, legal rights, restrictions, disclaimers or general b.s. we may have thoughtlessly cast aside by declining an opportunity to reject the deal.

In recent times, we have seen reports about online snooping by GooFaceAmzEtcetera, invasion of privacy, predatory data-collection, even surveillance, which all together seems to add up to:   BigBrutha spying on us, to read our minds, manipulate our habits, and make bigbucks off of us, or politically manipulate our very predictable and manipulable online behavior.

Maybe you’re okay with BigBrutha bullying your life by baling into your blanks, bringing bling or blather or  boobs or blobs of blahblah.

Or maybe you would prefer to obliterate the cyber busybodies’ bullshit  by bringing in blockchain, blockstack, blockcoin, blockstock and/or Buterinian bypassing for buffering the buffoonery and bypassing the bullying beyond its ability to bind up your booty-blather and thereby bestow it in billowing clouds to the burgeoning BigBrutha database.

However you decide, now you know what the choices are! You have hereby been red-pilled, or blue-pilled, as your personalized database maybe.

And if you think this is all just bullshit blight, you may be bright.

Glass half-Full

Crossing the Great Divide

December 26, 2019

Life is flexible and creative.

Mathematics is different from life; it is definite and conclusive.

When certain modern mathematicians recently figured out—and admitted— that equations can not account for all truth about life itself, they actually enabled themselves to make a quantum leap forward in human communications.

What George Gilder calls the mathematics of information theory is actually a “math of creativity.”

Human creativity is required to make this math work properly. If humans would not intervene—if we were to choose not to intervene, not to tweak, not to program—our stupid, soul-less computers would “churn away forever.”

Caught up in a never-ending loop—that’s what computers would do if we didn’t manage them and tell them what to do.

How did such a bright idea enlighten the computering pioneers of our 20th-21st century progress?

In his book, Life After Google, George Gilder describes a series of progressive mathematical proofs that eventually brought us to an advanced stage of modern mathematics. Beginning mainly with Isaac Newton, these theorems collectively lead, step-by-step, to a system of proven mathematical truths.

But the mathematicians ran into a problem—a dead end. The roadblock showed up shortly after a certain fellow, David Hilbert, came along and, being absolutely  sure that we could express all knowledge mathematically, famously said: “We must know; we will know!”

It seems to me David was gathering his sustenance from an old source that was long ago proven unreliable; it was, I surmise, that phenom that Moses called the “Tree of Knowledge.”

Actually, it was a little while later that his assistant—a fellow named John von Neumann—provided the missing link that exposed Hilbert’s wishful thinking for what is was.

Along those link lines, George Gilder provides in his book a list of other mathematicians and scientists whose work contributed to John von Neumann’s breakthrough. The list includes Kurt Gödel, Gregory Chaitin, Hubert Yockey, Alan Turing, Claude Shannon.

George Gilder explains. . .

“Gödel’s insights led directly to Claude Shannon’s information theory, which underlies all computers and networks today.”

In the midst of this move forward away from mathematical determinism and into creative computing, the contribution of John von Neumann was to encourage Gödel in his emerging proof that absolute mathematical proof was impossible.

Along this path of computing enlightenment, Gilder points out that

“Gödel’s proof prompted Alan Turing’s invention in 1936 of the Turing machine—the universal computing architecture with which he showed that computer programs, like other logical schemes, were not only incomplete but could not even be proved to reach any conclusion. Any particular program might cause it (the computer) to churn away forever. This was the ‘halting problem.’Computers required what Turing called ‘oracles’ to give them instructions and judge their outputs.”

Those “oracles” are human beings. Guess what: Computers need us if they’re going to work correctly!

George Gilder goes on to explain in his book that this creative guidance from us, homo sapiens, is what leads, and has lead to, all the computer progress we have seen in modern times.

Along that path of progress, Larry and Sergei came along and harnessed all that creative oracularity into a thing called Google.

You may have heard of it.

My takeaway is that, back in the dawn of the computer age . . . while Hilbert was chowing down on the Tree of Knowledge, his assistant Von Neumann managed to pluck some life-sustaining nourishment from the Tree of Life.

Gilderbook

Along those lines, here’s a cool quote from George Gilder:

“Cleaving all information is(:) the great divide between creativity and determinism, between information entropy of surprises and thermo-dynamic entropy of predictable decline, between stories that capture a particular truth and statistics that reveal a sterile generality.”

 Maybe you have to be a computer nerd to process all that quote in your very own CPU, or you may be like me and just read a lot . . .

King of Soul

From the Brave New World

November 23, 2019

I’m glad I got to hear that before I die.

That’s what I told Pat, my wife, immediately as we stood up to join a standing ovation for the Charlotte Symphony last night.

Pat makes all the arrangements, you see, for our concerts and outings and travels and every other adventure we’ve had in the last forty years.

