Standing in the cesspool of giants.

It is my personal opinion that a community / society / country / race / species should be judged not by their achievments, but by the average of its members. It might be more honest to judge by the bottom of the scale, rather than the middle, but I’m trying to be generous since I’m a member of the group I’m about to dis.

We have sailed every ocean, sent men to the moon, split the atom and more. The fact that you are reading my words is a technological marvel, given the level of technology required to compose and store digital documents and then transmit them over a planet spanning network. The wireless keyboard upon which I type was an undreamed marvel a mere quarter century ago. Even the common toilet, while having been in use in the United States for the past hundred years or so, was an impressive feat of plumbing that took years to evolve into its present state.

Compared to a modern computer, the toilet seems like a pretty simple piece of technology. And yet, with a hundread years of practice, we still seem to have a fair chunk of our population who hasn’t mastered its use. Everybody loathes the idea of using a public restroom; not because the plumbing is any less developed than that in our homes, rather it is the anticipation of the disgusting state in which we usually find them.

The other day we went scuba diving at Venice Beach. It looks so simple: Strap a tank on your back and remember to breath from the hose. Yet, there is a fairly impressive amount of technology in the regulators that keep 3,000 PSI of air pressure from blowing out your lungs when you inhale. Not to mention the technology of the cars in the parking lot that brought the crowds to the beach.

Yet for all the apparent demonstrations of superiority over our environment, there was still a quarter inch pool of urine on the floor of the restroom and stains on the wall from where people couldn’t be bothered to aim.

What will it matter of a few of us conquer the stars if as a society we still have supposedly equal members who can’t piss in a pot? Life | Yes, I’ve had tarry bowel movements! So what? Life | Yes, I’ve had tarry bowel movements! So what?

This is a good read for anyone who feels compelled to label themselves during an introduction by tacking on their Myers-Briggs score.

I’ve pretty much refused to take the Myers-Briggs test, as well as many other ‘recognized’ personality tests. In my case it is not that I believe them to be invalid; I just refuse to be pigeon-holed. I prefer people to not have preconceptions about me based on how I felt when answering a subjective test on a given day. I have known people who cater to what they believe is their personality type, and never consider that their personality can change, if they want it to. I revel in change. Chaos is my bitch. I will not take your silly tests.

Blood Money

So, I’m sitting here in Atlanta. We’re at DragonCon, and are supremely happy to be out of Tampa for the weekend. (Well, Nan and I are. Mel is in limbo at the momemt.) Nan is in the shower, and Mel and I are watching the Weather Channel to see how bad of a beating Florida is taking from hurricane Frances. Up pops a commercial for a new commerative coin. It is made in tribute to the World Trade Center and the as of yet unbuilt Freedom Tower. One of the ‘features’ of this coin is that it was made from silver recovered from a vault in the trade center. The world trade center has been a favorite target of terrorists because it was a huge symbol of the economic power that the US has wielded over other countries. The target is hit, thousands die, and silver recovered (probably from one of the very banks used to fincancially force the will of the US on other countries) and it is used for a collector’s coin.

I can’t imagine a coin more bathed in blood than this one. I wonder if they are only making 30 pieces of this particular silver?