I am a recovering idealist 13 August 2011Posted by splait in entitlement, Integrity, Lack of Integrity, Uncategorized.
Tags: bigotry, Cicely Tyson, Civil Rights, Democrats, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Republicans, Tea Party, The Help, Viola Davis
add a comment
I read the book and loved it. MBH and I went to see the movie today, and I loved it, too. However, both the book and the movie made me very, very mad and sad.
The Help is an amazing story, set during the height of the civil rights movement. I was living in the D.C. suburbs of Virginia at the time. I read about it all, but I truly didn’t understand what it meant. I didn’t see the bigotry where I lived. Northern Virginia might as well have been on another planet.
Why would white people treat others so badly just because they were a different color? (This question is posed by a Jew who had been through much Sunday School at the time and was taught about prejudice – we’re talking the Pharaohs of Egypt and Nazi Germany here.) I just didn’t get it.
Still don’t, really.
So the movie made me mad and sad. While I’m glad that I didn’t live in the South at the time (MBH did, and she has told me stories), I wish I had been old enough to join the Freedom Riders. Those folk had the right stuff.
Having said all that, if you (all three of you in the US) haven’t read the book, pick up a copy. If you have read it, go see the movie. The book comes to life.
Ron Howard’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, deserves an Academy Award nomination. She plays the incredibly bigoted villain of the piece, Hilly. Hilly rules Jackson, MS with a white, iron hand. She’s about as despicable a person as you’ll ever meet.
Emma Stone plays Skeeter, the lead, almost exactly the way I pictured her while reading the book. I hadn’t heard of Ms. Stone until about a week ago, when MBH and I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. That’s another movie I enjoyed.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer ARE Aibilene and Minny. It was also good seeing Cicely Tyson as Constantine, the woman who raised Skeeter. All three are outstanding actresses who gave their all for this movie.
Go see it. You men see it, too.
So, back to the title of this post.
Being an idealist is hard. It has probably always been hard, throughout human history. I live in a country that, at one time, was considered the best in the world. I still think it’s the best place to live, but I watch the new “racial” prejudice, Right vs. Left, and neither gives a damn about Middle. It plays out in a similar way*, and it’s sad. Polarization is never good, and it is killing us.
I don’t get it.
* – Before anyone raises Cain about this statement, I know the two are not the same, and I don’t mean to imply that they are. However, I believe there are some strong similarities. Want to discuss that?
Does emotion trump science, or even “common” sense? 31 July 2011Posted by splait in corruption, Criminals, entitlement, Grrrrrrrrrr!, Lack of Integrity, Uncategorized.
Tags: AGW, Bad Astronomy, Climate Change, Corporate America, Dr. Roy Spencer, Finance, Financial Corporations, Forbes, Global Warming, greed, James Taylor, NASA
add a comment
There is an ongoing debate raging over climate change (GW – global warming) and whether or not human beings are effecting it to the negative. A recent article on the Fortune website by a creationist scientist (how is it even possible that that term exists?) referring to a single study saying that scientists are wrong about GW has inflamed the rhetoric tossing again on both sides of the argument. It doesn’t help that the guy who wrote the op-ed piece used inflammatory terms in his writing. He is trying to incite his readers.
The article has been deconstructed on several sites and shown to be incorrect in many places. MLB (my little brother) has written a post about it, and there have been many comments.
I posted a comment there that I am repeating here, because I think it’s important to say (at least it is to me):
“Just like in politics and customer service, those who scream the loudest win, while the rest of us (and our children) have to live with the remains of a despoiled Earth.
I’ve read several posts here which state something very similar to, “I want proof that mankind can do ANYTHING that changes this planet’s ability to sustain us.” I won’t state any science here, because I don’t have the background. However, I will say this:
Human beings have populated this planet in numbers very large compared to other beings of any comparable size, and that includes all of known history. We cut down the trees that support the life cycle required for us to live. We mistreat the soil to grow non-native plants wherever we please. We send megatons of smoke, both visible and not, into the air in great quantities in order to go from one place to another at our convenience, smoke that hinders the atmosphere and sun from doing their jobs that made this planet habitable for us in the first place.
I don’t care whether or not there’s scientific proof of whether or not humans are changing the livable environment of this planet. Anyone with any thought process that is functional should KNOW we are doing that. It can’t be otherwise, and that’s what blows me away about the statements from folk who say that climate change is hooey. How can ANYONE believe that we can pump environmentally damaging chemicals into the air, water, and land while simultaneously removing from the planet the very living things that can fight the damage we are causing (trees and other living things that turn the poisons into the air we need to live), and NOT affect our planet.
