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.

Read

I love Slate, I really do, and I typically don’t have any problems with their columnists or contributing writers (I used to have a strong dislike for Meghan O’Rourke thinking she was arrogant, but she’s grown on me). I wanted to read the article on Sarah Palin’s college fiasco, but was a little overwhelmed by the first paragraph – so I decided to put it off for now. What stands out about that paragraph? First, there are far too many links on it. Blogging and Internet writing has effectively killed off the art (if it is actually an art) of citation. The convenience of hyperlinking text has gone a little too far, as pictured above. How does one even digest a piece of information without being bombarded by links with references to what is being said? I have an idea. The author should either write assuming the reader knows what he or she is talking about, or feel free to add that extra sentence or two hinting at what’s being discussed instead of linking to another article. That is far too huge a distraction. Lastly, there are the parantheses. While I’m a big fan of those little buggers, too many can visually chop up a written piece.

If you can brave that paragraph, find the article here.