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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Robots on my Mind

In The Daily Drool on May 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Anybots telepresence robots go to meetings for you, so you can talk to your boss without having to breathe in his haletosis...

Look, I love The Terminator.  I loved the second Terminator… and I saw the third (but don’t remember is too well), and the 4th, well, somebody really screwed the pooch on the ending there, but all the T4 business before the final 15 mins?  Pretty damn fun.

But I just watched this video about the milatary advancements on robots and kind of shuddered.

Because while they are primarily support-bots at present (no laser-eyed walkers/talkers/shooters yet) I can’t help but wonder, what is the point?

Stay off my Rock!

Ever since man first encountered other man and decided that defending his patch of forest/desert/pond was worth thunking the other in the head over, their has been casualty of war – that casualty is human.  Kings and Tyrants, Bullies and Bosses, have each saddled up their own armies of subservients, slaves, and citizens to serve their noble/not-so-noble cause… all to see who could outlast and outkill the other.  At some point, someone runs out of men, gets killed themselves, or suffer at the hands of their own angry mob… because there is a human tally.  There is horror and pain and mass suffering, but it is human.

What then, is the point of a field full of robots?  When does there come an end? (Because I’m fast-forwarding past the Robots vs. Humans element here, mass casualties, horror, rage and defiance… yes, yes, it will be gruesome and horrifying… and then the “other side” of that coin will invest in robot technology, so they can pit their metal against yours… which brings us back to – ) How do you top fields of robots?  How do you determine victory then?

I’m suddenly realizing that this sounds like I’m saying human deaths in battle are a good thing… but I think I’m speaking purely from an end-game perspective-  if the loss is strictly technological, how do fueding despots declare victory?  When the last robot falls, the factories will just make more… won’t they?  Are we simply aiming for a new kind of destruction… one made of metal and webcams, and PS3 pro-robot operators?  Or does soemthing worse come along… something more deadly than robot assassins.

Resistance is futile!

And is this how people felt when they first hear that computer-makers had designs on landing an IBM in every household?  “OH GOD, we’ll all become hermits, we’re losing our humanity, the world is in peril of becoming one gigantic throbbing electronic PULSE!” Umm… yeah, well, it kind of happened (sans hermit… I mean, I’m kind of a hermit, but we aren’t part of the Borg… yet)  And I kind of like it… I mean, I don’t want to imagine the horror and panic if the internet just… went away… (shudder)

Yet there is something, unsettling, about these field robots.  Something creepy to me about the violence it seems to excuse.  And God forbid  (through some sort of technological glitch right out of the movies) a robot on the battlefield ever looked around at the carnage and wondered “Why?”

If that ever happens, I’m heading to my secret bunker in the hill and setting up shop as a goat-herder-slash-gun-trader… Look for me in Terminator 5!

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The Pope’s Albatross

In Essays, The Daily Drool on April 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Well, it’s all over the news, the Pope may/may not have had a hand in covering up sex abuse scandals – Everyone is up in arms (understandably) and there are plenty of photographs of his weary mug as he tried to make it through the holiday weekend in honor of its spiritual significance whilst all around him rumors swirled.

It’s hard not to have an opinion – an opinion based on the culling of information available to us, the masses.  For surely there is no way for us to know exactly what happened, we must instead make our judgements on heresay- the facts “uncovered” by investigators, and the testimonies given by the injured parties- becuase half-way across the world lies a city built on papal secrecy and structure, a world beyond this one, where Catholic law is Law.  Can we ever truly know what happened?  Will we ever be able to understand?  Is there any possibility of knowing Pope Benedict XVI’s true participation/lack thereof?

To all of this I say that it matters not nearly as much what he may/may not have done as what this all says about the Church itself.  (and here’s where some people may get irritated with me- bear in mind that I am not a churchgoer, that I instead adhere to an overarching spirituality not stemming from organized religion.  If that bothers you, then what I’m about to say probably will too)

Because organized religion is made of man, not God.  God/Buddha/The Great Spirit/What-Have-You, did not come down to us and say “Do things THIS WAY’ – if He/She/It had, then we’d have one religion and no holy wars to speak of.  Instead, what you have is a construct of man, formed of desires both altruistic and opportunistic.  Religion offers control, moral codes of conduct, community, and security of shared beliefs.  It attempts to tell you how to live a “spiritual” life, with a different set of rules wherever you worship, and to those that presume to tell you theirs is the O-N-L-Y path to God, I say they have turned a blind eye to the world and the very Light itself.  What they have found is their only path to God, it does not need be yours as well unless it speaks to you at your core.

But perhaps enough of my rant about generalized religion- it has done many good things in its name, and this I respect – what we are talking about today are recent events with the Pope, pedophile Priests, the potential cover-up, and what it says about the Catholic Church itself.

The Church has an amazing and terrible history born and blended of faith and controversy- and I’ll not pretend to be an expert.  Suffice to say, it’s an incredibly interesting and dramatic history (as are many religions) whether you’re reading the scripture, learning about all the masses of accumulated wealth they cultivated in the name of God whilst its parishioners starved (yes, I’m speaking about those lovely Dark Ages) or brushing up all the Wars fought in the name of “Christ” (and almost every other deity) – But in this day and age, the current “bad press” is an onslaught of pedophile priests, and if you think like People of Power think… People of Religious Power… People of Religious Power in an organization that has already suffered many challenges in the face of a 21st century congregation (Prime example: Divorce vs. Annulment (a super divisive point dating back to the 1500’s) What do you do in today’s society of mini-marriages with a 50% divorce rate… you call it an “annulment” and tell your flock that if it had been a “real” marriage, it would have worked, hence God’s forgiveness/church’s issue of an annulment/aka-the “That never really happened.” document)  It is only sensible that as the horrors of pedophilia  began to surface, the Church did its best to keep it quiet- elsewise what would it mean for the Church?  What would it say that these men, these priests, these avenues to God, were abusing their power over the youngest and most defenseless?  From a governing stand-point, admitting that this disgusting human affliction was a problem would open the Church up to all sorts of new questions… and questions beget questions… and a questioning, searching flock might just go find itself another master with better answers.

