And Red thinks she receives a lot of emails from her sister, Black. Well, that's nothing compared to the approximately 1,000 emails a day that Dr. Fauci received during the height of the pandemic.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: The release of thousands of pages of Dr. Fauci's emails has generated a remarkable amount of media coverage, each putting their own "spin" on it (has anyone compared it to the Pentagon Papers yet?) and, of course, Red sees things very differently than Black.
Red, the straight-A- student, knew there was no way she'd read through the mountain of emails made available through the Freedom of Information Act but was curious what all the fuss was about. It didn't take long, whether just through scanning the headlines or watching a few video clips, to see that there were a handful of key take-aways. But her theater degree kicked in when Red wondered if an alien from another planet appeared (well, UFOs have been in the news lately), if they would think Dr. Fauci was a celebrity scientist given his cult status or a political traitor specializing in scientific espionage.
Regardless, Red couldn't help but wonder (out loud to Black) why any of us "mere mortals" would feel compelled to read through such an enormous volume of emails. And, Black's response?
Remember the word problems we did in school? Here is a new one … if the average email Dr. Fauci received consisted of 100 words, which would be relatively short and to the point (this paragraph contains 67 words), and it takes two minutes to read 500 words, how many hours would it take to read 4,000 emails? Yes, the answer can be calculated, but who cares?
Well, if nothing else, Black's approach to things is consistent – pragmatic and sarcastic. And Dr. Fauci's also consistent. From the smattering we've seen, his emails "read" like he comes across on TV – humble, logical, unemotional, and polite. But, just as would be expected if culling through thousands of someone's emails, some may be interesting, but most would probably be boring. Of course, Black can't help but mention another thing to consider,
Remember when you were going through your "crisis" and I was explaining some financial topic to you, and I declared that, "You are my best student. Ever." Technically that statement was accurate, although, at that point, you were also my only student. So, there is no way to know if quotes from the emails have been taken out of context without going back to the source documents. And, personally, I have much better things to do with my time.
Black certainly brings up an excellent point. We all have more important things to do than spend our weekends on electronic gizmos, so we respectfully request that you stop reading this … and find something more important to do …
No matter what holiday you may celebrate, Red can’t help but quote a line from one of her favorite Christmas songs, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light. From now on, your troubles will be out of sight.”
And Black can’t help but point out that the song wasn’t introduced in a Christmas movie but in the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis."
Wishing you a merry everything and a happy always!
This is one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites in large part because of Black’s “corny” puns, but also because fresh corn is a summer staple – whether cooked on the grill or in the microwave, whether eaten on its own or as a primary ingredient in refreshing summer salads …
This may be one of the corniest things you’ll ever read.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s just a vegetable, so how can it possibly elicit such a strong reaction from Red, while, for Black, it’s more a source of amusement and even, it turns out, admiration?
Corn. That’s what immediately came to mind when Red started receiving emails from Dewberry Farm about its annual fall festival. It was a family tradition when the girls were growing up, and between the fun but often frustrating corn maze (she and the girls were lost for a few hours one year), the corn cannons, and all the other activities, it was a marathon day that always seemed to be the unofficial start to fall (even if the day meant 90+ degree temperatures since, after all, it’s Texas). Of course, enjoying all the incredibly delicious food, like freshly popped kettle corn, from outdoor stands made it even more special.
And Black’s reaction to all these corn-related memories? Red was expecting sarcasm, but not this,
I knew I would get an ear-ful from you but am glad you did not send any corny jokes. Given how much you love fall, and everything associated with it, I expected many kernels of truth in your sentimental memories. However, I have one question, I am sure it was ear-ie when you got lost in the maze, but did you feel like you were being stalked?
The funny (not punny) thing is that Black’s comments, although somewhat out of character, reminded Red of our dad and his endearing sense of humor. So, when Black added that as long as Red had brought up the subject of corn, she might be interested in the Corn Kid, Red thought she was referring to a goat that ate corn. Until she discovered the best corn story – about how a little boy who simply loved corn became a viral sensation. (Red also loved his appearance in a Chipotle video because she, too, loves their corn.)
And Red could relate to the Corn Kid’s love of corn,
I never realized how much I love corn, not only for its taste but for all the memories associated with it. Whether turning a can of cream corn into soup (just add a little milk) when I was recently sick and realizing that I hadn’t had it since our mom made it for me as a kid. I know food triggers many memories; for me, it’s corn (including candy corn), although my love of popcorn is about more than memories!
Think you can avoid artificial intelligence? Think again …
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red already fights technology at every turn, preferring to keep her ostrich head in the sand, plus, she finds Artificial Intelligence (AI) scary; whereas Black knows ignoring reality merely postpones the inevitable, so she’s started playing with AI to understand it better …
Red knows that she has the ability to learn how to use technology, so tries not to default into freakout mode. However, when it comes to AI, it’s an entirely different story, and she lets her theater degree and love of movies take over,
AI reminds me of the 1968 movie “2001 A Space Odyssey,” the computer named HAL, and the potential of machines to harm vs. help us. And while some, ok many, people might accuse me of being overly dramatic … am I?
Usually, Black would tell Red that her theater degree’s showing and to calm down. But when it comes to generative AI (it “studies” existing data and generates “new” content), many of the leading experts, including the “Godfather of AI” and one of the creators of ChatGPT (a leading AI system where users can pose questions) are the most vocal critics. They’re warning us of the potential dangers of the technology and the need to slow things down and have guardrails in place.
Unfortunately, Black knew that taking emotion out of the equation and focusing on the pragmatic would not ease Red’s mind, but that didn’t stop Black from explaining,
AI can be used to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems but wherever there is opportunity for good, there can also be bad actors. I have played with it and seen firsthand how quick and easy it is for AI to generate intentional misinformation (including visual images) that seem plausible and real.
So, do we need to be worried? Well, as AI becomes more integrated into our lives, it will be critical for all of us to understand what it can and cannot do … meaning critical thinking will be more important than ever.
P.S. This content was NOT generated by AI. It was created by human authors (although Red claims Black’s a Vulcan) without the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms.