Archive for the ‘Social commentary’ Category

again from http://www.abcnews.com:

 MULTITASKING CAN HARM MEMORY People who learn something new while multitasking are less able to recall what they’ve learned later on, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found in a new study. They tested subjects on a simple memory task while at the same time asking them to count the number of random tones they heard while learning. Multitasking didn’t harm memory during the learning but appeared to make it more difficult to retrieve what was learned later. Writing about these results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, neuroscientists speculate that having distractions around when you’re trying to make a new memory causes the distractions to get so tangled up with the memory that you end up needing the distraction to be able to get the memory back out of storage. For example, if you listen to the radio while studying for a test, you end up needing the music to be recall what you learned. The memory recall becomes less flexible and more dependent on the situation.

With so many things that vie for our attention, good old undistracted focus is the best!  Whether you’re a student, a professional, whatever, I hope you take this to heart.

Take some time to focus and take the headset off…


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From http://www.abcnews.com:

TV HURTS KIDS’ SCHOOL PERFORMANCE A new study of mostly white children in the northeastern United States finds that increased time watching TV on weekdays is associated with poorer performance in school. For example, kids who were not allowed to watch TV or movies on school days were about half as likely to say their grades were poor compared to kids whose viewing had no restrictions. Weekend TV viewing was not associated with school performance. In the study, more than 4,500 middle schoolers answered questions about their TV viewing habits and their grades. Other factors that were nearly equal or more powerful predictors of doing well in school include: being female, having two parents who graduated high school, and not needing a free school lunch, which indicates higher family income. This study was published in Pediatrics by researchers from Dartmouth University.

This is amazing news – you mean if you watch more TV, you’ll actually have less time for things such as studying and homework, and therefore do worse in school?  No way!

This is for you parents – keep your kids off of being addicted to the “dummy-tube” and these days, you also need to watch for excessive use of their computers.  You think just because you bought them a computer, and because they are sitting in front of it, that they are doing their homework?  No way.  They are busily hopping back and forth from different myspace and other blog pages, commenting away, writing new blogs, and then chatting w/ others.

If you really want your kids to do well in school, minimize their distractions – I won’t go into the specifics of how.  You decide how you will do that – you are their parents.  But my humble opinion is that they don’t need the internet (most of the time) to do their homework.  If they need something off the net, you help them with it.

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What I’ve noticed in the world today is an increase of a double life. I don’t necessarily mean some sort of hypocrisy, but many people who use the internet frequently have an alias. It might be their email address, or chat name. No longer does anyone have an email name like johnanderson@mail.com; rather, it’s something like “itztheqooldude@mail.com”. Or maybe you play online games, like chess or starcraft, or everquest (aka ever-Crack b/c of its addictiveness), and you don’t even use your first name. You call yourself “masterofgames” or “sxabcguy”.

It used to be that people only had an alias if they were a secret spy or just a child playing out his fantasy like Calvin in “Calvin and Hobbes.” But now, everyone has an alias.

With an alias, what I’ve experienced is something quite interesting, and yet not surprising. People can be quite caustic, rude, and downright wicked under an alias.  Under an alias, people seem to turn into their most wicked self, because there is no accountability for their morality.  Curse words abound, with other profane statements.  It seems that with more privacy and anonymity, that people get less moral.  Increase in anonymity leads to decrease in morality?  

Leave a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree.  Why do you think this is the case? (or not?)

Something for you to think about while I’m gone.

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I personally don’t understand why some people hate Bill Gates so much.  He strategized, worked hard, and established a big company.  And consequently, he’s rich.  C’mon, windows, yes, it’s buggy at times, but without Windows to revolutionize the ease of using computers, where would we be?

Anyways, a good article to read on Bill, his wife, and his charity. 

I’m glad that this rich man is not like some other big company CEO’s that just live selfishly, but understands his responsibility to society as a whole.  Good for him!

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So are you always checking out the latest gadget out – just because you need to?  Do you feel envious when your co-worker/friend has that one obscure feature or upgrade that you would probably never use?  Are you already feeling anxious because the Treo 700p is out, but you ONLY  have a Treo 650?  Are you own more than 2 PDAs, just because they’re neat?  Do you even check out the phones in Asia, because they’re more advanced, even though you can’t use them here?

You might be a “gadget-geek” in my definition. By that, I mean that gadgets have taken over your life, and you are experiencing life that has not been made more efficient by gadgets, but has rather become inundated by them.  You are enslaved by gadgets rather than being empowered by them.

C’mon.  You really don’t need that one upgraded feature – you’ll probably try out that higher megapixel camera built into the newer model phone, but you’ll probably decide that it’s still not as good as your digital camera, and you’ll carry both around, and use the phone camera once a month.

I think we need to be mindful that gadgets are supposed to optimize our lives and make our lives more efficient and available for more meaningful stuff – like family and friendships.  Spend the extra time that your pda, computer or cell phones give you with people you care about, not pursuing the latest stuff.  In the end, relationships are far more valuable than just “stuff”.

Signing off.

-The “ungeek” (and trying to stay that way).

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Hm… why is a basic tech tips site posting something on social issues?   Well, because I feel like it, and because knowledge doesn’t have to be compartmentalized.

Anyways, just wondering how many of you out there are familiar with the term, “post-modernism”.

I think if you’re young, you may be aware of the idea, but not what it’s called.  Basically, post-modernistic thought is when you say all truth is relative, and that it’s how it’s interpreted that has real value.

If you want all the nitty-gritty details, read up on it on wikipedia. 

Anyways, are you a post-modernist in your worldview?  Why or why not?  And where did you pick up those thoughts?  Just curious.

I personally don’t believe in a post-modernist worldview b/c it’s self-refuting.  It’s trying to tell me some “truth” that there is no real absolute truth?  It’s shooting itself in the foot, isn’t it?

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