Day 25 – Technology

26 02 2010

Turn green now. I can't do that Dave

Walking across Trafalgar Square this evening I was confronted by this massive mess. The traffic lights had failed and everyone seemed to have taken a punt on going rather than stopping!

In the first instance I was consumed with doubt about whether I should go or not. It was like some kind of eighth circle of hell for me, every man was red! I thought back to the letter of the law, walked a few yards up behind a lorry so I couldn’t see the junction and then crossed.

Fun as it was to walk carefree through the middle of the traffic, it did make me think about the role of technology in rules. I think this goes one of two ways. When technology isn’t present people just figure stuff out for themselves and often we surprise ourselves with how well we cope or the opposite happens and it turns into a giant clusterfuck.

I do remember a great story about a woman who drove into a river because her sat nav told her to. The police asked her why she didn’t stop and she just kept repeating that the sat nav told her to keep going so she thought it would be OK. Maybe this is what the future will be like, we’ll all be moronic automatons incapable of rational thought. It’s started already with footballers and viewers of the X Factor, who’s next!

Putting this terrifying vision aside for a moment I really couldn’t have done this challenge without significant help from technology. When I’ve needed to verify a rule or law I’ve had it pretty much at my fingertips on the internet. I’ve also passively received loads of information through ads or online articles. Another essential has been the iPhone apps I’m using. One to find out and track the unit values of alcohol and one for researching and tracking nutrient intake from food. Without having ready made info to hand, finding out what was in everything I’ve eaten would have taken hours. If you didn’t have access to this sort of thing I genuinely don’t think you’d be able to do it.

What did people do in the olden days? Did they just have fewer rules or was the socially acceptable/unacceptable thing more prevalent? When you look at what people ate in the 50s and 60s it suggests that there were fewer rules because people just didn’t know about things like health and nutrition for example. An old cookbook my mum has seems to call for lard as an integral part of every recipe and makes no mention of healthy eating or calorie targets.

I wonder if this could be plotted on some kind of graph. As a society grows and develops it has progressively more rules to cope and make sense of it all. Could you plot GDP or quality of life against rules and see what the correlation is? Does technology stimulate rules or develop because of them?

I think there’s another PHD in here.


Weight: 13st 9lb

Body fat 17.5%

Frustration 5

Infractions 10.5

Wellbeing 7

Two hugely important new rules today:

  • Don’t die in the Houses of Parliament
  • Don’t wear a suit of armour in the Houses of Parliament



One response

25 03 2010
Tim Beadle

A bit of lard wasn’t such an issue back in the 60s because (a) there wasn’t the abundance of food that there is now and (b) more people got about by more active means than driving (e.g. walking, cycling).

Having said that, my maternal grandfather died at age 61 (before I was born) of (I think) a heart attack.

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