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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Black boxes

Interesting snippet about the Face ID system in Apple’s iPhone X.

Even Apple will not be able to explain how its forthcoming iPhone X can spot some efforts to fool its facial recognition system.

The firm has released a guide to the Face ID system, which explains that it relies on two types of neural networks - one of which has been specifically trained to resist spoofing attempts.

But a consequence of the design is that it behaves like a "black box".

Its behaviour can be observed but the underlying processes remain opaque.


Really this isn’t so different from the OCR systems I was involved with over a decade ago. If the OCR system read flow as flaw, nobody would ever know for certain why. We’d pick it up with error correction systems and move on. I doubt if those who wrote the underlying recognition software could tell us in any but general terms.

These machines “know” what they are doing but we don’t know in detail and they can’t pass on that detail because they would hit us with impossible amounts of information. So as far as possible we let them handle it and only get involved when things go wrong, which probably isn't as often as we'd like to think.

It isn't easy to dwell on modern technology without feeling somewhat superfluous. Are we here to give the machines something to do or is it the other way round?

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The darker side of complexity



If Peterson is on the right lines then he has set all manner of hares running.

To take a highly speculative example, obesity could be explained by increased social complexity. This would fit Peterson’s idea where the weakest biological point is the one which first causes problems when complexity stresses become too acute to bear. In the case of obesity, eating too much is an easy flight to comfort in a world where food is cheap and always available.

If so, then official attempts to control general calorie intake are misconceived and won’t work. If anything, they are likely to make the situation worse because government interference increases life’s complexities.

What else might we expect from a world too complex for many people to handle? How about simpler and correspondingly extreme political mantras? Politics for dummies may be a welcome relief in a world already too complex to understand.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Is nonsense underrated?

You may seek it with thimbles—and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap—

Lewis Carroll - The Hunting of the Snark (1876)

Who hasn't watched Dr Who or a James Bond film, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park or any one of thousands of other improbable entertainments? There is nothing wrong with any of them but many films require the suspension of disbelief because otherwise they don’t work. This does not seem to detract from their entertainment value but it raises a question about nonsense and the way we use it. We are entertained by nonsense and a huge number of people make a living from it.

Suppose we use nonsense as a handy word for all those myriad dishonesties so widely use to evade reality or simply keep it at bay until something turns up. For convenience that would be nonsense, partial nonsense, nonsense diluted with reality and many other evasions lumped together. We may as well begin with relatively undiluted nonsense found in political speeches.

Leader strides confidently towards the rostrum. An expectant hush descends on the arena because that is the primary role of expectant hushes. Leader casts a keen, laser-like glance over the audience. The hush deepens, lifts as a heckler is ejected then deepens again. Leader pauses for dramatic effect then launches into a speech the faithful are waiting for. Wow –what a build up. Dramatic nonsense it may be but what a build up. I almost wish I were there.

To attract applause, even from the most infatuated supporter, any political speech needs a fair amount of nonsense to pad it out, spice it up and feed some headlines into the following day’s news. Nonsense is politically crucial, it is what followers expect, what they demand. It is a key ingredient in their political beliefs, their social standpoint. Not only is nonsense a vital aspect of entertainment, it is equally vital in politics. Hardly surprising though – the two are joined at the hip.

Tony Blair and Barack Obama were grandmasters at blending nonsense into their political art. At their best they soared above the prickly restraints of reality, giving only the faintest nod towards real life. Even that they did graciously, as if unbending for a brief democratic moment to depart from their airy art. Nonsense sustained them but not everyone has such a finely honed aptitude, for their sublime ability to float above the real world and crap on it from on high without the faithful noticing a thing.

Theresa May and Donald Trump are nowhere near that level of skill and this seems to be one reason why they are attacked so relentlessly. People need the feelgood nurturing of political nonsense and in their turn pundits need to feed on it. Blair and Obama delivered, May and Trump don't.

Even so and in spite of its familiarity, isn’t it strange how much nonsense there is in the world, how much of we need to keep things going? We pretend that nonsense is a wholly negative aspect of debate used by the other side but it isn’t. Surely the pervasive and intractable nature of it suggests how important it is to all sides. Not only that, but nonsense has always permeated the human condition, from tales of the supernatural to – well you name it. We are all familiar with nonsense, almost as if it is –

Useful? Essential?

