Users

Response to “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow”

Carr, N. (2010). “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow,” CNN. Retrieved on 2010, June 29. http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/06/07/carr.internet.overload/index.html?hpt=C2 Nicholas Carr’s article, “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow,” demonstrates the negative consequences of the internet on the human mind. His article is in response to the media criticism President Obama received after stating that the internet and technological gadgets (i-pad, Blackberry, etc) ‘entertain,’ rather than ‘empower.’ While the media labeled Obama as anti-technology, the author defends and backups the president’s warning statement. Carr’s biggest criticism of the internet and screen gadgets is that they distract concentration, they hinder comprehension skills, and they weaken creative thought. The internet provides the user with an incredible amount of information and knowledge. However, the trouble lies within the manner in which that knowledge is transferred from the screen into the user’s brain. Links, for example, break and discombobulate information (the information is not provided in a linear and coherent format, such as found in a book) from one page of information to another, and thus causing the reader’s attention to rupture and drift. A case study done at Cornell University shows that laptops distract students in class and prevent them from absorbing information.…

Depression’s Upside

Lehrer, J. (2010). “Depression’s Upside.” The New York Times. Retrieved on 29 June, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/magazine/28depression-t.html Summary: Depression is a disorder that has long been associated with the anguished artist who is fixated on his work. The gloomy state of mind may have an upside and, according to research by psychiatrists Andy Thomson and Paul Andrews, it is this ability to be more attentive to our problems. Approaching the issue of depression from an evolutionary perspective, they believe it is not likely for the brain to adapt “pointless programming bugs”. Unlike other mental illnesses which occur in small percentages of the population, approximately 7 percent of people are afflicted with depression every year. Despite, the evolutionary problem which results from lowering one’s sexual libido (and limiting the urge for reproduction), depression could be viewed as an adaptive to the stressors of one’s environment. Neuroscientists in China observed a spike in functional connectivity in the brain allowing depressed people to be more analytical and able to stay focused on a difficult problem longer. The research of psychologist Joe Forgas, found that depressed people were better at judging accuracy of rumors, less likely to stereotype strangers, and had better recall memory. Rumination, the…

Dressed to Distract

Dowd, M., (2010). “Dressed to Distract.” NYTimes. Retrieved on July 1st, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/opinion/06dowd.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage. Summary: Good looks are an advantage to any woman, man or child (and maybe even animal) in this world. Research tells us that babies will look longer at a good looking parent, and the “good looking” babies receive the same preferential treatment. The University of Alberta put together a research team to carry out a study in a supermarket to see if parents gave more attention to their more attractive children. Team leader, Dr Andrew Harrell, says that just as other animals do, “…we tend to parcel out our resources on the basis of value.” Debrahlee Lorenzana, a single mother of 33, was fired from Citibank in August for “looking too sexy”, she claims. According to her lawyer, the shape of her figure made the clothing she chose to wear too distracting for the males in her workplace. Lorenzana wasn’t like other women who chose to come to work in low-cut tops and tight pants, but because of her hourglass figure, any well tailored clothing she wore was “too distracting”. This specific case is interesting because normally the attractive people get better treatment and evaluations at work.…

On “The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s” by Stone

Stone, B. (2010). “The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s.” The New York Times. Retrieved 30. June, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10stone.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 Summary: Stone points out the significant generational difference gaps due to the rapid rate at which technology is developing. Kids born into the world today are growing up in a time when high-tech devices like the Kindle, iPads, iPhones, and Skype are part of daily life. With such technology as a normal part of these kid’s lives, they’re going to participate in and view the world in a much different way than individuals born fifty, twenty, or even ten years ago. Today’s young kids are going to have distinctive expectations of the world. Researchers are looking into the result of this accelerated technological change, and many theories have been posited. For example, growing up with the iPhone and iPad these kids will probably expect all computers to have touch screens. Dr. Larry Rosen’s ideas about the “i-generation” are referenced in the article, stating that these kids who were born in 90’s and this decade communicate through texting and instant messaging and have a higher multi-tasking capacity – performing seven tasks at a time during their down-time rather than the…

Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts

Wright, A. (2009). “Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts.” The New York Times.  Retrieved on 30 June, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/technology/internet/24emotion.html Online presence is a valuable commodity in today’s digital market.  As companies seek to track exactly how their brand is discussed via the web and where these discussions appear, it becomes apparent that even a team of employees devoted to such research cannot tackle the shear size of the medium.  Thus, algorithms are being employed by marketing research firms as well as companies themselves to handle not only the amount of information present on the Internet, but also in what context it amasses. These algorithmic tools are applied all over the web, but are concentrated on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites that allow large amounts of user-generated content. Theoretically, in this way a computer can track not only when a company is mentioned but also in what connotative context it appears. Differing from previous brand tracking, these new programs seek to determine subjective opinion as well as objective knowledge. By programming computers to scan the Internet for words that hold certain connotative meanings, marketers and brands can preemptively address user satisfaction issues as well as…

On “Singing ‘Rewires’ Damaged Brain”

Gill, V. (2010). “Singing ‘Rewires’ Damaged Brain.” BBC World News. Visited on 24 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8526699.stm Summary: This article discusses how singing can teach stroke patients to recover their speech abilities. Singing uses a different part of the brain than the areas that involve speech. The idea is that if the “speech center” of the brain is damaged patients can use their “singing center.” Already established as a medical technique, “melodic intonation therapy” was further studied by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School with the findings presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Using medical technology to scan the brain doctors were able to deduce that most speech took place on the left side of the brain, but melody and singing took place on the right side. This study is one of many larger studies examining the general effects of music and the brain. Dr Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist from Northwestern University, has concluded that musical training is an important part of children’s education. This article is important because many people have experienced or know someone who has experienced a stroke. Reading this article may prompt further investigation for those affected to seek…

Men are bigger liars than women, says poll

BBC News Staff, (2008). “Men are bigger liars than women, says poll.” BBC News Channel, Visited June 23 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8689010.stm Summary: The article discusses a survey that was conducted in Britain, pertaining to lies told by men and women. The survey, which was conducted by The Science Museum using 3000 participants, suggests that in general, men tell more lies than women and feel less guilty about it. While the average British man is likely to tell three lies each day, the average British women is likely to tell only two. As a group, it is ‘mothers’ who are most likely to be lied to. The top lie told by men is ‘I didn’t have that much to drink’, while the top lie told by women is ‘nothing’s wrong, I’m fine’ – which happened to be the second most popular lie among men. So while men tend to lie about drinking habits, it is both genders who seek to hide their true feelings. Both sexes shared a common tenth most popular lie, being, ‘it’s what I’ve always wanted.’ Certainly, this fib is relevant when we consider who gifts are received by each sex. Women generally feel more guilty about lying, with…