Saturday, January 1, 2011

Words don't change facts

One thing I keep hearing from politicians are apologies, explanations, excuses and so on down the list of reasons to justify their view of the facts, or more to simply, as they say, cover their ass. They make the same mistake with these words they make when they mistake opinions for facts. Their opinion, it seems, is the truth and reality despite nothing being farther from it.

I read when New York City mayor Bloomberg called the city's response to the snow storm "unacceptable." Ok, but that's just an opinion, even if by a mayor. It didn't and doesn't change what happened. And you can bet nothing significant will change. Whatever caused the folks in the various city services not to respond quickly or extensively enough is up for grabs, mostly by politicians, but then everyone has an opinion there.

I won't be surprised if in the end and after the review they discover it was a series of small errors of judgement which caused the delay to start the response and the insufficiencies during the snow storm to adequately remove the snow. And no single person or event will stand out, just a bunch of small ones in sequence which added up to something larger than themselves. And once there, it was obvious what was wrong.

This situation isn't new or news really, just another in the way our lives are becoming. The supposed better technology and systems we use the more complex the social system becomes and the more prone it is to human failures, small one adding to larger problems where the whole thing just doesn't work right, if very much at all. We haven't learned to balance human systems with technology well enough yet where it's needed the most.

And often this is due to technology folks not understanding social system and vice versa. And today with so many people and companies working in all the different fields, there are simply too many "solutions" to human problems and social systems that few work together or with other systems. It's capitalism at its finest, make a product no one else sells and make it unique to you so it's not useable by others.

It's found everywhere, from our homes to corporations and more so government which keeps buying new system replacing old ones taking more resources (time, money and people) to install, convert and use, only to be replaced again when it's operational as being obsolete. Corporations do this with their products, sell us stuff they won't fix (can but intentionally don't make parts) and require replacing.

I gave away the best coffee grinder I had a number of years ago because the grinding wheel had worn down where it didn't work. I could have easily replaced the two parts with a screwdriver (3 screws held each) and clearly was made to be repaired. But the authorizied repair shop said the grinding wheels in that model were unique and the company refused to sell new ones.

Designed obsolesence is the word they use. It what drives our world and economy anymore. If it breaks, just buy a new one. But it doesn't change the fact a good product is useless. And all the words don't and won't change that fact, nor the reality of the snow in New York that sits in piles waiting for someone to remove, despite all the words of mayor Bloomberg.

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