Why Is Memory So Good and So Bad?

Scientific American • May 29, 2012

All memories are not created equal. This quick read explains why you might retain an image from a sports event six weeks ago but can't remember what you had for dinner last week. Read on to find out more about visual working vs. long-term memories and why it's so easy to forget the details of every-day life.

I would call the ability to forget the details of every-day life a blessing. Imagine the cacophony of remembering all that stuff. That doesn't mean there aren't some things we should have to work to remember. Read on. ( Michalko)

If We Remember More, Can We Read Deeper—and Create Better? Part I.

Scientific American Blogs • June 1, 2012

It's just a state of mind. Most adults have taken the time and effort to memorize a special piece of verse or prose—and in doing so have forged an intimate relationship with the true meaning of the words, says writer Maria Konnikova: "In the very process of memorizing, remembering—and faltering—we don't just learn more about what we are reading. We also learn more about how we are reading, how we are reacting to the material—and, in a way . . . why we are reacting to it as we do." Read on to learn more about the history and psychology of memorization.

Memorization has gotten a bad rap. I can honestly say that I don't make much effort now knowing that I can recapture most anything with a well-formed (even ill-formed) search. But I sure had to do a lot of it earlier in life. Still recall a Jacobean literature course where we were given huge quantities of memorization. The final exam consisted of a series of essays and before you could turn them in you had to stand and recite one of five selected passages that had been assigned earlier in the course. Faustus' death speech was my choice. "Now hast thou but one bare hour to live . . . " ( Michalko)

Noise and Signal—Nassim Taleb

Farnum Street • May 29, 2012

Information indigestion. This excerpt from Nassim Taleb's forthcoming book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, theorizes that the more information we consume, the less we know because the percentage of "noise" expands as volume increases. Peruse Taleb's argument for one more reason to wean yourself off the 24/7 news cycle, and then check out Nicholas Carr's commentary on the subject.

I'm not confident I completely understood these excerpts. However, the general idea that you can be doing yourself a disservice by imagining that just a bit more information will make things clearer seems widespread and wrong. I will now use the noise and signal justification for my non-interest in tweeting—someone else will be a more effective filter. ( Michalko)

Wasting Time Is New Digital Divide in Digital Era

The New York Times • May 29, 2012

Unintended consequences. Well-meaning bureaucrats who were wringing their hands over the digital divide a couple of decades ago now face a new issue: a time-wasting gap. Studies now show that a computer in every home allows lower income kids to spend "considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites . . . "

Hasn't it always been so? TV viewing? Comic books? ( Michalko)

Engelbart's Violin

Loper OS • May 23, 2012

Violin vs. kazoo. This passionate essay is flawed by several tangential rants, but is worth considering for its central point: By catering to the lowest common denominator, today's technology is professional-unfriendly. Using the much-abused QWERTY keyboard as an example, the essay raises the question whether life (especially for software programmers) wouldn't be more fulfilling had the computer industry embraced Douglas Engelbart's ingenious chording keyboard when it had a chance.

I love this kind of stuff. Never tried a "chorder" and probably won't but I did once meet Doug Engelbart during the time he was promoting the Bootstrap Institute. ( Michalko)

Please, Can We All Just Stop "Innovating"?

HBR Blog Network • May 30, 2012

Enough already. It's time to muffle the incessant "innovation" drumbeat that has reverberated throughout boardrooms over the past decade, says Fast Company cofounder Bill Taylor. When organizations start creating "Chief Innovation Officer" positions, it's a sure sign that the innovation mantra has run its course as a differentiation strategy.

Read the Wall Street Journal article referenced in this blog post which was the root of the rumination. And for a view on the pervasiveness of business buzz words look at the Most Annoying Business Jargon and Forbes' Jargon Madness Bracket. Will " leverage" best " giving 110%"? ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, we can help ensure that effective advice and guidance are provided in the ongoing development of digital literacies by projects and institutions by gaining an understanding of what?

Get the answer.