Emotion does NOT trump science. It just causes human beings to be lazy and continue on the paths we are already on, especially Americans, of which I am one. We see it in all walks of life, and we keep shooting future generations in the ass.
A perfect example of this is 09/11. People who live on hate (one of the most powerful emotions) fly planes loaded with human beings into building filled with other humans. Americans are outraged for a few months, then we start complaining about the efforts made to avoid such catastrophes in the future. Why do we do this? Simply because it inconveniences us. It really is that simple.
Financial corporations reward executives and employees who fail to do their jobs with lots of money, basically causing a global economic meltdown, and anyone who can do something about this is too scared to prosecute these criminals, so we are right back where we were just before the big fail.
How incredibly selfish we have become.
People choose not to vaccinate their kids against diseases for reasons based on a questionable study (ONE, totally discredited, study), when the odds of a child developing autism are orders of magnitude smaller than of that same child dying of the disease the vaccination prevents. How does that make any sense?
The answer is: it doesn’t. However, the reaction against vaccinations is emotional, not scientific. THAT’S the rub.
I don’t advocate that we become automatons, totally without emotions. Doing that would also wipe out humanity. It’s just a shame that we can’t control our emotions just a smidge better, so that we can use our minds properly when our emotions send us into dangerous places.
Some comments here have brought up the costs (Money? Really?) of fixing the problem without real proof that there is one. Would someone please calculate the cost to Humanity if the people who say that climate change is bunk are wrong? Why is it that we are so ready to not do anything as opposed to making a strong effort to heal our planet JUST IN CASE THE SCIENTISTS ARE RIGHT???
This debate is just so hard to understand. How can anyone support doing nothing, and delay the progress we could be making because scientists might be wrong? It seems to me we could change the global economy dramatically to the positive if we started initiatives now to reverse the damage we are causing daily. We could probably eradicate some of the afflictions (medical and financial) that have plagued us in recent centuries by making the air cleaner and healing the soil and air.
We need to stop looking at the best case scenario and focus on the worst ones. Otherwise, the worst case is what we will have.”
What do YOU think? I am open for discussion, as long as you keep it civil.
The Silence of the Lions 26 November 2010Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far
I abandoned you, the people I like to chat with and share my ideas (and yours). It wasn’t you. You don’t smell funny or call me bad names (yet).
It was me.
I forgot my username and password to Word Press and had many other things on my mind, and I literally abandoned this blog for no good reason.
Anyway, I’m back. I will pick up where I left off almost 18 months ago.
I apologize, and I will make every effort to not do that again.
After all, we were (or at least I was) having fun here.
So I’ve come back to discuss those issues I run into or think about that I feel I want to change, or, at least, discuss with you, the four of you that were discoursing (another noun verbed) with me.
I will continue to create strange post titles and have fun.
My next new post starts…..now.
What’s in MY Wallet? Moths. 3 July 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
I love eBay.
eBay has made it less expensive (as a businessperson) to buy the products I need for my clients and for myself. For most things I use, I can find a price on eBay that makes me happy.
In addition, eBay has made it easier to find things I want that, pre-eBay, were not easily found. Movies, books, filling in my comic collection. I can even buy whatever I am looking for from someone in Australia or England or South Africa. eBay knows no boundaries in that regard.
I hate eBay.
Ever since I was a kid, I have collected things – baseball cards, comic books, scifi books, coins, stamps, comic character figurines. I can’t tell you how many different collections of things I have had over the last 45+ years or so. There were times when I collected certain things because I was pretty certain they would have value in the future. Someone else would want my things and be willing to pay more for them from me than I paid originally so they would become their things. (Bwahaha!)
Only eBay makes it much easier for people to find the things they want now.
I took Economics in college. I know about supply and demand.
eBay didn’t change the demand, it changed the supply.
Now, if some kid wants a copy of Batman #101 (for instance), s/he just has to go to the eBay site and search for it. If there isn’t one available right now, wait a week. Someone will sell one. Or check it every day. It’s easy with the Saved Searches feature.
So, the 12,000 comic books I have in my attic aren’t worth much anymore, and that’s a bummer.
On the plus side, eBay has made it easier to sell, also. Now I have the entire world to sell to instead of just the comic buyers in Atlanta or at a comic convention.
Would I prefer to not have eBay? Nope. It’s just one of those unexpected (by me) results of progress.
