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What tech would you un-invent?

Displaying poll results.
The internet
  715 votes / 2%
Computer mouse
  552 votes / 1%
Cell phones
  1447 votes / 5%
Ubiquitous video cameras
  4010 votes / 14%
Social media
  10207 votes / 36%
Nuclear bombs
  8301 votes / 29%
Physical media (DVDs, Blu-ray, etc.)
  1094 votes / 3%
Other, listed below
  1474 votes / 5%
27800 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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What tech would you un-invent?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:12PM (#41709441)

    The thrill that comes with posting the first comment

    • Re:missing option (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @05:08AM (#41713363) Homepage Journal

      well there's an infinity of mission options, so you gotta limit the number of choices somewhere. That's not a problem.

      The problem here is that the options chosen aren't very good or consistent.

      The internet, Computer mouse, Physical media -- what's the point of including these? If someone doesn't like them, they can simply not buy or use them. They don't bother you unless you actively seek them out.

      Social media -- same point as above. However I suppose if other people keep hounding you to join Facebook, it can get annoying.

      Cell phones -- yes, definitely belongs here... at the top of the list. Who would've thought such a seemingly useful invention would cause so much annoyance?

      Ubiquitous video cameras -- what the hell? Does making large numbers of invention X turn it into invention Y?

      Nuclear bombs -- obviously yes, no explanation needed.

      • Re:missing option (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 20, 2012 @12:26PM (#41714969)

        > The internet, Computer mouse, Physical media -- what's the point of including these? If someone doesn't like them, they can simply not buy or use them. They don't bother you unless you actively seek them out.

        I guess YOUR door has not been hammered with computer mouse. Well, that has actually happened to me, but I still do like these. But your argument is still false. Even if you don't use the internet, people can tell lies about you in there. But then again, that goes more to the social media.

        > Social media -- same point as above. However I suppose if other people keep hounding you to join Facebook, it can get annoying.

        Facebook is a real pain, because a lot of companies are starting to put their stuff there, which I can not then see, because I don't want to be part of Facebook and they require login.

        > Cell phones

        These save a lot of lives.

        > Nuclear bombs -- obviously yes, no explanation needed.

        Nuclear bombs save a lot of lives by preventing wars. And even if they didn't, the amount of people killed by nuclear bombs is very little compared e.g. to people killed by passive smoking.

        • Re:missing option (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @09:30PM (#41718499) Homepage Journal
          Facebook is a real pain, because a lot of companies are starting to put their stuff there, which I can not then see, because I don't want to be part of Facebook and they require login.
          This. I am not a part of Facebook and do not wish to be a part of Facebook. However, some genuinely useful sites are beginning to use your Facebook login as some kind of universal login, so you can't get in and purchase items/discuss topics/whatever without a Facebook login. This is particularly annoying when I am trying to do something at work which requires some research or purchasing something that is behind a "facewall". My place of business has disabled access to Facebook due to a lot of people wasting time on the site. So now I can't do important work related stuff because sites are using a "Facewall".
          • by Macgrrl (762836)

            Add another vote for this. I don't have a Facebook account and am trying to continue to hold out.

            However, increasingly friends only post details of events on Facebook. Lot of small companies have Facebook pages instead of websites. Many larger companies hide functionality behind Facebook log-ins (I'm looking at you Threadless and your new T-shirt scoring system).

            I've even seen websites use Facebook log-ins as a form of age verification for NSFW content. It's insidious.

            And at the same time, it's there in the

          • by Eskarel (565631)

            They're not using a "facewall" they're using OAuth, and I've never seen a single site not offer you the option to use another OAuth provider(google and twitter are the usual two alternatives). They do this because it means that someone who actually knows what they're doing can manage keeping your account detail secure instead of them.

        • by petman (619526) on Monday October 22, 2012 @06:14AM (#41726845)

          Nuclear bombs save a lot of lives by preventing wars.

          Well, they're not doing a very good job of it, what with the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars, the Iraq War etc. Maybe we should build more nuclear bombs so we can prevent wars altogether.

          And even if they didn't, the amount of people killed by nuclear bombs is very little compared e.g. to people killed by passive smoking.

          I beg your pardon, are you saying nuclear bombs prevent death by passive smoking? How does that work, actually?

