The Apple of My Eye: iPhone

We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human race.“–John Naisbitt

A brilliant three and a half inch sleek touch-pad interface and screen, the simplicity of only one button, and the ability to make a phone call, watch videos, listen to music, surf the Internet, take a picture and organize your life, all in one newly unveiled product: iPhone.

The famous iPod creators have almost outdone themselves with this new and most certainly revolutionary new gadget. If the iPhone bodes well in the marketplace come June, when the phone will be made available, then Apple will literally revolutionize phones and multimedia technology as we know it.

Aside from the eye-candy and unbelievable capabilities and features, its success among consumers will rely on the most basic feature of all: the price.

While competition appears poised for a spike, both Agostino and Harris pointed to the pricing of the iPhone — at $499 for the four-gigabyte device — as high.

“If you’re targeting the consumer market specifically, then obviously consumers tend to be more price sensitive,” Agostino said. “I’ve got to question the early-day pricing strategy here.”

Source: thewashingtonpost.com

Note the 8 GB hard drive model will cost consumers about $600. The iPhone has given priority to AT&T’s wireless carrier, Cingular to be the first to offer the phone. Many market analysts are speculating that this all-inclusive phone will be out of reach for many consumers, and will more likely appeal to the business consumer.

It may take months if not a few years before the price becomes reasonable for the average consumer. When that happens, a mildly trendy advertising campaign and the name brand loyalty from iPod users, will be all it takes to make the iPhone a complete monopoly among handheld multimedia and communications.

To learn more visit: http://www.apple.com/iphone/

I will not underestimate the fact that no one needs this glowing sliver of a device, but I will tell you that my awe of the technology is grounded in the love of human invention and possibility.

Human Element: Creativity. So will you be purchasing the iPhone in the near future? Share your thoughts.

You’ll Only Listen to What I Tell You and You’ll Like It

Source: slate.com Cartoonist: Stuart Carlson

 The media has complete control over a story, how much air time it should get, if that is any at all. The media decides whether something is newsworthy, even if that story is just a genocide. I understand priorities, I know it all and the problem in Darfur today is out-of-reach for most Americans. But think about it: why is it out of reach? The news networks and mainstream media decided to make it that way. Nobody can deny the power that the media holds when it comes to telling us what to talk about.

 But let’s not give the media all the credit.

Human Element: authority. Share your thoughts.

Medical Treatment Keeps Ashley Child-sized

Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights, make their own mental reservations about the proper application of the word ‘human.'”–Suzanne Lafollette

I don’t know how many of you have read or heard about Ashley. She is a mentally and physically disabled child now in the spotlight for the surgical procedures performed on her to keep her child-sized for life. The nine-year-old’s parents decided to stunt her growth and remove her womanly organs in order to give her the most comfortable and best qualitative life possible. The young girl has what’s known as static encephalopathy. Her brain is therefore unchanging, it is static. The brain has not matured past the capabilities of a three-month-old in Ashley’s nine years of living.

Is this ethical? I will boldly and proudly say, yes it is. It is ethical to utilize medicine for the benefit of your child. In Ashley’s case, her brain damage is so severe that she will not be able to talk or walk. Many people do not understand this. They are not informed on just how severe static encephalopathy is, or even what it is. A commentor, by the name of Carla Pinder writes the following on the news.com.au article about Ashley:

I find this the most outrageous invasion of the rights of a HUMAN BEING. I cannot belive that in this day and age of medical, technical, and equipment advnced way of life that the parents and doctors could not find a more humaine and dignified way to to care for this child then to remove a part of HER body. If this child seems so unable to communicate how do the parents and doctors know what she may or may not feel or understand or want for HER life.

First of all the rights of Ashley as a human being have never been underestimated. That is why her parents chose to give her a good life. They are treating her as a human being, caring for her rather than throwing their hands up and saying, “well, looks like we can’t do anything for her.” Secondly, yes in this “day and age of medical, thecnical, and equipment advanced way of life” the way they chose to take care of there child is the most dignified. Medical advances do just that, right? They make human suffering lesser, they make for a more comfortable life. How could her parents be criticized for doing what’s in the best interest of a young baby. Finally, the tragedy is that she is “so unable to communicate.” She is a three-month-old baby, her cognitive skills are not developed, she can not tell, show, or even blink to her parents what she wants. This is what she can do as a three-month-old, just to clarify:

Simple reflex activity such as grasping, sucking.

