Living with Information and Communications Technology (ICT)


ICT or Information and communications technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it is for work or personal use we can not do without it. Especially in the last 2 years or so, during the Covid 19 pandemic, ICT has become the cornerstone to keep the economy and education going.
However, it has also become something which can be exploited for negative use. Cybercriminals have exploited weak spots in ICT infrastructure of many public and private companies.
For example, on May 14, 2021, the Health Service executive, Ireland, fell victim to ransomware cyber-attack. Ransomware is a malicious software designed to deny access to an ICT system until money is paid. The HSE had to shut down all their computers and fix them one by one.
Additionally with the development of mobile ICT devices like smart phones and tablets, and the creation of social media platforms it has become extremely easy to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories. On the other hand, it has also become much easier for people to work remotely.
For people like me who have family abroad, good reliable broadband connection, is especially important to stay connected to family and friends across the world. This has become evident to me when my youngest son moved to the Netherlands for the Erasmus project of his studies at the University of Limerick. He moved to Tilburg at the end of August, where before it would be too expensive to stay connected daily, nowadays we can chat and see each other every day via the app What’s App, at no extra cost.
Another advantage of Information and communication technology is in relation to the entertainment industry. Musicians no longer need to buy expensive studio time or equipment. With software like Audacity, Audiotool or Adobe audience they can record, edit, and stream it directly to platforms such as Spotify or Deezer. It has also become a lot easier to enjoy a TV show. Applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + and Apple TV allow viewers to watch shows and other contents on every device that has a screen be it a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV, shows can be streamed directly to any of these devices, at any time the user wants it.
But the flipside of this is that there is a risk that down the line a price will have to be paid for all this convenience. Just as is the case with convenience food, just because it is easy and often immediately consumable does not equate with being healthy. People nowadays do not have to move out of their houses anymore. They can order food, watch a favourite show, and listen to music by using the same tool. Often a device that fits in a back pocket.
We most also take in consideration the environmental impact of ICT devices, and particularly the mobile, handheld devices and electric cars. They all run on rechargeable batteries called ‘Lithium-ion batteries. Most of these batteries contain minerals and chemicals as components. To name but a few-Lithium cobalt oxide, Graphite, Lithium iron phosphate and Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxides- aside from the environmental impact of these components, they also sometimes with a human cost, mining these components often happens in third world countries at elevated risk and little pay.
They also have a high energy density; therefore, they need to be charged quite often, sometimes more than once a day, which is a drain on the electricity grid and can result into higher energy prices. Unfortunately, this is seldom heard in debates regarding so called ‘green’ energy.
A major innovation though is 3d printing. It enables things to be printed in a very quick way where it used to take a long time. Especially in the medical industry it has become a major driver to design and create all sorts of artificial limbs and other things.
I mentioned Social Media platforms earlier. In general, most of these are accessed via apps on mobile information and communications technology devices. Although most social media platforms were initially designed as tools to make it easier and more convenient to connect people. These platforms now have become facilitators of hate speech, history distortion, misinformation and are often politicised.

With the inbuilt programs where you can alter images to make you look better than you do, these platforms are in danger of becoming the purveyors of lies rather then connectors of people. Many especially younger people suffer from mental issues cause be unreal expectation and cyber bullying facilitated by some of the social media outlets.
In summary there are advantages and disadvantages to the use of ICT systems. But if they are used in a controlled in a sensible way, by using common sense, and perhaps by waiting a minute or two before giving a kneejerk reaction to what somebody may have sent you, I believe that overall, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However there need to be better regulations and enforcement of those regulations of the more damaging aspect of the information and communication technology

The not so original Cancel Culture

The buzz word nowadays is ‘Cancel Culture’ the definition of this phenomenon according to WikiPedia is

-Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”-

However cancel culture is nothing new. It does appear to resurface every once and again. Although the current ‘woke’ generation may think it is a socially very responsible thing to do, it is far from it.

The problem with cancel culture it only cheery picks elements of the truth in order to pursue a political philosophy. It also is more an ideology which is endorsed by both fringes of society, The far and extreme right and also the far and extreme left. You only have to look at the call out for banning of the Teletubbies ,by some far right evangelists in the USA, because it supposedly encouraged homo sexuality- Tinky Winky was allegedly a gay icon.

