I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Attention Level Index

I've just come up with this idea. I mean, gave it a name, mostly. It's been floating around my head for a while now, and since I didn't get any google hits on it as an already widely used term, I hereby plant my flag in it and define it.

Obviously this concerns one's ability to pay attention, but how it would be measured is quite beyond my ability to define. I will try to outline.

Take, for example, the subject of evolution.

There appears to be a distinct line which most people who disagree with evolution will not cross in researching it. That is, the actual research part. There is, at some point, either a unwillingness to try, or an inability to see the necessity for a further degree resolution on the subject which leads to this lack of try.

At this point our investigator has achieved the peak of their own personal Attention Level Index. It is presumed that this ALI will apply to the other aspects of their life- that they have set their own internal acceptable level of detail, set in place systems of denial to handle any input which disagrees with this level, and coasted through life with the ability to look at five shades of red and call them all 'red'.

Now, enough fun making. Although this is a cartoony example, it suffices to illustrate the idea in rough- that at some point when you are looking into the further details of a subject, there comes a point at which those knowledgeable on this subject seem to be splitting hairs and not talking about anything which holds your attention any more.

Another example, perhaps, is a little parallel between computer languages and different jobs. High-level languages are made to be simple to work with, that is, easy to use so that more people can understand and employ them. Low-level languages, such as machine language (the lowest?), are extremely difficult to understand, and very few people would really want to try to do anything at that level.

There is a direct correlation between languages and jobs here. Most jobs in the world translate to high-level programming languages- they are more common, easier to learn, etc. The further down you go towards the low-level languages, the fewer and fewer people who can do the jobs there are- and the fewer people who actually want to, for that matter- there are. This is, to me, somewhat illustrative of my idea of the ALI. Certainly a person who has a common job need not have a low ALI.

What would the use for an ALI be? Well, a funny thing to say in conversation, I suppose. Until someone quantifies how such an index could be formulated, I don't suppose there will be a real ALI.

"What? Have I read 'The origin of the Species'? No, that exceeds my Attention Level Index."


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