Sunday, February 8, 2015


If anyone disagrees with anything I say, I am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also to deny under oath that I ever said it - Tom Lehrer

It's 1994 and I carry small spiral notebook in my pocket. When I have a question, I make a note - "what's the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?" At the end of most days I sit down in front of my desktop computer, work through the list, and try and figure out the answers. Many answers come from Microsoft Encarta. On Saturday mornings I go to the library for the harder-to-answer questions. Sometimes I remember to tell people what I've learned.

It's 1997 and I carry a USR Palm Pilot Pro. I make notes about questions to research when I'm back at the computer - "What's Hangul Day?" I can find more answers at home on the Internet, but I still go the library often. These days I email the people I was with when the question was posed - so we're all getting smarter.

It's 2001 and I have an OmniSky to get my Palm Vx onto the Internet. Altavista and Google ( are good at finding the answer if it's on the Internet, but it's really hard to read most websites to get information. Yeah, I still go to the library. Now I spend a lot of time reading the magazine subscriptions.

It's 2005 and a survey shows Wikipedia is as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are a lot of WAP sites, and my Palm Treo Blaze browser runs through a proxy that can format almost any page to be readable. We've entered the golden era - I can find almost any nook or cranny of knowledge, read it, and share it on my phone

It's 2015 and 80% of young adults in America own a smart phone and are able to look up anything at anytime with a computer they carry in their pocket. The rest of my peer group has joined me in this golden age.

It's 2015 and 20% of young adults believe vaccines cause autism - even though there is a giant red "RETRACTED" printed on the only research that claimed the link.

It's 2015 and decent number of Americans fear aspartame - even though every peer reviewed scientific study shows it to be safe.

It's 2015 and a nurse practitioner told me I should take Vitamin C to keep from getting sick, even though there has been no study to show this is sound medical advice.

It's 2015 and access to information has become ubiquitous

It's 2015 and access to disinformation has become ubiquitous.

The question is no longer, "can you find the information," it's "can you find the truthful version among the rest of it?"