It's Okay! The Emails And Texts Can Wait!

It's Okay! The Emails And Texts Can Wait!

Does constant communication seem to have too much control of our lives?
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How many emails would you say you receive a day? What about text messages? How many of these messages are requesting your service or an instant response? For me, it is way too many. I feel like as I have gotten older, I constantly get emails ranging from advertisements, updates for work, and teachers changing our due dates.

There is nothing wrong with this and it is nice to stay in the loop and be able to have communication facilitated through our devices. However, at what point does it become just too much? Studies have shown that for the average American, heart rates have been seen to increase each time an individual opens their email account. The stress of seeing multiple messages requesting your immediate attention is just draining for a person.

Sometimes my friends will get annoyed with me for taking a long time to respond. In our modern technological culture, there is a new untold form of etiquette in which you are expected to respond to something right when you see it. For me, I have no intention of being rude or ignoring a message. Sometimes, opening my phone and seeing 10 texts is so overwhelming that I have to put my phone down and turn it off.

The point I am trying to make is that we are not bound to our texts or emails and we are allowed to turn it off or ignore it sometimes. Constant connection to everyone is not good for us. Sometimes, we need to sit in peace (which unfortunately is not a frequent occurrence in our fast-paced society.)

As an adult, I will continue to regularly get solicitations from multiple organizations as I enter the workforce and it is important that I remember that ‘Delete' is the most powerful key on the board. I will have good conversations over text with my family and friends as an adult, but it is important that I remember that I don't always have to have a response.

Having the ability to instantly contact others or obtain information can be a gift. However, I would argue it is essential to be mindful of the control constant communication can have on our wellbeing. So don't feel rude turning your phone off and sitting with yourself and don't be afraid to take a power move and hit 'delete' on that pestering email. It's okay! The texts and emails can wait.

Cover Image Credit: Rahul Chakraborty

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10 Reasons Buying A Fitbit Is The Best And Worst Thing That Will Happen To You

Do you even Fitbit?

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We all have or know of someone who has joined the Fitbit craze. They are amazing, are they not? A watch, a step counter, a calorie counter, a sleep tracker and, in some models, a heart rate monitor. How awesome is that? They have definitely become a new "trend." I see people all over campus and the gyms wearing them.

After wearing mine nonstop for a couple months, I realized 10 reasons why it was the best and worst decision to purchase one.

1. I find it motivates me to take more steps each day.

It really is motivating. Kind of silly, though, that something as simple as a step counter can actually make you want to take more steps. It definitely inspires me to get up and get moving.

2. On days I do not meet the daily step goal, I feel like a lazy bum.

If I don't reach 10,000 steps, I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. Sometimes, I'll look at the number of steps and seriously question if I ever even stepped out of bed that morning. How can I only have 3,000 steps in a day? Yep, sadly, it's happened to me.

3. When I'm just "so close" to the 10,000 steps, I find myself walking around aimlessly in circles just to reach the daily goal.

Yes, I will admit it, I have a problem. I see 9,000-something and then I become SpongeBob and Patrick.

4. When I do reach 10,000 or higher, I feel embarrassingly accomplished.

Did I run a marathon? Did I run for president? Did I win the lottery? Nope! I just hit 10,000 steps and I feel like I did all three (it's pathetic).

5. Having competitions with friends via the Fitbit app makes you want to do way better.

OK, I will confess... I have cheated. (Sorry, friends.) But when you're beating me by 10 steps, what do you expect!? I am competitive and the Fitbit app has only fed my competitiveness by either making me work out longer or cheat (only a little).

6. It makes you realize how good, or, in my case, how bad your sleep pattern really is.

It really is awesome how it can track your sleep, I won't deny that. But holy cow, until I bought one, I didn't realize how terribly I slept during the week and how lazy I am during the weekend. Seriously, four hours on weekdays and nine on the weekends—is that normal? Not sure, but at least my Fitbit can track it!

7. I find myself refusing to take it off, even when going out and looking cute.

It is pathetic, I know. But how could I take it off when I am potentially going to get thousands of steps going place to place? Why wear my cute watches or bracelets when I can wear my super cute Fitbit?!?

8. When I go a day without it, I find myself feeling empty.

How will I know how many steps I took? How will I win the competition? What if I hit 10,000 and I don't even know!?

9. It is the easiest way to check the time in class.

You can format it any way you want, but my favorite is so I can click it and it shows the date and time. I can simply click the side button, and there's the time. Sometimes, I find myself clicking it every. Single. Minute. Until class is over.

10. I cannot go anywhere without the charger.

It has become equally as important as my cell phone charger because if it dies, how will I know how many steps I took?

Cover Image Credit: meme generator

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How The Death Of The Mars Rover 'Opportunity' Moved Us To Tears And Awakened Our Humanity

It seems crazy that we humans could become so attached to a machine that we would mourn its passing – but maybe that's just who we are.

