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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: April 11, 2020
Posted: April 11, 2020 at 8:06 pm
In the early 2nd century, the great bishop and theologian whom we know today as St. Ignatius of Antioch, wrote a series of letters to several important Christian cities while a prisoner on route to his eventual martyrdom in Rome. The texts of these stunning letters have been persevered to this day, and they provide a fascinating window into the faith of the early Church.
Toward the end of his letter to the Ephesians, St. Ignatius admonishes the faithful of that city to remain obedient to their bishop and priests, and then encourages them with powerful words concerning the Eucharist, which he calls: the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live forever inJesus Christ.
What a beautiful way to refer to the Eucharist: The Medicine of Immortality! It seems to me that St. Ignatius is merely summarizing the teaching of Our Lord himself, who said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh (John 6:51).
The Eucharist is indeed powerful medicine for the soul, and a pledge of the future resurrection of our bodies. But as we know well from our experience, sometimes the medicines with the strongest healing effects can be the medicines which are most easily abused. This is why strong medicines come with serious warning labels. And the Eucharist is no different.
St. Paul gives us precisely such a warning label in his first letter to the Corinthians, when he explains:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (1 Cor. 11:27-29)
Lets unpack what St. Paul is telling us here. Just as a strong medicine might bring life and health to one patient whose condition warrants it, that very same medicine could cause damage and even death in another patient whose condition is quite different, and is not so disposed to receive that medicines effects.
This is exactly what Bishop Matano has in mind in his Pastoral Letter, when he reminds us:
Belief in the Eucharistic presence of Christ also means that we approach the Holy Eucharist properly disposed, that is, not conscious of serious sin that requires that we avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession, before the reception of Holy Communion.
In my work in the parish, I try to remind people that if they are at Mass but know that they have a mortal sin on their soul and need to get to confession, then the very best thing they can do for themselves is actually not receive Holy Communion! This advice is not meant to be harsh or exclusionary. Rather, it is actually like the advice of a good doctor who says to his patient: this medicine is not for you right now, but dont worry, I have something else for you that will help you get better! If they want, I allow them to come up a receive a simple blessing from the priest instead, until they can arrange to make it to the Sacrament of Confession.
Ultimately, if we want to grow in our love of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and to see the Eucharist as that medicine of immortality which we profess It to be, we are in desperate need to recover the practice of regular sacramental confession. These two Sacraments go hand in hand.
I think Bishop Matano gives us two important keys to bringing this about.
First, he reminds us that the Year of the Eucharist is meant to support parents in their role as the primary religious instructors of their children. Participation at Holy Mass, love of the Eucharist, and regular confession can only be cultivated at the Diocesan-wide level if our parents insist on making such practices a normal part of their lives as Catholic families.
Secondly, the Bishop encourages us to participate in Eucharistic worship even outside of Mass, particular through times of Eucharistic adoration. It was Pope John Paul II spoke of Eucharistic adoration as a way of fostering what he called Eucharistic amazementa profound belief and existential fervor in our knowledge of love of the fact that Jesus Christ is really present on our altars and in our Tabernacles, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Wherever this Eucharistic amazement exists, then I am convinced that we will also use this great Medicine of Immortality in the manner that Our Lord intended, to bring about true health and nourishment to our souls.
Father Peter Van Lieshout was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rochester by Bishop Matano in 2014, after completing his seminary training at the North American College in Rome, Italy. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology with a concentration in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. Father Van Lieshout is currently assigned as Parochial Administrator of St. Peters Parish in Clifton Springs, in addition to serving as Co-Director of Priestly Vocation Awareness.
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The Medicine of Immortality | Eucharist :: Evangelization ...
Posted: at 8:04 pm
This article is about the use and knowledge of techniques and processes for producing goods and services. For other uses, see Technology (disambiguation).
Making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization
Technology ("science of craft", from Greek , techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -, -logia) is the sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings. Systems (e.g. machines) applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the system's use, and then producing an outcome are referred to as technology systems or technological systems.
The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions in the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.
The use of the term "technology" has changed significantly over the last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and it was used either to refer to the description or study of the useful arts or to allude to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861).
The term "technology" rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The term's meanings changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German concept of Technik into "technology." In German and other European languages, a distinction exists between technik and technologie that is absent in English, which usually translates both terms as "technology." By the 1930s, "technology" referred not only to the study of the industrial arts but to the industrial arts themselves.
In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that "technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them." Bain's definition remains common among scholars today, especially social scientists. Scientists and engineers usually prefer to define technology as applied science, rather than as the things that people make and use. More recently, scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of "technique" to extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental reason, as in Foucault's work on technologies of the self (techniques de soi).
Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary offers a definition of the term: "the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems" and "a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology." Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 "Real World of Technology" lecture, gave another definition of the concept; it is "practice, the way we do things around here." The term is often used to imply a specific field of technology, or to refer to high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than technology as a whole. Bernard Stiegler, in Technics and Time, 1, defines technology in two ways: as "the pursuit of life by means other than life," and as "organized inorganic matter."
Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value. In this usage, technology refers to tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems. It is a far-reaching term that may include simple tools, such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or more complex machines, such as a space station or particle accelerator. Tools and machines need not be material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business methods, fall under this definition of technology. W. Brian Arthur defines technology in a similarly broad way as "a means to fulfill a human purpose."
The word "technology" can also be used to refer to a collection of techniques. In this context, it is the current state of humanity's knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; it includes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials. When combined with another term, such as "medical technology" or "space technology," it refers to the state of the respective field's knowledge and tools. "State-of-the-art technology" refers to the high technology available to humanity in any field.
Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture. Additionally, technology is the application of math, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. A modern example is the rise of communication technology, which has lessened barriers to human interaction and as a result has helped spawn new subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has at its basis the development of the Internet and the computer. Not all technology enhances culture in a creative way; technology can also help facilitate political oppression and war via tools such as guns. As a cultural activity, technology predates both science and engineering, each of which formalize some aspects of technological endeavor.
The distinction between science, engineering, and technology is not always clear. Science is systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation. Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because they have to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability, and safety.
Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means, often (but not always) using results and techniques from science. The development of technology may draw upon many fields of knowledge, including scientific, engineering, mathematical, linguistic, and historical knowledge, to achieve some practical result.
Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering, although technology as a human activity precedes the two fields. For example, science might study the flow of electrons in electrical conductors by using already-existing tools and knowledge. This new-found knowledge may then be used by engineers to create new tools and machines such as semiconductors, computers, and other forms of advanced technology. In this sense, scientists and engineers may both be considered technologists; the three fields are often considered as one for the purposes of research and reference.
The exact relations between science and technology, in particular, have been debated by scientists, historians, and policymakers in the late 20th century, in part because the debate can inform the funding of basic and applied science. In the immediate wake of World War II, for example, it was widely considered in the United States that technology was simply "applied science" and that to fund basic science was to reap technological results in due time. An articulation of this philosophy could be found explicitly in Vannevar Bush's treatise on postwar science policy, Science The Endless Frontier: "New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature... This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research." In the late-1960s, however, this view came under direct attack, leading towards initiatives to fund science for specific tasks (initiatives resisted by the scientific community). The issue remains contentious, though most analysts resist the model that technology is a result of scientific research.
The use of tools by early humans was partly a process of discovery and of evolution. Early humans evolved from a species of foraging hominids which were already bipedal, with a brain mass approximately one third of modern humans. Tool use remained relatively unchanged for most of early human history. Approximately 50,000 years ago, the use of tools and complex set of behaviors emerged, believed by many archaeologists to be connected to the emergence of fully modern language.
Hominids started using primitive stone tools millions of years ago. The earliest stone tools were little more than a fractured rock, but approximately 75,000 years ago, pressure flaking provided a way to make much finer work.
