Saturday, November 13, 2010


The Art of Slow Reading

Has endlessly skimming short texts on the internet made us stupider? An increasing number of experts think so - and say it's time to slow down . . .

By Patrick Kingsley

If you're reading this article in print, chances are you'll only get through half of what I've written. And if you're reading this online, you might not even finish a fifth. At least, those are the two verdicts from a pair of recent research projects – respectively, the Poynter Institute's Eyetrack survey, and analysis by Jakob Nielsen – which both suggest that many of us no longer have the concentration to read articles through to their conclusion.

The problem doesn't just stop there: academics report that we are becoming less attentive book-readers, too. Bath Spa University lecturer Greg Garrard recently revealed that he has had to shorten his students' reading list, while Keith Thomas, an Oxford historian, has written that he is bemused by junior colleagues who analyse sources with a search engine, instead of reading them in their entirety.

So are we getting stupider? Is that what this is about? Sort of. According to The Shallows (click), a new book by technology sage Nicholas Carr, our hyperactive online habits are damaging the mental faculties we need to process and understand lengthy textual information. Round-the-clock news feeds leave us hyperlinking from one article to the next – without necessarily engaging fully with any of the content; our reading is frequently interrupted by the ping of the latest email; and we are now absorbing short bursts of words on Twitter and Facebook more regularly than longer texts. ...Read on

--->Questions like this just freak me out...

--->Some famous desks...where the mess brought order of various kinds...

--->He "joined the army at the beginning of the second world war and worked as an intelligence officer. His excellent German enabled him to interrogate many of the Nazi criminals, and he returned over and over again to the ruins of Hitler's bunker in Berlin"...So who was he?

--->The Hip Teachers of Fannie Lou Hamer, Margaret Sanger, and Betty Friedan have quite a problem before them now that they've won a few major battles and the rest of us are nonviolently reloading to retake the beach. Take Jill Silos-Rooney for instance. The hyphenated one writes, "She came up to the podium before class began, as I was gathering my notes and putting on my game face for the 80-minute lecture I was about to deliver...It wasn't our conversation that threw me; it was her clothing. Or, rather, lack thereof ...Read on

--->Did you miss November 10, Japan's Toilet Day? Taboos Down the Drain. The phenomenal transformation of toilets in Japan from the humble squat latrines of a few decades ago to today's modern restrooms equipped with hi-tech contraptions is very much like the country's dramatic rise from post-war ruin to global technological leadership (2007). Discover how this transformation parallels an evolution in people's attitude towards 'toilet talk.'...Read on poor soul, read on...

--->How Google’s open-ended maps are embroiling the company in some of the world’s touchiest geopolitical disputes...

Books: I try to read a real honest-to-goodness book at least one hour a day. We can use the Internet, and while it can inform us, I find I am rarely spiritually or intellectually fed by it. It is useful as a data and news source, a massive information clearing house, sometimes a human interest reference, but not much more. So it seems to me anyway.

Too, I find it amazing how bad music is today. The quality of even the Beatles, Sinatra, etc., does not seem to exist at present. When I look for decent music to share I find it's getting hard, like fishing for a crust of bread in a garbage bin.

Paranoia on the Internet, ah it overtakes even otherwise presumably good men. This morning I received an email saying this: "Stephen, you either know this, or you deliberately shill [for the Jews]. You're a bright man, so I cant believe that you're oblivious to this."

How can one reply to such a thing? Either one agrees with everything this man says or one is a "shill". Look, I am critical of Jews when I think it is called for {esp media, isn't that obvious?], many more gentiles too; sin affects all; but I also believe in fairness, not overreaching. We must fight the All-or-Nothing temptation. Because all of us have sinned and need the redemption found in Jesus Christ, Light of the world. Constant exaggerations which are impervious to facts can be an obsessive-compulsive or cult-like symptom. Absolute black-white thinking simply doesn't fit the complex reality I see. It is totalitarian in essence.

The founders of the Catholic Worker used to say it is better to "announce than denounce". It's true, but even they were compelled to denounce warmongering states and the evils of wars which are an awful part of the matrix of sin in the world. Our Lord was brutalized by the Powers, and these powers deny and make war against Him to this very day. It appears to be our fate, as He foretold. Love is mistaken for hate. And so it is a constant struggle to be fair in prophetic criticism. By prophetic criticism I do not at all mean we are prophets, but only that we are servants of the prophetic Word, haphazardly trying to do justice to facts for the good of all, as we seek to proclaim to all salvation in Christ which is the very raison d'ĂȘtre of the Church.

--->Jeff Mirus: The New Anti-Catholicism...

--->Amnesty International calls for criminal investigation into US torture... [Yes, but it's not just Bush; torture continues to this day. It is wrong, doesn't work, and we are better than that. We must recover our souls]

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.---Ray Bradbury

Homeschoolers: Someone has said intelligence seeks to evaluate when necessary, while intellect evaluates the evaluation.

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