The Science of Today is the Technology of Tomorrow

Friday, March 4, 2011

my gadgets

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

From the dawn of time, technology was a simple concept. In the Paleolithic Age, early humans used stones and other tools as a form of weapon to hunt. Early humans were already creating art, drawings, large scale monuments and earthworks as a form of communication, such as cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France, Nazca Lines in Peru and the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England to name a few. I was watching a documentary on human evolution, it was explained that when the homo erectus eventually evolved into the homo sapiens, the jaws of the homo erectus shrunk allowing the size of the cranium to increase, therefore allowing the brain to increase in size too. This change was caused by a mutation, which eventually allowed the homo sapiens to develop speech, language and communication with other homo sapiens. Communication allowed them to gather and help each other to build networks. How fascinating?

The great monuments in the world such as the Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Parthenon, cathedrals in Europe still stir up some great emotions within me. I am in awe of these wonderful structures and wonder how did people build these structures at the time they were built? How on earth did those people build the Stonehenge? Those stones weigh 20-25 tons and the stones of the pyramids weigh 2 tons each. Considering how long is still takes to construct a building nowadays, I cannot begin to imagine how much time it took to build these early structures. I hope to visit all these monuments one day and take way too many photos.

Now we live in a world where technology is vital. Our lives revolve around technology and our gadgets. Everyone has a cellphone, whether it be an iPhone or Blackberry; we are constantly trying to connect to people around us. Facebook and Twitter are constantly on our minds, because we are obsessed with communication. Which makes me wonder why are we more communicative with people that are far away and not to the people right next to us. There are people who are in the company of their friends and they could be preoccupied with texting or Facebook or games. Which reminds me of the story of a mother who was bathing her 13 month old baby and she left the baby alone to play some Facebook game. The baby drowned. And another story of a 22 year old mother who shook her baby to death after interrupting her Farmville game. I am so disgusted and heartbroken by these acts of irresponsibility.

Technology helps us grow as an economy and society, but technology has the potential to be so lethal. When the Industrial Revolution commenced, the world saw the invention of Cotton spinning using Richard Arkwright's water frame, James Hargreaves's Spinning Jenny, and Samuel Crompton's Spinning Mule (a combination of the Spinning Jenny and the Water Frame), the improved steam engine invented by James Watt. While the Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in human history, it led to large scale production of chemical pollution (portrayed beautifully in Monet's Impression, Sunrise) and child labor, chronic hunger and malnutrition, which mainly affected the population in England and France. With all this hardship, the world has advanced into a Modern Age of even more deadly technology: mass production of weapons, the Vicker's machine gun, armored tanks and the Farman and Voison aircraft.

World War I marks the first war that introduced lethal weapons. British writer H. G. Wells lamented the fate of humanity at the hands of "man's increasing power of destruction" (H. G. Wells, "Civilization at the Breaking Point," New York Times, May 27, 1915, 2). Before, infantry warfare depended upon hand-to-hand combat, but World War I popularized the use of machine guns and other forms of weaponry. The wars since have elevated leading to the invention of nuclear weapons, which have been detonated twice offensively on Hiroshima on August 6th and Nagasaki on August 8th, 1945. In 1947, Albert Einstein quoted "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." This quote scares me immensely for our future generations: my future children and their children. After the invention of flying was achieved, man had to supersede flight and leave the atmosphere, which leads to Space Exploration.

When flight was achieved, the world was in awe, since dream of flight dates back to the days of pre-history. Then space exploration became the new dream, therefore commencing the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Since then man has landed on the moon, and now they have been trying to get back to the moon by conceptualizing and developing a space elevator. Who knows when this will happen? Since our current level of technology is not capable of manufacturing such materials to build an Earth-based elevator to the moon. The concept is extraordinary, but we might not be able to see this invention on our lifetime.

Technology is constantly being improved for the betterment of society. Right now, we are defined by what gadgets we own. Are you a Mac person or a PC person? Do you have a smartphone? Do you own an iPhone or a Blackberry? Do you have all the cool apps on your phone? How many Facebook friends do you have? We are so consumed and even controlled by all this technology that sometimes we aren't aware of the power of modern technology. These big companies are huge monopolies and they have so much power, because we give them the power, because advertising manipulates us without our knowledge. Maybe some people are aware of it, but some people are probably completely oblivious to the fact that we are being manipulated into thinking we have control, but we don't.

