Stochastic Global Awareness

One of the strangest things about reading a lot of blogs is the way it’s broadened my view of the world. Which is “more or less at random.”

I don’t follow a lot of mainstream news sources any more, because they mostly just piss me off, so I end up getting most of my news from an assortment of blogs and LiveJournals and other web sites, which means that I have a weirdly spotty understanding of what’s going on in the world. I know more than I really need to about Australian and Canadian politics, but I’m kind of fuzzy on events that took place twenty miles from where I sit to type this.

It also means that I end up finding out about things through really strange channels. Take, for example, the fact that a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Martinique yesterday, a fact which doesn’t make the front pages of the Washington Post or CNN websites at the time of this writing. I know about this because of Toby Buckell, whose blog I read because I like his books and was on a panel with him at Boskone a few years ago where he mentioned the blog. Without that, I would probably remain blissfully unaware that anything happened.

At any rate, news stories and blog links from Global Voices suggest that this was alarming and disconcerting to people in the Caribbean, but not hugely damaging– only one death was reported in the news stories I skimmed before writing this. So that’s all to the good.

(By the way, I’m not recommending this approach to world news– I need to start doing something to get real news in a more systematic way, because it’s ridiculous how underinformed I am on some issues. I’m just noting that my current operating mode provides a wonderfully surreal picture of the larger world…)