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.

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Less cash, less crime

Cash is portable, hard to trace, and universally-accepted, no questions asked.  Which makes it a good thing to steal.  There may be a relationship between the decline in the crime rate and the rise of debit-cards and other electronic means of exchange.  A study suggests this is the case in poor neighborhoods, ever since the welfare system replaced cashable checks with debit cards. [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:

Just let Google run the country?

Justine Tunney, one of the founders of Occupy Wall Street, is calling on President Obama to resign, have all government workers retire, and transfer all administrative authority to the tech industry, making Google chairman Eric Schmidt the “C.E.O. of America.”

But aren’t leftists always complaining about the influence of big corporations on the government?  Ms. Tunney claims that the tech industry is actually “post-capitalist.”

OK, she only has two signatures on her petition at the time of the news report, so this isn’t a realistic threat to our constitutional republic.  But still, even people on the right say that government should be run “like a business.”  What are the problems with this? [Read more…]

The mystery of the missing cell phone calls

A related mystery in the case of the missing airliner.  Whatever happened, why didn’t–or haven’t–any of the 239 people on board call somebody on their cell phones? [Read more…]

U.S. giving up control of the Internet

What do you think of this?

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web. [Read more…]