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Internet Use Found To Affect Memory 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wonder-if-internet-use-affects-memory dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The rise of Internet search engines has changed the way our brain remembers information, according to a new study out of Columbia University (abstract). 'We are reorganizing the way we remember things,' said the study's lead researcher. Because search engines like Google and Bing are so easily at hand, we feel less need to remember details that can be easily looked up. One possible upside: 'Perhaps those who teach in any context, be they college professors, doctors or business leaders, will become increasingly focused on imparting greater understanding of ideas and ways of thinking, and less focused on memorization. And perhaps those who learn will become less occupied with facts and more engaged in larger questions of understanding.'"
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Internet Use Found To Affect Memory

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  • by Anrego (830717) * on Friday July 15, 2011 @02:57PM (#36778710)

    explaining the gory details of what we already know? Ok maybe for a general audience this is news, but for any tech minded person, I imagine this was already well understood.

    I learnt to program before I had access to the internet, on a Dragon32 (TRS-80 clone), from one source of information: a single book. I remember re-reading a paragraph many many times over to squeeze a little more understanding out of it). I can _still_ remember the specific memory address you had to poke to squeeze a little extra performance out of the processor.

    Now days (and I think we all know this or at least relate to it), I have the stuff I use frequently memorized, and anything else I relegate to “stuff I can just look up”.

    Would also note that it isn’t just the internet (at least for programming). Auto-complete and intuitive naming also plays a big part in the lack of need to memorize stuff.

    • by nido (102070) <nido56.yahoo@com> on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:21PM (#36778988) Homepage

      Last summer I found a little herb shop in Phoenix, Arizona. One of their custom loose-leaf tea blends was called An Elephant Never Forgets [chakra4herbs.com]. My memory had been rather fickle [merriam-webster.com], ever since I lost it entirely for a 2-week period after I nearly drowned at the lake, some 12 years before. The lack of consistency was rather annoying, but only when I realized that there was something I couldn't quite remember.

      I bought an ounce of said tea, and immediately noticed a dramatic improvement in my ability to remember. I don't take it all the time, or even regularly, but I did happen to see the bag this morning. Funny how that works.

      Here are the ingredients from the above link, to save you all a click:

      Mental focus formula
      Ingredients:
      Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) – increases circulation to brain, increases cerebral function
      Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) – nerve and brain tonic
      Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) – antioxidant, supports cerebral function
      Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) – increases memory and overall performance
      Sage (Salvia officinalis) – antioxidant, supports cerebral function
      Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – increases circulation, flavor
      Cardamom (Eletteria cardomomum) – increases circulation
      Calendula Petals (Calendula officinalis) – encourages lymphatic circulation

      Additional Information
      This formula is great for those who wish to be mentally alert without using caffeine. A very popular tea among students, but excellent for anyone wishing to support focus, concentration and memory.

      Huperzine-A, from the moss, also has potent memory-improving properties.

      There are a lot of other important factors to memory improvement... I should look for a publisher. :)

      • you Slashdoted them

      • Pretty sure you were just sold snake oil, you know like those multivitamins that claim to increase your penis size...
        • by Svartalf (2997) on Friday July 15, 2011 @04:08PM (#36779526) Homepage

          Heh... Actually...

          Gotu Kola has been shown to pretty much be one of the highest natural sources of B1, B2, and B6 vitamins- which would be brain/memory boosting.

          Ginko's been claimed to be memory loss/dementia preventing. Mixed bag there on the research (some research indicating so, some not...)- but they DO know it has an impact on healthy individuals by boosting attentiveness considerably through it's ability to inhibit norepinephrine uptake. I'd say it'd help in remembering things because of that aspect.

          Not sure about the other herbals in the tea, but Firmoss happens to supply a known fairly potent nootropic. Research has shown that it's roughly as effective at dealing with Alzheimers as the current drugs on the market with quite a bit less side effects. Other research on the nootropic aspects are currently ongoing but they're in the process of producing a highly refined and concentrated version of this substance to treat Alzheimers right at the moment.

          So...saying that they were just sold snake oil...not as such. Where do you think asprin came from? It was by researching the effect of salicylic acid and trying to find a "better" answer for the stuff that already largely worked- from plant extracts, much like this herbal medicine you're calling "snake oil". Yes, much of this stuff is that- but to dismiss it like you did is to ignore where your medicines at least initially came from.

