a device for the soul

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Fringe: Friend or Foe?

with 2 comments

Have you watched this new show: The Fringe? No, I haven’t yet. I probably will watch at least an episode or two, just to make sure my knee-jerk reaction is either justified or not.

What is this knee-jerk reaction? Well, it comes about the premise of this show, primarily. These are X-File-like stories about federal agents policing “dangerous science” of some form or another. Stuff like re-animation of the dead (I wonder if they’ll be making references to any H.P. Lovecraft material?) or nanotechnology or whatever. I think the idea is that they ensure that such science doesn’t damage society and civilization as we know it, by any unethical or reckless experimentation and so forth. Fine. That seems reasonable enough. But does the popularity of the show bespeak of another, underlying current of sentiment in our society today? As always, I think I am reading into things a little too deeply.

What worries me is how this show can be seen as a manifestation of our latent fears toward anything we don’t understand. Instead of magic, warlocks, sorcerors, demons, and whatnot, we’ve replaced these fears with “science run amok” — these monsters and dark practitioners have been exchanged for scientists, mutations, aliens, etc. I suppose we’ve just switched one set of superstitions for another, continuing to fear and dig our heels in against evolution.

Am I saying that careful monitoring and the emplacement of ethics for proper research is a bad thing? No, of course not. I just think it’s a little bit of an over-reaction, perhaps like the whole hadron collider scare. Perhaps it’s a little arrogant to think we have the power, even accidently, to destroy our race or our planet. I don’t want to start getting religious or far-out-there, but I have to consider that other forces out there might not let us get that far. Sort of like how all the world’s banks are helping businesses out of the hole they dug themselves in, lately… Okay, maybe that’s a bad example. The connotations either way imply too many more connotations.

Anyway, before I bunny-trail any further, I guess I’m going to have to check the show out and see what’s up. I love horror and disaster films, if only because they are so outrageous and I enjoy seeing how the authors and creators believe mankind will get done in. The more fantastical the better, since I really don’t believe in it. It is more of an expose on our own basic human natures; the survival instinct, the … “noble-izing” of the human spirit against horrible odds, etc. Wonderful human drama of the most extreme possible type. Just how this show supposes to give a cultural critique will determine the worth of this show to me. Will they really play off science as the new evil to be kept in check, or will it be the evil in our own human nature, where science is the tool, that will need saving? Are they trying to open our eyes and teach us a lesson? Or are they going for the cheap thrill and prey on our human fears and prejudices?

Yeah, so that’s what I think, so far. I predict an avalanche of similar sorts of shows. We’ll see if “Heroes” will take a similar tactic, or veer off onto its own course. You can be sure I’ll be back with something to say about it, sometime.


Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 19, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Where Our Research Funds Are Going

leave a comment »

Two largest known prime numbers discovered just two weeks apart, one qualifies for $100k prize.

Nerds! Nerds, I say! To further enjoy some of the absurdity to this revelation, please follow the link explaining just what a Mersenne prime is. A number, pretty much, divisable by itself and 1, just done with a pretty-looking formula. They award money for finding this shit out. It keeps those furious brain cells from finding out useful information like cancer cures and eliminating world hunger. Let’s reward trivia! Just turn the damn thing into a game show for math nerds. At least it’d be more entertaining, right?

I guess I just don’t see the functional potential of this discovery. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it isn’t interesting, in its fashion. I’m just saying…it really doesn’t seem all that particularly special. At least not worth $100,000. That’s all I’m saying. Maybe.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm

A Baby Formula Best Served Cold

with one comment

How was Chinese baby formula chemically tainted?

I’ll tell you: it was a secret revenge tactic taken by the Olympic Oversight Committee at being cornered into allowing a bunch of obviously underaged atheletes into the ’08 Summer Olympic Games.

The conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey d’ya see the news about what that hacker found about them gymnasts?”

“Yeah. Damn, we’re kinda left with our pants down. We look pretty stupid for allowing it. Yet, it’d be almost as much hassle, if not more, if we penalize them or something. Especially considering the Olympics are being held there. I don’t wanna get knifed like that poor bastard, do you? What do we do?”

“Well, I suggest we keep things rolling, but we even the score later. I have a great idea: we’ll sabotage their infant formula!”

“Yeah, there won’t be any more underage athletes or, if we’re lucky, a China left, if we wipe them out early!”

And thus the plan was put into action, shortly thereafter…

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Calamity is funny.

with 2 comments

Am I the only one that finds this whole economy/Wall Street/stock market/whatever-the-fuck thing amusing? You can’t make this shit up. I really don’t have the inclination to make a headlong delve into the subject, with links and any editorial — a) because I’m lazy and b) I’m lazy — but I think anyone wanting a good belly-chuckle ought to read as much into the story as they can.

I’ve just gotten this impression of these bankers shovelling mounds of cash into this big firey pit:

“We can’t put the fire out! It just keeps growing!” one sweating, breath-laboring banker says to another working beside him.

