Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Shallows: Nicholas Carr on the Internet
And Our Brains

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Nicholas Carr's latest book is The Shallows, discussed above. Donna Seaman writes, "He is author of The Big Switch (2007) and the much-discussed Atlantic Monthly story Is Google Making Us Stupid? —is an astute critic of the information technology revolution. Here he looks to neurological science to gauge the organic impact of computers, citing fascinating experiments that contrast the neural pathways built by reading books versus those forged by surfing the hypnotic Internet, where portals lead us on from one text, image, or video to another while we’re being bombarded by messages, alerts, and feeds.

...and manipulations
This glimmering realm of interruption and distraction impedes the sort of comprehension and retention "deep reading" engenders, Carr explains. And not only are we reconfiguring our brains, we are also forging a "new intellectual ethic," an arresting observation Carr expands on while discussing Google’s gargantuan book digitization project. What are the consequences of new habits of mind that abandon sustained immersion and concentration for darting about, snagging bits of information? What is gained and what is lost? Carr’s fresh, lucid, and engaging assessment of our infatuation with the Web is provocative and revelatory. ---Amazon.com

Bookmarks Magazine: "One of the major issues dividing the critics was whether Carr's claim that the Internet has shortchanged our brain power is, essentially, correct. Many bought into his argument about the neurological effects of the Internet, but the more expert among them (Jonah Lehrer, for one) cited scientific evidence that such technologies actually benefit the mind. Still, as Lehrer, in the New York Times Book Review, points out, Carr is no Luddite, and he fully recognizes the usefulness of the Internet. Other criticism was more trivial, such as the value of Carr's historical and cultural digressions--from Plato to HAL. In the end, Carr offers a thought-provoking investigation into our relationship with technology--even if he offers no easy answers. ---From Amazon.com

--->"Contraceptives are polluting women's bodies and the environment, but who cares...?"

--->The Mother Teresa International Film Festival: "She makes me a bad Marxist since she makes me believe in godliness," said the late veteran Marxist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu...Read it all

--->Catholics will always care. Lansing, MI bishop to bury 17 aborted babies found in dumpster...

"Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet there are not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you."---St. Paul 1 Cor 4:13-16

--->Random Memorable quotes from St. Thomas More's
A Man for All Seasons, 1966...

Its not all technology which is the problem. Technology is values-neutral. It's who controls and operates it and to what ends. Which is why we need to loudly denounce and break up monopoly, then reclaim our share of media and other technologies and do something creative and good with it.

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