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On February 13, 2019, NASA announced that the Mars rover Opportunity was dead – an announcement that came nearly eight months after a Martian dust storm silenced the rover. NASA originally intended for Opportunity to explore the plains of Mars for only 90 days, but the incredible rover ended up working for 15 years. During its "lifetime," the rover traveled approximately the distance of a marathon, providing scientists with numerous up-close pictures of Mars and greatly increasing our knowledge about the surface and makeup of the planet.

After years of exploration, the rover was silenced by a huge dust storm in June of 2018. Scientists at NASA tried repeatedly to reconnect with Opportunity, sending the rover approximately 1000 signals – but to no avail. Despite NASA's hopes that the rover would resume functioning once the dust storm had passed, they never heard from Opportunity again, prompting NASA to finally announce the "death" of the rover and the end of its mission.

The news of the rover's death sparked an outpouring of emotional messages on social media from people struck by grief at the loss of the robot. One person tweeted in all caps, "I cried when I heard the news," admitting that even though he/she is almost 20 years old, he/she "still cried about [an] inanimate object." Another person posted, "Is it weird that I may be mourning a little?" Yet another social media user referred to the "death" of Opportunity as "a very heart-saddening event." One writer tweeted, "I never imagined I'd be sitting at my computer crying over a last message from a robot on Mars, but here I sit wiping away tears." Many people took to creating emotional, beautiful artwork of the rover and posting it to platforms such as Tumblr. Even the scientists at NASA played Billie Holliday's song "I'll Be Seeing You" as a heartfelt way to sing the rover to sleep.

When I heard about these social media posts/messages, I found myself both deeply touched by the depth of these people's emotions and relieved that I was not the only person who felt this way. Ever since hearing the news about Opportunity, I have felt strangely sad and melancholic. Even though I know that it was just a robot that was never "alive" in the true sense of the word, I truly do feel as if a real death occurred, not just the breakdown of a piece of machinery.

This led me to wonder – what is it about this rover that tugs on people's heartstrings and causes them to respond to its "death" in such a grief-stricken manner? Why do we care so much about a machine? Why does the loss of it make us any sadder than if one of our kitchen appliances stopped working?

Indeed, others have noted how remarkable it is that so many people have been so deeply touched by the rover's passing. For instance, actor Tom Holland tweeted, "The strange potential of human being's [sic] future relationship with machines, [sic] is evident in the response to the Opportunity Rover's death."

We aren't sad about the "death" of Opportunity just because we lost a piece of machinery that provided us with valuable photographs and data from Mars. Our grief comes from the fact that, despite knowing that the rover was a mere robot, we feel a sort of human connection to the poor, lost rover. While we know that Opportunity was not a person, we still feel empathy for it and love it because it was something that we humans created. And when we create something, we tend to pour not just our time and energy, but also our emotions, into whatever it is we're making - an emotional investment that becomes stronger the more human-like our creations are.

Indeed, the robots that we build are probably the closest we'll ever get to "creating life." In a sense, building robots is our way of playing God by creating living beings, and we often form these robots in our own image, endowing them with faculties like speech, thoughts, "emotions," and senses (as much as we possibly can). Our robots will most likely never fully possess life in the same sense as humans and animals do, but perhaps we feel a strong connection to our robots because we give them human-like characteristics and "bring them to life" (in a sense). Consider this: we also build and make other types of technology/machines, including things like microwaves, cars, and forklifts, yet none of these are purposely given human-like traits like artificial intelligence is - a key difference that perhaps reveals why the death of Opportunity saddens us more than a broken microwave does.

While Opportunity was certainly not the most humanoid robot ever created, even it exhibited human-like qualities that kindled empathy and grief in the hearts of people everywhere. In the rover's final moments of life, it sent back these heartbreaking words to scientists at NASA: "My battery is low and it's getting dark." Simple as these words are, they convey a sense of loneliness and fear in the face of impending death.

We may know deep down that the rover experienced no emotions like fear or anguish as it passed away, yet these words break our hearts because they seem like the final, plaintive mourning of a doomed being who is crying out to the universe in despair, perishing alone on a cold planet surrounded by millions of miles of emptiness and cut off from any being like it. The rover could communicate with humans, and our hearts broke at the emotions its words conveyed. Indeed, death is part of our reality, and perhaps we recognized our own mortality in the passing of Opportunity. We saw experiences and emotions that we could relate to, and we felt as if it were the real death of a loved one.

It seems crazy that we humans could become so attached to a machine that we would mourn its passing – but maybe that's just who we are. Perhaps we saw a kindred spirit in the form of Opportunity, and our inner humanity awakened to feel a connection to and sympathy for this being. We cried. We sang her to sleep. We gave her the cute nickname of "Oppy." Perhaps our reaction speaks volumes about not just our relationship with machines but about who we are as humans.

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