On the other hand there were calls for the books of Laura Ingalls “Little House on the Prairie” to be banned, by far left socialists, because if allegedly encouraged racism.

These are just 2 examples of the more current cancel culture phenomenon. As I said this however is nothing new. Back in the 1920’s there was a call for the banning of some movies because they went against the moral values of the wider society. Especially when there was nudity involved

A still of Annette Kellermann from A Daughter of the Gods (1916).

What many people nowadays don’t realize is that the first movie to win a best picture Oscar (the 1927 silent film “Wings”) had both male AND female nudity. In 1922, after several risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder Will H. Hays to rehabilitate Hollywood’s image. Initially it started of with a list of 36 self-imposed “Don’ts and Be Carefuls,”

But soon that was no longer enough and the Hays code was introduced in 1934 and lasted for 34 years. The Hays Code was so strict that even the display of cleavage was controversial. There were some exemptions like in documentaries and comedies where some nudity was involved. Like the 1963 comedy “Promises! Promises!” starring Jayne Mansfield

We may not have the Hays code anymore but nowadays we have the “Community Standards” set by Social Media platforms such as Facebook, where it is possible toe get porn sent you via anonymous sources as spam and there seems to be no rule for that, however posting a topless picture of a wife or girlfriend on the beach is seen as totally offensive, but it is never explained who is offended by it. Or in my case where I was banned for posting a meme of Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler and his daughter actress Liv Tyler.

So far these examples have been relatively harmless but social media is becoming more and more the source for many of these cancel culture events. People just are not interested in educating themselves with all the facts. I totally condemn all racism, and I mean all racism. No one in their right mind will deny that there was slavery but slogans like “White Privilege” or “Black lives matters” will not help fight racism, in fact it will do the opposite. Of course we need to look at the history of slavery, but we need to look at all the history.

It is true that white slave traders went to Africa where they got slaves, but it mostly wasn’t them who captured the slaves. That was mainly done by other Africans often from other tribes.

This is a front cover of a London news paper a printed in 7 December 1889, of Tippu Tip, or Tippu Tib an Afro-Arab slave trader, ivory trader, explorer, plantation owner and governor. He worked for a succession of the sultans of Zanzibar. Tippu Tip traded in slaves for Zanzibar’s clove plantations. As part of the large and lucrative ivory trade, he led many trading expeditions into Central Africa, constructing profitable trading posts deep into the region. He bought the ivory from local suppliers and resold it for a profit at coastal ports.

Although he owned thousands of slaves and sold them for a profit , I haven’t heard anyone ask for him to be cancelled. He is not the only African slave traders there were many.

As for the aforementioned the banning or cancelling books like “the little house on the prairie” or a series of books of Dr Seuss really is nothing different then the 21st century version of book burning.

On April 8, 1933, he Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union (DSt) proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit” Yes indeed the student union, supposedly educated people who actively encouraged fellow students and citizens to destroy books.

Of course the subject of History itself is under scrutiny and has been already cancelled in many schools.

We should all learn from the mistakes in history. We should also respect our differences and embrace them. But not by cancelling it but by debate and education. and especially education in History.

If we give in to these extreme philosophies on each side of the political spectrum we will make the same mistakes again. My biggest fear is that , and I mean this sincerely and genuinely, if we look at everything from just one side we will be contributing to a genocide we have never seen before.

A rumour was enough to be sentenced to death.

Leo

It is strange how you can come across some stories. I was actually doing some research on the fate of the pets of Jews during the Holocaust, when a picture came up of Leo Katzenberger. What drew my attention to the picture was the fact that Leo looked a lot like one of my Uncles who was also called Leo, now my uncle wasn’t a particularly nice man, where Leo Katzenberger by all accounts was a good neighbor and a good man. But why his picture came up in the place I don’t know.perhaps it is because of his last name.

