A recent Netflix documentary titled The Social Dilemma interviews several engineers who initially helped build social media platforms, but who are now sounding the alarm on their creations. The film features prominent designers from Google, Facebook and Twitter, including the engineer who created the pervasive “like” button and the inventor of the “infinite scroll.” The…
The student who sat in front of me was having difficulty looking me in the eyes as he shuffled his hands. He gradually began to speak. He was a second year engineering student having second thoughts about his chosen field of study. He knew he liked being creative, but he was becoming increasingly convinced that…
As I write this column, Calvin University is in the first week of classes. After rapidly pivoting to online instruction with the outbreak of COVID-19 last spring, the university worked on a plan for returning to in-person classes for the fall of 2020. These efforts stem from the fact that a Christian, undergraduate, liberal arts…
Justin Early toiled as a lawyer in a big corporate law office before feeling a call to become a missionary in China. After grueling studies in law school, a fast-paced legal career and the demands of the mission field, he was exhausted. Years of over-committed scheduling took their toll. He ended up in ER, experiencing a variety of symptoms related to exhaustion. He was told to slow down.
The Coronavirus pandemic swiftly brought into focus our shared vulnerability and humanity on a global scale. We are lonely, confused and scared. Yet amidst these difficulties, we have come to recognize the blessing of digital technologies and how they can connect us during this time of social distancing. As for schools across the world, teleconferencing software has enabled me to continue my classes at Calvin University.
When I was young, electronics and electricity seemed like a form of magic. Computers seemed to magically run using special incantations called “code.” Radios and televisions could teleport voices and images from around the globe. Energy harnessed from Niagara Falls could be invisibly transported to turn on a motor or light a home. Part of my motivation to learn about electronics was to demystify and understand what seemed like magic.
Ironically, the week that COVID-19 shut the door to in-person classes at Calvin University, our capstone computer science course was scheduled to discuss the importance of embodied community. One of the points that we were scheduled to explore is how electronic communications should not be preferable to embodied community. However, as we have seen with COVID-19, when that is not possible, digital communications are a blessing. Our current situation brought an unexpected “experiential learning” opportunity to engage this topic.
I went to Zambia in January with a colleague, his wife and seven Calvin students. We partnered with EduDeo ministries to help equip rural Christian schools with computers in eastern Zambia. Our trip was not without challenges. Although we arrived as planned, our suitcases were one day late – and one student’s suitcase was never found.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ . . . And he shall reign for ever and ever . . . King of kings, and Lord of lords! These familiar words from the Hallelujah chorus come at the climax of Handel’s Messiah. An apocryphal story tells of how King George II was so moved that he rose to his feet during this chorus. Whether or not it is true, audiences still rise to their feet for the Hallelujah chorus. This year marks the 100th since the Calvin Oratorio Society made its debut performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Would you leave your child in the care of a robot nanny? Would you feel comfortable leaving your aging parent with a robot care giver? Should you find yourself in a hospital bed, would you feel cared for by a robot nurse? These scenarios may sound like fanciful fiction but “socially assistive robots” are an active area of ongoing development. In fact, these kinds of robots are already being designed and built.
Congratulations on your first job as an IT (Information Technology) worker! May your skills be put to good use as you seek to the serve the organization you are joining. Unlike the more visible roles in an organization, IT work usually goes unnoticed. Many people are unaware that your hours will frequently spill into early mornings and weekends as you diligently apply security patches and update servers while users are blissfully sleeping.
I was just a toddler at the time, but many older people vividly remember huddling expectantly around a flickering black-and-white television as Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon 50 years ago.