Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing

Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing (Public Radio International)

“Neuroscience… has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen. So the more you read on screens, the more your mind shifts towards ‘non-linear’ reading — a practice that involves things like skimming a screen or having your eyes dart around a web page. 

‘They call it a bi-literate brain,’ Zoromodi says. ‘The problem is that many of us have adapted to reading online just too well. And if you don’t use the deep reading part of your brain, you lose the deep reading part of your brain.’

So what’s deep reading? It’s the concentrated kind we do when we want to ‘immerse ourselves in a novel or read a mortgage document,’ Zoromodi says. And that uses the kind of long-established linear reading you don’t typically do on a computer. ‘Dense text that we really want to understand requires deep reading, and on the internet we don’t do that.’

To keep the deep reading part of the brain alive and kicking, Zomorodi says that researchers like Wolf recommend setting aside some time each day to deep read on paper.”

Fascinating. I definitely think my attention span has been affected by how much reading I do online. It’s harder for me to focus on a book for long periods of time. It’s one of the reasons why I love my basic Kindle, because it doesn’t allow me to check my e-mail, or get distracted by anything else on the internet. It’s just for reading.



Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent (The New York Times)

“‘So, your kids must love the iPad?’ I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. ‘They haven’t used it,’ he told me. ‘We limit how much technology our kids use at home.’

I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.

Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.

Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.

I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.

Yet these tech CEO’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.”

This is a really touchy subject; I’ve witnessed parents get very defensive in conversations about how much screen time they allow their children. My best friend is a pre-school teacher, and she’s gone off on rants about how children should be interacting with the world, not with a screen. Turns out technology CEO’s feel the same way.

Of course balance is key; our parents had these same conversations when we were kids about television. And of course there is the ideal – the kind of parents we want to be, versus the kind of parents we are. Because life gets in the way of ideals sometimes, but we have to keep trying anyway.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.

“I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up (48 hours was all I could stand) or what I’d learn (possibly nothing.)

See, Facebook uses algorithms to decide what shows up in your feed. It isn’t just a parade of sequential updates from your friends and the things you’ve expressed an interest in. In 2014 the News Feed is a highly-curated presentation, delivered to you by a complicated formula based on the actions you take on the site, and across the web. I wanted to see how my Facebook experience would change if I constantly rewarded the robots making these decisions for me, if I continually said, ‘good job, robot, I like this.’ I also decided I’d only do this on Facebook itself—trying to hit every Like button I came across on the open web would just be too daunting. But even when I kept the experiment to the site itself, the results were dramatic.”

This article really made me laugh, even as I was cringing. A fascinating, thought-provoking, and somewhat disturbing read.

How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Smartphone? Let’s See

How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Smartphone? Let’s See

“The app is called Moment, and it is designed to help you monitor (and hopefully, lessen) the time you spend staring glassy-eyed at your phone. You set the ‘start’ and ‘end’ times for tracking your phone use, as well as your maximum daily limit. The app gives you ‘nudge’ updates every so often so you know how much time you’ve used.

[Kevin] Holesh says that because there’s no way to tell if a phone is unlocked — and thus, in use — Moment uses every piece of information it can to determine whether a phone is being used. This includes location, the position a phone is in, whether you’re connected to the Internet and the battery level.”

Brilliant idea. I don’t actually have a smart phone, but I still spend an unnecessary amount of time playing on the internet instead of living my life or even sleeping. My compulsion to refresh facebook 6,000 times a day is one of the reasons I’ve held off from getting a smart phone for so long. I’ve come to accept that eventually my current “dumb phone” will die & I’ll finally have to get a smart phone, but I have mixed feelings about it. I used to say it was about cost, but now it’s more about quality of life. Also, quite frankly, I’m terrified of carrying around a fragile, expensive piece of technology.

No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales

No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales

Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there’s something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.

“To walk into a place and see people looking at their screens with a blank stare, it takes away just kind of the community aspect of it. Of you being in a place with other people,” owner Jodi Whalen says.

I like the idea of community places that actively discourage technology in order to actively encourage human interaction. We all need a gentle reminder sometimes to look up from our screens and focus on the world around us.