Project 313 – Post No. 175

I often express my opinions on various things. Unless directly quoting something, I express my own understanding of things. I’m fairly curious across a wide spectrum of things and usually follow where my curiosity leads me. If I’m busy and I come across something interesting, I flag it for later perusal. For the majority of the stuff that interests me, I tend to read and research a fair amount of the available material. The beauty with today’s tools is that you can easily follow references and expand your knowledge on not only what you’re interested in, but also peripheral things.

I can do that because we live in a time when a lot of information is available to almost anyone who cares to find it. This is relatively new in the history of humanity. 

Wait . . . let me rephrase that. The accessibility to information is unprecedented in human history. 

Don’t believe me? Let me show you Leonardo da Vinci’s To-Do list from circa 1490 . . . 

[Calculate] the measurement of Milan and Suburbs

[Find] a book that treats of Milan and its churches, which is to be had at the stationer’s on the way to Cordusio

[Discover] the measurement of Corte Vecchio (the courtyard in the duke’s palace).

[Discover] the measurement of the castello (the duke’s palace itself)

Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.

Get Messer Fazio (a professor of medicine and law in Pavia) to show you about proportion.

Get the Brera Friar (at the Benedictine Monastery to Milan) to show you De Ponderibus (a medieval text on mechanics)

[Talk to] Giannino, the Bombardier, re. the means by which the tower of Ferrara is walled without loopholes (no one really knows what Da Vinci meant by this)

Ask Benedetto Potinari (A Florentine Merchant) by what means they go on ice in Flanders

Draw Milan

Ask Maestro Antonio how mortars are positioned on bastions by day or night.

[Examine] the Crossbow of Mastro Giannetto

Find a master of hydraulics and get him to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner

[Ask about] the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese

Try to get Vitolone (the medieval author of a text on optics), which is in the Library at Pavia, which deals with the mathematic.

So, here’s the interesting thing with that list. Save for contacting people who are long dead, a lot of the information Leonardo sought I can find online . . . and then some. In fact, I have access to much of the information humanity has accumulated in the 500+ years between when that list was written and the present. 

Not only I can find out something, but I can learn it, and all with a few clicks of the mouse. Not everything, obviously (I don’t have 500 years to spare) and not anything requiring hands-on processes. But, I can read about how to do it and if I cared to try something, I could research it and (within reason) do it. No, I couldn’t build a cruise liner, but I could learn how to build (and navigate) a boat. I can’t build a jumbo jet but I can build a hand-glider and learn how to use it. 

Leonardo contributed a fair amount to humanity’s accumulated knowledge . . . and I can read his writings and see his hand-drawn illustrations

Of course, it’s difficult reading the actual text because Leonardo used a type of shorthand of his own invention and he wrote everything mirrored. But, people have since translated it and made it available (HERE).

This is an example of what Leonardo’s mirrored writing would look like if I wrote the blog like this. Of course, I’d also have to invent my own shorthand.

You can try it with your own words HERE.

I mention this because until not that long ago it would have been impossible for me to get even a bit of all that information without spending a significant amount of time (and possibly money). 

So, with all this knowledge at our fingertips, what does the bulk of humanity spends its time and attention on? 

. . . for the most part, nothing that adds to either humanity’s or one’s personal accumulated knowledge. Examples HERE.

And now, the photo:

Project 313 175

Of course, I too waste time online. I watch debates (HERE is a great one), I watch tutorials on editing photos (for example, THIS), I watch reviews of products I’m interested in (for example, THIS), I read comics and watch video shorts (for example, THIS).

I mentioned before I don’t play games . . . but, I do play with photographs. 

Before I get to sound all high and mighty on my high horse, let me also say that I’m aware I’m one of few privileged people (out of the more than 7,000,000,000 people) with both the opportunity and the means to take advantage of this vast collection of knowledge.  

Sometimes, Willy ‘n Ethel cartoons hit a bit close to home . . . 

. . . probably for many more people than it should. 

Still, the number of people with the same opportunities and access I enjoy is not insignificant. You can be poor and — if you can walk — you can march yourself into a library and access the same stuff I do. If you work but are still poor, portable players are available for relatively low amounts of money and the amount of audio information you have access to is vast and free. You can listen to it on your lunch break, your drive to and from work, or during any spare time you might have (pretty much what I did in the last eight years that I worked).

If it sounds like I’m preaching, rest assured that’s not the case. 

. . . well, OK . . . maybe a little.

Continuing my instructional series on String Theory and the packaging of Time and Space, I give you . . . The Fifth Dimension Packaged For Shipping — Batch Three.

The Fifth Dimension Packaged For Shipping — Batch Three

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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