Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fit And Well And Living In An Age Of Uncertainty

One of the great delights of the World Wide Web at the moment is that it is a job in progress. No doubt the time will come when everything that has ever been written or said or even thought is filed away in some dusty recess of the WWW all perfectly indexed by Googhoo or Yaggle. No longer will you need to dwell on the puzzling mysteries of life such as where did I put the car keys or what was I doing the day Groucho Marx died : you will be able to consult the minute-perfect digital timeline of your life.

Such times are still around the corner and that conglomerate of knowledge/ignorance we call cyberspace still - like a lump of Swiss cheese - has holes in it, and those holes add to the flavour of the dish. They mean that many searches are unrewarded by the quarry you went in search of, but richly rewarded by other things you discover on the way. 

Take, for example, the above, rather sad, newspaper cutting about a lottery in the Yorkshire village of Yeadon. It comes from the Yorkshire Evening Post of Wednesday 18 September 1946 and I came across it whilst doing a search of the splendid British Newspaper Archives. I was looking for a photograph of me, my brother and my father which had been taken a few years later and which, I recall, had been published in the Yorkshire Post. But the scanning of old British newspapers is a painstaking process and, as yet, only seven and a half million pages have been processed. The scanners seem to flit and fly from paper to paper and from time period to time period in a way that, rather pleasingly, builds a refreshing degree of uncertainty into the process. You therefore finish up taking a walk with uncertainty, down a road to who knows where in the land of distractions, and, for me, that makes the journey far more interesting. Lower down the same page an old, half familiar, advertising slogan caught my eye. I suppose you might say, "Uncertainty fortifies the over-forties"

8 comments:

  1. There used to be a "I Feel Lucky" button on Google searches (or some such wording), resulting in oblique searches that produced amusing results. However, they seem to have removed that.

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  2. I remember Pyllosan ads from the days whenI thought 40 was old!

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  3. Must wonder what Pyllosan might be...was it kin to a tonic with another weird name here in the US (can't remember what it was right now.) That's a bit of a useless question, did something seem like something else with no name?

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  4. Very charming story about the lottery.

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  5. Actually, I just came back from one of those search tangents. I forgot what I was originally looking for, of course, but found a great article on "can dogs think." btw, the answer is yes.
    Remember those microfilm searches from college days?

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  6. You make a good point about the web being a work in progress. However, I like your snail's pace search. It seems to lead you off to other topics and that's what makes it interesting.

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  7. Phyllosan never heard of it, I wonder what it was and if it worked..like maybe Geritol which was for iron poor blood....which you didn't have if you at liver once a week:)

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