Friday, November 23, 2012

Up Goer Five


My son turned me onto XKCD, a snarky but truly insightful and funny site depicting the foibles of man in image and word including this Up Goer Five gem describing the essential components of the Saturn 5 rocket using the 1000 most commonly used words in America. Needless to say, "these" top 1000 cannot delineate the basic configuration of the rocket that carried man to the moon without bringing down the house in terms of just how hilarious the captions truly are in attempting to do the impossible when one lacks the tools to do so. In indirect fashion, Up Goer Five shows, in spades, just how limiting a limited vocabulary can be in enabling one to successfully navigate a world completely driven by tech akin to that of the majestic Saturn 5.

Texting and 1984's Newspeak also come to mind when looking at Up Goer Five as both limit the ability of one to articulate sophisticated concepts needed to negotiate the world by compressing the vocabulary required to accomplish the task at hand, the former by limits of interface (tiny  virtual/mechanical keyboards), the latter, by destroying words (ungood instead of bad), something similar to how today's news channels dumb down complex stories in order to sell more ads by making it "easy" for people to "understand" what is happening in entertaining fashion or how some states continue to reduce education budgets to the quick in hopes of staying afloat in the dire economy of 2012 without acknowledging the inevitable blowback a few years hence when "graduates" of the reduced education system enter the marketplace even less equipped to cope with the acceleration of tech then their elders "way" back when in good "ole" 2012.



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