Reach out and touch no one

I reach out to readers this morning not in a personal way. Hell, personal ways don’t exist any more.

instead, I write this on a Mac computer — two screens splashed in front of me to to make sure I have all the information I have as put thought to silocon diode that probably won’t make it to paper anyway.

The words — rather the 1′s and 0′s that make up the data — head by transmission line to a data center outside of Washington. Or they may go to the Midwest. Depends on traffic and how a black box made by CISCO decides to route the traffic at that specific microsecond.

The telephone company once had a slogan: “Reach out and touch someone.” It actually meant talking to anohter person.  The other day, a customer service rep at Verizon told me that she is not allowed to call another Verizon employee on the phone. She has to use email.It’s more efficient, she’s told, and there’s always a record.

Think about.  How much – or how little — human interaction do we have in our daily lives?  I conduct interviews by emaii or on Tweeter. I buy gas at a service station where the gas pup takes my ATM card. In some towns, you can use a credit card to pay the parking fee at a meeter. At a Virginia rest stop, I can use a credit card to buy a 60 cent roll of candy.

Reach out and touch someone?  Who? Where? When?

Because I live in the country, I buy many goods online. I see the UPS guy more than my neighbhor.

The technology doesn’t stop at home.  My Droid is my phone, data center, instant email device, weather radar and GPS, Cars with “On Star” provide directions to restaurants gas stations and neighbors’ homes.  They even know when you’ve beeen in an accident and call the cops and an ambulance,

Many students get their assignments on-line, file reports and papers there as well and communicate with professors via email and onlne texting,

Politicians issue statements on current events via Tweeter or Facebook. I received more than 100 text messages from candidates in the last election without signing up for a single one.

Tne end result is a world that communicates like never before but never says anything becasue theree is no human interaction,   It’s all pre-screened, pre-approved and pre-viewed before sending. We communicate in sound bities without saying anything becasue we taken the spontaneity ot human interaction out of the nix.

I’m not sure what it is but one thing it is not is communication.

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40 Responses to "Reach out and touch no one"

  1. Strato  February 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    That is why comments are so important. When somebody calls you an asshole and you defend youself, you are communicating.

    • J Hoser  February 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      Mr. Thompson,

      As a former member I’ve read a lot of our stuff. This is one diatribe I can agree with wholeheartedly !! >JH

  2. Carl Nemo  February 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    It’s a personal choice as whether or not to embrace modern tech in all its forms and associated distractions.

    I’ve rejected it simply due to the fact that I realized years ago that it would cause mass impersonalization to an ultimate depersonalization of our society. Climbing on board with every new techno-gadget is a modern era addiction no different than any other.

    I’ve never used an ATM or a debit card in my life although I have them. I believe in face to face banking and get off my dead butt to go inside to meet the people I deal with. Everyone in all the institutions with which I bank know me and they greet me when I come through door with me the same towards them. I don’t live in a small town either. When I call one of my branches they recognize me instantly just by my voice and without me having to even mention my last name.

    I pay cash for everything including the gas pump, grocery store or wherever and maintain zero balances on my credit cards only using them as a tool for convenience when charging something warrants using such a method.

    I don’t use drive-in teller windows or even drive-in windows at fast food outlets. Again I get off my butt, go inside and take care of business.

    I’ve joked with tellers that if more Americans had my attitude there would be more jobs for gals and guys to staff windows in banks. They laugh, but also say how true.

    I don’t use the self-checkout lines in grocery stores. There’s no discount for doing so and I’m not on Fred Meyer’s or Safeway’s payroll to do such work on their behalf.

    So I may sound like a quaint ‘crank’ of a guy, but this relentless depersonalization of America starts with the individual; ie, myself and others that might reject this modern paradigm of convenience at any price as opposed to others that mindlessly accept such technological ‘convenience’ as the order of the day.

    Rest assured I don’t avoid playing this technocracy run amok game because I’m technially challenged. I simply find it be an irritant along with creating a barrier between myself and the companies and the individuals with whom I do business.

