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How To Avoid Checking Email On Vacation

ThinkStock
ThinkStock

"Vacation" comes from the Latin vacare, meaning "unoccupied." Seeing as we don't speak Latin anymore, you have no reason to know that. In fact, this knowledge may be displacing important information in your brain, such as what to do in the event of a mountain lion attack or how to prevent forest fires. Please take this time to forget everything you know about the Latin origins of "vacation."

Good—on to more pressing, 21st century matters. Email used to be like having an secretary whose desk you could swing by and ask, "Any messages?" Nowadays, email is more like an atmospheric gas that enters your smartphone through desublimation and buzzes your thigh to tell you, "Use this code to get 15% off your next purchase at Bed Bath & Beyond." It's always with you.

Humans aren't designed to be constantly reachable. We need alone time, which is why we have eyelids. We also invented vacation, which was intended to be a protracted absence from whatever it is we are always doing. Nowadays, that includes email. Here is an important guide to getting away from the persistent hauntings of electronic mail.

Before Vacation

Tell People Who Depend On You That You Are Going Away For A Bit: People who fall into this category include, but are not limited to: bosses; coworkers; immediate family members; roommates; dog sitters; cat sitters; constituents; teammates.

People who do not fall into this category: Facebook friends; Twitter followers.

Set Up Your Email's Automatic Vacation Responder: Here's how to do that in Outlook and here's how to do that in Gmail. If you don't know what to say, feel free to use this copy, free of charge:

Hello,

I am on vacation. I will be able to respond to your email when I am not on vacation.

Best,

Me.

Setting up one of these responses is one of the most socially acceptable forms of boasting, so please relish this step.

During Vacation

Don't Look At Your Phone: If your phone doubles as a watch, either A) buy a cheap watch (you can find one at a local drug store for under $10) or B) don't worry about the time.*

*B is not applicable if you made dinner or Jet Ski reservations. In that case, care about the time somewhat.

Don't Worry: If you left the oven on and your house burns down, the fire department will not inform you via email.

Don't Use The Hotel's Business Center: This is a glassed-in chamber of temptation. Every time you feel like going in there to check your email, go on a fanboat tour or parasail instead.

Talk To People: This is a good, non-email way to communicate that was made popular sometime before 1995.

Don't Check Your Email: This is the most important step. Use this mnemonic device to help remember: "Dean Cain Yells Excitedly Because You Are Overtly Vicious, Jeeze Don't Cry Immediately" --> Don't Check Your Email Because You Are On Vacation, Just Don't Check It.

After Vacation

Check Your Email: Or don't, actually. This one is up to you.

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The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
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Jeff Bezos Is Helping to Build a Clock Meant to Keep Time for 10,000 Years
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo

Few human inventions are meant to last hundreds of years, much less thousands. But the 10,000 Year Clock is designed to keep accurate time for millennia. First proposed in 1989, the long-lasting timepiece is finally being installed inside a mountain in western Texas, according to CNET.

The organization building the clock, the Long Now Foundation, wanted to create a tribute to thinking about the future. Founded by computer scientist Danny Hillis and Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, the group boasts famous members like musician Brian Eno and numerous Silicon Valley heavyweights. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is putting up the $42 million necessary to complete the project, writing that “it's a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking."

Measuring 500 feet tall when it's completed, the clock will run on thermal power and synchronize each day at solar noon. Every day, a “chime generator” will come up with a different sequence of rings, never repeating a sequence day to day. On specific anniversaries—one year, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years—it will animate a mechanical system within one of five rooms carved into the mountain. On the first anniversary, for instance, the clock will animate an orrery, a model of the solar system. Since they don’t expect to be alive for many of the future anniversaries, the clock’s creators won't determine animations for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years—that'll be left up to future generations. (To give you an idea of just how far away 10,000 years is, in 8000 B.C.E., humans had just started to domesticate cows for the first time.)

Though you can sign up to be notified when the clock is finished, it won’t be easy to see it up close. The nearest airport is several hours’ drive away, and the mountain is 2000 feet above the valley floor. So you may have to be content with seeing it virtually in the video below.

Clock of the Long Now - Installation Begins from The Long Now Foundation on Vimeo.

[h/t CNET]

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Tynker
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Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons
Tynker
Tynker

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

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