Project Lead Dr. Sneller spoke with WIRED about some of the specific ways that the pandemic has made some folks more science literate.
Okay, any headlines that you heard about or saw this week that stuck out for you? That we were doing an escape room in our hippy dippy class. What did the escape room entail? What was it supposed to teach you? It was supposed to teach us about mindfulness, but it taught us how to rebuild the lamp from scratch. Cause a boy shot a lamp with a Nerf gun, and then it fell over and we had to rebuild it. It didn't break, but we had to figure out how to set it back up. So, did you enjoy rebuilding the map -- lamp more than you enjoyed your escape room? Yeah. Why? Nobody paid attention to me, but they clearly heard me. And a few seconds later, they would always say the exact same -- use the exact same wording that I used. Was this your team? Yeah.
I have a biological sister and an adopted sister and they're both, like, I care about them the same amount. It doesn't matter that one of them is biological and the other one's adopted because they're both amazing sisters and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Just having my sister be my sister. And not -- like I don't consider her my adopted sister, you know, I consider her my sister. And a lot of people probably have friends that they consider family. And they can consider their friends their family. Because you don't have to be biologically related to be related. You can have a family that is completely not your family. Like, I don't know. My best friend that moved away, she was like a sister to me. Sometimes we argued, but she was always like my sister and now I feel like I'm going to cry, but, you know, yeah. My sister, my adopted sister, she's just as much a sister to me as my biological sister and that's what -- that's just so important to know. Like it doesn't matter, like how different you look or what your DNA is. You can be related.
This trip, I visited my great-aunt and my great-uncle who I haven't seen in a while. And my great-uncle is actually 90 years old, or sorry, 91 years old and he, they live like a very happy and a very healthy life. My great-aunt recently suffered a stroke, but she was fine. She just can't cook anymore. So her husband, he doesn't cook either. So they order food. People bring them food. But her husband manages all their bills. He does all the accounting, keeps the books. And they live in an apartment in Brooklyn. Downtown Brooklyn, right by the water. And they live a very happy life. They get to see their children a lot. They have three boys. They get to see their grandchildren quite often. They get -- they get to see their great-grandchildren sometimes. They get to see their aunts -- or sorry, their nieces and nephews and then their great-nieces and nephews. Every year they host a Christmas brunch and stocking- and present-opening. This year it was a little different cause of COVID. But it was still -- we still managed to do some type of form of it. And it was fun. It was nice. We got to see them and open presents and stockings. But it was really inspiring to me because it showed me that if you take care of yourself and you take care of the people around you, it's gonna help you to live a more happy and a more successful and a more fulfilling life, and it's going to help you to form stronger relationships and stronger bonds with others and help you to just live a better life. And that was really inspiring to me because they're in their nineties and every day they do something to make them happy. They get out of the house. They go for a walk. They eat good food. And they -- they connect with others and they try to brighten others' days. And it was... it -- and they're in their nineties, like they don't have to be doing that but they do it every day and it was, it was really inspiring.
When I'm 90 years old, I think the world will look a hundred times different. And the reason I say that is because I'm 14 years old, right? And so, when I was little, I remember there was a -- like, I guess, I think my generation is a generation where we -- we still kind of witnessed older technology to newer technology. So I remember when I was little, we would have this monitor in our family room. We still had box TVs. In fact, I think we threw away our box TV like a few years ago. I remember radios. I remember the older cars and everything. And in those fourteen years, the amount of stuff that's changed is like mind-boggling to me, right? Like now we have semi-autonomous vehicles, right? We have AirPods, wireless things, Bluetooth and whatnot, 5G networks. And if that's happened in such a short amount of time, I think the rate of technology and advancements in technology is going to be exponential. And so, I guess what I think the world will look like is floating buildings, you know, like skyscrapers. I think New York City now will be like the world everywhere, you know? I think Dubai will be the world everywhere. I think these technologically advanced cities that we see today is gonna become the world. I think that, I also think that the future will be a little more greener. I think that moving forward, all the skyscrapers will be -- will run on renewable resources, right? Wind energy, solar energy. So I think when I'm 90 years old, the world will be a lot more technologically advanced, but I think hopefully for the better. There will definitely be negatives, but everything has negatives and positives.