“I know, it’s like…fuel for the fire or something,” the other responds with perplexity.

“Perhaps we should start using other people’s money to do this,” the first one suggests.

“Excellent idea! We’re not meant for this kind of labor! We’re meant to fleece the one’s meant for this kind of labor, hello!”

At this they both drop their shovels and clap each other on the back, having a good-natured laugh.

(It’s probably nothing like this at all, so I’ll have to come up with a better visual metaphor image thing.)

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 18, 2008 at 8:31 pm

The hindsight is foresight is 20/20.

leave a comment »

A coast-to-coast monitoring system that would have prevented last week’s train collision that killed 26 commuters in California could be available in five years, the Federal Railroad Administration said Monday.

“Shit, man,” an official from California’s Board of Public Transportation said in comment, “why couldn’t they have waited to try and have their fucking accident in five years or so? People are so damned impatient these days. See what it got them? Well, at least they were all tourists, this time, I think. What idiots for getting on the train at that time, when you know it’s so unsafe, right? I hope this doesn’t mean we’re liable for damages…”

The official was quickly sequestered off and left in seclusion “until the whole thing blows over.”

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 16, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Posted in eyecandy, insanity, news, oops

a line is a series of points

leave a comment »

so small
only fitting
a second
at a time

so little
but ourselves
what else
can we fit?

each second
a second gone
the last
of its kind

every moment
worth having
and giving it up
for the next

the space
our time
our lives
and forgetting
the rest

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

On The Job

leave a comment »

Shit, the stuff people get away with and get paid for astounds me sometimes. What do we consider “honest work” nowadays? I’m sure everyone can agree there just happens to be jobs created out of the very nature of our civilization: its culture, its technology, its desires, its whims. Some of these, one has to pause and wonder what need or want warranted the creation of a job to fill it, and get paid in filling it. Somebody somewhere got the notion and put it into practice, while others have the notion in spending their dollars earned from other jobs created by other needs and desires. Round and round the merry-go-round spins in the wonderful world of the economy.

In particular, sports falls into this category, in my opinion. Here are people, atheletes of varying degrees, paid and endorsed to play in…a game. A game which many of us may have played in while growing up, with the same vigor and involvement, but without the bucks, of course. There cannot be any illusion among the public that these games *do* anything for us in any meaningful, life-improving manner, right? Perhaps it is vicarious wish-fulfillment, where a largely non-atheletic audience watches from the comfort of their couch and dreams longingly. The pay involved for these sports stars seems ludicrous to the benefit they give to mankind…which is virtually nothing. I know it’s “entertainment” which provides a distraction from the humdrum lives of everyone, but man… Why don’t all kids strive a little harder to get one of those jobs? Although, I have some modicum of respect for any celebrity whom redistributes their wealth or uses their fame to garner revenue for charities and worthy causes. This seems like a worthy method of getting around man’s inherent lack of alturism. We just need to make sure that all celebrities are philanothropist humanitarians, from now on. Yeah…right.

This umbrella also covers over such jobs as: actors, politicians, writers, and the clergy. Of course, there is a whole spectrum within each of those jobs that have more or less validity to exist than others. Some writers write technical manuals and instruction booklets, for example, which is certainly a little more “practical” than, say, fiction. I know, as well, that the *technical* function of any politician is to represent the people and their needs, to enact legal and civil functions to facilitate these things for everyone. Actors, though, seem rather pointless, other than to distract from our surrounding mundania. However, whatever play or story or whatever they portray may have its own point, for which the actor is an essential element to its expression. We may gain greater awareness of important issues and topics through that medium, if we’re lucky. The clergy is more of a sustainer of tradition than a harbinger of spiritual progress, in many ways. They glue together the frayed bits of the status quo, trying to keep things on an even keal, more often than not.

So what am I trying to get at? Well, I guess it revolves around from what I understand during biblical times, particularly in the New Testament when Christ and his disciplines roamed, as well as the time of the Apostles (particularly Paul). These guys performed various vocations, such as fishing, tent-making, and so forth, while going about their spiritual duties. It seemed inconceivable for them to perform spiritual duties without also attending to mundane and practical matters. They wouldn’t have dreamed of being paid for prosyletizing or preaching or performing such functions. They were people, like you and me, that also had a calling to be spiritual leaders. It seems almost ludicrous to me that someone can make a career as a pastor or senator or motivational speaker or whatever. Sure, these people help in their way in their field, but they don’t…*do* anything.

Maybe I’m bitching for no reason. If people make money doing nothing worthwhile, so what? I suppose I am just jealous that I’m not and they are. Fuckers. Perhaps it’s time to start boycotting…stuff. Hahaha, that’ll get them! Take that Corporate America! Take that Hollywood! Take that…sports! YEAH!

Don’t worry, folks. I’ll still be here. I promise not to garner a profit from anyone’s affection, interest, or attention. Well, unless I actually can, of course.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 15, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Posted in anti-society, rant, soapbox