by johnmccreery

Nice piece in the Boston Globe this morning on what the author calls mesofacts, i.e., facts that change at speeds between the geological pace that makes, for example, the height of a mountain seem immutable and the frantic flickering of share prices in the stock market or scores in a basketball game. We learn many of these “facts” in school but easily lose track of how much they have changed in our lifetimes. Thus the “realities” to which we appeal get increasingly out of sync with Reality (the big-R big kuhuna that will someday clobber us all).

I find myself wondering if there aren’t several different scales on which mesofacts change, years, decades, generations, for example.

Any thoughts?


One Comment to “Mesofacts”

  1. Yeah, I think that’s right. And the scaling is perspectival – our flickers are meso for bacteria, our kahunas are flickers for the cosmos. What looks like geology to ants changes much more quickly than what looks like geology to us.

    I think I remember that one of the theories of how Alzheimer’s works is that the sufferer’s time scale is thrown out of sync?

    An example of losing track of mesofacts over a lifetime might be styles in naming, hair and clothing. Sometimes I remind my students that Ethel and Thelma used to be the handles of smokin’ young babes, and that their old-lady hairstyles and comical little hats used to be sported by all the hotties. It’s not at all surprising they got stuck there – that’s when they looked ‘their best’. Of course the only thing worse than this sedimentary cluelessness are the creepy old farts who do try to keep up with style.

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