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CACTUSWENDY
05-04-2008, 09:36 PM
I have been around some folks through the years that do not retain, or even know what may be considered trivial things, If it does not pertain to them, they could care less about even knowing about it.

Example: A 41 year old woman, when asked something about Ellis Island, had no idea what or where it was, let alone what took place there.

When questioned about how they do not know things, the replies often involves something to the effect….’If it doesn’t apply to me or my life…..I have no need to know it’.

Jay Leno has a spot he does somethings asking folks on the street normal everyday questions with surprising results.

I am the first to admit that I am not a storehouse of great wisdom by any means, but have always thought it was a good trait to have a little knowledge about lots of things.

Even at my age, I still find it important to learn about stuff. Each day I try to acquire at least some nugget of new information.

Do you think that as writers we are more data-info minded? From reading the posts here on this forum I have seen a wealth of knowledge, insight, and revelation.

What do you think? Do you find it important to keep adding information to your brain cells?

HeronW
05-04-2008, 11:53 PM
Much was a character in one of the Robin Hood books I read a loooonnngggg time ago, so I do know him!

On the other hand--AW has revived old brain cell memories I didn't know I had still functioning. I know more than I thought I knew. :}

Mr Flibble
05-04-2008, 11:58 PM
What did happen at Ellis Island? Um, is it near the Statue of Liberty...Ohh I know, the X men did that thing there....I think.


I find when I get a new piece of info to put in my brain, and old piece drops out the back.

Stormhawk
05-05-2008, 12:22 AM
Without wiking: I'm pretty sure Ellis Island was where they used to "sort/process" the immigrants before letting them into the city. (I remember a joke on The Nanny, where an old woman says her ancestors came across on the Mayflower, Fran responds that her family came through Ellis and now they don't know who they were).

I do agree that what used to be common knowledge even twenty years ago seems to have disappeared, but it also depends on other factors. When I was in college, I was at the cinema with a friend and there was a poster for The Alamo movie. She looked at it and said "A-LAM-o, what's that?" "o_0' Well, it's-" "Is it a remake?" "No, it's based on historical events where-" "So, it's real then?" "Yes..." It might be worth noting that I also went to college with someone who didn't believe in evolution.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-05-2008, 03:36 AM
And just think of all the stuff we were taught that's been disproved/replaced since we were in grade school. That B.A. I got 30 years ago is... ::sigh::tm... worthless.

aka eraser
05-05-2008, 03:40 AM
Most of my vast storehouse of largely-useless knowledge was the delightful (but largely accidental) byproduct of reading everything I could from the age of six.

Some of it stuck.

Danger Jane
05-05-2008, 04:01 AM
I have a photographic memory so basically anything I hear or read that is somehow interesting/important...sticks. Very convenient. I'll let you know how it's doing in a few decades :tongue

SPMiller
05-05-2008, 05:22 AM
I've lived in Texas all my life, but I went to Ellis Island in 2000, so obviously I know more about that than your average person. Even before I visited, I knew what purpose it served.

You know Leno just doesn't show the clips where people answer correctly, right? I mean, that's the way it used to be. I haven't watched Leno lately. But I'm pretty sure they just throw away the clips with people like me in them so that you can feel good about yourself by laughing at the ignorant ones.

Puma
05-05-2008, 05:55 AM
Okay - now anyone know what Castle Gardens was? And when Ellis Island opened? Many more immigrants than you'd imagine who came to New York DIDN'T come through Ellis Island.

Back to the subject - I'm often very amazed at how little some people know, even PhD's when they get away from their specific field of expertise. And, I don't feel my BS from over 40 years ago is worthless - education wasn't watered down back then. Puma

steveg144
05-05-2008, 12:41 PM
I think it's absolutely critical to keep adding data to our brain cells. Data = raw material, and let's face it, as writers anything and everything we come across is potentially "material," so we should be constantly sifting data the way a baleen whale skims for plankton. :tongue

NicoleMD
05-05-2008, 05:48 PM
I have an absolutely HORRIBLE memory, but it doesn't affect my writing in the slightest.

Sometimes it's a good thing, because I can watch a favorite movie or read a favorite book with fresh eyes each time. I think technology has also become a brain crutch for some people. When I was younger, I used to know all of my friends phone numbers by heart, but now, thanks to my cell phone, I have about three numbers memorized, and two of them are my own.

Nicole

Phaeal
05-05-2008, 06:12 PM
It doesn't make me sad that people don't know things. What makes me sad is when they say they don't need to know things and show no interest in learning.

