McIlroy chokes on the easiest putt of his life. Nowhere is the grass greener. He’ll never have that many laughs with a girlfriend again.
McIlroy chokes on the easiest putt of his life. Nowhere is the grass greener. He’ll never have that many laughs with a girlfriend again.
I gave-out my online passwords.
At tax time, in the Washington Post, I made an anti-panic comment concerning the virtual world’s Heartbleed ‘bug’. The American media has been raging-on over what a devastating cyber effect the notorious bugger will have on Internet security. Consumers, they say, should change their passwords, clean their machines, check their oft-used sites for Heartbleed proofing, beware of criminally cloned sites with fake genuine security certificates and prepare for slow-motion web service…is this panic prevention? or panic propagation?
Apparently, two-thirds of the WWW is infected by this—this…well, it really isn’t a bug. A bug is a mistake or operational conflict inadvertently coded into a program. Heartbleed? no, there’s nothing inadvertent about Heartbleed.
Out of multiple cloud servers, system administrators can’t purge it fast enough—or, perhaps, effectively enough—to satisfy the pundits. The popular outcry has railed against inept security, derelict administrators and the malicious jealousy of all those terrorist types who hate us for our profitable hard work, world leadership and ‘freedoms’. The tension temperature has risen.
Now, can you say, ‘disproportionate’?
This is what panic is—a needless over-reaction in marked disproportion to reality…and it is more contagious and spreads faster than battlefield dysentery, hometown gossip or a Symantec anti-virus update. Consider the reality of Internet malware. Sure, like gleaning parking tickets, we’ve all caught infections.
The incredibly profound vast majority of these ‘infections’ however cause us much less inconvenience than taking the hit on actually paying that parking violation. A run of the spybot application shows just exactly the situation. Of the tens of thousands of potential threats out there, your machine has a couple—a few and maybe a dozen iterations of a particular one.
Yet, you never noticed them. So very often, they have zero effect on your system’s operation. They’re viruses that deliver no runny nose, no fever, no scratchy throat, cough, watery eyes, upset stomach or diarrhea…they don’t make you, not even one bit, sick.
They’re primarily a small company’s info-gathering, tracking or advertising files that have been black-listed by the larger firm’s anti-database. Why? No partnership agreement, no runway clearance, no permission to fire at will.
Ok, what information on you might Heartbleed gather. Well, where is it hiding? Let’s think—two-thirds of the net is infected…so, after two years of deployment, which third is secure? finance, banking, credit—these institutions are so redundant, so heavily encrypted and gateway monitored that most of our curtsey fees go to pay the salaries of the Hot-Pocket fed back-end guys with cots in their cubicles tending the nano-second in/outputs on bleeding-edge machines with constantly reprogrammed security systems more expensive than private islands and housed in specially constructed windowless buildings that double a bomb shelters.
Plus, the financial institutions don’t just insist that you use a password to get at your money. They want coded user names, PIN codes, transaction codes, IP verification and draw each from completely separated sources—and not just by firewalls, but by physical locations and media. On top of which, credit card companies insure against and refund bogus expenditures on your say so while all of your dough is federally insured—guaranteed safe.
So, no, Heartbleed isn’t holding you at financial risk.
Heartbleed secreted its way onto social media platforms, sites huffing, posting and yahooing to be all things to all people, information sites, educational sites, probably government, porn and retail site. On how many of those then, have you a password…and, is it the same password? I mean, you don’t keep your eggs in the same basket—do you?
So maybe someone unknown to you got hold of your porn site password, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or WordPress password. Big deal. What are they gonna do? post a photo sillier than what you’ve already posted? write a comment more malicious than one’s you’ve already made? add pro-life slogans to your pro-choice expressions?
Ten minutes inconvenience, that’s all that Heartbleed can realistically give you—if that…two minutes to apply for a new password, five minutes to delete the defacement and three minutes to tweet, text or talk about it with your friends. Yet people are out there right now demanding the termination of systems administrators for failing to quick patch Heartbleed. What? since when did this nation start giving-out lashes to servants for the unforeseen undetected accidental transgressions of their executive masters?
Maybe there ought to have been a tighter policy, an extra guy on at night or configuration item comparisons with twin machines. Gee, what would have better secured that SSL-gap? So give it some thought and stick a virtual cork in it, but don’t ruin someone’s life over it.
