November 2009 Archives

Your brain is in the world now

Hey, you kids, get off my browser history!

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I was writing down an idea just now, and I needed a word. But I’d forgotten it.

I started casting around mentally, but to no avail. I quickly realised that it was late, I was tired, and I was probably not going to think of the right word on my own. I’d have to either put in some awkward paraphrase in what I was typing (“er, I can’t remember the word, you know, that sort of thing where blah”), or give up.

Or, failing that, I could refer to Google.

All hail Google]

So I did. After a couple of unproductive search queries, I came up with “bullshit theory concentration of water”, which, in search queries #5, #7 and #10, produced web sites whose summaries included the word “homeopathy” or suitable variants, which was the word I was looking for.

This took me less than a minute. After a brief tentative thrashing around in search query failures, I found what I was looking for, and got back into what I was trying to say. Hooray for human ingenuity, the outsourcing of memory to the Internet, and boo to those poor taxi drivers who finally passed The Knowledge in 2005.

Had I not spent the last half hour chasing up references and permalinks for stuff I meant to refer to as part of this blog post, I might even have deemed myself to have come out ahead.