Entries Tagged as 'technology'

technologyThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that sound engineers will stop squishy-mouth, immediately

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No PE-15: Spit, sloshing around and clicking in the mouths of professional radio personalities is the most disgusting sound in the world. (No! It is even more disgusting than that. Sh. Yes it is.) Sound engineers for these radio programs need to fix this, now.  Right now. Turn down the “highs.” Move the microphone away from your proximity-effect-addicted bosses. Do whatever you need to do to end this. Carl Castle, for instance, sounds like his face is ground meat that someone is squishing his hands through. We can’t take it anymore. Sound engineers, heed this warning.

The Punishment: Engineers who do not rectify this squishy issue – today! – will be hung upside-down and lowered into a vat of ground beef and water. They will remain suspended this way until they cease to be.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

technologyvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Adults, put your devices away!

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Dang kids and their confounded digital whatchamacallits! I mean, it’s exgasperating when they’re out there all the time Chirping, Twitching, Facenoting on the old InterWeb. It’s even dangerous, as this kids-go-bump-in-the day story about cellphone-using Penn zombies shows.

[Read more →]

technologyThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that YouTube commenters must be eliminated

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 559944: The Emperor has thought long and hard about ways to raise the average intelligence quotient of the general populace. He has has had several ideas, ranging from sending the Air Force to attack pop concerts to having the Imperial assassins stationed on rooftops pick-off people who make particular wardrobe choices. While each of these solutions would certainly be effective, they might not be, strictly-speaking, ethical. But, if those who were eliminated were, without question, deserving of elimination, who could complain? Therefore, having concluded that the lowest form of human beings are, without question, YouTube commenters, the Emperor will target them. The world should no longer be forced to endure “dude – your [sic] a retard” or pseudo-intellectual intonations of “clearly, you know nothing about music if you think that so-and-so is a bad guitarist.” The trigger comment for the Emperor’s new decree was this one: “Dude, you’re 30m away and the camera is shaking like you’re in the middle of the battle. I’d make a better video with my dick.” (This was in response to a video of Anthony Kiedis in a scuffle with security guards at Philadelphia’s “Four Seasons” hotel [which, by the way, most of the commenters referred to as a “motel.”]) This is absurd. Everyone knows male genetalia can neither record nor store video data. (Though, admittedly, it would be cool. But I  imagine there would be a whole different dynamic to family videos. “Dad! What the hell are you doing? — oh, I forgot. Haaaaiii! Merry Christmas!!!”)

The Punishment: Just click the mouse to submit a YouTube comment and you will find out.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

advicedamned lies

Final Grades: Or, Jay’s Last Lecture

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It’s the end of the Spring semester, 2013. That means college undergraduates all over the country are freaking out over final grades. It’s odd how these grades become important to them at the end of the semester in a way that they weren’t at any other time during the semester, but I digress. What follows is a final email sent to my students this morning in response to a number of emails I received from them over the weekend: [Read more →]

technologyThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that all cell phones are banned

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 555-3342: Seriously, with the cell phones, people. Sweet Jesu. Enough. It’s pathetic. Besides, the only call you really need to hear is the Emperor’s call, n’est-ce pas? All minions of the Empire will surrender their cell phones by midnight, Thursday, so that they may be summarily destroyed. Yes, you heard correctly.

IMPERIAL SUBJECT: Oh, but Magnificent One, what about safety…

EMPEROR: [pinching fingertips and thumb together] PSHHHT!

SUBJECT: But, Emperor…I use mine for work…

EMPEROR: [pinching, again] PSHHHT!

SUBJECT: But, Emperor…I use the GPS…

EMPEROR: PSHHHHHHHHT!

SUBJECT: But… [Read more →]

technologytrusted media & news

Recalling old times through new connections

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In the local media this past month, some attention devoted to the 25th anniversary of the rescue of Jessica McClure from a well in southwest Midland, Texas, where she was trapped for three days. That attention also provided for me an opportunity to connect with a one-time co-worker of mine – someone I have not seen for many, many years – and gain a renewed appreciation for how much smaller our world has become through the world wide web.
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technologyvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Friends and “Friends”

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“Friend” is a suggestive word, loaded as it is with warmth, intimacy, harmlessness. Having a friend is always a good thing. The word was a shrewd choice to represent Facebook connections, because the word itself lulls you past any critical perspective about the relationships you clickably create.