    It’s enjoyable to interface with people and they seem almost shocked that someone might remember stories about their families, their latest trip or personal travails, asking them about such the next time I cross their path. I do it because I care as we all should in order to maintain a wholesome and healthy society.

    Constructive socialization takes a bit of work on our behalf. My reco is to simply “do it”… : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. logtroll  February 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Here, here!

    Doug and the Cap’n are upon the track of one of the root causes of our discontent; speed kills and conveniece is crap. Slow down, and have a homebrew.

    (I don’t think you are quaint, Cap’n.)

  4. neondog  February 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    You can’t taste digital dunkel.

  5. Nevada Ned  February 3, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Good piece, Doug.

    There’s a lot of talk about telecommuting, but many people think that it’s best for an employee to come in to work in person once or twice a week, for reasons that you discussed.

  6. Jon  February 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

    A few comments spring to mind.

    First, this is communication, and in ways it’s better.

    Sometimes getting rid of all that baggage that comes with face-to-face interaction is a good thing. We all have subconscious processes that affect how we interact with people. We’ll react differently to a beautiful young person than an ugly old one who smells funny. We’ll react differently to someone wearing a suit and standing beside a clean Mercedes than someone wearing six grubby coats and standing beside a shopping cart full of trash.

    When you’ve gotten rid of all that, you’re left with just what they have to say – Isn’t that better? I think it is.

    And you may swear up and down that you don’t do that, that you treat everyone the same, but it’s not true. Humans do. It’s a part of being human. Psychologists have studied this ad nauseum, and it’s true of everyone. If you think you don’t, you’re in denial or you’re a space alien. No, I won’t take you to my leader.

    Another benefit of this sort of thing is time and space compression. I am here now talking to Doug Thompson, Carl Nemo, and a bunch of others who in typical physical interaction I’d never have known existed (and they I). I’m writing this in California at 5am, and it’ll be read at other times in other places far away by other people who may or may not care, but I’m communicating with them, human beings, in their location at their convenience.

    I’m not irritating them with phone calls at odd hours, or even insisting on an immediate response. They can think about it, decide not to, write a lengthy response and then delete the whole thing and rewrite it over again, whatever. It’s communication with thoughtfulness.

    Now, on Mr. Nemo’s points, there is a lot to be said for human interaction. It’d be a fairly sad life without it. But the lass who’s occupied my affections for the last fifteen years first communicated with me electronically, and we still swap email far more often than phone calls.

    And this is human interaction. She’s not a robot. There’s a human being on the other end, and if she hasn’t brushed her hair or I’ve got spinach in my teeth doesn’t matter. The humanity shines through.

    Convenience is an entirely different matter.

    Like Mr. Nemo, I don’t like self-service checkout, for similar reasons, although if the self-checkout attendant is bored I’ve often had them do all the checking out for me anyhow.

    I don’t use my ATM card, but for different reasons (I like denominations the ATM doesn’t pass out, and it’s a huge security risk as a debit card). Talking to the bank tellers is enjoyable, and they don’t seem to mind.

    I use credit cards at the gas pump. It’s quicker. And pretty much everywhere else, for other reasons; If I get mugged, I’m in it for $50 per card maximum (last time, I got all the charges reversed. I didn’t get the $120ish in cash I had on me at the time back, though).

    Convenience isn’t necessarily depersonalizing. It may mean you actually get to spend more time with people, and better time.

    Sure, washerwomen used to have plenty of human interaction as they spent hours slaving over washbasins and mangles washing clothes, but I suspect few would prefer that over sticking them into a washing machine for awhile and then spending the hours chatting over lemonades.

    If by swiping my card at the gas pump I can get to the meeting sooner, I can spend more time talking to people I want to talk to. If by putting wash in the dryer I can go to a party instead of spending the whole afternoon chasing crows off the clothesline, that’s fine too.

    If you want to use convenience to depersonalize your life you can. But it’s not a requirement, and it’s not an inevitable consequence.

    I’ve others, but I think that’s enough commentary for now.

    J.

    • Carl Nemo  February 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      “We’ll react differently to a beautiful young person than an ugly old one who smells funny. We’ll react differently to someone wearing a suit and standing beside a clean Mercedes than someone wearing six grubby coats and standing beside a shopping cart full of trash.” …extract from post

      Thanks Jon for your thoughts on this subject.

