Metafilter with well over 500 responses on wrongness:
What in life did it take you a surprisingly long time to realize you’ve been doing wrong all along?
I once cooked expertly with my rangetop stove, when I moved to the city of Kobe, something I frankly knew nothing about. The device was waiting for me in my village apartment when I arrived, so I did to it with food what it seemed wont to do, interpreting its icons as called for. Toast in one area, fish in another, mochi, and so on. I had it all worked out. I spoke of this phenomenon with pride until, abruptly, a Japanese friend pointed out I had juryrigged it beyond recognition. I was doing it all wrong. And badly.
Since 1995 — when it was sort of coined by an episode of This American Life (00:00-04:01) — it’s been fun to call out “Jackass Knowledge.” There’s a point in conversation, a point at which information begins to thin, to stretch, to bend, and you take that shred of information you read online, in the Times, or heard from a friend, and you stretch it beyond where it truly belongs. It often comes in the form of talks we get into on subjects like partially hydrogenated oil, the frontal cortex, sustainable coffee bean suppliers, and the pythagorean theorem. The trouble is when you have a little information, you can go too far. And then, you’re well, you know.