Just Insert Another Coin

It’s time for another edition of That Ain’t Smart, That’s Creepy, where we fast forward to bring you the latest technologies that give us pause, and make us wish we could rewind.

This is an excerpt from an idea—not an actual product—dreamed up by Mark Strand:

[The grave marker] would include, in addition to the usual name, date, and epitaph, a slot where a coin could be inserted, that would activate a tape machine built into it, and play the deceased’s favorite songs, jokes, passages from scriptures, quotes by great men and speeches addressed to their fellow citizens, and whatever else they find worthy of preserving for posterity. …

One of the benefits of this invention, as [Strand] saw it, is that it would transform these notoriously gloomy and desolate places by attracting big crowds—not just of the relatives and acquaintances of the deceased, but also complete strangers seeking entertainment and the pearls of wisdom and musical selections of hundreds and hundreds of unknown men and women.

Via {andrew sullivan}.

Read more about tombstone technology {this blog}.

And a related, albeit more current, thought about our recent inability to deal with uncertainty from Adam Frank {npr}:

In a foreign city or just a drive out of town, our GPS-enabled smartphones pin our positions on digital maps to within a few meters. We are rarely without facts anymore. Any question that has an objective answer — from the last day of the Civil War to the maximum speed of a Boeing 777 — is as close as Google. For a broad class of experience in modern life we have become very used to “knowing.” Events a world away may be subject to our opinions but rarely anymore are they cloaked in an enveloping darkness.

How then can Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappear in good weather over shallow, heavily trafficked seas?