An author (a horsey letter one) whose blog I follow like a wet Monday after Sunday sun, made a weird almost-symul-post last night when I was mentioning Stevyn’s book on linked facts (of course, really, you can link anything to everything if you try hard enough) and lying about bothering to learn facts to swap in the pub. We talk about philosophy like everybody else. And sex.
He linked to this article which I am grateful for because it is very interesting.
Interesting but not ground breaking. Human error plays a part in science as much as it does in picking the right colour tie to match your undies. I did know that spinach doesn’t have as much iron in it as people think and Popeye didn’t really help to put the record straight. But I still eat spinach “for the iron” because I enjoy it. Like the dubious facts, we keep on masticating because the facts are so fantastic or cool or easier to say than Apatosaurus that we love chewing the cud again and again.
I didn’t know the “meso-fact” (or that there was such a word) that Mount Everest’s height changes every so often with the tectonic plate movement. I guess every girl needs her heals on a Saturday night in the Himalayas. But would not the scientific fact be that the height of Mount Everest is “xyz” with an associated margin of error to cover the change? A step too far? Of course, we are talking about pub facts and not a Nobel prize entry here.
The article finishes with: “In other words: In a world of information flux, it isn’t what you know that counts—it is how efficiently you can refresh.” That’s the beauty of science – always question, always doubt, always test, test, test. Roll with the changes. Pluto was a God, then a planet and now a dwarf planet – just can’t catch a break, eh?
All this is easy to say when you’re no longer a scientist but a faux lawyer.
Anyway, I need to go for a swim (hopefully not through the flood that stranded me in my flat last Wednesday…).
Oh, and in other news, at 28 yrs old, I am now a Great Aunt (great-aunt?). I shit you not.