Social media shrinks the world
When I began my career it was with a three-ton Remington typewriter that deafened the street, now I can find friends in Louisiana with the flick of a finger.
Social media has shrunk the world, technology is advancing at such a pace that it is difficult to keep pace with the latest developments and new inventions that were once the stuff of science fiction are an everyday occurrence.
But at what cost is all this in terms of progress? Sales of printed books have plummeted as the world spends an increasing portion of its life on computers, tablets and mobile phones and I worry sometimes that there is a danger of losing the power of joined up thought. Recently I was reading a piece sent to me on the Internet and half a dozen of the sentences written didn’t even begin with the standard capital letter. Worrying.
I know people who are closing their Facebook accounts now because they have almost taken over their lives, and I have to say that on Twitter some of the most inane facts and comments are creeping in now. Do you really need to say , “Goodnight tweeps”? Just turn the thing off!
Neither is the net and social media the province of the young, as it was. Increasing numbers of older people are using the social interaction on offer and in many cases it can provide a relief for loneliness and replace a social life lost due to immobility or loss of a partner, so no bad thing there.
Drives you mad
Motorists are often an easy target but I notice that recently some have been getting away with blue murder.
Did you read about the idiot who was caught driving with his hands behind his head? The clot was doing 62mph on a major road in a large four-wheel drive and argues in court that he was in full control of the car. Fortunately the court didn’t agree and banned him for a year and imposed a hefty fine and community service order. But what possesses these people?
There are also cases of motorists still driving with over 30 and sometimes 40 points on their licences because magistrates have shown leniency towards their circumstances. Why? If you’ve clocked up that amount of points you’re quite simply not fit to drive a vehicle and I have serious doubts whether you should be using a wheelbarrow without stabilisers.
To lick or not to lick?
Do you seal your envelopes? Apparently whether you should or not has been the subject of a major and no doubt costly operation. Many older people labour under the misapprehension that you can send an unsealed envelope with a second class stamp on and it will be delivered first class. Err, no.
The younger generation have other ideas. One Internet observation reads, “ Whilst I do seal my envelopes the first thing that came to mind when I saw the headline was the story that went round when I was at school and later repeated on a viral email about cockroach eggs being laid on the glue and when you lick it if you get a paper cut they can hatch in your lip.”
A quick Google showed this story is still on the urban legends websites but it wouldn't surprise me if that was the reason for people around early 30s.
Health and Safety nonsense
Yes I know I’ve twittered about this before but here goes again.
Our village church clock was stopped for several months recently because the Health and Safety ogres decreed that the ladder used to reach the mechanism was too short. This was despite it having been used for years by a six-foot plus ex-policeman. Consequently it was twenty past three in Haworth for eight months until a grant was raised to provide a longer ladder!
You couldn’t make it up could you? The bell ringers swung on ropes every Monday night during that period but the poor chap couldn’t wind the clock up because some mentally challenged twerp had nothing better to do than condemn the ladder.
Have these people nothing better to do? How come one of them was lurking in Haworth Church clock tower to see the ladder in the first place?
And he was back at Christmas to chuck Santa Claus out of the boiler room because there might have been asbestos! Poor chap had to cuddle customers in a gazebo outside the building. Talk about no room at the inn, and the donkey had to wear a coat.
These chaps would have been a riot in Bethlehem. There’s have been no stable accommodation, too draughty and get those sheep of the bedclothes. You cannot bring your camel in here and stop swinging that foul smelling stuff under the baby’s nose….and has that chap with the wings got a Civil Aviation licence? The mind boggles.
What happened to taste?
What has happened to taste? I remember drooling at the taste of traditional British food as a youngster but it seems that everything has taken on a blandness since we put most of it is boxes and plastic, which we have to refrigerate within three minutes of opening or the contents self-destruct.
We’re lucky in having a traditional butcher close to us and to see a freshly cooked piece of real meat coming out of the oven steaming with flavour is a novelty. Invariably I’ve eaten the first slice before I reach home and the rest doesn’t last long either.
Compare it to the heavily packaged, over promoted tripe which adorns many supermarket shelves and it’s no contest. Some of the stuff tastes no better than bird seed and is way overpriced. No wonder we waste so much food.
And have you noticed the fishmonger or butcher in super stores? He has to wear more plastic than the produce. Gloves, hairnet and hat, and that’s only the men. How did we survive the age when haunches of bacon hung in the grocers, butter was sold loose, you didn’t need to shrink wrap a cauliflower and there was still muck on fresh carrots?
No travellers on Twitter!
Scientists who have been trawling social networks like Facebook and Twitter for evidence of time travellers say they have drawn a blank.
Researchers believed that if humans in the future had discovered a way to visit the past they might leave clues online by mentioning events which had not yet happened.
Astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University and his team decided to trawl the internet in the hope of 'teasing out' time travellers.
They selected search terms relating to two recent phenomena, Pope Francis and Comet ISON, and began looking for references to them before they were known to exist on Google, Bing, Facebook and Twitter.
But all they found was one blog post referencing a Pope Francis before Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope on March 16, but it seemed more accidental that prescient.
"In our limited search we turned up nothing," Prof Nemiroff said. "I didn't really think we would. But I'm still not aware of anyone undertaking a search like this.
"The Internet is essentially a vast database, and I thought that if time travellers were here, their existence would have already come out in some other way, maybe by posting winning lottery numbers before they were selected. "
The project came about following a card game last summer where Prof Nemiroff questioned whether time travellers would use social media and how you might find them.
"I'm always doing stuff on space and time," he said, adding, "This has been a lot of fun."
Does he get paid for doing this I ask? They walk amongst us!