Are we or have we always been teetering on the edge?

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  • #26
mheslep
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Lets actually try this one. Here's a few:

-Computers: Invented in 1946, started to affect the masses in ~1980, fully mature around 2000.
-Airplanes: Invented, 1903, started to affect the masses in around 1935, fully mature by 1958.
-Cars: This one's a little tougher to pin down. I'm going to pick 1880 as the start, fully mature by the 1950s. While they have continued to evolve, since then, they haven't in a "game changing" way. Perhaps there is a game changer still to come for them, though...
In a limited sense I agree, but I don't think it supports your hypothesis that the "pace of technological advancement" is slowing, only that the pace of these categories are slowing. I'd argue that in many ways these aspects of modern life are 'good enough' in historical context, so now there are huge efforts instead in biotech to improve the quality of life.

I saw the other day where a professional soccer player had received a heart transplant, and was able to continue playing rather than hobble around, which I found simply amazing, and I chaulk up to some of these new biotech anti-rejection drugs. I doubt that soccer player would be equally thrilled by 3x faster planes or 2x faster cars or 10x faster computers.
 
  • #27
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In a limited sense I agree, but I don't think it supports your hypothesis that the "pace of technological advancement" is slowing, only that the pace of these categories are slowing. I'd argue that in many ways these aspects of modern life are 'good enough' in historical context, so now there are huge efforts instead in biotech to improve the quality of life.
Agreed, I think that another main reason that it appears to be slowing is our lives our immersedd in technology on day-to-day basis. So it's not as new and 'exciting' when they release that new computer chip, or develop a new robot to land on Mars. (to some people it may be but the population as a whole not as much...) So the media hype dies around it and we don't hear about the vast strides in technology that you would have been hearing constantly during what the 80s/90s? (I'm too young to say anything else I am only really able to recall the 90s and technological advancement was huge back then.) Or am I off point?

So the fact that our day-to-day life technology is already "good enough" and they have moved to try and make vast advancements in new areas of technology coupled with the fact that this has caused less hype about technology in day-to-day life would make it appear the pace has slowed down. I wonder if there have already been reports done recently about the 'pace' of technological advancment actually... would be really interesting to see, especially by break down of 'area' of technology. I think at least.

Back to the OP though, I'm not going to lie what I remember about living in the 90s things were a lot more hectic than they are now.
 
  • #28
Astronuc
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That is, now that we have 500 mph commercial air travel, how much effort need go into 3000 mph exo-atmospheric hyper planes? Do we really need them?
Does anyone 'need' to get from NY City to Sydney in 3 hrs? About 20 or so years ago, I heard arguments regarding benefits of hypersonic air travel - benefits for business people flying between Europe/N. America/S. America/Asia. I doubt anyone needs to do so, but folks with lots of bucks like to get to places quickly - e.g., Concorde.

Some folks with lots of bucks get to go to the International Space Station. It's not necessary, but simply a frivolous thing to do.


Is it possible that we are on the edge of some significant event - but it won't be obvious until after the fact? And then folks may ask - why didn't we (or the alleged experts) see it coming. And perhaps analysts and historians will find clues or warnings by some individuals, but those clues or warnings were either ignored or dismissed.
 
  • #29
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What does any of that even mean?
I really have no more to add. Do I look like a profit?
 
  • #31
BobG
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Some seem to want a lot of milage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4g930pm8Ms"

Is this real or a hack?
It's a real simulation, if that's what you mean.

It was made by ZHAW School of Engineering, but they don't mention what software they used to create the simulation or where the data came from. I guess the software name is next to the ZHAW logo, but it's hard to read.

That you know this song dates you, BobG.
When my daughter went off to school, she lived in my ex-wife's home town with relatives. One of their agreements was that she could call them for a ride any time of night if she was stranded without a sober driver to drive her home. First time she took them up on the offer, her aunt was less than enthusiastic about a drive at 2 in the morning, but also glad she'd get home safely, so she chose a passive-aggressive punishment: she played John Prine on the car stereo all the way home.

What her aunt didn't know was that my daughter knows all the words to those songs, so she sang along all the way home. :rofl:
 
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  • #32
Jasongreat
As I'm reading my morning news stories, .
Remember that the reason it is news is because its rare, if it wasnt rare it would just be everyday life. You might try Thomas Jeffersons advice when he said that he had given up reading the morning paper and he was far happier because of it. Imo, most news is sensationalized to the extreme to get a bigger reaction(effect).
 
  • #33
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What does any of that even mean? What is "exponential evolution"? and of what? What concerns are you talking about? What is going to be different about the next 3-5 years than the last 3-5 years?

Heck, I remember the 1ghz race between AMD and Intel, just 10 years ago. People were excited by their 1ghz chips but even more excited at the prospect of what we could do with our 100ghz chips that we'd have in 10 years! Oops.

IMO, the pace of technological advancement (if that is what you are talking about) is slowing.
they're just hitting the wall on processor speed. the move now is to have multiple processors. and this is already leading to security concerns, but the genie is out of the bottle and can't be contained, just like before. if you want your own desktop supercomputer, you only need look as far as an nVidia CUDA system for a few grand.
 
