[TAG] Laptop blues
jimregan at o2.ie
Tue Sep 28 19:58:00 MSD 2004
Ben Okopnik wrote:
> Heh. Now, more than ever, is the time to re-read your McLuhan. In some
> things, it's not even *possible* to go back; the old methods fall into
> disuse, and are eventually forgotten. Flint knapping, useful as that
> skill would be to any outdoorsman in any age, died to make way for
> metals. Yeah, a metal knife is certainly better... but you can't make
> one without a largish infrastructure and a specialized set of tools. You
> can knap up a fist knife or a hand axe out of two river rocks. Man is a
> tool-using creature - he ain't much without his tools - and a sharp edge
> is the most basic (physical) tool of all, the one that pretty much
> everything else comes from. A critical-path item and a critical-path
> skill, you might say. And yet, how many people know it? How many could
> actually _do_ it? (I've never done it myself, although I know the basic
That's the value of the boy scouts; being dumped in the middle of a
forest somewhere with nothing more than the contents of your pockets
makes a great game for pre-teens, which is the best way to learn.
Even with the current contents of my pockets, I'd have a sporting chance
at survival in just about any place I could find myself in this country.
Heck, after a week or two I'd expect to have my own still set up :)
> I can certainly appreciate Doc's way of thinking. On board "Ulysses", I
> have not only a GPS (along with a hand-held backup) - I also have a very
> nice Chinese copy of a Freiberger sextant. I also have a plastic backup
> sextant for that. What's more, I can take a sun sight without a sextant
> *and* without a watch, and can reduce it with nothing more than a pencil
> and a piece of paper. I also know how to do latitude sailing (used
> before the invention of the sextant) and know how to rig a /kamal/
> (navigational tool used by Arabs since times immemorial, consisting of
> knotted string and a small board with a hole in it). One thing I'll
> _never_ be is "lost at sea".
Oh! What was that? Was that the sound of someone tempting fate? :)
> Other critical tools and systems are treated the same way. I'm not
> particularly paranoid, but I do pay attention to things that really
> matter. I believe that these sorts of skills *need* to be preserved,
> despite being currently "useless".
Hence "Ben, ye smithy".
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