Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cave Men and Computers

Blogger’s Note: Here is a recent story that is central to this blog: http://www.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/georgia-firefighter-accused-of.
Ever since the beginning of Man, there have been thousands and perhaps millions of inventions and creations.
I will speculate that 99.9% of the time, the inventor designed his creation with the best of intentions, even if by accident.
But then, some twisted freak would come along and discover in this good invention ways to use it for evil and despicable acts against their fellow Man.
For the sake of brevity, I will discuss two of Mankind’s greatest creations: Fire and computers.
It was thousands of years ago that a cave dweller by the name of Harry Mann invented Fire by pure accident.
One day, out of frustration, he threw his digging tool-a piece of flint rock-at an elusive little animal that he was trying to catch for a meal.
The flint rock ricocheted off of a large rock, covered in dry moss and caused a spark that caught the dried moss on fire.
Eureka; the world had Fire and its first recorded burn injuries.
Harry discovered that fire could cook his food, light his way and warm his cave. His evenings could be spent in his warm cave, where, by the light provided by his fire, he would draw on his walls (world’s first interior decorator).
There was a problem with smoke from the fire. Harry would have to step outside of his cave every now and then, but this was impractical; especially if he was cooking. He took great pride in his culinary skills and didn’t want to over-cook his food.
He noticed that the smoke would rise, then drift towards the opening in his cave, so he dug a hole in the ceiling of his cave and voila’; we had our first chimney.
One day, Harry got a visit from a stranger who saw the smoke in the air and followed it to Harry’s cave. Harry was in the middle of making a brisket and was so startled by the stranger that he grabbed the first thing he could, which was a stick from the fire.
Harry accidentally touched the stranger’s fur covering with the fiery stick and set the fur on fire. The stranger ran out, screaming with pain and Harry had discovered that Fire could be used to ward off unwanted guests.
As time went on, the destructive qualities of Fire became more and more prevalent. It would be catapulted at opposing armies, shot from bows on the tips of arrows and villages would be leveled by using fire as a means to force out into the open those in hiding. Crops would be burnt.
Fire had become an effective weapon.
Now; fast forward to the 20th century and the invention of the computer; a discovery every bit as important to civilization as the discovery of Fire.
I have to believe that the computer was developed because the slide rule was too complicated to use for problem solving. At least, it was for me. That and the guy was having trouble getting dates the “old fashioned” way (Hello Match.com).
Anyway; think of all the things that are influenced or powered by computers, both large and small.
From wrist watches to phones to satellites, space-craft, vehicles and on and on and we soon discover that computers have dominance in our world.
Then came the Internet, giving computers and their users the ability to communicate with each other. And now, we have the social websites, because we no longer want to simply communicate, but we want to SHARE what we communicate.
It is here that one of Mankind’s most innocuous and insidious weapons of mass destruction has been born.
Back in the day, if you wanted to hurt someone by spreading rumors and false-hoods about them or even something that was true, but very personal about the person, you would write it on the bathroom wall at the park or at school. You had to go to considerable lengths and effort to hurt someone; possibly an ex-girlfriend. It seemed like that it was enough just to embarrass them at the local level. Word certainly got around by word of mouth.
But today; with the computer being the “vehicle”, the Internet being the “gun mounted on the vehicle” and photos, videos and messages being the “bullets”…computers have become the weapon of choice for many snipers who hide behind the virtual anonymity of their computer screens.
It is a weapon that has caused embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish and even suicide. It is a weapon that has found its way into the hands of anyone with a computer and access to the Internet-young and old alike. It is a weapon that is no longer constrained by local boundaries but can expand to a world-wide audience with a click of the mouse.
And just like a gun, a computer doesn’t take someone incredibly smart to “pull the trigger”. No; you have to be incredibly evil or incredibly stupid or a combination of the two. Once it is posted on the Internet, you cannot “take it back” and apologies ring empty.
If computer users are smart enough to use one, then they are smart enough to know that they should imagine themselves as the RECIPIENT of what THEY want to post and think about the consequences BEFORE THEY POST IT.
And if, upon reflection, they decide to send it out across the World Wide Web, then they are indeed evil AND incredibly stupid.
And they deserve any fall out that may come their way as a result of their own stupidity.
Fire and computers changed the world.
I’m still trying to figure out if it was for the better.
This article is protected by federal copyright laws under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella. It cannot be reproduced in any form without the expressed, written permission of its author, Art Goodrich, also known as ChiefReason. Please visit www.fireemsblogs.com and my blog www.chiefreasonart.com.
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