Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Algorithms and the Larger Currents that Control Us

I have been up for hours.  My online course opens at midnight (as Tuesday moves to Wednesday), and I needed to make some decisions about due dates.  And then there's the entering of all of those dates into various places in the course shell.  I'm always a bit amazed at how long it takes.

Happily, there's no end of interesting things to listen to while I'm doing that work that doesn't require much brainpower.  I listened to this interesting episode of 1A about algorithms and how they shape not just our online searches but the larger society.

I'm not usually quite this far behind, but we spent a lot of time this week-end making some home decisions: which microwave? which backsplash? what curtains? what shall we do with the cottage? Well, we didn't make any decisions with the cottage, so much as talk about a lot of options. But it was good to spend some time on design decisions.

I used to scoff at people who use interior designers, but now I kind of understand. Once when we chose a backsplash, we went to Home Depot, looked at the 4-8 choices in our price range, maybe went to Lowe's just to make sure we weren't missing something, and made a decision. Now I am keenly aware that I have more choices by way of the Internet than I have lifetime to consider. It can be paralyzing.

This is the time in the semester where I can feel a bit overwhelmed with my online classes.  As I entered the dates, I thought this is barely manageable.  But I will manage it--says the woman who got up at 2 a.m. to get the dates entered.

I wish I had been up since 2 a.m. working on my poetry or the next great American novel.  Happily, I did get to bed at 8 a.m., so I did get a fair amount of sleep.  And happily, I'm awake and being productive.  I hate to think of the hours that have been sucked away in fruitless Internet searching.

Today will be a long day:  lots of meetings, and not all of them interesting.  For example, HR is coming to talk to us about the I 9 form, which I never thought justified a whole meeting.  And tonight is a BOLD Justice rally--the rally to get ready for the rally where we meet with government officials.  I'm going to tonight's gathering because it's important to some of my church friends.

So, let me close here and start to think about the day ahead.

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