So I thanked her for making it possible for me to hear Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, in live performance, before I pass into eternity.

And I must say that the Charlotte Symphony’s treatment of it, under the guest conducting hand of Ilyich Rivas,  was masterful—very tender and very strong.

     http://www.charlottesymphony.org/

The oboe adagio in the slow second movement fully met my expectations, after having listened intently to the piece probably thirty or forty times as offered by the New York Philharmonic on youtube.

And those trombones in the final cadence did not fail to summon a tear from my eyes, as their vibrantly forthright sounding forth renewed my confidence in human excellence.

During the intermission I read in the program notes about Dvořák’s composition of that symphony—his No. 9—and its premiere performance in New York, in 1893.

DvNewWorld

The Czech composer had been recruited to our (American) National Conservatory of Music in 1892. His mission was to import a little of that Old World excellence to our New World.

And goshdarn! did he do it!

His New World Symphony ranks right up there as some of the greatest symphonic music ever to be composed on this side of the Atlantic. It’s right up there with Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

If you ever have an opportunity to stand in Prague’s Old Town Square and behold Ladislav Šaloun’s statue of Jan Hus, you may catch a  glimpse of the passion that must have driven Dvořák’s resolve to compose such an orchestral masterpiece.

I’m glad I lived to see it.

Since the music was composed in New York City, I will provide here this link to the New York Philharmonic performance of it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HClX2s8A9IE   

In other news of my yesterday. . .

Earlier in the day I had finished reading Andrew Marantz’s excellent book analysis of contemporary alt-right online misadventures:

    https://www.amazon.com/Antisocial-Extremists-Techno-Utopians-Hijacking-Conversation-ebook/dp/B07NTXSP69

And I will offer as a closing thought, a quote from Andrew’s account of what he uncovered in the world of ultra right-wing fanaticism. Toward the end of his research project, Marantz arrived at an eye-opening discovery about the so-called media “gatekeepers” in our mad world of media, formerly on the airwaves ~~~ now online.

Because we do indeed live in a “New World”. . . a world that is continuously renewing itself, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways.

In the quote below, Andrew Marantz is referring to the “gatekeepers” of our former (20th-century) times. They are primarily the major broadcast networks and news publications that came to dominate our public culture in the postwar 20th-century; but they have in this 21st-century been overtaken by the new superpowers of online media.

You know what I’m talkin’ about.  Their initials are FaceGooAmazTwittetc. One particular CEO of that cartel, the honorable Mr. Z, was recently put on the Congressional hotplate for public inspection.

As Andrew Marantz, the New Yorker writer, neared the end of his alt-right research opus, Antisocial,

  https://www.amazon.com/Antisocial-Extremists-Techno-Utopians-Hijacking-Conversation-ebook/dp/B07NTXSP69

He exposes a raw nerve in this,  our brave new cyberworld, a world in which the outmoded moguls of 20th-century media have been eclipsed by the new titans of 21st-century webdom.

Like it or not, these denizens of the updated corporate Deep must rise to the public surface to accept some responsibility for oversight in the polarizing electronic net that we’ve cornered ourselves into.

Here’s part of what Mr. Marantz has to say about it:

And yet this is the world we live in. For too long, the gatekeepers who ran the most powerful information-spreading systems in human history were able to pretend that they weren’t gatekeepers at all. Information wants to be free; besides, people who take offense should blame the author, not the messenger; anyway, the ultimate responsibility lies with each consumer. Now, instead of imagining that we occupy a postgatekeeper utopia, it might make more sense—in the short term, at least—to demand better, more thoughtful gatekeepers.

It’s a brave new world out there, boobie. Somebody’s gotta be brave, if not them, then who?

Us? But, but, as Pogo once said, long ago in the old media world: we have seen the enemy . . . and he is us!

King of Soul

From Wealth of Nations to Wealth of Data

September 2, 2019

Our Declaration of Independence is not the only hallmark document of the year 1776.

There was another one: Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, which Wikipedia refers to as a magnum opus.

Magnum opus means pretty doggone important idea, as the multilectic development of our dialectical ideas shape  history.

Smith’s groundbreaking insights propelled our modernizing world into the age of Economics, a new time when the effects of money and industrial productivity began to channel human culture in ways that outweighed traditional institutions.

The Church, the Royals, such ancient paths of power were, in the long run of history, outmoded by the power of the buck.

Freedom to gather wealth was being distributed widely among new, rising enterprisers in society, instead of being controlled by the purse of the Popes or the money of the Monarchs.

Now the tide is turning again, in a major way.

But it’s turning back the other way.

Oh, not back to the Church or the King, but back to another select group—the data mining Social Media.

Now Wealth of Nations morphs to Wealth of Data.

And it seems it happened in the blinking of an eye, so to speak.

