My view

You really got me


My algorithms haven’t learned as much about me as they think. I would have assumed relocating to a very different environment—from major city to major country—would have made Facebook, Google and Twitter change their offerings to me. But I’m beginning to doubt the smarts of the artificial intelligence which is computing, which thinks I will be interested in curated ads for “Singles near me” all of whom are absurdly handsome and named Steve.

Those singles were ”near” me in Staten Island, and are still “near” me in Equinunk, though Google Maps believes Staten Island is two-and-a-half hours away. (We have never made the trip in less than three hours). The Steves must have magic carpets or at the least private helicopters.

I fear Google et al. do not respect my ongoing 40-year-long marriage. I am not eager to break in a new husband.  

I was envious when a FB friend in Texas got popups for coyote urine. Surely we are rural enough for some wildlife pee promotions. The nearest stoplight is eight miles away and we sometimes hear coyotes howling in the hills after midnight. I think we deserve ads for coyote urine every bit as much as any Texan.

I’d certainly prefer those to ads about “an 82-year-old woman invented a bra for aging breasts.” Facebook can just keep its nose out of my aging breasts, thank you very much.

There’s something a bit off about the machine learning that is powering Google algorithms, which immediately after my middle kid messaged “Happy Birthday!” choose to pop up “Have you gotten a colonoscopy yet? Now’s the time!” without even giving me the chance to finish the birthday cake. Rather tasteless.

The closest FB has come to offering something I might actually be interested in was an ad for decorative dioramas which fit like a book on a bookshelf. I thought, well that’s kinda cool. I do like a diorama and we did buy a bunch of new bookcases for this house, so a machine could deduce a pattern there.

I clicked on the link. Just out of curiosity. The items being advertised were not actually Empty Decorative Dioramas. They were pieces of cardboard. Out of which you might make boxes which could be made into dioramas, if you so desired. Glue not included. Cardboard. For $17 for pieces to make a small one and $29 for parts for a large empty box.

We don’t have a lot of use for cardboard, other than giving us reasons to make many visits to the recycling center to get rid of all the cardboard boxes we have collected from getting so much home-delivered, instead of driving all over. Eight miles to the nearest stoplight, after all.  

I did try to use some to start a “no-till” wildflower garden I had planned for the backyard wilderness, until one day I looked out at the weeds happily growing there already, each week a different flower coming up.

I realized I’ve already got a no-till wildflower garden, without even trying.  

Just from Mother Nature.

She knows me better than Facebook does.

Leah Casner lives in Equinunk. Read more of her work at and

algorithm, Facebook, Google, Twitter, artificial intelligence


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