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

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So this past weekend I got together with my brother and a bunch of college friends for a night of poker in Philadelphia. It was the first time this groupPoker night!

I'm going to revisit a couple of topics discussed here recently and then we'll hit some new topics. Well, after my last post I finished watching The Event. I stick withRevisitation and new worlds

Writer's Blog: Striking Writers Head to Capitol Hill The writer's strike continues, though negotiations have started once again. Meanwhile, the writers went and had a mock debate in Washington D.C. toWriter's Blog: Striking Writers Head to Capitol Hill

You never know what's going to make an impact on your kids. I don't mean an immediate "wow!" impact, I'm talking about the long term stuff. It may not even2 voices + 4 spices = 1 big impact

I recently experienced one of the things on this list. See if you can figure out which one it is: Things that don't go together easily: Oil and water Drinking and driving Fine wineThings that don't go together easily

Over on Flixxy someone posted the top 10 Low-Pass Jet Fly-bys. If you could capture the awesomeness of this is a liquid form it would... um... taste really good... orPure, unadulterated, low-altitude, jet fighter awesomeness

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH | Bryce Zabel: Spaced Out: Hawking Colonies & Re-Booting Star Trek Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies, Lois & Clark) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Crusade, Jeremiah) wereStar Trek, Babylon 5 style: Concept pitch revealed

Okay, that may be overstating it slightly, but comic book properties are getting a lot more attention in the last few years. The encouraging thing is that they are usuallyGraphic novels are all the rage - Tuesday TubeWatch

At my house we have a bit of a push-and-pull relationship with time. My wife pushes, and I pull. Call me crazy, but I don't think we need to leave aRules for showing up

I just caught up on my JMSNews reading and found a few items I thought I'd point out. First, we have a tentative release time for Babylon 5: The Lost TalesBabylon 5 / JMS updates

Learning 2006 - Josh Bersin & Elliott Masie Dialogue Josh and Elliot, two "thought leaders" in the learning industry, get together and talk about the things they're seeing in the learningElliott Masie & Josh Bersin: Learning Trends

(Grab your pacemaker, it looks like I'm making two posts in two days! Will the madness ever end?) A few things came to my attention today that I just couldn't waitWatchmen, Star Trek, and Star Wars (sort of)

I wrote before about the problem I have with showing my daughters the Star Wars series (well, some of them). It's difficult to decide what order to show them whichStar Wars Conundrum: Sorted

I find a lot of stuff that I want to share, but that doesn't make it into a blog post of its own, for whatever reason (usually a lack ofLinkList: Sci-fi edition

My second guest shot on the Midnight Movie Club was posted this week, reviewing the film "Return To Me" (with a stellar cast led by David Duchovny and Minnie DriverReturn to MidMo and other short subjects

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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