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Patient Zero September 16, 2017

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues, Social Media.
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“The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.” Mark Zuckerberg. Wired 2010.

Thus spake Zuckerberg.  And with a certain amount of youthful naiveté, he and his colleagues unleashed upon this planet something so alluring, so fascinating, so innocent that not a soul could have imagined, as did J. Robert Oppenheimer, post A-Bomb, that they had become death.

Does that sound harsh?  I don’t believe it began harshly.  Zuckerberg is a genius and has a good heart by and large – not bad attributes to possess. And because he seems to also possesses a healthier moral compass than many of his generation, I am trying to envision how he could have envisioned Facebook as anything but an asset to the world and a force for openness and harmony for the planet Earth. And I wonder if he still believes this or has suddenly realized, as the mushroom cloud of social media blotted out the sun, that he had weaponized  the world at the same time. Facebook has placed that little angel on one shoulder and that little devil on the other.  Both are multi-lingual and each ones single job is to persuade.  I think I would be harsh to characterize “social media” as a pathogen, yet it begs for this descriptor too.  Some folks catch it and others seem immune.

On this very day,  this man and his creation are being named as the villain in the Russian US 2016 election debacle.  What if it had been MySpace or another social media site?  I suspect Zuckerberg did not stop to think about the balance of good and bad on this lonely plane; anymore than Bell did when he got a dial tone.  Or a HAM Radio Operator when he first smelled the bacon.    Yet, because, as a species, we have been created with very bellicose instincts  and lots of greed, it might have been examined.  And those clubs that cavemen wielded were not for show.  And dragging women by the hair is a gender based tradition. We wage war constantly. We do not wage peace.  Religion short-cons the species to hope for peace – but it has never actually said we would get it.  But we got war; maiming, murdering, torturing, raping and pillaging.   Nobody human ever wanted to buy the world a Coke. Still, I don’t think Zuckerberg realized that the monster he had created would metastasize like those brooms and buckets in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Or the Spanish Flu. Or AIDS.

So now we have a very small whirling planet, beaten and pimped by anyone who can figure a way to get more from their own “brand”. ( FYI – a brand is a hot iron poker that burns an ID on the skin of animals (and people). You can have your logo tattooed  onto your own skin. In my mind they are very similar). Does anyone truly imagine Mark foreseeing this?  Do you think he created an algorithm for this?   Of course not.  Even J. Robert could see what he had unleashed.  I truly do not believe this was on Mark’s mind.

It’s far cry from the “Harvard Face Book” to the lethal air it has become. The air that is pumped into our lives every single second. But it is an entity of many minds and voices.  A hydra. Or even simpler, swamp scum.  We  now know about too much and now we know about too little and there is no fix either way.  Don’t blame Mark Zuckerberg.  Do not shoot the messenger.  He did not invent us.  He did not program us;  we each relied on our basest and best instincts – as we saw fit – and stirred the pot.  If anything Mark is Patient Zero. His simple idea created the plague that has engulfed the planet. But remember this.  Just like Marie Curie for example, he did not create immunity for himself and I rather think he must realize it by now.  As much as I reject the idea of “changing the course of history” his  creation has raised questions for me.

Consider an old saw, but absolutely true today.  Once the genie is out of the bottle – he truly cannot be put back.

 

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Junk Science. Gospel Truth. Down for the Long Count September 15, 2009

Posted by voolavex in global warming, Social Issues.
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The year 2012 is mentioned a lot lately and it makes me curious about a few things that should be more obvious – yet I have not seen anyone address them.  

Basically the Mayan calendar (followed only by Mayans until very recently) predicts that there will a huge change on this planet on 12/21/12 or 13.0.0.0.0. – depending on how you read it. Furthermore it seems this eventuality  is global theme from antiquity – not just Mayan antiquity.  It also appears that no matter how you crunch the numbers all of them are pretty close to this date (the former, not the latter). Scientifically, there will be an alignment of the planets in our solar system that occurs only every (26),000 years (give or take).  I wonder if the number (13).0.0.0.0. is special because it is half of 26?  I don’t know.   Then again, no one else has explained it very well  one way or another either.  I do know many that  many people – mainstream and fringe  –  seem to be cashing in on this entire phenomenon quite handsomely.  One man ( a scientific sort) has created an algorithm using game theory to make similar predictions for 2012.  So I am troubled because if even one of the many supposed events occur – it won’t be very pleasant for this world and this is the very thing that keeps doubt in my mind.  That and fear.

 

Let’s all agree, for the sake of this piece. that religion is based on predictions, prophets, amazing events, celestial signs. These happen by the hand of God – any God or many Gods – so we should take this theme very seriously.  The idea of  “the end of days” seems to be part of many religions and is signified by wars, fire, floods, explosions and bad behavior among the citizens of Earth.  And then redemption or hell, fire and brimstone. Or some here and some there. While the term “junk science” covers many of these catastrophic events in the mainstream –  no one ever seems to use the term “junk religion” or ask why this silly idea is a thread through so many cultures who have no use for one another now nor a long time ago. Consider this:  In Eastern countries the astrological charts of two people marrying, for example, are very important – yet astrology – in the West is considered a pseudo science with no real meaning. Yet it relies on celestial measurements to predict compatibility. What makes it junk?  Why has it been so important for so many millions of people on Earth. Why is it still? And why were a people such as the Mayans so concerned with dates and calendars and the heavens when they possessed no technical or scientific basis for their observations.  Was it faith or advice? Is it some accident or coincidence that the idea of religious monuments  at  precise astronomical intersections is farfetched, yet we can consider climate change a fact? Why is the idea of Armageddon a religious myth? And why must we reject as junk, one,  but  not the other? Who makes these decisions and why?  If anyone knew this all to be true and inevitable – just as billions believe that Christ is the Son of God, that Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his Prophet, that Moses delivered the Jew out of Egypt and brought us the 10 Commandments, that this is the Age of Kali – all this faith is accepted as gospel – why do we doubt 2012 – for example? And assuming for a second we take a flight and accept it as a possibility. Then what? If Eastern  thought and Western science has seen these changes coming for ages – theoretically and/or metaphysically – what are they going to do about it? In two years? Aside from money being made on the whole business, I can’t see what we possibly possess on our planet that would stop any of it from occurring – even if we knew what “it” was.

 

So do we attach any credence to The Long Count or is it wild conjecture?  And if we do believe it, then what?  And if we don’t and something  does happen who will be around to claim bragging rights?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.  I’ m  not sure what parts I consider reasonable and what parts I hope are wild and impossible theories, if any.   Are we a failed experiment? A final exam gone bad.  Or is this just good sci-fi.  You choose your ending.  Or is something about to come true.  And did we blow it?  Maybe we should all plan to meet on  1-1-13 and see what the outcome is – if anyone is left to care.  I miss Arthur C. Clarke.