PhotoHunter: Technology

This week’s PhotoHunter theme is “Technology”. I wasn’t sure what to do for this, at first but then I remembered having entered a photo of mine for the same theme on Fotki, the photo-sharing site I use. I thought I would use the same photo and contrast it with a photo of something else.

When I initially thought of this, I was looking at the images as contrasting “low tech” and the other as “high tech”. On the other hand, both are really representative of the highest technology of their times. In fact, the first photo, in its own way represents technological skill and true craftsmanship, whereas, the second represents brute force on the grandest scale.

Perhaps you will see other contrasts and other meanings. Let me know your thoughts.

The first image is of stone points, scrapers, and flakes from the making of points and scrapers. Created by Eastern Woodland Indians, perhaps 700 -900 years ago. Found along the Upper Ottawa River, near Fort William, Quebec.

Stone points

The second image is of one of the old Cold War air raid sirens sitting outside the main door of the Diefenbunker (pronounced Deefenbunker), in Carp, Ontario.

The Diefenbunker was Canada’s official government nuclear fallout shelter.

In the event of nuclear war, government officials and designated military personnel would have descended underground while the rest of Canadians fried. Formerly top secret, it is now a museum open to the public and is designated a national historic site. It was dubbed the Diefenbunker after Canada’s Prime Minister when it was built, John Diefenbaker (familiarly known to most Canadians as “Dief the Chief”). It operated as a secret facility for 33 years before it was “decommissioned” and the land sold to the Township of West Carleton, which is now part of the city of Ottawa.

Until it was decommissioned, the Canadian public, even residents of the nearby town of Carp were unaware of its existence. Interestingly, my friend Carol (who did earlier this year) was unaware that for the entire time she and her family lived in Ottawa, her father had spent every working day in the Diefenbunker and, should nuclear war have broken out, he would have been obligated to continue working while the family would have had to fend for themselves.

Siren, the Diefenbunker, Carp, Ontario

I should say that these sirens and the Cold War were what caused me nightly terrors and nightmares as a child living along the St. Lawrence River in Southeastern Ontario. I was small during The Cuban Missile Crisis. We had a bomb shelter in the basement — basically, a cot, cook-stove, and provisions under the basement stairs. We’d not have survived anything.

Sirens were tested with regularity and scared the crap out of me all those years.

Years later, in 1978, when I was living in Toronto one of the few remaining sirens went off, I am guessing by accident, and I sat bolt upright. The friend I was with looked at me quizzically. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

Air raid siren… We don’t hear those very often any more!”

“What’s that?” Not only did she not recognize the sound she didn’t even HEAR it until I pointed it out. I had to EXPLAIN about the Cold War…. about air raids… about bomb shelters… She had never ever heard a siren in a war movie!

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Critical thinking… or lack thereof…

Today’s “big news” is “Balloon Boy was a hoax”…

And, the usual upshot of this is that the media and the public is howling for blood.

“We were duped!”

“The police didn’t do their job!”

“It’s the media’s fault!”

The fact is that everyone is to blame for this (except for Balloon Boy, himself. He’s a minor and it is hardly his fault IF his parent’s concocted this whole “show”) — If, indeed, it turns out this is a hoax.

God or Nature gave humans a brain. We have it not just to keep our ears apart. It is there to enable us to think and to make sense of the world and to survive.  That entails “Critical Thinking”. Unfortunately, most of us seem to use our brain, if we use it at all, more to keep our heads from imploding.

We don’t think, let alone think critically.

We use our brains the way water finds it’s way down hill. Whatever the most convenient path to a conclusion, that’s the one we take, even if it results in us accepting the most nonsensical and ludicrous possible outcome, that’s the one we chose and “By Gum!” that’s the one we are going to stick to.

Even better when someone else comes up with the “results” so we don’t actually have to do any thinking for ourselves.

Why should we be surprised that 1) someone tried to pull one over on us and 2) succeeded on pulling one over on us?

And, quite obviously, this was not exactly a methodically thought out “hoax”. Else, it wouldn’t have depended on the involvement of a small child who would easily spill the beans.

The police obviously didn’t think it through, either. Consulting with experts might have clued them into the fact that the balloon probably wouldn’t have been able to ascend to the heights it did with the child in tow. Using their brains might have given them the edge on the less than stellar planning of the parents. Just looking at the balloon might have given them pause to question. Did it actually LOOK as though it was carrying a weight?

The media didn’t bother checking facts or hesitate for one second to authoritatively tell the public that a child was aboard this unlikely vehicle.

The public, always willing to jump on any bandwagon, no matter how shoddily built or how absurd, went along for the (usual) ride.

Even after the fact, talk shows lined up to interview the child. His parents were more than happy to parade their child in front of the media. And, surprise, surprise, the child said something that didn’t fit the scenario. “We did it for a show”.

Of course, this, coming from a small child, could mean anything. It could have meant that he associated the cameras with TV shows and his reenactment was “for a show”. No, obviously, it MUST mean that the whole scenario was “a show”. Of course, it seems it likely was.

Adults brought up short by a child’s words and the media circus starts falling all over itself to blame everyone else for being “taken in”.

