Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What is the longest amount of time you have gone without using the internet?

I take attendance by having the students answer a question.

What is the longest amount of time you have hove without using the internet?

Sorted by size, the answers ranged:

  • 0 secs
  • just now
  • dunno, let me google it
  • seconds
  • does time exist outside the internet?
  • at least a minute
  • the time it takes to use the bathroom
  • 5 days (not including before)
  • 1 week
  • 2 weeks
  • not sure; 2 weeks since starting
  • 5 weeks (not including the before time)
  • 1 year
  • age 0-4
  • age 0-5
  • 6 years
  • 6.5 years
  • 7 years
  • 8 years
  • 9 years
  • not long enough

This seems a fairly bimodal distribution, and it just tells me who took the question literally (and thus had to include all their pre-widespread-internet existence) and who took it to mean time since they first used the internet. I suspect that in a few years, this bimodality will shrink, as today's middle-schoolers could easily have been using internet-enabled devices in their preliterate days. Maybe even preverbal.

This post's theme word is apheresis, "the loss of one or more sounds or letters from the beginning of a word." A common example is the change in pronunciation of knife from (k-nyf) to (nyf) or the formation of till from until. Another meaning of apheresis is "a method in which blood is drawn from a donor, one or more blood components (such as plasma, platelets, or white blood cells) are removed, and the rest is returned to the donor by transfusion." I wonder if the written archivability of the internet means that written apheresis has slowed, or if the prevalence and ease-of-transmission of abbreviations will speed apheresis of letters in written words.

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