Like my friend who let me say Archaeopteryx three times without asking what it was, and whose eyes glazed over when I told him.

I don't know. Whenever someone says a word I don't know, I want to know what it means. In fact, I'll make myself a pest about it. ;)

It also makes me sad when people believe what they want to believe, with no regard for what is. I think this tendency is linked to the willful, even proud ignorance.

Melenka
05-05-2008, 06:29 PM
I am a font of useless information. I don't retain everything, but there are a lot of random facts or snippets of information rattling around in my brain. Once in awhile, they come in handy. Stories that people tell me, pieces of conversation overheard, random news reports, moments witnessed - all stay with me and inform my writing. I wonder if I am more aware because I write or if I write because I am more aware. I think I'll go have a beer with Descartes....

Bergerac
05-05-2008, 06:49 PM
I think that the writers, maybe more than any other group aside from stage actors, are hungry for knowledge. But we are all selective, as selective as any other non-writer, in what interests, inflames, or excites us. I have a great breadth of knowledge but little depth except in the areas I specialize in and I would wager that that's true of most non-fiction writers and for fiction writers who have taken verisimilitude to heart.

However, I think trivia crowds the mind and I believe selective voracity for information best serves the writer.

Sherlock Holmes, during a discussion with Dr. Watson, in A STUDY IN SCARLET, probably put it best:


My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled around the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

'You appear to be astonished,' he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. 'Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.'

'To forget it!'
......

'But the Solar System!' I protested.

'What the deuce is it to me?' he interrupted impatiently: ' you say that we go round the sun. If we went around the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.'

KTC
05-05-2008, 06:52 PM
I have almost zero retention. I rediscover things daily. It's a terrible way to live, but not in my control.

brokenfingers
05-05-2008, 06:56 PM
The more I know, the more certain I am that I know nothing.

kuwisdelu
05-05-2008, 07:08 PM
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

rhymegirl
05-05-2008, 07:18 PM
Do you think that as writers we are more data-info minded? From reading the posts here on this forum I have seen a wealth of knowledge, insight, and revelation.

What do you think? Do you find it important to keep adding information to your brain cells?

Personally, I do a lot of reading so I know I'm always adding info to my brain cells.

But I think it's also true that different people retain different info. If I'm reading something that is very interesting/inspiring/relevant to me, I'm much more likely to retain that information. On the other hand, if I have to read material which I find boring or simply not relevant to my life, I'm much more likely to forget it moments after I read it.

I'm also good at retaining a lot of trivia stuff. My sisters call me up when they have questions about movies, actors, actresses, songs, singers. I remember names, the years when certain movies won for Best Picture.

So, rather than writers being good at remembering data, I think it's people who READ.

A. Hamilton
05-05-2008, 07:27 PM
I absorb a lot, and can recall much of it, but not with total accuracy. usually I will remember a definition or a system or a theory or a description, but not the title/name for the thing. and sometimes I don't know if what I remember is fact or some version I concocted in my head while pondering.

johnnysannie
05-05-2008, 07:43 PM
Okay - now anyone know what Castle Gardens was? And when Ellis Island opened? Many more immigrants than you'd imagine who came to New York DIDN'T come through Ellis Island.

Back to the subject - I'm often very amazed at how little some people know, even PhD's when they get away from their specific field of expertise. And, I don't feel my BS from over 40 years ago is worthless - education wasn't watered down back then. Puma

Ah! The very question I was going to ask.

Castle Garden was the entry point for immigrants BEFORE Ellis Island; my great-grandfather came through there and I believe it was located at the tip of Manhattan (island). It was sometimes also known as Castle Clinton.

And it looked like this:

http://www.norwayheritage.com/gallery/gallery/Ports_-_harbors/castle%20garden0.jpg

DragonHeart
05-05-2008, 07:45 PM
I'm one of those people who knows a little bit about a lot of things. Sometimes I know a lot about something obscure, depending on how interested I am in the subject. I watch a lot of the History and Discovery channels and usually jot down notes about things that catch my eye. I'll go look them up online later (usually wiki for an overview) and from there I'll just keep going until I either get bored or start going in circles.

I do pick things up from other sources like reading, mostly mythology and such as I usually read fantasy. When it comes to things like technology though I prefer visual aids, otherwise I feel my eyes glazing over from all the technobabble. :D

I have a good memory for details so I tend to retain a fair amount of what I learn. I do openly admit to being terrible with dates, though.

~DragonHeart~

Shadow_Ferret
05-05-2008, 07:51 PM
If it does not pertain to them, they could care less about even knowing about it.

Yup. This is pretty much how I live. I can hardly name any current "stars." My wife watches ET and those other "celebrity" shows and I'm constantly going, "Who's that?" I can't name what the most popular TV shows are. Have no idea who is on the NYTimes best seller list. Don't know who is on the current Top 40 list.

slcboston
05-05-2008, 07:53 PM
I seem to have accumulated and stored every little trivial thing I've ever come across. I *know* it's all in there... but rather unfortunately it doesn't always come out when I want it to, or even correctly.

I like to think my brain has become this vast repository (with big, vaulted ceilings for some really great echoes :) ) because I read voraciously. Any subject, practically, and on a constant basis. I'm always eager to learn something new.

Except in this year's Presidential race. I've had enough now, can I sleep until November, please? :D

RLB
05-05-2008, 08:02 PM
I watch a lot of the History and Discovery channels

I love those channels. DH and I watched the entire series on the American Revolution last summer. I was proud that I knew a lot of it already and public education hadn't failed me entirely, but I also learned a ton. And Modern Marvels? Love that show.

But most of my knowledge comes from reading widely. I just finished a book where I learned more about corn than I'll ever need to know. And corn sex. Not people having sex in corn fields, mind you (though I've read a couple of those as well) but actual corn reproduction. I'm going to be a hit at my next cocktail party.

Mr Flibble
05-05-2008, 09:19 PM
Okay - now anyone know what Castle Gardens was? And when Ellis Island opened?

not american so no, I don't know, and know even less why I should tbh (I had a vague idea it was to do with immigration, and the X men) What you know is so intrinsically linked to where you are....Do you know the signicficance of the Isle of Dogs?


But yes, I tend to pick up ramdom bits of trivia all over the shop. Some stay, if they are interesting. If not....sometimes it stays anyway. Until it gets tipped off he edge by something else.

icerose
05-05-2008, 10:12 PM
I have a weird brain. I am visually oriented, I'll remember stories and such from way back when, I remember people's faces, once I've seen you, I'll always recognize your face...

Now, if you ask me if I remembered your name, forget it. I am terrible with names. I forget my own character's names. I forgot a pretty important character in an ongoing WIP just the other day. I keep lists at the bottom of my stories of all the names I put into the story. Otherwise I have to sift back through. Terrible with names.

So when you said "Ellis Island" my brain was moving and saying "That sounds so familiar" but nothing was clicking until someone said statue of liberty and I was like "Oh yeah, immigrants. That's it." See I remembered the story, not the name.

Maryn
05-05-2008, 10:55 PM
Why aren't more AW members on "Jeopardy"? I'd audition if my recall was faster. I'm slowing down in all kinds of ways.

I've collected 'useless' information all my life. Sometimes it serves me well ("Asking our daughter that question on her rent application is illegal, so she's leaving it blank.") or amuses people ("My aglet's destroyed--can I get new shoes?"), or startles my doctor. ("It's a Morton's neuroma, right? It was in a novel.") Mostly I just like knowing stuff, and want to know more.

Maryn, disappointed to have missed the show about how they make Tootsie Roll Pops this morning

Kitrianna
05-05-2008, 11:41 PM
Funny you should mention Jeopardy. My husband always tells me that I should audition, then again it drives him nuts when I will only watch a movie with him once because I still remember the entire plot and most of what happened in it 2 years later, can repeat something he told me from when we first met 12 years ago-verbatim, or he turns on the television to find that yet again I was watching Discovery, Animal Planet, Nat Geo, or some other channel that has programming that focuses on feeding my intense appetite for new information instead of watching some mindless show simply for entertainment. It's nice to see that I'm not as weird as he thinks I am. Thanks Guys!

Danger Jane
05-06-2008, 12:54 AM
Funny you should mention Jeopardy. My husband always tells me that I should audition, then again it drives him nuts when I will only watch a movie with him once because I still remember the entire plot and most of what happened in it 2 years later, can repeat something he told me from when we first met 12 years ago-verbatim, or he turns on the television to find that yet again I was watching Discovery, Animal Planet, Nat Geo, or some other channel that has programming that focuses on feeding my intense appetite for new information instead of watching some mindless show simply for entertainment. It's nice to see that I'm not as weird as he thinks I am. Thanks Guys!

Weird you should say that...in spite of my like, 95% recall, or whatever, I can watch a movie or read a book over...and over...and over. Not even necessarily top-notch insightful stuff. I think I've seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen over 17 times.

StephanieFox
05-06-2008, 02:27 AM
I get upset with the people who know NOTHING. (Yes, I'm yelling.)

