Friday, December 03, 2004


these old eyes have seen it all

Three stories today at the intersection of futurology and pathology: A robot tries to find a cyber-CEO and fails, cyber-Nazism is on the march, and a cyberlectorate can websurf but can't read. First, the CEO of a Michigan-based technology company, CyberNET, killed himself after a shootout with police. CyberNET, according to its website, specialized in local outsourcing of IT departments for U.S. corporations. They were undoubtedly under a great deal of competition from firms using lower-cost offshore programmers. Barton Watson and several others were under investigation for fraud. As reported by local broadcaster

Michigan State Police officials sent a camera-equipped robot to search inside the home. The robot found nothing on the home's first level and was unable to make it to the second level. So deputies decided to go in the home at 8:30 a.m. "We did enter the home, did a search room to room, and unfortunately, the person we were looking for was found deceased in one of the bedrooms in the upper level,” said Sergeant Roger Parent of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

Watson was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The story has more resonance than I care to contemplate - the technology boom-and-bust, outsourcing, the robot's failed attempt to locate his body. High-tech or not, some things are just sad.

Blue Lemur reports (via Raw Story) that hackers invaded Howard Dean's website and inserted Nazi slogans:

The "ESX" and "boxocide" references are too obscure for me, and I don't know how to hack a website. But we've all seen the emotion before, as has Dean (who, it should be remembered, has a Jewish wife.)As Ellen Dana Nagler
reports on Blogging of the President, "blog" was the word most looked up by users of Merriam-Webster Online. Other words in the Top Ten included "incumbent," "electoral," and "partisan," suggesting that many people are far more adept at surfing the Web than they are at operating the basic tools of democracy. We may well wind up having more information and less knowledge than any electorate in human history. Trite, but I don't seem to be accessing any e-irony right now.