Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talk Thursday: Things That Make You Go "Hmmm?"

So I'm reading this book.. "This Will Change Everything" by John Brockman. In 1997 he started and invited the nation's top thinkers to join the group. He got together astrophysicists, molecular biologists, evolutionary biologists, computer scientists, neuroscientists, cognative scientists, mathematical physicists, quantum-mechanical engineers, scientists in fields I've never heard of, nor can I pronounce- and added a mix of M.D.s and psychologists, writer's and artists. His idea was to get these "thinkers" to ask each other the questions that they ask themselves.

Each year, on the anniversary of the formation of this group, he poses a question to them. They answer in a brief essay and he compiles those into a book. Last year's question was this:

"What game-changing scientific ideas and 
developments do you expect to live to see?" 

 The replies have definitely offered some food for thought, some interesting... some just plain scary. Multiple entries talked about chips implanted in the brain for multiple purposes. One idea was that cell phones would become obsolete. Instead of dialing on a phone, we'll think of the person we want to call and "poof", we'll dial them up in our heads and think our conversations to them. Scary. How would you separate out what you want to say, and the random other thoughts you have? No more calling in sick when you aren't. The up side is that you'll never have to stay on the phone during a boring conversation anymore... of course, after a little while you won't have anymore friends. What about random sex thoughts? Trust me, you don't want to know the things that go on in my head.
 Speaking of which, another person suggested chip implants for telepathy. Every downfall I just mentioned, with no dialing. With that concept, it wouldn't just be the 50 friends, co-workers, and fellow Scout mom's in my address book that had access to my fucked up brain, but every random stranger too. On the flip-side, I don't want to be privy to the random thoughts of anyone else either. Well, I guess it could have a few benefits. Your kids would never be able to con you. You'd always know exactly where you stand in your personal relationships. Trust would become obsolete. Would lying become obsolete, as well? That would be an interesting development for humanity. What would that mean for us?
   On one hand, premeditated crimes would probably go down. Someone is sure to pick up on the thoughts of someone planning a crime, but then do we intervene and how do we do so? Do we punish people for thinking about committing a crime? No one would be able to lie to police or the courts anymore. What happens to pleading the 5th when our very thoughts can incriminate us? Forensic science would become an archaic practice. Would we need to prove guilt beyond the defendant's own thoughts of guilt or innocence?
  Potential child molesters and rapists could be found out before the crime was ever committed.
  Suicide rates would probably go down but our psych-ward populations would sky rocket. Mental illness wouldn't be able to hide any more. Would the ability to clearly read someone's thoughts help us diagnose and cure mental illness? Will we be able to deduct what makes a person tick and what is ticking off-kilter and will we develop the ability to "fix" it? If we can't cure them, will we just detect that someone isn't "right" and lock them away before they have the ability to act on their illness?
Interesting to contemplate.

Another idea presented several times is the great advancement in Artificial Intelligence and robotics... to a terrifying degree. It has been speculated that we will come so far in this advancement that the current debate of same-sex marriage will be a minor conflict of the past as people fall in love with, and petition for the right to marry their robotic companions.... What hope is there for human companionship when you can create a loved one, made to order, who is not just precisely to your specifications, but has the technology to grow with you? How many generations until humanity breeds itself out?
Follow me for a second. Initially, the people who don't create themselves a perfect spouse will have at least one of three reasons; financial, ethical, or moral. As the practice becomes more common, ethics and morals will change. I see that in a relatively short period of time the only people who wouldn't do this would be those who can't afford to, or those who don't for religious reasons. As time goes by, as with anything else, it will be less expensive to buy the technology. I hate to generalize here, but eventually it will get to the point that the people who can't afford to do so, will be the sub-par people. Meaning, those without the intellect or the drive to do well for themselves economically. Those will be our breeders. As time goes by, how long will it be before we as humans see that what we have created is better than what God did with us? How long until God becomes inferior and obsolete?
If you think the job market sucks now, think about what will happen when our "perfect" spouses assume a human life to enable a better, more authentic, connection with their spouse. Who would hire an inferior human when they have the ability to hire a "perfect" applicant?
 When we have the means to create ourselves the perfect spouse, what about then creating the perfect child? Would it be considered immoral to create a robot that is the perfect 7 year old, which can just be turned off when you have to go to work? or programmed to not need a babysitter? Could you keep it 7years old forever? When you no longer want to be a parent can you just recycle it? What if we develop the technology to allow these "children" to grow chronologically? How long would it be until we have a robot race and no more, or very few, humans?
Taking that prior thought a little further. If we grow "perfect" children chronologically, and develop them to leave the nest and strike out on their own, give them a synthetic love, will they be required to tell future companions that they are not human? I'm, in a way, drawing a comparison to those who go through gender-reassignment and the debate of moral obligation(?) in telling future companions. Some think that morally that information should be shared. Some strongly disagree. (I very much see both sides of that debate..)  But what if we're talking about not having to tell someone that you're a real person? Will we eventually get to the point when the concept of a "real person" is changed forever?

