Sunday, February 26, 2017

It started with a beautiful flower

It started with a beautiful flower.  The amaryllis blossom shown on the Amaryllis Alert page of my Google web site Kirbyvariety is a sexy, gentle, encouraging color, especially when viewed against the snow outside its window.  I hesitate to insert a direct link to the page since I have had rejections and delays getting photos and links to recipients of the blog.

By the way, just to further confuse things, there actually seems to be a flower called "Kirby variety Amaryllis".  You can imagine the confusion (and possibilities for poetry and humor, for kidding and sly digs) people and bots and semi-intelligent machines can find in the two sets of words.  I got a little peeved at the limitations of sending one little photo or even a link to a photo.  I had heard of another Google service called Google Groups.  I looked into it and for some purposes, creating a more or less closed group might be good.  That still leaves open the question of what kinds of messages can be exchanged and how easily.  

Not long ago, I read "What Hath God Wrought" by Daniel W. Howe.  I am interested in the overall effect of the telegraph and the railroad.  But the book and possibly my own age, got me interested in the broader, more far-reaching question of history.  I grew up in an era when it was common to say that history began with writing and before writing, there was no history but "pre-history".  Ok, but as detection and forensic procedures get more powerful, more insightful and more helpful, we can go farther back into the past.  

So, I did, with The 10,000 Year Explosion, The Invisible History of the Human Race and other books.  That got me into genetics and the ongoing evolution of humans, which I came to see is very much related to both our brains and our language.  With communication in speech and writing, we augment our brains with the brains of others.  But as the internet and cellphones expand our communication to include more and more others and types of others, we can expect more disagreements, more shocked and outraged readers, writers, speakers and reactions.

We already have the situation where people have multiple phone numbers, several secretaries and assistants, multiple email addresses, multiple residences or no residence.  Previously, we often assumed everyone had a phone or an address.  Now, that is no longer a single, reliable arrangement and many of our ways of communication are up for grabs by causes, organizations, institutions as well as our actual, human friends.

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