The discovery and use of fire, a simple energy source with many profound uses, was a turning point in the technological evolution of humankind. The exact date of its discovery is not known; evidence of burnt animal bones at the Cradle of Humankind suggests that the domestication of fire occurred before 1 Ma; scholarly consensus indicates that Homo erectus had controlled fire by between 500 and 400 ka. Fire, fueled with wood and charcoal, allowed early humans to cook their food to increase its digestibility, improving its nutrient value and broadening the number of foods that could be eaten.
Other technological advances made during the Paleolithic era were clothing and shelter; the adoption of both technologies cannot be dated exactly, but they were a key to humanity's progress. As the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and more elaborate; as early as 380 ka, humans were constructing temporary wood huts. Clothing, adapted from the fur and hides of hunted animals, helped humanity expand into colder regions; humans began to migrateout of Africa by 200 ka and into other continents such as Eurasia.
Human's technological ascent began in earnest in what is known as the Neolithic Period ("New Stone Age"). The invention of polished stone axes was a major advance that allowed forest clearance on a large scale to create farms. This use of polished stone axes increased greatly in the Neolithic, but were originally used in the preceding Mesolithic in some areas such as Ireland. Agriculture fed larger populations, and the transition to sedentism allowed simultaneously raising more children, as infants no longer needed to be carried, as nomadic ones must. Additionally, children could contribute labor to the raising of crops more readily than they could to the hunter-gatherer economy.
With this increase in population and availability of labor came an increase in labor specialization. What triggered the progression from early Neolithic villages to the first cities, such as Uruk, and the first civilizations, such as Sumer, is not specifically known; however, the emergence of increasingly hierarchical social structures and specialized labor, of trade and war amongst adjacent cultures, and the need for collective action to overcome environmental challenges such as irrigation, are all thought to have played a role.
Continuing improvements led to the furnace and bellows and provided, for the first time, the ability to smelt and forge gold, copper, silver, and lead native metals found in relatively pure form in nature. The advantages of copper tools over stone, bone, and wooden tools were quickly apparent to early humans, and native copper was probably used from near the beginning of Neolithic times (about 10 ka). Native copper does not naturally occur in large amounts, but copper ores are quite common and some of them produce metal easily when burned in wood or charcoal fires. Eventually, the working of metals led to the discovery of alloys such as bronze and brass (about 4000 BCE). The first uses of iron alloys such as steel dates to around 1800 BCE.
Meanwhile, humans were learning to harness other forms of energy. The earliest known use of wind power is the sailing ship; the earliest record of a ship under sail is that of a Nile boat dating to the 8th-millennium BCE. From prehistoric times, Egyptians probably used the power of the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate their lands, gradually learning to regulate much of it through purposely built irrigation channels and "catch" basins. The ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamia used a complex system of canals and levees to divert water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for irrigation.
According to archaeologists, the wheel was invented around 4000 BCE probably independently and nearly simultaneously in Mesopotamia (in present-day Iraq), the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central Europe. Estimates on when this may have occurred range from 5500 to 3000 BCE with most experts putting it closer to 4000 BCE. The oldest artifacts with drawings depicting wheeled carts date from about 3500 BCE; however, the wheel may have been in use for millennia before these drawings were made. More recently, the oldest-known wooden wheel in the world was found in the Ljubljana marshes of Slovenia.
The invention of the wheel revolutionized trade and war. It did not take long to discover that wheeled wagons could be used to carry heavy loads. The ancient Sumerians used the potter's wheel and may have invented it. A stone pottery wheel found in the city-state of Ur dates to around 3429 BCE, and even older fragments of wheel-thrown pottery have been found in the same area. Fast (rotary) potters' wheels enabled early mass production of pottery, but it was the use of the wheel as a transformer of energy (through water wheels, windmills, and even treadmills) that revolutionized the application of nonhuman power sources. The first two-wheeled carts were derived from travois and were first used in Mesopotamia and Iran in around 3000 BCE.
The oldest known constructed roadways are the stone-paved streets of the city-state of Ur, dating to circa 4000 BCE and timber roads leading through the swamps of Glastonbury, England, dating to around the same time period. The first long-distance road, which came into use around 3500 BCE, spanned 1,500 miles from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, but was not paved and was only partially maintained. In around 2000 BCE, the Minoans on the Greek island of Crete built a fifty-kilometer (thirty-mile) road leading from the palace of Gortyn on the south side of the island, through the mountains, to the palace of Knossos on the north side of the island. Unlike the earlier road, the Minoan road was completely paved.
Ancient Minoan private homes had running water. A bathtub virtually identical to modern ones was unearthed at the Palace of Knossos. Several Minoan private homes also had toilets, which could be flushed by pouring water down the drain. The ancient Romans had many public flush toilets, which emptied into an extensive sewage system. The primary sewer in Rome was the Cloaca Maxima; construction began on it in the sixth century BCE and it is still in use today.
The ancient Romans also had a complex system of aqueducts, which were used to transport water across long distances. The first Roman aqueduct was built in 312 BCE. The eleventh and final ancient Roman aqueduct was built in 226 CE. Put together, the Roman aqueducts extended over 450 kilometers, but less than seventy kilometers of this was above ground and supported by arches.
Innovations continued through the Middle Ages with innovations such as silk, the horse collar and horseshoes in the first few hundred years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Medieval technology saw the use of simple machines (such as the lever, the screw, and the pulley) being combined to form more complicated tools, such as the wheelbarrow, windmills and clocks. The Renaissance brought forth many of these innovations, including the printing press (which facilitated the greater communication of knowledge), and technology became increasingly associated with science, beginning a cycle of mutual advancement. The advancements in technology in this era allowed a more steady supply of food, followed by the wider availability of consumer goods.
Starting in the United Kingdom in the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution was a period of great technological discovery, particularly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, metallurgy, and transport, driven by the discovery of steam power. Technology took another step in a second industrial revolution with the harnessing of electricity to create such innovations as the electric motor, light bulb, and countless others. Scientific advancement and the discovery of new concepts later allowed for powered flight and advancements in medicine, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The rise in technology has led to skyscrapers and broad urban areas whose inhabitants rely on motors to transport them and their food supply. Communication was also greatly improved with the invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio and television. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a revolution in transportation with the invention of the airplane and automobile.
The 20th century brought a host of innovations. In physics, the discovery of nuclear fission has led to both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Computers were also invented and later miniaturized using transistors and integrated circuits. Information technology subsequently led to the creation of the Internet, which ushered in the current Information Age. Humans have also been able to explore space with satellites (later used for telecommunication) and in manned missions going all the way to the moon. In medicine, this era brought innovations such as open-heart surgery and later stem cell therapy along with new medications and treatments.
Complex manufacturing and construction techniques and organizations are needed to make and maintain these new technologies, and entire industries have arisen to support and develop succeeding generations of increasingly more complex tools. Modern technology increasingly relies on training and education their designers, builders, maintainers, and users often require sophisticated general and specific training. Moreover, these technologies have become so complex that entire fields have been created to support them, including engineering, medicine, and computer science, and other fields have been made more complex, such as construction, transportation, and architecture.
Generally, technicism is the belief in the utility of technology for improving human societies. Taken to an extreme, technicism "reflects a fundamental attitude which seeks to control reality, to resolve all problems with the use of scientifictechnological methods and tools." In other words, human beings will someday be able to master all problems and possibly even control the future using technology. Some, such as Stephen V. Monsma, connect these ideas to the abdication of religion as a higher moral authority.
Optimistic assumptions are made by proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and singularitarianism, which view technological development as generally having beneficial effects for the society and the human condition. In these ideologies, technological development is morally good.
Transhumanists generally believe that the point of technology is to overcome barriers, and that what we commonly refer to as the human condition is just another barrier to be surpassed.
Singularitarians believe in some sort of "accelerating change"; that the rate of technological progress accelerates as we obtain more technology, and that this will culminate in a "Singularity" after artificial general intelligence is invented in which progress is nearly infinite; hence the term. Estimates for the date of this Singularity vary, but prominent futurist Ray Kurzweil estimates the Singularity will occur in 2045.