I once told one young woman I worked with – not a stupid woman – that she didn't know enough to understand a Warner Brother's cartoon. It's true! She'll miss half the jokes on South Park or on the Simpsons. These are just cartoons, but half the people out there, it seems are very ignorant about the world they live in.

akiwiguy
05-06-2008, 02:32 AM
I get upset with the people who know NOTHING. (Yes, I'm yelling.)


I'm similar. I can't figure people who don't really seem interested in knowing new things.

But worse still, I get really pissed by people who assume everything you do say is a prompt for a debate. Like, sometimes you're kind of just musing aloud or whatever, thinking now isn't that interesting, and someone who has to refute everything you say. They do it with everyone about everything. Weird.

A.M. Wildman
05-06-2008, 02:39 AM
Plenty of days I wish I didn't know some of the things I do. That said, my brain does tend to store bazillions of useless facts and other trivia.

Beyondian
05-06-2008, 02:59 AM
I have a large store of semi-useless and extremely out of date knowledge mostly revolving around either criminology and police from 19th Cent. France, weird and unrelated portions of History, screes of Shakespeare, and film actors who were almost all dead before I was born. That and I memorise song lyrics with the speed of summer lightning - so I can recite almost the full libretto of several musicals by heart...

Appalachian Writer
05-06-2008, 03:37 AM
If it were financially possible, I would be a student forever. By this time in my life, I might have MA's and PhD's in any number of subjects. I love to learn. Writing makes me want to learn even more. I learn here on a daily basis. Cactus taught me something about tenses over in the western SYW. I learn...constantly...and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Beyondian
05-06-2008, 03:39 AM
I concur with Appalachian Writer. If I could, I'd learn forever. I think I will anyway... the more I write, the more I learn. And the more I learn, the more I want to learn. It's a vicious cycle, really. :D

Kitrianna
05-07-2008, 09:02 PM
Weird you should say that...in spite of my like, 95% recall, or whatever, I can watch a movie or read a book over...and over...and over. Not even necessarily top-notch insightful stuff. I think I've seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen over 17 times.

No clue what it is about me. It just annoys me to hell when I watch/read/hear (with the exception of music) something that I already have, but it's just some of what makes me, me. But please y'all don't mistake me for an annoying know-it-all, cause I can very easily admit that I don't know nearly everything that I'd like to, nor will I ever know everything. I am just a humble sponge yearning for more and more information, so lay it on me people!

DWSTXS
05-07-2008, 09:47 PM
Do I know much?

“I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”
In the immortal words of Seargeant Schultz - (Hogans Heroes)

jannawrites
05-07-2008, 10:15 PM
... Do you think that as writers we are more data-info minded? ...

I'm detail-oriented. Very much so. And it helps innumerably with my writing.

Shadow_Ferret
05-07-2008, 10:30 PM
I She'll miss half the jokes on South Park or on the Simpsons. These are just cartoons, but half the people out there, it seems are very ignorant about the world they live in.Personally, I think South Park is just stupid, but I'll admit to not getting a lot of jokes on the Simpsons, but that's because I don't pay any attention to pop culture, which is their biggest target.

I don't think ignorance of pop culture makes one ignorant in general.

Melenka
05-07-2008, 10:32 PM
If it were financially possible, I would be a student forever.

Work at a college or university. I get two free classes each semester. That's how I finally finished my degree. I'm taking a few months off, but I will likely take or just audit classes for the rest of my life. The pay rots, but the benefits to working in higher ed make up for it.

Round John Virgin
05-09-2008, 06:37 AM
I love useless information, because I find that sooner or later much of it becomes useful. Even if it doesn't, it makes me feel well rounded. But in 31 years as a college professor (finance), I had a hard time converting my students to this way of thinking. If it didn't pertain directly (in their opinions) to their employability as a broker, security analyst, or hedge fund manager, I could please stop wasting their time. "Is this going to be on the test?" was the only extraneous thing they wanted to know. Eventually, when I found myself answering another question: "What do you teach?" with the phrase "Morons and idiots," I decided it was time to pack it in.

Kalyke
05-09-2008, 06:49 AM
I'm a walking encyclopedia (most of the time) if not, I know where to find the information.

Kitrianna
05-09-2008, 06:39 PM
Round John Virgin, while your opnion regarding your former students struck a funny bone with me, I also find it rather sad because all too often that seems to be the truth these days about not only kids, but adults as well. People seem to think that I am strange because I strive to learn new things (every day if possible) and while I'm not that old, I hope that it never goes away. That which appears to be useless information can always be used somewhere at some point, it's just a matter of waiting for those circumstances to arise.