(Case in point, this article, in which “The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.”)

Because even though the Catholic church may look on the Pope as a supreme channel to God, he is still an administrator.

And administrators do not belong to the people, but to the organization that bestowed the title on them in the first place.

Yes, you read that right, I just called the Pope a CEO (of sorts.)

He cannot serve both groups (the Flock, and the System) always and together… sometimes the good of one outweighs the responsibility to the other, and in this instance, it appears he chose the System.

The truly tragic thing about it all is that in doing so, he landed himself into the exact boil he was trying to avoid- and perhaps in a few degrees hotter pot.

Because although the Catholic Church is a highly structured organization, every power-that-be stands on the heads and shoulders of it’s congregation, and a congregation is made of Individuals who’s primary religious worry is the struggle of serving God over their own wayward humanness- it’s much easier for an Individual to get on the side of the Flock when the System develops a hiccup.

Which is all to say that those questions Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger so feared have now come back to haunt him, as Pope Benedict XVI, in the worst of ways… not only inciting questions about him and his methodology, but in his ascension to power, about the very church he sought so hard to protect.  In essence, he has ensured a heavy skepticism towards the Church whereas the initial fallout, had he acted swiftly in the good of the Flock, would have been assuredly less so.

Because now it’s not just questions about degenerate priests haunting the flock – If priests, who are supposed to be so close to God, are in fact very flawed human men, why must I seek absolution from them?  What does it mean that I must speak to God/seek His wisdom through someone prone to such horrifying weaknesses of the flesh?- but questions about the System as well- How could they stand by and let this happen?  I thought the Church cared about me?  What does it mean that while my local church/priest/community seems to care about my physical/spiritual wel-being but the Pope himself cares more about his reputation?  Who am I to the Church?  What is the Church’s real aim?

And that last one is the real doozy.

Once you find yourself asking that question, you begin to unravel the very thread that holds all organized religions together… because as soon as something gets big enough to involve “committees” and hierarchies of power, no matter how noble it’s inception, that thing begins to change… to bend to the faults and ego of people… and we all know how dangerous people can be.

Just ask the Pope.

Which is why, as this story continues to unfold, I count myself among the unsurprised… People are fallible.  Just because they study a book believed by many to be moral law, or a belief system held by many to be the path towards righteousness, does not mean they are immune to mistake or flaw.  The Pope is a man, highly educated and very powerful, yet a man nonetheless.  The Church is itself an organization of men (not women -yet another issue I take -but that’s another post- and no, nuns are not in the same playing field) plain and simple.

And all this leads to the crux of Ratzinger’s fatal worry/Benedicts Albatross – Can the Catholic Church survive if its congregation looks on its governors as guilty mortals, suffering like the rest of us, even through their own extreme (and conversely unreachable by the rest of us) proximity to the Holy Spirit?  Or is it too deeply steeped in the mystery that decorates an ascension of faith to allow for these kinds of thoughts?  Just how much damage will come to “the good of the universal church”?

What happens when people start to look closer at the System overseeing their beliefs?

I think we’re about to find out.

The Fountain of Youth

In The Daily Drool on March 19, 2010 at 10:54 am

Jelly Fish… are they the secret Watchers of the universe?  A million little brains floating out there at sea, observing, learning…. LIVING FOREVER!

At least, that’s what I’m inferring from the latest news on their regenerative properties.  Seems it’s been discovered that a certain kind of the mushy-sea-dwellers has figured out how to revert back to it’s polyp stage, grow up and old, and revert all over again.  Can you imagine the possibilities?

“I ran into Harold the other day, told him he was getting a little gray around the temples?  Well next thing I know he was squeezing his eyes shut and thinking real hard and then PLOP, he reverted.  Right there on the sidewalk!  Little screaming baby drowning in his old-man suit. Of course I had to scoop him up, drop him off at one of the depositories.  Damned fool couldn’t even wait till he was home to revert!”

What about Grandma, sitting in her moth-ball mansion… everyone standing around her bed, lovingly, as she REVERTs back to infant and Mom and Dad scoop her up, taking her home with smiles and retributive thoughts…  “We’ll see who likes too much sugar on their cereal in the morning, now!”

And ugh, the agony of puberty, over and over and over again?  Even with all the knowing… all the mental progression possible with a brain two hundred years old… to still have to go back through the Ugly and Awkward Gauntlet?  Yech!

Which begs the question, what would become of our brains?  Living forever, would we become smarter?  Humbler?  Would we look out on this world with more care and love and guardianship than any of our currently small life-span allows?  Would we be better people?

And finally, are jellyfish the brains of the ancients?  Reduced to a sack of membranous folds, drifting in the waters, keeping watch… tortured by the severe waste we tend to make of our fortunate legs, arms, and bodies?  Do they lust after our bodies, only to be disgusted by how we squander them?

Well, Jelly Fish, today I march up and down steps for you… I stretch for you… I drink my morning tea, for YOU.   Today, Jelly Fish of the Eternal, you may rest easy on the waves, for I will enjoy this body in your honor.