Friday, October 8, 2010

A Tech Review of Sorts

Technology is funny. Technology is my job, it's what allows me to write a blog, call my family, or get to work every day. We're all slaves to technology, because I'm sitting here thinking of every thing I do and I'd say that most of the things that I choose to do require technology. If I were to walk naked through a God-made field or pee off the side of a mountain (I'd have to not have clothes on), then those things would be about the closest I could come to not using technology...assuming you don't consider mountains, fields, and the human body technology. Since the majority of us don't pee off of mountains, naked (at least on a regular basis), then I have, therefore, completely convinced you that you are a slave to technology.

Being a slave to technology's not all that bad right? It's like being a slave to a master who makes every thing in life faster and easier. That master will every once in a while tick you off and you get all mad at him for not making everything easier. But hey, you're his slave. He can do what he wants to you. It's only by his grace that you ever get anything from him.

I'm continually in this predicament. Technology never works for me. When I lived in Alaska, it seemed like technology never worked for my family. I would try to hook up Justin's nintendo to my tv and everytime I was certain that it just wouldn't work for us. And it always gave us some kind of issue. I really thought there was something about me and my family that made technology just not work around us. Nowadays I know better. I'm a computer whiz compared to the majority of people in the world, but nothing compared to most of my friends and absolutely nothing compared to most of my research group.

My research group studies Plasmonics and recently we've mostly become a simulation group, which means we use big honking computers to predict how well optical devices will work. Some of the simulations we do are ridiculous. One of the guys in our group does simulations where he focusses light so it is 1000 times more intense than the incident light and his simulations are so big that he can't open them on a normal computer. By normal computer I mean one that "only" has 8GB of RAM. Pretty sure my Dell at home has less than 1GB of RAM. That being said, we are constently needing better, faster computers. I'm sitting at a work station that has 3 computers. Two of which are great for posting blogs, they'd be fine for playing any computer game, and such but can't do anything when it comes to simulation. So we have what I call a miniature supercomputer (MSC) for doing simulations as well as a second MSC in my advisers office so we can ssh into it and run simulations.

We abuse computers. It's great. We're constantly laughing at our lame computers, telling them that they aren't good enough. We even push our MSCs to the limit sometimes, so we go use the even more ridiculous supercomputer in the building next door because our already ridiculous MSCs aren't good enough. Ha! Take that technology!

It's an odd relationship we have with technology. We're continually abusing it and telling it to get better, but we're still it's slave. Half the guys in our group don't have any experience doing experimental research, so if our computers all died, we would have nothing to do. We would lose all our funding and have to find jobs at bakeries, which, I think, would be a pretty sweet job if it was a cool bakery. All our crashes and little freezes are reminders that technology is still our master. As if it's saying, uh uh uuh, don't you forget who's the boss here.

But what if we revolted? What would happen to the computers and all the technology in the world if we decided to just abandon technology and live the technology-free life? Well we could get cold and hot and then cold again. Then we'd get hungry because we didn't have guns to kill the animals or a plow to plow our gardens. All this would lead us to repentance of our rebellious ways and we'd come back to our master, Technology. We would have a "fresh start" and would have the opportunity to re-develop the same technologies that we used to have. Technology would again have the pleasure of continued advancement.

Do you remember biology, that one science that's pretty low down on the purity scale? There's a relationship called a symbiotic relationship. A symbiotic relationship is like the relationships of men and women, Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. This is usually the case for boths sides, but I have known some girls who can't stand other girls. Anyways, humanity and technolgy have a symbiotic relationship. This symbiotic relationship is so successful that we start to just expect that technology is going to advance. Have you seen the movie Avatar? No, not Avatar-Air Bender, that ridiculous movie I refuse to pay money to watch and would be hesitant to invest a whole 1.5 hours watching it anyways. I'm talking about that movie with the blue people and the flying dragon-like creatures. This was a great movie, I thought. I walked out of the movie very satisfied with the story and had gotten over the awkwardness I felt at the beginning of the movie with the lackage of clothing. Somebody said, wow that movie had great special effects! Did it? I seriously didn't even realize it had great special effects. Same story for Transformers. People said, That movie is my favorite movie ever because it had awesome special effects! Really? I didn't notice. I thought it was one of the worst movies ever. I realized that I just completely expect the infinite when it comes to technology. Special effects had gotten so good that I really thought that movie makers could do literally anything with their graphics. After Toy Story I just got less awed by movies with cool graphics.

Well great for Technology! It keeps getting better and better! Woohoo...ladeefrickinda, as the great Chris Farley would say. People have gotten better too. We have better health than before because of technolgy. We now have the ability to stalk people without them realizing by use of Facebook, with the advent of the new term Facebook Stalking. We can now use Google Maps to plan our route before leaving, or just forget google maps and bust out our shiny GPS with a feminine Australian accent to tell us where we need to turn. We can even go to porn websites without the awkwardness of buying magazines at a store.

As I hope you detected, I sometimes mix sarcasm with seriousness. There are good and bad things associated with technology. I try not to be a tech freak and I try not to be an extreme minimalist because of this. Not that you should care too much about what I do, but I do think that we are sometimes worshipful of technology..cough cough Apple. And I think it's wrong to worship technology both from a practical stand point and a Christian stand point. But technology is helpful and it pays me the big bucks, so I hereby declare technology to be Pretty Cool, Usually.

I felt slightly bad, but not really, about giving a shoutout to the person from Denmark yesterday who reads my blog because there are people from other countries too. But Denmark is still the best country starting with the letter D. So today, I'm going to give an extra hardy shout out to all you peeps who happen to be in a different country than the US, reading this blog. This so far includes you people from Denmark (as previously stated), Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa. I definitely know you, Mr. Malaysian who rocks on the guitar and I may or may not know you mr./ms./mrs. Canadian and German. If you feel offended that I didn't immediately recognize who you are, then leave a comment and I'll make sure I give you a very personal shout-out in the near future. If you are an American, currently living in the US and are offended that I didn't give a shout-out to you, suck it up. If you pay me, I'll give you a personal shout out someday. 5 dollars/shoutout.


  1. Mail a traveler's check to The Den, addressed to Master D and leave a note in it saying, "Go buy some hot tamales for Jon Banks and don't you dare eat any of them-Love, Your secret admirer." I'll certainly give you a shoutout for doing that.