          • by zazzel (98233)

            Your logic is flawed. The argument is that nuclear bombs prevented certain wars. What you did, was list wars they DIDN'T prevent. Since I happen to live in (former) West Germany, may I remind you that yes, during the time of the cold war, nuclear bombs *most certainly* prevented a war here? Plus, they ended another war (in Japan). I would like to hear from you that the war against Japan was NOT drastically shortened by using the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, too. As much as I like the few Japanese ppl I h

      • Re:missing option (Score:4, Informative)

        by TwineLogic (1679802) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @02:26PM (#41715775)

        Ubiquitous video cameras -- what the hell? Does making large numbers of invention X turn it into invention Y?

        Yes. Ubiquitous video cameras turn into a surveillance society. See Trapwire.

        You're not a very good Spy Handler if you can't see that.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          Hell, I'm just thankful that I grew up, through college in a time before any kind of camera was so ubiquitous....

          Kids growing up today, having all sorts of compromising images taken of themselves...naked, passed out drunk...sucking on a skull bong...that kinda stuff is going to seriously haunt them later in life when looking for a job.

          God help them if they're going to be trying for any career that requires a security clearance.

          At least back in my day..all our cameras were film, and I made damned sure tha

  • Guns? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:15PM (#41709469)

    Guns and conventional bombs come to mind. Biological weapons, chemical weapons.... Really, anything used to kill people en mass. The thing is, almost any useful item can be used as a weapon (rock, knife, tree branch), but the items listed above are used specifically to kill people on a large scale. Given the choice between getting rid of Twitter or getting rid of massive murder weapons, I'd have to go with the mass murder weapons.

    • Re:Guns? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anarchy24 (964386) on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:55PM (#41709847) Homepage
      I agree that "weapons of mass destruction" should never have been invented, nuclear weapons in particular. For the first time in history, humans have the capability of eradicating all life on this planet. As they become more widespread, I fear that there will be a nuclear war at some point in my lifetime. And I'll wager that it involves Iran and Israel first and foremost... I do not believe (at this point in time), that the United States would launch a nuclear weapon on its own, but ~would~ do so for an "ally". As conservative war-hawks beat their drums harder and louder than ever before, we may very well be heading towards another unprovoked, aggressive war. Unfortunately, throughout history, the invention of weapons - the tools for one man to kill another man - have driven technological development. It is a double-edged sword, and like a knife or a hammer, can be used constructively or destructively. But it is much easier to tear down than it is to build up, and human impulse drives us towards the former. It isn't "kill or be killed" - it's "kill to take the other person's things"
      • Re:Guns? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dupple (1016592) on Friday October 19, 2012 @05:11PM (#41709997)

        I It isn't "kill or be killed" - it's "kill to take the other person's things"

        "I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country". - George S. Patton

      • The problem with uninventing nuclear bombs is that a decade later we'll have invented a whole new kind of weapon of mass destruction...
        • Chem/Bio (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          We already had them, actually.

          To be honest, if I have to go out because of privileged retards arguing about which fiscal system they're completely misinterpreting is right, I'll take the nuclear option. Sure, it could be horrible if you're outside the circle of immediate annihilation - but at least you have the chance of being instantly whisked away in a brilliant inferno.

          Biological and chemical weapons are far more... disturbing, and potentially painful.

      • For the first time in history, humans have the capability of eradicating all life on this planet.

        No they don't. Life survived the Siberian Traps during the Permian extinction. Life survived the dinosaur killer asteroid. Both of which released orders of magnitude more energy than all nuclear weapons ever made put together.

        Hell, life even survived Snowball Earth when the entire planet was frozen over with ice, even at the equator.

        Now if instead of "eradicating all life" you said "eradicating human civilization", yes definitely. Eradicating every last human being on earth, well that's doubtful but I'd giv

    • by trb (8509)
      Guns can be used for attack and defense. They can be used for killing innocent people, they can also be used to protect innocent people. It has been said, "God made men, Samuel Colt made them equal."
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tastecicles (1153671)

      Guns don't kill people.
      People kill people.

      Please, try and let that simple fact of physics sink in before you make another retarded comment.

    • Re:Guns? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by History's Coming To (1059484) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @11:49AM (#41714721) Journal
      We only just got this far without a large scale nuclear war - un-inventing nuclear weapons just re-starts the stopwatch and we have to go through the whole process again, and get lucky a second time around. There have even been suggestions that the nuclear cold war was in essence a version of the quantum suicide experiment - there were so many things that could have gone wrong and triggered a large scale nuclear exchange that our current world looks relatively unlikely.
    • Re:Guns? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tmosley (996283) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @05:49PM (#41717099)
      Guns put an end to roving bands of brigands, and made the world a much more peaceful place. They allow the weak to defend themselves against the strong. Nukes do the same, but for countries, and have ended (major) wars against those who possess them. What, EXACTLY do you think it was that stopped the advance of the Soviet armies on all fronts after WWII? A sense of brotherhood?

      If you wanted to save people, you would do much better to un-invent the Central Bank, which has enabled war on a scale greater than ever before seen in history, not to mention oppression and currency collapse (theft of savings by monetary debasement).
      • Re:Guns? (Score:4, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @01:37AM (#41719597)

        Guns put an end to roving bands of brigands, and made the world a much more peaceful place.

        Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, .. all places where a few dollars will kit you out with a Kalashnikov.

        Police forces made safe civil societies, not vigilantes.

        If you wanted to save people, you would do much better to un-invent the Central Bank,

        Oh, you're a lunatic, so this is wasted on you...

  • un-invent, please! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:20PM (#41709501)

    Fiat currency!

    • by cpghost (719344) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:02PM (#41710451) Homepage
      Indeed! Fiat currency not backed by a tangible good was responsible for more wars in the history of humankind than any other tech. In the past, kings who ran out of gold and who couldn't squeeze more of it from their subjects had to refrain from making war. Nowadays, governments just keep printing money to finance their never ending list of wars (I'm looking at you, EU and US governments, but other governments are just as guilty of the same). It may not be a popular opinion here, but it had to be said.
      • by EagleFalconn (1058758) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:51PM (#41711367)

        Indeed! Fiat currency not backed by a tangible good was responsible for more wars in the history of humankind than any other tech.

        Hear hear, my friend! There was never a single war [wikipedia.org] in Europe before the invention of paper currency. The Romans, in particular, were an eminently peaceful people!

        Nowadays, governments just keep printing money to finance their never ending list of wars

        The Roman emperors would never have done such a thing. (Except when it was convenient.)

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @11:53PM (#41712495)

          Indeed! Fiat currency not backed by a tangible good was responsible for more wars in the history of humankind than any other tech.

          Hear hear, my friend! There was never a single war [wikipedia.org] in Europe before the invention of paper currency. The Romans, in particular, were an eminently peaceful people!

          I hereby give you slashdot's Strawman of the Week award for your terrible post! It takes a special kind of courage to knock down a patently ridiculous argument that the other guy never even made, and boy, you've got it! Congratulations!

      • Correlation does not equal causation!

      • by stymy (1223496)
        I think you've got it backwards. Generally, invading other states has been a good way to make money. The food you could just plunder from the towns and the countryside, so you only needed enough money for the first few salaries for the troops. And even then, you could probably pay them in slaves.
      • by tsa (15680) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @08:07AM (#41713935) Homepage

        The EU never started any war (although we participated in some because we are the US's lap dog). Germany was not part of the EU when WWII started because there was no EU back then. The EU works really well against wars. Even if we wanted to start one we would first bicker about who delivers what and how much it would cost the respective members for about twenty years, and after that there would be no reason to start the war anymore. Unfortunately, that is the reason Clinton intervened in the Balkan in the 1990s: because we were too busy bickering to solve this European problem.

      • So in the 5th grade when the teacher asked you, "what caused the Civil War?", your hand shoots up, you go, "oh, oh, I know! pick me". The teacher picks you and you go, "fiat currency!". How disappointed you'll be to hear "Wrong, Johnny, it was slavery and state's rights". You'll be even more disappointed if the teacher actually gets into the part about how the South printed money; but the North issued bonds. One of them experienced hyperinflation as an EFFECT of losing a war. The other one didn't.

      • by TerranFury (726743) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @12:40PM (#41722215)

        My understanding is that a need for gold (to use as currency) was a major reason for the Roman invasions first of Gaul (recent finds show pre-Roman Celts had significant gold-mining operations) and then of Dacia (now Romania). We can say with more certainty that gold was a major motive of the Spanish conquest of the New World.

