November 21, 2010

"Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction"

The NYT has a long article on the younger generation's shrinking attention spans.
By MATT RICHTEL

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer?

By all rights, Vishal, a bright 17-year-old, should already have finished the book, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” his summer reading assignment. But he has managed 43 pages in two months.

He typically favors Facebook, YouTube and making digital videos. That is the case this August afternoon. Bypassing Vonnegut, he clicks over to YouTube, meaning that tomorrow he will enter his senior year of high school hoping to see an improvement in his grades, but without having completed his only summer homework.

On YouTube, “you can get a whole story in six minutes,” he explains. “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.”

Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.

Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.

“Their brains are rewarded not for staying on task but for jumping to the next thing,” said Michael Rich, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Center on Media and Child Health in Boston. And the effects could linger: “The worry is we’re raising a generation of kids in front of screens whose brains are going to be wired differently.”

But even as some parents and educators express unease about students’ digital diets, they are intensifying efforts to use technology in the classroom, seeing it as a way to connect with students and give them essential skills. Across the country, schools are equipping themselves with computers, Internet access and mobile devices so they can teach on the students’ technological territory.

It is a tension on vivid display at Vishal’s school, Woodside High School, on a sprawling campus set against the forested hills of Silicon Valley. Here, as elsewhere, it is not uncommon for students to send hundreds of text messages a day or spend hours playing video games, and virtually everyone is on Facebook.

The principal, David Reilly, 37, a former musician who says he sympathizes when young people feel disenfranchised, is determined to engage these 21st-century students. He has asked teachers to build Web sites to communicate with students, introduced popular classes on using digital tools to record music, secured funding for iPads to teach Mandarin and obtained $3 million in grants for a multimedia center.

He pushed first period back an hour, to 9 a.m., because students were showing up bleary-eyed, at least in part because they were up late on their computers. Unchecked use of digital devices, he says, can create a culture in which students are addicted to the virtual world and lost in it. ...

“Video games don’t make the hole; they fill it,” says Sean, sitting at a picnic table in the quad, where he is surrounded by a multimillion-dollar view: on the nearby hills are the evergreens that tower above the affluent neighborhoods populated by Internet tycoons. ...

Big Macintosh monitors sit on every desk, and a man with hip glasses and an easygoing style stands at the front of the class. He is Geoff Diesel, 40, a favorite teacher here at Woodside who has taught English and film. Now he teaches one of Mr. Reilly’s new classes, audio production. He has a rapt audience of more than 20 students as he shows a video of the band Nirvana mixing their music, then holds up a music keyboard.

“Who knows how to use Pro Tools? We’ve got it. It’s the program used by the best music studios in the world,” he says.

In the back of the room, Mr. Reilly watches, thrilled. He introduced the audio course last year and enough students signed up to fill four classes. (He could barely pull together one class when he introduced Mandarin, even though he had secured iPads to help teach the language.)

I was going to read the whole thing, but I got distracted. 

Anyway, one thing I did notice before I zoned out, however, is that Woodside H.S. is one of the Five Bad Schools featured in the much-lauded documentary Waiting for "Superman". In this article, though, it sounds groovy.

69 comments:

agnostic said...

"I was going to read the whole thing, but I got distracted."

Must have been all those under-2-minute Ramones songs you listened to growing up, or all those under-2-hour movies. Somehow the pre-Millennials turned out fine, though.

The real change is not shorter or longer attention spans, but what activities (or should we call them passivities) that young people turn to for their quick fix.

It used to be sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Or getting a job that would get you quick money for these things. Or running off like a hothead to join the military, maybe even dropping out of school to get in right away. There's nothing patient and future-time-oriented about any of that.

Now it's about locking yourself in your house and being shackled by a tangle of doohickies. Only emotionally sterile ways of interacting with others are OK -- Facebook, Xbox Live, texting, etc. You're in no danger of working up any passion or mischief there.

I think the helicopter parents phenomenon, as supremely annoying as it is, is mostly a cover. The kids *themselves* are a bunch of dorks with no lives, as their preferences show, and the hovering parents are just there so the kid has plausible deniability --

"Hey, I want to have some wild fun, but you know how parents are..."

Yeah well back when I was 8 years old we just left the house and did what we wanted to. The teenagers and 20-somethings were even more defiant toward their parents.

Now kids just accept the helicopter parents without the slightest pushback, showing that it's all a sham, like South Korean riots -- mere ritual, no real danger.

Every statistic shows that Millennials are driven more by a future-orientation than were those born between about 1944 and 1984. If they were so present-oriented, then they'd heavily discount the future and sing about "I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation."

SFG said...

"Every statistic shows that Millennials are driven more by a future-orientation than were those born between about 1944 and 1984. If they were so present-oriented, then they'd heavily discount the future and sing about "I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation.""

This is a bad thing? Steve's gone on at length about the negative effects of low future time orientation on NAMs.

Fred said...

Steve,

A couple of other articles from the NY Times this weekend, in case you missed them -

A missive by a California woman of gold chain-wearing ancestry on diversity and the art of cutting in line at ethnic supermarkets Supermarket Zerangi.

Irony-impaired Bob Herbert on Hiding from Reality. Here's the best part of it,

"Consider this startling information from the Pew Hispanic Center: in the year following the official end of the Great Recession in June 2009, foreign-born workers in the U.S. gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost 1.2 million. But even as the hiring of immigrants picked up during that period, those same workers “experienced a sharp decline in earnings.”