Kurzweil is also known for his history of the universe in six epochs: (1) the physical/chemical epoch, (2) the life epoch, (3) the human/brain epoch, (4) the technology epoch, (5) the artificial intelligence epoch, and (6) the universal colonization epoch. Going from one epoch to the next is a Singularity in its own right, and a period of speeding up precedes it. Each epoch takes a shorter time, which means the whole history of the universe is one giant Singularity event.
Some critics see these ideologies as examples of scientism and techno-utopianism and fear the notion of human enhancement and technological singularity which they support. Some have described Karl Marx as a techno-optimist.
On the somewhat skeptical side are certain philosophers like Herbert Marcuse and John Zerzan, who believe that technological societies are inherently flawed. They suggest that the inevitable result of such a society is to become evermore technological at the cost of freedom and psychological health.
Many, such as the Luddites and prominent philosopher Martin Heidegger, hold serious, although not entirely, deterministic reservations about technology (see "The Question Concerning Technology"). According to Heidegger scholars Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa, "Heidegger does not oppose technology. He hopes to reveal the essence of technology in a way that 'in no way confines us to a stultified compulsion to push on blindly with technology or, what comes to the same thing, to rebel helplessly against it.' Indeed, he promises that 'when we once open ourselves expressly to the essence of technology, we find ourselves unexpectedly taken into a freeing claim.' What this entails is a more complex relationship to technology than either techno-optimists or techno-pessimists tend to allow."
Some of the most poignant criticisms of technology are found in what are now considered to be dystopian literary classics such as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Goethe's Faust, Faust selling his soul to the devil in return for power over the physical world is also often interpreted as a metaphor for the adoption of industrial technology. More recently, modern works of science fiction such as those by Philip K. Dick and William Gibson and films such as Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell project highly ambivalent or cautionary attitudes toward technology's impact on human society and identity.
The late cultural critic Neil Postman distinguished tool-using societies from technological societies and from what he called "technopolies," societies that are dominated by the ideology of technological and scientific progress to the exclusion or harm of other cultural practices, values, and world-views.
Darin Barney has written about technology's impact on practices of citizenship and democratic culture, suggesting that technology can be construed as (1) an object of political debate, (2) a means or medium of discussion, and (3) a setting for democratic deliberation and citizenship. As a setting for democratic culture, Barney suggests that technology tends to make ethical questions, including the question of what a good life consists in, nearly impossible because they already give an answer to the question: a good life is one that includes the use of more and more technology.
Nikolas Kompridis has also written about the dangers of new technology, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and robotics. He warns that these technologies introduce unprecedented new challenges to human beings, including the possibility of the permanent alteration of our biological nature. These concerns are shared by other philosophers, scientists and public intellectuals who have written about similar issues (e.g. Francis Fukuyama, Jrgen Habermas, William Joy, and Michael Sandel).
Another prominent critic of technology is Hubert Dreyfus, who has published books such as On the Internet and What Computers Still Can't Do.
A more infamous anti-technological treatise is Industrial Society and Its Future, written by the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and printed in several major newspapers (and later books) as part of an effort to end his bombing campaign of the techno-industrial infrastructure. There are also subcultures that disapprove of some or most technology, such as self-identified off-gridders.
The notion of appropriate technology was developed in the 20th century by thinkers such as E.F. Schumacher and Jacques Ellul to describe situations where it was not desirable to use very new technologies or those that required access to some centralized infrastructure or parts or skills imported from elsewhere. The ecovillage movement emerged in part due to this concern.
This section mainly focuses on American concerns even if it can reasonably be generalized to other Western countries.
The inadequate quantity and quality of American jobs is one of the most fundamental economic challenges we face. [...] What's the linkage between technology and this fundamental problem?
In his article, Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, questions the widespread idea that automation, and more broadly, technological advances, have mainly contributed to this growing labor market problem.His thesis appears to be a third way between optimism and skepticism. Essentially, he stands for a neutral approach of the linkage between technology and American issues concerning unemployment and declining wages.
He uses two main arguments to defend his point.First, because of recent technological advances, an increasing number of workers are losing their jobs. Yet, scientific evidence fails to clearly demonstrate that technology has displaced so many workers that it has created more problems than it has solved. Indeed, automation threatens repetitive jobs but higher-end jobs are still necessary because they complement technology and manual jobs that "requires flexibility judgment and common sense" remain hard to replace with machines. Second, studies have not shown clear links between recent technology advances and the wage trends of the last decades.
Therefore, according to Bernstein, instead of focusing on technology and its hypothetical influences on current American increasing unemployment and declining wages, one needs to worry more about "bad policy that fails to offset the imbalances in demand, trade, income, and opportunity."
For people who use both the Internet and mobile devices in excessive quantities it is likely for them to experience fatigue and over exhaustion as a result of disruptions in their sleeping patterns. Continuous studies have shown that increased BMI and weight gain are associated with people who spend long hours online and not exercising frequently. Heavy Internet use is also displayed in the school lower grades of those who use it in excessive amounts. It has also been noted that the use of mobile phones whilst driving has increased the occurrence of road accidents particularly amongst teen drivers. Statistically, teens reportedly have fourfold the number of road traffic incidents as those who are 20 years or older, and a very high percentage of adolescents write (81%) and read (92%) texts while driving. In this context, mass media and technology have a negative impact on people, on both their mental and physical health.
Thomas P. Hughes stated that because technology has been considered as a key way to solve problems, we need to be aware of its complex and varied characters to use it more efficiently. What is the difference between a wheel or a compass and cooking machines such as an oven or a gas stove? Can we consider all of them, only a part of them, or none of them as technologies?
Technology is often considered too narrowly; according to Hughes, "Technology is a creative process involving human ingenuity". This definition's emphasis on creativity avoids unbounded definitions that may mistakenly include cooking "technologies," but it also highlights the prominent role of humans and therefore their responsibilities for the use of complex technological systems.
Yet, because technology is everywhere and has dramatically changed landscapes and societies, Hughes argues that engineers, scientists, and managers have often believed that they can use technology to shape the world as they want. They have often supposed that technology is easily controllable and this assumption has to be thoroughly questioned. For instance, Evgeny Morozov particularly challenges two concepts: "Internet-centrism" and "solutionism." Internet-centrism refers to the idea that our society is convinced that the Internet is one of the most stable and coherent forces. Solutionism is the ideology that every social issue can be solved thanks to technology and especially thanks to the internet. In fact, technology intrinsically contains uncertainties and limitations. According to Alexis Madrigal's review of Morozov's theory, to ignore it will lead to "unexpected consequences that could eventually cause more damage than the problems they seek to address." Benjamin R. Cohen and Gwen Ottinger also discussed the multivalent effects of technology.
Therefore, recognition of the limitations of technology, and more broadly, scientific knowledge, is needed especially in cases dealing with environmental justice and health issues. Ottinger continues this reasoning and argues that the ongoing recognition of the limitations of scientific knowledge goes hand in hand with scientists and engineers new comprehension of their role. Such an approach of technology and science "[require] technical professionals to conceive of their roles in the process differently. [They have to consider themselves as] collaborators in research and problem solving rather than simply providers of information and technical solutions."
The use of basic technology is also a feature of other animal species apart from humans. These include primates such as chimpanzees, some dolphin communities, and crows. Considering a more generic perspective of technology as ethology of active environmental conditioning and control, we can also refer to animal examples such as beavers and their dams, or bees and their honeycombs.
The ability to make and use tools was once considered a defining characteristic of the genus Homo. However, the discovery of tool construction among chimpanzees and related primates has discarded the notion of the use of technology as unique to humans. For example, researchers have observed wild chimpanzees using tools for foraging: some of the tools used include leaf sponges, termite fishing probes, pestles and levers. West African chimpanzees also use stone hammers and anvils for cracking nuts, as do capuchin monkeys of Boa Vista, Brazil.
