Friday, December 10, 2004

Corporate Fallout Detector

I learned about this odd little invention from one of my favorite blogs in the world, Near Near Future:

James Patten, a Ph.D. candidate in the Tangible Media Group at MIT's Media Lab, has invented the Corporate Fallout Detector. The device scans barcodes of goods, and makes a clicking noise based on the environmental or ethical record (selectable via the "sensitivity" switch) of the manufacturer. The more "click click" you hear, the worse are the ethics of the company.

The system works by correlating several online bardcode databases with a pollution database and a corporate ethics database.

Apparently, Patten invented this "to encourage awareness and curiosity, rather than to serve as an educated consumer’s sole source of information." But I don't doubt he could make a fortune by mass-producing them. After all, the unhampered flow of information is a central pillar of the free market!


Thers said...

Hmmm. I can actually see an application. Like most fruity anti-American intellectuals, we have our retirement & investment stuff in TIAA-CREF funds. Were we to get a "ding" if our our money (which we don't of course manage directly) were sliding to the pockets of assholes, well, we'd like that.

TIAA-CREF actually is reasonable, as these things go, but you know... they really are a monster in the financial industries, and if us kooky lefty academics were really going to wreak havoc financially, we probably could do it. I mean, we're the last profession where we CAN'T get fired easily. So our pension dough kicks ass, and it's mostly in this one company. Huh. Actually, I never thought of this before. Interesting...

Off to research and plot evil now...

Anonymous said...


Hate to break it to you, but you're not the last profession that can't get fired easily. You still have some company: Career postal workers. Once you're in on that racket, you have to kill somebody to lose your job. Literally.


Anonymous said...

I can top you both. Get into a library job, and you're set for life. I heard tell of a library worker who was molesting children, who merely got transferred out of the children's book room. Another guy at my branch was notorious for making very crude advances on female the end, they left and he stayed.

If that's how they treat pedophiles and sexual predators, God only knows what you'd have to do to get fired!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the USPS still tops that. We have perverts, wife-beaters, thieves, child molesters, rapists, murderers--name it, we've had it.

Employees have sex on the premises of the main postal facility here. Every damned night. The security guard loved to tell us who he'd catch banging each other, or giving head to whom in the parking lot. One of my bosses was caught in a broom closet with a woman who was not his wife (she was in the building at the time).

A female I worked with was raped on the job.

One guy I worked with killed a man after leaving work. Just for cutting in front of him. He came to work THAT NIGHT, as if nothing had happened.

A supervisor assaulted an employee on the workroom floor. Jailtime served: ZERO.

Another co-worker was arrested for beating his wife. He came to work in the morning. Got a work-release type sentence, or whatever it's called.

One supervisor was president of the postal credit union. He would refuse to let our flex employees who were members get loans of any kind, regardless of their credit history. Meanwhile, he "approved" loans for himself at .9% interest. The decimal is not a misprint. When people asked how a guy making $50K/year could afford a $450K home, I would explain how just about anybody could if their interest were that damned low. And this was the same supervisor who would tell attractive seasonal employees that they would sleep with him or lose their jobs. Every damned Christmas.

All that has happened in ONE facility, and that's not even all the things I could list.


Anonymous said...

Oh--and the only person in the list above not working for the postal service right now is the guy who got convicted of murder. But that's only because they won't let him out of jail long enough to report to work.

Anonymous said...

You win!

I'm not really surprised. I used to talk to a woman at my post-office who'd seen four co-workers murdered in two separate incidents...