Education


Some crazy scientist at Oxford has just uncovered some extraordinary news! It turns out that being active on Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, rewires a developing brain. Wow, that is groundbreaking. It’s not like learning how to play an instrument, listening to music, reading a story, playing sports and other activities will rewire a child’s brain. Oh wait, yes it does. Why is Miss Scientist so concerned? She feels that communicating online will eventually phase out real life conversations and dampen social skills. Someone should remind her that instant messaging has been around forever and that AOL allowed for profiles and social networking long before MySpace or Facebook ever came about.

Emily Yoffe at Slate says this scientist is concerned that “we are at risk of raising a generation of solipsists.” Are we? Or is the solipsist in all of us attracted to this medium of communication and sharing?

Someone needs to calm the alarmists down. Apparently, children’s brains are getting damaged because they aren’t engaging in activities that they have been for millennia. One would think that a child wakes up, spends all day on Facebook, and then goes to sleep and repeats the same thing everyday. Fact check: they don’t do that – adults do and it’s called work (how do you think all that daytime Facebook activity goes on?). Someone should remind these scientists that adult brains are capable of being rewired, damaged and reshaped, too.

I pose this question to those who think that Rock and Roll, TV, radio and Facebook are ruining the younger generation: Do you think there might be a certain personality type that is addicted to those activities? Is social networking ruining the brains of young children, or are young children with the disposition to abuse social networks being ruined?

Guns don’t kill people. People who want to own those guns and kill people… um, kill people.

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California is in a deep hole. There is no doubt about that. A bill in California has been introduced to legalize production, transportation and sale of the plant (notice I didn’t say drug, oh wait… dammit) in the state. We’re not going to go into a pro versus con argument on the legalization of drugs here because the argument is moot. It’s not going to be a gateway for the legalization of all drugs and not everyone will start doing it because it’s legal – although that really wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? With taxation and turning marijuana into a legitimate business in California, it is estimated that it could generate up to $1 billion in revenue. Although I’d imagine that it’s entirely possible to get that $1 billion from Humboldt, Berkeley, the UC system and Stanford apart from the rest of the state. Come on, Arnold! Rally the troops and make this happen! Oh, and to the hardcore conservatives of California who are going to dismiss this without even a second thought (monetarily and scientifically): Fuck you!

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What the hell is happening with the English language? This is, by no means, an original rant as I’ve read several like it before, but I decided to chime in. There have been several other pieces and books written by many authors who have loathed the diretion in which English is headed. To start, I am not perfect and neither is my writing, usage and grammar. But it’s still a far cry from the “lolz we talk lyk dis on da iNt3rnetz” talk that people genuinely use! Sure, I’ll joke around and end a word with the letter “z” every so often in the company of friends and those who know it’s all in good fun. Plural words begin to end with a “z” and even words that aren’t plural (ex. im gonna headz to da coffee shopz. meet u there! lolz).

What’s worse is the failure to make the possessive and contraction distinction. I really hate it when people say “your” when they mean “you’re.” We all learned that in 2nd grade, so what’s so hard about it? Same goes for the its/it’s confusion; the former is possessive and the latter is a contraction and short for “it is.”

I’ll admit that as of late, I’ve been getting lazy myself. I always abhorred “LOL” but find myself using it every so often. I also had a strong distaste for “BRB” and “GTG” or “G2G.” I don’t use the last two so much, but it’s become normal in IM and SMS talk that it’s going to end up poisoning the language. Maybe I’m being extreme, but it’s not hard to see where this could be going.

Speaking of acronyms and laziness, one that bothers me a lot is the mixture of two or three word cities, towns and neighborhoods: WeHo (pronounced wee-hoe) for West Hollywood, SoMa for South of Market, NoHo for North Hollywood, SoHo for South of Houston (how-stun) and so on. Is it that fucking hard to say the name of the city as it was named? If your name was John Hopkins, would you appreciate it if I called you JoHo?

Let’s clean up the laziness in our work and even our daily banter. Why not make an effort to spell things out, learn correct and proper usage (I’m guilty of this, too) and write without making glaring and painful mistakes every now and then?