Posted by – October 8, 2010
I’ve sometimes been accused of being “anti-green” because I complain about how useless many green ideas are for any other purpose than signaling status and having fun. But it’s true! My new favourite example is sOccket (I like the funky capitalisation!). I don’t really have the words to transmit to you my disbelief at the shittiness of this idea, so I’ll let it speak for itself:
We are four young women who met in a Harvard engineering class in the fall of 2008.
Having all spent time in Africa, we wanted to translate the positive energy of soccer and children we had seen on fields and playgrounds in Africa to their lives off the field and into their homes.
The sOccket is a soccer ball that captures the energy during game play to charge LEDs and batteries. After playing with the ball, the child can return home and use the ball to connect a LED lamp to read, study, or illuminate the home.
Got it? It’s a generator that charges an internal battery with the acceleration of the ball. Wow. This device is
- Worse than a proper hand-cranked generator with a large battery for generating electricity
- Worse than a regular football for playing football
- Made in tiny batches at great cost
- Fragile and essentially impossible to repair or get spare parts for
It all works together so beautifully. Engineering women from Harvard designing an expensive eco-weenie toy for African children – that’s so right, because women are so caring! But they can still be engineers! And just because they have elite status from Harvard doesn’t mean they don’t totally get the problems of rural Africans! Phallocentric anti-nature engineering left standing in the dust! Men would probably have designed a toy gun or something for generating electricity!
What really galls me is the utter cynicism of these do-gooders soaking up charity resources for a completely useless vanity project to pad their CVs – and the sincere sense of moral superiority that they undoubtedly derive from it.
edit: turns out they aren’t actually engineering students, so they needed help with the execution part. But they provided the great idea!
Posted by – January 23, 2009
There appears to be a concerted campaign to screw with my remaining regard for the words “human rights”. Something called the Finnish League for Human Rights is interested in studying whether a Christian revivalist movement (Laestadianism) is violating its own human rights by having women in the movement give birth to as many as ten children. Well, ok, right to contraception appears to be a human right and God knows this country is an epicentre for the repression of women’s sexual rights. And as the article says, many human rights violations are ignored due to religious context. However! The same Human Rights League declared a month ago that religiously mandated circumcisions must not only be protected from legal consequences but paid for by the state.
I’d like to write more about this but I seem to have misplaced my keyboard.
Posted by – January 17, 2009
Israel is fighting for its existence about thirty years down the line, the Gazans are fighting for their lives right now. The Gazans are currently desperate, Israel is ultimately doomed. Individuals Gazans have no property, no rights, no future, no perspective; Israel is being demographically buried – surrounded and soon populated by anti-semites made stupid by religion – and its political influence and allies are on the wane. I can’t help but understand and sympathise with both, but I also hate them for making the status of humans as lunatic animals painfully obvious.
Posted by – November 13, 2008
I wonder what proportion of bullshit in the world would be removed by the disappearance of the words “respect” and “spirituality”.
When someone demands your respect, it’s like a signal that they don’t deserve it. Instead of demonstrating their value to the rest of the world or being nice to you, they tell you what to think about them and then behave as if to do so is a human right (another problematic concept) of some kind. Respect is in great demand by:
Aretha stands out here because she wasn’t really demanding the same kind of respect as religions and rappers – she just wanted her man to be as nice to her as she was to him. The other type of respect is more similar to Steven Duch’s concept of Thar, a value system of perpetually inflamed egos:
Extreme importance of personal status and sensitivity to insult
Acceptance of personal revenge including retaliatory killing
Obsessive male dominance
Paranoia over female sexual infidelity
Primacy of family rights over individual rights
Of course, these aren’t explicitly present in the more mundane invocations of respect, but the sentiment is there. The world is full of people who are always on the lookout for opportunities to be offended by something and who demand respect as a shield for their egos. They can’t accept their shortcomings and the uncaring nature of the external world so they spill their emotional panic into the brainspace of others.
Why care so much about what everyone else thinks that you stop thinking for yourself?
Spirituality I don’t really have a lot to say about. It’s just a bullshit word for people who are embarrassed by religion but want some of the same perks. As far as I can see it doesn’t have any independent meaning apart from as a general positive modifier, viz. “I’m a very spiritual person.” Translation: “I’m worth more than other people, I just can’t demonstrate it.”
Maybe I should introduce image tags: