I am a pencil.

No.2 is now No.1

Sitting in my cubicle at work a comment has blindsided me. How should I take the command from my boss that a pen should be used on my sign in sheet instead of a pencil. The smug look on his pencil hating face appaled me. I knew exactly why he wanted me to use a pen at this point in time instead of a pencil, and normally I would have…submitted….but no, he stood there idle, smirking as he watched me place my pencil down and pick the pen up to sign. It felt so foreign, like a friend who hasn’t changed while you have, the result of which ending in absolute awkwardness. There are obvious differences between pens and pencil’s. Pencils have an archaic feel, a mark leaving action while simultaneously knowing that these marks can be erased. Pens on the contrary have vibrant colour options due to their use of ink, mysteriously as well they always seem to run out at the worst time and without notification, much like my keen wit. I prefer pencils hands down, specifically my right hand. They are rather inexpensive and adaptable to artistic endeavours of drawing or writing due to its erasability. The more I contemplate the duality of pens and pencils I find that I myself have many pencil like characteristics. For instance, most people presuppose their permanance in life. This is the pen dilemma. The paradox is the concern of how I can claim my permanace at all based on my life supply and my surrounding. Both will eventually deplete. The use of a pencil already realizes this and proceed’s correctly knowing that its erasure is always oncoming. The pen however vainly attempts to convince of its permenance due to the ink it leaves, its use not admitting that its surface too will decease under the acidic ink it written. It must me taunting for a pen to notice the capricious nature of the pencil….hence the smirk.

I refuse to submit

Pencils leave a monochromatic mark. Varying intensities of the same basic colour provide many shades of consistancy. Pens come in many colours and it is socially presupposed that certain colours are preferred over others for different tasks. Don’t beleive me? Try handing in an essay or letter to your superior written wholly in red ink and you will see what I mean. This imposes another judgement call for the use of pen as a false superior over the pencil. It is not enough to merely use a pen but one must use the right pen. I find that a pencil is more forgiving to my nature of being. A pencil, in its use does not presuppose that the surface it is etched on will be permanent for it has itself  admitted its own impermanence. A pen, much like my boss has a false sense of entitlement which results in an almost braggart like superiority over pencils. This is a false entitlement which is only promoted by fear and an anxiety in the face of death. I myself am a pencil, darkened or erased at will, and you sir can wipe that smug look off of your face.

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Today officially rocks!

I just finished reading Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama. Overall it was a rather satisfying read, albeit with some absurd arguments and slippery slopes, but what else should one expect in such a field as biotechnology and politics. It is great to think that my only difficulty the summer is deciding which book to read next. the next book on my plate will most likely be Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, which seems to be a dark foray into existentialsm. next weekend I’m heading to Buffalo, New York and when I am there I will most likely pick up The Singularity is Near, by Raymond Kurzweil, another book that I plan on reading for my a summer research in trans-humanism, robotics, and post-humanism.

Now on to bigger things! I have just found out that their world be another season of Prison Break starting this fall.  The cliffhanger ending left most viewers uncertain as to whether Prison Break would have another season or not.  Having my dreams fulfilled, Sarah Tanreadi will be returning in season four.  I knew that wasn’t her head!  More on this in the future.

Published in: on May 11, 2008 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My new job…

I recently to started a new job with Sprint and Nextel customer care.  The company I work for is contracted by Sprint to provide various solutions to customer problems.  In the beginning the thought of sitting in a tiny cubicle all day listening to people complain about their bills seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. I actually really enjoy the job so far. I’m still in training and won’t be on the floor taking calls for at least another week, but the information I am learning about the cell phone market and the products that Sprint offers in awesome.  I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about what is available in the technological market, but in my smalltown in Ontario, Canada I had no idea that such wireless Internet products were available on cell phones.  Sprint offers a wireless USB and other mobile cards to put in laptops or other mobile electronics so that you can access their cell phone network using it as wireless Internet. Sprint recently urged with a European company called clearwire to create a faster wireless network called Wimax. This network will allow broadband speeds that right now are virtually unheard of.  Another exciting arrival to Sprint services that will be released later this quarter a new cell phone by the name of Instinct will be released.  The Instinct’s planned to be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone.  Made by Samsung this new phone along with Sprint’s 3G networking will provide blazing fast speeds at a lower cost than Apple can offer.  While all of this is exciting that’s all it will be for now to me.  In Canada I still have to deal with super high prices, unavailability, and lack of coverage… Woopie!

Published in: on May 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Exoskeletons…

Iron Man…how did I forget about Iron Man! After I wrote my post on Troy Hurtubise I started thinking more about how I was going to write my undergraduate thesis for next year. My topic varies from trans-humanism, robotics, prosthetic electronic aids, and all other tools which elevate human being and what these advances mean philosophically.

A well needed break from Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time guided me to this month’s Popular Science magazine. On the cover is an amazing full armored suit much like the Iron Man of the big-screen looking a little less like Hurtubise’s   Trojan armour, but a suit developed for human use nonetheless. Apparently DARPA began for funding the exoskeleton in 2000 with the hope of making a stronger and faster soldier. The suit enables a its wearer to have extraordinary strength and endurance, not protection against IEDs like Hurtubise‘s suit. The suit is often noted in the article as being an exoskeleton, but is better understood as he bionic prosthesis. An exoskeleton would be a better descriptor of Hurtubise’s suit, not the Raytheon Sarcos XOS which this article describes. Although Raytheon’s suit is inaccurately defined this does not take away from its incredible ingenuity and possible outcomes that it will provide it military and nonmilitary use. What Raytheon suit has now his strength not protection, yet what Hurtubise’s suit has his protection, not strength. A logical outcome would be to merge both technologies. Obviously this is easier said than done.

DARPA with its over $75 million programs for exoskeleton development seems a world apart from Hurtubise’s garage antics. One can only imagine how expensive a fully merged suit consisting both of Raytheon’s aunt Hurtubise’s technology would cost. Later on in the article a merging of several exoskeleton technologies shows the possibility for an integrated suit combining basically all of the abilities Master Chief from video game Halo has (or RoboCop for those readers of yesteryear) and looking much the same. Exoskeleton and bionics are an incredible tool being developed in this 21st century. Being able to wear these suits will have profound impacts in the field of war as well as other areas where fairness is an issue. My expectations are that bionics will be judged much like performance enhancers of the 20th century used in sports competitions and the like. Following Moore’s Law, bionics will most likely become smaller and less expensive making them available for most consumers. The benefits, however, will be that many people confined to wheelchairs or lacking the physical capacity of a fully functional body will benefit from such bionic structures as discussed in this article. It is easy to become skeptical of such mechanical advances yet the benefits that exoskeletons will give cannot be denied.

For my thesis plan I on focusing on the philosophical connection between the human itself, or human being, and the desire to extend that self electronic or mechanical tools. My topic initially focused purely on robotics, but I found that after more research a wider topic emerged. What I have realized is that a robot is a form of prosthesis. Robots can be understood philosophically as a prosthetic other. This understanding was reached thanks to the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Much research still needs to be completed but it is my hope that after I have read more philosophy along with current trends in robotics and prosthetic electronics that a deeper understanding into the human desire to know itself through itself will be uncovered.

Published in: on May 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm  Comments (4)  
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