      • by gomiam (587421) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:26PM (#36779054)
        You missed an ingredient: placebo ;)
        • I suppose that you didn't hear about the recent studies that found Big Pharma's anti-depressants are no better than placebo.

          If it's not sold by MegaCorp Pharmaceuticals it's no good, right?

          • by hedwards (940851)

            You do realize that those are at least tested for efficacy and safety, right. Antidepressants were never intended to be a stand alone treatment for depression, they were always intended to be a part of a treatment program. So, ultimately, if they don't turn out to be any more effective than a placebo it isn't that big of a deal, as the therapy is what's supposed to make the difference in the long run.

            But with this stuff, it might be dangerous, it might work, it might be safe and perhaps it doesn't work. Not

            • by nido (102070)

              Big pharma has some good stuff... Ideally, pharmaceuticals should be used temporarily for the immediate survival of the patient. I'll even concede that some people find benefit from a short term dose of certain antidepressants

              Big Pharma makes $billions for Wall Street with maintenance medications for chronic conditions. Many people are on anti-depressants or heartburn medications for years at a time. Sometimes that can't be helped (thyroid for people without a thyroid, for example), but for the most part, M

          • by gomiam (587421)
            Oh, an ad-hominem (with a sprinkle of insufficient adulation to give it taste). I think I can do that too

            Ok... keep jumping to conclusions (I never talked about it being a "Big Pharma" product or not, did I?), it will help you turn an unscientific anecdote (you took it -law of small numbers- and felt better -completely non-blind experiment-) into a recommendation. Who needs research? Not you, it seems, nor, sometimes, Big Pharma.

          • I haven't been around Slashdot too much lately, but I thought that most pharmaceuticals were well-hated around here, especially the ones for over-diagnosed illnesses like depression and ADHD.

            That said, I also hate the marketing schemes of "It's good because it's natural" and "It's good because it's not made by a giant pharmaceutical company." Because so many folk medicines use those gimmicks, I tend to shy away from them.

          • by Culture20 (968837)
            Worse, even. Placebo doesn't come with a slew of side effects, except maybe walrus like body changes. [youtube.com]
        • Well, natural solutions aren't the miracle they tend to sell, but if coffee can give you an edge, why not some herbs? They are full of chemicals that are released with heat (cooking chemistry 101).
          I need to take a combination of both raw, pharmacy chemicals and herb infusions to treat a esophagus/stomach affliction. Both on prescription by a certified medic.
          All we eat is as well a mass of chemicals after all.
          That of course doesn't bar actual "all natural" placebos being sold, but it happens on the other sid

    • by toastar (573882)
      Ha, reminds me of what my prof said about interrupts. Your going to have to memorize them for this test. Then just forget them, becuase if if you need to know one you can just google it.
    • by nog_lorp (896553)
      Hey now, not all of us experienced life pre-internet.
  • 'Perhaps those who teach in any context, be they college professors, doctors or business leaders, will become increasingly focused on imparting greater understanding of ideas and ways of thinking, and less focused on memorization.

    Structure of Scientific Revolutions and whatnot.

  • by BagOBones (574735) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:00PM (#36778736)

    Never memorize what you can look up in books. --Albert_Einstein
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein [wikiquote.org]

    • Never memorize what you can look up in books. --Albert_Einstein

      I'm inclined to agree. What's more valuable: Knowing how to solve problems or memorizing the solutions to a bunch of problems?

      • by Shotgun (30919)

        Depends on how quickly you need to know the answer to the problem. You ever seen someone searching desperately for a calculator because they need to add up a list of 5 or 6 numbers? Or someone that can't write a paragraph without a dictionary? It's such a sad spectacle.

        • Yes, I've seen fish out of water before.

        • You ever seen someone searching desperately for a calculator because they need to add up a list of 5 or 6 numbers? Or someone that can't write a paragraph without a dictionary?

          No, and I don't think many people are like that. Adding numbers and being able to write in your own language are basic skills. I'd say remembering such things is more useful than remembering other things (because of how frequently you use them).

    • by Kenja (541830) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:18PM (#36778940)
      Reminds me of this SMBC comic on the difference between a science fan and a scientist.

      http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1777 [smbc-comics.com]
      • by MacTO (1161105)

        A scientist who knows pi to 1 significant figure is useless (e.g. they cannot make basic estimates).

        A scientist who knows pi to 3 significant figures is efficient.

        A scientist who knows pi to 1600 significant figures doesn't understand what they're doing.

