Friday, February 17, 2006

The inevitable consequences of stupidity.


Feel free to draw the connections here. As you read recently, we have this:

You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it. You will never need to know -- never mind want to know -- how many boys it will take to mow a lawn if one of them quits halfway and two more show up later -- or something like that. Most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator. On the other hand, no computer can write a column or even a thank-you note -- or reason even a little bit. If, say, the school asked you for another year of English or, God forbid, history, so that you actually had to know something about your world, I would be on its side. But algebra? Please.

Which might be somehow related to this:

After more than a half-century of unchallenged superiority in virtually every field of science and technology, from basic research to product development, America is starting to lose ground to other nations.

Which means you shouldn't be surprised by something like this:

The business world and government departments depend upon it, grade-school kids are taught how to use it and Osama bin Laden’s followers have become skilled practitioners. But congressional investigations of government responses to Hurricane Katrina have revealed that two of the nation’s key crisis managers, the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, do not use e-mail.

Which might be amusing except when that same Luddite attitude turns up in places like this:

By ignoring the less glamorous duties of his post, [Louis] Freeh put the FBI in a terribly disadvantaged position. The FBI's intra-office computer system was old and ineffectual. The 56k modems the agency used were so slow, agents frequently communicated using faxes instead. Inevitably, many of these memos were lost. There were so few around that numerous agents had to share computers. While Freeh diverted millions of dollars overseas to establish FBI bases (a desirable goal), the agency's headquarters here in America were falling into disrepair. The Information Technology programs the FBI did undertake went millions and millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. In the absence of results even by the pathetic standards of the U.S. Congress, further monies were withheld. Freeh himself, despite his pro-technology rhetoric, booted the computer out of his office on day one and, incredibly, never used e-mail during his tenure as Director.

I'm pretty sure you can connect those dots all by yourself, no?

THE IRONY IS KILLING ME: Via DK, we learn:

The United States lags dangerously behind al Qaeda and other enemies in getting out information in the digital media age and must update its old-fashioned methods, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday.
...
The Pentagon chief said today's weapons of war included e-mail, Blackberries, instant messaging, digital cameras and Web logs, or blogs.

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but ... our country has not adapted," Rumsfeld said.

... said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who refuses to use e-mail. You just can't make this stuff up.

1 comment:

G said...

I'm not surprised that Rummy and Chertoff don't use email. No electronic records to come back and bite them in the ass.