        The mechanism by which commodity-backed currencies motivate wars looks pretty straightforward: If your economy grinds to a screeching halt and you want to do "quantitative easing," you need to physically go out and grab more of the commodity. Fiat currencies avoid at least this issue -- and your argument about them being useful for funding wars seems to apply just as well to funding any other activity.

        (It's also worth noting that, if you do have a gold or a gold-backed currency, and you do succeed in grabbing a bunch of coin from your neighbors, then, despite being commodity-backed, you will still have inflation. Apparently this is what happened in the Spanish empire as a result of all that New World gold.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @09:03PM (#41711781)

      All currency is fiat currency. That's what currency is, a token, it's not worth anything independent of its value as money. That's why we don't use cans of soup, or grapes, or oxen as money. If you do, you're trading actual commodities or goods, and it's not actually money.

      The idea pushed by so many ignorant people of returning to a gold-backed (or silver-backed, etc.) economy ignores several fundamental problems with doing this. First, there is potential for deflation, since as more people live, and create more things that have value, you need more currency to make an economy function, otherwise you have a general cash shortage, and that would be very bad. Second, if the holder of the gold doesn't have to exchange that gold for the cash, on demand, then what's the point, and who will ensure the government is honest in dealing with people, and isn't simply printing more money, all backed by the same, unchanged quantity of gold? If they DO have to do that, the people can descend on places where gold is exchanged en masse, demand gold, and leave the government holding a lot of worthless paper, and suddenly people will be compelled to buy and sell goods and services with gold directly, which is an incredible impediment to commerce for several reasons, many of which WERE WHY WE ABANDONED GOLD AS MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      The paranoid fools who think that somehow gold-backed money is better than money that is not backed by gold, would have you believe everything was good when money was gold-based, and it wasn't. Or if it was, it wasn't because the money was backed by gold. That's the fallacy of false-cause. Gold has additional more insidious problems, like any other commodity basis for an economy. Namely, there is more of the material out there. If you go digging, find it, you can become rich. What does it mean to be rich? It is having the ability to influence what other people will do by offering or having the potential to offer them money, which again, would grant THEM influence. Etc. If you can become rich without doing actual work, you devalue all the gold already in circulation by adding the gold you found to it when you spend it, or exchange it for something else. You achieve an increase in your influence without adding value to the overall economy by DOING SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE.

      In an economy based on gold, finding gold (i.e. in a river, a hillside, a mine, etc.) is not really different in its effect than counterfeiting. Having an economy backed by gold opens up the opportunity to counterfeit it in this way to anyone who cares to try if the gold is there, which it almost certainly is, since we have most likely NOT yet dug it all up. In other words, gold remains in them thar hills.

      Using gold directly gives you other problems, such as how can you know the gold coin you've just been handed is in fact gold all the way through, and isn't filled with lead? Will everyone carry scales around with them? Its a dumb idea, for many more reasons than just the ones I listed here.

      So I close by reiterating my point, All currency is fiat.

      BTW, lack of currency never prevented a war since the advent of the loan. Just ask Caesar.

  • Patently Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Punko (784684) on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:25PM (#41709559)
    Patents, or at least software patents, idiotic patents (rectangle with round corners, really ?). Or maybe the idiotic artificial construct that make corporations people (or is it a person). Or maybe just patent corporations.
  • Also the poll asked for "tech" to un-invent. So, how about spyware. I find that even difficult to type given all that would have to change to accomplish that, but the same applies to nuclear weapons, so I'll let myself off the hook.

    How that could be un-invented - umm magic I suppose. Maybe sooner innovation of the "app store" type security model, where users are asked if x,y,z are ok to grant to application BadBadThing!(tm). That would have have to happen around the mid nineties, but ummm magic!

    Interesting

  • None of the above (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nationless (2123580) on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:42PM (#41709709)

    Never forget something you once knew. Un-inventing is a pointless and terrible waste of time as it will most probably just be re-invented, but in a probably more primitive state.

    Improve and move on and document everything, don't burn libraries.

    • by Githaron (2462596)
      Why would it have to be in a more primitive state? The new inventors could very well do a better job because the first inventors missed something or misunderstood the science.
      • Maybe, but the initial invention will probably be more primitive since things that currently have been invented have all had time to be refined and improved.

        Have this crude example: We un-invent coal plants and all their improvements. Someone re-invents it. The reinvented version will start from scratch and most probably be less efficient and produce more waste.

        That's all I meant and why I used the word "probably".

