Computers are changing the way we think. "Calm, focused,
undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of
mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short,
disjointed, often overlapping bursts—the faster, the better." This is
probably not a good thing, says Nicholas Carr.
There are more possible moves on a chess board than there are neutrons in our universe, I once read in a chess encyclopedia. I recently asked a University of Chicago mathematician whether that could still be true, now that we know there are hundreds of billions more galaxies than we had thought, each with hundreds of billions of stars. He calculated a bit and said yes.
In Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut (1997) David Shenk tells of “technostress” researcher Philip Nicholson’s practice of asking his audiences, “Pretend that you were forced to make a choice between giving up one of your fingers and giving up use of your computer for the rest of your life.
I am an unwilling explorer of cyberspace. For years I managed not to go there. My handwriting was adequate for everyday purposes, my avocado green IBM Selectric sufficed for more formal projects, and I happily received my mail through the post office.
Writer Jon Katz recently said that news coverage of the Internet lurches “from one extreme to the other.” Either the Net is “a dread menace or it’s a Utopian vision.” Journalism, he concluded, “has been asleep at the switches,” because the Net is “not simply a story about technology, but it’s a revolutionary change in the society and culture.” As a result, journalism “is in the sad position of
In the early 16th century, Martin Luther, assisted by enterprising printers unhandicapped by copyright laws, swamped the market with five pamphlets for every one put out by his Catholic opponents. Other Protestant writers poured out their own flood of sermons, treatises, polemics and devotional writings. For more than three decades Protestants dominated the recently invented printing press.
The emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web as a source of information, a venue for publishing, and a forum for dialogue now defines libraries nearly as much as the more familiar milieu of printed texts. The technological dimensions of this shift are less intriguing than the cultural ones. And from where I sit, the developments are a decidedly mixed blessing.
The rise of the Internet’s World Wide Web in the mid-1990s launched an unlikely hero into the media spotlight: Johann Gutenberg, the 15th-century inventor of movable printing type and technological forefather of the vernacular Bible. Reporters, Internet columnists and even some scholars began parading Gutenberg before the public as a kind of poster child for the digital revolution.
We asked some expert observers of the religion scene how they are navigating the new media. What do they read, watch and listen to? How have their reading, listening and viewing habits changed over the past decade?Here's Mark Silk: "I’ve always been a news junkie. I still take two dead-tree newspapers—the New York Times and the Hartford Courant. I look at the Washington Post every morning, and I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered while driving to and from work. At work, I’m in thrall to the continuous news cycle. I check the AP wire on Yahoo as soon as I sit down at my desk, and then scan the general-interest blogs and blogzines—the Daily Dish, Politico, Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast."