Hyperculture II

One of the most fascinating, and possibly most ridiculous, consequences of hyper-culture is when pieces of culture get shared with ostensibly the wrong people. Dutch dreadlocks? Australians with a hunger for cajun food? Young white boys with lines shaved in their eyebrows? Romanians celebrating Cinco de Mayo?

None of the borrowing or sharing is wrong any more than it was before technology made the sharing much faster. Consider the sharing of cultures by people who traveled collecting souvenirs. Russian nesting dolls, or Eiffel Tower miniatures, for instance. However, it does get ridiculous when every day is a holiday, or a remembrance day, or a pride-of-existence day for someone or some thing.

Because of the interconnectedness of everyone in the world we now have “International Dacha Day” even though dachas aren’t an international item. We also have everything from “Antique Day” to “Zippo Day”.

Some of these aren’t half bad. I can adore a day set aside for grapes, but I’d rather not know about a day for raisins. Raisins don’t need a day of their own. That’s only my opinion, of course. There’s probably someone who wants to celebrate “Raisin Day”, and it’s probably the same person who would celebrate “Prune Day”.

There’s a day for Star Wars, but it has more to do with a pun than the actual movies.

There are multiple Star Trek days, including the day of the first interracial kiss on television on November 22nd. How do you celebrate that particular day?

There’s Ant Man Day and Batman Day and Spider Man Day. All those? What about the women?

Well, for women there’s Women’s History Month (March).

There’re also a few fun days like “High Heel Shoe Day” or “Nail Polish Day”, although that last one is one that a few misguided dudes want to steal from the women. Just let the women have it.

Along with the fun ones, there are a lot of days devoted to women’s health. Most of these have the word Awareness injected in the middle of them. Hopefully the campaign is working.

Other than the days for men and women, the most observed days are the days revering food.

So many of these food days are superfluous. Some folks celebrate “Donut Day” every day. “Why bother having only one?”

That reasoning goes with anything. If it’s important to you, why wait? Or if it’s on someone else’s calendar, you can still observe it your way. Thirsty for water, but it’s “International Skunk-mouth Beverage Day”? Have that glass of water, and have a tall one.


Three or more people are required for something to be considered a “culture”. Here we’re talking about things people do, or observe, or contribute to each other—that kind of culture—not the kind that belongs in a petri dish. But that is beside the point. For now, focus on the requirement of how many people get on the wagon. If there’s only one person doing a certain thing, then the thing that one person is doing doesn’t constitute a culture. Even if three people are in on something, it maybe isn’t quite a full-grown culture, it may only be a subculture. Subcultures range from the few weird people who enjoy attaching blue plastic balls under their trucks, to the normal-seeming few who ride their bikes with no hands on the handlebars. Blue-ballers are a subculture of truck owners, and the look-Ma-no-hands people are a subculture of cyclists. Each of the cultures themselves, cycling and owning a truck, are immense social norms with people in the millions around the world participating, contributing, and accepting.

It’s worthwhile to add that there are a miniscule amount of misunderstood aspects of humanity which seem like culture but are not. Things such as mental illness, though they affect people, aren’t social constructs, so they aren’t culture. As a brief example: because so many people have dyspalexia these days doesn’t mean there is culture in it. Dyspalexia, by the way, is the disorder of not being able to describe yourself with words, which afflicts a few people. Why they need to describe themselves is the first mystery. Why they don’t have the vocabulary is the second. Along with a fair number of other people, I’m sure I could slap some choice identifiers on these wordless people. Such identification might help them, or not.

Hyperculture is where culture gets interesting. One recent definition of hyperculture is this: “Privacy is dead.”

There’s some truth in that, though I think there are many people who enjoy privacy. There are those who can afford to hide behind walls. Sad existence to hide, living in fear. But there are also those who gain very little of the world’s attention. For those who live in certain parts of the world, there are fewer mechanical eyes, less connectivity. There are whole villages being discovered in remote parts of the world where no one even knows what a cell tower is. No one stocks them for their purchasing preferences. In a dizzying twist, these unknown villages could potentially redefine hyperculture as a subculture.

Another way to chew on the idea of hyperculture is to consider how quickly the advance of technology has changed, and still changes, the way we do business, play games, interact with each other, watch videos, listen to music, even how we commute. The old ways still exist. We call it culture. But the changes all mingle together until most of us blend our perceptions with them. The definitions become fuzzy because we’re not sure whether the new thing wasn’t there the whole time, or if it replaced something, or if those selling it have simply rebranded it. Like when high-definition video was made the standard for American televisions at the turn of the century as if it was new, though the technology had been developed in the 1970s in Japan.

Hyperculture contributes to the blurring of the lines between how it all went down before and how it gets executed now.

One funny irony is that when the technology fails, the way it all went down before is how it gets executed now—at least until we get the power circuits reconnected.

ADHD and Australianisms with Dr. Suzi Uzi

Dear Suzi Uzi,

Can someone with ADHD ever be a good public speaker?


Disco Neck Ted

Dear Ted,

You forgot the L in public. 

Ha! Made you look! And the answer to your question is a heartfelt “Yes!” The person afflic-ted with such a disorder would probably need the speech to be scrip-ted. Improv may not be their finest skill, so if the speech is scripted, the person can maintain flow and stay on the subject without their attention being arres-ted. Does this mean, if the wannabe public speaker has a bright idea in the midst of the presentation, they shouldn’t express it? No, of course not. Any good public speaker knows the audience could experience “attention deficit” at any moment. You have to keep them focused as well, but practice interjections ahead of time until they come naturally. Script it, stick to the script, and add interesting bits only when needed.


