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Day: October 23, 2012

Why I both simultaneously love and hate my iPhone

For years I resisted. My old Nokia 8310 was still just about working. For about three years it kinda only intermittently worked and if I picked it up the wrong way it would stop working but I persevered. I didn’t want to join the smart phone revolution. Well either that or I was tight as hell and didn’t want to buy one. I’ll leave it to you to decide exactly how much of it was one and how much of it was the other.

Anyway I was reading a blog entitled Modern Technology Kind of Makes Me Want to Hurl by Grace over at the Confederacy Of Spinsters today and it must be said she is fast becoming one of my very favourite bloggers on the interweb. Her blogs surrounding the early days of her relationship with Professor McGregor are just wonderful. I have written about it before but it is one hell of a fine read and her use of the English language and the emotion that pours through really ticks all my ‘I want to read all of her stuff’ points.

So away from all that praise – that piece in question is about how much she at times hates her iPhone and that is something that resonates with me big time. ‘At any moment, my phone can beep out a demand that I talk to someone about my feelings.’ laments my favourite faceless Texan. That of course isn’t just an issue with smart phones but with mobile phones in general. We are always contactable. In this modern world we can never just disappear and whilst I wouldn’t say the phone ringing is a demand to talk to someone, it certainly puts a lot of pressure on you to accept the call as you never know if it is important or not.

In general I hate the phone. I think it’s a horrible invention. I use my phone as an actual phone so rarely that it is near enough pointless to actually have the phone function on it. I text a little bit but not a lot and use it far more to have the internet on the move. I check e-mail and twitter constantly and that keeps me plugged into the world but as for actual phone calls. No thank you.

I have always been that way though. I have never really enjoyed chatting on the phone. The phone is for information passing and not general chit-chat. One person may be happy for a chat but how do they know the other person is? The other person may actually be busy and not really in the mood for a chat but saying this is hard because the other person will near enough always feel a bit pissed off that you don’t have time for them.

Lord I dislike the phone. I suspect this is another reason why I’m single. I hardly know any relationship where the phone plays an insignificant role. In general I don’t like people just calling me because they are bored. I just don’t like it…

However of course I do love the internet on the move. I love being able to check things like train times when I’m out and about. I like being able to check websites for the latest news. Nothing really goes down in the world of sport or news that I might be interested in without it being on twitter. I can check football scores when doing radio. I am plugged into everything I want to be plugged into but that does come at a cost. In a way its lucky I don’t have too many friends and I hardly ever give out my phone number. I think I have 68 phone numbers in my phone book and they include people I haven’t spoken to for years.

Grace also talks about the goodness of e-mail and the way you can compose your response and change it before the response it sent and read. It is a bit like in online dating you can rehearse and change your opening message instead of walking over to someone in a club and saying something stupid and screwing up your chances before they’ve even started. Even text messages can be composed, checked and edited if needs be before being sent. Hurrah!

So to summarise I love being plugged into the world. However I also wish I wasn’t plugged into the world at all times. Life is just too complex at times. It really is.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Are judges ignoring the law and reaching verdicts based on public opinion?

I’m not sure just how worrying the fact that I have typed that title is. I think it’s extremely worrying that it is a legitimate question. Let me tell you the story behind the title as seven men are sentenced to jail for not predicting a deadly earthquake. Yes you read that right. Seven men have been sentenced to jail because they didn’t predict an earthquake.

An earthquake in the small Italian town of L’Aquila in 2009 led to the deaths of 309 people. A tragedy for all involved but how did the six scientists and one government official who visited the town six days prior after two minor shocks end up in the dock? Well they predicted that there wouldn’t be a major quake in the town. They felt that the two minor quakes were not a wake-up for a fault line but more of an adjustment. They didn’t make this prediction based on blind hope. They used all the available resources at their disposal but as we all know predicting things like earthquakes or volcano eruptions or tornadoes are not perfected as yet. Heck do the Met Office get the weather right every day?

So we all know this. We know that predicting events that haven’t happened yet is a bit of a lottery. So we couldn’t ever blame these scientists for getting it wrong, could we? Well the Italian justice system did and has and yesterday they were convicted of 309 counts of manslaughter. Due to the way the Italian legal system is set up the men are free until appeals are heard and in all likelihood they will be acquitted on appeal because the charges are just absurd but as it stands they all face two years inside for their role in failing to predict a deadly earthquake.

I know we all hate the Daily Mail but in Michael Hanlon’s blog on their website he makes some excellent points:

It has been argued that they could have been more circumspect. Perhaps, but even so a criminal conviction (let alone a jail term) is absurd. They will appeal, and will probably be acquitted, but even so this coming from a country which gave us the Renaissance (and which to this day has a hugely impressive record in science and engineering) is a chilling reminder that we cannot take the Enlightenment for granted. It comes on the heels of another Italian verdict, this time by the High Court that mobile phones can cause brain cancer – despite there not being a shred of evidence that they do. What is happening is that judges are reflecting public opinion, not evidence. A disturbing trend we are seeing, and not just in Italy.

The legal system is not in place to carry the will of the masses. We left that behind centuries ago. However events such as these make me believe that even in fully democratic and modernised countries judges are ignoring logic and common sense and making decisions based on both their own personal opinion and the feeling of the public around them. There is no way anyone could ever blame these men for not being able to predict an earthquake. Yes they said that they believed there wouldn’t be a major quake and they were wrong and it led to people dying but can you really lay the blame of an supposed ‘Act of God’ at the feet of these mortals?

No. No you simply cannot. This verdict was reached simply because that was the strength of public opinion in the area because so many had been affected by the earthquake. The verdict was not reached because it was the right verdict to give. This is yet another example of the way the legal system is going and it is extremely worrying.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.