Tuesday, March 28, 2017

You will be sorry to note that Maxine Waters has come out against our president in no uncertain terms. It is when high-minded members of the Democrat party express their concern for our political well-being as a country that we realize just how valuable they are. 

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Can't people see what's going on? Why do you think they hacked into our election? They hacked into the election because they have to make sure that Donald Trump got elected. So that he could help them with what I think is a huge deal. Not only to lift these sanctions, but to take over all of these Soviet countries and pull them back into the Soviet Union so that they can have access to all of these resources. It's clear to me. And I just think the American people had better understand what's going on. This is a bunch of scumbags. That's what they are --  Quote from MSNBC 22 Mar 2017
 

I'm sure that this sentiment is deeply troubling to Trump Administration members wherever they may be.

I'm glad to see that Ms. Waters has not lost that conciliatory verve that makes her such a vaued member of the loyal opposition.

 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

**Warning: Pontification Alert**

The following contains mild Pontification Points, most of which are true.

*********

 

We are at a nexus. It is a historic changing point, an inflection point on the curve of history.

 

When Edison invented the light bulb, turmoil did not result from his invention, the turmoil resulted from electrification of cities which the light bulb demanded. We have forgotten all of this now, but at one time Alternating Current versus Direct Current was a municipal choice.

Edison backed the development of cities electrification based on the DC standard which he had originated, and threw his considerable wealth toward the promulgation of that inferior technology. Tesla and Westinghouse were the main backers of AC, which ultimately won the war, rightly, for their technology is superior. It is what we use now.

For a time, it was touch and go. But, ultimately, reality won over the traditional (at the time) electrification solution of Edison’s DC power.

https://www.phactual.com/war-of-the-currents-thomas-edison-vs-george-westinghouse/

 

The people who were involved in Westinghouse’ takeover of the power industry were aware of all the differences, both subtle and apparent. The consumers of the day were only aware of the fact that they could see when they flipped the switch.

************

Today, we are living at the intersection of many converging political, social, economic, and technological forces. We don’t know what the future will look like.

The following is only one example of many.

 

There is a specialized technology which is being used in all areas of manufacturing. It will soon become a major influence on society in all its aspects.

It isn’t even new technology. It is Robotics.

It brings forth visions of George Jetson coming home from Spacely Sprockets relaxing in the robot assisted luxury of his personal time at home while Leroy frolicked with the robot dog. Not a bad guess for 1960s Hanna/Barberra.

The history of technology has surged forth in waves, each building upon the last and leaving the older sophistication far in the dust. These waves seem to be shorter in duration and higher in complexity as time goes on.

As these technologies have been more and more a function of electronics, they have been more and more within the control of their inventors. The Bill Gates/Steve Jobs influence on the development of computers and software has allowed the influence of technology to be distributed across the face of the planet.

As Nikola Tesla never gained great wealth from the technology he invented, the inventors of the current technologies that will become dominant will probably never gain the full appreciation that they deserve.

And this same type of maturation of technologies is occurring in many different fields: electronics, robotics, space exploration, the harnessing of incredibly complex phenomena like weather.

Which brings us back to a subject that this column has dwelt upon since its beginning and is one thing which no one can predict. Donald Trump’s first two months in office have proven that all the previously predictable things that people have relied on for decades have been thrown to the wayside.

In the US, we have seen the Democrat party fall on its face. We have seen the previously all-powerful political intelligentsia, both Democrat and Republican, pulling their hair out at the result of real elections. The divide of the American, nay, the worldwide, electorate is very real.

Is Donald Trump in control? More than anyone wants to give him credit for. Are Republicans the master of the situation? Less than they could be, given their dominance in both houses of Congress. They are victims of a type of thinking made old by the pace of their own success.

What is the point of this article today? It is that we are living through a transition point in history. We are watching powers that have held sway over us for centuries crumble into dust. We are watching other powers trying to attain ascendancy, slipping and sliding as they rise. We are aware, at this point, of many nascent forces competing for the future.

The Chinese are becoming a factor in worldwide policy-making; in the 21st century, they are a force worthy of their mass of humanity. India and the southeast Asian nations are also becoming forces to reckon with.

We are living at that nexus of forces cited earlier. Things used to be merely complex, but they are now convoluted beyond the understanding of twentieth century man. We have many new things to think about, but we have very few of these things under our control.

 

Our position as observer is rewarded, at least, by an interesting show to watch.