Writer’s block finally ending

3 02 2008

NewsIt seems that the national writer’s block may finally be lifting. The Writer’s Guild of America and their employers have both finally realized how difficult it is to make money when neither are working. Negotiations are considerable progress according to a variety of sources and the writers we so rely on should finally get back to work by the end of this week.

Strike

In another area of society, almost all pundits have declared President George W. Bush a lame duck. His State of the Union address sounded so familiar, citizens may have thought it was simply a rerun, just like every nearly other show on TV. Network TV, Washington D.C.: both seemed to be stuck on repeat as the country experienced an unusual shortage of new ideas. After centuries of being at the forefront of change and progress, people were getting nervous. A supposed economic recession hinted that the U.S. might be stalling.

Ending the writer’s strike is the first step toward a new hopeful future. The second step is the impending change of president. While I am neither supporting nor opposing George W. Bush’s many controversial decisions as President, the possibility that someone else may get their shot at fixing the state of the union certainly is tempting for anyone. While the writers may be happy that they get a couple hundred more dollars per year than before, the rest of us are just happy more Americans are thinking again.





First our clothes, then our minds

24 01 2008

NewsThe Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has released information on new clothing selection tools in development for business use. Essentially, shoppers at clothing stores will get the chance to enter a room with multiple cameras and screens displaying pictures of customer wearing multiple outfits. However, they will not be alone in that room. There will also be computer assistance, which makes suggestions to the customer based on popular styles and other recommended selections within the story. It “improves [a shopper’s] confidence in the decision-making process and improves their shopping experience,” says Wei Zhang, a student at Oregon State University.

Fitting Room

People may not feel confident, but at least their clothes are a reflection of decisions they made themselves. How far is too far? Will anyone say ‘no’ when future technology analyzes people’s tastes in food and decides for them what they would like to eat? I think the most human part of us all is our ability to make decisions, to know what we like and dislike. Every time we allow others to make decisions for us, we forfeit a piece of our identity.

There is also potential for abuse here. No store that I have seen actively advertises its least fashionable, out-of-style clothing. And last time I checked, it is normally the least fashionable, out-of-style clothing that costs less. I worry these computers and social networks will pressure people into buyinh things they don’t need and paying more just to fit in. Does our society really need to obsess more about appearance? Do the stores really need another little boost control over what we buy?

I recognize that a lot of good could come out of technology like this. I am just wary of our society’s many attempts at pressuring us this way or that. I prefer live my own life, thank you.

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