I feel a little bit guilty, writing now, at a lab-top computer. I only have a vague idea how it all functions; how the internet can do what it does, or how these keys, laid out in an arbitrary configuration, turn into letters when I push them. To my imagination it’s still very fantastical – I have images of green circuitboards covered in silver right angles, decorated sporadically with tiny space-station technology. It’s like a toy trainset in my mind, or a dollhouse. And then it fills with electricity. Like a dam was opened, its water flows into an intricate system of irrigation canals, bringing life to the fields. It makes getting this message to you extremely convenient, in contrast to, say, shouting, or building a signal fire. Or the international postal system. (more…)
It was the Wright brothers, those enterprising Ohio bike dudes of history, that discovered a way to keep airplanes in flight. They believed that flight technology would make wars of attrition obsolete – a noble scientific aim. But the inventor of dynamite, the inventor of the machine gun; they too believed the same thing of their own never-before-seen technological accomplishments. High hopes for the cutting-edge geniuses of our progress-hungry society.
Of course the airplane only changed the face of war – to something more expensive, more demanding of resources – it did not reduce the casualties of war. Technology, by its very nature, is complicated, and (more…)