The Robo-Bar: Automating Your Drinking Experience

Ipourit

“part of the public drinking experience has been the banter of the bartender”

For centuries, part of the public drinking experience has been the banter of the bartender with the customers. Such conversation can have a relaxing and therapeutic effect on the person. In the new cyber-bar, however, the bartender is no longer needed. The customer assumes the function.

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There is a new self-serve beverage system called IPourIt in which bar customers dispense their own beer, wine, or any other drink from taps and pay by the ounce.

The person presents a state-issued ID, and then receives a radio-frequency-encoded wristband. This device records the volume of any drink taken from any of the taps on the wall. The drinker can sample (and pay for) the options before pouring a full glass. The bar actually saves money since the customer pays for the overflow that frequently happens in busy bars.

Even sobriety is monitored. The system can limit the customer’s consumption based on height and weight, worked out in conjunction with the alcohol content of beverages sampled.Subscription13

(As described by Craig Lambert, Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs that Fill Your Day, Berkeley, Calif., Counterpoint Press, 2015, p. 151.)

Praise for Return to Order – Rev. Dr. John Trigilio, Jr.

Fr. Trigilio“John Horvat succinctly describes the condition, history, diagnosis and prognosis of our current economic crisis. The economic chaos or peril is only symptomatic of the bigger and more crucial issue of a CULTURAL CRISIS. His terminology of FRENETIC INTEMPERANCE is brilliant. This is not an apologia to retreat from the world nor is it an attempt to turn back the clock, so to speak. It is a coherent explanation of the sitz-im-leben we find ourselves. Only an ORGANIC CHRISTIAN SOCIETY can save Europe and America from the same oblivion that doomed the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Western Civilization is rooted in the JUDAEO-CHRISTIAN ethos. No philosophical or economic theory can provide what an organic Christian society alone creates and supports. Not Socialism, not Communism, not Fascism and not unbridled, unrestricted and unlimited Consumeristic Capitalism. Horvat, like Fr. Sirico, shows that a Free Market makes sense and conforms to the Natural Moral Law but must also be constrained and governed by it as well. I highly recommend this book.”

Rev. Dr. John Trigilio, Jr.
Author and President, Confraternity of Catholic Clergy
EWTN Host

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Understanding the Cross in a “Way of the Cross” Society

crucifictionThe following excerpt is taken from a speech titled “A Way of the Cross Society,” delivered at the American TFP’s 2014 National Conference on October 25th, in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

And so we need a “Way of the Cross” society. But not just any way and not just any cross.

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The modern world does not understand what the cross really is. It simplifies the notion by saying the cross is just any random suffering that happens to come our way.


 

And so, crosses are exceptions, detours or obstacles along my path to happiness. At the very best, the cross consists of little inconveniences. And normally people can put up with little inconveniences which they mistake for crosses. The problems really start when a misfortune is prolonged and the world falls on top of people. Then, people like this rebel and complain that there is something profoundly wrong and unjust about the cross that suddenly appears to ruin their happiness.

A society based on this mentality leads people to embrace not the cross, but a culture of entitlement and resentment. They seek redress for the “injustice” of the cross that disturbs their road to happiness. They reason: “If I break my leg, I will sue the sidewalk company to compensate me for ruining my happiness.” “If I am fired from my job, I will demand corresponding benefits.”

But in an organic Christian society, it is the opposite. We understand that, because of Original Sin, we have disordered passions that once let loose, unleash a tyrannical rule upon everything. They throw everything out of balance and turn everything into a constant party.

Our cross consists of constantly reigning in these disordered passions. That is why wePogrzeb_gorala must embrace the constant crosses of hardship, tragedy and complicated social relationships that come from the Original Sin of our first parents. In such a society, the cross is not the exception, but the norm of our lives.

The problem is that no one escapes from the cross. One can either embrace it or run from it.

In modern society, crosses are hated obstacles on the path of happiness. In Catholic society, times of happiness are welcome rest stops on the way of the cross.

