Information Addiction

Day’s Verse:
He spoke to them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.”
Mark 6:50

Are we too obsessed with information? Is there such a thing as an information addiction, and if so, how many of us have it?

How long are you willing to go without email? Without phone? Without any means of communication whatsoever? Without weather reports? Without Slashdot or online news sources? Without tracking your UPS packages daily?

Actually I have found that the longer you go without it, the easier it is to keep going. For instance, when dad and I go backpacking, I can easily spend those days without once concerning myself with whether somebody needs a response from me via email. Yet I may only be able to let that go because I have a subconscious knowledge that I will be able to plug back into that information when I get home. Now, though, at school, I fall behind if I fail to check my email every hour or two. Usually I check it 10 times an hour – yes, I think every six minutes on average would accurately reflect my activities. I get anxious if I cannot check it; I wonder if somebody desperately needed my input. Or maybe somebody commented on my blog! Or on my Flickr pictures! If so, I must know quickly! So just plug my brain into the Internet and my withdrawl symptoms will abate. Continue Reading >>

Back to to the Future

Day’s Verse:
And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven,
blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before [the crowd of five thousand]; and He divided up the two fish among them all.

Mark 6:41

Wet SpokesIn my Social Implications class, we addressed an interesting question:

What technology or technologies do you think should never have invented?

At first I had trouble thinking of an answer to this; many technologies exist that are totally neutral, and so need not vanish from the earth. But eventually I, and later a group of us, came up with: Continue Reading >>

Inadvertent Humor

Day’s Verse:
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”
Mark 6:31

FlameTreeWPI is building a new, rather uninspired admissions building in the middle of what used to be a 90-spot parking lot. They created a website to justify it to the rather disgruntled students who just want to park their cars near to class and don’t buy this crap about expanding the quad a bit. It (the site, not the vanished parking lot) does have one cool feature: two webcams perched on the roofs of buildings show live updates of the progress. But honestly, my favorite part of the site came when I read their About WPI section and ran across this gem: Continue Reading >>

Accolades and Explanations

Day’s Verse:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”
And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:26, 27

Once again I owe Ian a debt of gratitude. He has, from scratch, created a search feature that will search my blog archives. That’s the new Search box on the side there. It works well, but has some strange quirks you need to know about before you use it.

1. Single-word searches look for that exact word in each post. Results are ranked by number of occurances of that word in each post. Continue Reading >>

The Second Day of Class: A Mailroom Tale

Day’s Verse:
They came to the house of the synagogue official;
and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing.
And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”

Mark 5:38-39

Blazing SunsetHere are the highlights of my second day of class. This is assuming that highlights can be negative as well.

Doing research on the plant ingredients in various pharmaceuticals, which involved the Merck Index, the McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (which isn’t really concise at all, with 15,600 pages and weighing in at 88 pounds), the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a conference with a reference librarian An enjoyable Plant Diversity class on evolution, which I think must be my sixth or seventh time over that particular information (yes, I remember how old the earth is. It’s really old.) The desperate retrieval of my last textbook from the mail room in an exchange that went thus:

Me: “The mailroom sent me an email that I had a package, but I couldn’t print the email out.”
Scary Mailroom Lady: “The email said if you can’t print it out, you need to tell me whether it’s on the shelf, in the office, or on its way to Equatorial Guinea.”
Me: “But it didn’t—”
Scary Mailroom Lady: “Shut up, it did.”
[For reference, this is the exact email they sent me, in its entirety:
Your Package Has Arrived! Continue Reading >>

The First Day of Class: A Selection of Quotes

Day’s Verse:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

I had an MQP meeting today with John…

Me: “How many TC majors are there now?”
Trimbur: “Well, we lost a bunch because six graduated last year…”
Me: !

A bunch = six?! The long and short of it is that WPI currently sports 12 to 14 people in my major. This is a smaller number than the population any of my classes all term.

Waiting for my biology class, Plant Diversity, to start: Continue Reading >>