Armen Chakmakjian

A facebook status from a friend triggered this thought…

In Random on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm
When I was growing up, my father bought encyclopedias and an atlas…that gigantic atlas that always seemed bigger than me.    We already had a set or two of grocery story kids encyclopedias and then he bought the bicentennial version of the Encyclopedia Americana and built a built-in shelf unit in our Den for it…So when you watched a movie or the news, the darn encyclopedia was staring down at you.   And off in the corner of the room, the Atlas leaned up against the wall.  Information was available, and he showed that it was important because we had to pay for it, prominent because it was where the family gathered, and the message: to not use it was stupid since it was right there.
This led to the following behavior:
  • Watch Cleopatra, look up Cleopatra.
  • Watch Peter the great, look up Alexander Menshikov.
  • Watch 3 mile Island disaster, look up nuclear power.
  • Hear about Serbo-Croatian terrorist put a bomb in a NY subway locker, look up Serbia and Croatia in the Atlas and find out they were part of Yugoslavia (at the time).
  • have to do a report for school, do your initial research at home in the encyclopedia before you went to the library with the article’s bibliography.
These day’s with the internet, information doesn’t seem as precious since it lacks the physical presence that it once required.  Now we google everything first.   I wonder how the commoditization of knowledge affects the kids tastes in looking up things…can they discern thoughtful information from chatter?
PS and we’d always try to find out what the reference to Armenia was in all these things…it was like a Where’s Waldo of geography 🙂
  1. For my children, Google IS the new atlas. The internet is so integated into their lives that when they ask me “Mommy, is a blue-ringed octopus poisonous?” I say “I don’t know…” and they reach for my netbook.

    (It is, by the way. )

  2. Reblogged this on The Urtaru Chronicles and commented:

    Ran across this today, and still feel that the commoditization of information is a problem for humanity

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