      Referencing this quote from your reply, I must say its this act of cataloguing people by the way they dress and as to what they own or not is where the trap lies. Wall Street and every city of the U.S. is full of well dressed men and women who can be linked to not only stealing from the nation as a whole, but individuals within their community. You can’t equate well-dressed, clean smelling and the fine car they might drive as the mark of a good man or woman.

      The unwashed, downtrodden pushing the cart have their story too. For all we know alcohol, drugs or a string of bad relationships reduced them where they’re at. As its said you can’t judge a book by its cover.

      I remember a story from years ago concerning King Faisal (deceased) of Saudi Arabia. He was due to board his limo when a scruffy urchin tried to make his way to the king. His aids and armed guards of course stopped him. Instead of Faisal boarding his vehicle he stopped them and said him let the man through. They then conferred in private with no disclosure as to what was said. Later a close aid asked him. Oh, Great King, why did you let the man through giving him counsel. King Faisal simply said…”because the man might have had something to say of importance”. His actions that day always left an impression on me in that everyone has something say that to them and possibly to others that might be important too. Possibly the man could have alerted him to unrest among the people concerning something that needed to addressed or whatever, but this King being a wise man new the value of interfacing with his subjects regardless of their deportment, cleanliness etc.

      I’ve mentioned before that I operate in condition yellow in that I’m always assessing my surroundings as well people’s actions that are approaching me, so I’m not incautious when I interface with people, but I do know this everyone has something to say from a blithering alcoholic to the well-dressed man or woman. It’s not how they dress, but their actions and how they interace with their fellow citizens that counts in my book. I know how to handle myself and rest assured I’m not some gadfly looking for constant interface with everyone and anyone.

      I’m an older man now and managed my affairs well. This past week I turned 66. Both of my parents passed within the past three years in their late eighties so if genetics has anything to do with my longevity shy of an accident I only have about 15-20 years left on this plane. So my thoughts are that people should live their lives as every day might be their last and to be thoughtful and generous towards their fellow beings. There’s no future in being a mean, selfish, judgemental, calculating sob until your last breath on earth. In the end we are “all dead forever”…!

      All this obsession with ‘electronica’ is working to the advantage of the controllers who want to create a “New World Order”. Without people discussing issues and the order of the day face to face they’ll be sorely pressed in the event a major solar flare, EMP, or the government pulls the plug on the web and all its derivative communications gear. People having no sense of community or even their neighbors within a quarter mile radius of their home will be in short supply for some friendly contacts. I’ve made it a point over time to know most of the people on the county road near my home. No, we’re not close friends, but at least if I have to approach them they won’t sense that I’m a danger or threat. In times to come it will be very important to have some friendly, constructive liassons with neighbors etc. People need to quit going through life with a bucket on their collective heads via their Ipods, Blackberries, laptops or whatever the current distractive gadget might be.

      *****

      “Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.” …Swedish proverb

      *****

      Carl Nemo **==

      • b mcclellan  February 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

        Happy 66th Carl.

        • Carl Nemo  February 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

          Thanks Bryan, bad number though. Add another 6 and ouch! What’s interesting everyone that knew of my birthday and age said so without me prompting them meaning they have their minds on such things as the number of the beast. / : |

          Carl Nemo **==

          • b mcclellan  February 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

            Numbers shmumbers, hard science is both barrels at the ready.
            Keep your powder dry and your sights wet my friend in thought.
            Many happy returns..

  7. woody188  February 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    We’ve been without the Internet or home phone since Tuesday night at 10pm. I’m happy to have these things back and missed them. Each experience will be as personable as you want it to be. Yes, there are a lot of liars and con-men but don’t let them stop you from being human with everyone. There are some genuine folk on the new mediums too.

    • Carl Nemo  February 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      You need to invest in some traditonal board games and some decks of cards Woody so when the balloon goes up so to speak you and your family can have some fun too while surviving. I’m serious.

