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The work of art

By MariaFucksmylif Sep 29, 2014 843 Words
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556

READINGS FOR INQUIRY

CARR

Padelford Hall); or make one appointment online (http://depts.washing .edu/wcenter/)
Da CLUE Writing Center
Like da English Department Writing Center, CLUE is not one editing/ proofreading service. Dey will do everyting the uddah place will, but dey stay open late night. You got full day of classes or work, an' can't make da uddah hours, CLUE get your back. Dey open from 7pm to 12am in 242 Mary Gates Hall, an' day take drop-ins (dat means you no need one appointment an' can jus' show up!).

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Get One Beef Wit Me

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I stay open to feedback, da critiques about wat we doing li'dat, but if you get one issue you no feel comfortable talking to me about, dese your superheroes. I hope you can talk wit me first, but if you no can, call, email, or stop an' see dese folks on da Expository Writing staff in Padelford A-ll: Anis Bawarshi, Director

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bawarshi@u.washington.edu

543-2190

NICHOLASCARR --------·------------·-------

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
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Nicholas Carr (b. 1969) has published several books and articles on the intersection of technology, business, and culture. His works discuss the role of information technology and the Internet in the workplace and their effects on individuals. Carr's 2003 article, "IT Doesn't Matter," published in the Hatvard Business Review, and his incendiary 2004 book, Does IT Matter?, projected him to prominence as he argued for the diminishing role of information technology in an increasingly savvy corporate world. Other publications include a scathing critique of Wikipedia and his most recent book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain (2011), which argues for the negative effects of the Internet on cognition. Carr asks if reading and comprehension are being altered by the Internet, and questions how cognition operates in the processing of webpages. 1:1

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"Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?" So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial "brain." "Dave, my mind is going," HAL says, forlornly. "I can feel it. I can feel it."

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IS GOOGLE MAKING US STUPID?

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I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I've had an uncomfortable 2 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 sttongly 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.

I think I know what's going on. For more than a decade now, I've been 3 spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be dony in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I've got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I'm not working, I'm as likely as not to be foraging in the Web's info-thickets, reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they're sometimes likened, hyperlinks don't merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the 4 conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they've been widely described and duly applauded. "The perfect recall of silicon memory," Wired's Clive Thompson has written, "can be an enormous boon to thinking." But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and

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