Seemingly right after I became acquainted with the whole “Too Much Tech at Once is Bad!” idea through Mr. Nicholas Carr, the Gray Lady featured not one but two articles on this subject along with an interactive quiz designed to show how if you are a heavy multi-tasker what has happened to your cognitive abilities.
The first article is titled Hooked on Gadgets and Paying a Mental Price and is about how:
Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information. These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.
If you surf the web (um, you are reading this blog) and/or use a computer to navigate and manage your life , this is a must read article. It’s long, but worth it.
The second article is titled An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness and I think the title speaks for itself. This is also a must, ans much shorter, read.
The Test Your Focus and Test How Fast You Juggle Tasks quizzes are an eye opener. I for one have tried to check my email less and I’m making more of a concerted effort to get through my magazine backlog and to get to the books on my list.
What does this all mean? Like so much else in this wide world, moderation is key. Too much of anything in excess is bad, m’kay?
As you might know or gather from my previous 800 or so posts, I’m a web professional during the day. I write a lot of emails. I type a lot of documents. My fingers bother me tremendously by the end of the day. I’m 33. My hands feel 99. I really think that this prevents from writing more lately, because when I’m done with the day, I’m done – as much as blog posts flitter across my mind, I never get the nerve to write them down because writing hurts. Maybe that is why I’m listening to Trent Reznor’s new outfit “How to Destroy Angels” while I type this – I hurt myself today, to see if I still write.
In the latest issue of Wired, Nicholas Carr writes a very compelling article about how the ‘net literally rewires your brain, some for good, some for bad. It’s backed up by science and it confirms a suspicion I’ve had for a long time, because I got hooked on the ‘net in 1995 and therefore have been using it for 15 years now. “Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain.” I think that’s true for a lot of people, and sheepishly I think it’s true for me as well.
The article titled “The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains” goes on to say:
The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself—our preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net’s treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture.
Yikes. Personally, I do not believe I’m there. I think that my attention span is scattered because my parents are selling my childhood home at the exact same time I am supervising a full house renovation in NJ while living in NY in a small one bedroom apartment with an 8 month along pregnant wife and a 2 year old while working a stressful full-time job.
This past Fri night my wife came home talking about how everyone was talking about the moon and how bright it was that night. A bright moon means it’s a full moon – a new moon (hello Twilight fans!) means no light and all of those bright full moon were named by the Native Americans of what is now the northern and eastern United States a few hundred years ago. These tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon so they knew what to do that month. This past week we saw the the Full Wolf Moon.
As an FYI, a lunar month is 29.5 days which means that every year, 11 days are “missing” from our 365 day a year calendar. This is why religions, such as the Jewish religion religion, add a leap month (not a leap day) to their calendar every four years.
The next time super bright moon will show up in about 30 days, Feb 28 to be exact. In case you want to know, the 2010 Naming Convention is as follows:
- Jan. 30, 1:18 a.m. EST — Full Wolf Moon.
- Feb. 28, 11:38 a.m. EST — Full Snow Moon or Full Hunger Moon
- Mar. 29, 10:25 p.m. EDT — Full Worm Moon, Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon or Paschal Full Moon
- Apr. 28, 8:18 a.m. EDT — Full Pink Moon, Full Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon or Full Fish Moon
- May 27, 7:07 p.m. EDT — Full Flower Moon, Full Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon.
- Jun. 26, 7:30 a.m. EDT — Full Strawberry Moon
- Jul. 25, 9:37 p.m. EDT — Full Buck Moon, Full Thunder Moon or Full Hay Moon
- Aug. 24, 1:05 p.m. EDT — Full Sturgeon Moon, Full Red Moon, Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon
- Sep. 23, 5:17 a.m. EDT — Full Harvest Moon
- Oct. 22, 9:36 p.m. EDT — Full Hunters’ Moon
- Nov. 21, 12:27 p.m. EST — Full Beaver Moon, Frosty Moon
- Dec. 21, 3:13 a.m. EST — Full Cold Moon
On today’s date 54 years ago, Dr. Emmit Brown was standing on his toilet seat attempting to hang a clock in his bathroom, when he slipped and slammed his head on the side of the sink (11/5/55 for those too lazy to do some simple mental math). Upon regaining consciousness Brown reported having “a revelation, a picture, a picture in my head.” A picture which he crudely scrawled down on a piece of paper and subsequently spent 30 years of his life and family fortune to build: the flux capacitor.
