Samir’s Selection 03/25/2013 (p.m.)

  • I find myself thinking again of the brave new world of the industrial city, when new patterns of interaction led to enormous changes in economic activity, in culture and personal behaviour, and in the way we think. We upgraded ourselves, in terms of education, hygiene, and social norms, to maximise the return to urban life. And the history of modern urbanisation is littered with examples of privately provided goods and services that became the domain of the government once everyone realised that this new life and new us couldn’t work without them. I think we, meaning users of the web and the companies that provide its blood and bones, are only beginning to grapple with the implications of a world awash in information.

    Ezra Klein: Google is in the process of abandoning its mission…  Google may face a trust issue. Translated into economese, Google has failed to consider the Lucas Critique: adoption behaviour for newly offered services will change in response to Google’s observed penchant for cancelling beloved products.

    tags: RSS Google GoogleReader networkeffect technology culture society change progress publicgood publicpolicy internet utility

  • As far as the human-technology relationship is concerned, the three ways of being-with technology that Carl Mitcham outlines are ancient skepticism, Renaissance/Enlightenment optimism, and Romantic uneasiness. (Carl Mitcham’s “Three Ways of Being-With Technology”)
    — Mitcham: http://www.compilerpress.ca/Competitiveness/Anno/Anno%20Mitcham%20TTT%202%20Epil.htm
    — Leo Marx, the Idea of “Technology” and Postmodern Pessimism: http://www.raunvis.hi.is/~sksi/w_texts/marx94.pdf 

    tags: technology culture society dualism MichaelSacasas history history-technology philosophy future

  • David E. Nye makes forcefully the point so many techno-enthusiasts overlook, which is that technologies have to be used as well as invented…
    the importance of the social and cultural context for technology, and its productivity benefits.

    tags: technology culture innovation presbyopia prediction forecast perspective Ford dynamo railway computing electricity

  • … increasing evidence that experiences leave imprints on our neural pathways, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. Any habit molds the very structure of your brain in ways that strengthen your proclivity for that habit… Plasticity, the propensity to be shaped by experience, isn’t limited to the brain. You already know that when you lead a sedentary life, your muscles atrophy to diminish your physical strength. What you may not know is that your habits of social connection also leave their own physical imprint on you…

    longitudinal field experiment on the effects of learning skills for cultivating warmer interpersonal connections in daily life…

    Your brain is tied to your heart by your vagus nerve. Subtle variations in your heart rate reveal the strength of this brain-heart connection, and as such, heart-rate variability provides an index of your vagal tone. By and large, the higher your vagal tone the better. It means your body is better able to regulate the internal systems that keep you healthy, like your cardiovascular, glucose and immune responses… 

    In short, the more attuned to others you become, the healthier you become, and vice versa. This mutual influence also explains how a lack of positive social contact diminishes people. Your heart’s capacity for friendship also obeys the biological law of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t regularly exercise your ability to connect face to face, you’ll eventually find yourself lacking some of the basic biological capacity to do so… 

    … our personal histories of social connection or loneliness, for instance, alter how our genes are expressed within the cells of our immune system. New parents may need to worry less about genetic testing and more about how their own actions – like texting while breast-feeding or otherwise paying more attention to their phone than their child – leave life-limiting fingerprints on their and their children’s gene expression. When you share a smile or laugh with someone face to face, a discernible synchrony emerges between you, as your gestures and biochemistries, even your respective neural firings, come to mirror each other. It’s micro-moments like these, in which a wave of good feeling rolls through two brains and bodies at once, that build your capacity to empathize as well as to improve your health.

    tags: neuroplasticity neuroscience brain mind empathy attention love emotion socialskill experiment parenting health

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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