What this shows is not that we should discriminate against foreign-born workers, but that the U.S. needs to develop a full-employment economy that provides jobs for all who want to work at pay that enables the workers and their families to enjoy a decent standard of living."

elvisd said...

No, I'm not going to "Facebook" my students to "communicate" with them. This is so wrong on so many levels. We are not meant to be their pal, their confidant, or their chat buddy. I'm not going to be "relevent" to them, either. As Flannery O'Connor said, "Give in to their tastes? They don't have a taste, it is being formed."

Before someone else mentions it-yes, there is also something weird about having such a "relationship" with kids. In 15 years of teaching, I've taught with 2 perv principals, and 3 perv teachers. It's out there, and we don't need to do anything more to encourage it.

An added note. This "disenfranchised" that the principal in this article quips comes from the same ridiculous vocabulary list that dana and her "white kids 'privilaged' Facebook" comes from.

Sylvia said...

Sigh.

Another article from a baby-boomer run media outlet wringing its hands over new tech. They always commission an out-of-touch Gen-x reporter to investigate what Gen-y and Millennials are up to. They then end up worrying over irrelevant things, having not seen them in context.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/24/social-networking-site-changing-childrens-brains

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?_r=1

No, I don't read many books these days. Very few college kids have the time. What I do is listen to audiobooks whenever I can. Some may look down on the practice, but I've now been able to experience classics I wouldn't, if I'm being honest, have touched.

And no, electronics aren't sapping the attention spans of the young. We're just living under an intensity of pressure that older generations would not understand. The pressure to succeed, to make something of yourself, etc. etc.

Black Death said...

"He pushed first period back an hour, to 9 a.m., because students were showing up bleary-eyed, at least in part because they were up late on their computers. Unchecked use of digital devices, he says, can create a culture in which students are addicted to the virtual world and lost in it. ..."

I wonder how sympathetic their future employers will be when they show up late and bleary-eyed for their jobs? Perhaps they will get a chance to play lots of video games in the unemployment line.

Black Sea said...

If you want to be even marginally well informed about any topic of interest to an intelligent adult, you will have to read about it, by which I mean, you will have to read books about it. I don't see that changing anytime soon.


Having said that, I clicked on the linked article, skimmed the first page, saw that there were five more to go, and bailed. Which proves, I suppose, that I'm not very interested in digital teens.

Mr. Anon said...

I happened to attend graduation ceremonies for Woodside High's class of 2010. David Reilly and several of the students gassed on at great length about diversity. Afterwards, up in the bleachers, a fight broke out - somebody dissed somebody's baby mama (or something), and some shirtless black dude ended up getting hauled away by a Sherrif's deputy. I heard some of the students talk about pupils hitting teachers - apparently a not uncommon event at Woodside High.

Hey, technology, diversity.............it's all good.

David said...

>We're just living under an intensity of pressure that older generations would not understand. The pressure to succeed, to make something of yourself, etc. etc.<

Yeah, that's new. To you.

Here's another tweet from those who have been there and beyond: that pressure isn't your friend.

RKU said...

Well, if Steve had read all the way through the long article, I think he might have found the demographics of the school quite enlightening: "Despite Woodside High’s affluent setting, about 40 percent of its 1,800 students come from low-income families and receive a reduced-cost or free lunch. The school is 56 percent Latino, 38 percent white and 5 percent African-American, and it sends 93 percent of its students to four-year or community colleges."

Thus, we're talking about a heavily low-income and overwhelmingly "NAM" high school. None of this is surprising since very large portions of Redwood City are poor Hispanic immigrant, and have been for decades. This also perhaps explains why that white family in the "Superman" was so reluctant to send their daughter to this local public school---they were fearful she'd fall in with the "wrong crowd", and spend her time goofing off on Facebook, YouTube, and texting with her local NAM friends, instead of studying. Sure sounds just like conditions in the schools of downtown Detroit or Anacostia, DC. to me...

I'd guess that about 95% of the readers of this blogsite don't actually have any firsthand experience with California, and hence draw their understanding from the rather cranky views of Steve and a couple of other quasi-WN bloggers, who are always bemoaning the horrific conditions in their NAM-destroyed state. Similarly, I'd think lots of overseas readers just lap-up the endless verbiage that "Whiskey" spews forth about America being totally controlled by a diabolical WASP-Mafia, acting through the agency of their white-feminist puppets. Steve and Whiskey---separated at birth!

Similarly, another commentator pointed to that NYT Magazine piece with the woman complaining about conditions at her local overwhelming non-white California ethnic supermarket---apparently the elderly women often clog up the aisles while gossiping, and some of the immigrant men are real sneaks, and try to cut in line. How in the world can California civilization possibly survive such devastating conditions? Far better that the rest of America immediately expel it from the union...

Anonymous said...

Even as a middle-aged person, I've noticed this problem in my own work. Having a computer at my elbow (and on my hip), with full Internet access, has made it harder and harder for me to concentrate on a single task for more than, say, 15 minutes. I'm constantly being pulled to check my favorite websites, such a this one, for new posts and comments. I actually have to force myself to stay focused -- something that was never a problem 10 years ago (not while I was in the office, at least).

