A Great Lifehack and the Democratisation of Knowledge and Technology

Week seven of my university studies has been great. The discussion topic was the ‘Democratisation of Knowledge’ which leads into the further topic of the ‘Democratisation of Technology’ which I have been reading about as well.

Like many posts before where I am talking about a topic that might not be in the domain of my readers, I’ll give you this link to the Wikipedia page which gives you a brief overview of the topic. And also as always, I’m going to offer you the disclaimer that Wikipedia may or may not be correct, but with the links that they offer including book titles about the subject, it’s up to you if you want to know more about the ‘Democratisation of Knowledge’ you can read about it. And you should. It would be somewhat ironic if you didn’t…

But that’s not what you’re here for. You read the title of this post and saw the word “lifehack” and you want to know what this great lifehack is I’m offering.

I’m going to get to it, I promise. I always do in my posts, but I like to flesh them out with a bit more information to my readers otherwise you might as well just follow some random person on Pinterest or Tumblr who just offers up endless lifehacks, and that’s all. Not that’s not my shtick. My point of difference is to educate on many levels and entertain as I go along with ironic and often facetious musings.

Whenever I have been part of a discussion about the history of the democratisation of knowledge, just as I was in my university lecture last week, when someone asks about how technology played a part in this there is always someone who will answer ‘the printing press.’ And when the lecturer or leader of the conversation asks about how the printing press was first used to spread knowledge, someone will mention the early versions of the Bible. Whilst ‘the Bible’ is not the exact correct answer, it is a good answer (although I don’t get that concept of saying ‘good answer.’ The answer is either right or wrong, and if it’s wrong, then although it might be ‘close but no cigar’, a wrong answer is not a good answer).

The real first items that were printed were the Biblia pauperum which were picture book versions of the Bible much in the same way bibles for children are presented these days. What you have to keep in mind is that in those early days of printing and having the knowledge spread, it was still mostly the people who had the knowledge to produce the books being able to actually read any words that would be printed. Hence, as we do with children, we start the learning process with more pictures than words.

One might suggest that you would be hard-pressed trying to find a house on any given street where a book of religious text is not sitting on a bookshelf. Even those who, like me aren’t religious would have a Bible or two either given as a gift, handed down as a family heirloom, or picked up for free from someone knocking on doors. And as many Atheists like me have said so many times before, I expect that we’ve read more of ‘the Good Book’ than those who claim to follow its teachings. But I digress. And even if the household doesn’t have one of the religious books, I’m sure that they’d have at least one of another type of book that is equally as important, if not more so than any religious text; a cookbook.

During our tutorial lecture discussion on the topic last week, one of my tutors mentioned that although she has plenty of cookbooks, thanks to the Internet she no longer has to pull one out when planning what to cook.

Now that the ‘Democratisation of Knowledge’ is well in practice and has been for hundreds of years, it’s something that us lucky people in ‘the free world’ take for granted thanks partly to the ‘Democratisation of Technology.’ Because more people than not have access to a device that can access the Internet be it a computer, laptop, smart-phone, tablet or smart-TV, the democratisation of technology means that this ‘democratised knowledge’ is never more than a mouse click or finger point away.

A screenshot of an ingredients list from a simple recipe on Continental's mobile site.
A screenshot of an ingredients list from a simple recipe on Continental’s mobile site.

And just as my tutor suggested, these days when we are looking for simple recipes, many of us turn to our devices rather than a printed book to look up what we can make for dinner. I know that I do. And the best part – this is where the lifehack comes in – if you have a device such as a smart-phone or tablet that you already have with you when you’re out shopping, you can simple go to Google and type in a dinner suggestion and there are many sites available for you to get the ingredients from so that all are in your trolley or basket when you get to the checkout.

As a personal preference, I like to make sure that the site I am using is one with a ‘.au’ at the end so I know that they are using Australian terms for foods, and giving the measurements and temperatures in Australian units. That’s why a website such as Continental’s is great because they list their ingredients using Australian English not American English. And it’s not just the American English terms that we have to contend with in recipes, but also British English such as aubergine instead of eggplant.

And that’s one of the funniest things that I discovered and thought about over the last week when researching more about the ‘Democratisation of Knowledge’ and the ‘Democratisation of Technology’. Although we always think of the US as a beacon of democracy, anyone who is not in the States and is not using American English has to contend with the ‘Dictatorship of Technology’ with the likes of Google and Bing returning;

“Did you mean ‘Democratization’ of knowledge?”

Dear American Search Engine,

No I didn’t. I like my letter S even though I choose to pronounce the word with a Z.

Please note, this is a sponsored post for Continental but the words and ideas are all my own. If you are out grocery shopping an you need to find a quick and simple recipe just google Continental Recipes. Using the search function on their website you can find all kinds of simple recipes for an easy dinner for the whole family. Happy cooking.

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