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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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This is one of a series of articles I wrote for The Coalition of Awesomeness blog some time ago. The blog has since gone to an unfortunate (but very awesome)Who do you serve, and who do you trust?

My company has recently shut down all access to YouTube. I get that. I completely believe that many people are using company time and bandwidth to watch all sorts ofI'm a casualty of war

I know you didn't notice, but I did. This site was down for about 20 hours due to a glitch that showed I had overspent my bandwidth allocation. I hadn't,We're back, and better than ever in "We're back, and better than ever!"

It's over. For four years of my life (which, oddly enough, took six years), I've been watching Battlestar Galactica weekly. This redesigned joy from my childhood became an engaging, exciting, andReview: Battlestar Galactica finale

Applications are open until October 11th. Sadly, my henchmen - Butterball and The Human Chihuahua - are on vacation, and training temps at this late hour is just not a headacheAre you E.L.E. material?

I'm a little hesitant to review this one, because it doesn't feel like it would be fair to do so until I've seen part three and the end of theReview: Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest

2theadvocate.com | Suburban | Deputies: Owner shot out man’s tires when he couldn’t pay for gas People are so screwed up. Take a second and write down the guy's license plateMan steals gas; Man shoots cars tires

[caption id="attachment_1690" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Salt Lake City - distant storm at dusk (click for bigger view)"][/caption] Last week I went on my first trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. I willMy Utah trip, or how I could have died at 6400 feet

“Justice League of America” Moves Forward - Slice of Scifi I'm sorry. I just can't picture this movie being made well any time in the next 5 years. As I said in“Justice League of America” Moves Forward - Slice of Scifi

I subscribe to news alerts from both CNN and the New York Times. I find the differences in their content interesting at times. The New York Times alerts pretty consistentlyBias in News Alerts?

Smallville's a repeat tonight after the mid-season cliffhanger two weeks ago. Not sure where the plot is going? Come on... Chloe is still possessed by Brainiac, Doomsday is a ravingSmallville fix

Today a guest post I wrote was published on the personal finance blog Gather Little by Little. Thanks to Glblguy for putting it up! I figured a couple people might wanderQuick overview for new visitors

I've realized something about myself. I hate changing state. That's at the core of my being. I don't like the act of changing my current condition. It almost doesn't matterChanges of state

Agassi's final 8 minutes on court Andre Agassi played his last professional match on Sunday, September 3, 2006. Check out the link above if, like me, you were unable to seeAgassi: Goodbye to a legend

Slice of Scifi - Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » BREAKING Stargate SG-1 News This is both great and disappointing. On the one hand, we get to seeStargate SG-1 ends its run on Direct-to-DVD

Tuesday TubeWatch: Social networking will eat your brain!

It’s a popular debate lately: are these social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) bad for us? Recently an Oxford professor, Baroness Susan Greenfield, made some rather provocative speculations about the cumulative effect frequent use of these sites can have on our physical brains. As reported by ars technica:

Greenfield said that sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and Twitter may be forcing kids’ brains back into an infant-like state, as infants need constant stimulation to remind them that they exist. She added that she worries that “real” conversation will eventually give way to these little snippets of text dialogue, indicating that our normal language might eventually turn into pokes, wall shout-outs, and 140-character snark fests.

She’s also shown explaining her view in the video below (though to be honest I had a hard time following her).

As a result of her statements, a debate was born on a British news show. On February 24th, BBC Newsnight aired this segment:

They go back and forth about the issue. Sort of. I actually think the anchor, generally, did a good job.

Here’s what I learned from this debate:

  • Even with a British accent, snarky people are annoying.

(For the record, I know absolutely nothing about these individuals beyond what I see here.)

Both of these guys have useful things to say. It’s a shame they’re not having the same discussion.

This whole debate seems a bit twisted, actually. It’s supposedly about Susan Greenfield’s statements, but she’s not there to defend them—instead they got Aric Sigman (the ‘conservative’), who apparently has never met Susan nor was he involved in her research (or lack thereof). He did apparently also write something that was taken as alarmist on a similar subject, though he does a fairly good job, I think, of clarifying that his point is simply that there is reason to examine whether Social Networking sites, among other activities that reduce “face time,” could possibly have a negative effect on attention development. He cites similar studies (that no one refutes) on the effect of TV watching. More research is warranted. That pretty much seems to be his point.

He also gets around to parental responsibility in monitoring and limiting children’s time on the computer.

Honestly I’m not sure where the argument is here. Aric’s statements don’t sound alarmist to me. A bit of responsibility seems reasonable to request.

Ben Goldacre, on the other hand, won’t let go of talking about Susan Greenfield’s statements. He’s making valid points about policy setting, in the end, but they are not really directed at Aric as much as they are at Susan, who isn’t there. Childish looks of superiority abound.

What bothers me the most about this is that I think people will see this and relate more to Ben (as the “individual” raging against “The Man”) and discount Aric’s point almost out-of-hand. It’s not that most people would disagree with Aric’s points if they listened, it’s that they won’t really hear what he’s saying. Who would disagree that we need to pay attention to the amount of time our kids spend on the computer? That it would be helpful for them to cultivate ‘real life’ friendships and ensure that the proper time is spent on them?

What they’ll probably hear instead is that Ben is arguing that Facebook will not melt your brain and cause developmental disorders, so they’ll assume that Aric’s point is that Facebook will melt your brain and must be shut down. Which is nowhere near what he’s saying.

Gotta go… I need to Tweet about the problems I’m having coming up with my Facebook statuses.

(found via Corporate e-Learning Strategies and Development)

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