Because people found-out about Heartbleed from the media and the media chose to focus on potential—yet, realistically, very highly unlikely—worst case scenarios, a media-fed popular panic arose…a profound overreaction in great disproportion to Heartbleed’s actual degree of damage, disruption or disturbance. The sensationalized journalistic material that generated this unrealistic perception, and popular overreaction, is called ‘propaganda’. In turn, the type of journalism that neglected to engage in reality checks and thereby allowed that propaganda to undermine its integrity in reporting is call ‘yellow’…and yellow journalism has never been Fourth Estate worthy.
Heartbleed went totally undetected for two years—two years. What does that mean? Well, it means that, thousands of times over, it has already collect and delivered its payloads—and whatever the intent, those loads have again and again been processed and used to execute their ultimate deed—complete their mission, implement their goal.
So then, what exactly, could Heartbleed’s goal have been to leave us entirely unaffected the whole of these last two years? I mean there’s no black-market mob out there that sits-back a few years waiting for a plan to come to fruition. Crooks are into much more immediate ROIs.
Anonymous? no, they’re really no larger than a hockey team and pretty publicity hungry. The NSA? maybe—they could make it look like Heartbleed came from AIDs nowhere and avoid implication…but, their bosses do have a penchant for gleaning clearance from that FISA court. Hummm…college kids? high school? they could certainly cook something up, launch it and be totally unprepared to see it run much more rampant than they’d expected—but, with the goal of doing what? yeah, well, with nerd-kids the goal of doing is simply to have done it.
Of course, immediately following revelation of Heartbleed’s existence, federal authorities gave the case Snowden-like priority and set their cyber-bloodhounds loose on sniffing-out the perpetrators. Was it a Russian mob back-ending billions out of the multinationals? Was it a partnership between the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels diversifying their portfolios?
No, it was a high school kid.
Who know yet what he had in mind? Yet, rest assured, unlike the man-child goof-ball who zipped a confetti filled rice cooker into a backpack and made of show of setting it by the finish line of this year’s Boston Marathon solidarity event, the Heartbleed kid never meant to cause nation-wide nausea. And we won’t discover that the kid has a numbered off-shore account stuffed with the billions in spare change he programmed Heartbleed to deposit there.
I don’t know why…why do people hack at all? mainly because it’s taboo. I mean if people didn’t have Facebook passwords, then just exactly how quickly would the novelty wear-off—crashing into pull-off an adolescent prank? fairly quickly you know. There’s no merchandise on Twitter to steal and fence, no drugs to snatch and sniff, no lunch money to bully pinch.
Tumblr accounts would become as mundane as garden sheds. Why bother putting a pad-lock on your garden shed? Nobody opens ‘em and nobody cares—you can keep your rakes, spades and sheers…even crooks aren’t interested.
The password on a social media account exists, in and of itself, in disproportion to the value of that accounts contents, the minor inconvenience in occasionally wiping-up after defacement and whatever you imagine is so hush-hush important about your personal life. You run no real risk…no one will plant a virus that erases your life, downloads into your temporary cache and corrupts your boot sectors—crashing your machine, delivering you the dreaded blue screen and leaving you both with unrecoverable data loss and the expense of purchasing a new device. At least, not in realistic proportion to deciding to live entirely without firewalls, anti-virus or malware protection—not for the 18-month to 2 years over which your hardware is still relevant…and not before the manufacturer’s intentionally engineered failure sets-in and your motherboard dies of its own accord.
So, to prove this point of disproportionality…this notion that—realistically—on Halloween they will come to toilet-paper your trees and soap your windows but really aren’t so malicious as to use wax instead of soap or gasoline your lawn jockey…I decided to comment upon the degree of civility with which we really live. No, I’ve never lived in a high crime rate bad neighborhood where reality dictates realistic precautionary measure. I’ve lived everywhere else, where the low crime rate means that locking your doors is a disproportionate response, and engagement of paranoia in a world where there does not exist a sub-species of human being, called criminals, who spend their nights going from house to house jiggling doorknobs.
In my experience, all over this world, the benefits of an open door greatly out-weigh the low risk potential damage. Friends feel free to drop by and have many times afforded me pleasant surprises upon my return home. When family or acquaintances find themselves, at 3 a.m., in a bad way from booze, drugs, domestics or insufferable loneliness—my door is open, literally.
