Friday, September 12, 2008

Taken for Granted

You know that physics law, the second law of thermodynamics, not the one about the air conditioning always being too cold in summer, but the one about entropy increasing? It's happening, all around.

Okay, so maybe this isn't actually an example of the increase in entropy for real, but more about the increase in inconvenience.

I gave an assignment to my Chaucer class that involves looking in the OED. For most of my students, that pretty much means the on-line OED, which they can easily access through our library website. The earliest they could start was Monday, because that's when they got their word.

I just got one of those desperate emails letting me know that the library website has been down since yesterday afternoon (and it is down right now, for sure).

I've gotten to the spoiled point where I depend on websites to be up and running, and they usually are. So when they aren't, everything that depends on the technology comes to a crashing stop.

You know, I've had chalk break on me, but even a broken piece of chalk is pretty functional up to the point where it becomes too small to hold.

Other misfunctions: the construction in our building continues. That means that we get to teach through drilling and hammering noises. The dean has communicated with the folks in charge of the construction company, but the noise continues. (Want to bet that the folks in charge of construction stuff ask for a bigger budget next year so they can supervise construction during the semester more closely?)

The entire city is desperately trying to get road construction season over with before it becomes too cold to do concrete or just work outside. This means, on my short commute, there's two separate areas where the road's are torn up. I could go a different route, but there the whole way is torn up and down to one lane each way, with total stops while big tractor things move dirt around. We joke about having two seasons here, winter and construction, and it's true.


  1. Oh, I hear you. I used an e-book for an assignment for next week. I was printing the pages -- I'd printed about 10 -- and the site locked up for everyone on our campus. What? Now we've scanned the relevant pages from the real book, and posted a PDF to our course site. But it took most of the morning.

    We don't have construction in our building, but I don't have furniture in my office.

    I actually think what you are talking about is Murphy's Law, not the second law of thermodynamics.

  2. We don't have the online OED at Misnomer U :( I have had to scale back my OED assignment considerably. Amazing how quickly you start taking these things for granted.