Published on July 15, 2012 | by Gabe Arnold1
Is Your Brain Starving?
As your eyes translate the pixels that make up this screen and you formulate words from the glow of your LCD display, you may be unaware that you are connected to one of the greatest wonders that our world has ever known. The origins of the Internet dates back to the 1960s, and its creation has forever changed our lives.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (often called TCP/IP, although not all protocols use TCP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government computer networks of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies (like your phone or computer that you are on right now). The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email.
Where did I get that description from? Wikipedia, of course. With just a simple Google search I can find links to millions of pages on millions of different subjects. So why would I ask, “Is your brain starving?”
Because as humans, it is easy to follow the path of least resistance. It’s easy to find ourselves re-distributing information that we have no personal verification of. Despite the fact that we have access to all the amazing information tools that we do, I still receive the most ludicrous email forwards stating things that are impossible at best.
The following are just a few of the insanely crazy posts and emails that I’ve seen over the past few years:
- Facebook is going to start charging, so click this link to keep your free account (this link is ALWAYS a link to something that is ultimately destructive to your Facebook account or computer)
- Be careful pumping gas, there are syringes in the pump handles (Really?? I have never in my entire life heard any validity to this claim, but I’ve seen the email 10-12 times)
- Some politician is doing something terrible that you should know about (Yet they fail to give concrete, provable examples of the terrible thing they claim is happening)
- If you share this picture, then you will see the Virgin Mary on your screen and she will bless you with $1,000 dollars and more kittens (Okay, I have never seen the kittens part, but it seems as believable as the $1,000 dollars to me)
- If you want to protect your privacy on Facebook, do this, then that, then spin around 3 times (All the user-posted “how to make Facebook more private” instructions successfully screw up your privacy settings. It is better to simply go to Your Privacy Settings link in Facebook, or Google a little bit more about the supposed fix and see if it is real)
- Did you know that this list of 1,000 products all contain some terribly heinous ingredient? (Yet they fail to provide any verifiable sources that actually prove the integrity of this list)
- If you forward this message on to 7 friends within the next 7 minutes, a leprechaun will appear in the upper right part of your screen (Yep, I have seen the leprechaun, but he is more apt to show up after 7 green beers in 7 minutes)
I think you get the point. These are obvious examples of stupid ideas that catch fire because, well, because people’s brains must be starving. That’s the only logical reason that I can find.
However, There is Good News
The good news is that, even if you’ve been unknowingly roped into believing bad information, or if you’ve unintentionally allowed your brain to be under nourished, you can change that today. Some of the things that you’ve always wanted to know are just a click away. Here’s how I try to keep my brain fit:
- If I want to learn about how to build a solar panel at home, I just go to Google and type in “how to build a solar panel at home”
- When I wonder what it costs to shingle a roof, I google “how much will a new roof cost me”
- If I want to find a place to test my tap water, I google “where can I test my water in Middlefield”
- If I’ve heard that phyllanthropy was started right here in our region, but I want to find out for myself, I google “where was phyllanthropy started”
I don’t even have to spell anything correctly. Google spell checks for me. I have this amazing tool of the internet in front of me that allows me to learn about anything I want every single day.
Did you know that the US Government was the biggest contributor to the Internet as we know it today? Maybe all that bad press about big brother spying on us isn’t true, or maybe it is. Either way, we do have free access to information that can help us educate ourselves and have healthy, growing brains.
So today’s challenge to you is…
The next time you see something that you aren’t sure is true, google it; read, read, and read some more until you feel you’ve really stretched your brain and grown in your knowledge of the subject.
Imagine what it will be like in a year after you’ve spent time each day educating yourself. Nothing invigorates me more than learning – it is the greatest gift we possess. Knowledge is readily available to us through which we can learn anything we want.
Go, Grow, Learn!