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creative writingtechnology

Grizzly bear stories: a phone call to Apple

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Recently, I spent four days trying to figure out how to activate my new iPhone 5. I’m not a very technology-savvy fellow, but I am extraordinarily stubborn, particularly when I know that asking for help will involve having to follow a robot’s instructions for a while, pressing a series of buttons, and sitting through a lengthy holding period before I actually reach a human being. But yesterday, I finally caved: I talked to a robot. I pressed buttons. I sat on hold for a while. And then Danielle from Apple was very helpful and got me up and running. The following is a completely factual account of what might have happened if Danielle had not been working, and had been replaced by a grizzly bear.

 

BEAR: Thank you for holding and welcome to Apple. This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes. My name is Monty and I’m a bear. How can I help you today?

ME: Yeah, hi Monty. Did you just say you’re a bear?

[Read more →]

sciencetechnology

Is THIS the time for aerospace in West Texas?

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A lot of space and time in the local news of West Texas - and in discussion of said news – being devoted to a recently-concluded deal between a private aerospace firm, the Midland City Council and the Midland Development Corporation, to bring that firm’s headquarters and research-and-development operations to the Tall City. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttechnology

Piglet and The Blustery Day

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Oh, bother! Karl Rove has caught the wind and drifts higher, higher and higher. Piglet is your new name, replacing Boy Genius as W the Pooh called you when you were delivering modest electoral majorities by brokering devastating legislative rebukes of your constituents, your declared principles and that musty, dusty impediment to national greatness; The Constitution. Piglet’s sins are far from original. He mined the anti-Goldwaterites to differentiate Bush from a Primary throng in 2000, something W minded not at all. His family has a long record of bitter opposition to conservative philosophy and policy as demonstrated in their bilious rubbishing of Governor Reagan. This self-contradicting obstinacy re-reared it’s ugly head yesterday with the New Bush. JEB is his acronym. The once Florida governor invokes Reagan, saying that neither he, nor Bush the Elder nor Bush the Younger could have survived the primaries. Of course Bush the Elder did NOT survive the primaries but was tapped for VP to trowel over the cracks that threatened to leave Rockefeller Republicans without a home, possibly cleaving then to Carter. W himself ran AGAINST the party base as a Compassionate Conservative, in clear distinction from the ordinary kind, meaning what it always means; that the Republican will perpetuate the philisophical socialism of the Democrat but with better actuaries. “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, gubmint has got to move!” was the famous line. The results were attacked, quite rightly, by every candidate this year so JEB is correct. The party is now far too far to the Right to bring us another George or even another Karl. Whether Reagan would have succumbed to Romney in 2012 rests on a Bush’s definition of Reaganism. [Read more →]

technologyThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that Apple-ism shall cease

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree 2341-3A: The Apple computer company makes superior machines; however, “Apple People” must be stopped. At all cost. Any person who incessantly advertises for or praises the Apple computer company (who is not an employee of said company or the spouse of an employee thereof), is, henceforth, declared an outlaw. (They charge you three-million dollars for a computer and you energetically and actively advertise for free for them? Come — as they say — on.) Any driver who displays a once-bitten Apple insignia on the back of his or her car or who is seen wearing a T-shirt displaying the same insignia shall be taken prisoner. Similarly, anyone who posts numerous Facebook stati which extol the wonders of Apple will be summarily arrested by the Imperial Police. 2341-3B: As a sub-decree, while the Emperor believes in freedom of religion, it is, nevertheless, henceforth illegal to become either a congregate or a clergy member of the developing Church of Steve Jobs — the reasoning for this being that if Leonardo DaVinci doesn’t have his own church, Jobs shouldn’t either. Further, Apple is a company, my minions, not your kid. Stop posting pictures of the new iPhone next to little Bradley’s First Holy Communion shots. It’s creepy.

