New York Times:
Well, no, probably not. Or at least, not literally. But two British scientists have recently suggested that spending all day, and — admit it — much of the night networking on a computer might in fact be bad for your body and your brain.

No less an authority on the brain’s workings than Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and the director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, told a British newspaper on Tuesday that social networking sites remind her of the way that “small babies need constant reassurance that they exist” and make her worry about the effects that this sort of stimulation is having on the brains of users. Lady Greenfield (she’s a neuroscientist and a baroness) told the Daily Mail:

My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.

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Consequences can be very difficult to forsee because no-one can really see the future. We can only guess or speculate. Sometimes our predictions do happen sometimes they do not. We do the best we can.

Some conseqences are beneficial, some are detrimental. But, they ARE coming! We cannot escape the consequences.

Even experienced executives, scientists and statespeople have difficulty is seeing past the short term consequences of their decisions.

Especially when teaching children to think, who have no long term perspective, it is very difficult to teach them to consider the 5, 10, 15 and 20 year consequences of their thinking, decisions and actions.

Are you aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Wikipedia says, “Unintended consequences are situations where an action results in an outcome that is not (or not only) what is intended. The unintended results may be foreseen or unforeseen, but they should be the logical or likely results of the action. For example, it is often conjectured that if the Treaty of Versailles had not imposed such harsh conditions on Germany, World War II would not have occurred. As such, war was an unintended consequence of the Treaty of Versailles … “

Go to Wikipedia for more on this topic …

From neurons to brain wiring, Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family gives an easy-to-understand tour of children’s and teens’ brain development and the impact of experience on the “wiring’ of their brains.

••• This is a 6 minute video called Brain Power. Watch the video and click through here …

The National Institute on Media and Family says:
It is widely accepted that young children’s brains are extremely malleable. One look at a two year old shows us that early childhood is a time of incredible developmental change. However, new brain science is shedding light onto our understanding of how children’s brains grow and develop over time. Contrary to long-standing belief, the adolescent brain is not a finished product. In fact, it is in the midst of a period of dynamic growth. And during this important developmental stage, an adolescent brain can be very powerfully affected by the experiences they have.

Neuroscientists agree: when the brain is in the midst of major rewiring, it is extremely susceptible to outside influences. In other words, the experiences our kids have when their brains are developing have a profound impact on the mental map they will use as adults. This research not only explains a lot about the baffling behavior of teenagers but also reminds us that media are powerful forces in the lives of kids of all ages.

In other words, if we believe that Sesame Street is teaching our four-year-olds something then we better believe that Grand Theft Auto is teaching our fourteen-year-olds something.

Posted

NEW YORK TIMES:

There is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that Internet security and privacy have become so maddeningly elusive that the only way to fix the problem is to start over.

What a new Internet might look like is still widely debated, but one alternative would, in effect, create a “gated community” where users would give up their anonymity and certain freedoms in return for safety.

Today that is already the case for many corporate and government Internet users. As a new and more secure network becomes widely adopted, the current Internet might end up as the bad neighborhood of cyberspace. You would enter at your own risk and keep an eye over your shoulder while you were there.

“Unless we’re willing to rethink today’s Internet,” says Nick McKeown, a Stanford engineer involved in building a new Internet, “we’re just waiting for a series of public catastrophes.”

Last year, when a malicious software program thought to have been unleashed by a criminal gang in Eastern Europe suddenly appeared after easily sidestepping the world’s best cyberdefenses. Known as Conficker, it quickly infected more than 12 million computers, ravaging everything from the computer system at a surgical ward in England to the computer networks of the French military.

Conficker remains a ticking time bomb. It now has the power to lash together those infected computers into a vast supercomputer called a botnet that can be controlled clandestinely by its creators. What comes next remains a puzzle. Conficker could be used as the world’s most powerful spam engine, perhaps to distribute software programs to trick computer users into purchasing fake antivirus protection. Or much worse. It might also be used to shut off entire sections of the Internet. But whatever happens, Conficker has demonstrated that the Internet remains highly vulnerable to a concerted attack.

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