118. The Story of Stuff

Those of you who read my last post will know that my friend Hudson, who I went to high school with, has challenged me to look into a few sources of information. The topic centers around the items we use each day, where the materials come from that make those items, how these items affect the world, and what happens to the items after we throw them away. I may have missed a few parts there, but I see this as a long term project, so I am sure if I missed something I will cover it in a future post. I promised Hudson that I would carefully look into each of the resources he gave me, and offer my honest opinion. The first resource he gave me was this video, and it is hosted on a site called The Story of Stuff.

Things I agree with:

This whole challenge started because I, and another friend of ours mentioned either owning or wanting an iPad. Hudson asked us to consider thinking about where these things come from and the impact they have on our world. So I started watching this video, and was stunned when she starts talking about creating products that will break, or be out of date in a short amount of time. I was stunned even more when she talked about making products look different so others could see you didn’t have the latest and greatest item. Why was I stunned, well because that is how Apple gets people to buys things. They have been doing this for years. When the iPhone came out everyone had to have it, and then the iPhone 3Gs came out, and then the iPhone 4, and they are even talking about the iPhone 5 next year. Being a Mac snob myself I have fallen victim to this many times. When the iPhone 4 came out I wanted one despit the fact that my iPhone 3G works just fine. I am happy to say I did not give in to temptation and still have my iPhone 3G. But even still today the pull to own the iPhone 4 can be strong.

The comments about The Corporations owning the Government I think are spot on! If big oil companies did not have their hand in the till we would have had a better solution for gas a LONG time ago. However there is a lot of evidence that shows big oil companies getting rid of alternative fuel competition in one way or another.

Things I dont agree with:

I dont agree with the comments about people working around chemicals. Especially here in the US. My profession is Health and Safety, and I am very aware of all the safety regulations out there that IF followed protect the worker from harmful chemicals. True many companies dont follow those rules or regulations, but its then the employees responsibility to report those companies. Having been on both ends I can say I know that there is a risk for whistle blowers, but it is worth the risk.

There was a comment about people in other countries working in factories, and giving up their lives. This I disagree with. Life is hard. Always has been and always will be. One of my favorite TV quotes is “The hardest thing to do in this world is live in it.” Its true! However I think almost everyone in this world has the chance to make something better for themselves. Sure it will require hard work, sacrifice, and blood, sweat and tears, but its possible. Think of the last movie you saw where the underdog won, like Rudy. Rudy was not handed what he wanted. He had to work hard every day for what he wanted. He sacrificed a lot including living in a closet, and being outcast by his girlfriend and family. Getting somewhere in this life take hard work, and everyone can do it, if they are not willing to settle.

OK these are just my first thoughts after watching the video. There are several more videos to watch and a large website to explore. So I am going to get back to studying and making notes. More comments and posts on this to follow.

117. The Problem With iPhones, iPads, And Other Electronics

Yesterday my friend Leanne posted about how happy she has been with her purchase of a new iPad. I myself have been on the fence about buying one, and have been curious for what things people find the iPad valuable. I have heard many many different responses. Even this past week while at a business conference I had a conversation with one of the companies lead VP’s about the possibility of getting everyone iPads, and the business advantages it would bring us.

Now during this conversation with Leanne another friend of ours posted the following…

“Not all of these apply to the iPad, of course, but check out this link and multiply all of the hefty resource and human rights issues related to the iPhone by 4 (the approximate multiple of the iPad’s size to its smaller cousin.) You should also definitely think of the impacts–social, environmental–of your high-tech purchase BEYOND your mere personal enjoyment of it.
In this day and age, it’s pretty easy to disengage from connecting all of the dots… everything is just made SO far away. http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/03/scary-truth-about-your-iphone”

When you go to the website it talks a great deal about some of the disadvantages of the iPhone and iPad. Things like….
1. The origin of where the parts are made.
2. The amount of waste that it creates to make an iPhone or ipad
3. Illegal mine operations
4. Desecration of land in the harvest of minerals
5. Padding arms dealers pockets
6. Labor and sweat shops
7. Bad safety record
8. Monopoly

Now before all of you Apple loving people go nuts out there, lets remember that I am an Apple snob myself. However I am always willing to listen to other peoples opinion. Doing a little research into this and I have found some (not all) but some credibility to the accusations.

