history technology time universe

The order of things

Universe is 14 billion years old (~~ 4.3×10^17 seconds)
Sun is 4.57 billion years old
Earth is 4.54 billion years old
Life is 3.8 billion years old
Mammals are 225 million years old
Humans are 200,000 years old
Religion is 102,000 years old
Cities are 5,000 years old
China is 4,085 years old
Judaism is 3,828 years old
Hinduism is 3,100 years old
Rome is 2,768 years old
Democracy is 2,525 years old
Christianity is 1,985 years old
London is 1,973 years old
Islam is 1,450 years old
Gun powder is 972 years old
The telescope is 408 years old
New York is 351 years old
America is 240 years old
The locomotive is 204 years old
The repeating rifle 167 years old
“On the Origin of Species” is 156 years old
Dynamite is 148 years old
Radio is 120 years old
Nuclear weapons are 70 years old
The worldwide web is 24 years old

freedom Internet politics technology

Let Congress Know How You Feel About CISPA

freedom history politics technology

It Would Have Been Impossible to Kill 20 School Kids With a Musket

Used by a lone gunman at an Oregon mall this week

Violently disturbed aberrations existed 200 years ago, too. For what we know, bad people have always existed and will always exist. We can’t do anything about them. No social program, no medical intervention, no entertainment rating system will ever make us completely safe from them.

Though weapons have been around, likewise, for millions of years, the gun is a fairly recent invention. Guns of 200 years ago, like the musket, were single-shot rifles that had to be reloaded after each discharge. Modern automatic weapons provide much more efficient firepower.

At some point, we all have to agree that technology has made it easier to do more damage as a lone gunman. The NRA has to agree to this simple fact, too, don’t they?

Look, we’re a gun-loving culture and that’s not about to change. Some of us love to hunt, some of us want guns for protection and some of us just love to shoot. I believe that responsible, mentally balanced citizens deserve the right to have guns for those purposes as long as it’s done in a safe way.

By allowing assault rifles in this country, our society is saying that we’re willing to put up a certain number of gun violence victims in exchange for that technology.

How to Fix This

  1. Well, first, make these machines illegal and set a limit on future technology.
  2. Let’s create a gun victims fund in this country and tax the shit out of bullets for this kind of weapon.
  3. Let’s create criminal penalties for the owners of these guns so that there’s increased for owning one of these machines if it is used to kill innocent people.

The Holland Example

I watched a short documentary on the evolution of bicycle culture in Holland recently. It’s known as one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world. They started building their bicycle infrastructure 40 years ago because of public outcry following a rash of auto accident deaths.

Can you imagine that? The people came together and rather than bickering around the issue and grandstanding about personal freedoms, decided that these were preventable deaths and that they, as a culture, had to do something about it. They didn’t make cars illegal, but by changing traffic rules in and around cities that stopped favoring cars and started favoring bicyclists and pedestrians, they’ve changed the trend and kept people alive.

Here’s the thing: a ban on assault weapons will save lives in this country.

future technology

Speech to Text

This is the first blog post I am writing by to my computer. I am speaking each sentence into the microphone and the computer transcribes what I am saying into text. I am not editing the text by hand, though I think it will be hard not to do so. As you can see, it even is able to capture the punctuation that I tell it.

We are one step closer to the future. Decades ago, AutoNation started removing some of the labor from our workforce. I often hope and fear that we are coming into a world where there is less work to do. I hope that we can do that. I hope that I can adapt.


Internet technology

I Heart Technology

Wired reports that Tivo is launching a way to transfer TV shows from your recorder to your PC. They said that you will also be able to record programs to a DVD soon, but not in this launch of the program. That’s pretty cool and a feature that I thought would be a part of it from the beginning.

But of course this is being announced today, in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show. I’ve never been to CES, but friends who have groan about it. It’s formidable, filling most of Las Vegas’ trade show space, and it always comes right after New Year’s. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to jump right into business after the holiday wind-down.

I watched an interesting 60 Minutes piece on Google last night. I learned that their stock price has nearly doubled since going public in the late summer. Also, it seems like they’re all still in a little bit of denial about how their success will change them. They went from being a garage start-up a couple of years ago to having a larger market capitalization than Ford and GM combined. What was most interesting was their “do no evil” approach to business. They believe that if they create great products that have never existed, products that don’t harm anyone inspire trust in people, that the money will come flooding in through your door. So far, they’re right.

That’s the pioneer spirit of the Internet that I remember. Wendy’s parents were here over Christmas, and Bill brought his computer with him because he upgraded his operating system and thought I could help with some of the bugs he was having. I was able to solve three of them by myself, but I just couldn’t get the fourth one. He and Jane were kind of astounded when, on Christmas day, I was able to find someone in a newsgroup to help me solve the problem for free.

What I love most about technology is that it gives me hope for the future.

By the way, if you have Tivo and you haven’t programmed that commercial-killing 30-second jump hack, then you’re doing things the hard way.