There’s a children’s story most of us remember. It, too, is about a hoax. A ludicrous, fanciful, nonsensical farce so unthinkingly silly that it couldn’t possibly work but does… until undone by the words of a child. “But he’s not wearing any clothes!”.

newclothes

Humans are so ready to believe the most nonsensical and absurd scenarios rather than use their brains, ready to accept “facts” presented rather than learn the REAL facts for themselves, and then blame everyone but themselves for falling for nonsense.

People are ready to believe that hundreds of people could “manufacture” a moon landing, and then every single one of them could maintain complete silence for 40 years. Somehow THAT scenario is easier to believe than the one that had man ACTUALLY walking on the moon.

People are ready to believe that Iraq had nuclear weapons despite ample evidence to the contrary presented to them, both before and after that fact. Yet, they are also willing to believe that their own President would actually be willing to kill several thousands of his own citizens in order to bring about a war that was already inevitable by virtue of the nonexistent nuclear weapons.

Further, they are willing to believe that many of their own citizens would go along with this “conspiracy” and murder fellow citizens and remain silent, despite seeing the evidence before their own eyes.

Some of these same people actually believe that the Holocaust was “faked”.

I honestly despair of a world which consistently accepts the most idiotic conspiracy theory without once asking any one of the 5 W’s — Who, Why, What, Where, and When.

Yes, people have come up with actual conspiracy plans and have perpetrated them on us. Bush did it with his “weapons of mass destruction” nonsense which, had people actually listened to the actual experts would have avoided this terrible war in Iraq. Anyone who doubted was “A’gin us” and obviously an America-hater.

Instead, the masses fell for this one hook line and sinker and then made up an even more insane and diabolical “conspiracy” to blame the same person who pulled the wool over their eyes with a simple plan.

They never once ask themselves “Why?” or, if they do, come up with an equally nonsensical “Reason”.

Why would Bush need to murder thousands of innocent people (or as some conspiracy theorists would have us believe thousands on non-existent people) when he already had the war in the bag with his faked satellite images and arm-twisting of various countries in the UN Security Council? How would he buy the silence of the thousands of people who would have been required to keep Schtum about a conspiracy on this scale? No, easier to believe the most nonsensical and complicated and fiendish scenario rather than believe the simplest truth. America was attacked in its heart, in front of our very eyes and that in the days preceding the attacks, the media had been reporting that an attack was forthcoming (A fact… and a fact forgotten even by the media who had broadcast it).

Humans have an amazing brain and yet spend most of their lives not using it.

We have a capacity to do all sorts of good for the planet and for our fellow human beings. Yet, we spend most of our brains’ resources foolishly. Wasting them on conspiracy theories and hoaxes,  either believing in fake ones or allowing ourselves to be fooled by real ones.

If the majority of us took the time to use our brains, we wouldn’t have a media that spent all its energies trying to entertain us or falling in line with the politicians. We wouldn’t have politicians so willing (and able) to pull over on us the most blatant of scams. We MIGHT even have politicians we could trust and for whom we could be justly proud.

We wouldn’t be spending time and energy on the “Balloon Boy Hoax” or one fraction of a second even considering either the nonsensical “Moon landing” or the truly offensive “9/11” conspiracies.

—-

On a personal note….

It was several hours between the writing of this and posting it. Those several hours was spent at the hospital with my mother who thought that, rather than call me down “all the from upstairs” it was a good idea for an 85-year old who can’t stand on a firm surface without risking taking a tumble to climb on a chair some feet away from the patio door in order to close the curtain.

She fell and took a few yards of shin off, necessitating a trip to the hospital.

I guess, given my “Elk wrangling” of last Autumn, I don’t have a lot of room to talk. But it reminds me of a friend of my ex-husband’s who had to sit down with his parents and tell them not to be doing “stupid things” after his mother, aged 89, fell off the roof while shovelling snow. “I don’t mind going to the hospital if you have a heart attack or a stroke. I am tired of rushing there after you’ve done something stupid.”

PhotoHunter: Protect(ion)…

There are a number of ways to go on this one….

This little piggie has a lot of protection. Chicken wire and a cocktail umbrella. For the full version of this project, see here: “June Bride“.

"June Bride" (detail)

"June Bride" (detail)

photohunter7iq1The “Diefenbunker“… Canada’s formerly top secret air-raid shelter designed to house the government, officials, and military…. while the rest of us, presumably, fried. With the end of the Cold War, the Diefenbunker is open to the curious public. It is located just outside Carp, Ontario, near Ottawa.

"The Diefenbunker"

"The Diefenbunker"

This is the “technology” that changed my life… I was a small child when the Cuban Missile Crisis began. Air-raid siren tests screamed out with regularity. We had a bomb shelter in our basement. Fear of the “Red Threat” was jammed down our throats. I lived with nightly and terrifying nightmares of war and death throughout my entire childhood. Even today, the sound of an air-raid siren makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This disused siren sits at the entrance to the “Diefenbunker”.

"Air Raid Siren"

"Air Raid Siren"

The Diefenbunker Poem:

In Bermuda shorts,
pushing strollers and giggling, tourists rush to the next exhibit.
Hoping to beat the traffic
and get to Walmart before it closes.

I, on the other hand, recall the fallout shelter in our basement
and cold-sweat nights (and days),
waiting for the bomb to drop.

I can’t help thinking that the bomb-shelters, air raid sirens, and assurances that “drop and cover” would protect us amounted to little more than chicken wire and cocktail umbrellas….

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