July 25, 2011

What time is it???

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , , — sbj @ 5:13 pm

No big intro here… I’m going to jump right in… I find myself wondering if the concept of time zones has run its course and the world wouldn’t be better served by using one universal time.

As I ponder this I can see many reasons to having the same time everywhere, and very few (non-babysitting, or habitual) reasons for having time zones.  Sure, there is some familiarity (and associated comfort) with the idea of having the sun high over head around “noon,” but, does that really add any practical value to our lives?

In 1884, when time zones (as we currently know them) were first implemented the world was a very different place.  In a word, it was huge.  Traveling distances that would require crossing time zones (especially multiple time zones in a short period of time) was rare; and since the telephone was essentially still being invented (AT&T was created the year after our existing time zone system was implemented, and the first coast to coast long distance call was not completed for another 31 years) rapid communications across time zones was not common either.

127 years later, things are a bit different.

People jump from time zone to time zone daily, even hourly.  When I travel to the East Coast I have to reset all of my time pieces (admittedly, many of them change themselves) and the reset them when I return.  If I land in Chicago on the way I need to figure out not only what time it is there, but how that relates to both where I came from and where I am going.  In New York (or wherever I might be going back East) I need to re-calibrate again.

We telephone people across the country and the world from devices we carry around in our pockets or on our belts.  When someone in Atlanta wants to set up a teleconference with me, the first question is “what time” and the second question is always “my time or yours.”  Frequently that second question is forgotten, and more often than I’d like to admit, meetings have been missed because of a misunderstanding (read: lack of communication) based on who’s time the meeting was supposed to occur.

The largest casualty of this change, in my opinion would be New Years Eve… whoever gets “midnight” at 11am is gonna kinda be bummed, and I get that.  However, I’m not sure I dislike that more than I like watching a ball drop in New York that actually happened two hours ago… I’m not really that into living the lie, ya know?

One global time zone would mean that when my cousins in Denmark said “call me at 3pm” we’d both know exactly when that call was going to happen… without wondering who owned the 3pm in question.

One global time zone would mean that my flight itin wouldn’t imply it takes 15 minutes to fly from Boise to San Francisco, and 2 hours and 15 minutes to fly back.

One global time zone would mean that when I traveled, all of my time pieces would always have the right time… even if there was no network to connect to for some reason.

One global time zone would mean that it was the same day everywhere on earth.

I am of the mind that time zones are an antiquated idea who’s time has come… and gone.  My fiancee disagrees with me on this one… how about you?

July 1, 2011

I am (crest)fallen… and I can’t get up…

As I drove to work this morning, listening to the coverage of the eroding case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn (GSK), I could not help but think that nothing good can come of this.

Let me begin by saying that my concerns are not for GSK himself. He is a married man who, by his own admission – and this admission is supported by his highly structured legal defense, had consensual (at least on his part… her part remains somewhat in question) intimate relations with someone other than his wife. I do not offer, nor do I encourage, any sympathy for where that action leads him. I have wandered off the path of appropriateness in my past, I didn’t expect anyone to excuse my actions then and I don’t expect any greater grace for him now. He made his bed… now he gets to lie in it.

However, there are other sides to this coin and they are deeply lamentable.

If the alleged victim is telling the truth, then the events of today are yet another example of the purchasing power of influence, affluence and propaganda. In this case another powerful man will have skated off to innocence on a smear campaign… strategically excusing his horrendous actions by bringing the public perception of his victim down to his own heinous level and excusing himself in the process.

Villainizing a victim to excuse the actual perpetrator is not new, but at some point we, as a society, need to put an end to it. The continued process of excusing our own actions because someone else is just as bad or worse can only lead to a gradual – yet complete – degradation of our society. It is the fuel that allows the next rich powerful person to muck rake in an effort to excuse their actions… and the cycle continues, further empowered every time a GSK, or Kobe Bryant (et. al.) goes down this road.

If she is lying, and – increasingly – it is looking like this might be the case, the scenario is arguably just as bad. If she has, for example, colluded among others with the nefarious intent of bring down Mr. Straus-Kahn what she is really assailing is victim and women’s rights, protections, and credibility. Every victim in the world will have been metaphorically kicked in the shins by this woman. She herself will be empowering the same cycle discussed above, just from the other side of the proverbial “tracks.” Her actions will strike at the veracity of every sexual assault claim that comes after it; by fabricating an assault, she compromises the credibility of victims of real attacks, leaving them vulnerable to unwarranted assailing of their character.

Whether “the system” is being “supported” from upper (DSK) or lower (by the maid) end of the socio-ecomonic strata is of no consequence… the net result is the same.

At this point, no matter how this shakes out… the bottom line is that the only “thing” that benefits is the cycle of compromised integrity. The only tangible results that can be reasonably expected are more attorneys and detectives specializing in the deconstruction a person’s life, more wealthy/powerful people expecting to be able to get through situations of their own creation without any accountability and… most tragically… more victims having their rights, credibility, and even humanity stripped away in order to facilitate all of the above.

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