One’s a bit of a nit:
When people think of knowledge, they generally think of two sorts of facts: facts that don’t change, like the height of Mount Everest or the capital of the United States, and facts that fluctuate constantly, like the temperature or the stock market close.
The problem is that the height of Mount Everest is increasing. Of course it’s so slow (it’s estimated that it’s gaining a couple millimeters a year) that our estimate of the height won’t change for quite a while (and what is the height anyways–Everest is officially the mountain that is the highest above sea level, as opposed to highest above the plane or in total height or …).
The other problem is bigger and shows he doesn’t read James Fallow:
For these kinds of facts, the analogy of how to boil a frog is apt: Change the temperature quickly, and the frog jumps out of the pot. But slowly increase the temperature, and the frog doesn’t realize that things are getting warmer, until it’s been boiled. So, too, is it with humans and how we process information. We recognize rapid change, whether it’s as simple as a fast-moving object or living with the knowledge that humans have walked on the moon. But anything short of large-scale rapid change is often ignored. This is the reason we continue to write the wrong year during the first days of January.
The problem is that the frog does realize it’s getting warmer and will try to get out if the water gets too hot … unless it doesn’t have a brain:
“Goltz observed that a frog, when placed in water the temperature of which is slowly raised towards boiling, manifests uneasiness as soon as the temperature reaches 25° C., and becomes more and more agitated as the heat increases, vainly struggling to get out, and finally at 42° C., dies in a state of rigid tetanus. The evidence of feeling being thus manifested when the frog has its brain, what is the case with a brainless frog? It is absolutely the reverse. Quietly the animal sits through all successions of temperature, never once manifesting uneasiness or pain, never once attempting to escape the impending death.”
Still, although the posting is not very active, the blog does have some interesting graphs so go look.