People in power a few hundred years ago just didn’t have access to up to date global information. These days such people have no excuse as large numbers of diligent writers research global issues and publish up to the minute resumes on a wide range of topics around the world. There is no excuse for failing to be aware of what humans have done, and continue to do, to each other; what effects we are having on the planet we live and depend upon; what our universe might consist of; and what possible futures we might have within it. Even I, with just a few books I have read in the last few years, feel informed and broadened. If each world leader were to be given just ten or fifteen books to read at the start of their reigns, perhaps they would act rather more in the interests of all of us, than they currently appear to do so.
I wonder if any internet entrepreneur has come up with a web service to help with choices in present buying… I’m envisaging a website called EitherOr which enables people to outline a number of gift options, and possibly a ‘none of the above’ option, for the individuals they want to buy for. The recipients would be notified and be able to use links to review the items and to choose the option they want. The service would then purchase the item for them and have it sent to them. The ‘none of the above’ option, if provided, might enable the recipients to specify any item on the net up to the specified amount, for the service to purchase for them.
I got to thinking in the shower the other day (probably prompted by the BBC’s Years and Years series) that we’ll be needing the concept of the NaturalBody sooner rather than later. NaturalBody people – NBod1.0 – have no piercings or permanent embellishments on the skin; have had no parts of the body deliberately removed, filled or cut (and that includes teeth and the sexual organs); and have not had surgery to alter their natural appearance. They have no permanently attached artificial physical appendages; and they don’t contain any embedded physical engineering equipment. NatBod1.0 people don’t have any embedded chips or other computer equipment, or software that connects them to any digital networks. NatBod1.0s have not had their DNA adjusted to enhance their or their offspring’s capabilities or appearance (the offspring will not be NBod1.0 as they will inherit their changed DNA status). NBod1.0s are simply people who are as they were born and who have developed naturally. They may have been born with disabilities, or have had accidents or illnesses – the notion of NBod includes no value judgements. In the western world there may be relatively few NBod1.0s (mainly babies and young people) as many people have had dental fillings and/or tattoos; but large numbers must still be up at the 0.8 or 0.9 levels. Going forward, however, we may need the concept of NBod to remind us of what humans are as we gain a growing capability to augment our bodies with technology. Even today, such a concept might help us make choices in the face of cultural and religious motivations to deface, cut, mutilate and remould our bodies.
Observing politics over the last few years, it does seem that women sometimes have a different perspective on some issues and how they are approached. It’s got me thinking that perhaps women and men ought to be equally represented in political systems. The easy way to achieve that would simply be to have two election contests for each constituency – one for the female representative and one for the male representative.
I’ve been pondering on my last entry about easy-pull-on socks, and realised that, actually, balancing on one leg to put a sock on is really quite athletic. Perhaps it would be possible to put together a coherent fitness programme based around dressing and undressing. Specific designs of particular items of clothing would require the use of particular muscles and skills to put them on and take them-off; and different designs would facilitate the exercise of different sets of muscles and different levels of difficulty.
If you want to get going you want to be able to put your socks on quickly. You want to be able to stand on one leg and just have the sock glide over your toes and instep and slip around your heel like water going round a u-bend. Some socks have that soft pliable texture – and retain it through the washing machine; but an awful lot don’t. It would be great if sock suppliers could make socks with such a capability and sold them as ‘easy to pull on socks’. They may already be out there but I haven’t seen them. On the other hand, there are socks out there which have such characteristics but are not advertised as such. I’ve got an odd sock that does fit the bill and I’m going searching round the stores with it; but it would be so much easier if such socks were sold with an EPS label.
I played golf the other week against someone with an electric trolley for his golf clubs which he controlled with a small, unobtrusive, handset. It appeared to have a mind of its own, moving ahead quickly, passing me occasionally, avoiding obstacles and stopping right next to his golf ball. It made me think that it would seem a natural development to have it extend a seat and put up a brolly when it comes to a halt; and, upon being requested for a specific club, for it to reach in, pull out the relevant club, and pass it to its golfing owner. However, as this image flashed through my mind, I thought that this is definitely NOT what we want. In the face of the impending future increasingly populated by machines with the potential to learn frighteningly fast we need to keep doing physical things as much as we possibly can.
The children of two close friends used to use the expression ‘foul been’. I was reminded of this today when my 2, nearly 3, year old grandaughter used the term ‘Bambi’s legs’ for the same thing. This got me thinking that it would be interesting to compile a dictionary of words and phrases used by young children; and that it would be an appropriate adjunct to a dictionary of schoolboy slang (such as brick, grease and cracks). Of course, the book would need to be illustrated for full effect. Such things probably already exist and, no doubt, can be discovered with a quick google. But, hell, I’d prefer to think I occassionally have a novel idea, so I’m not looking.
If you have picture rails in your house, they can be used to hang Christmas cards on a line. However, picture hooks are designed to be pulled directly downwards, and a sideways force just pulls them along. What’s needed are some weighty Christmas-themed framed pictures which could be brought out each year with the other Christmas decorations and hung on the Xmas card line picture hooks to keep them in place. The pictures could be permanent or the frames could have slots for different things each year such as photos of last year’s Christmas party, or the best of last year’s cards.
It was the combination of my mother saying that she was finding it increasingly difficult to write legibly in over a hundred Christmas cards, and the presence of Alexa in our house, that made me think that we need SPARDS – spoken Christmas cards. They would have recording and playback capabilities so that you could just take one out of the pack you’ve just bought and start talking to the person that’s next on your Christmas Spard list. How nice for the person receiving it, to just make a cup of tea, put it on the mantelpiece, and sit back and relax to listen to your recorded missive and greetings for Christmas and the New Year.