Has anyone else had a sense of deja vu with the media reports coming out of Iraq? How often have we heard this administration announce a new turning point in this disaster? It reminds me of the old saying that there are 'lies, damned lies, and statistics;' or as my Dad used to say 'Figures don't lie, but liars do figure.' We have been told that the surge is working but no one points out that al Sadr has maintained a cease fire during this surge. Tom Englehardt points out that the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr city seems to be quieting down but then we have fired some 200+ missiles into the area. Given the experts we have heard over the last six years and how wrong they have been, I find it amazing that anyone believes any of them on anything.
I found this interesting little story by way of Newsfire from the BBC. Every now and then I have thought about getting a little manual typewriter. The urge gets a bit stronger whenever we have a brown- or black-out which makes my computer useless. I feel a kinship with the woman who said that all she wants her machine to do is type. I say something similar when I see the ads for the new smart phones. I don't really want a phone that does much more than transmit my voice to whomever I want to speak and their voice back to me. We don't think very often about the technology we are urged to buy. Sometimes it is all to easy to be seduced into thinking about the problems it will supposedly solve and not about the problems it might cause or whether it fits well into our lives. Over the years I have bought three different PDAs only to have them all end up in a drawer somewhere. I found it faster and easier to use pen and paper than using the PDAs. I also didn't have to worry about losing the information if batteries died or the machine otherwise malfunctioned. A blogger I frequently read (but which one I can't remember at the moment) recently wrote that she had experienced a 'catastrophic' computer crash which had a paradoxical effect. After the first panic and exasperation at what she had lost, she discovered a sense of freedom in that she had also lost a lot of 'junk' she didn't really need. How much 'junk' do we keep on our computers simply because it is there? Of course, I also have to remind myself of all the paper 'junk' that I had typed, printed, copied or otherwise accumulated during a long stint in academia.