Friday, July 18, 2008


Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”
Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Not really much to comment on with this article... more a 'note to self' to read it when I've got time.  I do have to say that I don't really relate to the above.  Only the other day I wrote about the joy of reading books and the lack of the 'distractability factor'... however, my experience seems to be the opposite of the one above.  Internet - yes... much more of a 'staccato quality'.  But books have their place and I adore reading them and allowing myself to be immersed in them.  Is the above a bit of a knee-jerk reaction?  Is it what happens if we let ourselves become overwhelmed by a changing world and consider it to be 'all or nothing'?

Right - off to skim read my head off for a bit.  All hard copy stuff and no change because of the internet... time pressures dictate that all I can do is skim, so rather than wringing my hands and worrying about whether I've lost the ability to 'deep read'... I'm just using a particular set of tools in a way that fits the circumstances.  Or something along those lines.  :o)
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