Source: childdevelopmentinfo.com

This is the extent of Ashley’s cognitive skills. Then I read this, “Well, what if she wants to have children one day! Then what!” Excuse me, but here are two loving parents trying to keep their child in the best care possible and here is someone uninformatively complaining about Ashley wanting children. People don’t understand that her disability would not even allow her to understand or think of what a child is, let alone have one.

Ashley must be a joy to her parents. Her life is no fairytale, and her parents understand that. I commend her parents for understanding what reality is. I commend them for weighing the positives and the negatives when making the decision to go forth with this kind of decision.

This is just a family in the end, a family that had to make a decision. Yes, it was a surgical procedure and yes they utilized medicine rationally all in the hopes that their baby girl could live the best life she could. Ashley’s life is unfortanetely and sadly stunted already by her mental disability, her parents have complied to this reality. They gave their daughter the best life she could have. I’m sure any parent willing to go to hundreds of doctors would make a similar well-informed and compassionate decision.

After writing this I see one final truth that remains. People love to judge others on their actions. I’m doing just that, but in any light, I am just glad that her parents did something to take care of her. I am glad that they utilized medicine, just as parents of a child with cancer would utilize treatments to make their children live better lives. Ultimately, letting Ashley grow and go through puberty would almost be–and this is strong–but it would be more like neglect.

The Human Element by Ashley’s Parents: love. Share your thoughts, please.

Lesson in Education from Oprah

“In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.”–Friedrich Nietzsche

Oprah Winfrey has fulfilled a $40 million dollar promise to Nelson Mandela this past week, by opening the doors of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy to 152 underprivileged South African girls. Since then, the widely acclaimed, “most powerful woman in the world” has been criticized for a failure to do enough or the failure in her own backyard. I think such criticisms are only coming from people who still believe that money will solve the education crisis on this planet. Below is a sound passage from Star Parker’s article, “Lesson in Education from Oprah.”

… not to say that Oprah has a clue about what will work to help these kids. But she sure has a feel for what doesn’t. And that is simply going into America’s inner cities and giving out money.

Are you paying attention Nancy Pelosi? Barack Obama? Black leaders around the country who relentlessly defend a failing status quo despite reams of evidence that we need to do something different?[…]

Our education establishment has little interest in anything other than asking for more money to do more of the same. They may pay lip service to improvement. But, as we know, actions are the measure, not words. When those in control refuse to be open to all options to strive for the best, it’s clear that the best is not the goal.

Vouchers and school choice are the disruptive technology that we need in education. Oprah picked up her marbles and left when she was unhappy. Why shouldn’t kids and parents be able to do the same thing?

Source: scrippsnews.com

I say, yes let Oprah do what she wants, and let it be on the scale she wants. Like the opening quote emphasized, I believe that a single, beautiful and prosperous example of education, cared for by someone like Oprah, is better than hundreds of mediocre ones, cared for by a cheque.

Boy Hangs Himself After Seeing Reports of Hussein’s Execution

By MAUREEN BALLEZA

HOUSTON, Jan. 4 — A 10-year-old boy hanged himself accidentally on New Year’s Eve after watching reports of Saddam Hussein’s execution, the police and relatives said Thursday.

Family members discovered the body of the boy, Sergio Pelico, hanging from his bunk bed and called the police in Webster, between Houston and Galveston.

The boy watched television reports on Saturday and asked about the execution, said an uncle, Adolfo Chavez.

“He asked, ‘Is this how they killed people?’ ” Mr. Chavez recounted in Spanish. “We said, ‘No, but they did it to this man because he’s bad.’ ”

Mr. Chavez said his nephew had said nothing more about the hanging.

The next night, as adults prepared supper and his cousins played, Sergio went upstairs to his bedroom. Another child found the body, Mr. Chavez said.

Capt. Thomas Claunch of the Webster police said there was no reason to suspect suicide.

“It was nothing more than a tragic accident,” Captain Claunch said. “I think he was trying to mimic the behavior, and it got out of hand. There were no indications of depression, no problems within the home. He was very positive.”

The captain said Sergio, an only child who was in the fifth grade, had given his mother a belated Christmas card. “In it,” Captain Claunch said, “he says he will do better in school this year, that he wants to get her a better Christmas present next year.”