‘We are alive today’, said Kurt Vonnegut, ‘due solely to the civility of others’. Don’t imagine that AR-15 in your closet is what keeps you safe—it isn’t. It’s the fact that you’ll never actually have to use it.
Thus, to virtually prove this point, inside a comment I made regarding the Heartbleed panic on the Washington Post, I simply invited whosoever would like to, to attack me. I gave-out my passwords. Maybe two dozen site accounts can be accessed via those magic words.
Do your worst. Hit me with your best shot. I can handle the inconvenience.
Unfortunately, the proof didn’t last too long. Not only do comments scroll quickly by, but the staff at the Washington Post decided—disproportionately—to protect themselves by ‘protecting’ me. They soon removed my comment and thereby relieved themselves of any potential liability in even inadvertently facilitating my own demise.
The common reaction, however, while my password revealed comment lasted, was that I couldn’t be more stupid. That I had no idea of what I’d done. That I was now vulnerable to every kind of disaster short of inviting a terrorist into my living-room to set-off a dirty bomb.
The fear is rampant. Panic is the new normal. Disproportionality, zero tolerance and bulling have become our standard modes of communication.
The enemy is everywhere, will stop at nothing, hates us all and is heck-bent to destroy our lives, our liberty and our happiness. No one is safe, security is job #1 and all’s fair in war. If you’re not with us, you’re against us…and we have a lesson to teach you.
Maybe a dozen people took-up my invitation…half appear to have been peeping Toms. Half let a marker to—quite indignantly, condescendingly and even malevolently—‘prove’ my idiocy to me. It didn’t occur to them that they had informed me more about themselves than they had discovered about me.
I got a couple of defacements on a few sites. To repair these, I had to spend a minute and ask for new passwords. Listen, if you’re really into hacking and feel now as if I need a good slap, I’ve been in no hurry to clean-up…with a little dedication and nothing better to do, you can still let me have it.
Don’t worry, I won’t hit back.
There’s no proportionality that calls for it. You realize, of course, that your online life isn’t at all private. Oh, I would that it were—I was there when the web began, at the virtual big bang.
There were no corporations, no governments and no anti-whatever ware. There were college students and scientists posting their ideas, modeming files and emailing attachments. There were no passwords, no need for encryption and no advertisers tracking your every move.
We lived free due to the civility of others. In spite of our 9/11 impelled snow-balling paranoia, I refuse get disproportion over remote possibilities and magnify spilt milk into terrorism. I will invest in that civility that enables us to live freely.
For those of you who are still having difficulty understanding, I’ve condensed the above into a summary with a relatively simple formula:
Stemming from the philosophy whereby one cultivates civility and conducting themselves, always, with civility—regardless of the degree of incivility felt by an particular threat and wherein we recognize that no amount of security can adequately defend against incivility—especially without both infringing upon civil liberties and committing incivilities under the pre-civilized notions that the best defense is a good offense or that one must fight fire with fire—and that, really, any and all of us remain intact today due only to the civility of others…
A ‘response’ is emotionality plus logical actions. The appropriate civil response to any threat can be no more than equal to the damage realized by that threat. Where that damage has yet to occur, ‘damage realized’ = a realistic assessment of damaged risked. ‘Risk’ then = average per capita rate of threat incidents realized, divided by real damage done per incident.
(incidents realized / per capita incident possibility) / damage realized per incident
This is what proportionality is. This is what an appropriate response it. Any more is an overreaction, often impelled by panic, set-off by fear which stems—itself—from lack of realistic assessment of a threat’s actual degree of risk.
These overreactions are uncivil…and when their worst-case scenarios are picked-up and presented by the media as expected risk or predicted damage, this yellow journalistic generation of propaganda causes totally unnecessary public panic and a drive to whack a mole with a sledge-hammer. These unfounded actions follow a path that invariably infringes upon the civil rights, liberties and humanitarian treatment that all of us require to live and let live. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Heartbleed cyber virus, a full-blown 9/11-esque attack or engagement in the Iraq war…the job of government officials, independent experts and the general public is to reserve emotionality for the time required to perform a complete and very realistic assessment of the above elements that determine and appropriate civil response.