  • Social Media? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:53PM (#41709835)

    What has to transpire in a persons mind so that he thinks Social Media is worse than Nuclear Weapons?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What has to transpire in a persons mind so that he thinks Social Media is worse than Nuclear Weapons?

      Hmm, in the event of an alien invasion, what do you think we'd be better off lobbing at the BEMs, nukes or fucking Facebook accounts?
      Well, that's how my mind works....

      • by tsa (15680)

        That's obvious: fuck the aliens' FaceBook accounts! They will be so devastated that they flee back to their home planet in no time. Oh wait, maybe we don't even have to do anything. FB will most likely introduce a new privacy policy with an impossible opt-out mechanism, and all the aliens will wonder why Earthlings put up with this and still live. The aliens will flee the planet and we will live happily ever after.

    • Re:Social Media? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WilliamGeorge (816305) on Friday October 19, 2012 @05:03PM (#41709923)

      The only time nuclear weapons have been used in anger ended a war in a way that was far less costly to life than if it had been ended by conventional means.

      Since then, there has not been any conflict on nearly the same scale (world war, or even a war encompassing an entire region). The threat of nuclear war has probably *saved* countless lives that would have been lost in petty conflicts over the last six decades. As long as the only nations with access to the technology are able to restrain themselves, either through good moral reasoning or based on the knowledge that their major opponents also have the same level of weapons, then the world is relatively safe from large-scale conflict.

      The threat of late is that a rogue nation - or even a paramilitary group not necessarily affiliated with a specific nation - could get their hands on these sorts of weapons... and would then potentially use it, or at least use the threat of using it to try and force demands on others. That needs to be prevented in so far as possible, but that does not require the un-making of nuclear weapons in general.

      Now with all of that said, I don't think social media is worse necessarily. Just explaining why one might not think nuclear weapons are, in and of themselves, so horrible as people make them out to be.

      • Re:Social Media? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dave Emami (237460) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:02PM (#41710999) Homepage

        The only time nuclear weapons have been used in anger ended a war in a way that was far less costly to life than if it had been ended by conventional means.

        Wish I had mod points at the moment. Far too many people assign the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki special moral significance, as if it's worse for a lot of people to be killed by one very powerful bomb instead of lots of smaller ones. The earlier bombing of Tokyo caused more deaths than either atomic bomb, and was every bit as horrific. Beyond that, there are some things to note that people often overlook:

        First, a big part of the reason why large-scale civilian deaths like this are abhorrent to us now is that we have embraced the idea that we can be "at war with the government of country X but not the people of country X." This is mostly a post-WW2 thing, and in fact is partly a reaction to the things that happened then. At the time, if you were at war with country X, that applied to everyone living there. It was still viewed as wrong to kill civilians just for kicks, but if civilians were killed in the process of destroying an enemy's warmaking ability, that was to be expected. Today the very concept of an "enemy civilian" is almost an oxymoron. Back then, it was not.

        Second, there were a lot of innocent people at the mercy of the Japanese. Forget the deaths that an Allied invasion force would have suffered, if you like. There were still many thousands of prisoners of war and slave laborers (such as the "comfort women" from Korea) within Japan and in Japanese-occupied territory, being held and worked under terrible conditions. (It's telling that for Allied war prisoners, you had better survival odds under the Nazis than under the Imperial Japanese). The worse the war went for Japan, the worse these people were treated, and in the event of an invasion they would have likely have been massacred, as was done elsewhere. If the Allies had merely blockaded Japan without invading, the prisoners/slaves would have starved to death, along with thousands of Japanese -- it was only due to food relief carried out during the occupation that Japan escape devastating famine in 1946.

        Third, the Japanese were quite intent on fighting on. The government was willing -- expected -- to sacrifice millions of civilians in order to increase Allied invasion casualties and thus get better peace terms. Even with the atomic bombings, it was a near thing, with Japanese officers attempting to capture Emperor Hirohito to prevent the surrender. (Some folks cite the USSR's entry into the war as the decisive factor, but while the Soviet army was huge and powerful, that wouldn't have mattered if they couldn't get to Japan. The Soviets had very little sealift at the time, and their paratroops were mostly used as regular infantry).