I read some article about Battle: Los Angeles (read it if you're interested) and how ufology experts say that the film is based on fact. Growing up, I always believed in extraterrestrial activity. How can we be the only beings in this universe? Wouldn't that be a little narcissistic of us? I do believe that there are other beings out there and they might even look just like us or they could look like the aliens in District 9 or even the aliens in Monsters vs. Aliens or Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen)! Why not? (I will not say Alien, because I can't watch those movies!!!) I genuinely believe aliens do not want to attack and invade Earth (God, I hope I'm not wrong!). If aliens had the technology to travel light years and land on Earth, why the hell would they want our planet that even doesn't have technology that is comparable to theirs? Yes, we have a beautiful atmosphere that allows us to breathe, we have water and greenery and even some beautiful people and animals, but seriously? Why Earth? Go home and stop taunting us with your unidentified flying objects!

Aliens have always been fascinating to me, but I cannot stand Hollywood's interpretations and portrayal of aliens, because they're so ugly and unsightly, I cannot stand to look at them. So I usually avoid watching those alien movies and read up on them from time to time. According to the article, Colonel Halt speculates that the government does have a contingency plan for an alien attack, but they have contingency attacks prepared for everything. That said, he's doubtful any of those plans would work and if (big IF) there ever was ever an alien attack, we would not win. How depressing.

Not only do we have alien attacks looming in the back of our minds, but we also have 2012 to consider? I'm sure global warming is a factor to the destruction of our planet. The Mayans calculated the end of the world will occur on December 21st, 2012! The Mayans aren't the only ones that predicted the occurrence of a doomsday. There are multiple theories as to how and why the world will come to an end. Alignments of the planets, geomagnetic reversal, a big comet crashing the earth leading to a huge tsunami wiping off the entire human and animal population. Rogue planets colliding with Earth (thanks Melancholia and Lars von Trier). So we're living in a world where there is war, poverty, famine, AIDS, rape, murder, genocides, freak accidents, torture and now we also have to consider that the world is coming to an end too? How much do we have to deal with?

If we're still alive and it's December 22nd, 2012, we should all celebrate and pop a bottle (or a few bottles) of champagne or in my case grape juice. We should party at my place (hopefully I'll be living in some nice affordable loft in Brooklyn or small studio in Manhattan). This leads to me to why I even wrote this hefty post about technology. A few days ago, I decided to name and rename some of my gadgets. Can you believe I wrote this ridiculously long and serious post about technology, but the whole time it was all about how I named my gadgets? Yes, I did. Back in 2004, when I got my first laptop, I decided to name it. I mean why not? I named him Bobby, because I was in love with Bobby in Scary Movie (yes I know, I'm a dork). I named my thumb drive Scotty after Eurotrip, iPod after David from Simple Plan and consequently, named my new iPod Coco Chanel and other names I can't remember now. When I got my Mac Book Pro in December 2009, I never named it, because I had no reason. A few days ago, I decided it was time to name my gadgets again. So here are the names:

Mac Book Pro: Lavender
1.5 TB Hard drive: Hydrangea
iPhone: Olive
Canon Rebel T2i: Clover
Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens: Lilac
Thumb drive: Thumbelina
SD Card 16GB: Saffron
SD Card 16GB (Video): Violette

Once in a while, you need to have some fun lightheartedness in your daily life to remind yourself of the small pleasures in life (thanks Amélie). Amidst all the devastation in the world, it is easy to forget to enjoy life and cherish all the good things we have. We should enjoy life while we can before it's too late. I want to thank technology for allowing me to blog about my thoughts. But at the same time, technology has been the death of many people and it frightens me. We rely so much on technology that sometimes we don't know how to enjoy life without phones, laptops, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'm going to try to observe Analog Sunday from now on. Although, I do want to take one photo of something I did on Sunday and post it and that's the extent of my computer time on Sunday. Besides that, no email, no Facebook and no phone (unless someone calls me). Instead, I will read, take photos, take a walk if the weather permits it, watch a movie, go to a museum or gallery, paint and keep a Sunday journal.

Do you name your gadgets and toys? What does technology mean to you? Here's a link to the time of historical inventions. Next post about technology? Time travel.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. - Albert Einstein

analog sunday #1


  1. I enjoy your blog, it's very compelling. Analog sunday is a terrific idea, I think i'm going to try this myself.

  2. Fascinating. Really makes me think. The quote is powerful. Isn't it? I do not have names for my stuff. But I do feel I often rely too much upon technology. Waiting for an e-mail, for example; instead of picking up the phone. I love your list.