CLOSE
ThinkStock
ThinkStock

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
History
The Queen of Code: Remembering Grace Hopper
By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer. She coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947 (which in turn led to the term "debug," meaning solving problems in computer code). She did the foundational work that led to the COBOL programming language, used in mission-critical computing systems for decades (including today). She worked in World War II using very early computers to help end the war. When she retired from the U.S. Navy at age 79, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the service. Hopper, who was born on this day in 1906, is a hero of computing and a brilliant role model, but not many people know her story.

In this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, directed by Gillian Jacobs, we learned about Grace Hopper from several biographers, archival photographs, and footage of her speaking in her later years. If you've never heard of Grace Hopper, or you're even vaguely interested in the history of computing or women in computing, this is a must-watch:

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Google
arrow
Animals
Watch Christmas Island’s Annual Crab Migration on Google Street View
Google
Google

Every year, the 45 million or so red crabs on the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island migrate en masse from their forest burrows down to the ocean to mate, and so the female crabs can release their eggs into the sea to hatch. The migration starts during the fall, and the number of crabs on the beach often peaks in December. This year, you don’t have to be on Christmas Island to witness the spectacular crustacean event, as New Atlas reports. You can see it on Google Street View.

Watching the sheer density of crabs scuttling across roads, boardwalks, and beaches is a rare visual treat. According to the Google blog, this year’s crabtacular finale is forecasted for December 16, and Parks Australia crab expert Alasdair Grigg will be there with the Street View Trekker to capture it. That is likely to be the day when crab populations on the beaches will be at their peak, giving you the best view of the action.

Crabs scuttle across the forest floor while a man with a Google Street View Trekker walks behind them.
Google

Google Street View is already a repository for a number of armchair travel experiences. You can digitally explore remote locations in Antarctica, recreations of ancient cities, and even the International Space Station. You can essentially see the whole world without ever logging off your computer.

Sadly, because Street View isn’t live, you won’t be able to see the migration as it happens. The image collection won’t be available until sometime in early 2018. But it’ll be worth the wait, we promise. For a sneak preview, watch Parks Australia’s video of the 2012 event here.

[h/t New Atlas]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios