The Big Think

June 28, 2004

Fly

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:21 pm

We don’t call industrial-sized air conditioning units “she.” Well, most of us don’t anyway. We don’t refer to buildings this way very often, or to generators or dumpsters.

But vehicles, they are different somehow. If you do not believe it is possible to love an inanimate object, then you do not know too many teenage boys and their first cars. Ships have always been she. Airplanes, too. And I don’t think this is so hard to figure out, because there is something about a machine that takes us places, something alive and magical. Many foreign observers of America simply cannot comprehend our love of automobiles, but that is because they have never had to face crossing Texas. There is a rite of passage for everyone in the US, and that is your first teenage road trip. And no matter what kind of piece of s#$% you may be driving when you take that trip, that machine is serving you up pure, unrefined freedom and it’s so delirious and liberating that it makes your head spin, and carves the songs you heard during those glorious hours into that part of your brain that makes you cry when you hear them again twenty and forty and sixty years later.

A guy on a Harley knows real freedom in the single, left and right direction of the highway. Sailors know it in two dimensions, the ability to point the bow anywhere on the compass and follow it, come what may.

And then there are those of us who have worked and studied and trained like hell so that we may know freedom in all three dimensions. Now a lot of people think this makes pilots a little arrogant and aloof. Not so. The average pilot, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring. It’s just that these feelings don’t involve anyone else.

I knew, when I was sitting in those bleachers all those years ago, that those red, white and blue jets were alive. I always see airplanes that way. They live. They are here to set us free. And the most docile and sweet-natured of them can only just barelykill us.

Read the rest of the essay here. Read it alone.

Spyware

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:50 am

BBC News has a report on the incidence of spyware on the average PC (28 spy programs per average PC). If you’re a non-Mac user, you really need to read this. If you use a Mac, move along… nothing to see here.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:37 am

You’ve gotta love that Apple-tude:

Have a Coke and a Tumor

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:48 am

via Netscape News: Researchers have discovered a link between soft drink consumption and the almost always terminal esophageal cancer. Also, did you know that our per-capita intake of soft drink has risen 450 percent in the last 50 years? It’s gone from 10.8 gallons per person per year to 49.2 gallons!

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