Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Old and Slow

Being close to new technology makes me feel young. I think it is because of the learning required to understand it. The technology I'm referring to is daily use stuff; computers, phones, software, Web standards, and so forth.

Lately, however, I've begun to feel something else when I read about new discoveries regarding the 'big ideas' of science and technology. It's a kind of discomfort that is at once unsettling and disturbing, like being on an airplane that flies through an air pocket. For a moment, the world kind of drops away, and then just as quickly, everything is back to normal. Except now the memory of the air pocket is fresh in my mind.

I'm referring to such discoveries as 'Ardi', the recently discovered fossilized remains that usurped 'Lucy' as the oldest fossil record of a human predecessor. Or the recent discovery by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory that questions how we've been measuring distances between celestial bodies.

These discoveries do not change how I live out my day. But they push and nudge at the foundations on which I've grown and learned for almost forty years. I've never thought of myself as the type of person to cling to comfort zones, but apparently, I like my science to be 'absolute', especially on big issues.

Thinking about how children will grow up learning based on a different set of 'absolute' facts and how the advancement of technology will increase the rate of 'big' discoveries leaves me feeling perversely satisfied. If I'm unsettled today, I can only imagine how today's children will feel 50 years from now. My generation is leaving them a fantastically disturbing legacy of high-speed evolution.

I hope someone is teaching them to adapt.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies (www.roguetendencies.com) 2010.

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