Friday, February 15, 2008

I think I flashed the school bus yesterday, and some drawn out circular reasoning

I've been housesitting again, at a big place atop a hill back behind the muskox farm, a cozy place with a hot tub out back. And no curtains or blinds on the windows.

When it is dark and the lights are on inside, everything is visible from the not-so-distant road. Yesterday morning, I emerged from the bathroom after taking a shower and entered the bedroom completely naked (I use the "completely" here because I've learned that some people consider being topless the equivalent of being naked. I do not, though being bottomless but with a shirt on would seem to be bordering more on nudity). It was dark out, and as I stared out the window I noticed a school bus driving slowly by. I did not move, and though I was by myself, I felt slightly awkward immediately thereafter.

Will I make sure that I am properly attired next time I exit the bathroom? Of course not. My life is an accumulation of small stands against the "norms" of "society." These things are what make me a "badass" and so irresistible to women. That and my false bravado.

That night, I was sitting in the living room as a car started to pass by on the road, and then stopped. For about thirty seconds. Then drove away and then passed the house three more times. I never stopped staring at them out the window, knowing that they could see me but--aside from the shape of the car--I could not see them. Bob, the dog, and Cheeto, the cat, who lounged in the living room with me, seemed not to care.

As I sat on the couch, I read an article in Discover that analyzed our ongoing decrease in the percentage of information that is useful. The author discussed the increase in the number of scientists (a couple thousand in the 1800s versus millions today) and then made the assertion that the majority of the theories postulated by these scientists is either wrong or useless.

He also made the valid point that the percentage of information that is science-based is decreasing. In the early days of knowledge recording, most information that was written down was science. But the invention of the printing press, the rise of the novel, and other factors have lead to an ever-increasing portion of recorded knowledge that is not science, but is dedicated to other forms of information. (Which isn't to say that such information is not useful, but it doesn't advance understanding of the physical world.)

Then comes the advent of the blog, of which there are currently over 100 million, a number that is doubling every six months. And who can say what percentage of that information is accurate or coherent, or useful if it is? The interesting thing about knowledge is that it is cumulative, but it is becoming more difficult to isolate the bits (in science lingo, the smallest piece of information, existing or not, yes or no, one or zero) that add to the pile of usefulness.

I would bring myself to some sort of point here, but that would make these ramblings coherent and perhaps useful, and I would just be depressed that it is buried with the other "gunk," for lack of an immediate academic-sounding term. And I would link to the Discover article, but it was printed on paper, which makes it seem so 1900s. However, I do post my blogs in the Times New Roman Font to give a paper document feel to them.

So if this information is meaningless, why write the blog? In a way it is the linguistic equivalent of that naked stand in the window, to put oneself out there without knowing its effects. To say, "this is me, deal with it." Even if people might laugh when they shouldn't, and not laugh when they should, and you don't always know what you're trying to say, and you can't always go out on a scaldingly brilliant note.

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