On New Year’s Day 2020, I noted that we are not living in a future with flying cars, much less floating cities patrolled by superheroes. As I said then, that’s the downside, but the upside is that we’re not living in this either…
How quickly reality likes to disabuse us of our quaint notions.
Ok, so it’s not exactly like the way the 80s envisioned 2020, but let’s look around us –
- Computer and communications networks linking nearly the entire world
- Global economy teetering on the brink of collapse
- People being socially ostracized for thinking outside the Officially Approved Narrative
[from the sourcebook NeoTribes, 1995]
- Corporations essentially ruling, or at least strongly influencing, the world
- Worldwide pandemic, with people wearing facemasks outside to avoid breathing the “bad air”
I’m sure you can think of more. The Cyberpunk book even mentions something called “Storm Technologies” coming to prominence into 2019 and 2020, which might amuse any Qanon fans out there.
But not William Gibson, not Rudy Rucker, not “The Mighty Bruces” Bethke and Sterling, not even Mike Pondsmith and the crew at R. Talsorian predicted this.
A prototype smart toilet that can identify you by your “analprint” and monitor your trip to the loo has been created by researchers at Stanford University. It’s equipped with cameras and sensors that collect information on your bodily waste, and it uses that data to look for any health issues you might have.
The “analprint” is the toilet’s primary way of identifying each user. Much to the authors’ dismay, it’s also the aspect of the toilet that’s gotten the most attention since the paper describing the proto-toilet was published in a press release and the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering on Monday.
“It’s a minor part of our system,” Seung-min Park, a senior research scientist at Stanford University and the paper’s lead author, told The Verge.
The article reports that the inspiration for “analprints” was Salvador Dali. Somehow not surprised.
It’s not a bad idea, in theory. It could help people discover health problems before they become serious. But of course, it can’t be that simple.
The article cites privacy concerns, which are well-founded in a bizarrely disturbing way – the government has always been up your ass, but this makes it literal. But the article also notes “due to the fixed camera angles of the GoPro, the smart toilet would film female genitalia in addition to the anal region, which is why the first study included an all-male participant pool.”
Imagine your toilet being hacked.* Not only are you at risk for identity-theft-by-ass-recognition, you might end up the star of the show on the internet somewhere. With your identity clearly known.
The forthcoming game Cyberpunk 2077, dark and oppressive as it is, might be looking a little too optimistic.
H/T to this Redstate article I found while researching , and to Ace of Spades HQ, your go-to source in all toilet-related concerns.
*Now there’s a phrase I never envisioned writing.
“”I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair”
– Neil Diamond, “I Am… I Said”
Mr. Horrible is upset that someone keeps taking his chair. Someone who isn’t even there –
2020. Wow! It’s really here.
Back in 1980, Superman comics depicted the future world of 2020…
So no, we are not living in floating cities with flying cars and controlled weather. Much less having a superhero around.
That’s the downside. On the upside, we’re not living in this either…
Ya know, if DC Comics had any smarts at all, they would be selling a Superman 2020 collection right now, maybe with a new story or two included. Not just to coincide with the arrival of the year 2020, but the concept was perfectly suited to our Current Year in its wokeness.
See for yourself…
It’s got nazis! And a sop to concerns about overpopulation as well.
The nazis even have their own cool salute…
…and predicted the soyboy epidemic.
And best of all…
…even though these “Purists” are totally racist, they’re also not racist at all. Now that’s a hell of a trick.
Seriously, DC could make sales from a high-concept series and score virtue-signaling points all at once. They accidentally stumbled across a form of wokeness that might actually make a profit.
Then again, they might get in trouble for this…
Even in the imaginary future, some things never change.
Happy New Year!
Extreme Black Friday with, not just a song, but an entire concert of Steely Dan. “Black Friday” starts at 43:35
“I’m buggin’ out!” Wonder what’s in that Coke can? It sure seemed to have changed the texture of his night.
Stereolab is back and touring, as the groop plays Chord X again after ten years.
A recent concert from Chicago’s Union Park, about 40 minutes in length –
H/T Ace of Spades HQ –
Storing and processing music in the cloud depends on vast data centers that use a tremendous amount of resources and energy.
Devine translated plastic productions and the electricity use to store and transmit digital audio files into greenhouse gas equivalents (GHGs). He then compared the GHGs from recorded music in the US in 1977, 1988, 2000 and 2016.
The findings are clear. The GHGs caused by recorded music are much higher today than in the past. In 1977 the GHGs from, recorded music were 140 million kg. By 2016, they were estimated to somewhere between 200 million kg and over 350 million kg.
“I am a bit surprised. The hidden environmental cost of music consumption is enormous,” Devine says.
Even worse than the “bovine methane emissions” aka cow farts. You can’t really blame the cows for cow-ing. But I guess if you’re gonna have a planet-scale brown note, it might as well be a D-major.
Let’s add to the worldwide suicide note (heh) with a song that gleans a bit of insight as to how progressives arrive at their conclusions (hint: it involves some atmospheric emissions of their own, and I’m not talkin’ the C02 kind), as performed by some young fellows who tragically died in a different kind bovine emission-related incident.