      Scrabble, Checkers, Chess, Backgammon, Cribbage and again decks of cards and some book on card games etc. I would suggest “Monopoly” too, but after our paradigm fails I don’t think people will be interested in buying either Park Place or Baltic Ave. This may sound quaint, but my wife and I play board games, cards etc. 44 years of marriage and were still playing games. : ))

      A reasonable collection of books such as the classics would be in order too.

      Also invest in a reasonably price SW/AM/FM/NOAA radio. Keep the radio and other key electronics in a metal box that’s insulated on the inside with styrofoam or other insulating material then ground the storage box to the grounded lead of your house electrical system. This will protect the electronics from EMP which will bring everthing to halt even if you aren’t near any subsequent blast zone. The first order of nuclear battle whether us or ‘them’ will be to launch an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) inducing detonation about 300 km over the respective nation which will virtually fry all microprocessors that aren’t hardened against such. Also it would protect your electronics against a monster solar flare from doing the same. I’m not joking either.

      People best condition themselves mentally to a world without electronics as we once knew it and be able to entertain themselves. It’s going to be a tough withdrawal for many folks. Some may even commit suicide. / : |

      Carl Nemo **==

      • woody188  February 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

        We have those games too Carl. My current focus is on survival, not fun. I am thinking of constructing a Faraday cage in our utility room once the pole barn is built. A microwave makes a good Faraday cage in a pinch.

        • Carl Nemo  February 4, 2011 at 12:40 am

          Good luck on your projects Woody. Thanks for mentioning the microwave oven in a pinch for small radios and handhelds.

          I have multiple pole barns on my property. Many pole buildings constructions place the exterior metal across the overhead wooden purlins directly with waterproof paper under the metal to prevent condensation from raining wihtin the building, but I would recommend that you spend the money on 1/2″ exterior plywood sheeting for the roof, then use heavy tarpaper/felt rolled out with an overlap then placing the metal on top. Screw the metal to the purlins and do not use ringshank nails which will bite one in the butt a number of years down the road with leaks etc.

          A great reflective insulation for these type structures for the interior in addition to fiberglass batts is Tekfoil which has foil on both sides with bubble wrap between. It’s 99% reflective to IR/heat radiation from within and the same from without during the summer months. It too being aluminum will complement the idea of a Faraday cage making sure corners are overlapped and taped as not to provide electromagnetic radiation leaks. In addition the structures shell should be grounded via multiple ground rods around the building. Also braze or silver solder the ground wires to the metal and not depend on a simple mechanical connection making sure to use adquate gauge wire to handle an induced voltage. Also in this protected area make sure either tightly placed connected rebar or heavy mesh galv fencing is integrated into the floor structure within the concrete and that it too is bonded to the ground array.

          Here’s a link to a company from which I buy the product. You might be able to find a local building supply that carries, but its rather rare for them to do so. I have no vested interest in the company. They have knowledgeable product specialists too. http://www.FarmTek.com and have many other useful items that you can use in setting up your self-sufficient farmstead. If anything its an “idea” catalogue. : )

          Carl Nemo **==

          • Jon  February 4, 2011 at 5:11 am

            As an aside on this thread: After wildfires raged through this area some years ago, we were without city-power and phone and pretty much everything else for about a week.

            I, however, have a genset that I run now and then, and battery backups for the computers, and a satellite Internet connection (I’m using it even now – Hello, earthlings). About three days into the outage I ran across one of my neighbors, a very sweet lady, and we got to talking about how we were dealing with the loss of utilities.

            I told her that not only was my fridge’n'freezer fine (courtesy of running the generator every now and then), and that she, if she wanted, could have space therein, but that moreover, (and at this I admit I grinned) “I have an Internet connection.”

            She looked at me with big round eyes, then said quietly, but firmly and quickly, “Don’t tell my husband. You’ll never get him out of your house.”

            J.

          • logtroll  February 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

            Tekfoil makes a great winter “anti-thought-theft-by-aliens” hat, as well.

            • Carl Nemo  February 5, 2011 at 12:36 am

              Yo logtroll,

              I’ve made a great replica of a founders tricorn using Tekfoil along with a high gain x-band antennae integrated into the brim. It’s allowed for better communication with the “space brothers’ when I so choose.

