How did I get information before Google? And Wikipedia?
- Asked my mom and dad (who guessed well)
- Asked anyone else I could think of
- Used books and encyclopedias
- Went to the library and looked it up
- Didn’t learn some things
- Probably thought there wasn’t much to know
- Tried not to wonder about things that I could never get the answer to
- Read novels instead of wondering about real-life things (doesn’t sound so bad)
What sorts of things did I need to know before Google?
- Baseball statistics, maybe?
- Stuff you could look up in the Guinness Book of World Records – such as the heaviest motorcycle twins and what a two-headed calf looks like
- Historical things, like Civil War facts or what caused World War II. My 700-page Western Civilization textbook from college had the answers, too. And I usually learned a lot more by getting out the book, than wiki-ing it.
- Best Picture Winner of 1941 (or whatever)
- What Immanuel Kant said about moral imperatives and whatnot
Where did I get information?
- Evening News
- The Guinness Book of World Records
- People Magazine
- Encylopedias and other libraryish volumes
What sorts of things have I Googled or looked up on Wikipedia lately, that I couldn’t have easily found answers to before personal computers?
- How do I find cheap flights?
- Who is Muriel Stuart?
- Photos of Yeats, I need photos of Yeats.
- Why would a co-worker dig through my trash?
- What is the third crusade?
- What did Richard the Lionheart do?
- What is my IP address?
- When did Brooke Shields last see Michael Jackson?
- Why do I have a gray box on my screen when I try to open a PDF?
- Where is Shannon, Ireland?
- Where is Devonshire, England?
- How do you play Sudoku? Can you play it online? (Yes!)
- How much does corian cost?
- How do I import an RTF file to Excel?
- Is there an “e” in “lambaste”?
- Who is Bart Stupak?
- When are my library books due?
- Where can I find cool cabinet handles for my kitchen?
–As you can see, none of these items are very pressing, so I’m not sure if I get a lot of enrichment out of my access to the Internet, after all. The distinction between my inquiries BEFORE and AFTER having ready Internet access is that BEFORE the Internet, my inquiries were pretty limited to what types of materials I had on hand that could provide answers. Since then, I’ve asked all kinds of things,, and topics are not limited.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that topics are not limited, I don’t seem to be asking many deep questions.
And finally, I don’t suppose most of the Deep Questions can be answered, anyway, with Google, Wiki, or NPR. Or even the Guinness Book.
So have I made progress, or not?