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I have mixed feelings over this.

On the one hand, knowledge is different than education. Knowledge is the possession of information. Whereas education is the ability to find information quickly and efficiently, and pass it through a filter of critical thinking. Questions like the ones on Edison's list measure knowledge, but not education.

On the other hand, in my personal experience people who possess seemingly "random" pieces of information such as the location of countries on a world map or the birthday of a jazz singer tend to be much more productive. Not because the random bits of knowledge they possess are related to the work they are doing, but because information like that gives them a wider perspective on everything and allows them to be better at "pattern-matching", i.e. drawing connections between seemingly unrelated fields and subjects. This is a very, very important skill for any knowledge worker.

There is a compound effect to knowledge though. The more of the bits you've got the more the bits you already had start to make sense. And at some point knowledge starts to beget new knowledge all by itself, ideas and hypothesis about how unknown stuff could work based on what you already know, and sometimes completely new stuff.

So even if knowledge does not automatically mean understanding or education it can be a precursor to it and it can make it easier to attain the latter.

Silly facts (baseball scores for instance) do not have that effect. So there is a definite division between the kinds of facts that you can digest and their future effects.


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