Intelligence?

US spies on ‘the entire globe’, experts say“.

If so, it doesn’t seem to have done us much good.

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Google and selective presentation

Another symptom of what bothers me about Google (and probably Bing too): “If you live in India, Google Maps shows you Arunachal Pradesh in India; if you live in China, Google Maps shows you Arunachal Pradesh definitely in China.” (seen here) It’s a variation on the filter bubble you may not know you’re in when the search engine shows you what it thinks you want.

Lately I’ve been searching with Duck Duck Go. It works well and has some helpful features, and they say they don’t track you.

Time marches on

Back in the day when Dick Cheney’s grandfather illegally imposed daylight savings time, the implementation was limited by the available technology of mechanical clocks and Morse telegraphy. If the clocks were to be changed, they about had to be advanced one full hour in the Spring, then put them back one full hour in the fall. Thanks to Al Gore’s creative genius, with help from Shockly and Berners-Lee, we are now in a position to do it right.

Instead of making the change over one night, with all the attendant disruption, inconvenience, and confusion, we can make the change continuously throughout the year. We can vary the length of the second continuously 23.889/7.00008/365.312, or whatever. This offers several advantages.

It will be necessary to create a whole new federal department, just to keep track of what time it is, what time it was, what time it will be later, and the historical and proposed intervals between events. The hiring will reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy.*

Since time is money, the government will be able to borrow money at near-zero interest by adjusting the time-stream.

It’s generally recognized that at some point you’ve had enough time. By redistributing the accumulated excess of the privileged to those in need, we will have a more just society.

Productivity and business profits will soar as the length of a second is increased during the work day and shortened at night. If the economy starts to overheat, the second length can be decreased.

The increased government oversight will keep us all on our toes and make us all better people. A limited number of waivers will be available upon application.

Since speed is the ratio of distance to time, we can change velocities with local selective temporary adjustments to the second length. This could be used to smooth out wind speeds during meteorological events, thereby mitigating storm damage. The frustratingly slow traffic of rush hours will be eliminated by providing time-expanded and time-reduced lanes on major arterial highways.

Successful trial lawyers will make a boatload of money.

Some Wall Street firms will make a boatload of money.

It might be possible to use similar technology to stop global warming, by adjusting the temperature scales in the summer.

Some naysayers claim daylight savings time is a disruptive nuisance that inconveniences everyone, costs a fortune, and does no more good than cutting an inch off a shoelace and tying it to the other end. These gun-toting Bible-thumpers with their degrees from State U have nothing to offer but ad hominem attacks, and are best ignored.

* Studies by NPR journalists indicate that one federal employee costs $128,000 per year, and adds $375,000 to the economy. Borrowing money to hire more federal employees is the path to universal prosperity, scientists say.

When tv was less frenzied

Of C-Span:

“The pace is slower. You don’t have a new visual image to process every 3.5 seconds, and people watch and apparently listen and then go back and watch again. So I’m very encouraged by that. It may be that there are limits to how much the human psyche can take of this fast-moving imagery that has been a characteristic of American television for many years. The Nielsen people tell us that television is on about close to eight hours a day in the average American household, so maybe there are limits to how much imagery people can process.” — Neil Postman, 30 August, 1992

There’s a limit to how much fast-moving imagery I can watch – the onset of nausea; and not in some airy existential sense. Is there a limit to how much humans can take? Maybe. But Postman said that in 1992. Today there is more blinking, flashing screen-trash than ever, and now TV includes pop-ups, pop-unders, pictures within pictures bracketed by scrolling text, all in gigantic high-definition. A noisy bar with a disco ball seems charmingly old-fashioned.

Ignorance, outrage, and irony