March 7th, 2010

[PHOTO] Two Sunday Photoblog Links

  • On the same day that Jerry and I visited Rosedale and walked alongside Mount Pleasant Road, Andrew Barton uploaded--and took?--photos of that extensive but often ignored street.

  • On the theme of East Germany, meanwhile, the Yorkshire Ranter has pictures of a recent visit he paid to the museum headquarters of the Stasi. See Victor Sorge's concealed shortwave radio transmitter!

forums, me, non blog

[FORUM] What do you think about horizontal and vertical technological progress?

James Nicoll has a wonderful ability to not only digest vast swathes of culture and space and time into brilliant pithy observations but to then transmit these observations to his appreciative worldwide readership. One of his more recent postings of this kind relates to technological progress as at least as much a horizontal phenomenon (across space) as it is vertical (in terms of capabilities).

Speaking of things that make one feel like one is living in the future, while a lot of the things that make SF writers feel like they are living in the future are their personal gadgets, for me it's not so much the cool tools one can buy but the fact that some many people can buy them. I don't happen to have a cell phone [. . .] but the fact that 60% of the humans on the planet have a cell phone now makes me feel I am in the future.

Although bleeding-edge technology is always nice, performing useful services in extreme situations, but it's only when the technology becomes affordable--inexpensive, easy to use--that it really makes a difference. It was great that, in the late 1990s, I could plug into a relatively simple global Internet that counted tens, even hundreds of millions, of people as users, talking about alternate history on a specialist group like SHWI, almost all of these belonging to relatively privileged classes of the world. It's fantastic that, in the early 2010s, most of the world's billions regularly take part in a global infosphere that includes the Internet alongside many other networks and methods of communication (Twittering with in-line links to my Flickr-hosted photos and Livejournal-hosting blog entries in 140 characters, three characters sufficing to port the statement over to Facebook, all with ridiculous ease, say). The "vertical" growth of technology made this infosphere possible; the "horizontal" spread of technology beyond a small minority made it meaningful to humanity. As is almost always the case.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Is my scheme too simplified? Have I misread Nicoll?


[PHOTO] On the goldfish

I write at length about cats and my cat, Shakespeare, and I include plenty of photographs. I don't think that I've ever shown you my goldfish, even though their tank is positioned just a few feet away from the desktop computer where I've written so many blog posts (among other things). They're simple-minded, true, but they're pretty and shiny and I like their tank. So, here they are.


Goldfish (1)

Goldfish (2)

I like the close-up of the last photo above that Jerry made, shown below. Absurdly pensive-looking goldfish always deserve their own closeups.

Goldfish (2a)