Sunday, November 8, 2015

Imagining the Invisible

In the 1990s, I read Information Anxiety. It's written by Richard Saul Wurman, the creator of the TED talks and the Access travel guides. Wurman wrote about how to manage information. The anxiety he speaks of stems from the explosion of information; the fact that an issue of the New York Times contains more information than the average person in seventeenth-century England would have encountered in a lifetime.

Wurman suggested ways of coping with the overload of information by visualizing the invisible, such as size or distance and compare them to tangible things. For example, an inch is the diameter of an American quarter coin, six inches is the length of a U.S. dollar bill, an acre is roughly the size of a football field, without the end zones.

Road Trip

A common analogy I frequently make and forget (which is my primary purpose of this blog post) is explaining how far San Diego is from San Francisco. In raw distance terms, it's about 500 miles. That's the same as driving from Washington, D.C. to Kittery, Maine, which is at the southwest tip of that state. That's a long distance, but it pales in comparison to the 830 mile trek from the southeast tip of Texas (Brownsville), due north, to that state's most northeastern point in Follett.

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