Captain Claunch said that the authorities were awaiting autopsy results but that he believed the death would be ruled accidental.

Mr. Chavez said the family would ship the boy’s body home to Guatemala for burial.

Source: nytimes.com

Human Element: Curiosity. Share your thoughts, please.

Why Saddam Hussein’s Hanging Is Not A Triumph

I believe a human is a human for the ability to analyze his own thoughts and morals, the rest might as well be beasts or worst yet, robots.

There may not be much to envy about Iraq these days, but the swiftness of Mr. Hussein’s punishment is admirable. Had he been in the American legal system, lawyers might have clogged that system for years, allowing him to die a natural death in prison. Instead, on Nov. 5, Mr. Hussein was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. After the death order was signed, there was a 30-day window in which to carry out the execution. The Iraqis executed him within hours, and just a few days after his appeal was denied. (Cal Thomas of the Baltimore Times)

Immediacy. The man was executed “within hours.” So the moment they had their chance the mentally weak and impulsive men carried out revenge. They carried out the same kind of thought process as Saddam Hussein did. Were they really anymore morally stable than the man himself?

Then there is the pathetic cellphone video, that if you have ever seen YouTube, you know exactly what kind of fonies have been put out there. It must be the most searched video on the internet! As I have posted on the Fallout from video of Saddam Hussein’s execution (hanging), “He took out his cellphone and began videotaping death. That is unfortunate.”

How could it have come to this? Did U.S. officials know that the designated “executioners” would be the unwashed goons of Muqtada Sadr’s “Mahdi Army”—the same sort of thugs who killed Abdul Majid al-Khoei in Najaf just after the liberation and who indulge in extra-judicial murder of Iraqis every night and day? Did our envoys and representatives ask for any sort of assurances before turning over a prisoner who was being held under the Geneva Conventions? According to the New York Times, there do seem to have been a few insipid misgivings about the timing and the haste, but these appear to have been dissolved soon enough and replaced by a fatalistic passivity that amounts, in theory and practice, to acquiescence in a crude Shiite coup d’état. Thus, far from bringing anything like “closure,” the hanging ensures that the poison of Saddamism will stay in the Iraqi bloodstream, mingling with other related infections such as confessional fanaticism and the sort of video sadism that has until now been the prerogative of al-Qaida’s dehumanized ghouls. We have helped to officiate at a human sacrifice. For shame. (Christopher Hitchens of Slate Magazine)

First, being in the position that we are in with Iraq, there was an expected level of authority. Do people really understand that today, and probably for the next few generations, anything and everything that occurs in Iraq, is a reflection on the United States? Who was to oversee this mildly important event? To make sure that there are, as Hitchens puts it, “assurances?” “Well…uhh…you know, Fred was supposed to and uhh.” No. Stop. Let’s hear something from Mr. Bush.

“This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves… the ultimate justice,” he said in a US television interview.

His comments put the US sharply at odds with the United Nations and European allies who oppose the death penalty.


But the president said that he did not want a “kangaroo court”, and that only the Iraqi people should decide what punishment their former leader deserved.

(Bush Calls for Saddam Execution, BBC News)

I know that the Iraqi people did not “decide what punishment their former leader deserved” all by themselves. There was a hand played by the U.S. Point blank–duh. And I know that, but I would have hoped it were a different hand.

The Year is 2007

Like thousands of other human beings inhibiting the planet today I have made a new year’s resolution. I have decided to start writing down thoughts about the world around me for others to agree with, disagree with, criticize, indulge in, or simply read. I want to know how I think. I don’t think I really know, even after so long how I express myself through words. Hopefully this will change all that.

You see, I never can keep a resolution, because it usually involves doing something away from the computer. This should make things easy though. I won’t have to go far to fulfill this resolution and it will probably be twice as rewarding if not more. I’m excited to find just that out.

I have come to believe that one of the most powerful things a human possesses is the ability to learn from themselves. I see that everyday I see something or hear something that affects me. It is the outside world prodding me, trying to sway me one way or the other with its information or behavior. But I see that the way to understanding does not come from the outside world, it comes from the analysis of one’s self in that outside world.

Anyways, this is a hello, a “welcome-me-please-you-peoples” kind of first post. I can’t wait to start blogging. Good Night!