Chapter 3. Environments, Elements, and Information

Context is worth 80 IQ points.

—ALAN KAY

A Wall and a Field

SOCIAL NETWORKS AND AIRPORTS don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re part of a wider world. And humans didn’t evolve with mobile phones in hand. Our bodies and brains grew in predigital environments that shaped the way we understand our surroundings. If context in digital environments is so hard to get our heads around, maybe we need to begin by establishing up front what an environment actually is. Take a look Figure 3-1, an idyllic landscape in Derbyshire, England.

A bucolic Derbyshire landscapeWikimedia Commons:
Figure 3-1. A bucolic Derbyshire landscape[10]

We might look at this ...

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