  • #34
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they're just hitting the wall on processor speed. the move now is to have multiple processors. and this is already leading to security concerns, but the genie is out of the bottle and can't be contained, just like before. if you want your own desktop supercomputer, you only need look as far as an nVidia CUDA system for a few grand.
Wow, that really has nothing to do with my topic of this thread. Bravo! :rofl:

I might take Thomas Jefferson up on his advice. Not reading the news on a daily basis could be a stress reliever. Of course, it has been a while sense I was actually stressed about the news. I find that I am more thrown aback by the news than actually worried about what is going on.

Do you ever feel like the next days news is akin to the next installment in a TV drama, or the next strip in a comic series?
 
  • #35
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Wow, that really has nothing to do with my topic of this thread. Bravo! :rofl:

I might take Thomas Jefferson up on his advice. Not reading the news on a daily basis could be a stress reliever. Of course, it has been a while sense I was actually stressed about the news. I find that I am more thrown aback by the news than actually worried about what is going on.

Do you ever feel like the next days news is akin to the next installment in a TV drama, or the next strip in a comic series?
well, excuse the tangents, but the thread topic is boring, anyway. the talking heads on the BoobTubes are always trying to make the smallest minutiae sound like the end of the world because ratings pay the bills. and being the emotional apes we are, we can't get enough of the constant barrage of drama llamas and manbearpigs.

if you want stress relief, maybe start thinking about the statistical probabilities and occurrences of these things. 'bout nil, usually. global warming tipping points for catastrophe keep getting nudged forward. anorexia is really rare compared to obesity and juvenile diabetes but you can't tell kids not to eat because anorexia is a lot more horrific to see and drama llama-ish. my DOG man, think of the CHILDREN, won't you?! what are you, some kind of MONSTER!!!!
 
  • #36
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Do you ever feel like the next days news is akin to the next installment in a TV drama, or the next strip in a comic series?
Are you confusing news with Entertainment TV's next installment to better their Nielson ratings?
 
  • #37
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Tipping Points

"tipping points"...
I'm always impressed when these new catch phrases enter our lexicology. The inventor should get a lifetime paycheck, compliments of his peers, for inventing a word-pair scare-phrase that has managed to do what 1000 of his colleagues haven't managed over their entire global warming careers.
 
  • #38
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Historically, I think that the closest we actually came to literally ending life as we know it on the planet was the Cold War. Since then it seems that we can't find something so threatening that we can worry together as our parents and grandparents did not too many years ago.
 
  • #39
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As I'm reading my morning news stories, I can't help but feel like everything is slowly building up to some sort of great climax. That everything is getting so bad or so good as the days progress eventually everything has to maximize or peter off, before everything becomes incredibly boring or collapses.

Has it always been like this? Can some of our older (more experienced) PF members tell me whether or not it was always like this?

Should we be looking out for some major catastrophe or life altering event?

Aliens?
Anti-Christ?
Nuclear War?
World War?
Total Economic Collapse?
Mars Colonization?
People evolve a third arm?

I mean does it ever really peak or should I just buckle down and expect to always be told that everything is about to be the worst it has ever been?

I know that this is kind of light-hearted for the political forum, but it is also a little heavy for the GD forum. Even though I am asking in a little off-color way, I am asking a serious question.
In the political forum, the "climax" is an election. The next meaningful one is in 2010 (bye, bye big spending Congrespersons) and the "BIG CLIMAX" will be in 2012 (bye, bye Obama). Otherwise, life goes on - regardless of whatever Hollywood (or your favorite stock broker) is selling.
 
  • #40
DrClapeyron
Are you confusing news with Entertainment TV's next installment to better their Nielson ratings?
I would. Was Dan Rather physically incapable of reading the news?
 
  • #41
Integral
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Does anyone 'need' to get from NY City to Sydney in 3 hrs? About 20 or so years ago, I heard arguments regarding benefits of hypersonic air travel - benefits for business people flying between Europe/N. America/S. America/Asia. I doubt anyone needs to do so, but folks with lots of bucks like to get to places quickly - e.g., Concorde.

...
Why fly. When I was working for HP we, as technicians, had regulary scheduled meeting with our peers in Singapore. We had access to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videoconferencing" [Broken]
It was just like sitting across the table from them.
 
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  • #42
Integral
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I doubt that. I don't put much stock in the singularity.

I think the winners of the interesting times award goes to those who were born in the last part of the 19th century. Most of them were born on a farm, just like their parents, their grandparents, their great grandparents, and so on. The world was changing back then, but that change was slow. They entered this world in a horse-drawn era and a few left it at the dawn of the space age. In between, they lived through two world wars and some nasty pandemics. They were teetering on the edge. We are not.
How true.

My grandmother was born in 1886 to a Mormon family living in Bowie Station Az. That same year they finally cornered Geronimo and sent him in chains to the east from Bowie Station. When she was 7 her family moved to Montana, she walked pretty much all the way. She passed away at age 88 in 1975 having seen technology go from horse and carriage to man on the moon.