Theories of technology often attempt to predict the future of technology based on the high technology and science of the time. As with all predictions of the future, however, technology is uncertain.
In 2005, futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that the future of technology would mainly consist of an overlapping "GNR Revolution" of genetics, nanotechnology and robotics, with robotics being the most important of the three.
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Posted: at 8:04 pm
Issued on: 11/04/2020 - 14:05Modified: 11/04/2020 - 14:08
In this edition, we tell you how makers and doers are getting together to help print essential medical parts but also how car manufacturers are offering their expertise to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
In France, hundreds of makers are at work in the fight against Covid-19. Dozens of 3D printers, for instance, have been set up in hospitals in Paris to help reduce the lack of personal protective equipment but also essential parts for respirators.
In this edition, we also speak to Gael Musquet,the founder of the NGO HAND, or Hackers Against Natural Disasters.He uses local communities of "makers","doers"and "ethicalhackers"to develop and improve low-cost, open-source crisis technologies. This aims to help citizens who now have to live in a disaster-stricken country. He gives us his advice for people living on lockdown.
And in Test 24, Dhananjay Khadilkar tries out the video game Gran Tourismo Sport on his PlayStation 4. Formula 1 organisers are now turning to onlinegaming to host virtual races, this as events have been cancelled worldwide.
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A penguin carries a National Geographic crittercam on its back to record environmental data. (Greg Marshall/National Geographic)
Alexandria, VA Students at T.C. Williams Minnie Howard campus were treated to a presentation on Friday, February 28, by National Geographic expert Birgit Buhleier about the technology known as the Crittercam. It is a device that can track animals through sensory data, video, and sound.
Theres something amazing about making a social connection with an animal, said Buhleier. Crittercam makes that connection. Its not just the logic of data; its also an emotive experience.
The event was part of the USA Science and Engineering Festivals Nifty Fifty, which sponsored scientists to create STEM technology in advance of the main event, schedule for April. This was T.C. Williams second time participating in the program. The previous speaker was an astronaut.
Buhleier was a last-minute sub for colleague Kyler Abernathy and, as a result, her audiovisual presentation was marked with some technical difficulties. Fortunately, the students were unusually attentive and peppered her with enough questions to fill out the hour-long period.
Most of the students here have some interest in engineering, so the fact that this presentation had everythingit had the science, the engineering, the visual artsa lot of students forget that visual arts are like a stem track and various visual arts are like the science, explained T.C. Williams biology teacher Ben Matthews.
Matthews coordinates the STEM academy, which is a course track that gives students dual enrollment in GW University. Another course track, the T.C.Williams Health Science Academy also had interested students in the audience, as did the 9th grade TV production class.
Buhleier contracts with National Geographic now, but worked for National Geographic directly in the 1990s to develop Crittercam technology. The product was first invented in 1986 by Greg Smith and is trademarked by NG. It was most widely seen in the Oscar-winning 2005 film documentary March of the Penguins. For her contributions and ongoing collaborations with NG, Buhleier is honored as a certified National Geographic expert.
On the sudden fill-in, Buhleier joked, This is my target audience, explaining that her children are a sophomore and senior at nearby West Potomac High School.
While the Crittercam is always popular with whales (clips of the humpback were shown at the start of the presentation), it has been used on many kinds of terrestrial and aquatic animals. Buhleier has deployed over 100 Crittercams in Alaska, the Arctic, and Antarctica, in addition to producing the documentaries Bear Island and Emperors of the Ice.
Asked about the most challenging animals, Buhleier said that terrestrial animals (particularly the Tasmanian devil) can cause more damage to the camera, but the marine animals can be difficult to find because of the size of the ocean.
It currently costs $10,000 to build each Crittercam. They are still being developed and deployed because, as Buhleier explained, You learn new things about [the animals]. We do this because we [always] have a new research question.
The first Crittercam run times were limited by tape capacity, but now they run on batteries. When a student asked why they dont use solar batteries, Buhleier replied that its an issue she hopes the minds of tomorrow can work on. She added, Any of you who want to go into engineering, these are all projects that need doing.
About the students questions, Buhleier later said, Its a concept thats relatable for them, makes them think about what goes into it, and thats whats so rewarding in talking to them, because you can see their brains switch on.
National Geographic has a series of educational resources and school curriculums involving the curriculum that can be found at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/crittercam-education/. The sponsoring organization, USA Science and Engineering Festival, which calls itself the Superbowl of STEM, was scheduled to be held at D.C.s Walter E. Washington Convention Center April 25-26. It has been postponed, with no future date yet determined. More information can be found at http://www.usasciencefestival.org/.
ICYMI: 8th and 9th Graders: Nows the Time to Apply to the Governors Health Sciences
Religious leaders are using technology to connect with congregations during Holy Week – Long Beach Post
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Holy Week is sacred among Christians as they recall the events leading up to Jesus crucifixion and celebrate his resurrectionpreachers on Easter Sunday sermonize how his coming back to life represents light following darkness.
That message of hope is an important one for parishioners to keep in mind, said Rev. Michael Fincher at St. Gregorys Episcopal Church, especially since worshipers cannot congregate this Easter Sunday due to stay-at-home orders meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The whole message Jesus had at the end of his life was that this is not the end of the story, Fincher said, drawing a biblical comparison to the coronavirus pandemic. You cannot have Easter without Good Friday. Right now it may seem like we are in the Good Friday place, in the darkness, but there is something more, there is resurrection We will come through this.
Until then, Fincher and other local ministers are finding innovative ways to tend their flocks, leveraging technology to provide digital Sunday services for the past month and Holy Week liturgies even though churches are closed until further notice.
At the Greek Orthodox Church of Long Beach, Holy Week is traditionally the busiest time of year, according to Rev. Christos Kanakis, but pews that normally provide solace sit empty as he preaches to a vacant sanctuary. Theres no one to physically take sacrament, kiss idols or sing hymns in harmony.
When I turn around and see the empty church, I try to focus on the camera, Kanakis said. I try to think of everyonethats what helps the lonelinessI know everyone is with me.
Besides digital sermons, the Greek Orthodox Church is maintaining its tradition of lighting luminaries commemorating loved ones for Holy Week, showing the lit paper bags surrounding the church on YouTube. Kanakis is also saying prayers and burning candles on behalf of anyone who asks.
Orthodox churches are beginning Holy Week and will observe Easter on April 19; most other local churches are wrapping up Holy Week with Easter on April 12.
Having never used technology to livestream his Episcopal sermons, Fincher said hes had to adapt quickly. He emphasized that digital services cannot replace the more experiential and visceral elements of worship, or hugs among congregants, but he believes technology can help churches maintain hope and a sense of community.
It was a scramble, but weve settled in, and Sunday services are on Facebook Live, the preacher said, noting that hes doing short prayer readings daily, too, reaching more people now than ever before.
An average Sunday service was physically attended by roughly 100 people, and the number watching online is more than double that, Fincher noted, with family and friends viewing together across the United States.
People, particularly at a time of isolation and uncertainty, are looking for something to hold onto, he said. People are looking for some sign of hope, and throughout our 2,000-year history the church has been the place that people turn to for that.
But even if more people are tuning in, there are no donation trays circulating during digital services and churches are pinching pennies to make up for lost revenue from weddings, baptisms, funerals and private events.
The offerings have been down, Fincher said, noting that the churchs food bank is struggling to bring in donations and volunteers. The Greek Orthodox Church, too, is sending out virtual collection trays while at the same time trying to help support parishioners who may be in need.
But despite the challenges, Pastor Gregory Sanders from Rock Christian Fellowship is assuring believers that churches are durable and formidable and now is the time to strengthen the faith.
The church is not a building or a monument, it is fluid, he said. Its rooted in the resilience of the people. And so the church, I always say, is a living organism.
