I was washing my hands just now and something struck me.
How does a submarine achieve negative buoyancy by flooding tanks with water when it is still filled with oxygen?
If this had struck me 20 years ago, I would have probably tried to reason it out. Given how little I know about submarines, I may have come up with an elaborate, creative, and definitely incorrect solution. This would have tided me over until I went down to the basement to look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica or went to the library to get a book on submarines. My answer may have even satisfied me completely.
Today, I go to google, and I type “submarine buoyancy”, the first article is “How Submarines Work” on howstuffworks.com, and I’m done. My intellectual curiosity is satisfied. Maybe I’ll read more about submarines, maybe I won’t. I definitely won’t spend too much time trying to figure it out myself when the answer is so close to hand.
Am I richer or poorer for the instant access to all knowledge? I don’t know, at least in this case.