The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date

By Samuel Arbesman
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"The Half-Life of Facts" by Samuel Arbesman examines the natural decay and evolution of knowledge in our ever-changing world. Arbesman introduces the concept of "mesofacts," which refers to information that is not static but instead undergoes continuous updates and revisions. Drawing from various disciplines, including science, history, and technology, the book explores how facts can become obsolete or altered over time.

Arbesman explores the idea that humans have a tendency to think of facts as fixed entities, failing to recognize their inherent impermanence. He explains how new discoveries and advancements constantly challenge existing knowledge, requiring us to continuously update our understanding of the world.

The book delves into a range of topics, including the shifting nature of scientific facts, the constant reevaluation of historical narratives, and the impact of technological progress on our understanding of the present and the future. Arbesman emphasizes the importance of openness and flexibility in our thinking, urging readers to embrace the concept of "intellectual humility."

Through engaging stories and compelling examples, Arbesman demonstrates how our understanding of facts can change over time. He explores the process of information growth and decay, offering insights into how we can adapt and thrive in a world where facts are constantly evolving.

"The Half-Life of Facts" challenges our assumptions about the permanence of knowledge, encouraging readers to view information as fluid rather than static. It serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the dynamic nature of facts and the implications this has on our personal and collective understanding of the world.
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