        I don't deny that the civilians of Hiroshima & Nagasaki were mostly innocent, but sometimes the choice is not whether innocent people will die, but which ones will. Yes, that's horrible. I would never want to be in the position of having to decide that kind of question. But that was the question at the time: the people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, vs. the millions of Japanese and nearly a million Allied soldiers who would die in an invasion or thousands of Japanese who would die in famine, plus the thousands of Korean and Chinese slaves and Allied prisoners who would die in either scenario.

        • Re:Social Media? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MrSteveSD (801820) on Friday October 19, 2012 @10:43PM (#41712221)
          "It was still viewed as wrong to kill civilians just for kicks, but if civilians were killed in the process of destroying an enemy's warmaking ability, that was to be expected."

          The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were effectively a terror attack. It was a case of "Look how many civilians we can kill in one go. Now surrender." . It also served as a display of power to the Soviet Union, which is even less of a valid reason to kill over one hundred thousand civilians than seeking a surrender. If either Germany or Japan had dropped an atomic bomb on a largely civilian target, it would have been considered a war crime, not just now, but even then. A number of US officials at the time thought it was criminal too. e.g. Admiral William Leahy

          Once it had been tested, President Truman faced the decision as to whether to use it. He did not like the idea, but he was persuaded that it would shorten the war against Japan and save American lives. It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and that wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

          • Re:Social Media? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Dave Emami (237460) on Monday October 22, 2012 @06:20AM (#41726863) Homepage

            The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were effectively a terror attack. It was a case of "Look how many civilians we can kill in one go. Now surrender."

            Why in the world would Truman, et al, have thought that the deaths of Japanese civilians would in any way alter the decisions of the Japanese government? Only months before, during the Battle of Okinawa, the Japanese military persuaded (and sometimes forced) those civilians to commit mass suicide rather than surrender. Not Japanese soldiers, mind you, but Japanese civilians. In fact, the military distributed grenades to them for this very purpose. The same sort of thing had happened earlier at Saipan. In that case, Emperor Hirohito himself issued orders for the suicides (though Japanese ultranationalists dispute that). At least a thousand Japanese civilians jumped to their deaths from the cliffs at Marpi Point while Japanese troops fought a holding action to prevent the Americans from stopping them. How would the prospect of civilian deaths have been a lever against the Japanese government when they were not merely indifferent to them but encouraged and facilitated them?

            The reason Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and Kokura, the for which Nagasaki was an alternate target) where chosen was that they hadn't been severely bombed previously, so that all of the destruction would be from the single atomic bomb, thus emphasizing how powerful it was. The Japanese government may not have cared about the civilians, but they did care about their industrial capacity, which cities were necessary for. In that sense, what happened to Japan was important to them, but what happened to the Japanese was not (unless it was surrender, which was to be prevented by death). Yes, a whole lot of civilians would die as a result of showing the Japanese government what the US could now do, but as I pointed out in my original post, back then such things were expected by everyone. Even so, the US dropped leaflets over cities on the atomic bomb target list, warning civilians to leave. That's hardly consistent with the "look how many civilians we can kill in one go" strategy you claim.

            It also served as a display of power to the Soviet Union, which is even less of a valid reason to kill over one hundred thousand civilians than seeking a surrender.

            The Japanese government was most definitely not seeking a surrender. In fact, they almost didn't surrender after the bombing at Nagasaki.

            If either Germany or Japan had dropped an atomic bomb on a largely civilian target, it would have been considered a war crime, not just now, but even then. A number of US officials at the time thought it was criminal too. e.g. Admiral William Leahy

            Once it had been tested, President Truman faced the decision as to whether to use it. He did not like the idea, but he was persuaded that it would shorten the war against Japan and save American lives. It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and that wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

            With all due respect to Admiral Leahy, he's wrong. First, a single powerful weapon is not more barbarous than an equivalent number of smaller weapons. It's more dangerous, because once it exists it's much easier for a small number of people to carry out a bigger amount of destruction, but morally, it's the same. It's no more or less wrong than the conventional bombing of Tokyo, which killed more people than either atomic bomb and which his quote implicitly approves of. Second,

        • Re:Social Media? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Tom (822) on Monday October 22, 2012 @04:03AM (#41726507) Homepage Journal

          It's telling that for Allied war prisoners, you had better survival odds under the Nazis than under the Imperial Japanese

          Only if you know nothing of the respective cultures.

