New research from Carnegie Mellon University confirms what we already knew: Yes, distraction does make us stupider. The little red flag at the bottom of my computer screen is not a harmless little reminder that I am not alone in the world. It is a constant invitation not to finish a thought.
I've heard the Century referred to as moderate, center-left, progressive, left-wing--all from some who meant these labels as compliments and others who very much did not. Here's one I have not heard before: the Century is a conservative magazine.
Till today, I had no idea how much I rely on Wikipedia for my day-to-day work. I imagine I'm not alone in this realization. No, the online encyclopedia is never the endpoint of serious research, but it's become the best starting point for exploring pretty much any factual question that comes up.
Computers are changing the way we think. "Calm, focused,
undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of
mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short,
disjointed, often overlapping bursts—the faster, the better." This is
probably not a good thing, says Nicholas Carr.
There are more possible moves on a chess board than there are neutrons in our universe, I once read in a chess encyclopedia. I recently asked a University of Chicago mathematician whether that could still be true, now that we know there are hundreds of billions more galaxies than we had thought, each with hundreds of billions of stars. He calculated a bit and said yes.
In Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut (1997) David Shenk tells of “technostress” researcher Philip Nicholson’s practice of asking his audiences, “Pretend that you were forced to make a choice between giving up one of your fingers and giving up use of your computer for the rest of your life.
I am an unwilling explorer of cyberspace. For years I managed not to go there. My handwriting was adequate for everyday purposes, my avocado green IBM Selectric sufficed for more formal projects, and I happily received my mail through the post office.
Writer Jon Katz recently said that news coverage of the Internet lurches “from one extreme to the other.” Either the Net is “a dread menace or it’s a Utopian vision.” Journalism, he concluded, “has been asleep at the switches,” because the Net is “not simply a story about technology, but it’s a revolutionary change in the society and culture.” As a result, journalism “is in the sad position of