What I Learned On the Way to Look Up Something Else

When I was younger, the editor of our hometown newspaper wrote a couple of regular columns himself. He was a brilliant, interesting man, to be sure. His main column was S.A.’s, a play on both the word ‘essays’ and his initials. It was generally a topical column that any brilliant news editor might produce.

The other column he wrote, which appeared somewhat less regularly, was “Things I Learned On the Way to Look Up Something Else.” If you were around, looking up information in pre-internet days, did that ever happen to you? It certainly happened to me, and my personal database is considerably richer as a result. A confession: I do love the internet, and almost everything associated with it. Even though I do love the web, all the search engines like Google, Bing, and whatever else (if anything) people use really limit, if they don’t completely eliminate, learning other facts ‘on the way to look up something else.’

You don’t have to be an absolute generalist to appreciate the loss of richness in our learning that has occurred as a result of the lightning fast and digitally accurate searches for those crucial facts we are seeking when we do a modern day search. While I don’t advocate…or even personally want…to turn the clock back to the so-called ‘good old days’ before we had the wonders of computerized search, I do recommend cracking a non-fiction book from time to time. You may be surprised what interesting and useful information you’ll pick up leafing through them!

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Self Driving Cars? How About You?

You may have seen the news that Nevada has ok’ed licensing for Google to test one of their self-driving cars. This is both exciting and disconcerting, and raises as many new issues as it resolves. If perfected, the self-driving car will be a boon to those who aren’t able to drive. I have a couple of relatives who have lost sufficient sight as to be unable to drive now, and are always scrounging for rides to purchase groceries, necessities, and to make it to medical appointments. Self-driving cabs could be an interesting addition to major cities…although in addition to costing jobs, we would lose some colorful entertainment in the person of those often interesting cabbies.

The issue has already come up regarding insurance. If the car crashes, is the human passenger responsible? The company that provides it? The software designer? This will make for some interesting litigation as all of these details get sorted out over the course of years…just as every other area covered by insurance has been.

Here’s a thought though…who or what drives YOU? Do others drive you, are you self-driven like the Google car, or does a burning idea drive you to bring it to fruition? If it’s the former, it might be good to give some thought to making some changes in your life to roll with #2 or #3. You might not become another Google, but you will still go a lot further and faster down the road when it’s YOU at the wheel!


Sometimes the 2 Percent Outlier Happens

Sometimes, life throws a really interesting one at you. When you and others have carefully assessed a situation, and calculated the three possible outcomes and the likelihood of each…occasionally a 4th one turns out to be that one that no one even remotely considered…that 2% outlier that ‘never happens.’ The moral of this little post…like the Boy Scouts, ‘Be Prepared,’ even if it’s for that 2% outcome no one saw coming.

For those who live in earthquake country–so, do you have your emergency kit?