Friday, November 7, 2008

Multiply Your Intelligence

I've needed a wee break from blogging for the past week, things have been kind of intense with me dealing with a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I've needed some time to process that before I got talking about other stuff. As you may have been able to see from my last blog post, my tolerance level had dropped considerably!

But I'm back ready to blog!

I've found a wonderful subject to talk about today. Mythbusters! Ok, it's not directly Mythbusters, but the lads have cropped up with regards to the internet and Web2.0, that I think is VERY relevant to our whole 23 Things journey.

Being the solid Mythbusters fan that I am, I have Google alerts (where you get an email that tells you if there are any new pages/blogs about whatever subject you choose) on them. One of the alerts pointed me to this WONDERFUL interview with Patti Schiendelman from Makezine online magazine of Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Mythbusters fame.

It's such a comprehensive interview it's split into two parts, if you'd like to read all of it go to:

Make with Mythbusters: Part 1
Make with Mythbusters: Part 2

The part that particularly stood out for me as relevant to our 23 Things journey was this quote from Jamie:

JH: Well, the strange thing is that I'm finding it just as entertaining to read non-fiction. In particular, the thing that I've realized, especially recently - people talk about the impact of the Internet, and I'm sure different people use it, obviously, differently, but for me, it's just absolutely fantastic because I have no end of questions and I can answer those questions almost instantly. Obviously a lot of it's crap that you're going to run across; if you learn how to filter it, you're better off. I was halfway through my master's in Library Science, had a degree in Russian Language and Literature before that, I was
already really into Information Science, way before Mythbusters, before getting anywhere near where I am now. But the Internet - I think of it as something that's practically mind-altering. The amount of power that you have for advancement and development of technology - I don't think we've really seen the impact of it quite yet - people may not realize the potential of it. But when one learns how to really use the Internet, it's like you've multiplied your intelligence, your abilities by huge factors.

I knew I liked the guy! Not only is he a prolific reader (and if you read the whole article, some of his favourite fiction titles are a delight to discover), but he was also studying to be a librarian before he got into the career he is in now. How cool is that?

Now his point on the internet and it's potential really impressed me. This is not a man who jumps on to technology because it's new and cool, he's known for always taking the unadorned, elegant approach to problem solving. This is also not a young man (he just turned 52 in September), and this is also one of the most phenomenally intelligent men in this world. And he completely sees the potential of learning how to use the internet and it's tools (which is what Web2.0 technologies are, internet tools) to multiply your intelligence and as a source of information if you learn how to use it effectively.

Web2.0 is very much a buzzword, and unfortunately people are naturally adverse to buzzwords. I know I am. That's why I really loathe the term myself. But I don't want to see us tainted against these tools simply because the hype has overshadowed them a little. Think of books you've read or movies you've seen that have been hyped up, and you were a bit over the whole lot, but when you DID find out for yourself, you've been so glad you did so. Harry Potter was like that for me. I avoided reading those books because of all the hype, but when a trusted source convinced me to try them, I found them truly wonderful and regretted that I hadn't picked them up earlier, that I'd let hype turn me off them.

The whole point of 23 Things is that we are leading you into learning what the tools are, how to use them effectively and then YOU choose how they apply to you. Once you are armed with the skills and knowledge, your intelligence multiplies and you're able to do so many things more effectively and efficiently.

I really urge you to read the whole interview with Jamie and Adam, you won't regret it, they're both fun and fascinating. And as a treat, here are a couple of my favourite YouTube vids of the Mythbusters in action.

Jamie shooting fish in a barrel, Mythbusters style:

Adam demonstrating the power of lighter and heavier gases on the human voice:

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