As evidenced by three movies, two theme park rides and countless exclaimations of 1.21 gigawatts!The world has never been the same since.
In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Yoda utters a line which is memorable, quotable, cool and weird: “Luminous beings are we not this crude matter.”
He, and Lucas as the writer of that line, might have been onto something as it is being reported that the human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day.
Cool beans. Happy Friday.
40 years and about 5 minutes ago man first touched down on the moon and I got to listen to the way it happened. I actually got chills as they were landing. Seriously.
“Houston (uh) Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.”
“Roger Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. We got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, they’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
For more info, see my previous moon related post which is about the site that is allowing me to experience this event “first” hand.
To honor the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, during which mankind first stepped foot on a galactic body that was not our own (and where the United States claimed ownership over the Moon – ours is the only flag up there even today), the JFK Presidential Library has launched a simply gorgeous site called We Choose The Moon.
On this site, you can view photos, videos and information related to the Apollo 11 mission. You can track the mission through 11 different stages (11 to honor the mission number) from take off to landing on the moon and then the return back to our planet. You can follow the mission on Twitter three different ways: with tweets from CapCom, from the Spacecraft and/or from the Eagle lander. You can even download a mission tracker widget for your desktop. Fun stuff.
I just love the name of the site. You choose to _____? We choose the moon. Boosh!
Not only did we choose the Moon as a challenge, most importantly we succeeded and year later, little kids like me grew up and knew that when I stared off into the night sky, not only was it possible to get to the moon and back but that really anything was / is possible. If we could do that – what couldn’t we do?
While the early 60’s were a time of great challenges (then again, really, when hasn’t our nation faced dire challenges?), on May 21, 1961, JFK took a strong stand in support of space exploration. Standing before Congress to deliver a special message on “urgent national needs,” he asked for an additional $7 billion to $9 billion over the next five years for the space program, proclaiming that “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” And we did. ‘Nuff said.
The rocket “blasts off” in just under 12 hours and I plan on tracking the mission every step of the way.
I have no idea why I do not read io9 more often but that is about to change.
For instance, I know how that outside of Cornwall, England lighting designer Bruce Munro has placed his outdoor installation, “Field of Light.” Thousands of fiber optic cables topped with acrylic orbs illuminate the countryside, giving the impression that the field is populated with bioluminescent vegetation from another world. To sum it up in three words, I would call it just plain sick.
io9 is Gawker Media’s blog about all things Sci Fi and their manifesto says in part that,
“The problem is that science fiction doesn’t always seek out the strange new worlds it purports to be cruising for. That’s why we’re plagued by franchises like Star Trek and Superman that return, again and again, to the historical times in which they were born. Superman is still basically an old-fashioned, small-town white boy in an age more suited to postcolonial urban hero-mutants; and Star Trek is a prisoner of the Cold War, rehashing old conflicts and stereotypes.
io9 is from an uncharted region in futurist culture. Our idea of science fiction includes things like Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica TV series, the architecture of Frank Gehry, and the writing of Michael Chabon. These creators don’t cater to fanboys with trivia obsessions, and neither does io9.
Heady words but after checking out their last few posts, I have to say that I am seriously not spending nearly enough time on this site.
In preparation for the hotly anticipated “The Dark Knight,” it seems that everyone is talking about, as the Joker puts it, “The Batman.” While he may be “at home, washing his tights” (okay, that would never happen, Alfred would handle that chore) it is precisely that that idea which so endears Bruce Wayne’s alter ego to the public. Unlike other superheros, Batman is normal. What I mean is that he (in many ways) is a just an incredibly above average man – he does not have any special powers, period. He is like you and me, in our dreams.
Scientific America has an interview with E. Paul Zehr, associate professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and a 26-year practitioner of Chito-Ryu karate-do who happens to have a book titled “Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero” coming out.
After further analysis, it’s true: it would be very, very hard but it could be done. If all the stars in the sky are in alignment, I could be Batman.
Tonight if you look up you will see the Solstice Moon – a low, horizon-hugging Moon which produces a strong Moon illusion where the moon will look abnormally huge. This is due to the rapidly approaching summer solstice which is happening in two days. Pretty neat, huh?