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<   No. 1672   2007-08-25   >

Comic #1672

1 Mercutio: Someone's edited the Wikipedia page "2007 Martian invasion of Earth"! It says the Martians have given up and gone home.
2 Man in Black: Good. My work here is done.
3 Mercutio: But the truth is out there now! There's no way you can cover this up! It's one of the most important events in human history!
4 Man in Black: {walking away} Check the talk page.
4 Mercutio: "Nominated for deletion"... "No secondary sources"...

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A few weeks ago I found a story somewhere about a survey in which people were asked to nominate the most important events in human history. The second oldest event on the top ten list was World War II. Now, call me unreasonable, but I suspect that in the entire 200,000 year history of humanity, nine of the top ten most important events probably did not happen within the last 70 years.

Unfortunately I can't remember where I found this story, so can't point you at it. But my point here is that we suffer from an effect in which we judge recent events to be more important or significant than ones that occurred longer ago. You see the same sort of thing when people are asked to list the "greatest movies ever made". Any sort of such list compiled from average respondents will probably contain five movies from the past five years in the top ten.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 25 August 2007; 03:11:01 PST.
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