(1960 kit) long and OT-ish.

From: John Lawson <jpl15_at_netcom.com>
Date: Sun Dec 20 20:17:27 1998

On Sun, 20 Dec 1998, Marvin wrote:

> Tony Duell wrote:
> >
> > And, of course, safety rules haven't helped. I mean, children can't do
> > anything that could possibly be dangerous, right? I was lucky in that I
> There is a wonderful song in the Musical "The King and I" where the King
> does a soliloquy and one of the lines is "If my allies are strong enough to
> protect me, might they not protect me out of all I own." Great line, and the
> "protection" being applied in the guise of safety *does* protect the kids
> out of what they might learn!
> It would be interesting to see how the computer industry would have
> developed under such safety constraints that are present today. What would

    DON'T GET ME STARTED!! The 'safety' craze, which has it's dark
roots in the vile muck of Victim Comciousness, is one of the big
bricks in the wall around the dumb and dumber society we find so
irresistable nowadays. And who can be blamed? Who can be held
responsible? Why should any child extend himself into the unknown if
he's just going to get sued for it?? (or yelled at, or jeered..)

  The is a wonderful (prophetic) sci-fi story, from 1947, by Jack
Williamson, entitled 'With Folded Hands'... a rogue scientist,
traumatized by war and death on Earth, travels to an inhospitable
planet and builds a race of self-replicating super robots, all
contolled from a central 'server' (if you will) with the motto "To
Serve and Obey, and Guard Men From Harm". The robots come eventually
back to earth, where they begin to *force* their Prime Directive
upon mankind, by utterly passive and amorphous, unassailable
strength. The story ends as you would expect... the robots do
everything, better, safer, quicker, and us Humen are relegated to
sedentary retirement, since the definition of 'harm' is carried to
the most ridiculous interpretation possible.

  This is 19 *47* mind you; re-reading it is eerie, now. I hate
'new' computers for the same reason I hate my '92 Toyota truck... it
has a diagnostic port, and when the 'Engine Check' lite goes on, I
have to go somewhere so someone can charge me money to tell me
what's complaining... and I can't, (short of a lawsuit) get
together enough info about a device that I *own* to enable me to at
least understand all of it. The same with 'Appliance' operating
systems, like You-Know-What-Doze...

   Give me a dot prompt and a logic probe.

   General aviation (private planes) in this country was damn near
driven out of collective business by uncontrolled strict-liability
litigation.... "My client was killed because she flew your company's
airplane into the side of a building in broad clear daylight, and we
notice that nowhere in your Operating Handbook or within view of the
pilot is any notice warning that such activities are dangerous..."

  I spend a lot of volunteer time trying to get kids interested in
Technology and Science and Engineering... not because I'm some kind
of saint - quite the contrary, it's really selfish. One day we'll
wake up and the talent to design and maintain the future will be in
the hands of some techno-priesthood... and you can extrapolate the

  If you don't think this is happening, re-read (in the Archives) a
stray comment by Jason W. (about being 'strange' for liking tech
stuff) and see the comment thread it engendered... We might be
allowing Science to be peer-pressured out of Society. Look how fast
perfectly servicable computers get so obsolete you can't even *give*
them away.

   Unless they're obsolete enough for e-bay. :}

 Okay sorry for the rant. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukka, Reflective
Ramadhan, Kool Kwanzaa, Accurate Newtonsday... and omighod it's
1999 already....


Received on Sun Dec 20 1998 - 20:17:27 GMT

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