Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Post-training delirium; Difficulties of naming her/him/it

Our EBM trainer wheeled his toolkit/luggage out of here Saturday evening, leaving us all in an applied physics daze. My brain being composed of about 60% literary criticism, and the rest inert gray matter, I took a day to recover from the crash course in how to maintain our new robot. I still find myself muttering phrases like “book block” “photo-cyan” “vertilamer clamp” and “shear jaws” on Monday morning, as we fire her/him/it up for the first time with very few difficulties.

I did drag myself out of bed this morning for a good cause: we are printing Haitian Creole – English Medical Dictionaries for use in that country. I guess the noble impulse originated with Google, who is a partner of the company (On Demand Books) that brought us our Book Machine: five or six other EBMs across the US are being put to work for the same purpose. It's strange to think of these slim volumes--still hot from printing—arriving in the hands of nurses and doctors in a disaster-zone.

Meanwhile, I have been too much in the guts of the Machine to anthropomorphize her/it/him properly. Names proposed are The Tin Man, Ruby (after Rube Goldberg), and Bartleby the Scrivener. Privately, I keep wanting to call her/him/it Hal, despite the lack of a burning red eye and soothing, male voice reassuring us, “Everything is under control...”

tell all your friends!