Twelve Things Only Rarely Mistaken For Pinball Machines Or One Another


  1. Washcloths.
  2. Date nut shortbread cookies.
  3. Snails which race in the Indianapolis 500.
  4. Stained glass.
  5. That crossword puzzle plagiarism scandal.
  6. Deceased New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
  7. The “Cover Up” pricing game on The Price Is Right.
  8. Integration by trigonometric substitution.
  9. Those seats in the movie theater lobby that demonstrate how the new premium-experience movie theater is kind of like the ordinary movie theaters, only the seats can shake I guess, so you understand why that’s a worthwhile upcharge when you go to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 For Some Reason?
  10. Isobaric lines.
  11. Band stickers for guitar cases.
  12. Hipster coffee shop Wi-fi password “GoneWireless”.

How Things May Be


So the Internet of Things is supposed to be a thing, according to those who keep track of things. This thing will allow us to finally achieve the ancient dream of having our toasters send urgent text messages to our carbon monoxide detector until the toaster gets marked as a spam source and the carbon monoxide detector signs up for LinkedIn (“You have four degrees of connection to the breakfront in the dining room”). What I want to know is, if the Internet of Things finally becomes a thing, will that thing-ness of the Internet of Things itself get on the Internet? And if it does, who will it be sending urgent text messages to? We’re going to have to step up our game of ignoring messages on the Internet if we’re going to have not just Things, but also the Internet of Things, trying to communicate with us.

I’ve lost my point. There it is. If we have all these devices turning into computers and attacking the Internet without any need for interacting with us in particular, mightn’t some turn feral? Are we going to see groups of confused hardware desperately signalling one another, hoping to form their own little packs in the absence of a strong alpha release? At what point will the Internet be intolerably dangerous for human use because we’re crowded out by wild processes indifferent to human needs? I mean after 1999.