Indeed. Perhaps nonsense really is important and maybe even essential to what we are, how we make progress, how ideas compete for our allegiance. Perhaps we need nonsense to leap o’er the intellectual chasms and knowledge gaps. Perhaps we need it to feed the imagination, stir the pulse and justify accepting whatever is wrong but necessary if we are to move on from where we are. For political reasons, where we are must always be where we never wanted to be in the first place. It’s nonsense of course, but that’s political progress for you.

A real advantage of nonsense can be seen when our ignorance of reality does not lead to damaging uncertainties. In such cases nonsense can be sustaining and lead to social coherence, keeping at bay the dread spectres of complexity and uncertainty and the grim chore of admitting we don’t know. Always a difficult one that. Sometimes it may even be the case that complexity and uncertainty are more damaging than the nonsense we use as a substitute for knowing. Often we’d rather not know anyway. Often we actually prefer nonsense.

Organised religion seems to have been a major source of nonsense during recent centuries, but not the only one. However, within the nonsense of religious superstition there is that core of moral value, something that perhaps we should have held on to when we thought we were merely ditching the nonsense. The trouble is we did not ditch nonsense, we merely switched our allegiance from religious nonsense to secular nonsense and the secular nonsense turned out to be worse.

Unfortunately our modern world has wandered into an arena of pseudo-technical nonsense without the moral core and the intellectual coherence of organised religion. Coherence partly based on nonsense is still coherence and may be enormously valuable in spite of the nonsense. Our need for nonsense and the inept way we swap one form for another, the way we build competing forms of nonsense all have the potential to be extremely damaging – simply because they are nonsense and nonsense has to be used wisely. As it often was when organised Christianity held sway.

Tackling nonsense is a real problem because when we tackle nonsense we have this innate tendency to look around for a dollop of more nonsense to do the job. Somehow, and this may be overly pessimistic, but somehow I can’t see that approach turning out well. 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Uprooted

But if I had stinted him, in his usual quantity of wine, or forbidden him to taste it altogether, that would only have increased his partiality for it, and made him regard it as a greater treat than ever. I therefore gave him quite as much as his father was accustomed to allow him; as much, indeed, as he desired to have — but into every glass I surreptitiously introduced a small quantity of tartar-emetic, just enough to produce inevitable nausea and depression without positive sickness...

...and once or twice, when he was sick, I have obliged the poor child to swallow a little wine-and-water without the tartar-emetic, by way of medicine; and this practice I intend to continue for some time to come; not that I think it of any real service in a physical sense, but because I am determined to enlist all the powers of association in my service; I wish this aversion to be so deeply grounded in his nature that nothing in after-life may be able to overcome it.

Anne BrontĂ« – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)


Straightforward aversion therapy, the core of which must have been common knowledge for aeons. Sometimes it seems as if much of what we once knew has been recast into jargon then regurgitated as new, technically complex and only understandable by the initiated. As if we have been uprooted by modernity because otherwise we would have understood too much and resisted.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Leonardo's millions

This story is interesting in an odd kind of way.

Leonardo DiCaprio announced Tuesday that his eco-focused foundation has given more than $20 million this year in fresh grants to more than 100 organizations around the world.

From lion recovery and mangrove restoration to the defense of indigenous rights and better access to affordable solar energy, the actor announced the grants ahead of his appearance at a climate change conference at Yale University.

He planned to use the appearance to urge more immediate steps to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources.


I used to dismiss the guy as a hypocritical, virtue-signalling plonker but he seems to believe too. No doubt the money could be better spent but he is not an ungenerous hypocritical, virtue-signalling plonker.

The Beast of Bolsover on the EU

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Big badges



It isn't only the cars, but car badges seem to grow bigger and bigger as the years roll by. There is no mistaking a Mercedes in the rear-view mirror, with a badge big enough to adorn a truck only a few years ago. As most cars are little more than boxes on wheels I suppose manufacturers have an increasing need to distinguish their brand. 

Does it work though? Not for me, I prefer something more discreet, but times change so there must be some advantage to big badges. 

I wonder if car badges will continue to grow? Perhaps manufacturers will come up with some kind of holographic effect where the badge seems much bigger than it really is. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

One is but an insect

source

As today is Samuel Johnson's birthday, here are a few Johnson quotes still suited to our own times.