You designed it to do WHAT? 1 July 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
I have worked in the high technology industry for over 30 years, and it never fails to amaze (and sometimes amuse) me how a technology can be created with a purpose in mind, and then something no one expects to happen happens because of that technology.
There’s been a lot written about how Twitter has affected the political climate in Iran. It also played a pretty big role in the last Shuttle mission. Could you have predicted this if you had created Twitter? Maybe, but I doubt it.
The Internet changed how the music and book publishing industries work – shook them to the core, actually. Artists and writers that would never have seen the light of day for their works are now able to self-publish, and others, many well established as at the top of their professions are sharing some of their stuff free of charge (horrors!). Authors and artists are finding audiences for their work that they never dreamed of. Middle-men are being cut out and the creators of the art are able to keep more of the proceeds, which, IMHO, is the way it always should have been. People who create nothing shouldn’t get to get rich off of that nothing.
The Internet has provided a platform for us schlubs who want to share our thoughts with hundreds, thousands, and maybe millions of people who we will never meet and know. What a great thing!
So what’s the problem, you ask me?
There are those who hate. They have used instant communications and blogs and websites to find other disaffected individuals to spread their venom and create mayhem – even convince some to commit murder. Read this article about the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for more information.
Support the SPLC. We do.
There are also those who write malware that attack our computers with pornography and bugs that cause our operating systems to choke.
We have cell phones that let us surf the web and share pictures with each other, tweet, and post on FaceBook. Unfortunately, peer pressure and and a great deal of parental non-participation in our kids’ lives have created a monster almost impossible to control. Pandora’s newest box has been opened, and kids will no longer be the same. Why do 7-year-old kids have web-capable phones? For that matter, why do high schoolers?
Yeah, I know. I’m a communist or something.
Think about it, really – DO THEY NEED THAT TECHNOLOGY? HONESTLY?
In Carl Sagan‘s last book, Billions and Billions, he wrote on the speed of new technology development and humankind’s naivete. He was correct. Technology develops faster than our ability to cope with it. Are we humans mature enough (as a single race) to handle all this? Can and do we use the technologies at hand to make the world a better place to live, or are we just making the world a smaller and more “convenient for us” place to live?
Pick one. Both are correct. Does that make it right?
And sometimes we ignore what science is telling us, or we chose to lay the evidence out for future generations to deal with. And yet, aren’t the technology developers and users the ones responsible for maintaining the integrity of the planet and the lives of others? In other words, should they be developing technologies we really can’t handle? Who decides whether we can handle the stuff, anyway?
Are we so stupid that we are willing to continue on this path without regard for future generations, or even maybe the ones living right now?
A tough nut, truly. We are such a curious race. We want to know what’s out there and how it all works.
Billions and Billions was published in 1997. Many of the essays in it were published individually before that. Dr. Sagan calls for the countries of the world to seriously take a look at how we are damaging the planet and each other and take action before it is too late.
Silent Spring was published in 1962. Written by Rachel Carson, it was the first time anyone had written about the damage we are doing to the environment and picked up on by the general English-speaking public.
Our politicians and major corporations (and many of the masses, too) want to lay saving the planet from greenhouse gases and other pollutants on those future generations. That may be too late. Hell, it may be too late right now, although scientists believe that it’s not. However, the longer we put off getting away from fossil fuels, cutting down our forests for no reason (except money), polluting our rivers and land, and committing other general mayhem to the planet, our kids (or theirs) won’t have any place to live!
Why have we wasted 47 years? Why are we (as a race infesting this planet) so complacent? WHAT ARE WE DOING???
In my house, we recycle paper, glass and plastic as much as we can. Been doing that for years. As a technology consultant to homeowners and small businesses, I insist that all electronic equipment being replaced or just retired be recycled through me. I take them to a place that assures me that all rare earth elements, as well as any other part of the computer that can be reused is recycled, not dumped in the ground.
MBH drives a hybrid automobile, while I selected the most efficient fossil-fuel-burning small SUV as my means of transporting whatever I need for my clients. When a good hybrid comes out in the size I need, I’ll buy it, as long as I can determine that it does less harm to the planet than the one I drive now.
There are more things MBH and I can do, and as we become aware of them, we will take the responsibility on, because we know that WE ARE, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET. We have taught our daughter what we know, and she also takes responsibility, as does her fiance (I’ll have to come up with some blog moniker for them).
What are YOU doing to repair the Earth? Let me know!