All our data that we generate through ubiquitous universal social media gets scooped up and recycled as fodder to generate future wealth, for somebody.

For Whom? Who is gathering the new Wealth of Nations through our electronic and wifi conduits of the Wealth of Data?

Robber barons, monopolists, capitalists, opportunists, daytraders, speculators, hedgefunders, algorithmists, hackers, gamblers, midnight ramblers?

Future wealth, for somebody. . . for whomever is using the data as a field for harvest —to skim new wealth, through  their privileged knowledge of out trendy, predictable human habits. . . our fashions, fetishes, foibles and infamous freedoms.

Freedom to spend, mostly. Especially with all the cardswiping that you see in every spending venue these days.

It’s so easy to spend money nowadays.

Even if you don’t have any!

Using the data streams to  anticipate where the “markets” are headed, where the money’s going . . .those watchful, AI-wielding movers and shakers behind the scenes can know exactly when and where to lower their clickbait nets, and scoop up a big mess of digital debits or financial fish.

“Markets” being the main concentrations of consumer and business wealth that are being spent every day as we live and breathe and spend.

A lot of people are starting to figure this out, about now.

Some have been noticing the profit potentialities for awhile. Others have known from the beginning. They are the ones who have been establishing data-mining as the latest phase of capitalism.

I learned something about this, this morning, when I read Karin Petersson’s report about it on the Social Europe site.

   https://www.socialeurope.eu/politics-in-the-age-of-data

Karin’s opening statement got my attention in a big way.

“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”

That is so true, Karin.

I went on to read her concise treatise, which consisted of an insightful cautionary statement about the three main problems of this data-mining development. I will list those three here, while recommending that you read her article in order to get her thoughts from her article—not mine.

Karin’s list of the three problems:

~~Rage machine

~~Winner takes all

~~Survival of Democracy?

She is calling into question the survivability of democracy in these new social media conditions that have overtaken our way of life.

You should read it.  https://www.socialeurope.eu/politics-in-the-age-of-data

Now I do have something to say about her opening statement:

“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”

So true.

But I confess that my free-thinking mind dropped the KM bomb on me. That is. . . Karl Marx.

. . . not that Karin is a Marxist or anything like that.

My point is that even if you DO understand the forces shaping the world . . . odds are you still can’t change it!

Oh yes, maybe you can make some beneficial contributions, maybe some helpful new ideas, but convincing yourself that you can change the world based on what you know or understand about it . . . that is a dream that will never come true.

Take the Karl himself, and his idea: The factories and businesses of industrial production are owned by a few rich people.  If the regular working people—the proletariat— could take over that means of production and do a fairer job of running it— then society could distribute the wealth in an equitable way. Everybody would have a piece of the pie and we could all live then in an egalitarian commune.

Happily ever after, as they say.

Certainly I am oversimplifying this scenario, but I do it for the sake of simply making this point: You can’t change the world, even if youdo  understand the forces that are shaping it.

My layman’s reading, for instance, of Marx/Engels Communist Manifesto led me to the conclusion that their analysis of capitalism as it was developing in the mid-19th century was, for the most part, accurate!

They predicted, for instance, the alienation that would indeed later take hold of many workers as a result of having to perfoem repetitive production tasks.

So Marx, Engels and others later went on to prescribe a fix for the problem: dictatorship of the proletariat.

When Lenin, Trotsky and others got a hold of this concept they acted on it.

But look what happened. Things got bloody. By the time Stalin got hold of the new development, the formerly fresh thrust of worldwide communism turned into prison gulag.

And it did not recover until the time of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc.

That’s one small idea for a man . . . and one giant, very hard lesson learned for mankind.

You can’t change the world, even if you do understand the forces that are changing it.

In the present context of data mining, this principle would perhaps translate to: find a way to regulate the data-miners, but don’t try to take the whole damned machine away from them. This is merely capitalism in its emerging 21st-century form.

DataMining

Neither the technocrats in Brussels, nor the bureaucrats in Washington can stem the tides of history. You just have to regulate those who control the Wealth of Data, insofar as it is Constitutionally  possible, and leave the rest to each individual citizen’s free will and judgement.

The same principle applies, btw, for Climate Change.

Education, for whosoever is willing to learn, is the remedy. Not control. We all need to be convinced to to the right thing.

Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness must be assured for all, in spite of all the data-miners  who lurk behind our keypads, sucking the hot air out of our collective social media balloon.

Glass half-Full

The Tower of Signals

August 17, 2019

Thousands of years ago, we built a legendary tower, the shadow of which has seemed to darken our human history even unto today.

According to a certain well-known historical source, the Bible . . . the tower of Babel was erected in some location east of the Euphrates River. The region therein has been known since that ancient time by various names:  Chaldea, Shinar, Babylon, and a few other identities, such as the current one, Iraq.

