I was just reading the “Laughter, the Best Medicine” page in this month’s Reader’s Digest
. One of the items started off by saying that the National Science Foundation
needs a name for its radio astronomy center, which is currently known simply as the Very Large Array
to see the Wikipedia entry on this beast).
Two of the suggestions that made me laugh were the “Well-Endowed Array”
and the “Holy Crap That’s a Big Array” Array
Another interesting item that caught my eye was a website called Wordle
). This is an online tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. One example is shown below, and there are many more on the site.
But wait, there’s more (did I mention that I love the Reader's Digest)… have you ever created your own little Time Capsule
of “stuff” that you’ve subsequently hidden away somewhere? When I was a kid, I took a large biscuit tin (about 12” x 12” x 6”) and filled it with my “treasures” and wrote messages to my future self, then I sealed it up and buried it at the bottom of the garden. I tried to dig it up a few years later, but I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d buried it – for all I know it’s still there.
The thing is that there’s a website called FutureMe
) where you can send yourself an email that won’t be delivered until some specified date in the future. For example, you could send one to be opened by your future self in 10, 20, 30 or more years’ time. Such an email might contain a reminder of your current life goals, an excerpt from your favorite of-the-moment book, words of wisdom to your future self, or simply a “Congratulations, you made it!”
You can also make your message Private
(the default) or Public
(but anonymous). If you visit the site you can see some messages that were sent years ago that have become active. Some of these are sad, some are thought-provoking, and some are funny. For example, one starts off saying:
Dear FutureMe, I hope this message finds you well. This is a message from you as you were on September 1, 2010. How've you been? Two years is a long time; you're probably very different from how you were today. For example, you probably know whether or not I used that semi-colon correctly. [Followed by a whole lot more]
The more I think about this the more I think that it’s a really good idea – one that I wish I’d conceived myself. In fact, I’m going to send a message to my future self as soon as I’ve posted this column…
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