My question to Hudson was this…

“Holy guilt trip BatMan….Hudson while I think you environmental attitude is well worth while I have a few questions?

1. What is your solution? I see you have brought a problem to the table but I see no solution to the issue. While I guess your solution could be to stop buying cell phones, ipads, etc, in todays world that is an unrealistic solution.
2. What did you use to make this comment? A computer? I believe that if I did deep enough about any electronics store, with maybe a few exceptions, I think I would find similar things to what you have posted. So again I see you bringing a problem to us, but using the very thing you abhor.

Im not saying your wrong. Truly I am not, and I am listening to you that there is a need for more awareness and understanding, but what is the solution. There are a lot of people in this world who want to bitch about problems but I see very little problem solving.”

So my question to the world is….Do you think that this is really a problem? If so what is the solution? How do we change this? Do we need to change it? Is it out of our control?

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60. Making Fun of Apple

OK so as I have mentioned I have not been the greatest fan of Apple the last few weeks. This doesn’t mean that I am not a loyal Appleite, but it also doesn’t mean that I cant make fun of my on kind from time to time. So enjoy…

59. Kick, Punch, Strangle!!!

Dear Apple,
I have been a loyal fan of yours for several years. I have defended your products and software against what I thought were crazy PC lovers. I even went out and purchased your products when I really had no reason or need to have them. I purchased them because I thought they were good reliable products, and I wanted to support your company. Since you came out with the Iphone 4, and the new Iphone 4.0 software I have been becoming more and more frustrated with your company. First off I think that its complete bullshit that the Iphone 3G does not support multitasking. I personally think this is your companies way of forcing people to go out and buy ANOTHER Iphone. I recognize that its your company and you may do with it as you wish, but I find it VERY low! Second, ever since I installed the new Iphone 4.0 software I have been having problems with ALL of my apps. My GPS takes 3 ties as long to find signal, and most of the time the display does not work. My Ipod has started to sporadically playing songs with skips. It sounds like I am listening to a scratched CD. And finally my RunKeeper software has started failing, and randomly shutting down. This makes it almost impossible to accurately measure my performance. I have never come so close to throwing my Iphone into traffic, as I did today. I DID NOT have these issues BEFORE 4.0, and now I do. SO FIX IT!!!!

36. My Dream About The Ipad

So last night I only got about 2 hours of sleep. Why, you ask. Well the answer is Terra and I stayed up WAY to late, and then I had to be up at 3:00AM to pick up a friend who needed a ride to the airport. As I sit here at my desk writing this is occurs to me that the last time I was this tired I was in Thousand Oaks, CA serving a christian mission for my church. Lucky for me today will be an early day.

Anyways in the short time I was asleep last night my brain decided to entertain me by giving me a dream that involved the Ipad (What an unfortunate name). The dream took place during a meeting for work. I dont remember what we were discussing, but eventually I pulled an Ipad out of my backpack and started using it. Before long everyone at the table was envious of my new found possession. The meeting soon ended and I found myself in a hotel room getting ready to get on a flight home. Suddenly I remembered that I had only been loaned this Ipad from a local Best Buy store. They had taken a 300.00 deposit from me in case I didn’t return it. I sat on the edge of the bed in the hotel room pondering if I wanted to return the Ipad or just keep it for myself.

At that point I was suddenly outside looking out over a disney castle. The clock on the top of the castle struck 11:00PM. Suddenly the castle came alive with fireworks, lights, and disney characters all singing some song I cant remember, probably “Its a small world”. As soon as it had begun the singing, lights and fireworks were over, and I was left staring at a silent castle.

I realized I wasn’t alone and saw two girls standing near me that looked to be about my age. They were hurriedly writing something down. I asked them what they were doing, and they explained that the castle was a geocach and that you could only find the geocach during the lights, fireworks, and singing. I found myself disappointed I didn’t get to find the geocach, but vowed to myself that I would return the next night and find it. So I took out my Ipad, made the decision that I would keep it, and jotted a note down to be here again in 24 hours to find the geocach.

Thats when my alarm went off, and I woke up.