Posts Tagged ‘Newsweek’

Commentary on Newseek’s Cover Story “iCrazy”

July 11, 2012

More specifically “iCRAZY: PANIC. DEPRESSION. PSYCHOSIS. HOW CONNECTION ADDICTION IS REWIRING OUR BRAINS” in the July 16, 2012 edition. The inside title is ‘IS THE ONSLAUGHT MAKING US CRAZY?” I have no quarrel with the research cited, nor with the thesis that there are problems that result from the manner in which people interact with technology. My problem is with the portrayal of humans as helpless victims of technology. Perhaps one can make an analogy with alcohol. Some users of alcohol become alcoholics while the majority of us are able to enjoy alcoholic beverages safely. However, a minority of users suffer from alcoholism. Where the analogy breaks down is in the relative benefits of alcohol and technology. The benefits of alcohol are personal enjoyment and, perhaps, some health benefits. However, the benefits of technology are so many orders of magnitude larger that the analogy breaks down. The Healthymemory Blog maintains that technology provides means of fostering cognitive growth and personal development as well as providing means of minimizing or eliminating the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Most of the relevant Healthymemory Blog posts on this topic can be found under the category “Transactive Memory.”

I become infuriated whenever I read articles that portray humans as helpless victims of technology. The hype in the titles of the Newsweek activated my crap detector (see the Healthymemory Blog Post “Has the Internet Really Made the Assessment of the Reliability of Information More Difficult?”). If I may be given the liberty of distinguishing levels of “crap,” the reading of the Newsweek article raised the distinction from “garden variety” crap to “world class” crap.

We need to seize control of technology and use it to our benefit rather than to our detriment. The book Net Smart by Howard Rheingold provides good advice on how to do so. Indeed, the subtitle of the book is How to Thrive Online. See the Healthymemory Blog Post “Net Smart” for a review.

© Douglas Griffith and, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012

January 8, 2012

“31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012” was an article in Newsweek, (2012) Jan 9 & 16, pp. 31-34.  This Healthymemory Blog Post summarizes and categorizes them into the Healthymemory categories:

Human Memory: Theory and Data

Mnemonic Techniques

Transactive Memory

Human Memory: Theory and Data

Eat Tumeric. Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, which may reduce dementia’

Tak Tae Kwon Do. or any physical activity that raises your heart rate and requires a lot of coordination.

Eat Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is supposed to have memory improving flavonoids as does red wine.

Join a Knitting Circle. Refining motor ability can benefit cognitive skills.

Wipe the Smile Off Your Face. The act of frowning can make you more skeptical and analytic.

Eat Yogurt. Probiotics may benefit your brain as they have in studies on mice.

Refine Your Thinking Understand how your systems of memory work (System 1 fast; System 2 slow), and learn how to use them for maximum benefit. (See the Healthymemory Blog Posts, “The Two System View of Cognition,” “Review of the Washington Post‘s “The Aging Brain,”, and “Disabusing the Myth that Older People Do No Have New Ideas”)

Hydrate. Dehydration forces the brain to work harder and can hinder its planning and decision making ability.

Play an Instrument. This can boost IQ by increasing activity in parts of the brain controlling memory and coordination.

Write By Hand. Brain imaging studies had shown how handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. It might also help you remember what you have written.

Drink Coffee. Studies have shown that coffee can bolster short-term memory and assist in warding off depression.

Delay Gratification. This can help you focus your attention and increase the probability of achieving your goalss

Mnemonic Techniques.

Build a Memory Palace. Mnemonic techniques can both boost memory and provide cognitive exercise. The Memory Palace is described in the Healthymemory Blog Post “How the Memory Champs Do It.”

Zone Out. Strictly speaking Zoning Out and Meditation are not mnemonic techniques.
They are include under mnemonic techniques as they are specific processes that can enhance memory.

Transactive Memory

Play Words with Friends. Transactive memory involves using both your fellow humans and technology to maintain and enhance a healthy memory.

Get News from Al Jazerra. Using unused sources of information broadens your view and enhances cognition.

Toss Your Smartphone. This involves getting rid of technology that can disrupt your focus and sap your productivity.

Download the TED APP. On the other hand there is information available in technology that fosters cognitive growth.

Go to a Literary Festival is an example of an transactive memory activity that involves your fellow human beings in your cognitive enhancement.

Learn a Language can involve both humans and technology and can genuinely enhance cognitive health.

Play Violent Videogames. Well, perhaps not violent videogames, but appropriately chosen viedogames can quicken reactions and improve multitasking.

Follow These People on Twitter. Although this is an example of transactive memory, the Healthymemory Blog respectfully disagrees and urges you to avoid Twitter (so never mind the “who” part).

Install Supermemo. This software can help you catalog new data and then remind you to remember it before it slips away.

See a Shakespeare Play. Viewing the work of the bard is an example of transactive memory involving interactions with your fellow humans.

Check Out ITUNES U. Top schools put their lectures online at iTunes U in subjects ranging from philosophy to astrophysics.

Visit MOMA. That is the Museum of Modern Art to enhance your cognitive experience.

Become an Expert. Becoming an expert in a subject involves interactions with both your fellow humans and technology.

Write Reviews Online. Be proactive in your use of technology.

Get Out of Town. This involves interacting with humans but remember to bring along your laptop.

In Summary

This should give you some ideas. Feel free to substitute relevant appropriate activities of your own choosing.