I just read on the NewsWorks web site that some Philly residents are being told they must pay the sheriff a large fine because they missed jury duty. This is the latest one of many jury duty scams to be used by con-artists to get money out of individuals. Read the NewsWorks story: newsworks.org
From the earliest writings placed on papyrus by the Ancient Egyptians in 3000 BC; the discovery and use of paper in China during the Han Dynasty in 206 BC; the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 in Europe; the first commercial typewriter in 1868 from America; the WordStar Word Processor from 1979 (and most popular software program of the 1980’s); all rendered insignificant by the sign in many modern offices “This is a Paperless Office”?
Of the many predictions of the future and life in the 21st century to include flying cars, robots, space stations galore, and the use of apes as trained domestic servants, none took notice that paper was to become something to be shunned and eradicated. While certainly convenient that 128 GB IPad can hold 11,599 digital books, and all 129 pounds and 32 volumes and 50 million words of the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica (sorry, no longer to be printed after 2010) can easily fit several times over on a single 8GB Micro SD card weighing a couple grams, is a paperless world truly an advance?
We now have paperless offices, paperless books and a world of digitized information and media, all amazing for the ability to deal with huge volumes of information with little space requirement, and minimum resources expended. Is this all progress or is there a dark underside of potential danger not being considered. While progress haters lament any change, perhaps in some cases change is not automatically all good and benign.
The problem of storage and size/volume has been an issue with nearly every endeavor ever pursued by mankind. From the storage of food for the earliest modern human species trying to expand across the Old World 40,000- 60,000 years ago during a respite in the ice ages, to the thousands of man hours used to decide the most essential equipment to place in the very small size of the space station, the question of how to get the most use of limited capacities and storage ability has been plaguing the world.
When it comes to the storage of the greatest asset of humankind - the storage of knowledge and history- it would seem clear to some that the answer has arrived, and now the final solution is simply shedding a few grams. When a copy every single book ever written, or scholarly text compiled throughout the world’s history could now be stored in good sized room if it were all digitalized properly, surely storage is no longer an issue. A paperless office is a no-brainer.
So what is wrong with this concept and why shouldn’t we get rid of and completely stop wasting precious resources on something so outdated as printed papers and books? There are literally 100’s of government warehouses full of printed documents, businesses devoted to the storage and archive of printed records, and the massive Library of Congress and its 838 miles of shelves holding 37 million books and other printed items that could be rendered digitally to fit in the average sized school library with a few dozen terminals and downloaded on WIFI whenever viewing was desired.
With all of the clear advantages of moving to a paperless world and the inevitable push in that direction, there are also some serious things to consider, the most important being the preservation of an original record. There have already been more times in history than countable of history being changed- literally rewritten. Historical revisionism has existed as long as recorded history.
From textbooks to the bible, modern reference books have undergone countless revisions; some to correct facts and some to intentionally obscure the truth. While each instance of revision changes facts, in widely disseminated printed form there are always copies left somewhere of the original texts. It is from these lost and found (or carefully stored and hidden) originals future generations are able to correct the story back to a closer version of truth.
The Vatican made the acquisition of the original bible texts its top priority in the first millennium, and each bible was carefully collected and revised and reissued with the “corrections” deemed appropriate by the current Pope (to include the complete exclusion of some of the original testaments according to some). While it will be forever debated so long as texts appear from some hidden collection which is actually true, there will always be at least discussion of truth.
When the printed word disappears and all books and copies of all documents become nothing more than strings of characters in a computer what happens when somebody that controls that document chooses to make a correction? Digitized text is so easy to change then any remaining copies could be easily spun as fakes to the doctored “official” text. Whoever controlled the official file would have complete control of declaring the veracity. Censorship becomes as easy as deleting a file or passage. Entire textbooks for a generation could be changed in minutes, added to, altered, or deleted at will.
It is already a truism that people believe if they see it on the internet it must be true- so what happens when the internet is the only source to check facts with, and every original is stored in a “cloud” waiting to be altered or changed at a whim? The falsification of records has always been a problem but with digital records it is so easy to change and that change very quickly becomes the accepted truth, readily available to all.
