sometimes a number hits you like a baseball bat to the head

Televisions from days gone by

Televisions from days gone by by Neil Anderson. License:

Clay Shirky on how small wikipedia is, relative to the way we’ve spent our culture’s free time for the past fifty years:

So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of this asset that’s finally being dragged into what Tim calls an architecture of participation.

The whole thing is worth reading, but that particular bit just jumped out at me like a lightning bolt.

On that note, back to my cave to work on passing Corporations and E-Commerce exams.