What happens when we become the endangered species? The Earth will become a happier, healthier place... I suppose it would be karma. With our technology, we have killed off so many species. It's a bitter funny, but our intellect might be the end of us.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Talk Thusday: REgressions

I've been struggling with Progressions... I don't feel very progressive these days.

The fact is... I was horribly mistaken about the extent of my relationship with the Plumber. Apparently, we are just really good friends who were briefly more affectionate than is normal. And I made assumptions. I made (I think, understandably) assumptions based on miss-intendedly misleading words and actions. That doesn't mean I wasn't heartbroken. Or embarrassed. Or a little shamed.

By nature, I am slow to trust. I am slow to open myself up to others in a way that gives them the opportunity to hurt me. Usually, I'm a fortress. That doesn't mean that I'm not affectionate with the people in my life... it just means I'm distrustful and not quick to let in newbies. I've always been that way to a certain extent. As a child, it was safer to kick someone's ass than let them see their words hurt me. It's hard to cry when you're throwing punches. Sometimes growing up sucks.. I wish it were socially acceptable for me to just kick the shit out of someone when I'm upset... somehow I know that would make me feel better. (Ok, not really... but kinda) With the Plumber, I tried to throw caution to the wind. Tried to break out of my old ways and fears and self defenses. Now I find myself wondering why.

Those things are there for a reason.

I know everyone has that little "voice in their head". Not in a schizophrenic way, just that voice... Mine speaks to me with my mother's voice.

It keeps saying, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.."

Why don't I listen to my mom more?

Nothing happened. We didn't fight. Just one day it was different. He says that he needs to focus on his kid and his career and he can't worry about the other things right now. He doesn't say that there won't be a "someday, down the road", but I don't ask either. He doesn't say that he doesn't feel that way about me, but again, I don't ask. He tells me I'm his best friend. That's something. Things have been a little awkward. He feels horrible for hurting me, I feel like an ass for letting myself get hurt.

I don't point out that in the little over a month he's lived with me that he's gotten his license back, paid off his fines, gotten a job, gone back to college, and that he now has his son 50% of the time.... Pointing that out seems pathetic and desperate and argumentative. It doesn't matter what his excuse is..If he doesn't want to "be with" me, then what's the point of showing him that with me he's achieved all that?

He's just as damaged as I am. Maybe a little more so. He doesn't communicate his emotions any better than I do. We're both pretty fucked up. He tries to talk to me, but his meaning is as clear as mud. I try to talk to him, but the words don't come out. So now we just pretend it isn't there.

We still have fun. I love being around him. I just wish things were still the way they were a few weeks ago.

I don't know if it's stress or the fact that it's hard to remember to take your birth control when you're not having sex... but I've had my period twice this month. I feel like my uterus is weeping for my broken heart.

I've never met anyone so perfect for me. We're enough alike to always be entertained, but different enough to never get boring. We're so sexually compatible that it scares me I'll never find that again. Good sex is still good, but when it's great... Ohhh my god, it's amazing.

I don't know where I am... I'm this big ball of confused disillusionment, self-pity, dysfunctional wanting, and bitterness. But, as we all know,

This too shall pass.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Battle In Council Rock...

Some people think that I am one of those parents that shelter my child a little too much. Of course, being the one in question, I disagree. I try very hard to evaluate what my child is ready for and give him age/maturity appropriate information. It's not always an easy call. That said, he is 9... with Asperger's... so maturity wise, he is often more like a 7 year old, at best.

