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Second Opinion

The media has overwhelmed us with the sound of one hand clapping.

Here’s a couple of helping hands to balance it up a bit:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/05-1

http://www.truth-out.org/david-stockman-crony-capitalism/1327120119

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Virtual Design

The relationship between form and function has been severed by the relentless substitution of information for experience and focusing on desirability over reliability. Refrigerators designed by people who have obviously never cleaned one and may never have one long enough to bother; cars designed for southern driving sold as viable transportation in northern conditions come to mind. Products are designed for sale; not for use. Function in a world of virtual design and marketing madness ends at the checkout – which of course moves the money but leaves the demand, ideal for corporate bottom lines.

Fuel efficiency is measured on highways; not in snowdrifts beside the road where all vehicles become equal. Maybe to truly improve vehicle efficiency we need to keep them on their path…maybe linked together running on tracks, powered by electricity, driven by experienced professionals…maybe throw in a bar car and smart phone cubicles where people could be safely and comfortably impaired and distracted. It could be called high-speed rail. Unfortunately that doesn’t address the marketing aspect very well and does nothing to transfer money to banks by way of interest on car loans. It simply doesn’t meet the standards set for consumer subservience.

Cars are a great example of design for market share rather than solution but the model is all the rage. Pharmaceutical empires put their design talents in marketing and legal fees, not the product. Packaged food, covered with empty promises and filled with empty calories, has replaced nutritious food. When we stopped knowing where our food came from we should have realized we would soon not recognize it at all. Good food isn’t designed – it is grown, cooked and eaten. Food, like so much in life, doesn’t improve with unnatural processes or involve lengthy explanations. If it takes more than a couple of seconds to read a package and understand it, don’t eat the contents.

The next time you are purchasing a tool for the kitchen or the workshop try the one that doesn’t come in a box that looks just too special for the job and one that doesn’t speak more languages than you require. You might even explore the possibility of a handsaw or mixing bowl as the best solution.

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A quarter of a century in information technology has taught me:

Information is more dependable than reality.

Whacky ideas become facts through consensus.

Completely incorrect data can be extremely accurate.

Reading an account of experience is more valuable than actual experience.

When statistical probability is calculated really quickly it is called artificial intelligence.

The value of information is inversely proportional to the cost of storing it.

Guessing becomes science three points after the decimal.

Data models follow the example of fashion models.

Compelling graphs celebrate the mundane well.

Research and plagiarism are synonymous.

Ideas are commodities.

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