          In Europe, the Nazi propaganda was a fairly recent idea and while it put Arian Germans above every other race, it only put them barely above other european races - there just wasn't enough difference to really make the point, and even back then, enough people had family ties across country borders. So the "sub-human" predicate was reserved for clearly identifiable, small ethnic groups. Jews, gypsies, the like.

          Japan has always had and to this day retains a culture that views japanese as superior people and everyone else as considerably less so. There are still restaurants with "japanese people only" signs in Tokio to this day, just in case you thought things like "this bench only for whites" died with the fall of the south african apartheid regime. Mind you, they are incredibly friendly people, I've been to Tokio and I never felt unwelcome or hatred. But at the same time, I was always a foreigner, the way that I am not when I'm in, say, London.

          • Re:Social Media? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by GuB-42 (2483988) on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:22AM (#41727037)

            In fact the japanese have a strong sense of insider/outsider. It can be at a small scale (such as a school club) or large scale (such as all japanese people).
            Outsiders are usually treated with respect, in a way that show the best side of the group, often tolerating behavior that whould be unacceptable for insiders. However, if you try getting too close they will remind you that you are not one of them.

      • Re:Social Media? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by artor3 (1344997) on Friday October 19, 2012 @08:40PM (#41711673)

        Nuclear weapons make war into an all or nothing affair.

        Right now, they seem great, for the reasons you gave. War has become less common and less brutal. Of course, that reasoning smacks of post hoc ergo propter hoc. I'd suggest that the UN, globalized industry, globalized culture, and improved communication all contribute more to the current world peace than threat of nuclear holocaust does.

        And when nukes do get used, it will make war far worse. Human civilization only exists today thanks to a stroke of luck. We got lucky when we survived the Cold War. It's easy to look back now and say "Of course things turned out this way! Things couldn't have happened differently!" But that's just a comforting illusion. It was luck. And we won't stay lucky forever.

        Nukes will proliferate. More and more dictatorships will obtain them. Eventually nukes will be used. Maybe it'll be by some religious whackjob who honestly, fervently believes that god wants him to destroy the infidels. Or some non-religious nihilist, who honestly believes that human life is of no particular importance and simply doesn't care how many people he kills to reach his goals. Or some desperate despot, staring down angry throngs of rebels, and making the purely rational decision that the ICC will show him more mercy than the crowds. But it will happen. Humanity's been around for fifty thousand years, give or take, and barring unforeseen circumstances has quite a few millenia to go. The fact that we haven't used a nuke in 60 years is hardly convincing evidence that we never will.

        We'd be better off if the laws of physics made nuclear technology impossible.

        • We'd be better off if the laws of physics made nuclear technology impossible.

          By not existing? Maybe you would also like fire to not exist, because too many people have been burned. What an anti-intellectual load of crap you spew.

        • Nukes make wars impossible because politicians can't simply order masses of conscripts to absorb the blast wave. There wouldn't have been a cold war if there were no nukes, there would have been world war three.

    • Re:Social Media? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Friday October 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#41710069) Homepage Journal

      What has to transpire in a persons mind so that he thinks Social Media is worse than Nuclear Weapons?

      Follow a "Honey Boo Boo" twitter feed? Any other questions?

      Cheers,
      Dave

    • by Bigby (659157)

      How could we know Nuclear Physics and all the benefits and not have the idea of a Nuclear Bomb? So I didn't vote for that, because it would erase a good portion of modern Physics.

      Meanwhile, Social Media is a complete unproductive waste of space.

    • Nuclear weapons are a flame not put to use as a candle.
  • These options all had a very positive effect on mankind, without social media there would be no Wikipedia, without nukes the cold war wouldn't have been so cold etc. If I could uninvent one thing that would be genetic engineering, mostly because I'm scared of biological weapon development.

  • by Dupple (1016592) on Friday October 19, 2012 @05:31PM (#41710177)

    Got a problem with a mouse? Get a cat. Cat eats mouse

    Got a problem withSal cat? Get a dog. Dog eats cat.

    Got a problem with a dog? Get an alligator. Alligator eats dog.

    Got a problem with an alligator? Get an elephant. Elephant squashes alligator.

    Got a problem with an elelephant? Get a mouse. Mouse scares elephant.

    We need mice!

  • Everything that's ever been invented has been a direct result of humanity's increasing knowledge about the universe. Choosing to "un-invent" something is choosing ignorance over knowledge. I would've thought that'd be anathema on a site like this.
  • Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:09PM (#41710531)
    God/religion, in all its many forms.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grog6 (85859)

      Religion is to allow Gullible people the chance to be led by the Sly.