Dr. Uzi

Dear Suzi Uzi,

If Prince Charles ever had children, would they survive?



What’s up Chuck?,

Hmmm…Don’t you know…er…do you mean, as in, survival of the fittest? Okay, not likely.


Dr. Uzi

Dear Dr. Uzi,

I had a mishap in the restroom which caused me to wonder: if I mix something toxic with something non-toxic, does it make something semi-toxic?

Truly curious.

Dear Truly,

On first glance it might seem that way, but no, your result would most likely still carry the properties of the toxic. If you simply diluted whatever you have which is toxic, it would take, on average, one billion gallons of water to dilute one cup of arsenic. All kidding aside, this is one of the easier math problems in chemistry: all you have to do is multiply the molarity with the volume of the whole, then pick a dilution, any dilution. The molarity of the old (times volume) will equal the molarity of the new (times volume). For example, if 10 gallons of water increased to 100 gallons of water, then: .015 x 10 = .0015 x 100. Hopefully you can see the molarity of your toxin decreases as volume of water increases. It’s not quite the same when you say “something non-toxic” because it could be anything at any amount, so the math is as indefinite as the subject. However, if you said one cup of arsenic versus one box of non-toxic crayons (about one cup of wax), we’d still have toxic crayons until we added about 16 billion boxes of crayons. Even then, I would question your sanity if you were consuming crayons mixed with arsenic.


Dr. Uzi

Dear Dr. Uzi,

My co-workers say they can’t understand a word I’m saying. I thought we spoke the same language. 


Texan in Australia

Dear Tex,

Your best bet is to invent a translation device. A digital voice may be more clear to them than your boot-scoot boogie. Honestly, I would not be surprised if you couldn’t understand them either. They tend to add Rs in words which have no Rs. Like when they say “nor” in place of “no”. They even add an extra R in the name of their country, like this: “or-stry-lia”.

Best wishes y’all,

Dr. Uzi


There are a few jobs just begging for robot replacement. Most of them are jobs too dangerous for humans, but some are because the humans who currently occupy the positions are unfit for duty.

Bomb squad, for instance, already has robots on the job. It’s an extremely hazardous line of work, so the robot bomb disabler is a welcome addition to the squad.

Nursing, where contagion is present, would be a good place for robots. No matter how you ran it, a nurse would still need to be present. Such tasks as answering a patient’s questions and ensuring the robot’s accuracy would require a nurse nearby.

Although it might seem like a great idea to have a robot firefighter, they still aren’t as fast, as logical, or as capable as human firefighters. Humans know humans, so it’s still better to have a human saving people who want to rush back in the burning building and “save the cat”.

The robotic congressman/congresswoman has been overdue for many years. Bright is the future of politics, when a politician can no longer be persuaded by the richest lobbyist because what would a robot need from the richest anything? Brighter still is the future when the “congress gives itself a pay raise, again” news headline is no longer heard.

Although it has been circulating that A.I.s will soon be able to write novels, it’s an empty threat. After all, you won’t get the subtle nuances of a writer such as Orson Scott Card, or the grungy dereliction of a high-tech world such as those created by William Gibson, or the seething evil of a Brian Lumley vampire. Reading anything from an A.I. will be fairly transparent—though the same A.I. might be more exciting at a book signing! Ha!

Even though some people fear the idea of being policed by robots, they could still be better in certain situations. A robot with an A.I. brain can be unbiased, non-racist, completely fair. And we wouldn’t need to put up a white cross on the side of the highway for a downed robot.

We already have robot vacuum cleaners, but we need one to quiet the dogs in the neighborhood at night. Maybe a unit that sprays skunk scent toward the annoying nipper. There could also be a robot that cleans up the yard for pet owners. And of course, for lazy people, a robot that walks the dog.

Last place to mention where replacement is needed, but certainly not least, there’s the DMV.

Tax Me, I Like It

Happy tax season!

Ever wonder where your taxes are spent? American federal taxes are divided 6 ways:

  1. Social Security, Medicare, other retirement
  2. Social programs
  3. “Infrastructure”
  4. Law enforcement and general government expenses
  5. National defense
  6. Net interest on debt

The most distressing to me is that the sixth is for paying interest, but not (?) for paying off debt. Is that for real?

I, like any good American, have a solution for this: until the debt is paid, suspend all congressional and presidential wages.

It’s called motivation.

Of course there would have to be a clause on this new law that no retirement to any former presidents or congresspersons will be paid, until the federal debt is eliminated, and that no new debt can be entered into unless it can be paid off within the same month it was generated. Easy. And the main reason for the clause would be to prevent these old farts from trying to skip out on their responsibility and retiring instead of staying in office. You know there would be someone running to their safety net instead of helping fix the problem.

Another distressing thing is that they don’t say what the loans are used to purchase. Where is that money going? America is supposed to be the richest nation on the planet. Why is there any debt at all? It’s not a smart move to take a loan in the first place. Who are these less-than-qualified people we have serving in the government? Don’t they know how to save up for a new car/house/washing machine instead of taking out a loan?

Capitalism is supposed to work with at least ten percent of your income going to savings. Tony Robbins says so. Why doesn’t the government listen to him? Wouldn’t that be great if one of the six items above was: “Ten percent of taxes go into an interest-bearing savings account”? We could make our money do some of its own work.

Ah, well, in a perfect world…