We have just completed another crossing of this incredible country of ours…by car. In the fast paced world we all live it is always good for the soul. I am consistently amazed how the blah landscape of Kansas can hold one’s attention. Who are these people and what do they make of all this madness we live in? Are they part of it or just innocent bystanders?
The deep loam is giving birth to all things green.The towns spring to life in a more gentle way. On Saturday we watched the sun come up and set in the same day. When was the last time we did that? Anywhere,USA , Population:223. Everyone is family and the kids can’t wait to get out to seek fortune somewhere else. Will there be anyone left to feed our insatiable appetites or will we dream up some way to put molecules together obviating the need for such mundane things?
Just outside of Kanarado, (there is such a place) wind turbines have mated and multiplied since our last trek. Not dozens but hundreds of the behemoths silently churn out a cleaner fuel. The conservationists cry of the death of birds that seem to fly into these things in some sort of kamikaze insanity. These days everything has its price.
As we rode along we listened to NPRX which is a series of stories on a myriad of topics. One that stood out was a Ted Talk on algorithms. It seems that Google, Facebook, Apple et alia have the ability to know when you query, just who you are, your age, sex, where you live, what type of computer you are using, what you have bought over time and what you are most likely to like in the future. Kind of fascinating when you consider how much we worry about our privacy vis a vis the NSA and wiretaps.
More interesting or disturbing as the case might be is that the news you receive is preordained. For instance you and I could put in the same request and get two entirely different front pages from Google. Yes, the content is the same but in a different order. They want to give you what you are most prone to agree with. As the replies become more and more refined and so called suited to you, there is now a total lack of contrary opinion. You are getting one side of the story. It is almost like your world is now tuned nonstop to FOX or MSNBC depending on what THEY perceive you to be. Hmm. No wonder we are at odds with each other.
Another talk was by a young lady of 17. She lived in the Northwest. Until she came forward she had been sexually abused by her father since she was 10. He controlled her entire life from what she wore to who she saw. She thought this was all normal until she confided in a friend.Dad went away for a long time. As the miles and her story sped by you have to be appalled at the sheer depravity of what she was relating. At the end they tell you she is far from alone and 85% of the victim suffer in silence for fear of retribution or ostracism. Yikes!
I guess where this leads me is that until you sit up and take notice the world seems sanguine. Life goes on in little burghs and big cities. We can shrug our shoulders and accept it all as we zip by on the freeways of life or we can at least give pause to realize the consequences of being in all aspects of our society. Heady stuff? Not really. There is a lot of good in the world and there is a lot of bad but you have to look under the hood to see it for all it is.
It is intriguing to descend through several different altitudes and ecosystems. We came from 5280 down to 0 above sea level. We stopped at gas stations throughout. In some the clerks were a little too cheery. it was another story in Somewhere, Tennessee.The checkout lady here was not a happy woman. She was either having a bad day or got up every morning, spit out a couples of nails and lit up a Camel. As I brought my items to be purchased I could almost hear her singing “You can take this job and shove it”.
We stopped at two highway inns along the way and the people were beyond pleasant. In St Louis we had gone too far for the day and as darkness fell we dumped ourselves at the first Holiday Inn we could find. As we entered the lobby we realized we were the only white people to be counted. All my Common Man BS came to the fore and we said, here goes. Turns out these people had come to a funeral in St Louis and this was the after party. They were just cerebrating some lady’s life as I had for my buddy Tom three weeks prior. I told the grieving brother about that and we shook hands. Nothing more . Nothing less. A lesson learned.
As usual we are exploring alternatives. We are contemplating new locations…again. This is not just me but my incurable wanderlust virus has now invaded my bride’s beautiful cranium. Who knows? Never a dull moment with these two. Tune in to find out what these loonies are plotting next.
Ted The Great
Our itinerary covered 2008 miles. It took 26 hours over two and one half days. To go from New York to San Francisco is 2906 miles. From Caribou, Maine to Key West Florida is 2045 miles. Our southern border with Mexico is 1989 miles. When you are thinking of walls it is interesting to ponder these figures.
There are over 200,000 wind turbines operating throughout the world. We used to lead the world in terms of numbers and generating power but we have been surpassed by Europe, especially in Germany and Spain. Getting this power to the user is the biggest challenge. The sites are usually many miles away and in remote areas requiring power lines which localities and conservationists are averse to giving permission for.
Globally, approximately 18–19% of women and 8% of men disclose being sexually abused when they were children.Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors. Strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men. Oops! I guess I wasn’t supposed to talk about this.
Just got back from a conference in San Francisco where Data Driven analytics was the main topic. Determining who you are and what your preferences are is a major theme in silicon valley. Also heard from a smart young man who is CEO of indico, a deep learning company. They do some predictive analysis with AI and natural language processing. If you state ‘Obama was the greatest president ever.’, their software can determine you are a conservative because no liberal would ever say that and anyone making that statement is probably being sarcastic. Very interesting! You MAY be able to watch it here. Hope you had a great trip!