Sep 29, 2011

Technology kills a form of Christianity

This article by Terry Mattingly caught my eye: Goodbye to that old mountain religion.  Living in the mountains, I'm somewhat familiar with this idea. To summarize, the forms of Christianity that sprung up in the appalachians are dying off. Whether that's good or bad is another issue, but they certainly are. Technology plays a role in that increased transportation and communication to the region have brought outside influences. These have come through radio (gospel and now praise-band music) and missionaries from other branches of Christianity that seek to evangelize and area and (possibly) take some sheep from other branches. The local forms are not holding up against these new ones.

Whether good or bad, increased access is making this form with Sacred Harp singing and baptizing in the rushing rivers decrease in size. 

Sep 27, 2011

Job Fulfillment - More Tech is Bad?

The University of Chicago recently released a study on the happiest and most hated jobs in the country. This report from the Globe and Mail summarizes the top ten of each. While all jobs deal with technology to some extent, the ones that are most hated involve a great deal of information technology. I'm not sure what to make of this - I really enjoy my job but that's one anecdote. The big question is why; why do these IT centric jobs have such a poor rating?


Sep 23, 2011

21st century knowledge needs

I've experienced a tension between two poles these past two days. I'm at the North Carolina Teacher Education Forum and have been to some sessions that are pulling me in different ways. On the one hand, our state's education standards are pushing us to teach K-12 students in our state to be able to use "21st century" technology. We're not always sure what that means, but one really interesting example was having student calculate the distance to the moon by measuring the radio echos from NASA tapes of the radio transmissions from mission control to the moon landings and back. But then, I went to another session on a group that was working with the public schools in Malawi. Malawi is one of, if not the poorest country in Africa, has a life expectancy of less than 40, and many other systemic problems. This group went with very "low tech" solutions such as crayons and poster-size books to help teachers (who may have 120 students in a classroom) teach students of various languages.

On the one hand, I want NC children to have strong technology skills (and thinking about technology) but what about those students in Malawi? How do we help them learn just basic skills? They're in the 21st century too, whether they look like it to us or not.  Which group do I serve best in my job? What is most Christ-like? My thought is to serve the Malawi as they are so far behind in my perception and would benefit so much more from what seems to us like such small effort.

Perhaps after more reflection I will think more clearly about this.

Sep 21, 2011

Retro Ads for Modern Gadgets

In light of my previous retro post, here are some modern devices put into retro advertisements. I think it's interesting to look at how technology is packaged and advertised - that conveys what the company wants you to think about what the device can do for you. I like the Nokia one best myself.

Sep 13, 2011

Fixing my dryer

To summarize a major experience with technology this past week...

Various dryer parts: $45
Dryer vent cleaning kit: $60
Amount of lint removed from vent: 47 cubic feet (approx.)
Days without a working dryer: 7
Used home repair book from the 70's: $2
Satisfaction of not having to call a repairman: priceless
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. -Proverbs 14:23

Sep 12, 2011

A Revealing, Convicting Inference

My apologies for not posting in a while - my day job and family take precedence.

Several days ago I was at the grocery store late at night for a few essentials we had forgotten. There was only one checkout lane open and I was behind a couple that was taking a long time to pay. I was getting impatient and so paid more attention to what was "the problem." They were counting out change to pay for their groceries, mostly in nickels, but some dimes and quarters. The cashier was patiently helping them count stacks of coins into whole dollars. I then noticed they had only two relatively small bags they were taking with them. They were not well-dressed.

I was thoroughly convicted of my impatience. Here I was, running out to get a few things we forgot while these folks may well have been paying for some bare essentials with the last of their resources before next payday. I was impatient at the "old" technology they were using, but that very technology implied something about their condition which ought to bring out my compassion. I wonder how many others out there in this poor economy are resorting to change jars to make ends meet?