Posts Tagged ‘Driverless cars’

Letter From Claverack via the train… March 27, 2017 The future we can almost touch…

March 28, 2017

It is nearing sunset; I am riding north after a day in the city, on the 5:47 out of New York Penn.  Todd, one of our most venerable conductors, is conducting a game of trivia in which all of us who ride in the café car are participating.  It is lovingly raucous.  Some are answering the question before Todd finishes asking the question.

The commute, I don’t miss.  The people I do.  There is a mixture tonight of old regulars and new regulars.  Annette, of Rhinebeck, is screaming answers and folks are singing the songs which are the answers to some of the questions.  It is a moment wrapped in warmth.

The sun slips beneath the Catskills in a glow of burnt orange.  With Trivia Time now over, we have slipped back to reading, working, with more than a few yawns stretching faces wide.

As in every day there seems to be a necessary amount of political conversations.  Our google groups email list for the Empire Regulars, got slightly sidetracked into politics today until Maria, our estimable moderator, stepped in and held up the stop sign.  As always, when Maria decrees, the Regulars accede.

While I am far from politically indifferent, the cascade of commentary is wearing. This is going to be a long, long haul and we must husband our strength over time and be laser focused.

Just before I boarded the train, Andrew Mer, a fellow consultant and I had a brief meeting while we discussed the Miller Center a bit and some other things.  He said something I thought wise.  Trump’s election has laid bare the fissures in our society we have papered over.

And Mr. Trump is helping underscore the fissures.

The attempt to repeal and replace has gone down in flames and there is even a tentative reaching out to Democrats to see what actually be done as the Freedom Caucus is intransient.

California farmers, enthusiastic supporters of Trump, are nonplussed at his immigration intentions.  One said: I thought Trump was kidding.  He is now anxious because his farm in California runs because of illegal immigrants.

The agony of Rockford, Illinois and other rust belt cities is now at the surface and the failure to deal with that, under both Democrats and Republicans, is a national shame, building for generations.  We did not retrain people for other jobs to replace the ones not returning.

And the jobs are not returning until we look at and adapt to the revolution technology is shoving down our throats and figure out what else we can do.

The industrial revolution is coming to an end; whatever history calls this one, we need to find a new way.

The coal jobs in West Virginia probably aren’t coming back.  Machines are mining what men once did.  Driverless cars will toss aside the long-distance drivers, once a way to climb an economic rung.  Not today, not tomorrow but someday, in a future we can almost touch, those jobs will disappear and we are not moving to educate all those people for something different.

The Trump Revolution is not dissimilar to what happened as the Industrial Revolution began the change.  People rioted.  Today they voted.  If we don’t address the systemic issues, the next step will be riots.

The hopeful part is we somehow weathered the arrival of the Industrial Revolution and accomplished incredible things.  In the last hundred years, for those in the west, our life spans have doubled, we are more educated, our lives are quite fantastic compared to that of our grandparents.  There are friends of mine who are alive because of what has been achieved.

And we need to focus on the fact we are in a revolutionary period.  Trump isn’t looking there nor was Hillary Clinton.  Our politicians on both sides are facing the past, not the future.

The brilliance of Kennedy was he painted a picture of what could be, not what was.

We have raised the lid on the septic tank and need to clean it now.

What we are achieving technologically in this time has the promise of catapulting us to another level and very few seem to realize it and fewer still imagine how to use it for the common good.

 

Letter From the Train 09 15 2016 Thoughts Heading South

September 15, 2016

It is stunning today as I am riding south to the city.  It is a perfect September day, low humidity, temperature in the 70’s, sunny with glints of silver reflecting off the water of the Hudson while low puffy clouds rest behind the Catskills.

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Tonight I am on my way to the city [New York] to have dinner with my friend Ann Frisbee Namye, with whom I worked thirty years ago at A&E and who I have not seen for twenty years.  She connected with me through LinkedIn and we set a dinner date while on a business trip to New York.  I’m excited.

To be truthful, I haven’t let much noise in over the week.  The days have been too special for that.  I woke up happy this morning and didn’t disturb that happiness with a burst of news.  Besides, I had a lot of organizing to do as I was teaching this morning and had lots of handouts for my students.

So I checked into the news once I boarded the train.  Panic at the poll numbers is upon us.  Trump is closing on Hillary and fright walks the land and one Democratic friend of mine may actually have another panic attack over this.

It is my choice not to panic and to read the article that tells me that the polls are meaningless at this moment.

Though the thought of Trump as President is scary.  His Presidency would be one long fright night, I fear.

He released a letter from his doctor of thirty years after a physical on Friday, stating he was in good health.  He was the same doctor who earlier wrote a letter in five minutes stating how healthy Trump was.

When I was in college, many friends made extra money by driving cabs.  Now they’d be driving for Uber.  And those opportunities may go away if Google and Uber and Lyft and the car companies get their way.

Uber has launched a pilot program in Pittsburgh with driverless cars.  They have a back-up human for now but eventually the back-ups will go and then some day there will be no taxi or Uber or Lyft drivers for that matter.  Gone the way of the Dodo…

In yet another gun tragedy, police in Columbus, Ohio shot to death a 13-year-old black robbery suspect.  He apparently pulled from his belt a BB gun that looks almost exactly like standard issue weaponry for the Columbus police.  What adult would allow a child to have such a weapon, such a thing?

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said, “A 13-year-old is dead in the city of Columbus because of our obsession with guns.”

And in a stunning additional gun tragedy, a 77-year-old resident of a Senior Home shot two other residents and a staff member, fled the scene on a bicycle and then killed himself as officers approached.  Apparently, he was upset about poker games.

Jackson Grubb, a nine-year-old from West Virginia, took his life on Saturday because he was being bullied.  I feel like crying.

Today in class the subject of the exploding Samsung Note 7 came up and one of my students almost exploded out of her seat.  It was the first she had heard of it.  Another Note 7 blew up as owners are not listening to the recall requests.

If you have a Note 7, go to the phone store and get it replaced.  Please.  I saw what one did to a jeep the other day online and it was horrific.  This was not a small explosion.  It looked like the vehicle had been car bombed.

Filipino President Duterte, who apparently called President Obama a “son of a whore” is now being accused of ordering extrajudicial killings while he was Mayor of Davao City.  The Senate of that country is investigating.

And now I am caught up with the dreck that is happening out there beyond my world and have inoculated you with it – not in the sense of giving you a vaccine but in planting thoughts.

Today in class I was talking about persuasive speaking and one of the points I made was that a persuasive speaker inoculated their audience by planting ideas that would lead to change.

Perhaps some of these facts will inoculate you to work for change.  Fewer guns, a way to end bullying, more sensible politics…

And I woke up happy and I plan to go to bed happy.