Category Archives: New York Times

Digitally Addicted

NYT: Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

This article is perfect for my final project topic – being digitally distracted. The article discusses how kids choose their computers and other digital devices over books and their school work. Procrastinating with technology which is leading to a drop in grades. Matt Richtel gives an example of turning to the internet to get a overview of a book instead of actually reading the book.

On YouTube, “you can get a whole story in six minutes,” he explains. “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.” Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.

Obviously technology can be a great distraction (I find myself being distracted by it as well when I should be working) but it can also help students. The article shows an example of a student at Woodside High School in California; the teachers recognize this student as one of the brightest and he is technologically savvy – helping parents with navigating their digital tools, sharing numerous links and videos via Facebook and recently found an interest & skill in film making, but his grades are not so hot.

Last semester, his grade point average was 2.3 after a D-plus in English and an F in Algebra II. He got an A in film critique. “He’s a kid caught between two worlds,” said Mr. Reilly — one that is virtual and one with real-life demands.

The article also gives examples of different students to show how technology can hinder a students preformace. Another example was a female student who sent 27,000 text messages in a month (holy crap that a lot of text messages!). This student often will start homework and become distracted by her phone and end up forgetting to finish her homework.

Students have a choice whether to procrastinate on their computers or finish their school work. Parents at a particular point should monitor their children but as our technology advances if they don’t stay on top of current conditions they will fall behind. When these students get to college they are on their own – they need to learn time management or they won’t succeed.

This is my point for the project. Technology is great – I love it. But there needs to be a line drawn, remember you live in a tangible world – don’t forget it! Yes, I agree, technology can make life easier and faster (instant gratification) – I love that I can have all my emails on my phone, update my Facebook status or upload a picture with a couple taps of my finger. But we are getting lost in it. As I’ve walked around campus I’ve noticed that we’ve become digital drones, walking from class to class with our heads down totally focused on our phones or other digital devices. Don’t forget our palpable world – enjoy it!

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NYT: Pardon Bid for Jim Morrison Relights Old Fires

Next month the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist is will submit Morrison’s name to the state clemency board. Crist, a former Republican now Independent (hmp!) who lost this years election, will forfeit his seat in January.

It started in ’69 when The Doors played in Miami’s Dinner Key Auditorium.

If you want a full report on the back-story read this.

After the events at the Dinner Key Auditorium those outraged by Morrison’s behavior demanded the police to do something, believing Morrison was corrupting their youth’s behavior and promoting a riot. There was a total of six warrants issued to Jim Morrison. One felony of lewd and lascivious behavior, two counts of public profanity, two counts of indecent exposure, and one count for public drunkenness. Of course the media (once again) played a major role in how the whole incident played out.

The jury in Morrison’s trial was apparently rigged, removing anyone from the jury who showed the slightest hint of sympathy for Morrison. Those who were at the concert that night couldn’t tell the court what they actually saw on stage that night.

Some argue that Morrison was not tried by a jury of his peers (given that his jurors were all older than 40); that the verdict, which found him not guilty of drunkenness but guilty of acts resulting from it, was contradictory; and that none of the photographs submitted as evidence could definitively show he had exposed himself. (NYT)

Morrison was convicted only of two misdemeanors: indecent exposure  and profanity. He died only four months later in Pairs before being able to appeal his convictions (although some believe he may still be alive…).

David Itzkoff, writing for the NYT, states:

For those on the other side, the passion has dimmed, but a sour taste lingers. The anger that once brought them to the barricades has dulled to an impatient pique at the notion that the fate of a dead rock star still commands attention 40 years later. (NYT)

I hope his names does get cleared. The law enforcement/courts were wrong and a correction to their error should be rectified. Not just for Jim but for the image American made him into – which he taunted to the public.

A More Social Surfing

Web Browsing Takes a Social Turn
NYT 11.07.10

RockMelt, may be a new way to surf the web. Comeplete with Facebook and Twitter sidebars. You are able to essentially be on facebook, twitter, wordpress, among other social media sites in a single window. You friends are on your left with chat capabilities and updates appear on the right; enabling you to toggle back and forth. Including a “share” button – for all your sharing pleasures.