That being said, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done to change the trend. Nonetheless, I think it's a mistake for teachers to give in. Most classrooms should be no-web zones, just as they've always been no-doodle zones, no-chitchat zones, no-note-passing zones, etc. Concentration on a single task (reading a book, pursuing a line of thought, listening to an argument) is a skill that kids are entitled to be taught, especially because the world will throw so many competing temptations at them.

-- JP98

elvisd said...

"We're just living under an intensity of pressure that older generations would not understand. The pressure to succeed, to make something of yourself, etc. etc."

Uh, right. Sure. Must be really intense staring at a screen 8 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

Anecdotal evidence of the end of things ... my twelve year old nephew - "Books are for suckers."

Dan Kurt said...

re: "No, I don't read many books these days. Very few college kids have the time. What I do is listen to audiobooks whenever I can." Sylvia said...

In my generation, those in GRADE SCHOOL had Classic Comic Books. By High School we had the Classic Books but then again we were actually taught to read. We were streamed and some failed in High School and from Kindergarden through 12th Grade the paddle [ not the one used to propel a Kayak ] was always in the background.

Check out the Graduate Record web site to see what kind of "morons" go into School Administration, a group even lower ranking than Education Grad Students.

Getting hopeless out there, no?

Dan Kurt

jody said...

steve, has anybody pointed out the astronomical disparity between NAM consumption of media (previously, hours spent watching television, but now, hours spent playing video games & surfing youtube/facebook/twitter) versus how astonishingly little of said content they create?

in the past, i was always astounded by studies which reported just how much television the average black american watches everyday. certainly, i thought, black americans could really be helped in all facets of life by cutting that down to 1 hour.

now all groups spend even more time flushing their man-hours down the drain due to video games and the internet.

i've written many times about this here, quite extensively, even submitting the rough outline of an academic "paper" (if you will) to steve which i called "jody's magnum opus".

this phenomenon definitely affects all groups, and is having a massive detrimental effect in japan and south korea, where the average 20 year old man is now lost, perhaps hopelessly, in videos games and movies.

in the US, we are heading for a very bizarre future, which steve has pointed out several times in his posts about being the only european in a movie theater filled with mestizos all sitting there watching europeans acting in hollywood movies. in other words, we're heading for univision. a vast sea of brown consumers eating up everything a small talent pool of white media producers are creating.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon said...

I happened to attend graduation ceremonies for Woodside High's class of 2010. David Reilly and several of the students gassed on at great length about diversity. Afterwards, up in the bleachers, a fight broke out - somebody dissed somebody's baby mama (or something), and some shirtless black dude ended up getting hauled away by a Sherrif's deputy. I heard some of the students talk about pupils hitting teachers - apparently a not uncommon event at Woodside High.


This never happened.

Anonymous said...

You people who think that this loss of attention span in children isn't a very real phenomenon are, quite frankly, borderline delusional yourselves.

RIght now, I am involved [very intimately] with some young [white] children, who are coming out of that sort of environment, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that, for these undisciplined, short-attention-span, easily-distracted children, you can just take all your hopes and dreams - of Suzuki violin and Mandarin calligraphy and all-state orchestra and Westinghouse/Intel science competitions and reading Goethe in the original German - you can just take all your hopes and dreams and throw them right out the window.

With undisciplined, short-attention-span, easily-distracted children, you have to watch them like a hawk - 24x7 - just to make sure that they don't murder each other.

And for people trying to raise children these days, modernity is just one interminable surrealistic nightmare.

There really is something to be said for the Amish and their luddism, especially as regards the raising of children.

Hail said...

I vaguely recall a science fiction story by Asmiov: In the distant future, no one can read anymore. Not because of "Idiocracy", but sort of the opposite. People have moved past the need for text thanks to technology. Someone discovers an old book and can't figure out what the "squiggles" in it are. I don't remember the plot.

It was vaguely dystopian, as so much of such literature is, because one realizes the real possibility of such a future. Extrapolate current trends centuries ahead: Will books exist anymore? What if all knowledge were stored on the Internet and the Internet goes down? Future book-less people would be completely helpless.

jody said...

i have to amend my previous post about whether the consumer-producer relationship is genuinely bizarre or not. because it's not really all that bizarre, since anybody who has studied questions of "Where does stuff come from?" will see that probably 80% of everything in the last few hundred years, in every field, came from the mind of some white guy. in fields as disparate as there are searches on google.

jody said...

for instance, this is the reason why every 3rd world military force shows up on television with russian weapons. only a few nations on earth produce any small arms. the US is not about to sell an order of 20,000 units to random bloodthirsty group number 214, so those guys go buy from the russians who have no such reservations.

most nations don't produce their own weapons because they can't. they aren't smart enough to design their own stuff or manufacture it either. there's probably only 8 nations in the whole world producing their own small arms in large numbers, everybody else has to buy from them or license production. and small arms are relatively easy to make and not all that high on the mechanical engineering scale. understand we live in a world where most nations, even the highly motivated ones with millions of angry guys who want their own modern military, can't even produce halfway decent small arms in large numbers. now reconcile that with economists and their their ideas about humans as interchangeable units who could suddenly start manufacturing anything at any time.

