Notice to friends and associates:
With some sorely-needed sleep, the cool light of reason and a new morning, it's now evident that the overnight change in systems at Yahoo's email functions is indeed non-functional at the Bissette household, on any and all of our three computers. Switching, per Yahoo's suggestion, to Safari or Mozilla's "lastest" (typo on Yahoo's instructional banner) system only immediately shuts down our internet connection. We can now only read, but not reply to, all incoming email.
So, if you're reading this blog, and have emailed me in the past two days, you now know why there's been no reply.
There may not be, either. We're unsure what we're going to do, but either a change in email service/address or a decision to simply abandon all email until this can be resolved may be forthcoming in the very near future.
This is rather symptomatic of my ongoing interaction with computers: as soon as I gain a level of interactive competence with current systems, some dramatic overnight overhaul of systems renders my ability to interact with systems moot and obsolete. This then requires further expenditures of time, money, and effort into forced reeducation, all of which seems to me an increasingly fruitless waste of said time, money, and effort. Still, I soldier on, though I do resent at times the capitalizing on my time this vicious cycle requires. (Wouldn't you all rather I be writing or drawing in any case?)
In this matter -- and I do hope I'm wrong about this -- it may be the internet/email systems are simply no longer serving those of us still limited exclusively by geographic issues beyond our control to 'dial' phoneline access. Marj and I live in a region of Vermont where no rapid-alternatives are available (no cable, no satellite access). Hopefully, I am dead wrong -- but if so, this may prove to be one of those turning points where we say "ah, fuck it."
(The impending, long-promised Federally imposed High Definition television changeover promises to be another such turning point -- we're not going to blow $1000+ for HD monitors and the technology upgrade necessary to access television we no longer watch in any case. TV is no longer part of our active lives, and hasn't been for some time, so it'll be easy to bail out when the TV simply no longer functions with broadcast signals of any kind.)
Mind you, this is not a willful abandonment of computers and the internet -- that's become a staple of our day-to-day lives -- but if communication in one-way as our email now is, it serves little useful purpose.
So, email -- we'll see.
But at present, if you're writing me, I can read your email -- I can't respond.
Sorry. Will keep you posted here, one way or the other.
(BTW -- apologies to the rest of you -- quick replies to pending emails to folks I know read this blog: Thanks, Heath, but that's not a Hamilton's Invader insect, whatever the auction site says; many thanks for the effort, though -- Salvo, got your email, all is well; don't despair, snail-mail is slow twixt the US and Italy -- Oh, no, Implosia, be careful, and pleasepleaseplease, don't fucking do that! You'll never be able to replace/supplant that organ!
And speaking of regionalized constrictions on access to interaction with the rest of the world:
Re: "Intelligent Design"
As the current regional democracy of school boards shapes our national dialogue on this topic (note the tight swing vote in the current Kansas school situation, and that last week's election locally ousted the Pennsylvania school board members who had voted for "Intelligent Design" being taught in their school), keep in mind that choosing to pay attention to science may be determined by such democratic process, but the scientific principles at stake will not be deterred. Ignorance may impose local-government-sanctioned ignorance on the next generation, but the rest of the world marches on. The consequences will eventually become so real that ignoring them becomes impossible.
In the 21st Century, an American determinative refusal to engage with science as the rest of the world does will simply place the burden upon our country, culture and children of a self-imposed exile from reality. We pursue this path to the detriment of our own assumed future role in the global community. If faith-based redefinitions of the sciences continue to gain momentum, we'll drift back to the illusory succor of a new Dark Age while Europe and Asia usurp our positions in evolving (yes, evolving) technologies and sciences. Willful stupidity is no excuse.
With the summer boost President Bush's input fully acknowledged herein (further evidence of his disdain and fundamental refusal to engage with science on any level beyond that which sanctions his dangerously narrow "What, Me Worry?" worldview), I humbly add the following to my earlier posts on the topic:
First off, author John Rennie provides some insightful retorts to fifteen key points in the current ID dogma in
Bringing to the table his mastery of the language (he is, after all, linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as an activist writer), Noam Chomsky reorients the discussion. He suggests we adopt new terminology, proposing the moniker "Malignant Design". Hmmmm, it does explain a good deal, doesn't it? The November 14th Toronto Star article includes the following bon mots:
President George W. Bush favors teaching both evolution and "intelligent design" in schools, "so people can know what the debate is about." To proponents, intelligent design is the notion that the universe is too complex to have developed without a nudge from a higher power than evolution or natural selection. To detractors, intelligent design is creationism -- the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis -- in a thin guise, or simply vacuous, about as interesting as "I don't understand"...
So far, however, the curriculum has not encompassed one obvious point of view: malignant design. Unlike intelligent design, for which the evidence is zero, malignant design has tons of empirical evidence, much more than Darwinian evolution, by some criteria: the world's cruelty.
Intelligent design raises the question of whether it is intelligent to disregard scientific evidence about matters of supreme importance to the nation and the world -- like global warming. An old-fashioned conservative would believe in the value of Enlightenment ideals -- rationality, critical analysis, freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry -- and would try to adapt them to a modern society.
America's Founding Fathers, children of the Enlightenment, championed those ideals and took pains to create a constitution that espoused religious freedom yet separated church and state.
The United States, despite the occasional messianism of its leaders, isn't a theocracy. In our time, Bush administration hostility to scientific inquiry puts the world at risk. Environmental catastrophe, whether you think the world has been developing only since Genesis or for eons, is far too serious to ignore.
Perhaps only the word "malignant" could describe a failure to acknowledge, much less address, the all-too-scientific issue of climate change. Thus, the "moral clarity" of the Bush administration extends to its cavalier attitude toward the fate of our grandchildren."
(Special thanks to 'Artemis' aka Ashley and to HomeyM for their always generous input.)
Taking my own advice to heart, you'll of course excuse me now while I try to reorient myself to the rather sudden and completely unexpected evolution in my email system.
Are those feathers sprouting on my keyboard, or am I evolving a third eye?