What’s On Your Mind • Study Without A Cause

By zooidal I frequently see study results presented as new blossoms from the human knowledge shrub, then realize they're just ancient freeze-dried cuttings stuck in a Fireside Girl's charming glazed pot. "Email apnea" got my attention the other day, in a Scientific American piece by Tia Ghose about aimless Internet browsing (newly invented maladies always get my attention). Here's a few excerpts from Why the Internet Sucks You in Like a Black Hole - A lack of structural online boundaries tempts users into spending countless hours on the Web..

Reading emails or hunching over a screen can...activate humans' fight-or-flight response, said Linda Stone, a researcher who has studied the physiological effects of Internet use. Stone has shown that about 80 percent of people (Saying 79.9 percent would save her 3 characters and a space, but that would seem like a lot less people) temporarily stop breathing or breathe shallowly when they check their email or look at a screen — a condition she calls email apnea. - Well then, people who thread needles, land airplanes, sneak up creaky stairways, see cops with radar guns (or cops readying themselves to Tase recalcitrant motorists), open registered mail from the IRS, or do anything requiring exactitude or self-preservation should already have Stone's attention, though that won't get her recognized as an on-demand professional Internet expert, so never mind. What of the multitudes of apneic people in front of cinema, television, convenience store deli and ATM screens? Same deal.

You've got mail - Humans are social creatures. (Damn. Really?) As a result, people enjoy the social information available via email and the Web. - As if telephones, the U.S. Postal Service, backyard fences and Friday night bingo were never used to spread gossip. At least Ghose explains the mystery of Facebook. That said, nowhere in the article does she credit AOL for the paragraph heading.

Email and social media have the same reward structure as that of a casino slot machine... people are wired to compulsively seek unpredictable payoffs like those doled out on the Web... If that sounds like you, don't feel bad: That behavior is natural, given how the Internet is structured, experts say. "...It's compulsive; it's compelling; it's distracting", said Tom Stafford, a cognitive scientist at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. - Is the Internet as "compulsive" as Tom Stafford, with his fondness for semi-colons and permutations of the word 'compel'? (Maybe I shouldn't talk - I like parentheses, dashes, slashes, ticks, run-on sentences and self-depreciating asides - but, I digress) Does his training in cognitive science qualify him as an "expert" on email and social media structure? Anybody can see these are recently developed extensions of preexisting social interaction methods.

No limits - Another reason the Internet is so addictive is it lacks boundaries between tasks, Stafford said. Someone may set out to "research something, and then accidentally go to Wikipedia, and then wind up trying to find out what ever happened to Depeche Mode," Stafford said, referring to the music band. - Ooo, no boundaries, can't have that - let's ban hypertext. But gee, I thought quick'n'easy information access was a good thing, but so is organization and discipline. I think it says so in the Code of Hammurabi. BBSes, CompuServe, Prodigy and AOL were structured environments not mentioned in the article - maybe I'm an expert for mentioning them. Seriously, are these experts offering us anything new regarding human nature, or practical solutions for easily distracted people that weren't adapted from out-of-print self-help books? Lots of things having nothing to do with the Internet can be of interest to the terminally distracted, except for the things they're supposed to be doing right now.

You never get away from the temptation," Stafford said. - How insightful, though an underestimation of human capacity.

Set boundaries - For those who want to loosen the viselike grip of the Web (maybe they really mean porn) on their lives, a few simple techniques may do the trick. Web-blocking tools that limit surfing time can help people regain control over their time (Yeah? Uninstalling them gives you even more control!). Another method is to plan ahead, committing to work for 20 minutes, or until a certain task is complete, and then allowing five minutes of Web surfing, Stafford said. - Web blocking tools? We're all kids now? At least the idea wasn't cribbed from Rita Emmett's Procrastinator's Handbook. Stafford's brief, hackneyed suggestion masquerades as a time-worn time-management tip; maybe Internet Exhaustion Syndrome has messed with his creativity.

Old movies sometimes depicted gossipy housewives spreading disinformation at the protagonist's expense via a new invention, the telephone, which attracted plenty of predictions of mal-use during its first decade or so. Proper telephone etiquette was promoted in theater ad inserts, popular magazines and schools. During the 1980s until the mid 90s, 'netiquette' was promoted to those newly online. Proper study habits and time management have been subjects of interest since before Aristotle. Tia Ghose includes only the very brief, unoriginal suggestions found on Google Books by cognitive scientist/on-demand Internet expert Tom Stafford for what she sees as "a lack of structural online boundaries" tempting users into "spending countless hours on the Web". Ghose's article is an exercise in mere sensationalism.

