…What I Learnt This Week (27/02/2012-04/03/2012)

It’s only been two weeks and already I’ve made a discovery. If I were really jammy I’d use said discovery as an actual point in this post. Thankfully, I’m not jammy. Nor am I intelligent enough to control such a powerful meta-reference. I fear that dabbling with such wizardry would be akin to dividing by zero or the formation of a black hole.

My discovery was this: I learn an incredible amount every day. If I were to catalogue everything I learn over an entire week the list would be gargantuan. However, what I learn over a week might mean nothing to the average person. What I learnt about a business contact will hold no value to someone who doesn’t know them. On that basis, picking out things I learnt this week is actually difficult — it’s not merely what I learnt but what’s relevant to other people. Below are not simply three things I learnt this week but a list of three universal lessons which revealed themselves to me over the past seven days. I’m like Mystic Meg in that the universe reveals its secrets to me. I’m unlike her in many ways, including the (admittedly questionable) retention of my sanity.

  1. You can love things for a really long time. As a child I loved a video game called ‘Rome: Total War’. Contrary to the title, it’s a game with a lot of depth. A vast amount of my historical knowledge comes from the game both directly and indirectly. I would spend entire weekends with my ‘brother’ (my best friend for so long we’re basically family) playing ‘Rome’. Those of you with particularly sharp memories might remember a BBC gameshow called ‘Time Commanders’. The graphics engine for that game was Rome’s. I revisit the game every so often because it’s one of my favourites of all time, most recently playing it last week. I cherished every minute of it. It still grips me despite me having played it for so long that I know what the AI is going to do. How was this a lesson to me? Well, I’m usually loathe to watch a film more than once, play a game after I’ve completed it and/or read a book once I’ve completed it, etc. However, I can picture myself loving Rome forever. To me, it’s a timeless classic. Something I’ve never really appreciated in any of my entertainment platforms. Undoubtedly, somewhere out there, there’s another person who doesn’t like to waste time on the same thing twice when there’s so much new content out there to devour. To that person I say “I understand” but I also know it’s wrong. Finally.
  2. Happiness is a great motivator. This is a chance for me to say a huge thank you. When I started this blog, just over a week ago, I was doing it more for myself than any other reason. I was bored, had time to kill and a creative itch to scratch. I’m still not fully sure how but my post on Harry Redknapp has received over 100 pageviews, over 50% of which are unique. There’s been a small army of people who’ve been in contact with me to offer praise and that means a lot to me. Two special tweeters had me grinning from ear to ear, as did friends and family. Thanks to everyone who’s been so positive, it actually means a lot to me — and I rarely care about sentimentality! What’s the lesson here, I hear you sigh? I’m the world’s laziest man. I really am. I’m too lazy to prove it, that’s how lazy I am. Once I get rid of a craving, my motivation is gone. However, the awesome feedback I’ve got has motivated me to write more. Maybe this is what I needed to get my backside into gear after all. In a sentence: Let happiness be your motivator and you can’t lose.
  3. Chimps self-medicate to get rid of stomach parasites. Last week ants got a lot of love from me so I thought I’d share that love. Chimps are the big winners this week. Regardless of what I’ve written about ants in the past, chimps would have been the big winners this week in all honesty. Sometimes random facts just blow my mind and this was one of them. Chimps eat a certain plant to get rid of stomach parasites. That’s just amazing. If you’re as cynical as me, you want proof. I completely understand that as I felt the same way, with two mental questions springing up immediately. Firstly, how do we know the chimps are self-medicating and secondly, how do the chimps know they’re self-medicating? While they seem like two similar questions, they’re entirely different. Well, they are in my head, where anything can happen if I want it bad enough. We’ll know chimps self-medicate if we can prove that what they’re taking is relieving an issue. We’ll know the chimps know this if they’re eating the plant on purpose to relieve said issue. People who watch chimps (NB: the official term isn’t ‘weirdos’, much to my surprise) have done some investigating (read: watched some chimps) and decided that chimps self-medicate. The plant, which I don’t know the name of because I have important things to do with my time, goes through the digestive system where its leaves get covered in parasites. When the chimp poops, the parasites are out of the body. All well and good, I know, but it still doesn’t prove that chimps are self-medicating. On that count, the chimp-watchers (who I should probably call Scientists, according to their angry emails) would point to the fact that the chimps dislike the leaves as they’re bitter. I can agree to that, it’s not like human beings smoke bitter things like tobacco without any health benefi– oh.

If I’m still motivated enough to smack my keyboard about next week I’ll try to gather some interesting facts. This is difficult for someone like me, who finds technology really interesting but reality TV wonderously dull. Everyone pretends to hold a similar point of view but I find that, ultimately, people would rather discuss TV than why Cloud Computing is both the present and the future. Can I blame them? Yes. People are idiots.