Look for things in this blog

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Facebook – unlike. In fact, Despise.

Facebook kills communication. It devalues the beauty of the written word, rendering it a cheap, bastardised, lesser form of itself. The barrage of mindless messages flitting between the vacuous minds of facebook's self-selected drones has done to literature what Britney Spears did to music. And all at a price mind you.

The idea is novel. What do people want? To be heard by other people - and to hear other people themselves. Humans also have an urge to peer over garden fences, and peep behind curtains. Facebook (the online human zoo), among other websites, is simply the online version of this natural voyeurism. Except someone is watching you, while your playing peeping-tom.

People will argue that social-networks have it's benefits, and they surely do. But the amount of pop-up advertising, time-wasting links and pouty self-portraits is enough to make a venereal-disease ridden sailor nauseous.

Communication is amazing, exhilarating and priceless. But the exploitative nature of websites like facebook mask the true intentions of the creators. Hiding behind a fuzzy shield of 'connecting people', the creators sit laughing on multi-million dollar profits, selling YOUR information to the highest bidder.

It's all about money. Advertising. Promoting. Surveying. Gleaning personal information for market research. All in the name name of the mighty dollar. 'connecting people' indeed; more like 'connecting' a clique of capitalist-vultures with a large amount of cash.

The majority of people, who use social networking, don't even realise how much they gamble when they log on. It's easy to pretend that a website like facebook really was set up to help you keep in touch with Granny. But whoa there! Think for a minute, look around, be cynical, and ask yourself if it's really worth it.

Selling your soul for a look at someone else's.

Fracking is not the issue:

Fracking is a word that most people would not have understood a few years ago. Only those in the oil and gas industry, and those who the contentious method of fossil fuel extraction directly affected, would have had any idea what it involved. That's all changed in Taranaki now.

Hydraulic fracturing is a method of reaching oil and gas deposits, deep under the Earth's crust, by using a mix of high pressure chemicals and water to crack solid rock, and release deposits of fossil fuels.

Discussion around fracking generally gets stuck on whether this method of extraction is safe, how it effects underground water, and whether the chemicals used will be harmful to the environment around the drill site.

The problem with how this fracking debate is framed, is that it only involves talking about whether fracking, as an isolated method of oil/gas extraction, is harmful to people and the environment.

This discussion, although it needs to happen, ignores the crux of what fracking represents.

The range of debate around fracking in the mainstream media seems to avoid (purposefully?) the bigger picture.

Discussion on whether fracking is harmful to the environment or not, while ignoring the fundamental issue of fossil fuel dependence, is like discussing the merits of different methods of murder; while ignoring the victim. The methods used to reap oil and gas aren't the point. It's the fact that it is happening at all that should be scrutinised.

The way we live is dependent on fossil fuels. That is a fact. From how our food is delivered, how we get to and from work, the clothes we wear and the ways we entertain ourselves all require oil and gas in various forms.

The world is dependent on a finite resource, the gleaming treasures which we frack for. The trappings we take for granted will eventually cease to exist if we keep using our resources in an un-sustainable and reckless manner.

The arguments around fracking bring to mind the tired cliché of not being able to see the forest for the trees. It is not how we acquire the fuels we have come to rely on in the last few centuries, but why we need them, that needs to be seriously looked at.

For thousands of years human beings survived without the luxuries we, the pampered first-worlders, take for granted daily. Some would argue that humans are exploitative by nature, that we are cruel, greedy and selfish. Only time will tell.

Perhaps it is naïve to hope that the oil magnates, plastic toy manufacturers, car designers and the other industrial powers that hold sway over economies will see that what they are doing is unethical. And that thier behaviour is harmful to all of us that are alive now, and those who are yet to be born.

The discussion around fracking needs to be expanded to include a wider angle of thought. We need to consider just how much we want to be reliant on fossil fuels. For the sake of short term profits, and short term employment, we are jeopardizing our future - and we can all agree that we want a future.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I start this blog-post with an empty mind, but I'm sure something will arise from the recesses of my brain... Ahhh here we go...

I was thinking about robotic warfare the other day. Robots have no compassion, and if one was ordered to kill, it would show no mercy - unless programmed to do so. This thought, although it seems quite obvious, has dire implications for the battles that will undoubtedly rage between humans for centuries to come.

Let me elaborate.

I was watching a film about the 1914 Christmas ceasefire in WWII. The picture illustrated how even in the hell of close combat warfare, in the cesspit of human wretchedness, kindness and peace can shine through. The heroes who participated in the numerous ceasefires on that fateful day, (and in the few days that followed in some cases) shared the common interest of self preservation. Caring about themselves and other people, rather than the lofty ideals and territorial gains in the psychotic minds of the masters of war.

The unfortunate souls, stuck on the fronts, showed that even when hope seems lost, and when death circles above, all it takes to regain some aspect of humanity is to lay down your weapon.

Robots wouldn't do that.

Modern drones show no compassion, no differentiation between victims and no humility. They kill (in some cases) indiscriminately. The future of warfare seems to be leaning towards robotic, apathetic androids, without the 'frailty' of self determination. It would seem that this is an attractive concept to those who play men like pawns, and gamble human lives at a whim.

An automated, weaponised unit which cannot look into the eyes of a cowering victim is useful , when cold-calculated murder is the goal. Humanity is surely descending into a period of ethical chaos, with these robotic beasts reigning havoc on populations world-wide. Maybe one day a code of ethics will be able to be programmed, morals micro-chipped or compassion coded. But until that day, have fear citizens of the Earth, death from above has no mercy!