In a world of doom and gloom, a couple of bright spots appear:
- Indefatigable theatre critic Terry Teachout gives us this delightful bit of wisdom
“You were made for enjoyment, and the world was filled with things which you will enjoy, unless you are too proud to be pleased by them, or too grasping to care for what you cannot turn to other account than mere delight.”John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice
The Surveillance Market is set to invade your local quick-stop, grocer, or ice house.
A new digital door technology from a company called Cooler Screens is now being tested in Walgreens, and it sounds absolutely awful. Rather than a basic, transparent glass door, coolers and freezers will be sealed by screens that show a sanitized image of the products behind them. Supposedly, these screens will:
- Save energy
- Help monitor inventory
- Help customers with poor eyesight
- Make products more visually appealing
That’s all nice enough, and those mild benefits might even be worth replacing a simple glass pane with a complex TV screen. However, further reading ultimately makes those benefits sound like nothing so much as an after-the-fact justification for the real motives behind this technology:
Flashing banner ads float between the digital rows of goods…in addition to the flashy ads and “smart” merchandising, these screens are equipped with sensors and cameras designed to watch and profile the appearance and actions of customers who find themselves in their path, like me. Approximate age and gender. How long my gaze lingers on the bottles of tea.
And they don’t even hide the fact that they’re watching you! Zuboff is right when she says the corporate desire for behavioral data is insatiable.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think having Big Brother determine whether I’m buying milk, soda pop, or a cold beer is any of their business. I won’t patronize Cool Screeners.
Be a dirty shame if someone banged a shopping cart into these screens and disabled them (hey, it happens to smartphones all the time).
Tip from Stephen Green writing at the Instapundit.
In it’s unbridled quest for behavioral data, Google put microphones in its subsidiary Nest’s home security systems. Ostensibly for future upgrades. Without telling their customers. Who does PR for these guys? Jussie Smollett?
Bonus: apparently Google was pushing privacy limits with Street View as well, sucking up local WiFi addresses.
Tip from Stephen Green at the Instapundit.
Tara Westover gives the Big Reveal about education
My parents would say to me all the time: you can teach yourself anything better than someone else can teach it to you. Which I really think is true. I hate the the word “disempower,” because it seems kind of cliché, but I do think that we take people’s ability to self-teach away by creating this idea that that someone else has to do this for you, that you have to take a course, you have to do it in some formal way.
It took me a long time to learn that you take courses to find out what you don’t know, so you can go study up on it, and organize your self-study.
Tip from Joanne Jacobs, who I’ve neglected lately.
Many folks spend hours and a pile of cash to get the “perfect” Xmas tree. Not me.
Some 20 years ago, the Mrs developed a liking for those fancy glass Xmas ornaments, so we promptly hit the after-Holiday sales and started a collection. Came the next Xmas, and we weren’t happy with how the ornaments clashed with any “natural” tree that was less than 12 feet tall. What to do? The next summer I shared a brainstorm with my Dad, an inveterate folk-art woodworker. Who immediately joined me in a project day to convert a large, leafless branch of manzanita into a take-down display tree. I shipped the completed tree from California (where manzanita is plentiful) home to Texas (where it is non-existent), and re-assembled the tree the following Xmas. Hung the growing collection of glass ornaments to achieve what the Mrs calls FABULOUSNESS.
Stark, leafless, twisted, and totally asymmetric. The tree is in its 19th year, and my wife–the sparkling ornament not on the tree–still loves it.
While the Man dithers in the aftermath of the Camp Fire, trying to get his sh*t togther, the Little Folks get it
I say “That seems like a thankless task.”
“Not at all,” she replies. “Not at all.”
“Really? Why the hell not?”
“Hey, I do this job every day in this store. It’s my assigned task and usually its okay but I only do it for the money because it gets really monotonous, meaningless.”
She’s a student, I perceive.
“But today those people really needed these clothes in this corner because of the price. And tomorrow more people like that will really need them too. And so I want to make this the best I can for them. So I’m going to put it all back on hangers and arrange them by size. It will be right by the morning. You better go. We’re closing. Thank you for coming in.”
Straight from the (slightly toasted) horse’s mouth at American Digest. Stop by and drop off a tip, so he can rebuild his life.