The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A mismatch of data


Back in the days when I was young, foolish, and often inebriated, I attended a school in Chicago on a computerized telecom switching system. At the heart of this system was the central controller. Because the system had to be reliable, most everything had to be redundant. That is, the central controller was actually two controllers. Each controller capable of running things fine on its own but the other ran in step ready to take over in case of a failure.

One of the failures would be a mismatch of data. This mismatch would be reported, the suspect controller would drop out of service, diagnostics would be started, and the standby controller would take over.

A student asked a question of the instructor. A simple question...

If both controllers are the same and one reports a mismatch, how do we know which one is actually bad?

It stumped the instructor. He wasn't prepared for this question at all. To be honest, he wasn't prepared for most of the questions we asked. He just following the teaching plan and usually answered questions with "You'll learn about that in Columbus."

I am reminded of this incident on a regular basis. Especially during elections. But, of late, it seems that there is always an election campaign going on. People get elected to office and almost immediately begin campaigning for re-election. People who are voted out of office are seeking the next possible opportunity to get back in. We have reached a point where electioneering never ends.

Because we have two major parties that seem to alternate running things, I relate them to the central controllers. And the question the student asked in that class so many years ago reverberates through the echo chamber that is my mind... Which one is right? Which one is telling the truth?

Being cynical, I have come to the conclusion that both are often wrong. This also can be true of those controllers and I am sure that is one lesson I learned after that school. The difference between the situations is that the bad controller could eventually be identified and then repaired. We have less chance of that in politics.

Politicians, as anyone will tell you, lie. And are often corrupt. And, as we learn from Charlie Rangel's current situation, then judged by their peers in government. This would seem to me to be the equivalent of having criminals facing a jury of convicts... most of whom they have recently shared a cell with.

When the public (the ones that bother to vote, that is) mess up the system and vote in an amateur politician, all hell seems to break loose. But isn't that what was intended a couple hundred plus years ago? Everyday people would come to the seat of government, serve as best they can, and then return to their normal lives?

When did this change? Why did it change? And how can we fix it?

7 comments:

Irish Gumbo said...

Term limits? Public humiliation? A swift beating about the head and neck with a truncheon?

Gregory said...

I thought politicians were lawyers, people payed to make you believe their side of the story.

jenny said...

I don't know the answers, but I like this post.

Steven said...

I say we gat back to our roots! A good ol' tar-and-feathering used to speak volumes...

fred doe said...

you can't, there is no answer, but this post hit the nail on the head. just vote for your own self interest (not being a wise guy) at your local,county,state and federal elections.

fred doe said...

you can't, there is no answer, but this post hit the nail on the head. just vote for your own self interest (not being a wise guy) at your local,county,state and federal elections.

Gregory said...

I thought politicians were lawyers, people payed to make you believe their side of the story.