              I only use the one you reference; feeding a flexible, braided copper ground strap attached to the hat then fed down through the neck opening of my shirt then on down through a pant leg so I can drag it along to make sure I have good contact with earth. I wear this one when I’m typing out my doggerel on CHB. I don’t want to compromise such heavy discourse to aliens without a ‘need to know’… : )

              Carl Nemo **==

              • logtroll  February 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

                Heavy-duty, man. Sounds like someone’s got hisself a fantastic business start-up!

          • Almandine  February 4, 2011 at 9:08 pm

            I’m thinking your Faraday Cage design is a bit short, Carl… the roof might be effective, but I’d not trust the tekfoil. I could be wrong, but don’t think so…

            Insulation4less.com is the best place I’ve found to buy it.

            • griff  February 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm

              It’s all about grounding.

            • Carl Nemo  February 5, 2011 at 12:57 am

              Hi Almandine,

              I suggested Tekfoil which would be the double-sided design of foil/bubble/foil. They make various configurations for the product.

              It’s cheap and is a conductor of electricity on both surfaces with insulation between. Wrapping devices in such would be fairly good protection even marginally grounded to ungrounded, not guaranteed, but better than nothing. Wherever the foil edges meet they would have to be sealed with preferably metal tape which is available at Home Depot, Lowe’s etc. which is used for furnace and duct work.

              As Woody says the secret is grounding so all metallic surfaces would have to be bonded electrically and test to make sure opposite corners of the room had electrical continuity the opposite, the mesh rebar in the floor etc. via resistance tests, then the entire array connected to multiple 4-6 ft ground rods into ground . If the soil is poor for grounding then one has to create radials with more grounding points along the way.

              I was simply trying to be helpful when Woody referenced his pole building project. I personally don’t see the need for a large Faraday shielded room since this electromagnetic radiation won’t affect the human body for a short period of time, although there are claims by folks living near high voltage transmission lines to the contrary over the years, but that’s different story compared to the short burst/s from EMP or solar flares.

              True quiet rooms of Faraday design built on the government tab are completely shielded in copper plate or fine mesh including the floors and if any windows are available they have copper mesh running through the glass it too grounded to the copper metal door frame. The main point as Woody says is the entire structure must share a common, efficient ground and must be checked at regular intervals to insure there’s no loss of this integrity. You would use a broadband RF detector/meter within to see if you’ve achieve radio silence.

              The quicky microwave oven solution or simply a metal box, like a large metal ammo box etc. are fine for creating a safe environment for electronic equipment. One could use metal garbage cans, metal five gallon pails or whatever. The secret too is that the protected equipment must be insulated from the metal in these situations, not relying simply on the the induced field being shunted around the metal inclosure to ground.

              I surely wouldn’t construct one but if I had the need, then I’d buy a used cargo container for several hundred bucks and design one around such.

              Carl Nemo **==

              • Carl Nemo  February 5, 2011 at 1:00 am

                Re: paragraph three

                “As Woody says the secret is grounding” should read:

                As griff says the secret is grounding.

                My apologies.

                Carl Nemo **==

              • Almandine  February 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

                Yep, the container would be ideal, as would the copper plate – well grounded. I’ve worked in a copper plated lab and built a couple of mesh cages for use in electro-physiological recording applications, and the cages provided some protection against electrical “noise” but not all, and I doubt seriously that they can protect against EMP. Ditto for foil but, in all cases, distance from the source would be a critical variable. Put your battery powered FM radio inside for a quick and cheap test of minimal protection.

  8. Strato  February 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Without the internet there would not be a CHB and I would not know a guy named Doug Thompson. i never liked my neighbors; they were always people I just happened to get stuck with. With the internet. I have a much broader spectrum of friends, weirdos, and psycopaths to choose from. Living in a cave and communicating with drums never appealed to me.

  9. Fivebyfives  February 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    In his book “Travels With Charlie” (1960 I think), John Steinbeck wrote of using one of those new automatic veding machines. He observed that eventually one could cross the entire U.S. without dealing with another human being. The thought didn’t thrill him; nor does today’s reality thrill me either.