Of course, God is merciful and often allows us periods, even long periods, of happiness and rest from the cross. We might cite as an example, the mercy of God giving us sleep. Think about it, for a good portion of every single day we have a time where we can put our problems aside and rest. God gives us other mercies like chocolate shops that provide us with little pleasures amid our trials. God is good.

But as long as we live, we have to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil. The bookSubscription8.11 of Job says “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7:1). And so the cross is found always before us. An organic Christian society has as its foundation this understanding of the cross as the rule, not the exception. And this allows us to face and deal with reality much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Technology Mediates Reality

When Technology Mediates Reality

“One only need look at people engrossed on their phones in a busy airport”

Everyone perceives there is something wrong with the excessive use of electronic devices. One only need look at people engrossed on their phones in a busy airport to perceive some kind of imbalance is at play.

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The reason why such situations are unbalanced is that a person must have some kind of direct contact with reality to exercise common sense and moral judgments. When technology comes in between people and the things around them, very important nuances and details are lost. Technology mediates reality forcing the person to rely upon a second hand experience to make important judgments that affect relationships and society.




Thus, while a text message may get an idea across to another person, it omits an enormous amount of information. By its short and quick nature of the medium, it is hard to transmit personal moods, emotions and dispositions. It is easy to omit or ignore them. A thought is thus reduced to the bare and brutal minimum. To the extent that people rely only on technology, they tend to reduce reality to abstractions, which are the means by which technology can be expressed.

Sociologist Richard Stivers, in his book, Shades of Loneliness: Pathologies of a RTO-Audiobook-AD-medium-resTechnological Society, describes well what happens. He writes that “reality is sensuous, symbolic, and utterly ambiguous. To interpret reality I must bypass technology with a personal knowledge of history, culture, and other people. To the extent that I rely on technology, I reduce history, culture, and other people to local categories and statistics.”

When the Home Becomes a Warehouse

709px-Sam's_Club_store

“This is where the retailer gains an added benefit from the consumer”

The constant trend in modern commerce is to transfer as much work as possible onto the customer and thus minimize expenses. Customers can therefore be seen labeling, checking out and bagging their purchases. They can order their purchases online and avoid all contact with humans. They can use their iPhone to compare prices and weigh their options. All these tasks are added to the load of today’s overworked and overshopped consumer.

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Few people, however, realize that the so-called warehouse clubs also are a great bargain for retailers. The large no-frills stores cut everything to a minimum by offering little-to-no floor help beyond shopping carts and optional cashiers. Most do not even provide bags since shoppers usually buy in bulk quantities well beyond their immediate needs.


This is where the retailer gains an added benefit from the consumer. With shoppers carrying out cases of canned food or multi-roll packages of paper towels, the warehouse clubs are finding new and free storage space.

Author Craig Lambert notes: “The customer’s home, in other words, becomes the RTO-Audiobook-AD-medium-resaftermarket warehouse. Instead of leasing space somewhere to stock inventory, Costco stores it, free of charge in the customer’s basement, after the sale instead of before it” (from Craig Lambert, Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs that Fill Your Day, Counterpoint, Berkeley, 2015, p. 170).

Does Wal-Mart Carry Everything?

Does Wal-Mart Carry Everything?

“The Wal-Mart abundance is really just a veneer of all the variety that exists.”

There are those who seem to believe that big department store chains like Wal-Mart carry almost everything that exists. This is, however an illusion.

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Writer Chris Anderson observes that this impression is part of the paradox of plenty. He writes: “Walk into a Wal-Mart and you’re overwhelmed by abundance and choice. Yet look closer and the utter thinness of this cornucopia is revealed. Wal-Mart’s shelves are a display case a mile wide and twenty-four inches deep” (Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, New York: Hyperion, rev. and updated, 2008, p.156).



Anderson notes that the actual proportion of goods that exist is more like a world that is one mile wide and a mile deep. The Wal-Mart abundance is really just a veneer of all the variety that exists.

