A Paradigm Shift:

Okay folks, time for a little required reading. This CNN article reminded me about a book I’d read a couple years ago… One of my favorite all-time books is called THE TRUTH MACHINE, written by James Halperin. The story is very futurist, in that it details the evolution of a utopian society, thanks mostly to a machine that can tell, with 100% accuracy, whether someone is lying or not. The United States passes a law called the Swift & Sure Anticrime Bill, which basically states that any person convicted of a violent crime is put to death. Now, of course, most would argue that our criminal justice system is flawed, and might put someone to death that was in fact innocent. Therefore, the government creates a bounty for the company that can create a machine that will be able to tell, with 100% accuracy if a person is lying. Primarily, the machine helps this law go into effect, and helps to clean out the prison system, but as time goes on, and more and more people begin to rely on ‘the truth machine’, it begins to change society completely, to the point that violent crime, and even ‘little white lies’ completely disappear from society. It becomes a catalyst for a paradigm shift in the human race. It’s definitely a book worth reading, if anyone is interested at all in big ideas, and how a seemingly small item could change everything about how we live our lives. But getting back to the CNN article linked above, it made me wonder if we could be on the cusp of such an innovation. Just think, if there was a way to tell, even more accurately than a polygraph test if someone was lying or not. It would change our justice system, certainly. It could help with corporate scandals, and could, indeed, enact severe changes in society, such as those outlined in THE TRUTH MACHINE. It’s really an interesting idea. The article seems to make sense, in that it says that “it seemed to take more brain effort to tell the lie than to tell the truth.” This makes complete sense, as it would take more activity to ‘create’ a lie, and all the details associated with it, than it would to simply ‘recall’ the truth. This could conceivably be impossible to fool, since brain activity cannot be affected. Sure, some people can fool a polygraph when lying, but could they fool a brain-activity scan? It would certainly have to be more difficult. I personally look forward to the expanded study, as well as the results. I remember being stunned by the thought that THE TRUTH MACHINE could actually happen, in that the world may be headed for better things. I have always been fascinated by futurist works, because I see so many things that COULD be. It’s intriguing to see some of those ‘futurist’ ideals coming true. It’s like the transporter from Star Trek suddenly becoming a real product. To think society could be fixed. Then again, something like this could also alter society in a progressively harmful way. Perhaps it would cause crime to rise, since more people would learn the truth about things they rather would know the truth of. Either way you go, it’s certainly something to think about…

Today's Topic Is:

Mandatory military service: good or bad? This entry comes from a suggestion that a co-worker of mine presented one day. He said he felt that the United States should require citizens, at age 18, to enroll in the military for a given period of time. Not as a suggestion, but as a requirement. He feels it would solve the military shortages, and you wouldn’t have to worry about drafting people to the military, since they would already be soldiers. I feel that, though it makes sense to suggest it, it absolutely undermines everything the United States stands for. It’s a completely unacceptable idea to me. While in high-school I looked at my military options. I was interested in gaining the educational benefits that it offered. But the armed forces are so pushy, wanting you to sign up, regardless if you understand the consequences or not. They want to own you. And once they do, there’s nothing you can do about it. Sure, you can quit, and be dishonorably discharged, but that makes it difficult to find jobs later on. So I decided not to go the military route. I never liked the idea of anyone owning me for any amount of time. I like being my own man. But I think the idea that when someone turns 18 and graduates high school, that they be required to join the military is disturbing. Think back to World War I and World War II, when the United States had to draft people to join the service, just to send them into bloody battles to die. Who knows how many of those people who died could have contributed greatly to our society? Wars kill people, and with the war on terror, there are bound to be more wars than ever before. The U.S. is going to need soldiers constantly for the forseeable future, but there’s a growing shortage of skilled soldiers and reserves, so I can understand the importance of the suggestion. Nevertheless, put yourself in the place of having a child who just turned 18, was perhaps an honor-roll student, and several colleges were actively interested in offering your child a scholorship. But your child is 18, and just graduated, so off to the military they go… He or she ends up in some middle-east country, where terrorists, and insurrectionists suicide bomb the area your child is sleeping. Now not only have you lost your child, but the U.S. and the world has lost a promising young person, with their entire life left to live. That 18 year old might have been the next President of the United States, or created a new and exciting technology, allowing humanity to prosper. Maybe they would have been instrumental in bringing all countries together, and united the world in peace at last. I know it sounds a bit naive to think that any of those possibilities would actually occur. But now we’ll never know… We’ll never know what that young person would have been capable of. And that young person will never know the joys of going to college, finding true love, settling down and having a family, and raising their own child. They will never get to live a full life, instead, they fight and die for an ideal so far away, that they begin to question it in their own mind. Why? Why fight for people who don’t seem to want us there? Simply for the oil? Once again, it’s all politics, and we have young people dying to make someone else richer, and more politically independent. It’s not right. That’s why I got angry when I heard the suggestion. Too many good people have already died in the war on terror. Adding more people to our standing army will only make our leaders more eager to use them. I realize we need people to defend our country from attack, but I feel that our leadership has lost their focus on what’s important. We spend too much time, and money helping foreign countries, and not enough resources fixing problems at home. We sell weapons to countries who turn around and then use them on us. Does this make sense? Of course not. I may not be a military strategist, or have the type of information the President does, but I do know that we are not the police of planet Earth. We are American citizens, and we should start acting like it. The United States has been isolationist before, and I feel we should go back to that ideal. We can continue focusing on Homeland Security, but the fact that the rest of the world has problems will never change. Humanity as a whole is flawed, and will never be perfect. The best we can hope for is to learn how to live with one another, and respect each other’s beliefs, and wishes. Until that day, our young promising souls will continue to be sent into battle after battle, fighting for things they may not even believe in, all for one thing: the glory of the United States of America.

So Long Blogpod:

Okay, I know not everyone thoroughly likes Microsoft, but they actually have pulled off something truly amazing. Lately in the news (at least the sites I visit) have been reporting about Microsoft entering the Blog scene. I was interested, so I decided to take a gander and see what the fuss was about. Holy cow. I have to say that after setting up the blog, and trying out a few features, it’s truly one of the best blog sites, not to mention web applications I’ve ever seen. Not only does it allow for extreme customization, it’s got some insanely cool features. Such as: – Customizable themes – Drag-and-drop customization of layout and content. – Photo albums with slideshow-quality images. Not to mention the easiest uploading/editing system I’ve ever seen. – Places to list music libraries (you can import playlists from WMP) – Comments (fairly ubiquitous nowadays) – Trackbacks (linking to other articles) – The ability to assign users who are allowed to view your blog (or you can make it public) – Formatting mostly like Word (changing font size, color, etc with easy-to-use controls.) – Mobile updating: Yes folks, you can update your blog from your cellphone, including attaching pictures. So, I’m cordially inviting you all to visit my new and improved Blog, which will be updated as frequently as I possibly can, I promise. Invite you all to join the service, as it’s completely free, and faster than Blogpod. You can also sign up by hitting up: http://spaces.msn.com