Is Social Networking Killing You?

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.

— Click through here to the original article …

The consequences are coming …

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 …

Blossoming and Pruning. How is a child’s brain developed?

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.

Do We Need a New Internet?

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.

—Click through to original article …

Charles Darwin – 200th Anniversary today.

200 years ago, Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

In 1859, after two decades of analyzing, researching, and developing his hypothesis, he published his world-renowned book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” on November 24, 1859.

He later shortened the title to “On the Origin of Species.”

- The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online is found here.

- Here are ten articles on Darwin.

– Do you understand Darwin’s Theory? Take SOT’s course here and raise your own darwinian intelligence: Think Darwin!

– GALLUP POLL: On Darwin’s Birthday, Only 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution.

- New movie: Creation is an upcoming biographical drama film about the life of Charles Darwin. It is directed by Jon Amiel and stars Paul Bettany as Darwin and Jennifer Connelly as his wife, Emma. John Collee wrote the script based on Randal Keynes’ biography of Darwin titled “Annie’s Box”. No official release dates have been announced.

AUSTRALIAN ANTHILL INTERVIEW: Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

Republished by Australian ANTHILL. Original interview July 1, 2004 | By Paul Ryan:

Paul Ryan: In a snapshot, what are the three main ideas that you’ve written about and what thought processes led you to your current book, The X10 Memeplex?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: There are two strands of thought that I’ve written about in the past (Software for the Brain and Newsell) and these are brought together in The X10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten.

Software for the Brain talks about the brain as a necktop computer. It’s less of a metaphor and more of a reality, since the brain is a deeply digital environment. The software we’re using is 2,500 years old – including programming from the church, the Middle Ages, the Greek software of Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, the concept of absolute truth and logic, which was distributed around the world with missionary zeal. Just as we need to upgrade our desktop computers, we also need to upgrade our necktop computer. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years with the School of Thinking that I founded with Edward De Bono, and our lessons have reached over 70 million people worldwide.

That’s one strand – the thinking strand. The other strand, which I explored in Newsell, is the selling/leadership strand. Selling and leadership have to do with behavior and particularly influencing the behavior of other people. You can use coercion and force, which is an inefficient method. The other way to influence a person’s behavior is to influence their thinking. If you want people to change their behavior, whether it is in a leadership/social context or a commercial/selling context, you need to influence the way they see things. So that’s why there’s such a strong link between thinking and selling.

My subversive agenda is to get people thinking far and wide. If I can show a link between developing the thinking skills of employees and increasing the revenues of a company, it will help me teach people to think and grow.

— Click through to the original article …

Take SOT’s course here and raise your own darwinian intelligence: Think Darwin! The ten lessons in this course are chapters from Michael’s book The X10 Memeplex, Multiply Your Business By Ten.

The X10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten!

(Prentice Hall 2000).


Black Saturday in Victoria

As you know, School of Thinking is based in Melbourne, Victoria.

This morning’s newspaper tells us that Saturday’s fire, which devastated much of Victoria, was a fire event on a scale never seen before in Australia’s history.

Scientists have estimated that the energy of that ‘Perfect Firestorm’ on Saturday was equivalent to that of 500 Hiroshima bombs going off simultaneously.

Pictures
— Click through for amazing pictures of this firestorm …

Help
Help is sought and gratefully accepted through the official Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 run by the Red Cross and the State Government of Victoria. 100% of every cent given to this appeal goes to the victims. No admin fees of any kind are deducted.

Smart Thinking: Artificial Intelligence

From CPA Australia by Bromyn Davis:

When we think about the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications a science fiction image of robots replacing humans comes to mind.

While the quest to create sentient robotic ‘life’ is the most talked about aspect of AI, the reality is that it is increasingly creeping into our lives in a far less obvious way. It lurks in computer systems and is generally known as ‘analytics’ or ‘expert systems’ and the scope of its applications is coming under renewed scrutiny in the global financial crisis.

Some experts believe that these expert systems, designed to ‘collaborate’ with humans, could provide an early warning signal for future looming economic downturns and be used to great competitive business advantage in tough economic times.

— Click through to the original article …

Watch one of SOT’s favourite TED talks here …

Sir Ken Robinson is a world-renowned consultant to schools on new education strategies for the future and is an expert on Creativity.

— Click here to see his talk to the TED audience about Do Schools Kill Creativity? <http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=ken_robinson>

If you haven’t seen this TED talk, stop everything, sit back, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy one of the world’s best speakers who will entertain you, inspire you and make your day. This is one of my personal favourites.