Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pay Attention...

I watched a great show last night on technology vs learning.  It was looking at colleges today, and how they are adapting (or not adapting) to changes in technology.  It was scary how stupid the young adults sounded.  I don't know what conclusions the program came to...because I was switching between that and a show on MSNBC about the drug cartel violence in Mexico...and an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.

...anyway, part of the program was dedicated to how we are less likely to sit down, undistracted and read long texts.  Immediately I agreed, and thought this was a bad thing.  They showed students at M.I.T. and Stanford, who didn't seem to write well, mostly because they could not focus for more than a paragraph.  They text, listen to music, and twit (tweet?), etc. in the middle of studying.  Most of them defended it saying they were 'multi-taskers'...but most fail simple divided attention tests.

One of the professors said it was not 'healthy' for learning, to be able to google something in the middle of reading.  That it was some how more beneficial to wonder about something, until you had the chance to go research it. 

...are you still paying attention?

Then they posed an interesting question.  Is this important?  That upset me.  Of course it is!  I think.  They brought up the fact that before the printing press (they said 'written language') when humans used oral histories, and story telling, we had better memories, better attention spans...but far less knowledge. 

I read books.  I read long articles on the internet, sometimes.  But also...I google everything and anything.  I don't read newspapers, never have.  They are too shallow, to dumbed down.  But if an article on the internet goes more than a couple pages...or I see that the slide bar on the right side of the screen has barely moved as I have scrolled down.  I move on.

When I blog, I like to keep it short.  I like to summarize...and other than a spell check, I rarely edit or re-write.  Most of the blogs I read, are short and to the point. I've seen blogs out there, with 1000 word paragraphs.  I hope its cathartic for the writer, because I don't think anybody is coming back to read the next post... 

When I read other people's blogs, most of them anyway, I google two or three things in their posts.  But a blog is not a book, its a log.  All that being said.  I have about a dozen half-read books in my room.  Good books too.  I want to finish them, but if I'm not in the mood...I'll just blog...

Just thinking out loud...on the keyboard...whatever!

Government: No Electronic Flaws in Toyotas

Did anybody else see this coming.  Just like I thought, there was a small problem, the media blew it up, and everybody jumped on the lawsuit bandwagon. 

House Unexpectedly Defeats Patriot Act Extension

Democrats vote against what the Democrat President wants.  Newly elected Republicans also vote no.  I believe for the same reason.  It is political - but in a sense...because both types of no votes are because they don't completely understand what they are voting on.  They probably haven't read it.  They are voting on the "PATRIOT ACT". 

We all agree, government must be kept in check.  Privacy vs Security is a valid issue.  However, the balance is HEAVILY on the side of privacy.  Take the much guarded "library records."  To request the historical records of what somebody checked out at the library:
1) You need a target that still goes to the library.
2) You need an investigator who thinks #1, and himself considers the library
3) You need a target who has never heard of the Patriot Act
4) You need a supervisor for the investigator to agree and sign off
5) You need a lawyer (not the prosecutor) for the investigator to sign off
6) The investigator knows that there is a review committee and inspection team that will be looking at this request in hindsight, maybe years after the investigator found nothing...and can still ding the investigation
Libraries are government run.  We are talking about a government agent's access to these government records.  It looks like we are properly balanced to the liberties of the individual...
...are you still reading?


Mrs. K said...

MMMM you must have come from our loins...Dad switches from show 1 to show 2 to show 3 then complains they all have the commercials at the same time. I have several half read books in various rooms and depends on my mood which one I will pick up and read. I refer to you father as "Dr. Google" as he googles EVERYTHING. We have 2 dictionaries (do you remember what those are?) but google is faster and the print is much larger.

Mary, my highschool friend, tells me she works in a library and is shocked that the high school and college kids coming in do not write in script, cannot read script, cannot tell time on any clock but a digital one. They do not write in full sentences, and are listening to their iPods or whatever while they are supposed to be studdying, their bodies bopping to the beat. If it isn't electronic they don't know how to use it....the dui decimal card system for looking up where the books are located is really a thing of the past. Bet you don't know what it is either.

LL said...

I had to respond to an e-mail on the crackberry, a tweet, a text and the call of nature while reading what you wrote...could you knock all it down to one sentence for me and text it ? ...oh, brb "V" is on television...