So an ancient tale about the tower of Babel, especially its fall, has been passed down to us through the ages.   The biblical account says that The Tower of Babel’s undoing happened because the people were unable to communicate. So they were not able to get the thing built.

In our modern reflection upon that archaic project, I think what Will Rogers or Mark Twain or Yogi Berra, or some such sage  said, applies:

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

It’s an old story, but true.

Nevertheless, I’m here to tell ya that in spite of ourselves we people of the earth have managed to erect some pretty impressive towers here and there throughout the ages.

For instance, notice this  classic religious tower in San Francisco, which happens to be a double.

Spires2Chrch

This structure represents that spirit of religion that dominated our Western culture for a couple of thousand years.

Here’s a Spanish project representing a more contemporary creative impulse toward the divine.

Sagrada

Very impressive. But the era of God-inspired basilica-building has been overtaken by more humanistic projects. Since the so-called Enlightenment in the 18th-century, people have aspired to ideals even loftier than mere religion. This modern emphasis has wrought even higher and higher feats of skyscraping.

BuildSkysc

The long epoch of God-inspired tower-building has been overtaken by a New Age of Man.

CityPhild

And yet, our rising human spirit has morphed itself beyond mere commercial, citified projections. Check out an Olympic objet d’art that the Barcelonans fashioned for the 1992 Olympics:

BarcOlymp

This fluidic rising structure embodies a humanic zeitgeist; it aspires to inspire ascension to world peace—a peace wrought through zealous sports competition instead of bloody wars fought with destructive weapons on muddy battlefields.

Pretty damned impresseve, huh?!

Higher and higher we strive; higher and higher we arrive.

Now in 21st-century AI, We find ourselves in the upper regions of human accomplishment.

Physical upbuilding has now taken a back seat to the loftiness of our ideals.

So we’ve built a stupendous net of ideas, an electronic network that ceaselessly transmits gigabytes of presciently important data around the world. It is a web as ethereal as the sun itself . . . as surreal as a Dali . . .  as real as a Warhol.

And towards this end, we’ve built towers of a different—a new and different—kind:

The Tower

Towers such as this one–structures of ascending human perfectibility– are slavishly repeating signals all day and all night for the benefit of all mankind!

For the benefit of Mr. Kite, ever and ever onward to greater heights!

We hold these spires to be self-evident—that our updated tower-driven secretions will project a worldwide web of human achievement to rise higher than  the Tower of Babel ever did!

Good luck with that.

Glass Chimera

DNA the best Way

April 1, 2019

The dispensation of DNA

is best when it’s done in an orderly way.

What’s needed is that any man who so yearns

should direct his emissions in loving terms

to the same loving recipient every time:

all his kids have the same mama on down the line.

So let the ladder of life, the DNA

be distributed in a family way.

From the itinerant visionary

LadderJ

to the coding contemporary,

DNAdubhelx

counsel the loopy adventurer with his genital arrow

to find motherly love in the strait and narrow.

So the resulting kids will grow up right,

and not be left in a social services plight.

You may think I’m old-fashioned in this,

but ’tis not a principle to flippantly dismiss:

The distribution of our precious DNA

is bestly dispensed in the family way.

Now if you guys think that I’m not cool,

well I AM cool, y’all. . . and no April fool!

Glass Chimera

Those Two Brave Men

January 27, 2019

Once, but maybe never again,

two men

standing in the cold

one young and one old;

TwoMen

they meet

but decline to greet

in the middle of a confrontation

on hallowed ground of a dividing nation.

They do not speak,

for all around them arise a peak

of anger and resentment—

a country devoid of contentment

in the cauldron of history.

Seems now it’s become a mystery

what has become of our unity,

as now we’re obsessed with impunity—

blame the younger, not the older one

as the chieftain wordlessly beats his drum;

but while the young man struggles to maintain a smile

the world wide web spews a viral pile

of all the blame that’s fit to hint

as talking head trolls make their dent

in the warp and woof of the data tide

in which we slavishly slouch to hide

the downing of civility

and the haughty thrusting of hostility.

We ride the wave of accusative gestalt—

let us assign a verdict who’s at fault.

But whose fault it is I think i know;

let’s blame it on the undertow

of madmen on the right

pulling young men into the fight,

or maybe let’s blame it on the leftist cadres

who would depose those maga padres,

while all the while the widening gyre

spins up in streaming twitter fire.

Hourly it whirls higher higher

while all the while it was nothing more

than a clueless kid who for one moment tore

our torrent stream of data angst asunder,

generating for a moment some online thunder.

So what once was our peace and tranquility

slips beneath the dearth of our virility.

’Twas on a cold gray day, I say,

we beheld it— but  for never again—

those two brave men

standing in the cold,

one young and the other old.

Glass half-Full