Sunday, May 12, 2013


An interview with Sylvia Boorstein was rebroadcast on NPR this morning for Mother's Day. She tells this story about observing how no matter how many times she misses her turn, her GPS in her car never gets mad at her. It just says, "recalculating", and keeps giving her new directions. Here's a quote from the interview on NPR's On Being with Krista Tippet:
I've never said it in a public audience, but I just thought about it recently. I decided that — I'll find out soon if this is a good analogy — but I was thinking about the GPS in my car. It never gets annoyed at me. If I make a mistake, it says, "Recalculating." And then it tells me to make the soonest left turn and go back. I thought to myself, you know, I should write a book and call it "Recalculating" because I think that that's what we're doing all the time.
And no matter how many times I don't make that turn, it will continue to say, "Recalculating." The tone of voice will stay the same.
This isn't the first time I've heard this anecdote or a variation of it, and it causes me endless amusement that this persistent 'recalculating' can evoke discussion of infinite kindness or deity.
When I was working at Alpine Electronics Research, we had quite a lot of fun brainstorming (but not inserting) additions to those very GPS systems that would lose their temper at you if you made too many wrong turns!

It doesn't invalidate any of the observations or anything - it's just an anecdote that is a bit different for me than for others.

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