Today I read an article about the issues the Council Rock School District is having with the group PARE. Parents Active in Responsible Education is a group fighting the school district on the issue of the use of R-rated movies in high school classrooms.

Sure, initially, I was like... ok.. my kid can't see it in a theater without me, but he can see it at school?? Does this make sense? But then I investigated a little further.

The School District has a section on its website where you can view the entire list of 52 R-rated movies approved by the school district, see which class it will be used in, more specifically which teacher requested the use of it. For the teen to be able to see it, a parent or guardian MUST SIGN A PERMISSION SLIP.

PARE is saying that parents are bullied into signing the slip out of fear of embarrassing their children or kids are forging their signatures. Funny, but I don't remember parents being afraid to pull their Middle Schoolers out of sex ed when I was a kid or in high school when certain kids had to leave class when we talked about the theory of evolution.. Yeah, they were embarrassed, but their parents didn't give a crap.

The bottom line is, if you don't want your kid to see the movie, don't sign the paper. Call the school. Make sure the school knows how you feel. Don't block the other kids' chance at getting the message.

Viewing the list, there were several movies on it that I watched in my high school. I think that they were effective tools for giving concrete examples of the things that were taught in the text books. In psychology, we had to watch The Breakfast Club and do a report on social cliques and status in school. In that same class, we also had to watch Harold and Maude, which is not R-rated, and it disturbed me way more than the R-rated films. While we didn't watch it in school, we got extra credit in history if we went and saw Schindler's List, cuz yes, I'm that old. Our theater had a special viewing just for the high school kids.

There are several major advantages to using movies to aid education. One, study after study has proven that not everyone learns the same. Some kids just can't sit down with a book of Shakespeare, read it, and retain it. Two, there is a benefit to giving the pupils a visual scenario to apply to the text. Sometimes it takes a dramatization to make the jump and impact the lesson in the student's mind. Hell, they still use dramatizations on me at work when they make me watch that ethics crap and take tests on it. If they let me watch a real movie, instead of their crappy, campy, low-budget drivel... I might pay more attention.. even look forward to doing my education requirements.

This year the Council Rock School District cut some 20+ movies from their approved list. One of those movies was Kids. This makes me sad. I think this is an important movie that all kids should see, starting before high school. It's a movie about a teen whose number one goal is to devirginize as many girls as possible... one problem.. he has HIV. One girl who discovers that she contracted the virus from him tries desperately to warn his next victim.

What better way to teach young horny kids that you can't be too careful? That you can't trust every cute guy/girl with a pretty smile? And that people rarely do the right thing? I was an adult when I saw that movie.. and it still made an impact.

I was sad to see that Heathers wasn't on the list. I think every teen should see that movie. What better way to see what the evils of trying to fit in can bring.. as well as how easily a prank can get out of control?

Several years ago, I got in big trouble by my boyfriend at the time because I let his 12 year old daughter watch 8mm. Ok.. didn't "let" her watch it... highly encouraged and sat with her to watch it. This was a very naive girl who desperately wanted to be a model and didn't understand why her dad thought she was too young and didn't want her to have anything to do with it. After that movie, she understood.. still wanted to do it.. but understood. I, however, was in the dog house.

I just think it's important to remember that you can't shelter your child forever. In the right context, and the right environment, movies can have a great impact and can be a great teaching tool. I always use television as a learning tool, whether it's watching Man, Woman, Wild and telling my son you're not really dying of thirst unless you're willing to drink your own pee, or that starving to death means you'd eat a bug or a snake, or watching The World's Strictest Parents and showing him who he doesn't want to grow up to be or how bad he could really have it at home. Even Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shows him how good it feels to do something for someone else. I often use the news to show him things like "this is why we don't talk to strangers", "this is why we wear seatbelts", "this is why we never drink and drive", "this is why we don't mess with fire", or "guns".... The opportunity for teaching a valuable lesson is EVERYWHERE. It makes me sad to see people fighting such a valuable tool.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oregon 3rd BABY!!!!

I wonder if Boise St cried a little this morning???


I Love My Ducks (Return of the Quack) - Supwitchugirl

282,298 views in 2 DAYS!!!! I'm not the only one who loves her Ducks!!!!