        Memorization is a basic part of learning, but we need to realize what is important to remember and what is not.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:27PM (#36779080)
      I think Einstein may have been overstating things. Some details may often be safely left in books, but a portion of the memorization I did in school has served me quite well, despite what I thought at the time. You have to build a framework of knowledge in any subject area to know what details you can look up in the first place, and having at least a foggy recollection of things you memorized at one time helps. "Is it in a book or not" is not a good standard for that.
      • by heathen_01 (1191043) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:52PM (#36779380)
        I agree with your point. My example is the java JDK. Sure its searchable and indexed, however if you don't know you need to use a ReentrantLock it will (potentially) take a lot of searching before you realise that is what you need to use. However once you remember that you need a ReentrantLock then looking up what the constructor parameters are is invaluable.
      • by dcigary (221160)

        I agree with this. It's silly to look up the fact that 2+2=4, those things can be easily memorized. But leaving the tomes and tomes of information to the books or the internet in my opinion frees you to assess the situation, have a fairly good idea of what or how you want to do, and then go look up how to do it. That's why I don't memorize Oracle manuals and database initalization parameters - if I need to correct syntax, I'll look it up, but I know vaguely what types of things are available.

        Now, if I can e

      • by tringstad (168599)

        You should maybe re-read the quote because it implies exactly what you said.

        It does not say, "Don't memorize something that is in a book."

        Without building a framework of knowledge to begin with, you would not know how or where to look up what you don't need to memorize.

    • Came here to post this. I've always agreed with Einstein on this one. I'm even considering building a device to link my mind directly into a computer so I can look stuff up. One day computers might be far more reliable than meat memory, so why not?
      • by hedwards (940851)

        He was not suggesting that one shouldn't memorize things, just that certain thins aren't worth memorizing. There's no good reason why anybody should need to memorize the value of Pi, e or other constants when memorizing the presence of that particular constant will suffice. You'll get shit accuracy if you try to memorize it anyways.

        In general, the Internet isn't so much affecting memory as the sloth of average individuals is. I've got an astonishing memory in large part because I use it, I've practiced with

    • Never memorize what you can look up in books. --Albert_Einstein

      Yeah, why bother memorizing stuff like 6*6=36 when you can just look it up in a book?

      Plus as an added benefit the government won't need rats in a face cage to get you to the 2+2=5 stage, they'll just change the web page to make that the new truth.

      • Or you know... you can instead memorize HOW to do multiplication instead of memorizing the fact of 6*6 = 36...

        I learned how to multiply, and when I did the same multiplication many times I naturally memorized the results, but I did not strive to remember all of the results...

        Memorizing results doesn't get you anything else of greater usefulness out of having done so.

        Personally I would rather learn the why and the how than memorize the what.
        • But you did memorize 6*6=36.

          Your motivation for doing so, or not doing so, and the method by which you arrived at that memorization isn't germane to what I said.

          And when you were learning to multiply did you learn to calculate 6*66 by adding 66+66+66+66+66+66? Or did you multiply 6*6 and add it to 6*60?

          I would be interested in knowing what useful (as in practical for everyday purposes) algorithm you could use to multiply a couple of three digit numbers, without the assistance of a device like a calcul

    • I guess it should be managed like a cache, with your brain being the cache, and books being secondary storage

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday July 15, 2011 @04:00PM (#36779446)

      Never memorize what you can look up in books. --Albert_Einstein http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein [wikiquote.org]

      I disliked history until I had a class in high school where a teacher went off curriculum and taught the class like a college class. No memorizing dates and such, they can be looked up in a reference, what we focused our time on was *why* that historic person made that particular decision at that time and place. What influenced or led to that decision? This is when history became interesting to me.

      FWIW this was all pre-internet.

    • Also as a person who never really excelled at school. The problem with a lot of schooling is the fact most of the testing is based on memorization. Math been taught by telling the kid to remember the formula vs. Trying to teach them how the formula was approached. Which is interesting because I have talked to a lot of people who Say I HATE math and I cant do it and the only math class I did well was when they actually did proofs.
      Perhaps because my minor was focused in Discrete mathematics but I think

    • By 'book', Einstein meant a physical, printed, unchangeable book.

      When we're relying on the internet for unchanging 'facts', we're at the mercy of information storage that can be changed at will.

      In George Orwell's 1984, history was re-written by destroying books and creating new ones.

      But when our brains don't remember 'facts' because we think the internet will remember for us, those facts can be changed without us realising.