Legacy Post – Come to Atlanta and see our wonderful fish! (originally published 06.29.08) 27 June 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
add a comment
I worked at the Georgia Aquarium (GeAq) last Friday night. It is “the world’s most engaging aquarium exhibit”! In the summer, Friday nights are live Jazz Journeys nights, and the music is great. Also, you can buy wine and beer and carry it around with you (I bet that got some people’s attention!)
add a comment
My name is Sid Plait. I am a graduate of Georgia Tech in Information and Computer Sciences, and I worked for high technology corporations in and around Atlanta, Georgia for over 21 years. I spent most of that time concerned with what my clients needed and wanted, and making sure that what we developed was as easy to use as possible. At some point, way too long after I’d had enough of Corporate America, I left it and went out on my own. I love consulting, and work with homeowners and very small businesses from downtown Atlanta to points north, from Decatur to Vinings, Roswell, And Alpharetta.
My main areas of expertise are:
- Macs and Windows PCs (fixing, maintaining, and upgrading)
- Networking (wired and wireless)
- Technology integration (getting your iPod, iPhone, Treo, Blackberry, media server, and whatever else comes along talking to your network and assisting in organizing your life, putting your record albums into digital format, hooking up an external drive for backups, etc.)
- Virus and other malware removal
- Disaster planning
- Data recovery from failed hard drives
- Recycling electronics properly
- Destroying hard drives from old computers so no one can get to your data
I also love to teach my clients as much as they want to know about their computing environment, and I do it using plain English, so that it’s easy for them to “get it”.
When my clients graduate to servers, I refer them to several different people here that I love to work with and are associates of mine that will provide them with the same level of support and respect I gave them while I worked for them.
I have lived in the Atlanta area since 1972. I love my wife, daughter, her fiance, and my dog; music (most types); movies; science fiction; mysteries; the occasional Oprah Book Club book; college basketball and baseball; PowerCore; the wonders of the universe beyond our planet; and volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium several times a month.
I am not fond of, nor am I very tolerant of people who hate, people who repeat things they hear or read on the Internet without doing their own research on the subject, people who lie to get power and/or money, and people who refuse to listen to both sides of an argument and think about the information from the side opposed to them. These people may become targets of future posts here. If you ever catch me doing any of those things through this blog (or anywhere else), call me on it.
Hopefully, there are a few people left who don’t fit that profile.
I use a Mac as my main computer (PowerBook G4, 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, 250GB hard drive), and I have a number of PCs running different Windows operating systems.
This blog will be about things that I love, and some that I don’t.
Please feel free to comment on anything I write, but do so nicely. BE CIVIL, no matter how much that hurts. (If you’re not sure what ‘being civil’ means, go here.) I reserve the right to remove any comments or whole postings by anyone who is rude or mean. Even to the point of blocking that individual from posting at all if s/he doesn’t understand the rules. After all, it’s my blog, not yours.
I hope you find these pages interesting and fun (much of the time, anyway). If there are topics you would like me to address, please write me by cutting and pasting the following into your browser’s address bar: blog”at”plaitsolutions”dot”com. MAKE SURE you change the word “at” (with the quotes) to @, and the word “dot” (with the quotes) to a period. I did it this way for security purposes.
Trust me. Internet privacy and security are true passions of mine, as you will see in posts on my other blog.
I look forward to meeting you through this medium.
Deja Vu? (deja vu?) 27 June 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
add a comment
Some of you will notice, over the next couple of days, that posts here on this site look familiar.
Well, if you read my other blog, they will be.
I am moving all non-technical posts from blog.plaitsolutions.com to this blog. The two blogs have separate purposes and I don’t want to confuse the people going to the other blog any longer. It will be linked to my website and will be strictly technical from now on (well, after I get all the stuff moved over here, anyway).
I will use the words “Legacy Post” preceding the original titles so that you can just discard any emails you get if you don’t want to read them again.
Once more, thank you all for being here.
BTW, any and all comments are welcome. If you have something to say, positive or negative, please do so through the “add a comment” link just under the title of the relevant post. Keep it clean and keep it nice. You are welcome to disagree, but if you get mean (and I decide what “mean” means), I will block the comment. If you do it twice, I will lock you out. Those are my rules.
Step Right Up and Experience the Media Circus!! (Or, Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends) 27 June 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
To all of you who Googled Michael Jackson and found this site, welcome! (I’ll get to him in a minute.)
To those of you who have been here before, thanks for sticking with me!
So. Today I took a great seminar on how to take my business to the next level. I picked up some really great techniques for doing that. This post is not about that.
When I get up in the morning, I usually don’t watch commercial TV. If anything, I watch Turner Movie Classics (commercial-free). So I was not aware of what was going on.