Sanders said closing doors to keep people safe was the right thing to do but hes in mourning over not being able to hug and high-five the members of his congregation. Still, he said he thanks God that this crisis has happened at a time when advanced technology allows people to stay connected.
Just because we cannot gather doesnt mean we have to be separated, said Sanders, who also serves as president of the Long Beach Ministers Alliance. We are going to be all right as humanity. We are going to be fine. Keep loving on each other, keep encouraging each other and keep connecting with each other.
Kanakis emphasized the importance of maintaining faith, connecting with one another and using this time as an opportunity to practice prayer at home.
Just like we are bringing work home, we are bringing church home and thats important to do anyways, he said. So theres this light in this situation of working on our prayer life at home We are in a desert but we are not deserted. Even in the desert we can find Christ and find faith and find hope.
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LONDON On April 2, a wireless tower was set ablaze in Birmingham. The next day, a fire was reported at 10 p.m. at a telecommunications box in Liverpool. An hour later, an emergency call came in about another cell tower in Liverpool that was going up in flames.
Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job.
The attacks were fueled by the same cause, government officials said: an internet conspiracy theory that links the spread of the coronavirus to an ultrafast wireless technology known as 5G. Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to peoples bodies that make them succumb to the virus.
The incidents starkly demonstrate how coronavirus conspiracy theories have taken a dark turn by spilling out into the real world. In just a few weeks, the pandemic has given pre-existing fringe ideas online new urgency by playing on peoples fears.
Before the coronavirus, rarely did such theories cause as much tangible harm so quickly, disinformation researchers said.
In the United States, one person died after self-medicating with chloroquine, which was touted online as a miracle cure for the coronavirus even though its efficacy is unproven. And Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was assigned more security this month after unfounded theories spread that he was part of a secret cabal working to undermine President Trump.
Most conspiracies stay online, but this is having real-world impact, said Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of the E.U. DisinfoLab, a Brussels-based group tracking virus conspiracy theories. He called managing pandemic misinformation a new problem because the disease is global and people everywhere are hunting for information.
The false theory linking 5G to the coronavirus has been especially prominent, amplified by celebrities like John Cusack and Woody Harrelson on social media. It has also been stoked by a vocal anti-5G contingent, who have urged people to take action against telecom gear to protect themselves.
The idea has deep internet roots. An analysis by The New York Times found 487 Facebook communities, 84 Instagram accounts, 52 Twitter accounts, and dozens of other posts and videos pushing the conspiracy. The Facebook communities added nearly half a million new followers over the past two weeks. On Instagram, a network of 40 accounts nearly doubled its audience this month to 58,800 followers.
On YouTube, the 10 most popular 5G coronavirus conspiracy videos posted in March were viewed over 5.8 million times. Today, the conspiracy can be found on Facebook in over 30 countries, including Switzerland, Uruguay and Japan.
British politicians said the conspiracy theory and the violent acts it was causing were unacceptable.
This is nonsense of the absolute highest order, said Julian Knight, a member of Parliament who leads a committee investigating coronavirus-related online misinformation. He said Facebook and YouTube needed to get a grip on the situation or risk undermining the crisis response.
Mr. Knight added that the spread of 5G conspiracies raised alarms about how information about a future coronavirus vaccine would be disseminated.
If we were to get a vaccine for Covid-19, can we trust the social media companies to ensure that the right public health messages are put out about that vaccine? he asked. That could be a question of life and death for many people.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said it was starting to remove false claims that 5G technology causes the symptoms of or contraction of Covid-19. YouTube said it would reduce recommendations of videos linking the coronavirus to 5G, while Twitter said it had taken action against misleading and harmful content about the illness.
Wild claims about 5G are not new. The technology has an outsize political importance because it may provide countries with a competitive edge, with faster wireless speeds enabling more rapid development of driverless cars and other innovations.
Internet trolls have seized on 5G and its political implications to sow fear, leading to protests in the United States and elsewhere against the technology in recent years. Russians have pushed claims that 5G signals were linked to brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimers disease, all of which lacked scientific support.
In January, as the coronavirus rippled through Wuhan, China, and beyond, it provided new fodder for anti-5G trolls. On Jan. 19, a post on Twitter speculated on a link between 5G and the disease, according to Zignal Labs, a media insights company that studied 699,000 mentions of the conspiracy this year through April 7.
Wuhan has 5,000+ #5G base stations now and 50,000 by 2021 is it a disease or 5G? the tweet said.
On Jan. 22, an article on a Belgium news website included a comment from a physician claiming that 5G was harmful to peoples health. Though it did not specifically mention the coronavirus, the doctor mentioned a possible link with current events. The article, later deleted by the publisher, reached as many as 115,000 people, according to CrowdTangle, a tool that analyzes interactions across social media.
By last month, 5G-coronavirus claims on the web and television were rising, according to Zignal Labs. A YouTube video that connected the virus to 5G last month racked up roughly two million views before the site deleted it. And the singer Keri Hilson, as well as Mr. Harrelson and Mr. Cusack, posted online about the conspiracy.
A lot of my friends have been talking about the negative effects of 5G, Mr. Harrelson wrote on Instagram to his two million followers last week, sharing a screenshot of an article that drew links between the outbreak in Wuhan and 5G development there.
Representatives for Mr. Harrelson and Mr. Cusack, whose 5G posts have since been deleted, declined to comment. Ms. Hilsons manager said her posts had been removed because we feel that at this time it is important to focus on the things that we know are 100 percent accurate.
The conspiracy particularly resonated in Britain. In January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had given the Chinese technology company Huawei permission to set up 5G infrastructure in the country.
In recent weeks, conspiracy theorists began saying Chinas lack of transparency on Covid-19 was evidence that Huawei should not be trusted to install 5G in Britain. Some went further and called for the destruction of wireless equipment.
We need to bring 5G down, said one person in the Facebook group Stop 5G U.K., which has more than 58,600 members.
After the British government issued shelter-in-place orders on March 23, some conspiracy theorists commented that it was a trick to secretly build 5G masts out of public view.
On April 2, in one of the first 5G-coronavirus incidents, telecom equipment in a neighborhood of Belfast in Northern Ireland was set ablaze, according to local officials.
I just couldnt believe it, said Carl Whyte, a Belfast City Council member. They are seeing these conspiracy theories on social media and going out and destroying those masts.
Word of the fire spread around the Belfast area. Richard Kerr, the minister at Templepatrick Presbyterian Church in nearby Ballyclare, said, I was taken aback that it went to that level that people were prepared to commit arson.
Other fires of telecom towers followed in Birmingham, Liverpool and elsewhere. Videos of burning equipment were shared and celebrated on Facebook. Some videos also showed telecom technicians being harassed.
You know when they turn this on its going to kill everyone, a woman said of 5G in a recent video on Twitter, as she confronted technicians laying fiber-optic cables in an unidentified British town.
Mark Steele, a prominent anti-5G activist in Britain, said the fires were a result of people being frustrated that their safety concerns werent taken seriously. Asked if he believed 5G was causing coronavirus, he said, Its looking a bit suspicious, dont you think?
Telecommunications companies, which have added more security and are working with law enforcement, said the attacks against their workers and equipment had been widespread, threatening communication networks during the crisis. Vodafone said it had experienced at least 15 incidents, while BT has had at least 11. The companies said that in many cases, vandals had damaged existing infrastructure and not new 5G gear.
The police in Belfast, Liverpool and Birmingham said they were continuing to investigate the incidents, reviewing security-camera footage and asking the public for leads.
Anti-5G groups have continued adding hundreds of members. One Facebook user shared photos this week of a wireless tower being constructed in an unidentified area of Britain.
Light it up, one commenter responded.
Adam Satariano reported from London, and Davey Alba from New York. Ben Decker contributed research.
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) As Utah becomes the first state to implement a COVID-19 tracking system for people who enter the state, questions are being asked about how the technology works, the company behind it and what is being done with personal information.
