Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Information Deficit Syndrome

- This post is dedicated to all my library friends at FLO and beyond, wish you were here to help and enjoy!

Forget information overload, the information age has spawned a newer, more insidious problem. Information Deficit Syndrome (IDS).

Here we are deep in the beautiful ponderosa pine and aspen forests of the Black Hills National Forest, our campsite, high up Little Spearfish Canyon is tucked into a bend in the river, Firs, pines and aspen surround us and climb the canyon walls. It's sunny, 60+ degrees, blues sky and large puffy clouds overhead....

Mystery Stone Door
...and I can't get any data connection, can't even text. There wasn't any service in the Badlands either (but there was a camp store with wi-fi within a 1/2 mile walk). It's not the texting, or phone calls or even the posting that I miss. It's the inability to find out stuff, that's really annoying. That’s IDS.

For instance, there's this stone doorway in the canyon wall just 1 miles south. The doorway opens to a single cemented-vaulted room approximately 12'x14'. Outside the door, running parallel to the canyon wall is a rock path? or foundation? There are also signs of a well, and maybe some other concrete structure. If there was data service, I could probably find out what all this was. A mine? There are lots of those here, in fact the whole area used to be (and a majority might still be) owned by The Homestead Mining Company. Or was it some kind of real homestead? The site is at a wide bend in the river and there is plenty of level ground for crops or livestock. Not knowing is driving me crazy.

Oh, and the hiking trails. The very helpful guy at the information center in Rapid City gave us a map
Image from a website I wish I'd had access to.
of the hiking trails in the Black Hills. Four of them are labeled as being on the same road as the campsite. And there are trailheads off the road, but the trail names don't exactly match those on the map. For that matter, the map only indicates where the trails are, not were they go. IF there was cell service, I could look up the trails, and probably find a trail map.

Then there is the "Dances With Wolves" winter scene site. That's on this road too. But I only vaguely remember the Winter scene. IF I had a data connection I could watch that.

And what are all these pretty purple wildflowers? And why are some of the pines total brown, standing deadwood?

Well, S.D. has just informed me that the pines are being infected by a pine borer. So that's some information. But how bad is this infection? Are some trees resistant or are they in serious trouble?

Not knowing is one thing, not being able to find out - that's something else entirely. I was a librarian after all.  Maybe you can take the librarian out of the library, but you can take the need for information out of the librarian. Either that, or IDS is a new concern for our generation.

-- And what is a spearfish anyway?

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