[lit-ideas] What a difference ten years makes

  • From: Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 05:15:48 -0800 (PST)

I saw a documentary, sort of, last night that was pretty interesting.  It's 
called No Impact Man (also website blog by the same name).  He's a writer who 
lives in NYC, his wife works for Business Week, and he decided to spend one 
year living such that they would have no impact on the planet as a project to 
write about.  (His wife was for the most part an unwilling accomplice who was 
pretty good about it.)  That meant buying nothing at all except unpackaged food 
from farmers' markets, no toilet paper, no television, no store bought anything 
except, as noted, uncooked food.  At one point they even give up electricity.  
I had heard about it a while ago and had wondered how he did it.  Of course no 
impact is impossible, but his impact was decidedly minimal, although very 
difficult to sustain.  
I was thinking yesterday that ten years ago I had wondered what ten years from 
then would look like, which is about now.  The changes in the previous ten 
years (1991 to 2001) had been rather extensive, mostly because of computers.  
Well, ten years have gone by, and things don't seem to have changed too much.  
The only real changes that I can see are processing speed and the fact that 
computing is now available anywhere because of 4G (now 10G and more) 
connections.  And of course Steve Jobs' iPhone.  I have a dumb phone, which 
aren't even available anymore.  I saw that coming and specifically bought 
a 'ruggedized' phone meaning you can practically run a car over it and it won't 
break.  The military apparently uses them.  Of course the software in it is a 
different story, but I have high hopes that it will last forever.  Desktop 
computers are becoming increasingly replaced by laptops and ever smaller 
computing devices.  Also, television is now
 available on computer.  They say streaming is a disappointment, few movies are 
available, but apparently cable is fighting to retain market share. Some say 
even wi-fi will be going away.  It will be interesting to see how cable looks 
ten years from now.  
Medical advances are somewhat elusive.  Sequencing the genome hasn't resulted 
in breakthroughs.  People are sicker than ever, with more diabetes and asthma, 
and life expectancies have topped out and have begun going down.  Old fashioned 
diet and exercise have not been replaced.  Food is increasingly inferior, and 
drug use has grown exponentially.  Something like 50% of the population takes 
at least one prescription drug.  Many people take multiple drugs which I don't 
remember was the case ten years ago (possibly because I have minimal contact 
with the medical community because I'm never sick).  Overall I would say ten 
years haven't made much of a difference in daily life, and whatever differences 
have been wrought aren't particularly positive.  Maybe the biggest change, at 
least for me, was the loss of innocence, or maybe the loss of ignorance.  
They're really the same thing.  Whether climate, economy, politics, whatever, 
ignorance is bliss. 
 Until it isn't.
I bought a beautiful, way underappreciated vegetable yesterday, a cabbage.  
Saint Patrick's Day is coming, so I figured I'd make it.  Got sweet potatoes 
instead of regular potatoes.  They're wonderful just cooked individually, but 
I'm wondering if I could put them together into one dish.  Maybe I'll just cut 
them up and sauté them (without oil) and see what that looks like with some 
canned stewed tomatoes and maybe a little salt.  Vegetarian living is such a no 
brainer.  I don't know why people get so excited about it.  
Onward and upward, with vegetable in hand...

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  • » [lit-ideas] What a difference ten years makes - Andy