The story of Leo is a disturbing one and although I don’t like drawing parallels with the Holocaust and current state of affairs, I can’t but help seeing some similarities. The holocaust did not happen overnight ,it was a gradual process, Conditions were created without being properly challenged,conditions which eventually resulted in mass destruction of innocent human lives. It only takes a rumour nowadays to get a person convicted, but today the courts are set in social media, People might not realize it but the Holocaust started by slowly picking on people, making false accusation creating the perfect situations to single out scapegoats.

The Katzenberg tral is a chilling example of what can happen.

Leo Katzenberger was a well known  Jewish businessman in Nuremberg he was the owner of a wholesale shoe business and a number of stores throughout the south Germany, he was also  a leading figure in the Nuremberg Jewish community. Early 1932, he rented out  an apartment and a small storefront in his building at 19 Spittlertorgraben to Irene Seiler, a  daughter of a non-Jewish friend. Although Katzenberger’s business was ‘Aryanized’in 1938, he was still fairly comfortable and still kept his own building and rent space to Seiler.

irene

In March 1942, Katzenberger, aged  76 at the time , and Seiler, who was 30, were accused of having a sexual affair and  were  arrested on charges of racial defilement (Rassenschande).

Both Katzenberger and  Seiler,stated that their friendship was platonic and claimed the relationship between them was more that of a father and daughter, and the only “evidence” was the testimony of a single witness who had seen him leaving her apartment.The investigating judge concluded there was too little evidence to proceed with the case.However the case had come to  the attention of Oswald Rothaug, a judge known for his severity and fanatic support of the Nazi party, Rothaug arranged for the case to be brought to him.

Rothaug

Rothaug knew the trial would create massive publicity and there turned out to be great public interest in the proceedings. The courthouse  was full both trial days. In what was a deliberately set up show trial, Rothaug made remarks about Katzenberger  like “syphilitic Jew” and an “agent of world Jewry.”

Given the fact the trial only last 2 days it was clear there was only going to be 1 outcome. Katzenberger was sentenced to death for race defilement .The usual sentence for this ‘ crime’ would have been a term of imprisonment of several years. But, the Volkschädlingsgesetz, a wartime law, which allowed  the death penalty because it was claimed that Katzenberger used the wartime black outs to visit Seiler.

Irene Seiler was found guilty of perjury for denying an affair had taken place and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment

Leo Katzenberger was killed by guillotine at Stadelheim Prison in Munich on 2 June 1942.

But Even among some Nazi officials, the very weak evidence used  and grounds on which Katzenberger had been sentenced to death caused some discomfort.

 

 

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/katzenberger-case-march-13-1942

March 18: On Trial for “Racial Defilement”

What If? WWII Social Media.

I wonder sometimes how WWII would have been broadcast if Social Media outlets like Facebook and Twitter would have been around then.

Below are quotes from WWII which easily could have been Tweets or Facebook posts.

10-ww2-quotes-7-728

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Winston Churchill

maxresdefault

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely”

Dwight Eisenhower

dwight-eisenhower-a-five-star-general-34th-president-of-the-us-and-master-of-surprisingly-accurate

hirohito

quote-when-a-russian-pig-has-to-be-beaten-it-would-be-the-ordinary-german-worker-who-would-have-to-do-it-robert-ley-247347

“Maybe there are 5,000, maybe 10,000 Nazi bastards in their concrete foxholes before the Third Army. Now if Ike stops holding Monty’s hand and gives me some supplies, I’ll go through the Siegfried Line like shit through a goose.”

George Patton

george-patton

 

quote-i-will-leap-into-my-grave-laughing-because-the-feeling-that-i-have-five-million-human-adolf-eichmann-68-40-54

“The Limeys want us in even with our hastily made plans and our half-trained and half-equipped troops. I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is as humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and retake it.”

American General Joseph Stilwell

08-joseph-stilwell

 

 

24854-adolf-hitler-quotes

quote-the-jews-deserved-to-die-i-have-no-regrets-if-i-had-the-chance-i-would-do-it-again-alois-brunner-73-94-04

“The Germans should have thought of some of these things before they began the war, particularly before attacking the Russians.”

General Bernard Law Montgomery

11-bernard-montgomery

quote-the-more-we-do-to-you-the-less-you-seem-to-believe-we-are-doing-it-josef-mengele-72-27-87