And if I have to list for you the civil liberties we’ve lost between 9/11 and Heartbleed, if I have to illustrate for you how zero tolerant we have become with one another and if I have to preach to you the benefits of civility, good will, rationality, human rights and/or proportionality, then all is lost…as I can imagine then that you’d be the type of person at all interested in an humanities or liberal arts education—let alone practicing the restraint necessary to actually, realistically, look before you leap.
It’s a powerful picture, isn’t it?
Presumably, this hospital is somewhere in the Deep South. Considering that cross burning is an after dark activity, this must be the night shift. An all black emergency-room medical staff works feverishly to save the life of a KKK Wizard.
“She is alive today,” I said to her brother, “for only one reason…”
He swallowed a bit of his beer and nodded.
“Murder is illegal.”
“Yeah, sure,” he replied, “there’s that.”
“It’s this trapped, future-ruined, absolute ‘No Exit’ Hell feeling.”
“Yeah, hah—I had that,” he said, “My ex-? there was a time when I could’ve beaten her to death.”
“And no ‘blunt object’ either, no knife, no rope, no gun.”
“Just your bare freaking hands.”
“Exactly, while you’re head-exploded shaking and breathing spit,” I replied, “but you know—prison.”
It was God awful—it is.
Irreparable devastation consumed Sandy Hook elementary school. Inconsolable heartbreak seized Newtown, America. Minding their first grade fat-pencil business, there were half-a-dozen women and 20, six and seven year old, children.
A crazed gunman slaughtered them.
He use a paramilitary semi-automatic rifle—a machine gun. He wore a bullet-proof vest. He shot-off over 100 rounds of exploding ammunition.
This young man gone insane? he lived with his mother. They were together in her kitchen only minutes prior to the bloody siege he laid upon that school. At domestically close range, he shot four .22 caliber bullets—into her face.
The first, of course, knocked her to the floor.
Our incandescent light bulbs, after they’d burned out? we used to bring ‘em to the post office. The clerk took that dead black bulb and handed us back a brand new one, snug in its GE carton. 100% free of charge.
Really, this was normal life.
Needing gas, we’d pull the car to the pump and a man would jog out of the station wearing a cap and uniform. He’d smile, ask how much? set the pump and get the fuel flowing. Then he’d raise the hood, check the oil, grab a squeegee, dunk it in fluid and clean the windshield.
The filling stations and food stores gave-out green stamps which we pasted into collection books and for which we’d receive cookware, dinner plates or even a bag of groceries. Drinking glasses, kitchen towels or utensils came-out the middle of laundry detergent. Cereal box-tops were mail-order currency good for children’s toys.
Hey what about that ‘paperless office’? Is your office paperless? Are you old enough to remember that big computer promise? it was going to save the forests.
Does the computer really kick-out more original work than did the typewriter? Do journalists have more free time? Are secretaries going-home early? Did MS Office streamline your work load? double your out-put? halve your man-hours?
How about the grocery store check-out? Who remembers when fast fingered cashiers had one hand flying over the register while the other slid groceries into the bag-boy’s grasp? Did that bar-code beep, beep, beep actually speed things up?
Do you miss getting letters? Did you ever even write any? Do your friends and relatives keep contact by email? Was your Christmas card haul, this year, anything like the days of yore?
On Saturday, Nov. 17th, 2012 at 3:24 p.m. EST, The Stone, a Simon Critchley moderated series in the Opinionator ‘exclusive online commentary’ of The Opinion Pages in the New York Times, featured an op-ed, How to Live without Irony by Christy Wampole—an Assistant Professor, in her mid-thirties, with the Department of French and Italian at Princeton University. The piece focused on the nostalgia decorated ironic posturing of the largely student populated Hipster set within America’s Millennial generation. It made an ‘aversion to risk’ case for introspection of the superficial and subsequent adoption of a more authentic interactive mode.
Her opinion garnered 745 comments. It prompted over 200 emails inside 24 hours. It gleaned a radio show interview.
Wampole employed the phrases, ‘cultural numbness’, ‘collective misstep’ and ‘existential malaise’. This Stanford educated slacker referred to the hipsters as living in a ‘brainlessly compliant’ ‘ironic clique’. She accused our youngest adults of investing ‘in sham social capital without ever paying back one sincere dime’.