The Punishment: The Imperial Wizard has conjured a room of infinite black space. Within this room, there is an illuminated podium on which rests a gleaming new iPad. Violators will be released into this dark chamber. When they droolingly approach the iPod — which they will — a giggling, naked doppelgänger of Bill Gates will appear, snatch the iPad, and scamper off into the darkness. When the violator is tired of chasing the prestidigitated dodecazillionare (whom he will never catch), he or she will be released for another chance at well-balanced, rational life.

The Emperor shall grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning

technologyThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye will use the damned microphone they gave ye

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. XXIV: If there is a microphone provided, use it. Enough with the [begin nasal, whiny voice]: “Can you hear me back there? I don’t want to use this thing if I don’t have to…” [end nasal, whiny voice]. It’s 2012. Use the freaking microphone. Luddite. You’re not “warm” for not using it. You’re not “more personal.” You’re not lovably uncomfortable with technology. The only thing you are is “not loud enough,” so snap out of your naturally-acoustic hippie trance and take a courageous leap into the present tense.

The Punishment: The punishment (which shall not be described here, in detail, for fear of shocking those with sensitive constitutions) is, shall we say, one that is inspired by the generally tubular shape of your average microphone. Let it suffice to say that those metal windscreens are not, strictly speaking…comfortable.

The Emperor shall grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning

technologyvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Punktuation

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On her birthday, the daughter of a friend of mine came to him in a tizzy. You see, she explained, so-and-so was disrespecting her on Facebook. My friend geared up for the worst as he went with her to view the offending post. And there he saw it. Someone had posted this on her homepage: “happy birthday.” [Read more →]

environment & naturetechnology

Powering a flat earth

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Thank you, Mr President. You put the case fairly and well although if you really want to impress you might find an audience a bit more seasoned and a bit less willing to roll over and have their tummies rubbed. You have split your hand and doubled down on Green Alternative Energy so you must be holding at least twenty. Now it’s time to turn all the cards. I hope the White House searchbots have been comprehensive and found the odd moments when I Hoped to Believe in the Change you have promised but on the big question of how we power our modern world, yes, I have been a detractor. Your well documented expertise in engineering and physics should have given me caution but let my indictment show that I have also been fair, once in a while. Once in a very great while. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttechnology

How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?

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environment & naturepolitics & government

Bumper sticker energy plans

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politics & governmenttechnology

Newt’s Moon colony

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technologyvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Chipping away at our sanity, byte by byte

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In the overall scope of human history, we are a prosperous people, us Americans living right now. Yes, the rich are getting richer, the economy is looking bleak, and there are sit-ins and protests around the country — the world could always stand a few straightenings — but if you take a moment you realize we have more, and more access to, things than anybody else ever has. With apologies to the diehard pessimists and the political gain they hope their pessimism brings about, Americans have it pretty good. [Read more →]

technology

iPad helping people with autism

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When Steve Jobs died, among the many words of praise and thanks for him on my friends’ Facebook status updates, there were a few people upset at the attention his death was getting in the media. Maybe you saw similar sentiments from a friend or two. One friend dismissively wondered why we were “making a martyr out of the guy who created the iPhone.” At least one other passed judgment on Jobs, on the day of his death, for not giving more money to charity. He was selfish and rich and why were we treating him like some great guy when he hadn’t devoted his life to helping people but kept his money for himself? Certainly there are others out there who feel the same way. I wonder how many of them have done a fraction of what Jobs did to improve the lives of people. Tonight’s 60 Minutes featured ways the iPad is helping people with autism communicate and learn.

art & entertainmentmusic

Weird sex objekt: how to enjoy Kraftwerk’s Electric Cafe

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Like many people I enjoy the music of Kraftwerk and think that their reputation as musical pioneers is entirely justified. Indeed I would choose to listen to Trans Europe Express or The Man Machine over anything by The Beatles any day. Come to think of it, I’d listen to their 2003 album about riding bicycles over anything by The Beatles any day, but that’s another matter. I enjoy their dry humour, their minimalist, retro-futurist aesthetic, their decades-long dedication to pretending they are robots… and of course, their music.

And yet, there is a problem. And if you know Kraftwerk then you will know its name: [Read more →]

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