My dear friend, clear your mind of cant.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

The world is like a grand staircase, some are going up and some are going down.


A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stop Saying Things That Make You Weak




I’ve been thinking along these lines for years and would be surprised if it is an uncommon idea. We prefer harmony to disharmony and go too far in our pursuit of it. Whether Jordan Peterson is right to suggest that that this is a weakness and something can be done about it I’m not so sure, but that’s a weakness too.

Maybe somebody has to promote harmony but forceful, abrasive and assertive are better for the career and for clarity - I think most of us know that. We are also familiar with the less desirable consequences so harmony is genuinely important.

Yet political correctness is a pervasive and forceful invitation to be weak. The implied threat is that if we don’t accept its strictures then we risk being even weaker as an outcast. It is far from being a new technique so maybe Peterson is right.

No - Peterson is right.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Headlines

Not so long ago we found ourselves on holiday with poor WiFi. Good enough to use the iPad for scanning headlines but not worth firing up the laptop. No matter. Headlines are familiar enough anyway - barely worth scanning apart from a residual interest in major stories and a fading desire to keep tabs on the memes of the day.

Scanning the headlines is rather like shopping in a supermarket. Ignoring isles of salty snacks, sugary drinks, confectionery and prepared food becomes a habit. So much so that one doesn’t notice just how much junk there is in the average supermarket - 

- average? 

No not average - they are all like that. Selling the average is what supermarkets do. So it is with media headlines – barely worth a second glance and this is what struck me as I browsed the headlines on the iPad. 

The world is a wonderful place. There is an infinite variety of fascination out there, so much so that ten lifetimes would not be enough to do it justice. That’s not what we see in the headlines. We see the equivalent of supermarket isles full of salty snacks, sugary drinks, confectionery and prepared food. We see the junk which sells but doesn’t inform. We see the junk which isn’t even good for us, the garbage we might shun if it were not for our ingrained laziness, our perennial habit of taking what is offered rather than seeking out the best that is available - 

- no that’s not it – not quite. 

Media headlines have begun to seem infantile. They were always strident, over-dramatic, misleading and simplistic, but the desperate hunt for clicks has reached another level as they say. Infantile feels new to me and it feels like a trend. Not particularly new because we have seen this level of reporting for quite some time. It’s back to the supermarket isles, back to the infantile consumption, back to the isles of confectionery.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The price of cars


Source

As a child I remember seeing two of these in a car showroom window. I always wanted one in a vague, yearning for the moon sense.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Something in Our Blood

Not new but a reminder. Two quotes.

Caracas Chronicles
It’s 4:00 am, still dark. She stands in line, about 50 people in front of her. Old, middle aged, housewives, even children with their mothers: standard deal. Some brought blankets, some shiver in the cold air, others sleep on the floor. A few places behind her, a man pukes on the sidewalk.

For three days, that was Marianyelys’ life: waiting at the National Guard Regional Command 8 (CORE-8)’s health care center in Puerto Ordaz, from 4 am to 5 pm —hoping to get the malaria treatment she needed after a trip to La Gran Sabana.

The days when Venezuela spearheaded the global war against malaria are gone. In 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Venezuela had 30% of all malaria cases registered in the Americas. The situation in 2016 was much worse, with 240,613 registered cases, a 76% increase over the previous year. Unofficial sources calculate that Venezuela might have up to 48% of all cases in the Americas in 2016. Back in 2000, that figure was 2%.

Mr Corbyn has previously supported the Venezuelan government under both socialist president Hugo Chavez and his successor Mr Maduro.

As a backbencher Mr Corbyn attended a 2013 vigil following the death of Mr Chavez, hailing him as an "inspiration to all of us fighting back against austerity and neo-liberal economics in Europe". He also shared a platform with Mr Maduro in 2006.

Asked whether his political philosophy was closer to President Maduro's or Tony Blair's, Mr Williamson declined to answer but said: "When a government is doing good things, as they certainly were under Hugo Chavez...that's surely a good thing that we should celebrate."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Food bomb North Korea

The Salisbury Review has an entertaining piece on dealing with North Korea.

