Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Episode 53: Time Management Skills

Programming wonks at UC Berkeley recently had to figure out how to deal with “deformable objects.” These are apparently related somehow to welterweight boxing on the USA television network, at least that’s what came up when I clicked the hyperlinked phrase in the hopes of getting some sort of definition.

That brings me to an important point about the windowless basement-dwelling mushy-brained kooks responsible for the brain scrambling new Internet advertising technique where random words are hyperlinked to equally random advertisements for predictably random products. For instance, you may wonder what the phrase “deformable objects” means. Well, what good luck that the article you are reading makes that phrase a hyperlink, which presumably takes you to a definition, explanation, or some sort of words or pictures in some way related to “deformable objects.” At least, that is what you would think before you clicked that hyperlink and landed on some advertisement to watch a couple guys beat each other’s brains in, or out, on some TV network desperate for viewers since the Internet made it pretty much irrelevant. Anyway, the important point is this: should we really be wasting food, water, clothing and such on windowless basement-dwelling mushy-brained kooks who devote their lives to injecting every moment of our living lives with random useless brain-dissolving messages?

In any case, they needed to figure out how to deal with objects that lack a predictable shape so they could get a robot to pick up and fold towels piled at random. To the joy of towel-folding people everywhere, the robot was successful! The only minor glitch in the revolutionary accomplishment is that it takes 25 minutes per towel. At this rate, the robot is only fast enough to replace toddler workers, but we really don’t want to give them any extra time because they just use that time to destroy things.

That brings me to an important point about time management. If you decide it is a good idea to participate in the Marathon des Sables, you lack proper time management skills. No one with proper time management spends 6 days on a 150-mile race across the Sahara Desert when they have other options, like sitting in front of a computer for 6 minutes reading about people with no time management skills who trek across 150 miles of Moroccan desert on foot while carrying all necessary supplies in backpacks and front packs and any other sort of packs they can strap to their appendages. What do they carry in these packs? Well, looking at the gear required for the two activities referenced above may help illustrate which is the better use of one’s time.

Gear for Running Desert Foot Race
  • Backpack or equivalent (best suited to each participant)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • 10 safety pins
  • Compass with 1 degree; or 2 degree; precision
  • Lighter
  • Whistle
  • Knife with metal blade
  • Tropical Disinfectant
  • Anti-Venom pump (insect poison remover)
  • Signaling mirror
  • One aluminum survival sheet
Gear for Reading About Desert Foot Race
  • Comfortable chair
  • Computer
  • Snacks and beverages
As you can see…ANTI-VENOM PUMP! ARE YOU KIDDING? WHY WOULD YOU RUN A RACE IN WHICH YOU HAVE TO CARRY AN ANTI-VENOM PUMP!?...your time is much better used doing anything other than running a foot race in the desert, but good time management doesn’t get you any good bragging rights.