Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just Google It

This is what was going through my head on the way home tonight: I wonder what the difference between hypochondria and mitochondria is, because you know, they both sound the same. I mean know that I hypochondria is when you think you're sick all the time and mitochondria are like bacteria or something like that, but I wonder why they both end in chondria? How could the two words possibly be related? Why do they have the same suffix? What the hell does chondria mean? I wish I would have taken Greek in college. Or maybe Latin. Chondria sounds more Latin right? I took Spanish, what in Spanish sounds like chondria? Man, I wish I would have paid more attention in Spanish class. Remember how hot that 2nd year Spanish TA was? I think he played soccer. Soccer players are hot -- that's why I have no idea what in Spanish sounds like chondria -- man I guess I'll just look it up when I get home. Me gusta jugadores de futbol. Muchachos guapos.

And Google it I did. The first thing I learned was that I should have also paid more attention in biology class, as mitochondria are the parts of a cell that give it energy. My friend in med school is probably ripping out her hair right now. That's trichotillomania by the way. Also, I learned from this nifty website that chondria is Greek and it means cartilage. So if hypo means below, one who is a hypochondriac is concerned with what is below the (rib) cartilage. So that sort of makes sense. So what about mito? It means thread. So thread cartilage? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Ok we're going to have to back up. Because mitochondria is actually plural for mitochondrion so our root is actually chondrion, which means granule. Now we've got something like thready granule, and if you look at an image of a mitochondrion it starts to make sense.

Ok so enough with the etymology lesson (and the italics!) My point is that through the magic of internet search engines it has become incredibly easy for us to find out about anything at anytime. Our strangest curiosities are instantly quenched at the click of the mouse. At any given time of the day I can find out the calorie content in a Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger (A LOT) or diagnose myself with a rare and incurable disorder that usually only affects chickens in Nigeria.

At heart I am a true lover of books and libraries but I have to admit that the internet has its merits. It seems like I've spent days on end at and I just wonder if this plethora of instant knowledge makes us any smarter. It kinda feels like easy come easy go.

Is knowledge more valuable if it's earned? I mean if you spend all day rolling out pasta dough and squashing tomatoes and then cooking a lasagna in a wood fired oven with logs you gathered from the forest (barefoot) and then ate it you would be full right? But if you put 2 HotPockets in the microwave for a minute thirty and then ate them you'd also be full. Same result right? If you're full, you're full. But are you satisfied? I guess it depends on how good of a cook you are.

Feels like all I have time for right now is HotPockets.