ADDICTED TO INTERNETS, Y’ALL!
(But srsly, think this whole thing is making us a little nutso? That’s our cover this week: How ‘connection addiction’ is re-wiring our brains.)
Questions about the Internet’s deleterious effects on the mind are at least as old as hyperlinks. But even among Web skeptics, the idea that a new technology might influence how we think and feel—let alone contribute to a great American crack-up—was considered silly and naive, like waving a cane at electric light or blaming the television for kids these days. Instead, the Internet was seen as just another medium, a delivery system, not a diabolical machine. It made people happier and more productive. And where was the proof otherwise?
Now, however, the proof is starting to pile up. The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.
Want more? Read: Is the Web Driving Us Mad?
Follow-Up of the Day: Abused Bus Monitor Responds: Less than 24 hours after the horrific verbal abuse of Karen Huff Klein by a group of teens went viral, an online fundraiser to send the 68-year-old bus monitor on “the vacation of a lifetime” has raised $170,000 (and climbing).
What was Klein thinking as the juvenile delinquents berated her Monday?
Something about me being so fat and ugly your kids probably should commit suicide. I don’t think they knew my son had… I wanted to punch them is what I wanted to do. So that’s why I laid back, tried to ignore it. Because I really wanted to hurt them, you know? You can’t do that!
Klein said she doesn’t want the students to face criminal charges, but that she would like to see them “grounded all summer, or maybe all year.” She also would love an apology.
Meanwhile, the Greece Central School District has launched an investigation: “The first we learned of the incident was by email Wednesday morning,” said Deborah Hoeft, the district’s assistant superintendent. Two more videos of Klein being harassed have been found, and students are being questioned.
“This behavior is inexcusable and a clear violation of our code of conduct,” Hoeft said.
A news conference is planned for later today.
“Cat Copter, you are cleared for landing.”
(Video can be seen here: Some Guy Turned His Dead Cat Into A Helicopter | BuzzFeed)
I don’t know, sure.
Social media brought me here. Tumblr brought me here.
The NYT’s At War blog has been trying to identify a type of cluster bomb found in Libya. A few of you asked for more photographs to help your efforts, so we have put three more here. These come from the Joint Mine Action Coordination Team in Libya, and are of submunitions that had not undergone the weathering of those we photographed in November in Mizdah. If they can help, we are happy to share them.
We’d like to think that there were readily accessible on-line resources to help civilians run down this kind of information when weapons like these turn up near their homes. But though there are many resources, most have gaps. We (and several others who took this on) have looked at many of the available materials. None of us found a clear match.
That said, these weapons should be fairly easy to identify to specialists in government service, as there are governments that have built international munitions databases and restricted websites for their EOD techs and intelligence services. Unfortunately, though these materials are underwritten by taxpayers and contain information that could be vital to civilians working in conflicts or in post-conflict environments, these sites are largely walled off from civilians — and even from many members of government service who have security clearances. On Twitter, @brettfriedman, a U.S. Marine officer, seems to have bumped into a few of these walls this afternoon. A short while ago he tweeted: “Most of the websites I’m trying to access to research @cjchivers mystery submunition are blocked by US Cyber Command. Thanks, dicks.”
Of course there are other ways. Before the post went live, I was talking with the blog’s editor, Jeff Delviscio, and we agreed that we might get lucky and have a reader solve this at a snap. Here is why: The specialists we showed the photographs to are just like anyone else — they are guided by their own experiences. What this means is that if these submunitions had not been seen, or at least seen widely, in the conflicts where they had worked then the pictures might not register with them. But there could well be a reader who has seen these same items repeatedly in other wars, or (just as likely) a reader who had attended the right arms shows over the years and would recognize the submunitions from the kiosks and displays. Such a reader might even have sales brochures.
This was our hope. That, or that a determined Googler would find a site or a pdf document that we had missed or skimmed while working on this little side project and doing everything else, and would make us eat crow. That would be welcome, too.
This entry on the Internet’s to do list is pretty badass. Any experts out there?