The date was February 12, 2002, and United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had been speaking at a press briefing, detailing the apparent lack of any proof that the Iraqi government had been working to supply various terrorist organizations with weapons of mass destruction. What resulted was a statement that might have caused cringes among the very best linguistic contortionists:

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

2 Replies to “Unknown Quantities: How Do We Search for the Invisible Unknown?

  1. …being measured relative to such things as location and speed of travel. What this shows us is that human perception of reality, for starters, is woven intricately into a system where we perceive…

    Perception and measurement are quite different things, infact, our perception is counter to what relativity tells us which is entirely based on measurements and nothing to do with perception. On a tangential note, two people could be watching the same movie and one could think of it as boring and going on for ever while the other could feel the exact opposite. We actually don’t know what time is, all we know are the relationships between fundamental quantities within the scientific framework.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.