During a press conference on Friday, Joe Dougherty, Public Information Officer, for the Utah Division of Emergency Management, explained how the system kicks in when drivers cross over into one of the states entry points.
We draw a number of shapes we call them polygons on a map, and then we write a 90 character message that has been sent out, said Dougherty. People who enter the area that has been geo-targeted, will if it works the way its supposed to will receive that alert.
That alert will direct travelers to Entry.Utah.Gov to fill out a COVID-19 declaration form, which asks if you have any symptoms of the virus.
The whole effort here in what were trying to do is in fact, the ability for us to gather critical information on those who are affected by this coronavirus and to protect those who are not yet affected, said Jess Anderson, Commissioner of Utah Department of Public Safety.
The technology being used is nothing new, but how it is now being implemented is new, according to state officials.
The technology, called WebEOC, is a system set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission, which allows critical alerts to be sent out to the public in emergency times.
That system does not track your data at all. It uses a technology called Cell Broadcast, Dougherty said. With Cell Broadcast, the message goes out to cell phone towers and then cell phones that happen to enter the geo-fenced area are pinged with that alert.
Dougherty said the system also doesnt store any data.
That data will be collected and given in a secure fashion to the Utah Department of Health so that they can track that and trace any movement of someone who has coronavirus in the state.
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Common sense and a state-ordered ban on in-person group worship have changed, at least temporarily, how Vermonters can worship this Passover and Easter season.
But parishioners need to have faith that technology can work in their favor as they come together at the same time while also being forced apart, religious leaders from around the state said this week.
In response to COVID-19, the members of First Presbyterian Church of Barre will attend Easter service this Sunday by Zoom and telephone, as will the members of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Barre and the parishioners of dozens of churches statewide.
Roman Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne will broadcast live, from Cathedral of St. Josephs in Burlington, two Easter services with Masses available on the Burlington diocese web and Facebook page.
Also, members of the Rutland Jewish Center will worship remotely.
COVID-19 has indeed changed how I and the members of St. Peters parish will celebrate Holy Week and Easter. Since we are not able to congregate, as a faith community, for the safety of one another, parishioners will be celebrating these high holy days from their homes; they will have the opportunity to view the services of the week either on TV, live-streaming or other technological means, said the Rev. Thomas Houle, or Father Tom, pastor at St. Peters Roman Catholic Church in Rutland.
This week is one of the holiest weeks of the year for Christian and Jews. Islam starts its holiest month in two weeks.
On Sunday, Christians will hold Easter Mass, which honors the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. April 8-16 is Passover, the Jewish celebration of the journey from slavery to freedom when the Israelites left Egypt. The month-long Ramadan, a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship, begins for Muslims on April 23.
In some ways, this Easter is closer to the first Easter when there was a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot of fear and anxiety in this day and age, and I suspect that was the case for the first followers of Christ, said the Rev. Carl Hilton VanOsdall, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Barre.
Easter will be the fourth service by internet for VanOsdall, who broadcasts from his porch in Barre City. Although COVID-19 has created significant challenges, he said, on the plus side, it has forced churches to seek out and find new ways to connect.
The words were using are, we are not at church, but we are still being church, VanOsdall said.
Said Rabbi Ellie Shemtov, head of the Rutland Jewish Center, Theres a joke making its way around social media that goes something like this: Passover is canceled this year because of a plague. Well, I wouldnt say Passover has been canceled, but it has certainly been waylaid by COVID-19. Our plan was to have a congregational seder (a ritual service and ceremonial dinner) on the first night of Passover, which would have brought about 60 people into our building. Instead, we Zoomed our seders both nights and found new meaning in a variety of seder rituals as well as in the story of the Exodus.
Theres a point in the seder when we recite the 10 plagues God brought down on the Egyptian taskmasters, which included frogs, boils and darkness. This year, we added an eleventh plague, the coronavirus, a plague brought down not just on the Egyptians but on the entire world, Shemtov said.
Zoom, Facebook and other internet platforms are great tools to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but none is proving to be perfect, and each has challenges and requires a learning curve on how to best use it, said Earle Kooperkamp, pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre. Easter will be Kooperkamps fifth internet broadcast.
Among the lesson learned: Mute the congregation for much of the service to avoid dogs barking and babies crying. It is also important that parishioners who attend by video conference to remember that they are on camera. Last Sunday, one member attending by cellphone was dual tasking attending the service by smartphone and feeding his pigs.
Not sure I would say we have adjusted as a congregation, but we have definitely adapted to this new environment. We started using Zoom fairly quickly after the restrictions came down. We have had two Zoom bar mitzvahs, Zoom adult education classes, Zoom Hebrew school classes, Zoom Shabbat (Judaisms day of rest) services, and in a few weeks we will have our first Zoom board meeting. Later this month we are looking at having a Zoom Holocaust Remembrance Day service, Shemtov said.
Music is very difficult by video conference.
We tried singing and that was a total disaster, VanOsdall said. The church now provides music from one origin site only.
Another issue with video services is the loss of revenue from plate collections. The loss has been significant, said Daniel Pudvah, deacon and office manager at St. Monica Catholic Church in Barre. With 1,200 members, St. Monica is one of the largest congregations in the state. It is too early to tell whether there will be a long-term impact, Pudvah said.
Although what we are collecting is not the same as if we were holding Mass and gathering as a faith community, the understanding, the commitment and the fidelity that parishioners have towards the parish is very favorable and impressive, Father Tom said.
Technical issues aside, the biggest issue with internet services is the inability for the parishioners to meet and greet. Some of the most heartfelt services that can only be done in person, such as the washing of the feet of 12 parishioners to commemorate when Jesus washed the feet of the 12 Apostles and the Good Friday procession, were canceled Pudvah said.
Kooperkamp agrees that the loss of human contact is unfortunate.
At this time of so many people dying and so much fear, we really had no choice, Kooperkamp said. His congregation started meeting remotely before the order from Gov. Phil Scott.
As for myself, I will be celebrating these very special liturgical celebrations alone, while keeping the parishioners in prayer, as well as all of those who are suffering with the virus, those who have died of it, their families and their caregivers. This is indeed a time for all of us to internalize, to take ownership on a deeper level of what our faith means to us, how we relate to our God. In the absence of such important live celebrations and gatherings, God will continue to make himself known and present to each one of us, as we take moments of silence, reflection and quiet time, to be one with him, Father Tom said.
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Editors note: This is Part 2 in a series on command philosophies and command technologies. The first article, Clarifying Command: Keeping Up with the (John Paul) Joneses, can be found here.
On 16 January 1778, American commissioners in Paris issued the following order to Captain John Paul Jones:
After equipping the Ranger in the best manner for the cruise you propose, that you proceed with her in the manner you shall judge best for distressing the enemies of the United States, by sea or otherwise, consistent with the laws of war, and the terms of your commission We rely on your ability, as well as your zeal to serve the United States, and therefore do not give you particular instructions as to your operations.
The order highlights the longstanding naval tradition of decentralized command, born of necessity as ships at sea were isolated from communicating with civilian leadership on land. It is also an excellent example of what today is called mission command. John Paul Jones had a mission, the means with which to accomplish it, and the leeway to decide how best to pursue it. That freedom was not infinite. It was bounded by the laws of war and the terms of [his] commission. Jones knew what to do, what not to do, and had space within which to make decisions.
Despite these deep American roots of mission command, it is hard to imagine commanders today with the exception of some submarine and special operations forces receiving such an order and being as trusted and enabled to the same extent. Not even a geographic combatant commander would be granted the same latitude. The current and future operating environment demands decentralized command, like that exercised by John Paul Jones; modern technology, prudently applied, makes that possible. However, the U.S. militarys obsession with technology has often conflated technological capacity with command. Though there are important exceptions, like retired Gen. Stanley McChrystals philosophy of shared consciousness and empowered execution, the majority of the U.S. force operates restrained, not enabled, by technology. Still, the Department of Defense can set the future force up for success by prioritizing personnel, institutionally embracing mission command, investing in the right technology now, and divesting of industrial-age anachronisms.