      We're reliant on a system of logging, caching and revision-history to tel
    • by Quirkz (1206400)
      So the question is, did you have that quote memorized, or did you have to look it up? And if you looked it up, did you look for the author (hey, I think Einstein said something about memory once) or did you start with a vague sense of the quote (what was that about memorization, and who said that anyway?) to come to that post?
  • Perhaps the Internet doesn't make stupid [www.zeit.de]

    sigh. Die Zeit is a respected weekly paper here in Germany, but headlines like this are not really helpful...

  • This same argument has been made time and again, but the only thing I find myself forgetting is trivia. As for facts, I used to know a lot of methods, words, etc by rote, or I my recollection would be derived from things I had heard, but now it's so easy to satisfy my curiosity from multiple sources. I know more and it is better reinforced. I do use the internet for reference, but it is not on hand every moment of the day, nor is it always opportune when it is available. Maybe if you need to look up a d
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      It's trivia that I tend to forget...that and numbers. But then, I had problems with the numbers anyhow. :-D

      The trivia, I seem to still be doing okay, but it's hazier- I have to resort to Googling it occasionally with my phone or other computer to verify my recollections.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      There's a reason for that. It's a prediction that's made primarily by constructivists. What you refer to as trivia is probably a random fact with no particular connection to anything else you know. The facts you know are probably integrated into other bits of knowledge or other interests you have, meaning that they've got more connections than the random trivia does. The more connections a particular idea has the less easily it is forgotten as the more connections have to be disconnected before the informat

  • For now we can blame Google for any unremembered anniversary.

  • I'm old enough that I was out of school before the Internet became available to most people, but I've always learned this way. I learn concepts, memorize the most important details and note the exceptions. All the other stuff, I'll learn if I use it regularly, and look it up if I don't.

    As one of my high school teachers said, "Half the information in the world is knowing where to find the other half". That was before anyone had heard of a search engine and the internet didn't exist as such (it was ARPAnet an

  • People still use Bing? I guess IE must point there by default....

  • by KalvinB (205500) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:21PM (#36778990) Homepage

    You can't "understand" things if you don't have the "facts"

    The brain is also far superior than Google in combining facts into new understandings. Google cannot relate Moby Dick and Treasure Island together. You have to actually read the books to know what each are saying so that your brain can extrapolate the common themes.

    The idea that having "stubs" of knowledge in the most powerful computer on the planet and leaving the real meat of facts in the dumbest computers on the planet is somehow a good thing is just idiotic. Google is not going to link information together for you. You have to put the real meat of information into your head and then only your brain is capable of making connections to create real understanding.

    • by martas (1439879)
      You're making a lot of unfounded assumptions about the way the brain works... Do you really think the generalization/pattern recognition abilities of the brain function by analyzing large amounts of detailed, memorized information? That's not how it works at all... Understanding how changes in the way people manage information affect various cognitive abilities is certainly an important research problem. But unless you happen to be a cognitive psychologist/neurologist, your extremely vague intuition on the
    • Your example defeats your argument. Nobody needs to memorize Moby Dick or Treasure Island to relate them together. Reading a book is not the same as memorizing it. If you were going to write a thesis on this you would just go back to the books and find the passages that back up your assertion.
       

      • Your example defeats your argument. Nobody needs to memorize Moby Dick or Treasure Island to relate them together.

        However, the better your memory of each book the better you are able to synthesise the information in both books in order to see connections and draw new insights.

        Memory is not all or nothing - it's a continuum between remembering nothing and total memorisation. In other words, you can't readily "connect the dots" if the "dots" are off in google instead of in your head. Synthesis is probably the most useful part of intelligence, people who can't synthesise knowledge are just squishy dictionaries.

        • ...and the better your memory the more you can make use of the internet. I really don't understand your point about google- are you saying people just google things and look at the search results to come up with ideas? People find stuff with google, read the web page, and if they want to use the data in the future they will re-do the search. I am sure living next go a large good quality library (and taking advantage of it) will also change how you remember things.

          I will agree the article of the OP is kind o

          • if they want to use the data in the future they will re-do the search.

            I think you are having trouble understanding the concept of synthesis. You can't "want" to use the knowledge if you don't remember it. It won't even occur to you in the first place. Knowing the information exists somewhere, someplace does not enable someone to spontaneously draw a connection between that information and something they are currently reading or thinking about.

