The Eight Biggest Over-reactions to Technology of All-Time

October 07 2008 / by Mielle Sullivan / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: 2008   Rating: 11 Hot

Nothing gets humans up in arms like a new technology. Will it cure our ills and save us from destruction? Or end the world in one cataclysmic Earth-shattering moment? Clearly, no invention has accomplished either, but try telling that to the fanatical, hysterical or just plain irrational among us. Now, with technology advancing at an ever quickening pace, rational thinking is in short supply. Here then, to prove this point, are eight of the biggest freak-out moments in technology history:

Writing Will Make us Forget – Socrates

The written word and the ability to understand it is considered one of the most important developments ever achieved by mankind and a defining step for any civilization.  But not everyone was always a fan. Even that hero of western philosophy, Socrates, once argued that writing would make people lazy and forgetful!

“The fact is that this invention will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it,” said Socrates, “They will not need to exercise their memories, being able to rely on what is written, calling things to mind no longer from within themselves by their own unaided powers, but under the stimulus of external marks that are alien to themselves. So it’s not a recipe for memory, but for reminding, that you have discovered.”

Sound familiar? It is the same argument that some people nowadays are directing at both Google and the World Wide Web.

Given that pretty much every major advancement subsequent to the birth of writing is built on writing itself (collectively we have advanced much faster through the use of writing) it certainly did anything but make people lazy. Forgetful? Perhaps, on an individual level.  But I sure am glad Plato broke out his quill to write down Socrates’ teachings, lest I couldn’t “remember” to complain about him now.

Get Out of the Way, Here Comes the Train!

Reportedly, when the Lumiere Brothers showed their films for the first time at the Grand Cafe in Paris in 1895, audience members ran out of the room in a panic. Why? To avoid being hit by the image of a train pulling into a station!

Continue Reading

Learning from the LHC or: How I Stopped Worrying and Started Loving the Collider!

September 29 2008 / by Mielle Sullivan / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Social Issues   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

Inspired, in part, by Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

People are expressing some pretty melodramatic and, dare I say, silly reactions to the Large Hadron Collider. Every time I turn around, there’s a new headline about the LHC. Several papers have labelled it The God Machine, and some misinformed bloggers have dubbed it the Doomsday Machine. Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho filed their famous lawsuit against the collider because it might cause the end of the world. And of course, my personal favorite, this guy.

Continue Reading