The answer is certainly not to refresh South Korea’s stock pile of weapons as President Trump is doing. An unconventional solution would be, after switching off all of North Korea’s electronic communications using an electromagnetic bomb, for the US airforce to food bomb North Korea under fighter and missile cover, not with a few thousand tons of grain, but a continuous rain of food over two months. After the period of electronic blackout would come a series of airbursts of tens of thousands of micro radios, perhaps smaller than the one in the picture, which would sycamore down over the country telling people what was happening and about the west. North Koreans would find it hard to believe what they have been told about America, that it is a capitalist hell barely able to feed its people. Where does all this food come from?

Obviously not meant to be taken seriously but even a piece like this leaves one with a yearning for something more imaginative than the dull rhetoric we've heard so often before. I can't see sanctions working.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Enjoy

One of our pet hates is the word ‘enjoy’ too often used when folk serve food at cafes and restaurants. It comes across as supremely casual with a subtle hint of de haut en bas, a throwaway sign-off because the food has been duly delivered and that’s that. Actually eating it is the lowly unskilled part - anyone can do it. 

Does one enjoy food anyway? Food can be pleasant and even delicious but I wouldn’t class the actual mastication as enjoyment. Far more important is the social aspect, the occasion, the ambiance the conversation ebbing and flowing across the table. All that should be enjoyable but the food? I don’t think so - pleasantly palatable will do. Taste buds are not that important. 

It’s the occasion not the food. An airy, offhand ‘enjoy’ doesn’t enhance the occasion.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Is Blair crazy?

No he isn't crazy, but ever since Tony Blair emerged from the protection of his media minders he has come across as politically unhinged, as if permanently scarred by the lunatic mess that is modern political life. From the BBC

Tony Blair has defended his call for new controls on EU migration as a cabinet minister accused him of a belated "epiphany" on the issue.

The ex-PM said the UK could stay in the EU after all with new curbs in place.

He claimed this would address people's "grievances" without the "sledgehammer" of Brexit.

Critics have pointed to his Labour government's decision not to apply transitional controls to eastern European migrants in 2004.

Voices from the political past rarely manage to break through into the politics of today because they have generally said whatever they are able to say and people have done listening to them anyway. Blair should know that but apparently doesn't Still bleating about his lost vision of whatever it is that drives him – who could possibly be interested now? Media outlets with space to fill and a Europhile readership to prod, but nobody else.

Sometimes when people retire they are prepared to say what they would not have said before, particularly about their previous employment and expertise. Sometimes they let a little light into those murky areas protected by PR, compliant media and the financial loyalty of employees. Sometimes.

Not political leaders though. Apart from back-stabbing memoirs they generally seem wedded to the same old songs even though they should know how threadbare it all was. One might almost imagine that their public profile has burned the songs into their souls, as if they actually believe what they must once have known was dubious at best.

This level of intense exposure, this political imperative to stick to a narrative and beat down all opposition, all doubt and all uncertainty – it seems to leave its mark. It seems to send people crazy, as if they cannot bring themselves to leave the stage and watch the show from the other side of the footlights. We would all benefit if they did.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Personality is a compromise

An interesting piece in aeon by Cody Delistraty examines the fluid nature of personalities, particularly in relation to coming of age myths and fashionable ideas about finding ourselves. However it is not so much the article itself, but one of the comments which makes the whole thing so applicable to our times. First a few quotes from the article to set the scene.

Finding one’s true place in the world is a massive trope, not just in film and theatre, but also in literature, education and motivational seminars – any place where young people are involved. In all these cases, the search for the ‘self’ is dubious because it assumes that there is an enduring ‘self’ that lurks within and that can somehow be found. Whereas, in fact, the only ‘self’ we can be sure of is one that changes every second, our decisions and circumstances taking us in an infinite number of directions, moment by moment. And even if we think we have ‘found ourselves’, this is no panacea for the rest of our lives. In the last line of F Scott Fitzgerald’s debut, This Side of Paradise (1920), young Amory Blaine cries out: ‘I know myself, but that is all.’ Young as he is, Fitzgerald’s confused Princetonian still sees how insubstantial the knowledge of his ‘self’ is within the larger context of his life.

