Out of touch

I left the house for two hours last night to take P to judo practice and run a few errands. I accidentally left my phone on the dining room table while leaving, so for those two hours, I had no access to:

  • my shopping list
  • the several games I use to while away 45 second wait times, currently:
    • Threes
    • Tichu
    • Brass
  • a way to reach Kate
  • Twitter
  • a web browser
  • Maps
  • Instapaper

Instead, I had a book (William Gibson’s fun action thriller, “The Peripheral”), two stores to stop at, and a seven-year-old to retrieve from Judo at the end of 90 minutes. I had to keep my focus on whatever I was actually doing for 90 whole minutes.

It felt great.

Social media loves echo chambers, but the human brain helps create them — Quartz

This … does not make me particularly optimistic about the human tendency towards cognitive laziness.

Julia Shaw, a psychologist and author of The Memory Illusion, says memes “generally do win.” We’re exposed to so much information that digesting and remembering only the most succinct and appealing snippet—say, a misleading headline—becomes second-nature. Some politicians are already exploiting that dissonance by promoting an intentionally broad range of ideas, even including conflicting ones, so that supporters can cherry-pick the messages they prefer.

“By having a campaign that says lots of different and sometimes contradictory things, you give people the ability to only remember and care about things that match their worldview,” Shaw says.

Source: Social media loves echo chambers, but the human brain helps create them — Quartz

On our way back

A trip back in time nearly seven years:  back to New York City as a childless couple, with time and energy to spare. Returning to our kids and lives will be like putting on my favorite jeans, but remembering the feelings of walking arm in arm down a subway tunnel with Kate … priceless.  

Maybe shades of what Bilbo felt like?

Some weeks ago, my tremendously thoughtful wife, Kate, informed me of several facts:
  • that I needed to clear my calendar for a three-day excursion this weekend – Friday night through Monday evening.
  • that we would be traveling by airplane, but no passports are required.
  • That we will be going someplace that’s roughly equivalent in climate to where we are now, “possibly a little warmer.”
After many, many years of mutually agreed upon low-key birthdays, this is a radical departure from the norm. I have been excited for weeks, and am eagerly anticipating the rare feeling I’ll have this afternoon: that of stepping out of the house without being on a plan I’ve helped set up. (It is entirely possible that someone reading this is at our destination right now, for all I know.)

Continue reading Maybe shades of what Bilbo felt like?

Woke without an alarm, smiling.

woke out of a surprisingly pleasant dream about having a long conversation with Leonard Nimoy while sitting and having nachos in an OmniMax theater at the Museum of Science in Boston.
He was excitedly talking about being able to take a trip to the ISS on Thursday. Here’s hoping.

film of the day's events, developed quickly for review