Lateral vision


One of the best things about the web is what an amazing educational tool it can be and how it follows a more natural (to me, anyway) way of learning by appealing to innate curiosities. This form of learning is lateral, not linear, and especially fascinating.

This morning’s web adventure started with an article in the New York Times about The Ulster Defense Association’s disarming, leading me to lookup Northern Ireland in a Wikipedia search. From there, I linked through to articles about common law versus civil law, The Napoleonic Code, codification, lacunae in the law, Chinese Law, tort definition, a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and finally the history of the French Revolution.

Pretty cool, huh? Then again, I am most probably a dilettante.


  1. Mom says:

    You are a dilettante. It’s genetic.

  2. When I was a kid, I used to read encyclopedia entries and then follow one of the “See Also” notes at the end to another entry. This would occupy my time for hours. My dad still says the World Book Collection was one of his best investments.

    The other night the two of us were doing the same thing on wikipedia which of course accelerates the process exponentially. I think we started with Urdu, moved on to Bronze Age pit grave cultures, somehow ended up at the rise of the 3rd Reich, and finally the Kurgan Hypothesis of Proto-Indo-European migration.

    Fun stuff!