            For example, if you don't remember Queequeg's name then if you see a reference to it in another book that reference will have no mea

            • You cherry pick an example- just because I can't remember the weight of an electron doesn't mean I won't know how to apply it.

              • You cherry pick an example- just because I can't remember the weight of an electron doesn't mean I won't know how to apply it.

                But if you run across another calculation that results in a number that is exactly 1000 * the weight of an electron you will totally miss the significance. This is the essence of synthesis.

    • by slinches (1540051)

      You can't "understand" things if you don't have the "facts"

      Sort of. You can't "understand" without at one point knowing the facts. Do you currently remember all of the words to both books? But you obviously do remember the general story lines and plot themes. This is exactly the point TFA was making. We don't recall things that we know are available to look up, but do remember those that that aren't (i.e. your interpretation of that data).

      The idea that having "stubs" of knowledge in the most powerful computer on the planet and leaving the real meat of facts in the dumbest computers on the planet is somehow a good thing is just idiotic. Google is not going to link information together for you. You have to put the real meat of information into your head and then only your brain is capable of making connections to create real understanding.

      The human brain is powerful, but it's strength is not accurately storing information. What it is good at is recognizing pa

  • by bmo (77928) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:22PM (#36779004)

    Literacy changed the way how we remember things. Before that, we had to rely on oral tradition.

    If you think that external tools weaken your brain and are bad for you, I suggest you try giving up reading and writing for a week. Not forever, just a week. No newspapers, just word of mouth. No jotting things down on post-it. No Sacred Shopping List for your Fallout Shelter.

    --
    BMO

  • In Plato's Pheadrus volume Socrates complains that writing weakens memory and the mind. It causes them to become dependent on written words and books. "Rhetoric" was one of the four liberal arts in classical education. It not only covered how to compose good speeches but tricks to memorizing them too. The Internet may just be the next stage in the process.
  • For example, if you want to get statistics on sex, it is pretty much impossible to do so without going through a ton of inappropriate links. This is just the most obvious case of a standard problem of "overshadowing". Often the thing you want is over-shadowed by many other people looking for a similar issue. If you want to get reviews of a website that is optimizing search engines, often you get sent directly to various pages on that website.
  • Facts are indeed helpful; they provide a framework with which to better understand the concepts that drive what we do from day to day. While I have never felt that rote memorization was the most important thing in learning a process, it's my strong feeling that without some concrete facts to act as cornerstones to more abstract concepts, those concepts could go greatly awry. And as is evidenced by the likes of Palin and Bachman, people who don't memorize facts tend to make up new ones to justify their act
    • And I guess what I tried to imply here but probably didn't is that if kids are released from various grades without certain facts well set in their minds and verified by people who are responsible for their education, they are likely to go forward in the world with greater and greater belief that they are responsible for making up their own facts.
  • My memory has always been poor on details but I remember pointers and key words.

    Having access to the internet has been a significant boon.

    But my memory has been this way since before the internet.

  • Funny you should use the term "just at hand" ...

    The thing is about Bing, I don't really feel the need to remember details about porn sites or fabulous marketing "But Wait, There's More!" sites.

    And I remember the details of sex, as it relates to me, without any assistance at all.

    Maybe next year, when I'm older and more decrepit...

  • Before we all had cellphones with contact lists in which you select the name "bob" and the phone automatically dialed the number, we had manually enter the phone number. This triggered both muscle memory and seeing the number over and over.

    Go try and dial all your friend's phone numbers without using the contact list, just dial them manually. This can be quite a shock...

  • by shoehornjob (1632387) on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:48PM (#36779328)

    ONE OF Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man asked, startled. "No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?" Einstein was waay ahead of his time.
    • ONE OF Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man asked, startled. "No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?" Einstein was waay ahead of his time.

      I can't remember my own telephone number either, not because I can "just look it up" but rather because I never use it. I know other people's telephone numbers (well I used to before cell phones had personal phonebooks) because I use those numbers all of the time.

      • by lahvak (69490)

        I completely agree! Why should I memorize my own phone number? I only need it when somebody else asks me for it.

        Also, phone numbers have no relation to anything else. They are just more or less random sequences of digits, knowing someone's phone number will not increase your understanding of how the world works.