    True, technology does indeed have many benefits. There is a loss for every gain, however. One of the easiest seed beds for peddling hate is through unfamiliarity. Human speech and interaction is a rather unique gift, and should be exercized regularly. I have a stepson who is in his first year of college. I constantly challenge his views on things, and his mother sometimes thinks I’m “picking on him.” I am and I’m not.

    Whether I agree with him or not, I disagree for the sake not of argument, but to hone his wit. I come from a long line of curmudgeons, and find it hard to stomach any of that “ditto” crap. Video conferencing is one aspect of technology that is worth the effort, as a true face to face occurs with all of its rewards and challenges.

    Over 50 years since Mr. Steinbeck’s book and when I travel it’s meeting people that is the biggest thrill of all. Maybe what Doug alludes to is most forms of modern technology allows us to travel everywhere quickly while in another sense we go nowhere.

  10. b mcclellan  February 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Nice shootin fives,
    when the honin,
    sets em a groanin,
    ya know yer gittin through..
    My children call it antics on my part. Har..

  11. Jon  February 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Hope to make this brief… [ed: That didn't work out so well]

    I didn’t mean that any reaction should be ‘ignore them’, just that reactions do differ. As you point out, being “aware of your surroundings” probably includes being aware that several burly young men have just issued from an alleyway and have begun following you, but this leads to an anecdote I’d like to share.

    It’s from Dr. Isaac Asimov’s autobiography (Vol. II, “In Joy Still Felt”, I believe, but I’d have to find it. Can do if you want me to).

    First some background:

    Dr. Asimov was fairly famous for being entirely unaware of his surroundings. He wrote an entire essay called “What Truck?” on walking the streets of his native Manhattan excitedly talking to one of his publishers about his upcoming book, and eventually noticed that she wasn’t responding quite as enthusiastically or as interested as usual. He paused a moment, and inquired why. She said, “That, that truck… It just missed us!” and he replied, “What truck?”

    Now the anecdote goes something like this:

    Dr. Asimov is going home to his apartment late one night, as was his wont, on the subway, and in his usual merry haze.

    But he slowly becomes aware that, in his end of this particular subway car, he is by himself. In the other end of the car are three young men, dressed to appear as no strangers to a rough and tumble life on the streets, and they are muttering to each other and stealing glances at him.

    The Doctor’s stop is coming up fairly soon, so he quietly sits there, reads an advertisement, looks out the windows at the tunnel, for a few minutes, but becomes aware they have come down to his end and are standing around him looking down as he sits there.

    Then one asks, “Excuse me – Are you Isaac Asimov?”

    It turns out they’re great fans of his science writing, and had recognized him from the pictures on the flyleaves of his books. In his autobiography, he says that turned out to be a great fun subway ride, and was sad it turned out so short.

    Anyhow, I’ll freely grant Mr. Nemo’s point, that everyone does have a story to tell. I’ve talked to many in my time, and many have talked to me (I look rather like a hobo).

    But as others have pointed out, the ‘live interaction’, even just voice on the phone, let alone video calling or interacting in person, adds something. I’ll also remark it can subtract something. A thick accent might make an argument incomprehensible even if the points are clearly made. An annoying tic can be completely distracting, as can fantastic beauty. Even background noise or visuals can get in the way.

    (Incidentally, I’ve met a few naturally blonde young women who’ve deliberately dyed their hair black or brown in hopes of being taken more seriously…)

    Now, some would say that all that ancillary stuff – expressions, background, body language, etc., are essential to communication ,and I concur, it’s a lot easier to tell, for example, if someone’s pulling your leg in person, and it’s one reason why a number of attempts at humour online go badly awry, but for straightforward communication – The moving of some information or concept or observation to someone else – All that stuff can (and does) get in the way.

    J.

    • Carl Nemo  February 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks Jon for the enjoyable Asimov on the subway story. On top of it these perceived ruffians might have disclosed they were budding particle physicists working on their Master’s thesis and wished to share some ideas with him. It’s true you can’t judge people as well as books by their cover or outward appearance, but again caution is always warranted and not assume every subway or parking lot story would turn out as well.

