Journalist’s Resource

Researching for a topic / issue can be daunting matter, especially if you are trying to make sense of the myriad views and opinions surfaced.

Journalist’s Resource is a good place to start. It provides journalists relevant, scholarly research surrounding a topic. A good example would be the updated recent entry on Islam, terrorism and immigration in France following the Charlie Hebdo killings.

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Facebook and Happiness

This Scientific American article on a study that suggests a correlation between Facebook and higher levels of unhappiness does a pretty balanced job of evaluating the merits and flaws of the study’s findings. This paragraph below sums it the article’s concluding remarks on the study after discussing its limitations:

Despite these limitations, the study addresses a pressing question about the way our social lives are structured, and provides some intriguing evidence that social interaction online may be associated with reduced well-being. The internet is not going anywhere, and as the proportion of people connected to the web rises, so too does its importance as central part of our social world.

Notice the words in bold (mine) that illustrate how the article employs a series of connectors, adjectives and verbs to argue for the importance of the study’s impacts even though its methodology had several shortcomings.

20 Talks That Could…Change Your Life?

Simply seeing and listening is a relatively passive form of experience but every once in awhile someone comes along and just blows us away with the simple power of presentation.

These 20 talks chosen by The Guardian cover a range of relevant issues from morality and education to body language and nutrition. These are souls on a mission and we may not or may not agree with them, but they truly put pebbles in our shoes and force us to respond. 

Twitter to Tantalize your Brain

A student remarked to me how nobody uses Facebook anymore, and that everyone was on Twitter. Fine. Challenge accepted.

Here are 25 accounts worth following (recommended by Mashable) that provide nuggets of information and insight from a spectrum of topics ranging from biology and physics to socio-politics and culture. Adjust your feed to help you stay both socially and intellectually connected.

On Writing…

From Colin Nissan on McSweeny’s…

Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about.

What The Internet Does to Our Brains

What’s important to note here is that when we talk about the impact of certain phenomena or things on society, it is not enough to say that they’re inherently bad or good. But rather the question is: why is it likely to make a negative impact given the way our brains are seemingly wired (e.g. the need to stay focused on pay attention in order to store more information in our long term memory), or given how the internet today is filled with  distractions (e.g. hyperlinks, browser tabs, adverts, messages, updates on social media, email alerts).

In other words, we need to closely examine both the nature of the impacted group (i.e. the biological makeup of your average human in a developed society) and the nature of the impacting agent (i.e. the internet as it has developed till today).

And also, is it really enough to just stay the internet is bad – full stop? Hardly. Notice how the video ends with a qualification to concede that the internet does have its benefits but it is just that we need to moderate our use of it and factor in more down time in our daily lives.

GOSH. Even while typing that post I got distracted by 3 news articles, 2 videos and 1 Facebook alert.