in the real world, the great majority of these "units" can't develop their own original stuff and have to buy all of their equipment from somewhere else. even when they are the most highly motivated "units" possible. a capable society would never allow itself such an arrangement, where it could be embargoed and deprived of military imports. it would establish it's own production. reaction to trade isolation and import embargo will demonstrate how capable a nation actually is.

or, next time you walk into the gym, realize some white guy came up with almost everything in a large gym. the whole idea of lifting weights in the first place, what the weights should look like (bars and plates versus dumbbells versus kettle bells), each apparatus (mechanical engineering of the machines, squat rack, bench, power rack, preacher machine), HOW to exercise with weights (3 sets of 12 versus periodization versus HIT versus crossfit), even the drugs used to boost response to resistance training , and why weight lifting works at a cellular level (ATP metabolism of actin and myosin bands which are torn and shredded by the high force applied by heavy weights, then rebuilt with protein).

there are more athletes than ever, all around the world, in gyms in every nation, and the vast majority of them haven't come up with anything new on their own. they just copy what some white guys came up with years ago.

Kylie said...

Le creep said..."Another article from a baby-boomer run media outlet wringing its hands over new tech."

Trans.: I couldn't get Steve's goat by making snarky comments about his attractiveness so I'll try the age thing.

"They always commission an out-of-touch Gen-x reporter to investigate what Gen-y and Millennials are up to. They then end up worrying over irrelevant things, having not seen them in context."

Trans.: They're out of touch with the glorious young so they're out of touch, period. Oh, and the young will decide what's relevant and in what context to put it. After all, youthfulness trumps life experience and the concommittant knowledge and wisdom. I know this because I heard it in an audiobook. And because I'm young.

"And no, electronics aren't sapping the attention spans of the young."

Trans.: I haven't listened to the article so I don't know what it said but I'm young so I know what it should have said but probably didn't because it was written by an out-of-touch old person.

"We're just living under an intensity of pressure that older generations would not understand. The pressure to succeed, to make something of yourself, etc. etc."

Trans.: I can say things like this that reveal a level of narcissistic solipsism that totally discounts trivia like WWII, the Great Depression, the Cold War, etc. because I'm young. Besides, nobody should have been going to war in the first place. I know this because I heard it in an audiobook, probably one by Howard Zinn but I can't remember and who cares anyway? He's old or dead or something.

Anyway, I'm young and I listen to books so that settles it.

Anonymous said...

I used to be an executive in business, non-profits, and government. It could sometimes be hard. I never got winded or fatigued by the heavy manual labor. It was the mental effort that could tire me out.

But this mental effort was not like concentrating in school. I had had to really focus to understand integral calculus. I never had to concentrate on a single problem in the work world the way I had done in graduate school.

So what task then did I, as a top manager, have that was so onerous?

Distraction.

MBA students are taught that business or government leaders only have about six minutes to deal with any problem and then they must switch context to another problem.

No one may personally supervise more than seven people personally but you don't have to rise very high before you have hundreds of people dependent on you for decisions. These people have access to you and your time.

Analysts and interns have the luxury of thinking through a problem. Managers must act too quickly to often have the satisfaction of real understanding.

Not everyone can do it. But apparently we now have the technology to train the next generation for decision making in large organizations.

School teachers didn't bring us this new technology. Almost by definition school teachers are ill suited for high corporate positions. They see change, recoil and withdraw.

Now maybe I'm just full of beans and the effect of YouTube and Facebook on kids is truly dire. But note there is no hard data in this story. It is just assumed that if a change has taken place then it must be for the worse. It's like the Global Warming alarmists who scream:"The winters are getting warmer. The horror! The horror!"

Learning to deal with distraction and to be able to switch contexts quickly is consummately to be desired. Like mild winters.

Albertosaurus

Part of the reason wahy executives are so harried is the corporate pyramid.

More Anon said...

Wasn't there a good iSteve thread about bookstores closing because the growing Hispanic population prefers radio and TV to reading newspapers?

Anonymous said...

in the US, we are heading for a very bizarre future, which steve has pointed out several times in his posts about being the only european in a movie theater filled with mestizos all sitting there watching europeans acting in hollywood movies. in other words, we're heading for univision. a vast sea of brown consumers eating up everything a small talent pool of white media producers are creating.

We've already had this situation basically with Jews creating media content for the European gentile masses for the past century.

Anonymous said...

The article leads with the example of Indian student, Vishal Singh. I assume this is supposed to give the reader the impression that the school is filled with Indian braniacs. But Vishal is a Sikh, not an upper caste Hindu, which probably means his father spends his day in a dilapidated cab in front of the San Jose Airport, not sitting behind a computer monitor at Oracle. And I doubt he is reading novels to pass the time between passengers. Parental literacy is a strong predictor of child literacy.

Probably Vishal doesn't like reading because he is bad at it, not because he is distracted by You Tube.

Kylie said...

Albertosaurus said..."Learning to deal with distraction and to be able to switch contexts quickly is consummately to be desired.

Agreed. But that's not what I inferred from the article is happening with these kids. (Yes, I read the whole thing. I'm old.)

It's not that these young people have learned to deal with unwelcome distractions and get on with the task at hand. Instead, they welcome distractions and the stimulation that comes with them to keep from being bored. Reading printed material=boring; texting while listening to music and talking to friends=interesting.

And it's not so much that they've learned to switch contexts as that they avoid those that fail to engage their interest.

"Managers must act too quickly to often have the satisfaction of real understanding."