I knew Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died yesterday, and both deaths left me a little sad. The world had lost two extraordinary people. No matter what you think of either of them, they contributed something to use, made our lives a little better.
That’s the last I will say about them here until the end of this post.
During an afternoon break, I went to the lobby of the conference center where CNN was on. I watched, but I could only stand about three minutes of what I saw. I was totally disgusted.
We have turned into a nation of peeping toms and ambulance chasers.
CNN had been running non-stop coverage and speculation about Michael Jackson’s death ALL DAY LONG!!! All the speculation I heard was baseless (or based on rumor), people were being maligned and blamed through strong innuendo.
I heard one commentator say that MJ probably overdosed on drugs. The implications of that statement could be huge and ruin someone’s reputation (hopefully the commentator’s, but not likely). The talking head even said that Michael’s doctor would be questioned.
All based on rumor. All innuendo.
However, after that comes on Entertainment Tonight.
And I heard (true or not, I don’t know – more believable, though) that Michael took too many Demerol tablets last night after over-exerting himself. Then, the idiot on the idiot box said something like “It looks like Michael Jackson may have died of a drug overdose”!
While that statement may be technically true, when someone uses the term “drug overdose”, my thoughts go to illegal drugs, not prescription drugs. I suspect yours do, too.
Sensationalizing anyone’s death by using misleading terminology intentionally is one of the most heinous crimes committed by “journalists” and talk show hosts.
Don’t these people realize that many Americans (I won’t speak about other countries because I have no idea what they think or how this stuff is presented to them) take in all the crap they spew and believe much of it without question? Look what happens when the talk radio people blather their hatred out to the masses – we get murders (e.g., the Holocaust Museum), mayhem (abortion clinics), and other hateful crimes that could be avoided if these people were human. Well, many of them are not; they are just game show hosts, and there are people out there who hang on their every word.
It’s sad, but we have been heading for this for many years. Maybe we deserve it, because we are so complacent that even our justice system can’t or won’t do anything about it.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This is pretty much a repeat of Princess Diana’s death and the garbage on the tube for days (weeks) afterward.
While Michael and Farrah were entertainers, they became icons in their own ways, and this is how we treat them – Farrah’s death is basically forgotten, and Michael’s is the headline news for The Inquirer, right between the two headed-baby and OctoMom.
I, for one, will no longer watch CNN, even if they have real news to report. ET has been garbage for a long time.
Those of us with clear heads are obligated to fight the infotainment and talk radio establishment in some way, shape, or form. We need to take back the Internet and get rid of the hate mongers. I know we have freedom of speech, but these people are inciteful (NOT insightful), mean, rude, and are only interested in money and power.
I’m not sure how we do it legally, and that’s the only path I will take, but these people need to banned from TV, radio, and the Internet.
Any ideas on how to do that? Anyone?
Anyway, this post is a start.
Make it stop! 21 May 2009Posted by splait in Uncategorized.
Here’s one to make your head explode.
Last post, I talked about science and religion. That will probably be a recurring theme here, so I might as well start recurring right now.
Another pet theory of mine, never to be proven by me, takes aim at the people who firmly believe that the universe is only about 6,000 years old, even with strong proof available that it is around 14 billion years old.
Going back to the supposition that there exists (or existed) some supreme being that created everything, couldn’t she/he/it have created everything we know about .00001 ms (milliseconds) ago, with all of our memories intact? With all of the “proof” that the universe is 14 billion years old already in place? All of our history created with no blip in how we view everything.
Why not? And if not, how can you prove it either way?
And why does it matter? Does it really make any difference?
However and whenever we got here, I get my fun out of seeing the discoveries that scientists can make about the glory of the universe and all the neat stuff they imagine about without much proof.
(Have we explored the depths of pi enough? Maybe Sagan was right and there are messages in the fabric of our universe there for us to find and understand. Read the book, don’t just see the movie. I refer, of course, to Contact. What a great and curious mind that man had!)
The search for knowledge, as far as I’m concerned, is Humanity’s purpose. We are close to creating major replacement parts for the human body, understanding how some of our most vile diseases work (and, thereby being able to create ways to combat them effectively), and maybe even slamming protons together to see how the universe was created!
We can look back to a time close to our universe’s beginning and see how everything (EVERYTHING!) evolved by using the Hubble telescope (in space, for Crickey’s sake!) to look out into time. (Thank you, STS-125 crew, for the great job!)
Maybe it’s all just a figment of my imagination. Everything. Even you! Do YOU really exist, or have I created you in my mind in order to not go stir crazy?
Does it really matter?