The pre-9/11 Intelligence memos? those indicating an impending terrorist attack on unspecified U.S. targets? worthless. The Captain Hindsight suggestions that an effective response could have prevented the catastrophe? delusional fantasies. What response? how? round-up the Muslims, stick ‘em in Manzanar and start-in on the waterboarding?
So what if airport strip-searches had been immediately implemented? if box-cutters were hurriedly outlawed? heck-bent to die, the terrorists martyrs would have simply used a syringe, faked anthrax or fashioned newspaper shivs.
History couldn’t have been altered.
Terrorists tune-in to security chinks. Air-tight safeguards are impossible. Water-tight attempts at it usurp that liberty essential to a land of the free, a home of the brave.
Our post-9/11 security binge ignores this reality.
There is a human weakness in being alive right now. That weakness is cognitive. It spans the decision sequence from information perception to interpretation through analyses, conclusion and action.
This weakness is a type of bias. It is a ‘here and now’ effect which might best be described as a ‘Present Bias’. Being present in the here and now, quite naturally, directs thinking’s focal emphasis to present states or circumstances—and limits, by degrees, consideration of past events and future probabilities.
In fact, the further back in the past or forward in the future an issue reaches, the less we apply sufficient thought to that issue then. This, of course, is the human weakness in critical thinking which too often allows us to repeat historical mistakes, tamper with ‘well enough’ or imbue a particular issue with undue importance. Common to each of these present bias scenarios is that they lack sufficient scope and essential information, and thereby facilitate immature action.
Ignorant is the new Enlightened.
Impoverished is the new poor.
Rich is the new Well-To-Do.
Socialists are the new Democrats.
Democrats are the new Republicans.
Republicans are the new Fascists.
Security is the new Liberty.
Black is the new white.
The Black-Market is the new Foreign Trade.
Selling-Out is the new American Way.
Manufacturing sold-out American labor. Globalization sold-out co-operation. Industry sold-out the environment.
China is the new America.
Nixon sold-out the Gold standard. Reagan sold-out economics. Bush sold-out the Constitution.
Obama is the new Truman.
So, the boob-tube political pundits were wrong. The 2012 general election was not about the economy. Voters did not opt for the big Bain business experience.
They did not jump on the ‘job creators’ band-wagon. Exception was not taken to the nearly stagnant unemployment rate. It’s ok that recovery is slow.
Thank you Bill Clinton.
Instead, the results of this election clearly show citizen concern with social issues. It wasn’t about the ‘audacity of hope’ or ‘change we can believe in’. Reality, realists and realism won, yes—‘We have a lot of work to do’.
Afghanistan is killing us.
Our war there, against ‘terror’, has allowed Afghani farmers to grow opium. Prior to the Nov., 2001 invasion, The Taliban—using medieval measures—had nearly destroyed the opium trade. Now, however, Afghanistan exports 90% of this world's heroin.1
Globally, at a market value of $65 billion annually, 15 million people use illicit opiates.2 Each year, Afghan opium derived heroin kills 100,000 people world-wide.3 Opium then, is both a significant cash crop and biological weapon.
The Bush administration followed a blanket policy of destroying poppy fields. In fact, that administration wanted to increase the efficiency of crop destruction via the aerial spraying of defoliation agents. However, Afghan President Hamid Karzai blocked this strategy citing his half-brother Wali's ‘environmental concerns’.4
American Evangelicals? one out of twenty-five of their babies is born homosexual. In a typically devout Heartland community of 10,000? 250 of them are gay. This is double the rate at which they are producing red-heads.
In terms of ostracization, Evangelicals attack the gay of their own at a higher rate than the Third Reich Germans attacked the Jewish. This is proof-positive of some serious cannibal-esque discrimination. It shows that comparisons of Evangelical actions to Hitler-generated behavior are at least as easy to draw as those to Jesus.
If the Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, KKK or New Black Panthers had infiltrated the political mainstream as vote, wallet and representation completely as cultist and quasi-Christians with fundamentalist dispositions, the National Guard would be called-out to police political gatherings. In many predominately Anglo-American regions, persons of LGBT persuasion both exist within and readily out-number major racial and religious minorities—Africans, Hispanics, Muslims and Jews. Given this, why aren’t Evangelicals on the U.S. list of Terrorist Organizations?
They have us now, the terrorists, right where they wanted us. Terrified. Is there a bigger shame? really, than having lost that War on Terror.
