This 10-minute TED presentation from Tom Wujec demonstrates the astrolabe (an instrument used hundreds of years ago to tell time at night) and in doing so discusses what’s lost amidst technological advances. Wujec points out that simply knowing how to tell the time at night required one to deeply understand the geography of the night sky.
I’ve encountered something similar recently. For the last couple of months, I’ve been accompanying my son to school – both on rollerblades and on bike. That brief ride (about a mile) has acquainted me with the various elevation changes on the way (completely unnoticeable to an auto driver), and obstacles of various sorts that come from the mid-Atlantic autumn. Such as fallen acorns and leaf piles spilling onto the road.
So – technology is great. And from time to time, it’s good to re-engage with the world around us, too.
Low tech and on the ground