Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
One problem thought, is that the ease of all this information at our fingertips, turns us all into the sort of gatherers of "shiny nuggets" of information that we fancy.

You say that as if it were a bad thing.  I live for my shiny nuggets.  They are the driving force of my life.  I treasure my little hoard of shiny nuggets.  They are what give my life meaning.

I am reminded of the elementary school I attended as a child.  It was a small, rural school.  Class sizes were very small by today's standards.  Four teachers managed eight grades.  First and second grade in one classroom, third and fourth in another, and so on.  In each classroom one teacher alternated their time and attention to one class and then the other.  That meant the students had a certain amount of free time in class each day.  We could spend it reading, doing our homework, whatever, as long as we didn't disrupt the class or call untoward attention to ourselves.

In each of the upper classrooms the centerpiece of the room was a freestanding bookcase holding a World Book Encyclopedia.  Those World Books drew me like a magnet.  I spent many, many hours of class time just browsing one volume after another.  I was fascinated, then as now, by anything mechanical or scientific.  If the illustrations captured my interest I would read some or all of the articles.  As an added bonus, references in one article sometimes led me to other interesting articles.  I reckon I learned as much from those World Books on my own initiative as I did from the formal classwork.  They were a a great treasure of my childhood.  

Years later, when those World Books were retired from their place of honor in the classrooms, the principal of the school gave me one entire set as a gift.  He had been our seventh and eighth grade teacher when I passed through those grades and he remembered how much pleasure they had given me.  I still have the set to this day.  And I still treasure the many hours of fascination and the many shiny nuggets of information they afforded a lonely and introverted child those many years ago.

They set me on a path toward eclectic generalism that has stood me in good stead my whole life.  Over the years I have held a number of jobs in different fields by learning as I go.  Like those World Books, each new job has served as a learning experience that has left me better able to cope with the next that came along.  And my little hoard of shiny nuggets continues to grow to this day.

Oh, and these days I find myself browsing Wikipedia very much like I did those World Books.  One interesting article often leads to another and another and...  Looking up a simple fact often times turns into a great learning adventure taking up half an afternoon if I'm not careful.  

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sun Feb 4th, 2007 at 02:38:02 PM EST

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