Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lucky 10,000

 This post will also be found in Tehachapi's The Loop Newspaper

Recently the web comic xkcd ( had a comic about things “everyone knows”. There are so many things that we think “everybody knows” it can be easy to be surprised when we run across someone that doesn't know. For example everyone knows what happens when you put Mentos in Diet Coke. 
But if you think about it, no one knows these things when they're born. So everyday someone is just learning about these things. The comic included some calculations where they came up with the figure that for each thing “everybody knows” there are 10,000 people where this is the day they learn about it. The Lucky 10,000.

I disagree with some of the numerical assumptions they used in their calculations, but the conclusion still remains. If you happen to run into someone that hasn't heard about something you thought everyone knows, it is foolish to try to make fun of them. Instead it is a teaching opportunity for you. And besides, some of those things can be a lot of fun to do with your “student”.

And I found teaching to be a very powerful way to learn something. Years ago when I first began teaching, I discovered that explaining things to other people led me to better understand the subject myself. I might have been good at something like algebra, but until I taught it, I may not have really understood it. 
So I really treasure the opportunities that I get to try to explain something to someone new. Working to see things from a perspective that works for them, gives you a new perspective on the same things. And as soon as you look at things from someone else's point of view, you may gain a better insight into how things work. Which can give your brain a good workout.

And besides, the brain is like a muscle, giving it exercise helps keep it in shape. Which will help protect your brain from the effects of aging. So take the time to try to learn new things. And learning can take the form of teaching. So take those opportunities that come your way to deal with the “Lucky 10,000” that you run across.

Ignorance isn't a problem, unless you choose to remain so. So if I happen to get all “explainy” when we chat (or pedantic if you'd like a big word), I'm just thrilled at getting a chance to share something I know. And if you have something you'd like to share, well, out there somewhere, maybe even me, there's some “Lucky 10,000” that's waiting to hear what you know.

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