There are two main reasons why mission command is so difficult now as opposed to during the American Revolution: the development of information technology and the industrialization of the military. John Paul Jones had to be trusted to perform his duties on his own because there was no way to reliably communicate with captains at sea. Today, information technology connects leaders and subordinates immediately. Second, when the military industrialized in the early 20th century, it adopted the modes of industrial management; Frederick Taylors methods were adapted for the U.S. Army through the Root Reforms. The result was strictly formalized procedures of command and control a not-uncalled for reform as the military became more industrial in nature, but the inflexible processes designed to manage unskilled labor have long since outlasted their usefulness. Industrial warfare required, and fostered, an officer corps with engineering mindsets, more managers than leaders. The advent and incorporation of information technology has only further promoted detailed, procedural, and top-down methods.
An industrial-era military that employs information technology is not the same as an information-age military. In many ways, it is the antithesis. Information technology is now available to crunch numbers, synthesize data, execute deconfliction, and visually display spatial information, and the military is increasingly staffed by people who grew up familiar with these technologies. The detailed direction and centralized decision-making, however, make little sense to them, yet the people, processes, and hardware of the Department of Defense are trending toward ever more centralized command. This centralization occurs even in the face of the attempted institutionalization of mission command. All the while, to succeed in todays operating environment, the art of command in a decentralized manner mission command is required more than ever.
Our premise is simple. The Department of Defense cannot be an industrial-age military, permeated by information-age technology, executing mission command. One component must give. John Paul Jones was part of a pre-industrial-age military, without information technology, and was empowered to execute mission command. The German industrial-era military executed mission command (the roots of which are found in Clausewitzs under-read Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat) from the Austro-Prussian War until World War II without modern information technology. The Department of Defense may think that just by leveraging information technology it becomes an information-age military, but this is patently untrue. Information technology in an industrial-era military only emboldens the worst procedural trends of centralization, deliberate planning, acquisitions, and personnel management, the holdovers from Frederick Taylors scientific management. The exceptions to this general trend within the Department of Defense like nuclear submarines and special operations forces indicate that the U.S. military can become an information-age military enabled by technology. However, to do so, the Department of Defense should update its legacy procedures, enable new processes, and prioritize personnel to foster technology-enabled mission command.
John Paul Jones 2020: How Technology Strangles Mission Command
The Department of Defense is right to pursue information technology like mission planning tools, akin to Waze for war but it should be cautious when implementing them in a still legacy industrial-era military. Rather than enabling mission command, a jointly professed value, information technology proliferated in an industrial-era military can stifle subordinates freedom of action and undermine trust, especially as the desire for certainty as a way to mitigate risk squashes fleeting opportunities. Consider John Paul Jones, today, as Adm. John Paul Jones, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, receiving the same order from 1778. Despite his personal talents, Jones would be set up for failure. He would not have the hardware required, the necessary ideas proliferated and embraced, nor the people under his command trained, educated, trusted, and empowered to flourish with such orders. These vulnerabilities are amplified by the Department of Defenses current digital acquisitions and communications support structure, concepts, and its antiquated management of personnel.
Digital awareness is synthetic awareness, and remote command and control can never replace personal command. The Department of Defense Digital Modernization Strategy is a plan to modernize information technology, including communications technology. However, it does not mention mission command or how the technology it seeks to acquire interacts with it. The Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) network is a proposed network would link all units in a battlespace with all other sensors and command-and-control nodes. While it is intended to enable decentralized command, it is likely to disable any command and control, and command and feedback, unless it is enabled by the institution and from the commander down to the junior subordinate. A joint all-domain command and control network that emphasizes hardware over processes builds the means for commanders to bypass chains of command entirely, to abuse capabilities, and to create an insatiable need for certainty and immediacy. Since the network is in its nascent stages, it is essential that it does not conflate the doing of command and control with the means for it.
Future concepts retread the same mistakes, centralizing command further. For example, DARPAs Mosaic Warfare misinterprets command and control, confuses it with planning functions, and proposes to automate the feedback to commanders that normally comes from their subordinate commanders. One idea is for human command, machine control, which exacerbates the debate over whether a human is (or should be) in or on the loop. Command and feedback highlights the misunderstanding: subordinate commanders provide commanders with an understanding of their situation, to which the commander responds based on knowledge and trust in that subordinate. These are human interactions that cannot be automated. Multi-domain operations, which is the Armys concept for joint combined arms, seeks to dis-integrate the enemys command and control and therefore disable it. This can devastate an opponent arranged to employ centralized command and control, such as Russia or China. However, those enemies in particular intend to do the same thing to U.S. command and control. Mission command ensures that commanders have the necessary context to continue to act in the inevitable event of communications disruptions, preventing the United States from becoming dis-integrated in turn.
Mission command is impossible without people trained and educated, trusted and enabled to employ it. However, the U.S. military tends to preach mission command for combat, but practices highly scripted, detailed command in garrison. The habits of mind and the trust necessary for mission command cannot be inculcated when theyre undermined at home. This requires sustained personnel readiness. Mission command demands cohesion, especially between commanders and subordinates. Yet the industrial-age, department-wide personnel system drives frequent (and exorbitantly expensive) Permanent Change of Station moves to support promotion systems. The practice depletes the necessary familiarity, trust, and confidence that must be established between leaders and the led by requiring short command tours. The revolving door of command, staff, and operating billets generates unnecessary friction and prevents close working relationships between key personnel.
In addition to the cost, frequent moves are harmful to recruitment and retention. The reasoning behind the frequent moves is more suited to an industrial-age military than an information-age military. Firstly, it assumes that servicemembers of like jobs and grade are interchangeable; any one can be fitted into any open billet without harming the cohesion of the unit. This may have been true for a military based on conscription, but it is patently false for a professionalized, volunteer force in the information age. Second, the practice supports promotion systems more than it supports operational effectiveness. Officer promotions are governed by the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act and enlisted promotions are governed by the services, but largely mirror the practices for officers. Since promotions are tied so heavily to serving in certain billets at certain times, the Department of Defense is obliged to constantly reshuffle its human capital to support their promotions, whatever the harm to operational effectiveness.
John Paul Jones 2030: Achieving Technology-Enabled Mission Command
Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 6, now 24 years old, was prophetic in warning against the misuse of technological means of command and control: technology is not without its dangers. It specifies, however, that not only is this a caution against the overreliance on equipment, but also, and importantly, against the failure to fully exploit the latest capabilities. In other words, technology can enable command and control as much as it can disable it. The question becomes how to leverage technology to enable mission command and avoid the pitfalls found in current acquisitions, inadequate concepts, and antiquated personnel policies. What needs to change for the Department of Defense, with respect to people, ideas, hardwarein that order, to set up Adm. Jones for success?
Mission command requires training and education built on trust. Trust, as defined by Oxford University Trust Fellow Rachel Botsman, is a confident relationship with the unknown. That unknown can be about the enemy situation or about friendly actions. When commanders trust their subordinates, they have confidence that their subordinates will carry out the mission in the face of uncertainty, in the face of risk. Feedback is the mechanism to build that confidence. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis used what he called a skip-echelon technique. Rather than duplicating personnel, for instance lawyers, at every level, Mattis trusted subordinate commanders and staffs judgments instead of replicating, in this case, the lower echelons judgments and considerations. Critically, a unit commander should understand the commanders intent two higher levels up the command structure, but should not get too involved more than one level down, to keep from interfering with, and distracting from, active operations.