There will be no need for book burnings in the future of a paperless society because it can all be done with a delete key. The updating of a popular operating system would ensure only the official copy is readable and available. While there is certainly some paranoia and conspiracy theory rhetoric in this debate, it cannot be denied the possibility for abuse exists by those that control the central data storage or those that find way to access that data.
When all signatures are reduced to four or five digit pins cracked by simple guesswork, the days of a forged signature will seem much more secure. To allow all knowledge and history and all documents to be stored as simple digital files the amount of trust to believe the veracity of all that data will need to be immense. To this point in the world it has been shown too many times that absolute trust of the few in control of information is seldom a wise choice. Perhaps storing a few books and some documents in a format as old fashioned and obsolete as paper is not such a bad idea.
In Boston this winter, jail inmates have been shoveling out fire hydrants, streets, and buried train lines in the face of historic snow. Clearly, Massachusetts needs the help. But instead of using current inmates for the task, Boston would be better served to employ newly released inmates desperate for cash. It’s just one example of how public officials tend to focus on those currently behind bars, instead of placing their emphasis on reintegrating former prisoners into society.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has actually praised the use of current inmates as “an important component to successful re-entry.” There’s no question that it’s a cheap solution. After all, the median wage in state prisons is 20 cents per hour. Those who have already paid their time, by contrast, would need to be paid the prevailing wage. And the union workers performing the same tasks are paid $30 an hour.
Christopher Lee, of Hammer horror fame, offering us his heavy metal musical stylings of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and ‘Silent Night’….
…and a very merry Christmas to all of LGF from Jimmah and iceweasel.
This year will be our fifth anniversary, and we’d like to say thank you once again to LGF, since we met here. A very happy and healthy Christmas to everyone, and to this great site!
(CNN) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords completed an 11-mile cycling event Saturday, marking another milestone in her recovery from a 2011 mass shooting.
She was greeted with cheers and applause at the finish line.
Alongside her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords crossed the finish line of El Tour de Tucson riding a recumbent bike, which has three wheels and puts the rider in a reclining position.
Organizers say some 9,000 people participate in the annual ride, which they call America’s largest perimeter cycling event for cyclists of all ages and abilities
Barbara Bowman, who alleges that Bill Cosby repeatedly raped her in the 1980s, is demanding to know why it took a male comedian criticizing the comedian for “public outcry [to] begin in earnest.”
Bowman’s article comes on the heels of the disastrous Twitter experiment in which Cosby asked users to “meme” him. The results were not what his public relations team anticipated:[…]
As that last tweet attests, each “#CosbyMeme” required the approval of the site administer, but unfortunately for Cosby’s team, people who use Twitter know how to take screen captures. According to Bowman, online awareness of Cosby’s alleged crimes only arose after a video of comedian Hannibal Buress accusing him of being a rapist went viral.
“It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f*cking smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” Buress said in the video. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
Bowman wrote in the Post that she is “grateful” for the attention, but it makes her wonder, “Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?”
In the same piece, she attacked the “network of willfully blind wallflowers at best, or people willing to aid [Cosby] to commit these sexual crimes at worst.”
I don’t care who you vote for but get off your butt and participate.
- Get up early and do it before work if you need to.
- Take a long lunch and do it then if you need to.
- Do it after work and treat yourself to take out if you need to.
- Encourage a young person to vote even though it's "just a midterm".
- Vote for Louie Gohmert if you must (I'd rather you didn't).
- Do it to spite the Republicans.
- Whatever the hassle, whatever the reason, get out and vote.
Lefties like me are probably looking at a dismal result but it’s still important to participate.
Even poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong. Advantages and disadvantages, in other words, tend to perpetuate themselves.
Americans are inundated with media coverage and politicians warning them of dire threats: Ebola, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the war on Christmas.
The truth, though, is that the most-hyped threats are often not actually that threatening to Americans, while larger dangers go mostly ignored. That should tell you something about how our political system and media can distort threats, leading Americans to overreact to minor dangers while ignoring the big, challenging, divisive problems - like climate change - that we should actually be worried about.