Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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 gone without using the internet?

Heuristic answers:
  • during class (sometimes 😉)
  • a little while
  • not long

Time to first computer usage from birth:

  • ~4 years before first using a computer
  • probably the first 6-7 years of my life
  • 9 years (the first 9 years of my life)
  • 14 years before I got my first phone
  • 30 years (<-- 30="" a="" aged="" could="" editor="" have="" how="" i="" idea="" li="" no="" note:="" person="" reply="" s="" this="">

Time of longest non-internet "break" since first computer usage:

  • one hour
  • a day
  • 21 hours, cross-continent flight
  • 2 days
  • maybe like 48 hours?
  • 4 days
  • a week
  • two weeks
  • 2 weeks (summer camp in a mountain)
  • A couple weeks? But I'd love to try going w/o it for a longer time.
  • 3 months
One student wrote "∞". I have corresponded with this student by email; I wonder if, on their end, they had the messages transcribed and then read aloud to them by a personal, permanent "internet secretary"? Actually, I'm pretty sure I have watched this student load a webpage during class in a computer lab, so maybe this is just reporting error...

Winning comedic/situationally-funny response: "The times that eduroam is out..."

I previously asked this question in 2017.

This post's theme word is floccipend (v tr), "to regard as worthless." They floccipend internet downtimes.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Peter and the Wolf

Swarthmore College Lab Orchestra's presentation of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf was delightful --- playful, cute, fun, and with an auditorium full of children who shrieked at the scary parts. Like many others in the audience, I brought my parents, and we all had an enriching time. I particularly appreciated that we were invited onstage after the performance to chat with the musicians and look at their instruments up-close.

We later in the afternoon remembered that the iconic wolf music was the "bully" theme music from A Christmas Story.

This post's theme word is exclosure (n), "a fenced area, especially in a wide open area, to keep unwanted animals out." The wolf was captured outside the exclosure!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Crisp clear spring sky

When I walked to work this morning the sun had just risen and it was cold, so I wore my jacket and mittens. But it turned out to be a warm, clear spring day, and my outerwear is overdone.

Just look at this cleanly blue sky, framed by local spring-ready trees:

This post's theme song is Ben Platt's "Better", which has been on a loop in my head all day. It is sad and angry and an emotional wreck of a breakup song, but the self-echoing refrain scratches a mental itch and is immensely satisfying to hear. (Plus there are tons of repeated lyrics and they follow standard rhyme patterns, so it's quick to memorize.)

Monday, April 1, 2019

April Fool's?

These posters mysteriously appeared on April 1 across campus.

They are expressing ... something ... stridently.

It's just not entirely clear what.
And there's no call to action, or url, or reference to a student group... The posters are handwritten in marker, mostly all-caps, on scrap paper. (At least, the pages I read were unrelated middle pages of math or biology articles.)

Is this an April Fool's joke? If so, ... what is the joke?

[Update April 2: posters still up, so reduce the probability estimation of "this is an April fool's joke".]

[Update April 3: found a poster with slightly more context.
Updated my weight for "this is a protest or other political movement" with some connection to climate activism.]

This post's theme word is ekistics (n), "the study of human settlements, drawing on such disciplines as city planning, architecture, sociology, etc." Climate scientists of the future will focus on ekistics as a subdiscipline.

Giant beer pong

The ingenious engineering students organized a fun, interactive "prank" accessible to every student at the college and harmless, while also being college-themed and lightly edgy. I admire the design, style, and execution of this idea.
Beer pong, but: giant. Sober. With enormous slingshots firing volleyballs into red-cup-clothed garbage cans!
It turned out to require a lot of knowledge about current wind conditions. Many trials were necessary to figure out a good angle and distance to get an even reasonable-looking parabola towards the targets.
In conclusion, this was an Extremely College "prank", more like an interactive performance art piece or, frankly, a game. No binge drinking required, all daylight-hours wholesome fun. Adorable. Students here are fantastic.

This post's theme word is endogenous (adj), "originating from within." I admire and am impressed by students' endogenous creativity and ability to execute ideas.