Welcome to the Sep 29, 2012 issue of
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|TODAY'S TOPIC: INFORMATION OVERLOAD||
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This afternoon I downloaded the Early Church Fathers in 38 volumes of PDFs, each volume averaging about 10 Megabytes, for a total of over 371 Megabytes of information. Consider this: the Bible is about 1,500 pages when printed on paper, and about two Megabytes as text files. That means the writings Early Church Fathers, the documents of the first four centuries of Christianity, are roughly equal to 185 books the size of the Bible. I don't think that I'll be able to read all these books in my remaining lifetime!
Nor will I very likely be able to read all the 105 ePub-format books that I've downloaded on the PC and into my smartphone, or the 45 or so books I have in my Google Books account. But they're all available for free, plus millions more of free e-books. Nearly all the "Classics" of world literature are out of copyright and are available for free at Google Books and elsewhere. Constant news feeds are bombarding us with information at near the speed of light. Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter could each consume all 24 hours of our day... if we let them; not to mention YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu and all the other video resources plus the thousands of world-wide audio podcasts and radio broadcasts on the Internet. Today you can easily listen to or watch programs anywhere in the world in a multitude of languages.
You get the picture: we are being constantly bombarded by a huge flood of data. Notice that I didn't call it "information" because data is just the raw stuff we must use in order to derive meaningful information. When I studied programming 35 years ago, the profession was called "Data Processing" and we were taught that our job was to process raw data in order to produce meaningful information. Today when young people study programming, it is called "Information Technology." a loftier-sounding phrase consisting of about twice as many syllables, perhaps signifying both the increased quantity and complexity of the multitudinous streams (avalanches?) of raw data with which we must struggle ever harder and harder to derive meaningful information.
The overwhelming fact is that we are confronted daily with information overload. Someone has said, "Getting information from the Internet is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose." Each and every source of these data streams are all trying to be meaningful and to grab our fleeting attention. To do this, each strives to be flashier, sexier, noisier, faster, nastier and/or crazier than the rest. The result is that our sensory organs - our eyes, ears, and even touch nowadays - plus our mental faculties are all involved in trying to make sense of it. In freshman Economics we learned "bad money drives out good money" - cheap, inflated paper money overwhelms solid, stable currency that is backed by something of substance. It is the same with information overload: flashy, sexy, noisy, nasty and crazy information drives out the solid, substanial and true.
We have been conditioned by our consumer-oriented culture to go for this instant gratification of sensory overload, rather than the delayed gratification of slowly aquired true information. What we desperately need is to stop the noise: turn off the smartphone, the tablet, the PC, the radio and the TV: take time to pray and meditate, to listen to the birds, to contemplate and imagine, to take a walk with our spouse and enjoy the splendid natural colors of autumn! Then maybe - just maybe - we'll be better able to make sense of the information avalanche that's pouring down on us daily.
The Security Blurb:
In the article Obama to Issue Disastrous "Cybersecurity" Executive Order we read that "The Daily Caller reports that a cybersecurity executive order currently being written closely resembles Lieberman's bill [the rejected Cybersecurity Act of 2012]: While President Barack Obama still needs to approve the order, Napolitano told senators Wednesday that the order is now 'close to completion.' It is believed to closely mirror the failed cybersecurity bill sponsored by independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. Susan Collins. While the exact details of the executive order are still unknown, it would be a huge mistake for Obama to sign an executive order implementing a misguided bill that failed to pass the Senate." What millions of Americans successfully petitioned the U.S. Congress to reject may now come in "through the back door," by executive order. We need to let our president and representatives know that we won't put up with such over-reaching of executive authority that over-rides the U.S. Congress.
The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!
"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"
Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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