IV. Must-See Video Playlists and Articles

10 Dec


Simply put, our human response is: raw data > filtering > assign meaning > assumptions > conclusions > adjust beliefs > take action. It’s an interesting concept to be able to recognize these responses and control them. Knowing is the key here.

This deals with being past positive, past negative, hedonistic, present oriented, future oriented, religious future oriented. There’s a bunch of cool facts such as the closer you are to the equator the more likely you are to be present oriented because the weather is usually the same, so you picture sameness in the future and therefore look for more instant gratification.

“Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”


Certain types of memory are improving. When the brain reroutes how we recall information, it develops different  types of memory capabilities. Science offers this example: If somebody asks you how many national flags have just one color, do you think first about the actual flags? Or does your brain jump right to how you would find it? If you’re an active Google user, you probably already started thinking of keywords. And the more you do it, the better you get at it. “The brain is very specialized in its circuitry and if you repeat mental tasks over and over it will strengthen certain neural circuits and ignore others,” says Gary Small, a neuroscience professor at UCLA.”


“We have evolved not to be representers-of-the-world, but to lock-in and keep track of where we find ourselves. We use landmarks and street signs to find our way around; arithmetical notation makes it possible for us to calculate with big numbers; we wear wrist watches so that we can know the time without needing to know the time; and we build libraries so that we have access to what we need to know, when we need to know it.”

Each of these articles take a difference stance on the “Google Effect,” the first saying it’s making us dumber, the second saying simply our brains are changing to adapt to search engines instead of books, and the third saying that there is no problem with Google since we store our information around us anyways. Although it’s hard to disagree that our brains are changing, can you still say it’s a negative thing? The Internet is a much faster way of researching and therefore is easier to store and remember where information is stored on it. I personally agree with the third the most as I believe that the human brain is such an amazing thing as to adapt to anything and everything, in this case the use of the Internet. Since past generations were heavily conditioned with books and their importance, does that mean they would be less accepting of the Internet? They understand books, we understand the Internet. Still, I found it intriguing that each stance on the Google Effect is clear and understandable. Why did they pick the stance they did? Did they think independently? Does their age differ greatly?

This deals with the invention of the interactive book for the iPad and iPhone. It’s simple and very dynamic with lots of interactive maps/graphs, videos, and images.

This is a video about Luis von Ahn’s fantastic ideas about translating the Internet; the Internet is actually heavily English based and is worse for other languages.


“A New Yorker cover depicting an alien, come to post-apocalyptic Earth, sitting amid the detritus of modern civilization—discarded CDs, tapes, and computers—illustrates the point: the alien is reading a book, the only thing that still “works.”


“Chavan and other digitization visionaries paint a future in which books no longer gather dust on shelves, but exist as interconnected nodes in a vast web of stored literature, all accessible at the click of a mouse. So instead of hunting for specific books, scholars could search for specific information, customizing searches to suit their needs.”


“A reason to preserve the physical book that has been digitized is that it is the authentic and original version that can be used as a reference in the future. If there is ever a controversy about  the digital version, the original can be examined. A seed bank such as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen as an authoritative and safe version of crops we are growing. Saving physical copies of digitized books might at least be seen in a similar light as an authoritative and safe copy that may be called upon in the future.”

While these articles don’t necessarily disagree with one another, each has its own standpoint. The first talks about how if we don’t have any electricity for some reason, books are the only things left “working.” The second article talks about the motives and future of digitization. The final one talks about why we need to preserve the physical books. I personally think that we do need to store books. Anyhow, books are very compact using both sides of thin paper so it shouldn’t be that hard to store. If we can store missiles and underground laboratories, I think we could store books. If all books end up digital, would there only be one copy of each book left? How would we protect the physical copies? How would companies prevent digital books from being spread for free? Should they be free? How would writers gain any money? Will Apple products be a high necessity luxury like computers? Will the digital book companies have a monopoly on the data of the books? (I only know of three organizations digitizing books and one is probably more successful than the others)

This video talks about what Wikipedia really is and its reliability. Considering I use Wikipedia very often, I found it interesting to learn a bit more about it.

This video talks about the “Encyclopedia of Life” which is like Wikipedia but made from scientists about as many species as they can. You can test it out here: http://eol.org/


“No offense to the ethnic music community, but Wikipedia deserves more credit. Indeed, the site’s monumental compilation of 19 million entries in 282 languages has already had a greater cultural impact worldwide than that now-defunct silver mine and most of the other 936 sites recognized for “outstanding universal value” on the World Heritage List.”


“EOL.org has grown and evolved significantly since its launch in 2007. It’s grown from 30,000 pages in February 2008 to 700,000 today. The global partnership of 176 content providers behind EOL.org is progressing toward an aspiration of 1.9 million pages — one for every species known to science.”

The first article is about how Wikipedia is important and something of human genius. The second one talks about the EOLv2, Encyclopedia of Life version 2 (see above video), and its goal and purpose. I absolutely love these sorts of sites. Although there is room for error, one can always take the information with a grain of salt. Wikipedia has a page on almost anything, it may become something schools will teach students how to use. It has pages on almost any topic, it is usually on the first three results of a Google search of a specific topic. I’ve never heard of the EOLv2 until now but I instantly fell in love with it. I’ve often wondered what an animal or insect was when I was looking at it. Once the site is well complete, we should be able to identify anything we could possibly see. As far as I’m concerned with these sites, I think they’re extremely useful and reliable. Yes, Wikipedia is a collaborative site but it does use only pre-existing information/research/etc. in its articles. It’s often edited and changing to anything that occurs. It takes a neutral standpoint while including any perspectives necessary. (from the above video) It’s actually almost as accurate as a printed encyclopedia (4 errors per 50 science articles vs 3 errors per 50 science articles). Could Wikipedia be a replacement for encyclopedias? What if we could create a digital identity for people online in the future? Could that decrease things like cyber-bullying and fraud? Would that allow us to make judgement on people’s accuracy, reliability, and bias and act accordingly to any information provided from them? Can Wikipedia stay advertisement free? Will Wikipedia be a valid source in the future?

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