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The typewriter is not dead; our brains might be, though

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Two news items:

NBC News, “The Typewriter is Not Dead” —

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Also from NBC News: “Students can’t resist distraction for two minutes … and neither can you” —

Are gadgets making us dumber? Two new studies suggest they might be. One found that people who are interrupted by technology score 20 percent lower on a standard cognition test. A second demonstrated that some students, even when on their best behavior, can’t concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves by using social media or writing an email.

Interruptions are the scourge of modern life. Our days and nights are full of gadgets that ping, buzz and beep their way into our attention, taking us away from whatever we are doing.

We’ve known for a while that distractions hurt productivity at work. Depressing research by Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine, says that typical office workers only get 11 continuous minutes to work on a task before interruption. With smartphones reaching near ubiquity, the problem of tech-driven multitasking ā€” juggling daily tasks with email, text messages, social media etc ā€” is coming to a head.

I suppose I should say something witty (checks e-mail), or offer some sage advice (checks Facebook status), but nothing (reads article on boy who saved busload of students) directly comes to mind…

© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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