Volatile Vortex

1194986475730032167air_stefan_bazelkov_01.svg.thumbV- After tonight, only four days to go! A to Z is a much needed exercise in discipline for me. I’m ready to start working on my new novel, thanks to this writing extravaganza.

I am an IT foot soldier on the front lines at a local community college. My coworkers, IT folks and professors, make sure computers remain our servants and not the other way around. We have two weeks left until semester end, and everyone is looking forward to the summer off. There is, however, an undercurrent of unease. For about two years now, software has evolved with pandemic speed and the hurtling vortex  of change finally caught up with us. Can we keep up? Will we wash up on the shore of progress, like some digital flotsam and jetsam? I’m not talking about changes to  the software, I’m talking about more and more new software, changes in the popularity of software and the looming power of the Cloud. These changes have profound effects on higher education.

And, to make it worse, the major software (Adobe CS6) we use in our classes has increased in price from $5,000 to $20,000 a year.12284211311154772712sheikh_tuhin_Label_Icon_svg_thumb Yes, you read that right. All the other softwares cost more now, a lot more. There may be a grassroots revolution brewing in freeware, but that’s a conversation for another blog.

These events make me wonder – how much new information can the human mind absorb before it balks? How many changes, adjustments, and slicker and better software can we afford? And, is this multitude of bells and whistles necessary to teach students the basics?

We’ll keep it current and cool with iMacs and Cintiqs but, really, how much fantastic new software is too much?

Universe Unfurled

METEORMILKYWAY_ROWELL_C600_cropNote: Sorry this is late!

U – The universe is out there. All you have to do is look up.

When I was in CanyonLands on Outward Bound, I saw the Milky Way for the first time. We pounded ten miles a day in full pack (sans weapons), and we were exhausted, hungry and exhilarated. For a pack of wimpy city girls, this was a brutal slog. Somehow, we fumbled through dinner. Food on the course was horrible, but that stripped everything down to basics. No fussing. Just eat, sleep, climb, and laugh, and then do it again for five days.

Luck was on our side, and the weather was good. Mild and dry. Perfect for the show. I crawled into my bag and closed my eyes. Unable to sleep, I lay in the crystalline desert stillness. Finally,  I looked up and the Milky Way’s twin ribbons unfurled from horizon to horizon.

I didn’t sleep after that. If I had been a God-fearing woman, I would have celebrated such amazing beauty with a prayer. Instead, I just gaped until dawn nibbled away the glitter. Nothing, before or since, affected me the same way as that web of stars. It was miraculous, and it was real.

Two-thirds of the population of the western world has never seen the Milky Way. Light pollution is so rampant over the Earth, it creeps into the night like a brilliant rash, covering the East and West Coast of America, Europe and parts of South America. I feel privileged to have glimpsed our stars.

If you have a light free opportunity promise me you’ll look up!stars-th

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