The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

English: Photograph of Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner

“In an age obsessed with practicality, productivity, and efficiency, I frequently worry that we are leaving little room for abstract knowledge and for the kind of curiosity that invites just enough serendipity to allow for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we are, ideas that we may later transform into new combinations with applications both practical and metaphysical.

This concern, it turns out, is hardly new. In The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge (PDF), originally published in the October 1939 issue of Harper’s, American educator Abraham Flexner explores this dangerous tendency to forgo pure curiosity in favor of pragmatism — in science, in education, and in human thought at large — to deliver a poignant critique of the motives encouraged in young minds, contrasting those with the drivers that motivated some of history’s most landmark discoveries.” (Brain Pickings).

Another Tick-Borne Disease to Guard Against

English: Adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. Č...

“Despite its many delights, summer also brings its fair share of pestilence. One, called babesiosis, has only recently been widely recognized as a potentially serious outdoor hazard. According to a very detailed study conducted on Block Island, R.I., it could eventually rival Lyme disease as the most common tick-borne ailment in the United States.” (NYTimes)

I have also just learned of a disease I had never heard of, called anaplasmosis, which is caused by a rickettsial organism also spread by tickbites. It was while starting to read about anaplasmosis that I noticed that there is alot on the radar screens just now about babesiosis.