And you can act more quickly when you have the attention span to focus on the problem at hand for the few moments you have in which to deal with it. I infer from the article that these kids don't have that. It's not that they only read a few pages at a time of an assigned text, it's that text bores them too much for them to read at all. Thus, the article says, "By all rights, Vishal, a bright 17-year-old, should already have finished the book, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” his summer reading assignment. But he has managed 43 pages in two months.

He typically favors Facebook, YouTube and making digital videos."

And again, "To Ms. Blondel, the exercise in group reading represents a regression in American education and an indictment of technology. The reason she has to do it, she says, is that students now lack the attention span to read the assignments on their own."

That's not the same as not having enough distraction-free time to deal with something. That's the inability/refusal to deal with it, period, regardless of time constraints, because it doesn't interest you.

"But apparently we now have the technology to train the next generation for decision making in large organizations."

We may have that technology but nothing I've read suggests we're using it in the constructive way you mention.

I see what you're saying and don't disagree with you but I think you're viewing the situation as described in this specific article a tad too optimistically.

Anonymous said...

"We're just living under an intensity of pressure that older generations would not understand. The pressure to succeed, to make something of yourself, etc. etc."



LOL. We've all told our parents that one and watched them roll their eyes as they thought, "I won't even waste my breath on setting him straight on this one--still too young, stupid, and self-centered to listen and learn anything from my response."

Truth said...

"This never happened."

A mere insignificant detail.

kurt9 said...

I spend a lot of time on the net, but I think I read even more books than I used to. I certainly read more non-fiction books these days as I can get them through Amazon reasonably cheap (especially used). The last non-fiction I read was Richard Jone's "Soft Machines", which was about nanotechnology. The previous one was Robert Kaplan's "Monsoon", which is about the rise of the nations bordering the Indian Ocean and how this affects America's future.

The internet is good. But it does not give you the real in-dept information.

Atlantic said...

"No, I don't read many books these days. Very few college kids have the time. What I do is listen to audiobooks whenever I can."

What kind of college student can't read faster than normal talking speed????

helene edwards said...

what could it mean when a principal says students in Woodside "feel disenfranchised"? Isn't the most remarkable fact about these kids' lives that they are assiduously insulated from the message that they don't really know anything? Almost by definition, a generation which has been granted its wish to make the past prima facie irrelevant, cannot be "disenfranchised." What an asshole.

Simon in London said...

RKU:
"lots of overseas readers just lap-up the endless verbiage that "Whiskey" spews forth about America being totally controlled by a diabolical WASP-Mafia, acting through the agency of their white-feminist puppets..."

Uh, no. We know who controls America, cheers. >;)

Simon in London said...

jody:
"this is the reason why every 3rd world military force shows up on television with russian weapons. only a few nations on earth produce any small arms. the US is not about to sell an order of 20,000 units to random bloodthirsty group number 214, so those guys go buy from the russians who have no such reservations."

Plus the AK-47 is a vastly superior weapon to the M-16, certainly when wielded by a drugged-out 14 year old with a 60 IQ.

rob said...

Jody, the Soviets designed equipment for peacetime use by illiterate morons, of the sort who couldn't avoid service in the Soviet Army. They also designed equipment so that it could be manufactured outdoors after an American first/counterstrike with as little precision manufacturing as possible. At least from what I read in Viktor Suvurov's "Inside the Soviet Army." All that, and still the third worlders can't build a tank or rpg.

Did you see "Lord of War"? For all of its liberal do-gooderism, they couldn't avoid portraying Africa as, well...But it is still our fault for allowing them modern weapons weapons to fight primitive war.

Whiskey said...

Yes and the Hispanic population prefers Spanish language radio and TV to newspapers. I've written and so has Steve about how the LAT peaked in circulation ... in 1988, and fell thereafter.

For those not seeing what California was, and now is, well its coming to you. Mexico is falling apart, and Texas and places north will have millions of Mexicans moving en-masse to them. Already places like Chicago, and Nashville, and Charleston are filled with Mexican illegal aliens. The demographic transformation is massive, sudden, and damaging (because the new people are poor, don't assimilate to White middle class norms, and crowd out natives and native White middle class cultural attitudes).

As for technology, it can be a good thing. Project Gutenberg and Google Books make many old classics available that would be otherwise un-read. Castillo's eyewitness account of the Conquest of Mexico is one I'm reading right now (Gutenberg generally has better epub versions than Google), you can get pretty much all the classics including excellent 19th Century translations of Tacitus and Livy, along with Machiavelli, the Dumas's, father and son, and all the Jules Verne and Kipling you can handle. I believe Conan Doyle is still under copyright though.

Email, twitter, the rest are just distractions though. Electronic gimmickry is no substitution for work at studying.

Severn said...

If you want to be even marginally well informed about any topic of interest to an intelligent adult, you will have to read about it, by which I mean, you will have to read books about it. I don't see that changing anytime soon.



Yes. But books are increasingly available on-line.

H. said...

As a serious educator, I deplore the decision by the principal to change the school's hour of opening to 9 and to try to meet the kids on their own high-tech ground in mode of instruction.

Kids need to be cured of their short attention spans, not encouraged to cultivate them, and the best panacea, in my opinion, is lengthy reading and analysis of literary classics. Creative teachers can think of ways to make such works interesting, although this can be difficult with many students.