The biggest thing I did is that yesterday, I ran an entire 50k, and it's only the second 50k I've done. And it was the same course as last year, but some things were a lot different. Like last year I drove myself down because I was concerned about COVID, but this year since I have three vaccines under my belt, I took my friends up on the offer to ride down with one of them, and it was really enjoyable especially because the weather ended up not being very good. It was nice to have someone else to deal with it. It was in Northern Indiana. And last year, the course itself, like the ground itself, was cold and frozen solid, but this year it had been snowing and raining a really cold rain for the early morning and until part of the race started. So there was a lot of mud and a lot of muck on the course, and a couple of times I would put my foot down and I would think that, like, my shoe was going to come off because the mud would just, like, swallow up my shoes. And it was, yeah, pretty gross and not fun looking. But a couple miles later sometimes I'd run through like a clear puddle and I would kind of wash my shoes off, but my shoes and my socks were just soaked, and I was by myself for a lot of it. It was two loops of a course, and I was afraid that they weren't even going to let me start the second loop since the first loop took me so long, but they let me start my second loop surprisingly, and they said I had to be done within nine hours and my time was 8 hours and 50 minutes. So I just barely made the cut off. And my friends waited and celebrated with me, which was really sweet of them because one of the ladies in our group was just so fast. She could have, like, went home and showered and been cozy in bed by the time I finished, but it was just nice to have people at the finish line.
Would you rather have to use dial-up internet for the rest of your life or have to use a beeper instead of a cell phone for the rest of your life? Driving a tough bargain, Michigan Diaries. The beeper is funny because in the 90s and early 2000s, it was viable because payphones were everywhere. Today, I think it would be less viable to just work with a beeper because how would you call anyone back? You would need to get to a landline or get someone to lend you their phone. So that would be a tough sell in today's environment, twenty twenty-one or twenty twenty-two. Dial-up internet, though? But keep my cell phone? Would the cell phone also be operating at the slow internet speed? That's the loophole, is that you have normal fast internet on your phone, but slow on the laptop. Dial-up internet... I mean, the fact of the matter is a lot of areas, rural areas of the United States still operate with dial-up, believe it or not. In the cities we're pretty lucky. We have fiber all over the place. So, that wouldn't be viable, I think. If you had to rock 56k, it wouldn't be a lot of fun. I think that'd be more viable though than relying solely on the beeper.
This diary was created by MI Diaries Youth Intern, Kierstin Alston. Click to "Meet the Team" here. But I do remember there was a time when I was in third grade where we had to make these dolls that were -- The dolls were supposed to be based off of our ancestors, and it was a little tricky thing for me cuz I'm African-American and I didn't know how -- my granny didn't how to approach this. So we did some digging. Well, I didn't have to do any digging, this was easy for her. My granny had remembered that her -- Well, she didn't remember, but my gran had decided that I would just make this doll that was from Ireland. And when I asked her from why Ireland and it was because apparently my great-great-grandfather was from Ireland. So she always used to tell us stories about him and, like, how we got the last name that we got, and really interested as I, on the other hand, had this joy, and I felt like I had to let everyone around me know that I was Irish. And so, I used to tell people this all the time. I'd be like, "I'm Irish! You know, I'm Irish," and I would always talk about how I was Irish and I used to keep my little Irish doll that I had made for my third grade class and I remember the look on classmates, they were like "You're Irish?" You know, because when you think of someone being Irish, I guess I didn't fit their idea. Which is fine, we were in third grade. We didn't know any better, you know. I used to always keep telling people this and then I got in, just recently, I'm in ninth grade. I had sat down, I went, "I'm not Irish." And it hit me that I'm actually not Irish.
I think the moment I felt like I was no longer a child was when I stopped being offered a lollipop and stickers at my doctor's office. It was actually like a really sad day for me because I remember I had gotten -- I think I'd gotten like a flu shot that day at the doctor's office and then I'd also gotten a blood prick. And so usually if you get like a blood prick or a shot or something, you don't just get one box from the treasure chest, you get two. You get two toys from the treasure chest and I didn't get any. And I remember I thought everyone was, like, joking around with me and so I was waiting for them to offer me a gift and they didn't. And then I remember being really sad on my way to the car, and my mom didn't understand why I was sad. And then I told her and she started laughing, and she was like, "Oh, it's because you're older now, you're like ten years old." And I just remember being really sad because even now I think everyone should get a gift when they go to the doctor's office, you know. Like the shots still hurt when you get older, so I don't know. If I ever have a doctor's office, I will give -- I will offer and give the option of stickers and toys for every one of my patients.