The idea of there being a single ‘self’, hidden in a place that only maturity and adulthood can illuminate and which, like archaeologists, we might dig and dust away the detritus to find, is to believe that there is some inner essence locked within us – and that unearthing it could be a key to working out how to live the rest of our lives. This comforting notion of coming of age, of unlocking a true ‘self’ endures, even though it is out of step with current thinking in psychology, which denies a singular identity, and instead posits the idea of staged development, or an eternally malleable sense of self that shifts as we grow older, and with the uniqueness of our personal experience.

Fair enough. The whole thing is worth reading, but to my mind a revealing comment puts it into a wider and more pointed perspective.

Jan Sand
As someone who has lived longer than normal my own life agrees with the final conclusion that circumstance has demanded central changes in my efforts to construct myself into something acceptable to the various societies I have immersed myself into. This can be seen as a series of multiple failures or as a most peculiar success in that I have survived as long as I can. Some people do exceptionally well in all the various social contexts they face. At best, I have gotten by and not found any real satisfaction in all of my attempts. I have had to fall back on the generality that no society offers me anything that fits well with my rather unextraordinary unfittedness in what I have encountered. Survival alone has to be sufficient in my sense of satisfaction.

We all find ourselves adopting personality niches, but some of us have problems slotting ourselves into them, as the writer of the comment seems to have found and accepted. The trouble is, those niches also seem to negate the very idea of personality because a social niche is not a personality; it merely attracts, nurtures and demands a certain type of personality.

Social niches force all of us into types and almost all of us succumb to some extent - usually to a large extent. This is why those who conform seem to lack the quirks and unpredictability of an authentically original personality.

To give a commonplace example - instead of exhibiting a powerful and distinctive personality, the celebrity who rants about equality, social justice or saving the planet seems to have a more limited personality than someone who is not so easily convinced. The celebrity seems to have adopted a set of conforming behaviours rather than a distinctive personality. Those conforming behaviours may be stridently promoted with much waving of the arms, but they still lack the authentic flavour of an individual personality.

With global pressures and global social media, the idea of a distinctive personality could even fade away. What use will it be?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Castro wins



Here is an oddity in the world of chess – a game played by Fidel Castro in 1966. It soon becomes obvious that Castro isn’t much of a chess player and his opponent seems poised to beat him fairly easily.

Then from a winning position, Castro’s opponent makes a ghastly and inexplicable beginner’s blunder allowing Castro to checkmate him in one move. Hmm...

Not entirely inexplicable is it? 


As an aside - what does Jeremy Corbyn think of Castro?

“Fidel Castro’s death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th-century socialism,” said the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who claimed that “for all his flaws” Castro would be remembered as an “internationalist and a champion of social justice”

It’s a pity Jeremy was never in the same position as Castro’s chess opponent. It may have given him a deeper perspective on the man’s “flaws”.

Irma


Screen shot of Hurricane Irma from Earth Wind Map. Scary, yet people live with the threat, it's part of their lives. No doubt many have no real choice.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

How delightful


A furious scaffolder has hit back at a 'spoilt rich girl' artist who posted a pictured mocking him and his colleague as they stood in McDonald's.

Hetty Douglas, 25, shared a photo on her Instagram of the two men in boots and blue jogging bottoms, with the sneering caption: 'they look like they got 1 GCSE'...

Douglas, who comes from Nottingham, studied fashion illustration at University of Arts London before working in retail for Slam City Skates in Covent Garden and Supreme in Soho.

Poor Hetty, maybe she can't help it. The Mail has published a picture of her art. Do take a look, it's hilarious. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Gender neutral kids

The John Lewis story about gender neutral kids’ clothes has trundled its way around the media, yet the key point remains largely ungrasped - huge swathes of middle class people are bonkers.

Those who think it is essential to be able to tell at a glance whether a child is a girl or a boy may be relieved to hear not everything has changed.

John Lewis is still selling dresses - although they are tagged with the same "Girls and Boys" label as the children's trousers.

Anyone who thinks genes can be trumped by politically correct clothing strategies is certainly bonkers. What else does one say? It isn’t likely to do much harm in the long run so maybe John Lewis and their parent customers see it more as a look at me opportunity than a genuine determination to prepare middle class kids for a gender neutral future. The world is not gender neutral.

