Technology Makes Going Away To Basic Hard

Technology Makes Going Away To Basic Hard

It's become our biggest crutch.
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My older brother, Garret, is currently at Basic Training for the United States Air Force. While he is gone, he isn't allowed to use his phone, which means the only way of communicating is through letters.

In this day and age, it's extremely weird to be writing my brother letters. Normally I can just pick up my phone and send him a text.

I think that they take away the phones, not only so they aren't distracted, but also because it presents a challenge. Most of the men and women at Basic are fresh out of high school. They've never been away from home.

The biggest challenge of him being away is he can't talk to us whenever he likes. Messages aren't sent in seconds back and forth. It takes at least 5 days for communication back and forth. And that's only one time.

We have gotten so used to technology, we can't remember what it was like to not have a phone. My generation, that is.

Back during the Vietnam War, people were waiting months to get a letter from their loved one. Can you imagine? Months.

I can hardly go a week without talking to my closest friends and family. When my brother left, the only reason why I cried was because I knew I wasn't able to contact him whenever I wanted.

If you know you can contact someone whenever you want, it doesn't matter that you don't talk to them everyday. My biggest fear is something bad is going to happen, and he's not going to know right away. Or something bad happens to him, and I can't tell him I love him.

Technology has blessed us all with instant communication, but it has also hindered us. It makes us more afraid to let go. We can't be seen in public without our phones. It becomes our crutch.

I can't even fathom how difficult it must have been for families to communicate via telegram across OCEANS. We have planes now, so it makes delivering things faster. But weeks on a ship?

I miss my brother. The letters my family and I write him will never be able to put into words how much. And one day he'll read this article. So, hey, Garret. I miss you. I love you. And I'm so proud of you.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.
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We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.


2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^


8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.


14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.

16. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.


18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”


23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

Cover Image Credit: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8289/7759302068_fac2dfd31d_b.jpg

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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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