GEEZE it's cold.

I have plastic over both my windows, and towels under every door, and still yet my apartment is chilly. Spring is how many months away?

The Pup's hating her consignment outside this winter: The driver's side door's creaky, the engine takes forever to warm-up, and that pop-crackle-pop rattle under the engine (heat shield?) is back. Still, it's a superior car to drive in the winter--climate control, heated seats + mirrors, and snow tires.

* * *

Random thought that's been running through my mind for a Ph.D. thesis in Sociology: The internet has revolutionized the way people learn and share information, but so far no one has attempted to quantify that. Two areas I can give examples are programming and automobiles.

Programmers used to look-up code examples in dusty, out-of-date manuals and could only share information with one another via regular mail, at conferences, or in trade journals. Today, the next generation of programmers downloads Open Source packages of code, ready-to-use. Sticky coding or development issues are only a Google search away from solution.

The internet changed automobile sales, purchasing, ownership, and maintenance, as well. Before, the best way to learn more about your car's operation and maintenance was by joining a local or national club, with dues and monthly or quartely meetings. Today, I can join any number of automotive chats or forums to learn more on my car. For instance, I had step-by-step illustrated instructions on changning my MINI's oil in minutes.

In essence, what you have today is a sort of "hive learning" model, where each "newbie" moves toward being a professor in his or her specialty, able to teach from afar, connected only by avatar, username, and the internet itself.

My thesis would be this hive model is helping people learn specialized topics rapidly and thoroughly. The real devil would be quantifying just how much. I have no experience in Sociology, not even a college "Intro to..." class, so I'm out of my depth. Does sound interesting, though.

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