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Turning Vices into Virtues

Turning Vices into Virtues

“it is heard that the public good is obtained when men look after their own interests.”

So often it is heard that the public good is obtained when men look after their own interests. While there might be some degree of truth in the idea, the real change was one of focus. The modern view shifted the whole perception of the public good. It is no longer an end but merely an effect of another end. Under such a vision, the public good is no longer to be sought but merely engineered as a side concern.

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This can be seen in the case of greed. For centuries, the Church had warned against this vice for the harm that it does to the public good since it throws society and economy out of balance.

During the eighteenth century, this concept of greed was sidelined and replaced with the belief that greed promoted economic production. In addition to this revised view of greed, there was the advance of utilitarianism which proclaimed that anything that helped production and progress was good and just. There were no fixed standards of right and wrong but only that which worked and that which did not.

Subscription12So comprehensive has been the triumph of this twin revolution,” writes Edward Skidelsky, “that sophisticated minds today find it hard not only to see the love of money as a vice, but to see how anything like the love of money ever could have been regarded as a vice.”

(Edward Skidelsky, “The Emancipation of Avarice,” Samuel Gregg and Harold James eds., Natural Law, Economics, and the Common Good, Imprint Academic, Charlottesville, Va., 2012, p. 155)

The Cultural Richness of a Highly Developed Local Production

The Cultural Richness of a Highly Developed Local Production

The Cultural Richness of a Highly Developed Local Production

The concept of satisfying material and spiritual needs extended into all fields in pre-industrial times. James J. Walsh writes:

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“This mingling of the useful and the beautiful is of itself a supreme difference between the thirteenth century generations and our own. Mr. Yeats, the well known Irish poet, in bidding farewell to America some years ago said to a party of friends, free subscriptionthat no country could consider itself to be making real progress in culture until the very utensils in the kitchen were beautiful as well as useful. Anything that is merely useful is hideous, and anyone who can handle such things with impunity has not true culture” (The Thirteenth, Greatest of Centuries,[New York: Fordham University Press, 1946], 113).


When We Act by Remote Control

remote controlWriter Nicolas Carr describes the way our programs and apps lead to changing the way we work and experience life. He writes:

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“As the programs gain more sway over us—shaping the way we work, the information we see, the routes we travel, our interactions with others—they become a form of remote control."


“Unlike robots or drones, we have the freedom to reject the software’s instructions and suggestions. It’s difficult, though, to escape their influence. When we launch an app, we ask to be guided—we place ourselves in the machine’s care.” (Nicolas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2014, p. 204)

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When Life Is Organized Like Machines

chinese_factoryWe note that technology does not refer only to the machines and computers that make up our industry. It also refers to those identical methods, procedures, and practices that men employ equally upon others and in this way imitates the action of efficient machines. This can be seen in the development of bureaucracy, teaching methods, advertising, and public relations practices. All these techniques tend to imitate the processes of a machine or computer.

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We, in our turn, tend to organize our own lives into machine-like techniques and processes. “It would be a major error to limit technology to mere machinery and to material culture as such,” warns sociologist Robert Nisbet. “Technology is no less present in rationalized, efficiency-oriented structures of organization in education, entertainment, and government than it is in the churches of our day, and even in family life.”1

The family, for example, often delegates its functions to experts outside the family and home who provide uniform child-care, education, entertainment, and counseling to its members.


Today there is no field of human action that in some aspects is not modified in such a way as to impel men to act like a machine or computer. Inside these systems, all must be simplified, planned, and engineered to adapt to the machine and subsequently minimize individuality and maximize efficiency. In our turn-key franchises, for example, every procedure is planned out in detail to ensure “discipline, order, systematization, formalization, routine, consistency, and methodical operation.”2 In such a regime, the individual is reduced to a depersonalized “unit” to be inserted, replaced, and deleted at will in the industrial processes.

Subscription1.1An Excerpt from the book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go.

 

1 Robert A. Nisbet, The Social Bond: An Introduction to the Study of Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), 245.

2 Ritzer, McDonaldization of Society, 97.