A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003 :::
A Mind That Suits has just been sprung from virus hell. Computers all over campus have melted as they were rebooted following the August break. Dorm computer systems are a mess. All because, apparently, two very frustrated guys launched attacks against the rest of us. Now, A Mind That Suits can understand why they talk of "billions" lost, as he spent an hour and a half staring at a computer screen. And it was just lucky that there was a computer technician in the office down the hall who could take breaks and coach him.

Some dumb squirrel eating an electrical wire and two angry guys somewhere, and the world slows and occasionally halts. THAT is how fragile our system is.

Which reminds us that Isaac Asimov, many years ago, wrote a short story about a world where everyone had forgotten how to add and subtract, as they were dependent on computers. One fellow figures it out again, and his knowledge is declared a state secret, because it frees the military from dependence on electronics. And even the genius does not understand why it works. "You put the one from this column up here." "Why?" "I don't know. It just works." That was how the story was paraphrased by a friend, many years ago, but the story seems apposite. We are growing more dependent, not less so.

Interesting statistic: there are "only" 47 million blind people in the world. That according to an article this morning in the indispensible Wall Street Journal about "artificial sight," the baby steps we are taking in using computer technology to cure blindness. One hopes that science advances quickly, as that is a frightening thought, not being able to see. If you can't hear, you can get around, and you can write things down. But if you can't see, there really are many difficult hurdles in the way. The number still seems low--less than one percent of the world's population--but in fact you do not see blind people that often.

You do see young people in love, or at least in lust. Especially if you teach college. The Journal also reported, the other day that, among undergraduates with active sex lives (a slim majority), 62% have unprotected sex. Educational activists are appalled, as all they can think of is "satisfying sexual encounters," and not love. "Increase budget for conscious raising!" the cry goes up, even though these kids consciousnesses could not possibly be raised higher.

Why do the kids do so, even after all these years of sex ed and consciousness raising? First, because kids think "I'm gonna live forever," and no amount of education can beat that out of them. Then also, sex is an instinct for union with another, and all the with-it-ness and sophistication in the world will not cure you for the need to be loved. But still, that is an awful lot of sex that will have consequences of one kind or another. Too bad we do not live in a society anymore that demands that young gentleman accept the responsibility that have so freely entered into...

On that note, see you tomorrow.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 5:40 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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