In other words it is little more than virtue signalling rather than a somewhat unethical experiment on real children. At least one hopes that’s what it is. From a lesser of two evils point of view.

Back to school



Round here today was the first day of the new school year and exactly as I always remember it. Misty and humid with an early morning chill. Everywhere damp and heavy, leaves beginning to yellow and fall, air thick with the aroma of autumn, summer a fading memory.



Sunday, 3 September 2017

A few inches of modesty

source

He recognised the gardener's daughter, a girl who had been confirmed last Easter and had just begun to wear long skirts. To-night, however, she was dressed in one of her old dresses which barely reached to her ankles.

August Strindberg - Married (1884)


Strewth, what’s the distance between enticing ankle and modest floor? I’ll get my tape measure...

...about four inches I’d say, including the heel of my shoe. No wonder Freud was invented.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Short cut

source

I use a mains electric mower to mow our lawn. An easy enough job with the extension lead but because of the trees I find it best to cut the lawn in two halves. Mowing the lawn in two halves reduces the risk of mowing the cable into two halves.

When I've finished half the lawn I need to shift the extension lead to the half I’ve already cut. Easy enough if I don’t get tangled in all those yards of electric cable. However a few years ago I changed tactics. Instead of trying to shove the extension lead to one side when switching halves, I took the time to make the job neater and easier.

Unplug the mower from the extension lead.
Rewind the extension lead.
Re-route the extension lead to the mown half of the lawn.
Plug the mower into the extension lead and off we go.

Previously I couldn’t be bothered with all that, but out of interest I timed how long to took me to re-route that extension lead. Less than a minute and it made the job easier. Not a major improvement but well worth that extra minute.

I put it down to habits picked up during my working life. Push on, finish the job and move on to the next. Small improvements can be lost amid the pressure to get things done, but that’s not quite it. There is another factor at work too.

In many circumstances, a perceived lack of haste can come across as plodding because that's how plodders go about their plodding. Increasing the number of steps in a job for whatever reason, can seem like plodding too. Moving on swiftly without an obvious pause seems keen, dynamic and on the ball even when it isn’t. Now it doesn't matter.

Friday, 1 September 2017

This banal, bookless age

source

Rabbi Daniel Ross Goodman has a fairly lighthearted essay in Mercatornet on the well-trodden theme of young mobile phone obsessives, particularly students. His key point is a good one, if not unfamiliar to older people. A few quotes may give a flavour of the piece but the whole thing is worth reading. It isn't long.

Western civilization died on March 6, 2015. This day will forever mark the beginning of the decline and fall of the West, not because this was the eve of the first Sabbath during which I would serve as a substitute rabbi—though that fact alone is reason enough for us to fear that the apocalypse is nigh—but because, while on a Peter Pan bus traveling from New York to my hometown in western Massachusetts, I spotted a blue road sign on Interstate 91 that read: “TEXT STOP: 5 MILES.”...

The students in the bus who weren’t dozing were using their smartphones to talk to their friends, to queue up a Kanye song (this is what the girl in the purple sweater to my left was doing), to scroll through Facebook (what the scruffy, black-haired boy in blue corduroys to my right was doing), and to—of course—surf the web (does anyone even use this term any more?).

And they all did so with eyes cast downwards, firmly fixed on the small flickering screen at their fingertips, applying the now ubiquitous forward-and-upward flicking motion of the index finger or thumb that has become the universal symbol of “nothing in this world could possibly interest me more than this puny, potent, omnipresent appliance in my palm.”...

How will this ceaselessly distracted society sustain the capacity for undisturbed quiet that is necessary for studious scientific prodigies to become our future nuclear physicists, biomedical engineers, and pioneering astrophysicists?

I fear that our future Einsteins and Keplers and Hawkings and Hubbles will be lost in the swampy smog of digital quicksand. I fear that one day, each of us will look back on this moment in history and say, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by the e-crack of the internet, starving for wisdom, dragging themselves through the nefarious technological streets looking for an info-byte; angel-headed thinkers and writers thirsting for an ancient heavenly connection, but lost to the interminable trolling and tweeting and tumblring to sacred Saint Text.”


It is almost as if human intelligence is being outsourced to the machine. The machine will give us the answer, tell us what to do, avoid the questions we should not ask, divert us with games and trivia when we should be thinking and questioning.