I will never be on Facebook, and I despise Twitter.

Anonymous said...

The article leads with the example of Indian student, Vishal Singh. I assume this is supposed to give the reader the impression that the school is filled with Indian braniacs. But Vishal is a Sikh, not an upper caste Hindu, which probably means his father spends his day in a dilapidated cab in front of the San Jose Airport, not sitting behind a computer monitor at Oracle. And I doubt he is reading novels to pass the time between passengers. Parental literacy is a strong predictor of child literacy.

Probably Vishal doesn't like reading because he is bad at it, not because he is distracted by You Tube.



You illiterate, read the entire article. It says his father is a lab manager and his mom manages airport security. His dad is an educated professional and his mom is likely at least a computer programmer, so not a bad background. He's also good at film editing, which is a high IQ SWPL profession.

Singh is common surname among North Indian Hindus. Not just Sikhs.

This obsession with upper/lower caste ignores that many non upper caste Indians have done pretty well in India and overseas. For example, Patel is not an upper caste and they're making a lot of money in India and moreso UK/US.

Seriously, some of the commenters here are downright retarded.

SFG said...

Starting school at 9 is actually the one good idea that gets lots in the mess of nouveau technophile foolishness. There's been quite a bit of research to suggest teenagers normally wake up later.

TGGP said...

Mark Kleiman approved of changing the start of school. Because kids shouldn't get out early enough to commit crime while adults are at work.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""Mr. Anon said...

I happened to attend graduation ceremonies for Woodside High's class of 2010. David Reilly and several of the students gassed on at great length about diversity. Afterwards, up in the bleachers, a fight broke out - somebody dissed somebody's baby mama (or something), and some shirtless black dude ended up getting hauled away by a Sherrif's deputy. I heard some of the students talk about pupils hitting teachers - apparently a not uncommon event at Woodside High.""

This never happened."

"This never happened"? Bullshit. It happened about 10 feet from me. Maybe you were at the other end of the bleachers. Maybe you were watching it on video from the auditorium. It happened.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

"This never happened."

A mere insignificant detail."

Yeah, "Truth", cause black youths never cause any trouble, do they?

By the way, St. Louis edged out Camden for most dangerous city this year. The top five? St. Louis, Camden, Detroit, Flint, and Oakland. Now, what do all these cities have in common? Oh yeah......they all have vowels in thier name. That must be it.

Anonymous said...

in the US, we are heading for a very bizarre future, which steve has pointed out several times in his posts about being the only european in a movie theater filled with mestizos all sitting there watching europeans acting in hollywood movies. in other words, we're heading for univision. a vast sea of brown consumers eating up everything a small talent pool of white media producers are creating.

Speaking as one of those (mostly) white media producers, it's a depressing situation to be in. There's a lot of pressure for network shows and summer movies to get dumber and dumber, when crap like the Hawaii Five-0 remake and the Transformers franchise get rewarded and stuff for the triple digit IQ crowd gets pushed onto cable. The bifurcation of mass entertainment into the erudite to the point of inaccessible (The Wire, et al) and the unapologetically moronic is tough for those of us who like to try to craft intelligent crowdpleasers.

Svigor said...

We've already had this situation basically with Jews creating media content for the European gentile masses for the past century.

Sorta-kinda. There's more to filmmaking than Producing, Directing, and Writing, the cultural choke points.

Anonymous said...

"You illiterate, read the entire article. It says his father is a lab manager and his mom manages airport security. His dad is an educated professional and his mom is likely at least a computer programmer, so not a bad background. He's also good at film editing, which is a high IQ SWPL profession. "

Oops, I was going to read the whole thing, but I got distracted, too. I'm right in the middle of Thomas Mann's the Magic Mountain, and I couldn't be bothered to link to the NYT.

It doesn't surprise me that Vishal is a poor reader. After all, Indian children are regressing to a mean IQ of 85, not 100, no matter how smart their parents may be.

jody said...

"We've already had this situation basically with Jews creating media content for the European gentile masses for the past century."

euro gentiles create the majority of television programming and movies around the world, even in the US. american jews create lots of television and movie media consumed by euro gentiles (and everybody else), but hardly all of it. they don't even create the majority of it. euro gentiles develop most of the original material in this field too. high levels of jewish participation and jewish excellence in this industry does not change the fact that gentiles still do most of the creating for themselves here. as a group they easily create more than ashkenazi jews and have no problem creating major media properties. euro gentiles regularly develop their own written material into major movies and television programs. a quick trip to boxofficemojo.com reveals that gentiles do plenty well on their own.

relative to the field, jewish representation is actually declining. every decade the jewish percentage of the creators declines. there are fewer jewish actors, writers, and directors. while there are still plenty, their decline is undeniable,
and the ratio of euro gentile-created material to american jewish-created material continues to grow. and it's mainly euro gentiles, not any of the other groups, occupying more and more of these jobs. behind the camera, movies and television are WAY too white. far, far out of proportion to all demographics.

euro gentiles have taken over most of the creative process in hollywood. there's an unstoppable army of gentile creators today, from all around the world. in fact, now that the movie industry is global, american jewish producers cannot use their
power to censor the content of wide release movies anymore. while they retain executive control of most US production companies (which is totally fine in my opinion since they founded the companies in the first place), they no longer get to say what kind of movies cannot be made. production companies outside of the US will just make whatever movie somebody wants to make, or if somebody is very wealthy, they can finance a production themselves and use one of the companies outside the US to distribute it.

