Loss of knowledge

May 17th, 2008 by scott

During a break in the ACM action, I came home and tackled a project I’d been putting off for some time.  I opened up the box containing my university notes, and recycled many of them. This box has been taped shut for more than a decade, and through several moves.

This was a painful process.  Although I’m sure I’ll never look at many of them again, they represent knowledge hard-obtained, over my five-year undergraduate degree.  With my poor memory, they are also touchstones reminding me of events and activities I had otherwise forgotten.  Among the treasures I discovered were:

  • A journal I kept during my Religion and Ecology course
  • A technical report on my implementation of Internet tools at Northern Telecom in 1994, including Usenet, Gopher, and that most modern of tools:  World-Wide-Web, with Hypertext links!
  • A number of lab reports and commerce papes which brought back fond memories

I kept most of this, as well as many of the notes from my commerce courses, but the majority of Physics, Math and Engineering Physics notes went into the recycle bin.  As I let them go, I felt like the knowledge contained in them was lost, but I reminded myself that it was unlikely I would need it again.  If I do, these are not insights into the nature of the universe, they’re undergrad course notes.  Somehow, I’ll find the information again, probably faster than if I had to dig through my course notes.

I’m glad I finally did it, and also that I took the time to glance at everything, say goodbye to the things I discarded, and keep a few of the small treasures.

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