In Praise of the Internets

A few weeks ago I wrote about my favorite blog and one of its authors, an economist by the name of Tyler Cowen. A few days ago, I realized that Prof. Cowen has a Facebook profile and I immediately sent him a friend request. To my delight, he quickly accepted. When I saw that his wall was not flush with new messages on a daily basis, I decided it would be worth writing on his wall to see if he might respond. So, knowing that that he spent a year living in Germany and that his friends describe him as a cultural Germanophile, I decided to ask Prof. Cowen for any advice, "culinary or otherwise," for someone working and studying in Germany for a year. Within a few hours, I had a post on my wall advising me to "eat lots of bread, figure out what are the local specialties, eat game, cheeses, sausage" and also asking me where I was going.

I have no qualms admitting the giddiness I felt upon checking my e-mail and seeing that "Tyler Cowen has written on your wall," and that he furthermore had actually asked me a question in his response. Cowen is acutely aware of the scarcity of time (and thus its value), so I am especially flattered that he would spend a few minutes of his chatting with me--the opportunity cost he incurred is certainly higher than mine.

But of course I must also give credit to the internets, that amazing series of tubes which allows the wide dissemination of knowledge and easier contact with the better minds among us.

Update: Immediately after I wrote this post, I responded to Prof. Cowen that I was in Cologne for two months and then in Rostock. Three minutes later he had responded by advising me to have the "Schlachtplatte in Koeln, und dann Forelle in Rostock." How cool is that!?!