jody said...

and of course, it was euro gentiles who developed the camera, the motion picture, and the television, the basis of the movie and television industries. these industries would not exist without them, a claim which can be made about euro gentiles in almost every field, but rarely about any other group in any other field. euro gentiles are hardly the uncreative, helpless slugs the jewish supremists make them out to be sometimes on HBD sites. they're actively creating lots of the stuff they consume. they're not mexicans. this weekend, another gentile creation sold 125 million dollars worth of tickets in 3 days, in the US alone. worldwide i believe the figure was 330 million.

meanwhile in the music industry, american jewish musicians have mostly disappeared. there are a few new jewish artists, but almost no major ones anymore. jewish participation here is being reduced to executive control of record companies. but they have no monopoly on that, with lots of independent record companies. and more importantly, file sharing across the internet has forever broken the grip of record companies on the means of production and distribution. in fact, file sharing has destroyed the music industry business model. for me, a former music fanatic and somebody who worked in the radio business, it is very sad to witness the decline of music. for instance, best buy just reorganized all their locations this year, eliminating music from their floor space, and turning over that valuable square footage to video games. now there are very few retail places where music makes a physical appearance anymore. in fact, music now only appears in it's physical form inside big box stores like wal-mart and target, in a small section of the electronics department.

euro gentiles (mostly germans) developed the phonograph and microphone, the basis of the industry. heck, a german guy is the person most directly responsible for developing MP3, the thing which ended the era of the record companies.

jody said...

in the US, euro gentile men are in the process of dropping out of music, in favor of video games and movies, a transformation which i documented in my "magnum opus" post. most pop musicians in the US now are either european women or african men - this trend is stark and overwhelming, a real HBD slap in the face when you turn on top 40 radio. black man song, white woman song, black man song, white woman song. although many of these songs are still written by white men. for instance, a swedish guy, martin sandberg, wrote many of the hits for britney spears, kelly clarkson, katy perry, pink, and usher's "DJ got us fallin' in love". an american, lukazs gottweld, wrote several major hits for the same artists, britney spears, katie perry, miley cyrus, kelly clarkson, as well as "party in the USA" for miley cyrus, and most of the material for kes$ha. nadir khayat, a half moroccan half swedish guy, helped write lady gaga's first album.

you can now notice that american pop music is becoming very techno oriented, because guys like this are writing lots of the songs. even some rappers now have techno oriented songs written for them to rap over. at least half of the top 40 is based around four on the floor techno bass drum rhythms.

and the boring, dreaded white man even developed auto-tune. all those pop songs with auto-tuned vocals, white guys came up with that too. auto-tune was originally programmed by andy hildebrand, then used first by british music producer rob dickins on a cher song (written by another british guy, brian higgins).

nevertheless, euro gentile men still participate in country music but have almost completely abandoned pop music and rock music. there are no new good rock bands because euro gentiles don't want to make them anymore. they're far more interested in...

jody said...

the video game industry, where there are some jewish guys, but they are hardly as prominent in this field as they were in the movie or television industry. they never became one of the main demographic forces there. there are some jewish guys doing important stuff in video games right now, but euro gentiles and japanese guys are by far the two main important groups here. modern video games, consumed ravenously by teenagers and 20 year olds in all demographic groups, are like a pipeline directly into the brain of the high IQ white male. they conceive and program almost all of this stuff. games like call of duty: black ops, and the massive sales they rack up compared to any music, ever, are what inspired me to write "magnum opus" in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Unchecked use of digital devices, he says, can create a culture in which students are addicted to the virtual world and lost in it. ...

That is the key point. It's kind of absurd to blame the "damned kids" of today for the point we've arrived at. Blame must be placed at the feet of the high IQ fags who have completely alienated modern man from the physical world. If we want to solve the "mestizo problem", then we need to give our big brains a rest long enough to have babies and do our own lawn work.

Nick said...

Seems to me that lots of kids would rather screw around than do their work. This is new? Lord knows I knew how to not do my schoolwork w/o the benefit of Facebook or texting. Indeed, I don't use either of those to this day, and yet I'm still quite capable of not doing necessary work. A kid who can play video games for 6 consecutive hours but doesn't ever do his homework doesn't have trouble with his attention span. He just would rather do what he likes to do than what he needs to do.

This stuff is available 24-7 for many kids. That's the real issue, beyond the natural inclination to play instead of work. The easier it is to access the more it will be accessed. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Right. Indians kids are regressing to 85 IQ. Which is why Indians never, ever win Spelling Bees or Math Olympiads. Which is why there are no Indian kids on Wall Street and no Indian doctors or Indian businessmen. Most Indian kids end up living in public housing in Van Nuys and Compton.

Thankyou for enlightening us tonight. Wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

Jody, your comments about rock indicate that you're clueless about the world of metal. White men who are really into music play metal: black metal, death metal, thrash metal, power metal, pagan metal, traditional metal, doom metal, post-metal, grindcore or even shitty nu-metal. It doesn't get a lot of radio play, but neither did Slayer or Megadeth during the 1980s, although everybody has at least heard of them today.

There's a lot that transpires beneath the surface that you completely miss if you only pay attention to what's on the radio.

