Does the internet degrade our ability to read?

There is some evidence that the way we read on the internet–skimming, surfing, hopping from link to link–is interfering with the ability to read complex, content-rich books that require reading slowly and thoughtfully.

Do you think?  Having just finished the 1500 page unabridged Les Miserables for free on my Kindle (an overwhelming experience that I’ll blog about later), I say not necessarily.  But still, I can see the danger.  I wonder what the eye-bite approach would do to Bible reading.

[Read more...]

Wiping out your social media debts

Thanks to Anthony Sacramone for alerting me to this Portlandia bit, Declare Social-Media Bankruptcy | Strange Herring:

Should the NSA revelations win the Pulitzer Prize?

One of the biggest stories in journalism last year had to do with the revelations from Edward Snowden about the extent of the National Security Administration’s surveillance program, which includes harvesting data from the cell phones and internet usage of non-accused American citizens as well as foreigners and their leaders.

Now the Pulitzer Prize committee is agonizing over whether to give the prestigious award to the newspapers that broke the story–the Washington Post and the London Guardian–even though it was illegal for their source to leak the classified material.  What do you think? [Read more...]

Music and Politics

Music streaming site Pandora is claiming that it can tell how their listeners will vote according to the music they like.  They plan to use this information to sell political advertising.

Why would candidates buy advertising to attract voters who already are likely to vote for them?

At any rate, after the jump, read how internet sites are trying to get into your head so as to target you for advertisers.

And then we can play a game.  What are some politically conservative songs?  What are some politically liberal songs? [Read more...]

Stay-at-Home entertainment vs. live theater

What with Netflix, on-demand TV, Hulu on the iPad, and videos on the smart phone, more and more people are staying at home for their entertainment, cocooning unto themselves.  Even going to the movies is too communal and too much trouble for a lot of us, who prefer to wait until we can watch a new film when it comes out on Netflix, rather than getting out of the house.  But this tendency is wreaking worse havoc on live theater.

Thanks to Bruce Gee for putting me onto this column from Terry Teachout, drama critic at the Wall Street Journal. [Read more...]

Top news stories of 2013

The Associated Press released its list of the top 10 news stories of 2013, based on polls of American editors and news directors.  See the list after the jump.  What would you add?  What do you think was the most important news event of 2013? [Read more...]


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