Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why don't you talk to me?

Sherry Turkle, an author and M.I.T. professor of Science, Technology, and Society recently wrote in "Stop Googling. Let's Talk" that college age students cannot carry on a face-to-face conversation.

She cites plenty of statistics to show that most believe that using "phones in social settings hurt the conversation," but apparently we either don't care, don't know how to carry on a conversation, or can't put them down.

There are plenty of anecdotes from young people who want the fairy tale life where families sit around the dinner table and share their day while speaking "enthusiastically" about the rule of three--at least three people must be conversing before you can check your phone.

According to Turkle, this loss of conversation leads to a loss of empathy and an inability to just be quiet with one's thoughts. We must be secure with ourselves before "we are able to really hear what other people have to say."

But all is not lost. We can reclaim conversation. Turkle approaches regaining conversation like a counselor towards an addict -- well, not exactly. She's not saying give up that cell phone completely. She believes we should limit our time and offers some suggestions  to do so.

Do you find it challenging to have a face-to-face conversation? If so, why? What suggestions can you offer to limit cell phones in social settings?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Wanna be my Valentin?

Then you better learn how to spell ... and how to use whom while practicing good grammar.

Grammarly found that American adults prefer grammar over confidence when it comes to a potential date.

What? Who wants to date someone who can't spell hart (as in Valentine) correctly? Maybe he or she just typed in the wrong word, unless of course, you are a doe looking for love.

Who makes the most mistakes in their online profile - women. Who uses more words - men.

So why do you think that good grammar is more likely to help you win the heart of your future love?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

August 29th started just like any other day . . .

Pompeii, August 29, 79. The day begins with a slight rumbling coming from Mt. Vesuvius and things just get buried from there, literally. By the end of the day nothing visible remained of Pompeii or neighboring Herculaneum. Since its (re)discovery in 1599 historians and tourists alike have been fascinated by the former Roman tourist town.

Buried by tons of volcanic ash, and thereby preserved, tourists can now walk the streets past houses, shops, baths, aqueducts, amphitheaters, and villas. Pompeii was home to the rich and famous where one could see Kimbius Kardashius and her favorite senators and gladiators as they strolled the walkways and gardens enjoying beautiful weather, great outdoor sports and entertainment, sumptuous feasts, and delicate wines.

This video depicting the destruction of Pompeii was produced in conjunction with an exhibit called "A Day in Pompeii, held at the Melbourne Museum in 2009, [which] gave its more than 330,000 visitors a chance to experience Pompeii’s life even more vividly," especially on that fateful day in August.

Did anyone survive the volcanic eruption? We know Pliny the Younger did:
You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.
Living in the Bay Area, we don't have to worry about any active volcanoes, but we do get earthquakes. Are you ready for the next big shake? Do you have a plan to make contact with friends and loved ones?  What is in your earthquake preparedness kit?