Ragged Claws

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Living in the future is awesome

As we all know, a good indication that one is living in the future is the presence of machines offering convenient access to exotic goods or services, such as Raktajino, or a slow and horrible death. Getting off the train tonight, I learned that Contra Costa County has inched a step closer to the glorious world of tomorrow with Library-a-Go-Go, a boxy blue machine that allows commuters to instantly check out library books, which can be returned later to the same location. The relatively compact, TARDIS-like kiosk tempts passersby with a wide selection of titles, including a number of children's books that busy parents can pick up on the way home from work. Library-a-Go-Go is an absolutely brilliant idea, a boon to local residents that might also increase public support for the CCC library system more generally. Congratulations county bureaucrats!

Another benefit of living in the future is seeing a global community of citizens begin to come into partial, hazy view. And although the electronic web binding this community together is still tenuous and fragile, its members are, sometimes able to support one another. This article from Wired offers a few suggestions of how to assist Iranian protesters who are using the web to organize and to tell their stories. While such measures mean very, very little compared to the actions of those actually risking their safety, it's still a little awe-inspiring to realize that such things are possible - that the social networking tools that have sprung into existence over the last five years might be transformative in ways we're only just beginning to realize. ¡Viva el futuro!

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