      "Of course God said I can have your Sister! What are you, an unbeliever?" was probably one of the Original Cons. :)

      I wonder if the Pope has to Tithe to the mob? You want to operate in their territory, you gotta pay... lol.

  • by rueger (210566) * on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:41PM (#41710845) Homepage
    And bones. Because once you've eliminated them, everything else that follows is also taken care of.

    Ok, monoliths too.
  • Is government considered 'tech'?
  • cigarettes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damm0 (14229) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:32PM (#41711229) Homepage Journal

    'nuf said.

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Friday October 19, 2012 @08:41PM (#41711677)

    Since AOL opened the floodgates to the Anonymous Barbarian Horde, discourse on the net has turned to poo.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pfhorrest (545131)

      AOL didn't add anonymity to the 'Net, it just added the unwashed masses to it. Even back when it was all technologically advanced and educated people who knew of and had access to the net through universities, there was still anonymity. It's when you add the "normal person" and "audience" ingredients to that anonymity that you get the total fuckwads we're familiar with today. When it was just a handful of generally better-than-normal people, the anonymity didn't make a mess of everything.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday October 19, 2012 @09:41PM (#41711949) Homepage Journal

    No technology is evil. Its how its used that can be.

    Perhaps we could 'de-evolve' morons instead. ( or just use them for food. I hear the kelp based solient red supply is getting low )

  • If i have the power the uninvent something... probably will uninvent almost everything, invent them myself, and put a big fat patent over all of them. Ok, except abusive patents, as are already accepted by government and pushed to the rest of the world. Not even The Brain pondered that way of conquering the world, even if is not that original, Edison did almost that more than a century ago (didnt uninvented, just claimed that was him the one invented a lot of already existing things)
  • All Microsoft Software
    DRM
    'reality' TV
    Speed cameras and radar guns
    cookies (as in browser, not Oreos)

  • The bizarre and inscrutable technology Slashdot has rolled out in recent years which somehow allows them to create polls without a Cowboy Neil joke option.

    Sure, it may have stretched your wit-buffer a bit to come up with the joke, but how do you deal with the lack of voltage to your humour subsystem?

    Technical details aside, why even invent the technology? As Churchill once said to Confucius, engineers must not ask whether they can, but rather: whether they should!

  • I don't "get" it. Am I wrong for thinking that's a good thing?

  • by kf6auf (719514) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @01:53AM (#41712841)
    Just so someone would have to re-invent it.
  • One of these things just doesn't belong! Just tell me which thing is not like the others, before I finish this song!

    "Ubiquitous video cameras" isn't an invention. If that was un-invented, would we still have video cameras but they just wouldn't be everywhere?

    Does someone have a patent on ubiquitous video cameras?

  • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @08:53AM (#41714085)

    Now sure it counts a "tech" but the world would be a better place if humans had never learned to get "high" off of tobacco in any way, shape, or form.

    • by Tom (822)

      Mod parent up.

      If there is one invention that has absolutely no beneficial side-effects or secondary use, it's tobacco. Even alcohol can be used for various non-binge-drinking purposes.

  • by dmoen (88623) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @10:43AM (#41714413) Homepage

    I would uninvent all operating systems that include the concept of third party apps, but that prevent you from writing your own applications without getting permission from the OS developer.

  • Duh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @11:54AM (#41714757)

    Apple. Anything and everything from the iMac up. If it meant going back in a time machine and putting a bullet in Stevie J back in 1995, well then so be it. Not many people are willing to admit it yet, but I think history is going to show his influence from this time till his death was one of the worst plagues of mindless sheeple consumerism to ever be set upon the world. Thankfully it ended when it did, and the inevitable fall of Apple has already begun. Good.

  • Segway (Score:5, Funny)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @08:35PM (#41718163)

    There are very few forms of technology that can't be removed without causing other significant detriment to the technology ecosystem.

    However, the Segway could go away without making too much of a dent.

  • by realsilly (186931) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:17AM (#41727297)

    it's amazing how many people just need to ask a quick question but spend 3 minutes per call in voice mail messaging mazes, just to eventually ask for a person.

    And for those that need a lot of help those voice mail navigation to the right department only further frustrates customers who are the back bone of any company.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

 



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