Your Reading List

Losing direction

There has been much discussion and sociological study in academic circles in recent years about what impact the digital age has had on our societies. Some of the things that used to come under the heading of common sense, or at least common knowledge, we’re told are now foreign concepts to many who are engaged in virtually non-stop digital pursuits.

Things like, well, watching where you are going on the sidewalk. All you have to do is look at all the FaceBook video of people walking into open man holes or other obstructions while playing games or texting on their cell phones to understand that may be a skill that has left many of us behind.

Having never done any kind of study along those lines myself, I’m not sure to what extent all those things are true. But something happened this week to cause me to wonder if things are actually worse than I thought. Maybe even worse that all those studies might suggest.

We picked up a Sirius satellite radio system for the house and workshop, and getting it set up required a read through the owner’s manual. The manual contained all the usual info on what the buttons were for and how to set the system up. It uses a remote satellite antenna, which has to be pointed into the southern sky to receive a signal. When I read through the section explaining what was required to get that signal, I could hardly believe what I saw.

After explaining the antenna needed to face south, the manual went into a detailed explanation of where south is and how to find it. There was even a map of Canada with arrows pointing south.

Really? Do so many people not know where south is that it needs to be explained in an owner’s manual? Ay carumba!

If the map and information on how to locate your house on Google Earth didn’t help, there were other tips on where to find the mysterious south. Watch the sun come up in the morning it read, then stand with your left shoulder to it. That will have you facing south, it explained.

I would have thought that anyone, other than those currently in a medically-induced coma, could immediately explain that and point in its general direction. But I guess that isn’t the case if it has to be included in a radio manual.

Here in Canada with our crazy-cold winters, I thought south was a concept everyone clearly understood and longed to be a lot farther toward on an almost daily basis, at least all through January.


About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



Stories from our other publications