Winter Blast

Much of Canada and the northern United States has been sitting in an icy, windy, thumpingly cold Arctic low for the past one or two weeks.

Some more southerly parts have been even colder than us, and we in the southern NWT had anywhere between -36 and -40C (-33 to -40 F). It takes me about seven minutes to walk to work, and by the time I get there, my eyelashes have collected ice from my freezing breath. It’s been pretty chilly.

But I’ve had lovely memories, like this one, to sustain me.

And this one.

The north is very blue and white right now, but I do like the southern blue and white. πŸ™‚

Let’s Get Personal?

Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.

An airplane photo, similar to my gravatar.

So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.

I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.

My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.

The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.

Unknowably deep waters.

Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?

It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?

I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.

But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.

I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.

They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa.  They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.

Is there gold in these waters?

I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task … 

No.

I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.

Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.

What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?

 

Flowers of Republica Dominicana Part II

Dominican Republic is home to many types of orchids, something I hadn’t realized until my last visit.

I had been there a number of times before, but somehow I had missed how plentiful they are.

It’s lovely to see them just growing where they like, these beautiful splashes of ostentatious and frilly colour.

The freedom to take root in the ground of choice is one we should all be able to enjoy. πŸ™‚

Sometimes, life is like that.