… and they are driving like drunks.
The science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson has an interesting commentary about wearable computing. The story suggests that people who have an excess use of computers as a fashion statement are called gargoyles. It also describes the concept of their being a resulting cultural stigma for people who choose that path.
I think blue tooth cellphone headsets are first wave gargoylers, without any social stigma. Except I don’t understand why it doesn’t have a stigma. Let me explain why. The idea of the headset for the purpose of talking is a useful and good invention. Using it as a hands free system while driving a car does not reduce the level of distraction people face1, but at least it’s unlikely to drop the phone. What really bothers me of late, is where it has become a fashion statement. Is anyone really so interconnected with the rest of the world with constant phone calls that it is necessary for them to wear a headset continuously as they walk down the street? No, they just want it for the implied social status of a) owning a headset, and b) implying they are that socially connected. So there are now a set of people wandering down the street with a glowing electronic communication device which is being used as an earing.
Now perhaps I have not researched this, and what is happening is that everyone is listening to mono music using a hands free headset that pauses the music for incoming calls. Which could actually be useful, provided you could deal without stereo. Somehow I think this is unlikely, however.
The nice side effect of wearable headsets is the pleasant manner in which it has reduced the stigma of people talking to themselves. I am curious as to what the long term effects of accepting people who actually talk to themselves will be as a result of the cell phone revolution.
1 Cell phones as dangerous as drunk driving. Thankfully MADD doesn’t care though: Using a Cell Phone while Driving vs. Intoxicated Driving. Finally a link to one of the papers involved: A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver
Somewhere between many the process of voting and many PBR’s I have come to liken the strange custom of “I voted” stickers to similar adhesive products furnished by doctors, and dentists and various other incentives to induce children to be proud of health related activities.
I am not amused.
However, I am greatly amused that a friend of mine who did not get a chance to vote somehow acquired an entire roll of “I voted” stickers and plans to distribute them in some sort of self-promoting party atmosphere. Would that a similar gratification bypass existed in lieu of a dentist appointment.
This does amuse me.
I am happy that my team won. However, I somehow feel disheartened by the sensation that this was once again the election that was “too critical to vote for a third party” for the nth time. I dislike teams, I dislike games that pretend so hard towards realism that they are, and I am highly critical of the fashion in which politics are little changed from those hard fought political battles enacted on early grade-school playground recess.
People are people, and often continue to be people despite the advancing tide of adult delusions of maturity.
For those few that might understand: I wanna go to the fire station.