I have just returned from Saratoga, Wyoming for the weekend. For those who are geographically challenged it is about 70 miles southwest of Laramie which surprisingly to many of you is in the United States of America. We played golf and stayed at the Old Baldy Club which we shall deem appropriate. The accommodations were dated but more than adequate and the food was plentiful. Other than that, you chill which I did with the Future of Everything supplement to the WSJ. And of course a glass of red and a cigar.
It seems somewhat incongruous to be reading of such futuristic things in Wyoming. On the way I had passed huge ranches and grimy little towns, spiffed up for the summer. As one espied a double wide on the horizon you couldn’t help but linger on what life might be like in those confines on a cold winter’s night. Do these people even know, much less care about ISIS, Brexit and the His Hairness? After these last few weeks’ fiascoes I hope the Donald is not the Future of Anything. But I digress.
The future is a bit crazy in many ways. It seems the genius millennials flock to a thing called The Burning Man in the desert outside of Las Vegas. As I understand it is sort of like a Woodstock for geeks. They drink, party and dance to rock bands literally until the sun rises. Then they speak of techno crafts and futuristic stuff, catch some well need zzz’s and do it all over again. Startups and dreamers mingle with the billionaires. Then when they leave it is with no sign they were ever there. Such is our times.
Upon return my good buddy in the now Chosen City of Cleveland in between victory parties sent me a website for a speech by the chairman of the FCC on the future 5G. It seems we are grasping at any amount of bandwidth today and they are created the true superhighway of data. Larger and faster than ever before. This really go my attention because the implications are startling.
Much of what we would like to do today is hampered by both speed and breadth. With 5G technology it would be possible for a world renowned surgeon to sit at a console at Johns Hopkins and perform intricate brain surgery robotically at the Cleveland Clinic. Then move to another and do the same at the Mayo Clinic. Ditto New York, San Fran etc. The speed required is a millisecond or 100 times faster than our speeds now. The conclusion was that there are things to be developed that have not even been imagined. Some of us might fear this capacity. I find it beyond intriguing for the hope of putting more of our brain power to good use. The talent is not in the machine but the human designing it. Fantastico.
Parsing thorough the unread newspapers I was hit by my usual overdose of our world. Startling was the time and space devoted to our election cycle, Orlando and Brexit. Page after page after page. Not that these are not news of a sort but how caught up in detail and slants can we get? Looking for that one story line or insightful bit of writing to captivate our already overly sated readerships. As the bungling and fighting and cheating and fraud unfolded in all parts of our world I couldn’t help but think that we have success in spite of ourself. We find more and more ways to get in our own way but somehow make this mess work.
Okay, this probably seems a far cry from Saratoga. I am constantly amazed by our potential and frustrated by our actuation. Before I left I had one of those truly hopeful and encouraging encounters.I was asked to be part of a volunteer program at one our local prep schools. They are in the midst of two week program for high school juniors from underprivileged families. They covered everything from picking a college to writing an essay to doing interviews. That latter is where yours truly came into play.
I had four students who were all young women. I interviewed them for fifteen minutes each but had sat in on their class prior to our meeting. People, I was simply blown away. The one young lady was from a broken home. Her mom had gone to NYU and was a translator at a local hotel and her dad lived in Texas. She wanted to go to Amherst and study political science. After that she wanted to go to law school and become an advocate for underprivileged people. Wow!
The next was born of biracial parents. She told me of the isolation that a kid like her endures. She wasn’t complaining or indignant. She was just relating to a fact of life she had to deal with. Her openness was incredible. She had two sibling brothers and the operative word was HAD. One had drowned two summers ago. She wanted to study psychology at the University of Denver and become a counselor to troubled kids. Wow again!
The other two were no less impressive. It called to mind my niece who lives in Vail. As part of a fellowship program she just returned from Morocco where they were helping out in schools. She and her cohorts had also been to Nicaragua on a similar trek. They all wrote blogs and they were nothing short of incredible. They put this writer to shame. They were open and listening and understanding. There were no prejudices to derail their altruistic thoughts. The Wows keep coming!
I guess where I come from on all this is that we tend to sensationalize and amp up the bad volume when there is so much good out there. People and especially kids have dreams that may be well beyond their reach but we can’t shoot them down. Hopefully the gains we have made in technology make this just a little more possible. The future of everything? It is right here in our minds if we decide to expand our horizons. Just like those broad vistas I saw in Wyoming. Not a bad thought
Ted The Great
Wyoming: 10 largest state land wise in the US. Main Industry: Energy 2015 resident population est.: 586,107 Largest cities (2010): Cheyenne, 59,011; Casper, 55,316; Laramie, 30,816;
Natives:Curt Gowdy, Harrison Ford,Jackson Pollock, Dick Cheney,Jim Savory, Alan Simson.
1G Voice 1982
2G Voice and Text 1992
3G 1998 Married Wireless and Digital
4G 2008 Completed the migration including video
Robotic surgery is best used in minimally invasive procedures. The cost of the machine is approximately $1.25 million. It is said to be more precise, less painful, quicker recovery and the doctor does not have to be on his feet for several hours. The technology is there to do remote surgery but the transmission speeds are not quick enough.
Colleges are less and less inclined to accept underprivileged kids. They have lower GPA and SAT scores thereby lowering the school’s ranking by US News and World Report. If financial aid is given it is to higher income students because the school is more assured they will stay the full four years. The situation becomes somewhat exacerbated by the malaise in the middle income bracket. More and more qualify because of low wages and that means there is less aid money to go around.