      Isaac Asimov is one of my all time favorite sci-fi and pure science writers. I’m probably one of the few guys in the world that have some of his books next to the crapper with “Asimov on Numbers” being one of my favorites along with a stack of recent Scientific Americans intersperced with a few girly mags. ; )

      Carl Nemo **==

  12. Jon  February 4, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Hehe. That they didn’t. Few do. And no, many outcomes aren’t quite that, e.g. being mugged (been there, done that).

    I don’t keep my Asimov books in the bathroom – They’d not fit. I keep them in the room down the hall. I have a few more than a hundred, but if I had all those he’d written, I’d not have shelf space for anyone else!!

    I don’t suppose you have a good copy of the essay collection “The Left Hand Of The Electron”, do you? I’ve got a paperback, but it’s in absolutely atrocious condition – Falling apart, pages missing, etc. Mine’s a reading library – They’ve all got thumbprints on them – but this one’s really an unreadable wreck.

    I would also like to draw your attention to, if you’re not already aware of it, James Randi’s Educational Foundation, in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, which has an Isaac Asimov Memorial Library. See http://www.randi.org

    The magazines in “the head” here are Nuts and Volts, Circuit Cellar, and QST. If they’re not out in fifteen minutes they’re a certified geek…

    J.

  13. Carl Nemo  February 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t keep my ‘entire’ library in the head Jon, but have walls of books covering every subject under the sun. Although my wife is an avid reader, she said the first order of the day is to clear out the books in the event I should predecease her. She’s a cleaning freak and swears they’re infested with dust mites and other critters that cause allergies. She’s probably right. : )

    I’ve read the “The Left Hand of The Electron”, but don’t have a copy. I’m sure my Asimov collection isn’t as extensive as yours. Here’s a lead on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Left-Hand-Electron-Isaac-Asimov/dp/0385043457

    My favorite article that’s compiled in “Asimov on Numbers” from a collection of essays is the 1966 “Proton Reckoner” where he uses the diameter of the proton as the ultimate measuring stick for everything up to the size of the universe. One thing about Dr. Asimov was his ability to explain and teach at the same time. Just think if every teacher we’d run into concerning complex subjects were as lucid, descriptive and entertaining as this great intellect. When you finished reading his essays you were left with something of value for life.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Jon  February 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      Walls of books are a good thing. I’ve a few around here. The gf has resorted to double-stacking – She has books behind books. And she had read them all…

      Thanks for the link! I have some Amazon credit, I might just use it that way.

      But I will make this brief [iron fist] and point out that we have, just by doing this, refuted Mr. Thompson. This is communication, and we have done it, just by exchanging ones and zeroes. I hope he reads the comments on his articles.

      The written word is at least as powerful as the spoken word.

      J.

  14. Strato  February 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    It doesn’t matter if you read, type on a typewritter, or use a computer. If you avoid human interaction, you are going to find yourself lonesome. There are billions of people in the world, if you can’t find someone to talk to, don’t blame the media.

    • Almandine  February 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Sometimes, being in the midst of a large crowd, even engaged in conversation, can be lonely. Human interaction ??? I often prefer my Lab.

      • logtroll  February 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm

        Lab? Oratory?

        Say what?

        • Almandine  February 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm

          Don’t know from oratory??? but my DOG never disappoints.

          • logtroll  February 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

            Just thought you might have a secret laboratory that you spend your free time in… even if you are only declaiming to your dog.

            • Almandine  February 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

              Nope… got a nice little woodshop, though.

  15. Strato  February 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Boredom ln any form really sucks.

  16. bob stepno  February 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Doug,

    The little-communicated self promotional marketing spam on twitter is getting especially thick lately, but that may be my fault for following a marketing professor friend. Otherwhere, the quick tweets from reporters and other writers are sometimes good, but my eyes tire easily with Droidsize screen and spelling suffers when I try to reply.

    I’m still doing my classroom communicating face to face, but I do have students turn in “papers” online to save them the five cent a page printing cost on top of tuition.

    I hope your back is healing well and that I’ll run into you in a booth at the country store again soon…

    Regards,

    Bob

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