This Week’s Words

No Wonder!

I used to be an incurable wonderer, but I’ve found the cure.

A couple of days ago, I was watching the Weather Channel when they mentioned that a storm surge is always worse when a high tide coincides with a full moon.  I had never been taught the reason for this in school, so I wondered, “Why?  Why does the amount of light coming from the moon change how much it pulls on the tides?”

I have wondered this for years.  When I was young, the only solution to such wonder-ment would have been to look up the subject in a multi-volume encyclopedia (or ask an expert).

Now, no one needs to wonder about anything, at least not for long.  Whenever I think, “I wonder what happened to ________?”; “I wonder how old _______ is?”; or “I wonder what the connection is between ________ and ________?”; all I have to do is Google the question (or Bing the question, or use any other search engine).

The Internet is the ultimate multi-volume encyclopedia in which all the world’s knowledge is stored.  For my current question, all I had to do was type in the question “Why does a full moon have a stronger effect on the tides?”  Using Google, I got this page of search results.

Choosing the link Tides, and the pull of the moon and sun, I learned that a full moon meant that the sun, moon, and Earth were in a straight line, and that it is the position  of the moon (and not the light from it) that causes the stronger pull on the tides.  I am now en-light-ened.

Now when someone in a conversation says, “I wonder (something),” my standard response is, “Just Google it.”  Assuming that the searcher uses the right search terminology, an answer will almost always be found.  Of course, one needs discernment about the reliability of sources on the Internet, because false knowledge cures wonder with deception.

Copyright © 2017 by John Arthur Robinson

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