Know that billionaire Osama bin Laden didn’t finance the development and execution of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil because he was an unhinged Muslim fundamentalist with a taste for American blood. Those suicidal hijackers didn’t martyr themselves for a shot at bedding eighty virgins in seventh heaven. Rather, these extremists were driven by a purpose much greater than destroying a few iconic U.S. buildings while leaving a mass of corpses in their barbaric wake.
Their intention was to rip the secure heart out of American life. Their goal was to show us that bloody heart in their 3rd world hands so that we would suddenly realize our 1st world mortality. Their aim was ‘shock and awe’, to strike unmitigated fear into America’s imperialistic circulatory systems—society, democracy and capitalism.
Blogging is like renting. It’s a missed investment. Might as well toss hard-earned currency to a lord of the land who holds no stock in your trade.
That timestamp is an expiration date. Ideas serve sentences in solitary confinement. Only memes go viral.
Need a metaphor for pissing in the ocean?
Pundits are paid to absorb bandwidth. Inbound anchors, traffic and interactivity rank. Comments are character assassination.
Narrow minds are decorated with names, dates and places. One’s two cents are pennies laid upon that subject’s closed eyes. Any present emotional impetus is a future logical hindrance.
Is there an air hotter than virtual flatulence? Continue reading
Do you know what it is? the absolute worst freakin’ thing about American television? I know, I know, the commercials—right? Suckered-in by ten to twelve minutes of show, then gut-punched by a cycle of three minute commercial breaks and one to three minutes of program until the time dedicated to those inane max-volume advertisements actually surpasses the time they’re showing show.
This Harrison Bergeron state of affairs bombards a viewer’s mind so constantly and with such stinging pure-hype buckshot, that scriptwriters can’t even consider putting a serious, sophisticated or savvy idea on air. So we get autopsy entertainment, Jersey Shore, The Kardashian’s, Glee and spokes models who strut all T&A into a drama, introduce themselves as brain surgeons, rocket scientists or litigation experts and move-on to a Happy Hour speed-dating scene at Ally McBeal’s favorite piano bar. Ultimately, commercials convince programming directors that we Neilson citizens love Two and a Half Men so much that replacing their stoner star Sheen with the egotistical nimrod from That Contrived ’70s Show is mission critical and that the boring little dweeb deserves an Emmy.
Time to make the donuts.
Industry executives? they know. The highly paid business, technology, operations and financial directors at manufacturing companies and multinational corporations, they know that human facilitated climate change is real. These laissez-faire conservatives, these pro-capital extremists? they’re feigning disbelief. No, unfortunately, there exists no hard evidence.
Polygraphs are voluntary and DNA doesn’t encode deception. Don’t imagine however, that a million dollar bonus is a reward for a job well done. It’s hush money. Corporate executives keep more secrets and spin more allegations than black-market racketeers.
No CEO sends-out a memo, ‘Sure it’s obvious, so deny, deny, deny’.
Non-Disclosure agreements are signed and boardrooms aren’t bugged. Caribbean cruises aren’t uncommon and golden parachutes are provided. The CFO’s ex-wife wants half and silence lubricates negotiations.
The fat-cats know. They deny for position and profit. They disbelieve to enforce the status quo.
I was born in the Spring of 1961. So? So what?
So I was among that initial group of people who do not remember where they were when JFK was shot. My peers and I came into awareness so late in the baby-boom that, around 1980, we were dubbed the Mary Tyler Moore generation. We believed that we were going to make it after all.
We grew-up watching, I watched, news clips of explosive rocket strikes, evacuation helicopters, burning villages and pinned-down troops fighting the spread of communism in Vietnam. Evening after evening, Walter Cronkite gave me the body-count. I saw the peacenik hippy protests, coverage of the Kent State shootings, the highly flammable rioting in Detroit, film of RFK’s last moment on earth, MLK’s funeral and reruns of that man’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
In my house, given a choice between the Brady Bunch, Partridge Family or a PBS documentary on Hitler’s Germany, my father had us watching the holocaust. I saw specials on endangered species, toxic and hazardous waste, air pollution, the mercury fouling Lake Erie, our rapidly dwindling fossil fuels and the bright ideas scientists had to overcome these mistakes—harnessing the sun, cold fusion, eco-friendly materials and organic farming. I just knew that, not just in spite of our ignorant past, but because of it, our future looked bright.