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Life, faith, values, and stuff…

By: Tim W. Callaway

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:18 pm

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”A biologist at the University of British Columbia says 80 per cent of data [recorded] by today’s scientists is lost within 20 years, a victim of digital storage.”

– Postmedia; Dec. 21, 2013

I find the contents of the article noted above somewhat alarming.

The UBC biologist claims his team pursued 516 studies published between 1991 and 2011 only to find that, apart from observations recorded within the past two years, large amounts of the sought-after research data was not retrievable.

If you find this reality difficult to fathom, consider this: have you transferred all the data you once stored on those old “floppy” computer discs to a USB stick?

How about the info you committed to those 3.5-inch hard discs once so ubiquitous?

If you had to recover important financial data from a bank account you maintained back in 1997, could you do so?

History suggests many important figures like Galileo, Gutenberg and Newton recorded and maintained data for years prior to going public with innovative thought and design that revolutionized the thinking and conduct of then-known civilization. We are beneficiaries of ideas and inventions that owe their significance to the patience and diligence of men and women from bygone eras who devoted entire lives to perfecting one or two ideas that changed the world.

Over the recent holidays, I heard an interesting interview featuring Will Ferrell and his comrades famous for the humour contained in the Anchorman and Anchorman 2 movies.

They noted that some of the script for Anchorman 2 was derived from ideas left on the editing-room floor following completion of the original Anchorman flick.

The beginning of a new calendar year warrants reminding ourselves that as we embrace the future with all of its spectacular opportunities and possibilities, we are foolish if we too quickly dismiss or forget the lessons of the past.

Whether or not we care to admit it, the remarkable capabilities of society’s current infatuation with electronic wizardry are not without their drawbacks.

Revealingly, “selfie” was one of the top words chosen to define 2013.

It reflects the orientation of a culture where entitlement, narcissism and depersonalization are prominent.

I’m one of those “old-fogies” who believes that in a “me” and “mine” kind of world, we do well to adhere to lessons from the past that affirm the wisdom of maintaining a healthy respect for “you” and “yours.”

Tim is pastor at Faith Community Church. He can be reached at


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