Recovering residual knowledge
Occasionally someone reminds me of a fascinating idea that I discovered in my web wandering. A few times, it’s been an idea that I created. Go me.
If I’m lucky, I wrote something about it, and I remember that I wrote it, and I remember where I wrote it. If so, I can find it pretty quickly.
If I’m less lucky, I didn’t write anything, and I have to Google my way to success.
If I’m sufficiently obsessed, I’ll spend hours retracing my steps.
Like the other day. A friend who was arguing for climate action invoked the “97% consensus.”
The fucking 97% consensus!
I’d researched that claim extensively. I’ve read many of the papers substantiating that claim. I’ve read critiques of those papers. I’ve read the authors’ responses to the criticisms. I’ve read the research done by other scientists who reached different conclusions.
I had come to my own conclusion about the claim: it was bullshit unsubstantiated and fraudulent misleading.
I wanted to recover the source material, so my friend could review it and draw her own conclusions and not just accept the correct conclusion I drew or the bullshit mistaken conclusion some asshole someone less diligent had foisted on conveyed to her.
The papers advancing the claim were easy to find, and so were articles echoing the claims and calling anyone a stooge or moron criticizing anyone who doubted their accuracy.
But it took time to rediscover the criticisms.
A friend cited an article that exposed the terrible problems that owners of electric cars experienced when they needed to recharge. My friend has an electric car. He doesn’t have that problem. He called the article bullshit questionable.
That reminded me of an analysis of the economics of anti-Tesla articles and actions. The author calculated the increased profit that the fossil fuel industry would see if they slowed electric car adoption back by even a day, and argued that the economics justified them spending all sorts of money toward that end, including promoting bullshit articles.
I wanted to send a link to the article back to this friend. Luckily, I’d told someone about it, and I remembered who I had told, and how.
What to do?
To recover this marginal knowledge: I need to invest more time in “organizing my knowledge and making it universally accessible and useful.”
One way is to communicate what I know to someone else—by email, chat, whatever.
Another is to write about it.
Leaving shit in my head is a mistake.
If I blog about it, there are some problems, but I shall overcome.
One problem is Google’s search engine. I set up a “custom search” that goes through many of my blogs. But it doesn’t work correctly. I can find pages searching within an individual blog that I can’t find using the custom search. And the custom search gives me errors that I don’t know how to fix. My current plan is to post almost everything here and one of these days tag posts with the blog where I want them to go and write a program to do the distribution.
For the moment, anyone who reads this is going to have to put up with a mess.
It’s you or me, buddy.
Either I can’t find shit that I want to find easily, or you have to skip posts that you don’t give a fuck care that much about.
Sorry. You’re gonna have to skip until I fix stuff.
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