In another tab I’m working on my final news chum stew of the year (look for it shortly), when I realized I had a sufficient set of articles for a themed post — specifically one looking at some unexpected impacts of technology:
- Self-Driving Cars and Organ Donation. Slashdot had an interesting piece on the impact of self-driving cars: It will significantly impact the availability of organs for donation. The basic thesis is as follows: A primary source of organs in good shape for donations is auto accidents, where the victims have indicated they are organ donors. Self-driving cars will reduce the number of auto accidents, and hence the number of healthy donors. We’ll be left with those that die in hospitals, where donors tend to be less healthy.
- The Amazon Echo and Privacy . I recently was gifted with an Amazon Echo Dot. I’ve installed it, even though I’m not quite sure what it is good for, especially as I don’t do streaming music. But there are interesting privacy implications (independent of the insecurity of the Internet of Things): there is now a murder case out there where the question has been raised of requesting the audio captured by the Amazon Dot as evidence. So, for those that have the device, don’t talk about committing crimes where it can overhear you.
- Streaming Media and Extras. There are those that believe the move to streaming media is good — you’ve got your music and video everywhere. That’s good, right? Right? I don’t necessarily subscribe to that, given my iPod Classic is nearing 40,000 songs, but I have streaming quality as they are all MP3s or AACs. An article from Vox looks at the problem with respect to video, and concludes TV on DVD is increasingly important. They provide significantly higher video quality than Internet transmission can support, and provide video extras (commentary, outtakes, alternate audio tracks, superior audio quality) that streaming can’t support. Plus, you own the content, as opposed to leasing it (which is why I still like my iPod Classic). That reminds me: I still need to order Lou Grant, now that it is available. Yes, there are series that are still just being re-released.
- The Internet Kills Typography. Slashdot has another interesting discussion: this time, on how the Internet has killed the curly quote (e.g., “ and ”, in favor of the straight quotation marks). Deeper in the discussion, the larger point is made that the Internet is killing typography in general: people don’t think about the differences between inter-letter spacing (do you know the difference between “ ” (en-space), “ ” (em-space), “ ” (thin space), “” (zero-width non-joiner), ” ” (no-break space), “” (soft-hyphen), and ” ” (normal space)? Did you ever write “␣” for space?); often the distinction between the various hyphens are lost, and even the difference between the -, –, and — is being lost (that’s hyphen, en-dash, and em-dash). I remember the days when one got curly quotes by using “ and ”, and depended on programs like troff to fix things up. Is it better these days? I don’t know.