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 Date: Wednesday, 20 April 2011

 Information Age Page

Bulletin Board Page 2

Todays Knownledge Pool Compared the Yesterdays

  Never in human history has the common man ever had access to so such information and ability to gather more information seems like it will be expanding for the foreseeable future. But this must be put in perspective.

  The printing press is only around 400 years old. Public schools 200 years old. The only a little over 100 years ago public libraries became common place. Then in the past century the ways of spreading information have come one after another: Telephone, Radio, Television, Copy machines, Personal computers, Cable Television, and the Internet. Have given people interconnected people have never before.

  In in the United States two hundred years (1806), the most common people worked from dawn to dusk farming. At best having a market day and a religious day off once a week to join together other members of their community to trade goods and to listen. This was supplemented with some holidays and an occasional event of some sort.

  The ability to read and write was far from universal. Most people had a best a bible, dictionary and maybe book of handy knowledge, like Poor Richard's. A person education at best was a few years, during the winter months, in a one room school house. Very few people had much more formal education. Even the "Professions" hardly consisted of more than some on the job training. Even 150 years a doctor might only have 2 weeks of formal training. Most people were self taught.

  Two hundred years ago, most people walked when they wanted to go some where. A few people could afford a horse. Wagons and boats were mostly for carrying one's goods on serious journey's. Even postal service was a new invention.

  Just remember almost all people throughout history have been common people. And that most likely includes you and me.

To Much Information?

  The world has tendency to drown us in information. Some get overwhelmed by it and retreat from it. Some refuse to look at television, hear radio, have a telephone, see movies, or read most books. Actually people have been doing this in other forms for thousands of years. Since the earliest times people have become hermits, living in caves to escape the world. Other people joined together to escape the world and formed monasteries and the like. Still others just retreated into simplistic ways of thinking and refused to consider anything else. Finally some retreated into their own minds and eventually went insane in one fashion or another.

  Handling information, not being overwhelmed by it, understanding it and then making use of it is not easy or simple. To many people take the quick easy solutions and often end up doing more work in the end than if they took more time and worked harder at it.

  One of the problems with the internet is that it gives the illusion of the quick and easy solution. The internet is a great place to start but a poor place to finish studying something. A great place for quick leds, just plan awful to find detailed information. Many people in there ignorance think what they quickly find it the answer. Not knowing how large the subject is first place.

  The internet's great weakness is that it is based on advocacy. That it someone have to pay for something to be available on the web. If someone doesn't pay for that something it simply isn't on the web. I have seen many good websites come and go from the web. Often never replaced. Many people started website with hopes and lot of work, only to eventually lose interest and quit.

  Without an on going way of making money. Most websites doomed to disappear. As a labor of love a website can only last until the person or organization running it looses interest it. This causes internet to be a very unstable place as far finding information goes.


  I am 60 years, I have seen the invention of the television set, the copy machine, the personal computer and the Internet.

  When I growing up the only way most people could take notes was with a pencil and paper by hand. It was before the common availability of microfilm, microfiche, and movies in libraries. Catalogs were catalogs of paper cards. No online anything.

  Since then I have microfilm and microfiche come and go as a library media. Several years ago my local library system was giving away microfiche readers by the truck load. But Microfilm are microfiche are still in libraries.

  VHS appeared in library collections, but then came CD's and DVD's. How long will it be able to read? But they still be part of collections?

  TV has appeared, but it is leaving little record of itself behind. Copyright arguments abound concerning broadcast recording by institutions. TV uses the public airways, but doesn't want to keep a record of it's self.

  The computer appeared and it has saddled libraries with the great cost of replacing them every three to five years.

  Then came the Internet, opening up a vast vista of information, sloppy, undisciplined, but creative. Allowing people to exposed to many things they would like to see and not like to see.

  The Telephone has been around for a long time now, but like the telegraph before it is being challenged by it's cellular form. The cell phone is changing itself at a breakneck speed.

  But the question is how much has this really added to the pool of accessible and understandable information. What I proposed to do is to discuss this with interested readers in the future days and week. A subject which many ways defines what we think and who we are.

1. I hope to be adding things on at least a weekly basis.
2. This page is on the state knowledge and information in the modern age. In other words to ability to research.
3. I have a lot to say about the subject of information, as related to research concerning military history, art and science.

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