Sunday, June 23, 2013

Egg Timers and Surveillance

The other day, Xander discovered for the very first time our egg timer. It’s very old style, a three minute hourglass style timer. Flip it over and watch your eggs. You have to watch closely, of course, because there are no bells and whistles that go off when the very last grain of sand falls through the narrow passage. Xander was fascinated. We decided to test the timer and see just how long it took for three minutes to pass. We combined this ancient technology with the microwave timer and discovered it took two minutes and forty-seven seconds for the sand to run out. We ran this experiment several times – a delightful and easy way to entertain an energetic and wildly curious five year old for more than half an hour toward the end of our day together. It was a multi-tasking little egg timer, well surveyed! Speaking of surveillance, I have to digress for a moment regarding the NSA leak. The big question, to me, is: ARE WE SURPRISED? REALLY?!! The fact is that our government has had citizens under surveillance. That the numbers have increased exponentially only means that the technology to watch us has increased likewise. Our online activities are being monitored constantly, as conscientious citizens scour material for buzz words and phrases that raise a red flag. This very blog may cause a red flag to be raised simply if I mention the word anarchy, or terrorist, or Snowden, or any other of a vast number of possibilities. Yet I do so openly because I have nothing to hide from anyone. I am not afraid of surveillance, but I object to it. I object more, though, to our government – and our President – lying to us about what they are doing. Face it, whether you like it or not, those people who run the country – who have the power – feel somehow obliged to make sure they stay in power. They might tell you and me that they are simply trying to protect us, but the fact is that we are their subjects, not their partners, and they will treat us as such. Any one of us who threatens or appears to threaten THEM might find themselves being watched more closely than Xander watches an hourglass. It’s the hypocrisy that bothers me most. We spy. We have spied on others since we have been a nation. All nations do it as much as their technology and funding allow. Americans willingly give up their privacy – as I am doing right now – on social media or walking down camera-embedded streets. The fact that we spy on ourselves doesn’t mean much, except that it shakes our trust and confidence in our own government. What little remains. It’s like a three minute egg timing hourglass that takes 2 minutes, 47 seconds to run out.

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