The Port Huron Statement

Reading the Port Huron Statement from 1962.  The original text here.  Not very long and worth the time.  A longer draft is available, but I admit I haven’t read that one.

As students, for a democratic society, we are committed to stimulating this kind of social movement, this kind of vision and program in campus and community across the country. If we appear to seek the unattainable, it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable.

One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end

Twitter logoAn article from Medium on Twitter:  One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end.

I have to admit I never “got” Twitter.  I guess I do now, as a sort of broadcast medium for people like Kim Kardashian.  So I never had much use for it.

This article tells a different story, and one that sounds familiar to me.  A bunch of techies make a new type of communication medium, and it is lots of fun.  You can exchange  messages with a small group of friends and maybe even make some new friends.  Then it got bigger and more powerful and the bigger and more powerful forces in the world moved in.  I could tell the same story for Facebook, and even the internet itself.  More than anything it reminds me of the old USENET.  One bit that caught my eye:

Twitter, which was conceived and built by a room of privileged white boys (some of them my friends!), never considered the possibility that they were building a bomb. To this day, Jack Dorsey doesn’t realize the size of the bomb he’s sitting on. Or if he does, he believes it’s metaphorical. It’s not. He is utterly unprepared for the burden he’s found himself responsible for.

The power of Oppenheimer-wide destruction is in the hands of entitled men-children, cuddled runts, who aim not to enhance human communication, but to build themselves a digital substitute for physical contact with members of the species who were unlike them. And it should scare you.

All of this covers my reasons for this blog and my dislike of media like Facebook.  Early in my engineering career I refused to work on certain military projects.  For many of the same reasons I refuse to participate in the ongoing empowering of entities like Facebook.

Relics

20171013_104349.jpgNoticed this on my bookshelf.  Microsoft BASIC 5.0 document from 1979.  Not original of course,  just a photocopy.  Nobody paid for software back then.  For an old H-89 (Z80) microcomputer that I still have in the garage.