RockMelt will be introduced on Monday and will be free, similar to the way Firefox operates. Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Net-Scape and who’s firm is the major backing in this product) says of RockMelt:

“Had we known about Facebook and Twitter and Google back in ’92 or ’93, we would have built them into the browser…This is an opportunity to go back and do it right.” (NYT)

I’m conflicted about this one. On the one hand I agree, we should keep up with the fast-changing technology and failure to do so may hinder our future. It would be nice not to have all those windows open at once, when you can get them all-in-one. Those behind RockMelt are hoping that word of mouth produces a increase in users. This may be a difficult task, as I for example am comfortable with my web browser and always use Firefox versus Safari or Internet Explorer. Personally, I’ll let them work the bugs out before I try it. On the contrary, is it too much? Do I really need to be that “in-touch” with my “friends” every time I’m online? I would say no, maybe it’s just me. I wouldn’t would all that crap on my screen all the time – I find it to be a distraction when I’m working. And sometimes I need the absence of my technology – removing myself from all the craziness (no iphone, no laptop, no tv), for clarity I suppose. The article didn’t say if there was an “off” feature to the social networks but we’ll see how this browser stacks up after Monday.

NYT: Dorm Room Redesign

Living Lab Project: Pratt Institute

Interior design students at the Pratt Institute in New York were recently given an assignment to redesign a current dorm room by “reducing, reinventing, and reusing”. The new sustainable dorm room will be tested by students next semester. This is a much improved design. The bathroom, which saves water by not having a tub (standing shower only) and the water drained from the sink is held in the toilet tank for flushing. The furniture has been recycled from older furniture and made stackable to conserved space when needed. The windowsill has been converted into a table that allows more light to flood the room.  Great redesign.

NYT: TED Award Given to Guerilla Artist

Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face

The artist known as J R recently received the TED Award for his guerilla art – which draws attention to social issues. J R uses waterproof vinyl prints and pastes them to walls in cities. He uses photos of people in the local neighborhoods where he works. He says of his work:

“If there’s one thing I’ve always taken care of with my work, it’s that it’s never an advertisement for anything other than the work itself and for the people it’s about.”

A 27 year-old guerilla artist (calling himself a “photograffeur”) has maintained his anonymity. Shocked by the nomination and award, TED officials hope that this excites others in the TED community and “to support an art-centered philanthropic project, which will be announced at the organization’s next conference in March” (NYT).

Check out these photos!

Very inspirational, especially the social issue aspect of J R’s work. This is motivating me to really use guerilla art in Project #2.

NYT: Military Now Accepting Openly Gay Applicants

This is HUGE! It’s about damn time!

U.S. Military Moves to Accept Gay Recruits

NYT: Proposition 19

U.S. Will Enforce Marijuana Laws, State Vote Aside

According to the New York Times on October 15th, the government will continue to uphold marijuana laws despite the effort in California to legalize the plant. The government in this case is clueless and appears as though their view will not change (for now at least). The legalization of marijuana would bring more money into the state government(s) and could possibly elevate some of the economic deficit (doesn’t the government need money right now?)

Democrats and younger voters seem to be the majority of supporting voters for Proposition 19. With the growing and selling of medical marijuana already legal in some states, if Proposition 19 does pass it may lead other states to follow suit (this is my hope).

A quote from a supporter of the legalization:

“Bring on the establishment,” said Chris Lehane, a senior consultant to the campaign pushing for passage of the initiative. “This campaign, and the energy driving it, is predicated on the common understanding that the establishment’s prohibition approach has been a complete and utter failure, as proven by the point that today it is easier for a kid to get access to pot than it is to buy a beer or a cigarette.” [NYT]

Lehane is right – it’s becoming easier to gain access to marijuana, not matter what your age is. And the government’s approach has been a failure. Why is the government punishing those in possession of marijuana as criminals with jail time when they should be focused on violent crimes more so than a kid puffin’ on a joint (who’s not endangering anyone). Marijuana users (for the most part) are not violent people and the effects of marijuana do not cause people to become violent – so why are you treating them as criminals? I refer you to NORML’s Marijuana Penalties page.

I’ll say it again: the government is clueless and they are denying themselves money by not legalizing marijuana.

California’s becoming the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use would provide a real-life test of theories that proponents of legalization have long pressed: That it would provide a new stream of revenues for government, cut down on drug-related violence and end a modern-day prohibition that effectively turns many citizens into lawbreakers.

Although Schwarzenegger did sign a legislation that a person possessing an ounce of marijuana is an infraction of the law – not punishable by imprisonment. This is a step in the process but I hope those in California continue their fight and those not in California to fight as well.

An acre of hemp produces more paper than an acre of trees.

NORML

Both Thomas Jefferson & George Washington grew hemp on their farms – for more facts and information on hemp visit NAIHC.