Well, gotta go - I wanna download a movie and some discographies from Pirate Bay while notifying Facebook friends about the new blog I'm editing. Damn, more inbox Viagra... crap, I didn't top my high score - Happy Wheels sucks.

...One more tidbit, because a black hole has stripped me of all discipline:

"Technology is all about eroding structure," Stafford told LiveScience. "But actually, psychologically, we need more structure, and those things are in tension." - Technology is about eroding "structure"? Maybe sandblasters and a hypothetical cloud of nano-nibblers with diamond encrusted grills can erode structure, but I guess that's not what he means. OK, Stafford's ...read more

Via:: gov.summit.net

Pennsylvania State Government • Pennsylvania man pays school property tax — all in $1 bills

By Gary Triplett An Easton, Pa. man, frustrated over property taxes, visited the local tax office and paid in dollar bills — all $7,143 of it.

One bill at a time.

Local news reports identify the man as Robert Fernandes of Forks Township.

The scene, posted on YouTube, has generated more than 15,600 views — in less than a week.

In the video, Fernandes carries a duffel bag filled with bundled bills, which he proceeds to stack on a counter. He brings doughnuts, offered to “anyone who is inconvenienced here today.”

The tax collector tells Fernandes his protest should probably be directed elsewhere, toward the school board, maybe, which is in charge of setting property tax rates.

“I'm not doing this to make anybody's life more difficult,” Fernandes tells the collector. “Unfortunately, I wish the same could be said, you know, for me and many others whose lives are more difficult for having to pay property taxes.”

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Source: Bartle Doo Articles

Statistics: Posted by Gary Triplett — Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:43 pm


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What’s On Your Mind • Ode to Common Sense

By Gary Triplett

ODE TO COMMON SENSE
Obituary printed in the London Times.....Absolutely Brilliant !!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense , who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
...
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, share this with others. If not, join the majority and do nothing

Statistics: Posted by Gary Triplett — Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:18 pm


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Financial • Check out the story of America’s recovery, the mind of Obama

By Gary Triplett The White House, Washington
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Hello, everyone --

In the early hours of September 15, 2008, five years ago last Sunday, Lehman Brothers announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lehman was a giant of the financial system -- the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, a firm that employed thousands of brokers and analysts, with billions in assets that were suddenly worthless -- and its collapse sent shock waves through the global economy.

Suddenly, it was obvious that the next president of the United States would inherit a staggering economic crisis. But the challenge that President Obama was forced to confront didn't just begin in 2008. Even before Lehman Brothers, middle-class security had been slowly eroding for decades as jobs became obsolete or were shipped overseas.

So as we mark this anniversary, we've asked senior staff from across the Obama administration to sit down and talk about the moment when key decisions were made -- the factors they weighed, the results of the actions that President Obama took. What we've put together is a behind-the-scenes look of the decision-making process that you won't find anywhere else.

Check out the story of America's recovery, then share it with your friends.

By the end of 2008, the economy was shrinking by an annual rate of more than 8 percent, our businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, and credit was frozen for families and small businesses. We were in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. On the day that I first began working in the White House in 2009, the auto industry was on the brink of collapse and the President was wrestling with how to help the millions of families in thousands of communities who would have been devastated if the motor companies died.

That's the lens through which President Obama saw his responsibilities, and it's a consistent theme in all the stories we've collected. Every decision he made was meant to stop the economy from spiraling out of control, put people back to work, and reverse the trends that had buffeted middle class for decades. The task was nothing short of monumental -- to clear away the rubble of the crisis and lay down a new foundation for sustained economic growth in the United States.

There's no diminishing the severity of the challenge we've overcome together, and we've got a lot more work to do to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. But five years after Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, we want to help everyone get the context and see the full picture.

Take a minute to learn more about where we are five years after the start of the financial crisis:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/five-years-later

Thanks!

David

David Simas
Deputy Senior Advisor
The White House
@Simas44
Visit WhiteHouse.gov

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

Statistics: Posted by Gary Triplett — Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:05 pm


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Videos • If I were the Devil – Paul Harvey’s 1965 speech

By Gary Triplett Long time radio newsman/commentator Paul Harvey created the original of this homily around 1965. It was updated as the years went by and therefore versions of it vary over time. It is a warning to America about its own decay.
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View other versions of this video here.

Statistics: Posted by Gary Triplett — Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:11 pm


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What’s On Your Mind • Handwritten message from President Obama -Gettysburg Address

By Gary Triplett obama-gun-control.jpg
Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. And to mark Lincoln's historic, moving speech, President Obama sat down and penned a very personal, handwritten tribute for display at the Lincoln Presidential Library.
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Statistics: Posted by Gary Triplett — Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:23 pm


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