        Lot of "facts" are related to other things, and knowing them well can actually increase one's understanding. For example, I can always look up the binomial theorem if I need it, or I can always d

  • by Kijori (897770) <{ward.jake} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday July 15, 2011 @03:50PM (#36779350)

    From my experience the internet does indeed create greater access to knowledge and facts, therefore making things like research much easier and making it unnecessary to remember trivial details that can easily be re-found. I think there is, though, a negative side to this abundance of information: a false equivalence among the different sources of information. How many times do you hear internet-users - and particularly, I would say, those who have grown up with the internet - stating as fact things they read in a blog, or an article from some unheard-of digital publication, and using that information to attempt to refute statements from a far more authoritative source? How often - here on Slashdot, for example - have you seen people refuse to believe something where another poster has cited a credible offline source, but accepting any link, no matter where from, as proof? How often do you see Wikipedia articles with footnotes that reference a page with no citations and no reputation as though the mere existence of a link somehow confirmed the point's veracity?

    It's very easy, and in my experience very common, to treat the internet as a single source of knowledge, every fact that flows from which is equally credible and deserving of equal respect; this is perhaps helped by the anti-hierarchical bent of many internet users and online communities. This, I think, is something very strongly to be resisted. Hierarchy should be welcomed, provided it is won on merit. As an example, the authors who write the works of reference (offline) on a subject are selected because of their eminence and learning, and their writing is criticised by other respected experts in journals and other books. When we pretend that that filter is without value and that everyone's contribution is equally informative we put ourselves in the paradoxical position of having our learning hampered by an overabundance of information.

    I was going to continue and give further examples and explanation but I don't want this to become overly lengthy and obscure my point: we should embrace the value of the internet - but we need also to be honest about its limitations. The online community is at present hostile to the idea of expert editorial control on online resources. They should not be (within reason). The internet can remove hierarchy and equalise everyone - but is that always desirable?

    • using that information to attempt to refute statements from a far more authoritative source?

      Yes, the problem is facts without context. Any specialised area of knowledge has a vocabulary where otherwise normal words carry all kinds of subtlties with them and their particular use connotes all kinds of unstated meaning.

      So you get people who do not even realise that there are all kinds of layers of context to these "facts" they dig up and just go with the face value, often in partial (or even) full contradiction of the meaning intended by the author.

      For example in the bill of rights, the 1st amendmen

  • Wouldn't encyclopedias and dictionaries have had the same effect before people used the Internet?

    Maybe the phenomena would be proportionality bigger now, but it's not specific to the Internet.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      There was a little more effort involved in looking something up in an encyclopedia. Going through the index. No scroll. Tiny print. Flipping pages. This effort is what makes the difference. When things are too easy we tend to take them for granted.
  • I remember back in college, they said "today's generation was losing focus ability for task-switching ability", much like the very computers creating the change. Now, we're ADD. Now, according to this, we won't remember a thing! So that's how computers come to take over. Not because they want to, but because they have to.

    What really did my attention in though was my DVR. If I go distracted, I could just hit back and re-watch something. Except you can't do that in conversation. The ability to focus less ofte

    • by geek (5680)

      In my opinion, computers just gave us a greater capacity to bitch and whine to a wider audience. All this junk science is just smart people bitching and whinig about other people bitching and whining on the internet.

  • in school we were taught to know how to find answers rather than risking remembering it wrong.

    btw, that was pre-google.

  • I read some info on art of memory and the method of loci.....which are ways to help you remember things, of which was used back in the days of the early greek, where many historians and librarians, would have to remember full texts at a time, in order to propagate its content to other villages and cities in their travels.....
    when you consider the importance of this feat and its complex nature....which many volumes were memorized....is astounding.

    Now when we consider most teens cant calculate worth a sh*t an

  • From the summary:

    And perhaps those who learn will become less occupied with facts and more engaged in larger questions of understanding.

    Makes an assertion that understanding can be gained without facts. This seems absurd to me. In order to understand e.g. History, you need to know what has happened when and what has influenced whom. I like to break facts up into two categories: Trivial and Conceptual. Trivial facts can be easily looked up and forgotten and are, in general, unimportant for good understanding (although they may be important in specific cases, in which event, you look it up). Conceptual facts, on the oth

  • in The Warlock in Spite of Himself. If not the precise methods, then at least the ideas behind them.

    "Squawking by radio had proved singularly effective, due largely to an automatic record of the squawk. The problems of records and other bureaucratic red tape had been solved by red oxide audio recording tape, with tracks a single molecule in width, and the development of data-retrieval systems so efficient that the memorization of facts became obsolete. Education thus became exclusively a training in con

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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