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There’s a temptation within many newspapers to believe that the only problem the web has created is how to get all that excellent journalism to readers most efficiently, and to see the social web as merely a distribution mechanism or PR gesture. Engaging with readers is much more than that — it’s the key to developing a new kind of interactive, two-way journalism, and that journalism may ultimately be the only kind that survives.

futurescope:

Fake ‘NYPD’ drone signs hit New York

From Waging Nonviolence:

Several weeks ago, a 28-year-old Army vet, who had worked with drones during two tours in Iraq and is now a radical art student in New York, came up with a creative act of protest to raise awareness around the growing use of drones domestically by police forces across the country.

According to an article in last week’s New Yorker, over the course of several nights, the veteran (who remains anonymous) and a few friends posted eleven unusual street signs around New York City, which is apparently investigating using drones as a law enforcement tool.

Designed to look exactly like official street signs, the fake NYPD signs had several different messages: “ATTENTION: Drone Activity in Progress,” or “ATTENTION: Local Statutes Enforced by Drones,” or “ATTENTION: Authorized Drone Strike Zone, 8am-8pm, Including Sunday.” […]

[read more] [via @edyson] [New Yorker] [Images by Esther Dyson & ???]

(Source: futurescope, via thoriumdirigible)

David Banks, Ello: The Luxury Bicycle of Social networks →

Ello, like a luxury bike, isn’t antithetical to capitalism and all of its problems. But it’s a step in the right direction, not just by being politically better than Facebook, but also being more useful and pleasurable than Diaspora. Ello’s core design team desperately needs some diversifying, and hopefully that and many other concerns of its users will alleviated sooner rather than later. This new network certainly isn’t the answer to every problem with have with private social networks, but it responds to some of the worst problems we face today. Ello might be a walled garden, but it’s fertile ground for growing something even better.

saved.io is a small-and-simple new bookmarking tool

Anthony Feint, the guy behind pen.io, has also created saved.io, a minimal bookmarking tool.

I like the ability to tag bookmarks, and the inclusion of a note field. 

The bookmarks can be created in several ways: 1/ by bookmarklet, 2/ Chrome extension, or 3/ by prepending ‘saved.io/’ to the URL in your browser. Alternatively you can prepend ‘xyz.saved.io/’ to add a bookmark to the ‘xyz’ category.

It’s too bad that I can’t add tags to the URL in some way. I have to do that on the saved.io page.

HTML sort-of works in these notes, although there is a bug that leads to escaping HTML quotes and double quotes. I hope he fixes that.

There’s no way to share these links, but in general I am conserving these for my own research purposes, and when I get to the point where I want to share I move to this blog or Gigaom Research, anyway.

The 60/15 Rule of Breakage

There are big benefits from taking an hourly break, including increased productivity:

Derek Thompson, A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17

What’s the perfect length for a break? Seventeen minutes, according to an experiment released this week.

DeskTime, a productivity app that tracks employees’ computer use, peeked into its data to study the behavior of its most productive workers. The highest-performing 10 percent tended to work for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break. Those 17 minutes were often spent away from the computer, said Julia Gifford at The Muse, by talking a walk, doing exercises, or talking to coworkers.

Telling people to focus for 52 consecutive minutes and then to immediately abandon their desks for exactly 1,020 seconds might strike you as goofy advice. But this isn’t the first observational study to show that short breaks correlate with higher productivity. In 1999, Cornell University’s Ergonomics Research Laboratory used a computer program to remind workers to take short breaks. The project concluded that “workers receiving the alerts [reminding them to stop working] were 13 percent more accurate on average in their work than coworkers who were not reminded.”

It seems unlikely that there is one number representing the ideal amount of time for every employee in every industry to break from work. Rather than set your stop-watch for 17:00 when you get up from your desk, the more important reminder might be to get up, at all. Indeed, the most productive employees don’t necessarily work the longest hours. Instead, they take the smartest approach to managing their energy to solve tasks in efficient and creative ways.

Just round it off to 15 minutes break after working 60.

Brain scans reveal ‘grey matter’ differences in media multitaskers

via sussex.ac.uk

Simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains, according to new University of Sussex research.

image

A study published today (24 September) in PLOS ONE reveals that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower grey-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally.

The research supports earlier studies showing connections between high media-multitasking activity and poor attention in the face of distractions, along with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.

But neuroscientists Kep Kee Loh and Dr Ryota Kanai point out that their study reveals a link rather than causality and that a long-term study needs to be carried out to understand whether high concurrent media usage leads to changes in the brain structure, or whether those with less-dense grey matter are more attracted to media multitasking.

The researchers at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the brain structures of 75 adults, who had all answered a questionnaire regarding their use and consumption of media devices, including mobile phones and computers, as well as television and print media.

They found that, independent of individual personality traits, people who used a higher number of media devices concurrently also had smaller grey matter density in the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the region notably responsible for cognitive and emotional control functions.

Kep Kee Loh says: “Media multitasking is becoming more prevalent in our lives today and there is increasing concern about its impacts on our cognition and social-emotional well-being. Our study was the first to reveal links between media multitasking and brain structure.”

Scientists have previously demonstrated that brain structure can be altered upon prolonged exposure to novel environments and experience. The neural pathways and synapses can change based on our behaviours, environment, emotions, and can happen at the cellular level (in the case of learning and memory) or cortical re-mapping, which is how specific functions of a damaged brain region could be re-mapped to a remaining intact region.

Other studies have shown  that training (such as learning to juggle, or taxi drivers learning the map of London) can increase grey-matter densities in certain parts of the brain.

“The exact mechanisms of these changes are still unclear,” says Kep Kee Loh. “Although it is conceivable that individuals with small ACC are more susceptible to multitasking situations due to weaker ability in cognitive control or socio-emotional regulation, it is equally plausible that higher levels of exposure to multitasking situations leads to structural changes in the ACC. A longitudinal study is required to unambiguously determine the direction of causation.”

(via neurosciencestuff)

Choose obvious over clever every time.

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