[FoRK] A Theory of Products: Magic, Alchemy, Science... and Beyond?

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Sun Feb 7 09:53:31 PST 2010

--- On Sun, 2/7/10, rob van kranenburg <kranenbuster at gmail.com> wrote:

> We are at this crossroads where this altered state of relationship 
> between us and objects and environment can be very rich (magic,
> fairytale, solidarities through generic infrastructures, a new
> politics)  or very poor (logistics, anti-theft, efficiency, 
> safety......). Everything is geared for the poor option. This ensures 
> that future generations will have less chance
> of dealing with the unexpected, with fallbacks, sudden
> events, ...
> I think the point is that they do not ''evolve' as they no
> longer work with all the options - as a particular sense of normality 
> has been scripted in as the for-ever-ontological-normal, and that they
> are - as we already - a very very easy bird for any cat of catastrophe. 
> We already can no longer fix our own cars, and have to trust that food 
> in trucks will come into our European cities every two days.

Yes. That situation is already here. Here on the Canadian Prairies we are still largely rural in reality. In the province of Saskatchewan we have an area only slightly smaller than Texas in the USA but a population that hovers around 1 million (1,000,000). Our two largest population centres are only slightly more than 200,000. 

But we are becoming ever more urban in mentality.

That was brought home to me resoundingly last week. We had a typical winter storm come through for a couple of days. It was a pretty good blizzard but not a really big one for this time of year. It resulted in a few localized power outages in some rural areas that looked like they might last for more than a day.

In many of the news reports that involved interviews with people in the affected areas there was much wringing of hands and worry because, among other things, they thought the food in their refridgerators and freezers might spoil. 

This is from farm people who choose to live in a rural setting where the possibility of some sort of disruption is constant and would seem more or less self-evident. These are people who, only one generation earlier, would have been prepared for such events as a normal course of living and would not have even remarked on it.

This is from people living on the Canadian Prairies in January!!! Saskatchewan in January *IS* a refridgerator!!!! Stick the stuff in an unheated outbuilding or in a bucketful of snow until the power comes back on. 

There were other similarly stupid comments/complaints from some of the rural and farm residents in the affected communities.

I don't mean to paint all of the people living here with the same brush of stupidity. I'm sure these anecdotes made the news *because* of their patent foolishness. But the fact that it happened at all and from enough people to be remarkable was a wakeup call.

How much brainpower does it take to figure out how to deal with such simple problems???

How much programming does it take to make people so unprepared for such simple possibilities?


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