Personally I think the '60s were hopeless and on the edge. We went through endless race riots, the death of JFK, endless antiwar riots, the death MLK, the death of RFK and the ever present cold war. Seems to me the free love and drug culture of the end of the decade was a natural response to the tragic times we endured.

However today I think I feel more hopeless then I have since then. In the 60s I was a teenager full of excitement for the life ahead. Now I am pushing 60, out of work and very concerned for the life my grandchildren will have. It bothers me to be part of a generation of idealist which swore to change things for the better. Instead, we have left what is potentially and environmental disaster for our descendants, we have sucked all of the easily accessible fossil fuels from the ground and burned them for spring break on Daytona beach. Of course here I mean spring break on Daytona break as an analogy to our wasteful ways.
 
  • #43
mheslep
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...

Instead, we have left what is potentially and environmental disaster for our descendants, we have sucked all of the easily accessible fossil fuels from the ground and burned them for spring break on Daytona beach. Of course here I mean spring break on Daytona break as an analogy to our wasteful ways.
Environmental disaster? Surely you have some notion of how much cleaner the US air and water have become since the days of your grandmother, even your mother?

There's a small but historic stream that meanders all through the area not far from my home,~10 miles from the city center, for which the history is well known. As of 150 years ago the stream was in active use for mills and refuse, and by 100 years ago it was completely ecologically destroyed and loaded with toxins. After WWII with residential development the industrial demands softened, but no cleanup took place and run off and erosion worsened. Finally ~40-50 years ago attention began to be paid to clean water and today the water is fish-able, holds trout, with little or no trash observable.

Likewise nearly every tree was cut/logged out of the area by 1900 for fuel etc, making the area resemble the plains and not the east coast. Now looking down from a 15 story building in the same area, one sees in many directions a nearly continuous tree canopy completely obstructing the ground and residential dwellings.
 
  • #44
Integral
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So you do not see cllimate change as even a potential disaster?
 
  • #45
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So you do not see cllimate change as even a potential disaster?
You know I have speculated as to whether we are concerned with preserving the Earth or concerned with preserving ourselves. (This is a topic for another thread, but I will say my piece.)

Surely our motivation is to preserve our home on this planet instead of "saving the Earth" as it is often put. I bet if the Earth had a mind of its own, and it did not consider us to be a pinacle of its evolution; the Earth would like nothing more than for its surface to become inhospitable and kill all of us off of it. Thus giving it space to start over again.

The Earth has no problem with mass extinction. It certainly doesn't care, one way or another, whether or not each and every species on the planet continues to exist. This concern is a man made feature. We have to be the only creature in existence that actually are concerned about the other creatures on the planet that don't directly contribute to our own food supply and survival.

I don't think I really had a point with this statement, but this is what your brief post made me think of Integral :tongue2:
 
  • #46
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Times are a changin. Just last Saturday I was trying to find some cartoons for the kids to watch only to find that the networks don't seem to do that anymore. I was crushed seeing something I once waited all week for had now been displaced by even more crappy daytime programming. I guess we'll have to eat our Cheerios without them now.
I believe mankind is meant to toil. Everytime we fix something we break something else in the process. I think this may be God's devine form job security.
 
  • #47
mheslep
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So you do not see cllimate change as even a potential disaster?
I suppose I have to allow nearly anything with the modifier 'potential' in front of it. You mentioned it as something to be 'very concerned' about; in the context of other problems - no climate change doesn't rank. Environmentally, land use and water use are more of a concern to me. Societal and economic issues concern me even more.
 
  • #48
Integral
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You know I have speculated as to whether we are concerned with preserving the Earth or concerned with preserving ourselves. (This is a topic for another thread, but I will say my piece.)

Surely our motivation is to preserve our home on this planet instead of "saving the Earth" as it is often put. I bet if the Earth had a mind of its own, and it did not consider us to be a pinacle of its evolution; the Earth would like nothing more than for its surface to become inhospitable and kill all of us off of it. Thus giving it space to start over again.

The Earth has no problem with mass extinction. It certainly doesn't care, one way or another, whether or not each and every species on the planet continues to exist. This concern is a man made feature. We have to be the only creature in existence that actually are concerned about the other creatures on the planet that don't directly contribute to our own food supply and survival.

I don't think I really had a point with this statement, but this is what your brief post made me think of Integral :tongue2:
Absolutly, I have no concern for life on earth or even human life what I believe is way more fragile then most is our civilization. Once we lose it there is no recovery.
 
  • #49
Integral
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I suppose I have to allow nearly anything with the modifier 'potential' in front of it. You mentioned it as something to be 'very concerned' about; in the context of other problems - no climate change doesn't rank. Environmentally, land use and water use are more of a concern to me. Societal and economic issues concern me even more.
So you are concerned for your life style, I am concerned for my 4 grandsons.
 
  • #50
mheslep
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So you are concerned for your life style, I am concerned for my 4 grandsons.
Not mine (so much), my children's.
 

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