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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Information overload

The other day I shared a video with my aunt. I watch this funny online review of the weeks three most popular/funny/interesting videos, along with the humorous comments from the host (if you know Russian, check it out: I had to pause and explain stuff, (unfortunately, if you have to explain it, it stops being funny), that’s when I realized: I have accumulated immense quantity of knowledge, without even knowing it and maybe this is why it is getting increasingly harder to remember new things—we are putting so much info in our head, we are overloaded. In order to understand one issue of the video review (six minutes total), I had to know, actually know, not only recognize, the following things
1. How to operate youtube channels
2. Russian
3. English
4. Star Wars
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
6. One Russian Rock Band
7. American and Russian slang words
8. Internet slang (meme and such)
9. Pedobear
10. References to earlier videos I have seen on this video channel
11. Many other random stuff
Contrary to what I thought, this info did not get into my head accidentally; I spend time acquiring it. Once, hubby and I watched a video that contained a song combining most of the internet memes. We did not know some of them. We went online to renew our knowldege and watched videos of: Nyan Cat, rainbow puke, trololo, numa numa, some girl with celery…. We already knew the following: Rebecca Black, trolls, pedobear, badgers and such. And that’s not even specific information. Those are the things we know to speak the same language that the world speaks. Can you imagine all the things younger kids know?
If we need to know so much just to get a modern joke, just think for a moment how much you’ve learned in your professional field! What if you have several professions (my hubby for example majored in business administration and finances). What about your hobbies, likes, interests? I believe I can talk for an hour, unprepared, about some topics like, amateur cooking, film history, Nobel prize winners in literature, structure of different types of formal debates, bases of creative and academic writing, foreign TV series, amateur interior design, amateur photography, maybe fashion history of 19th-20th century (received a wonderful enormous book on the subject for my birthday), why Cannabis is better than alcohol on neurological level. I can explain on a stupid level what is a queer theory, how to distinguish a bad poster from a good one and why global warming is more likely a reality than a myth—not because I actually understand anything in these subjects, but because I know very competent people in this field, who sometimes share their knowledge with me. I also know who Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black are, solely for the purpose of making fun of them. Oh, and did you know that Benedict in Sherlock wears a Belstaff coat that costs 1500 Euro? That if a giant panda gives birth to twin baby pandas, one of the babies die because it is so hard to raise even one? That a whole shipload of cat mummies exported from Egypt was melted down in the beginning of the 19th century to make soap? O.K. this probably seems like I am bragging but I just wanted to write down stuff that comes to my head without any research or preparation. The very scary thing is that I do not really know much. What I have just listed, it is nothing, it is stuff I remember, because I like it, or stuff I remember with no effort, pop culture, the internet. And when I do need to remember things, when I need to remember what I wrote in a report last week and when I can’t remember where exactly in my computer I saved that document—I can’t! Out of this massive information, there are probably only one or two topics I can actually be proud of to know, that required purposeful intelligence.
Think about it, think about all the things you know, start listing them in your head, are you scared, are you in panic? Is it overwhelming, is it too much? At the same time, aren’t most of those things essential for us to keep on going with our everyday activities, our lifestyle?
So what? Should we stop shoveling new info into our exploding heads and become old-fashioned dinosaurs, or should we attempt to learn as much as we can and burn out?
Damn it, the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know anything!
p.s. this here is nyan cat. now u know.


  1. Hello
    I haven't noticed any e-mail contact to the author so I'll try to reach you this way :)
    I'm a travel journalist and reparing and article about Tbilisi guided by locals with some good taste. I found your blog and think you would make a really good character to apear in our article :) Tell me if you would like to cooperate and contribute by reveling us a couple of hip spots in Tbilisi where the locals like to hang out.
    E-mail me back to
    and I'll give you more details
    Best Regards!

    1. I'd love to do that! I just E-mailed you, by the way!