Monday, March 18, 2013

Isles and Aisles

I did see a list of the smallest islands but since I've been reading that you can't really say as islands submerge and reappear. The oft mentioned smallest island no more than a matter of decree.   In 1861, the British government set out the parameters for classifying an island. It was decided that if it was inhabited, the size was immaterial. However, if it was uninhabited, it had to be “the summer’s pasturage of at least one sheep” – which is about two acres
  Bishop Rock is fifty square metres, consisting only of a lighthouse.

There are islands that have islands. And there are even islands that have islands that have islands.

Indonesia, mentioned twice previously on the subject of islands and once on forests, consists entirely of islands, including the giant Sumatra. There are 13,667, roughly half of which are inhabited.


I wonder what happened to encyclopedia publishers.  I would have had to look all that information up once upon a time and, if I was in a library, I could check the different points to highlight in World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica. Now I can put a search term in and check the thousands of entries from the comfort of my desktop. Or smart phone if you must.

From a tactile perspective, wandering down different aisles and seeing what books are on the shelves has its own appeal. It may not be the most efficient way of finding out a specific piece of information, but it does give you that burst of surprise or delight when you stumble on a novel by an author you like, or a tome you'd heard of and were interested in reading, and there it is.

It packages information differently to that which can be found on your laptop or tablet. Not much use for that pub quiz you're going to tonight but useful in the way that every bit of bric-a-brac is if you acknowledge its history and the sense impressions it provides.


The Internet allows you to employ either methodology when on the hunt for general knowledge.

 The old style Children's Encyclopedias were arranged by sections and were more a source of wonder than a way to easily locate facts. It was only later that they came to adopt the same structure as a dictionary, listing every subject alphabetically.

 In a similar way, you can either look up the exact thing your are wanting information on, or you can browse through some general lesson or treatise and pick up your understanding of the topic as you go along. Both approaches have their benefits, so it really depends on how much time you have and how interested you are in  related fields.


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