Why does the author use this as a title of the following Paragraph:

Toasters and insulin pumps
But email is not solely the province of people. We've been hooking up machines to email for decades. By 2040 we'll have trillions of sensors and devices engaging in conversation with people and each other. Notifications from our bodies (Quantified Self), our things, and our places will be in our Personal Clouds. Our inboxen will test Inquiries from stranger devices just like inquiries from strange people: Is this notification from the bus you're riding worth your attention now? If so, what's the best context and form for engaging with it given you're in a space where it's impolite to talk and you're using your hands to hang on for dear life?

Please advise how to make a research in this case? Looking for meanings of words in dictionaries and googling didn't help.

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    Is that the entire text? Is that title really intended to apply only to the one paragraph or does it actually apply to a whole section? It looks like there's missing context, here. Also, please cite the source of the text. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 4:54

2 Answers 2


I think the author wanted to exemplify some of the technologies he talks about (Notifications from our bodies (Quantified Self), our things, and our places will be in our Personal Clouds), saying that our bodies will send us notifications for when our glucose levels are high and we need to take insulin, as well as toasters will notify us when the toasts are ready.


Toasters and insulin pumps are two machines that might plausibly be hooked up to email. The toaster can alert you when toast is ready and an insulin pump can alert you about blood sugar levels.

The paragraph is about this type of notification and the fact that we are receiving more and more notifications as more devices become "smart". The author raises questions about how valuable this information really is and how it will affect our daily lives. Toasters and insulin pumps are not merely examples, they are contrasting examples. Getting alerted that your toast is done is completely unnecessary and arguably more of an annoyance than a convenience. Getting alerted about your blood sugar, however, is potentially life saving.


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