Monthly Archives: January 2016

My Digital Sneakers and my Refrigerator are Plotting against Me

I just finished watching a show covering the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show out in Vegas. I found it disconcerting, to say the least.
Forget your fears of Skynet and T1000’s coming for you. Focus your paranoia on that which you will soon use every day. There are now at least three brands of digital sneakers, one of which can tighten or loosen its own laces, two of which have HD displays, yes HDTV on your shoes, and two of which have foot warmers, all of which Bluetooth to your phone. Your phone can Bluetooth to your computer. Your new digital refrigerator can Wi-Fi to your TV, which can Wi-Fi to your phone, which can Bluetooth to your electric blanket, which can talk to your sneakers.
Your Japanese digitally controlled toilet, which can spray wash your butt and genitals, will then blow dry, no pun intended, those areas, and is controlled by Bluetoothing to your phone. The heating, air conditioning, door locks, and burglar alarm in your house talk to your computer with Wi-Fi and your computer talks to your phone about how things are going, home-wise.
This is a shortened list of all the potentially digitally connectable items that are available now, or in a year or two. They are all talking to each other more and more.

 

Soon, if you piss off your refrigerator your toilet may not dry your butt. Anger your microwave and your refrigerator will only order gluten free vegan food from Peapod. Or, maybe worst of all, annoy your phone and it will tighten the bejesus out of your shoelaces, give you a hotfoot, and then program the video displays on those sneakers to show all the porn, in full HD, you’ve had Siri search for.

 

Skynet and the T1000 would, mercifully, only kill you.

Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast Wherein You May Hear This

Father Time is in de Nile

It is a few days into the New Year, so I thought I would examine two metaphors for time. The first is well known: Old Father Time himself. The image of Father Time, the old man wielding a scythe, stems from ancient Greece and Rome, where Chronos, the god of time, was depicted almost identically. Chronos used the scythe to cut the balls off his father, Ouranus, who was the god of the heavens. In Rome, Chronos was known as Saturn while his father was Uranus. The jokes make themselves. I leave it to you, dear listeners, to parse one out.

The meaning of the Old Man Time metaphor is obvious: Time cuts down all things. The meaning of the Chronos and Ouranus metaphor is less direct: Chronos made sure that Ouranus would have no more children, and therefore had no real future.

The other metaphor for time is much more modern, and a bit less obvious to notice. It is the crocodile in Peter Pan, the one that swallowed a clock. Smee, Captain Hook’s first mate, says, “Someday, the clock will run down, and then he’ll get you.” As he’ll get us all, in the end.

And I’ll end this quasi theory with a bit of doggerel I have written.

Father Time’s in De Nile

Each day grows a little worse,
I proclaim in ragged verse.
Father Time’s a crocodile:
We’ll all disappear behind his smile.
Behind our eyes, the questions spin:
They’ll all go away, beyond his grin.

— Bhai Din