Of the Department of Defenses few and exquisite assets the aircraft carriers and F-35s that consume much of the Pentagons time and budget none are more important than the departments personnel. The department needs a modern human resource system that fosters familiarity, trust, and unit cohesion first and promotion systems second. Or better yet, the system needs to evolve to see that unit cohesion breeds promotable service members. The U.S. Army has begun taking steps towards this through its Battalion Commander Assessment Program. But a full department-wide embrace will require congressional action. Promotion through a succession of Permanent Change of Station moves to gain experience in certain billets should remain, but only as one route to promotion. Other routes could involve regional expertise or billet specialization, beyond the conventional tour length.
Moreover, innovation leveraging agile methodologies within a garrison environment demands mission command. The detailed, stifling leadership so common to garrison culture should be snuffed out. Mission command cannot be turned on and off like a switch. It must be cultivated and fostered from the institutional level all the way down to the individual. Trusting distributed subordinate units to take action in the face of uncertainty is continuous and starts in garrison. Current operations during the COVID-19 crisis further highlight this need.
Much of what we are arguing for is already in Marine Corps Doctrinal Publications, particularly Warfighting and Command and Control. It is a matter of following through with the doctrine. Tactics, techniques, and procedures like fire support coordination measures and attack guidance matrices can be used to enable subordinates just as easily as they can be used to constrain them. Doctrine has options for commanders to reinforce commanders intent with further guidance, tailoring subordinate initiative for the situation and intent that functions like a rheostat for disciplined initiative. Commanders and subordinates need to be better trained to use the doctrine that already exists.
Paul Birth, Ray Reeves, and Brad Dewees suggest that the joint force needs to be Building the Command and Control of the Future From the Bottom Up, but their view relies on a centralized architecture, whose friction is mitigated by speed. Speed is valuable, but only as it contributes to relative tempo and when executed at the right time. What matters more is the type of command and control philosophy used and the people executing that philosophy. Mission command inherently values the bottom up perspective and uses that to feed commanders.
There must be the necessary communications architecture to transmit information between elements, as in digital logistics. This is a non-trivial problem and the one onto which the Department of Defense has latched. It is necessary for technology-enabled mission command, but not sufficient. Importantly, these forces need not be constantly connected, but must retain the resilient potential for connectivity. The danger that forward commanders will be smothered by too much data is real, but that danger can be mitigated by investing in technology that allows them to pull data when and if they desire instead of just pushing data technology on them in the name of command and control. A command node is not a piece of technology; it is a human invested with the authority and responsibility to command, wherever they are located across the battlefield.
The next required technologies are used for sensing, distributing information within the institution, and processing at edge nodes to modulate the bandwidth required to transmit data. The goal is to vacuum up outside information and then relay that information, as is feasible, to those whom it will help mitigating friction and managing, but not eliminating, uncertainty. Once the information is gathered, it must be analyzed and synthesized. However, the type of technology required for analysis and synthesis depends on whether it is for staff planning or for commanders in combat operations. In Guide to Tactics, Or the Theory of the Combat, Clausewitz signals the difference between the character of the determinations which form the plan and those which form the conduct of a battle: the cause of this is, that the circumstances under which the intelligence does its work are different. This corresponds to two types of technologies useful for technology-enabled mission command: decision aids to help form the plan and battle management aids to help form the conduct of battle.
Staffs require decision aids to plan, while commanders need battle management tools to fight. These technologies entail different algorithms, computational power, modeling and simulation, data sets, security, and latency, among many other requirements. For staff, applications include route and search optimization (for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets) and weather forecasting as well as organizing, collating, analyzing, and synthesizing data to help during problem-framing and mission analysis. Optimization problems are a way to leverage quantum computing. Mission planning tools help determine how best to use, coordinate, and plan for technology that each element possesses. These are narrow applications where machine speed would help aggregate and analyze faster than planners collectively do. Theres also the development of planning products, most of which are produced in PowerPoint, regardless of whether or not that is the best tool, consuming a great deal of time and energy. Offloading some of this work to computer systems on a local network or, when able, reaching back to teams of expert analysts or larger computational systems, would allow the joint force to produce cogent plans faster, and better inform commanders as they make operational decisions.
Once the plan is made and issued the first half of mission command it is up to the subordinate commander to manage the uncertainty by making and executing decisions to best achieve the intended end state. Whereas decision aids used by staffs will likely have larger access to data and time to compile and simulate multiple courses of action, battle management aids need to be satisficing during the fight: An 80 percent solution now is better than a 100 percent solution later. To be effective these systems need to be able to operate when sparsely stimulated, without large data sets, and return fast and clear options. A 59 percent likely hostile return, while helpful, will require further training and education before troops can be expected to act upon that information particularly, as argued by Daniel Eichler and Ronald Thompson, in understanding cognitive biases, probabilities, and software decisions.
Once the order has been issued and the plan is in execution, staffs require battle management aid (as opposed to the decision aids mentioned above) to follow how the plan progresses, monitor decision points, and remain vigilant for when the plan has deviated from its initiation course such that it requires revision, intervention at the point of friction, or rudder steers. Meanwhile, during the conduct of the battle, commanders require decision aids to filter through the barrage of data, mitigate the input-output problem, and find the information to enable action, in accordance with the commanders intent, yet consistent and faithful to the events transpiring on the ground.
This is not to say that the Department of Defense should not pursue advanced technology to assist commanders and staffs. Rather, that it should do so prudently. Reckless acquisition of technology can extinguish lower-level initiative and action before mission command is completely institutionalized. Artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and other increasingly desired technologies should always be seen as tools. War and warfare will remain a human enterprise no matter how remotely (in both time and space) some technologies operate. Command and control and command and feedback are people processes. Putting people first enables the Department of Defense to leverage the boundless capacity for human creativity to overcome inherent cooperative limitations and find ways to coordinate to accomplish the mission. The best asymmetric advantage in the United States military is, and has always been, its people. Americas democracy is primed to take advantage of the creativity, capacity, and inclusivity, and to harness the chaos and the ingenuity and innovation of the American people. In fact, mission command inherently leverages the unique nature of the American people, as the June 2010 Marine Corps Operating Concepts, Third Edition, notes. Now, when mission command is enabled by technology, imagine the possibilities; imagine a force of 21st-century John Paul Joneses.
B. A. Friedman is a Marine reserve officer, associate editor at The Strategy Bridge, and the author ofOn Tactics: A Theory of Victory in Battleand21stCentury Ellis: Operational Art and Strategic Prophecy.
Olivia A. Garard is a Marine unmanned aircraft systems officer currently serving at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. She is also an associate editor at The Strategy Bridge. She tweets at@teaandtactics.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent the positions or opinions of the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, or any part of the U.S. government.
Image: Wikicommons (Drawing by John Watson Davis)
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Technology has played a key role in helping realtors keep business going.
FARGO, N.D.- Aspire Realty in Fargo is used to showing 15 to 25 houses a week and selling about 11 houses a month.
Through the month of March, business was really good, but coming into April and now as were seeing a massive increase in the numbers of positive cases, were starting to slow down tremendously, says Katherine Kiernan, the owner of Aspire Realty.
But, the agency says the show must go on- at least virtually.
So, we can do everything electronically. We can start having a conversation, like you and I are right now and its just really accessing a buyer and seller needs, wants, desirability of that nature, and then Ill put a search set up for them, and send them a bunch of different properties and well continue to have facetime and zoom calls with one another. I can also do that with sellers who are trying to sell their home, they can walk me virtually through that too, she says.
Their goal is to bring the most authentic experience to their clients.
If you go to one of our listing links, you literally bring this up and its walking through it, almost like virtual reality, through all of the different properties, up and downstairs, things like that.We also do a lot of facetime showings as well, So, Ill go to the house, call my clients through facetime and walk through the entire property that way, she adds.
But even with the use of technology, Kiernan says there are some things that not even technology can replace.
When people are looking for their home, how are we going to know what it feels like in that space, and thats something you just cant create in digital space, Kiernan says.
Many real estate agencies in the area are also doing virtual open houses and live showings where people can log in, ask questions and get a tour experience.