Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Walk while you work! Work the body and mind simultaneously!

March 1, 2008

Every morning I spend an hour on my stationary bike.  I read as I pedal.  I get my best thinking during that time.  I am convinced that it is due to the movement of the blood throughout my body and brain.

A few years ago, on the TV program 60 Minutes, they featured a Mayo clinic doctor – Dr. James Levine – who rigged a treadmill with a keyboard and monitor.  He sets the treadmill to a very slow pace, 1 mile per hour, and walks while he works on his computer!  Recently he was productized this idea, into a product called a Walkstation.

When I have a lot of reading to do for work, I hop on my stationary bike for hours, sometimes up to 5 hours.  Unfortunately, that gives me a very sore read-end.  It’s time to buy a treadmill and rig it with my keyboard and monitor!

In the average American household, the TV set is on for seven hours per day

February 26, 2008

American children spend much of their time passively entertained by television, radio, and movies.  In the average American household, the TV set is on for seven hours per day.

In contrast, traditional New Guinea children have virtually no such opportunities for passive entertainment and instead spend almost all of their waking hours actively doing something, such as talking or playing with other children or adults.

Almost all studies of child development emphasize the role of childhood stimulation and activity in promoting mental development, and stress the irreversible mental stunting associated with reduced childhood stimulation.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

It may be seriously questioned whether the advent of modern communications media has much enhanced our understanding of the world in which we live

November 10, 2007

From How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren:

There is some feeling nowadays that reading is not as necessary as it once was. Radio and especially television have taken over many of the functions once served by print, just as photography has taken over functions once served by painting and other graphic arts. Admittedly, television serves some of these functions extremely well; the visual communication of news events, for example, has enormous impact. The ability of radio to give us information while we are engaged in doing other things — for instance, driving a car — is remarkable, and a great saving of time. But it may be seriously questioned whether the advent of modern communications media has much enhanced our understanding of the world in which we live.

Perhaps we know more about the world than we used to, and insofar as knowledge is prerequisite to understanding, that is all to the good. But knowledge is not as much a prerequisite to understanding as is commonly supposed. We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding.

One of the reasons for this situation is that the very media we have mentioned are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the more active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements — all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics — to make it easy for him to “make up his own mind” with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and “plays back” the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think.


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Television versus the Printed Page

July 19, 2007

“Television is dramatic. It appeals to the emotions. It captures your attention. However, the printed page is a more effective instrument for both education and persuasion. The authors of a book can explore issues deeply – without being limited by the ticking clock. The reader can stop and think, turn the pages back without being diverted by the emotional appeal of the scenes moving relentlessly across his television screen.”

– Free to Choose by Milton Friedman