Monday, July 11, 2016

smokey, hot, poor, and clean

Describe yourself in four words?  Actually, I wouldn't use those four in the title, but they feel about right in a spontaneous kind of way.

First of all, "smokey" since I live in Colorado.  No, I'm not referring to pot smoke.  Legal or not, I haven't touched the stuff since before a certain high school friend of mine cleaned herself up so she could join the army.

She kicked her marijuana habit, then dragged me with her to aerobics classes where we wore Jane Fonda-esque leotards and sweat a lot to further rid her soon-to-be-drug-tested self of any traces of the offending weed.  Apparently it worked.

I seem to have digressed...  "Smokey" is because there are some wildfires burning here and there and the prevailing winds are putting our air quality about on par with that of Beijing, China (are there any other Beijings?).

"Hot", and not in the good way, because it's just darn hot outside.  Remember back when it was all cold and dreary and I was whining about it?  And I recognized that some day soon I would be whining about the heat?  We're heee-eeeere.  So yes, parts of the state are burning, the temperatures are uncomfortably high, plus I'm 51 years old, so make the "hot" connection...

"Poor and clean" really go together.  That's how Chaco jokingly describes my interior decorating.  Now that he has an apartment to furnish, he  notices such things.  His "poor and clean" is my "practical and tidy".  Well, at least he notices that it's clean, thanks to his lower standards on that topic.

Why am I rambling on like this?  I was thinking about that robot.  That robot that's watching me.  Supposedly.  I don't know how often it visits, just when it will strike...


See, several months ago, I got an email from a Ph.D. student of Computer Science doing research work on personal blogs.  the email said, in part:

"I’m interested in how the thoughts and experiences written by people like you on weblogs and other 
social media can be used to make conclusions about society as a whole. I am contacting you because 
I am trying to collect reliable data about bloggers’ opinions, experiences, and characteristics 
in order to refine and evaluate my analyses"

The email included links to the department at the university and to his personal research page that further explained his project:

"My research focuses on how people present themselves on the web...  By leveraging the significant amount of text that these web authors provide about themselves, we plan to automatically extract information about them, including a demographic profile..."

So, similarly as to when my army friend got me to smoke pot with her, and then later got me to help her clean herself of the offending weed, I replied, "Okay!"

Really, the research does sound interesting.  In short, this Ph.D.-to-be has a robot reading blogs to see if it can make correct inferences about the authors.  So I had to fill out a questionnaire as part of the study.  I don't remember all of the questions, but several had to do with my political views, for instance.

So even though I don't typically blog about political views, the robot is trying to figure mine out by the stuff I DO blog about.  Get it?  Cool, no?

I do remember that one of the questions asked if I was truthful on my blog.  Which, yes, I am.  Unless I totally make stuff up about trekking in Nepal and making twin babies, later given up for adoption. Because even then, I eventually come clean.

Sometimes I think about that robot.  What is it thinking?  What is it thinking about what I'm thinking?  Would I vote for Hillary Clinton?

I'm tempted to put some comment here to give myself away on that question, but that's for me to know and for Robot to figure out.



Marcy said...

That does sound like interesting research! I hope you'll get a report eventually on the robot's conclusions. It would be cool to see what it could figure out about beliefs you hadn't written about directly. It's kind of creepy, too. They'll just keep getting better and better at it.

Ramzu Zahini said...

Describe me in 4 words?
"Evil, despicable weird man."

Abby said...

Someday, the machines might not need us anymore. Then what?!

Abby said...

5. Honest

lotta joy said...

I've had similar emails and they seemed intrusive, considering the research could be done anonymously without me aware - I doubt they use your name, so why would they need your agreement. And it caused MY robot to hide under the bed. (He's not a normal robot.) Me in four words: naive, introvert, cautious, sleepy.

Abby said...

Well, they need my agreement to get my answers to the questions they use to assess the robot. I'd bet there are plenty of anonymous ones already lurking... checking to see if you'll vote for Hilary.

ShadowRun300 said...

Funny that I feel this way, since my blog is out there for all to see, but I get a little creeped out when people find me without some kind of connection like mutual blog friends. So the robot would likely creep me out. Then again, I'd be interested to know if it thinks I would vote for Hillary along with the whys and why nots.
Hope things cool down for you a bit, and are a nice, mild temperature by mid-August. You got any say in that?

Abby said...

I do get reminded of the "for all to see" when someone like this makes contact, but this project seems interesting and legit. I didn't find this one quite as creepy as the sex toy manufacturer that offered me a free sample in return for my published review...

Mid-August will be marvelous!

Riot Kitty said...

I totally have to check that out!

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow I never receive emails like that, so I assume my blog doesn't deserve a robot. I'll try not to get jealous. ;) Actually, I'm quite pleased, I dread to think what it would discover about me. :D

Linda Hensley said...

I think I may have already blogged my political leanings, but I don't really know. I'm thinking I'll have something to say about it when we get closer to November. Let us know if the robot get's it right!

Anita said...

Oooo... maybe I should take your link out of a recent (as in yesterday) post of mine. I mentioned a bestseller book that might eventually get hits via my blog and there you'll be, too. I read Shadow's comment and don't want you to get creeped out when you're found by others other than the robot.

Anyway, you have a knack for a good convoluted post and I like them. :)

Sparkling Red said...

I'm much too long-winded to describe myself in only four words. That's why I have a blog! I need all of the words to describe myself! ;-)

On one hand it's cool that you're helping the student with his research... on the other hand someone will eventually use the results of that research to mine all of our blogs without our permission. For good or for ill? Only time will tell.