Wednesday, 27 January 2010

"Dear 'Apple', from Science" (No. 5)

Wasn't even going to do one today, but if I'm going to claim to be satirical, might as well follow the fruit-based herd.

"Dear 'Apple'

It's me, the anthropomorphic personification of Science. Quite a long title that, I know. Was thinking of shortening it, to something like 'Sci'. I could apply it to all my stuff, I'd have a 'SciPhone'. And everything else could have 'Sci' in front of it so people would know I made it and be cool like me by association.

On second thoughts, that sounds stupid and incredibly pretentious. That's why I'm writing to you. I'm not sure you'll be able to read this though, it tends to be difficult to get enough light with your own head is so far up your arse.

This might sound ungrateful as a lot of the people working for me use your bloody tech. But I wish they didn't. I don't care what else they use, but I'd rather they didn't buy things from you. Because your things are 'cool'. And when scientists and engineers start worrying about being cool, what's the first thing they do?

They stop being scientists and engineers. So yeah, thanks for that.

We're not 'cool', us Science and Engineering types. Probably because 'cool' is non quantifiable and hard to measure (unless we're referring to low ambient temperatures, which I presume we aren't), and that's like fingernails down the blackboard of what would be my soul if I could empirically demonstrate that I have one. Thing is though, we don't care about 'cool'. Yet, it seems to be all you do care about.

You were one of us once, us techies, nerds and geeks, but now it's almost as if you've undergone some sort of... conversion. Yeah, it's like you've been... born again?

That doesn't sound like anything one of my lot would do, that sounds more like something else I know, something that doesn't like me very much...

Granted, the stuff you make does work. Very well by all accounts. I wouldn't know, I avoid all your merchandise to prevent contamination as I'm sure it's laced with halucinogenic crack. But answer me this; does the technology matter more, or is it just the fact that having the slickest tech makes you 'cooler'? My impression is that if the world decided tomorrow that wood was the coolest thing ever, you'd stick a glowing fruit on an abacus and sell it for several hundred a unit.

Speaking of which, well done on associating the well know fruit with advanced science and tech. Nobody apart from Isaac Newton has ever done that, but you've seemingly usurped even him. Now, many people believe that 'Apple' is the only way to get anything done, as if the 'Apple' grows on some 'Tree of All Knowledge'. Why does that sound familiar too...? Still, I'm sure that's just a result of being cool.

Now look, you've got me saying 'cool' far too much, and I hate saying things I don't fully understand! Bastard!

Yes, apparently you have the 'best' mp3 players, mobile phones, computers etc. But tell me, how many of those did you actually invent? None, wasn't it? Yeah, the first PC was an 'Apple', but wasn't that just an impressively conveniently packaged assembly of breakthroughs in processing that other people had made? I think it was. Sort of like an iPod. Or iPhone. Or what's that new one? The iCouldn'tcareless isn't it? You do make tech look trendy, but how important is it to be able to check your emails on a bus?

Now look, you've got me, Science, arguing against technological developments! Double bastard!

But I know there's no point arguing, people will swear that your way is the best, and all others are inferior and wrong. That reminds me of something again... Something else encourages that behaviour, what could it be...?

Speaking of which, what's up with the people who use your stuff? What do you do to them to make them like that? Wandering around all insufferably smug, always trying to encourage others to convert to their chosen way of life, pitying those who don't and getting enraged with those who question their views as anything less than absolute.

Again, that sounds familiar. Who else do we know who does that sort of thing...?

And those shops! Hospitals aren't that white and clean! It's like the inside of a fridge. All that bright open space, people tell me that when they pass they're tempted to walk in... walk into the light...

And that logo, it's a bit sinister isn't it? Alan Turing, brilliant inventor and analytical mind, basically invented the concept of the computer, but killed himself by biting a poisoned apple after his relentless treatment on behalf of the establishment for being gay. That's what your logo represents, I hear?

Sick, mate. I mean, what sort of people would emblazon all they make with a visual icon representing the manner in which the oppressed founder of their group was tragically killed? Can you think of anyone else who would do that? Anyone...?

I didn't even want to write to you, but I couldn't do any work today because the announcement of you releasing your new iSlab computer (or whatever) caused the Internet to overload, an irony which wasn't lost on me. What's with all the furore? All the anticipation? Your supporters are acting like it's some sort of... I don't know... second coming?

And on a more personal note, you might want to slow down. By my calculations, the human brain has an information capacity of 2,500 gigabytes. Sounds like a lot, but if Moore's law carries on, iPods will be able to store more than that, so that will sort of make them smarter than people, won't it? Then what? Society get's controlled by super-smart mp3 players? I'd hate that! I'm Science, I'm not good with music, you know that! Triple bastard!

Anyway, just a note to say some of us are worried about you. Hope you see it that way. Although I won't be surprised if you ignore my rational arguments in favour of knee-jerk bile and scorn. You're not the first to do that to me.

Rational debate and criticism. Remember that? I'll be here when you want to relive the good old days.

Yours very sincerely

Science (BA hons)

P.S. I'll admit that MSN is shit, but that's as far as I'll go.

E-mail: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy


Heiko C. said...

Brilliant as always. Can't belive all the world talks about that new Whatchamacallit.

Never imagined there were so many apple users.

Stan said...

OMG, I knew about Turing from computer science lessons, but not that he was gay and therefore treated like a criminal... That's really a sad story =/

Anonymous said...

Awesome and Cool!

NelC said...

[..] but wasn't that just an impressively conveniently packaged assembly of breakthroughs in processing that other people had made?

You say that as though it was easy.

Also, I resent being called 'smug'. I've had a Mac for years, and I've known you for even longer, Science — I fell head-over-heels for you when I was eight, you know that — and I have never, never been in your face about what computer I use, any more than I am about what kind of car I drive. Except maybe for a little while in 1985, just for a bit.

I'm hurt, I really am. And so is Stephen Fry.

Anonymous said...

NelC, it IS easier than say, actually inventing something.

And yes, some of my friends do look smug when they take out their iPhones. Come on, it's just a phone. This holier than thou attitude of Apple fanboys/girls is baffling.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Come to think of it, I've never actually seen someone use an iPhone to make a call. Do they even have that function?

Anonymous said...

Gee Science, I thought that after what you've been through over the years as well as being such a fastidiously rational personification of an abstract concept, you wouldn't resort to casting aspersions and fallacious generalizations about those who don't choose to use the same tools as you. Are you that insecure? Do you really care about the arbitration of something as ephemeral as 'cool?'

I expected more from you.

I'll try to ignore your ill-concieved outburst and move on. I enjoy a good joke as much as the next person but perhaps you should stick to ridiculing the truly irrational and unreasonable. I'm sure you can fuel your sense of humor with empirical evidence and measurable claims about genuinely smug bastards without resorting to just being a cheeky nerd. ;)

Anonymous said...

I preface this by stating that I am not a mac fan, and while I enjoy my iphone, it lacks much in the way of functionality and freedom.

The Apple logo - Alan Turing story is likely apocryphal, the apple logo was originally Newton sitting under an apple tree and evolved from there under various advertising campaigns. The bite taken out of it was supposed to make it look like an apple instead of a cherry.

As for the idea that repackaging or conceptualizing is somehow negative I would ask this: Why bother designing new circuits if the components have already been patented? Why make consumer level electronics when their industrial counterparts are far more powerful?

Apple as a brand is truly obnoxious. However Apple as an impetus for innovation is just dandy.

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