Anonymous said...

Blame must be placed at the feet of the high IQ fags who have completely alienated modern man from the physical world. If we want to solve the "mestizo problem", then we need to give our big brains a rest long enough to have babies and do our own lawn work.

As I indicated above, I realized years ago that the Amish were onto something by isolating themselves from the balefule influence of modernity.

I remember teaching a computer course back in the mid-1990s, after I had first seen the then-burgeoning young WWW, wherein I told my students that in another 50 years, the Amish would be the only people in the world who retained literacy.

Everyone else would be communicating via grunts and moans and gestures.

Anonymous said...

"Right. Indians kids are regressing to 85 IQ. Which is why Indians never, ever win Spelling Bees or Math Olympiads. Which is why there are no Indian kids on Wall Street and no Indian doctors or Indian businessmen. Most Indian kids end up living in public housing in Van Nuys and Compton."

No, most Indians end up behind the counter of a gas station or a motel. In any case, America wouldn't be any worse off for not having them. In fact, we would be better off, since Indians hardly believe in a meritocratic society. Once in any position of influence they believe in promoting all their profoundly dumb and incompetent relatives.

Have a nice day, Tyzoon.

Anonymous said...

Indians ( mostly midlevel castes ) in UK regress to 97IQ
Indians in USA ( 50% upper caste and 50% midlevel caste ), regress to 112IQ

Anonymous said...

Indian kids from the upper castes regress to the means of those upper castes, not to the overall Indian mean. India is a multiracial country where for all intents and purposes the various castes are more or less different sub-races.

Anonymous said...

First generation Indians end up in motels and gas stations. By the second generation, they're professionals.

Which is why Dr. Patel is so common in New Jersey.

David said...

Don't blame the kids. The modern world is surfeited with bullshit.

Why curl into a corner with a hot coffee in order to give hours of undivided attention to, say, "Freakonomics" or its legion of equivalents?

Anonymous said...

Out of the 32 Rhodes scholars announced a few days ago, 5 are of Indian origin, which does show that the caste blend of the Indian diaspora in US is regressing to much higher than white IQ

Anonymous said...

"Out of the 32 Rhodes scholars announced a few days ago, 5 are of Indian origin, which does show that the caste blend of the Indian diaspora in US is regressing to much higher than white IQ"

Uh, huh. It never occurred to you that the Rhodes Scholar selection committee has a quota for non-whites? And how politically correct to send brown former imperial subjects to Oxford on a scholarship named for an imperialist. What fun to stick a finger in the eye of old-timey British imperialism. Also, Indian Rhodes scholars are taking the place of blacks who tend to interview poorly.

David said...

>Out of the 32 Rhodes scholars announced a few days ago, 5 are of Indian origin, which does show that the caste blend of the Indian diaspora in US is regressing to much higher than white IQ<

It shows no such thing. But you just showed you aren't thinking clearly.

Anonymous said...

@David,

In the CA 2010 Star results

11th grade English Arts score,
Whites = 360, Asian Indians = 370

In 7th grade math score,
Whites = 373 , Asian Indian = 407

Anonymous said...

@David, adding in NAM scores for 2010 STAR , CA

11th grade English / 7th grade Math, with regression

Black = 312 / 324
Hispanic = 318 / 335
Filipino = 355 / 378
White = 360 / 373
Chinese = 388 / 430
Japanese = 382 / 415
Korean = 385 / 428
Vietnamese = 365 / 406
Asian Indian = 370 / 407

David said...

>In the CA 2010 Star results<

That's good evidence of group patterns. Individuals winning a prize are not.

Anonymous said...

"11th grade English / 7th grade Math, with regression"

Well, looking at test scores from the top schools in the East Bay, I notice whites do as well if not better than Asians. This suggests that simply averaging achievement test results statewide for different ethnic groups is discounting the effect of the culture of achievement in individual schools. For instance, a lot of white kids are trapped in public schools in the central valley where the Mexican kids pretty much set the pace of the school. It it probably more sensible to average achievement gaps over all schools. That way, East Asians and Indians, who tend to be concentrated in high achieving school districts get compared to high achieving whites. I'm not wholly discounting the hypothesis that East and Asian immigrants are academically superior to whites, I just don't think the margin superiority is that significant in explaining things like why so many computer programmers are Indians and why East Asians crowd into microelectronic fabrication labs. I think Indians tend to form large self sustaining ghettos where whites don't want to work, and the Chinese spend at least half of their time on the job communicating in Mandarin. This is likely to drive whites out of industries where there is a large accumulation of foreigners.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, huh. It never occurred to you that the Rhodes Scholar selection committee has a quota for non-whites? "

There may be a NAM quota, but none for Indians and Chinese.

One of the Indian winners, Varun Sivaram, is the son of a Tamil Brahmin whom I went with to Engineering College in India, who overcame a 70% anti-brahmin quota. He is now a millionaire venture capitalist in Palo Alto

Earlier Varun got into Stanford, overcoming an anti-Indian quota. Earlier this year he also won one of the Stennis Center Awards for political leadership.

Anonymous said...

11th grade English / 7th grade Math, with regression for Santa Clara County ( Silicon Valley )

Black = 316 / 333
Hispanic = 313 / 331
Filipino = 345 / 365
White = 377 / 394
Chinese = 410 / 442
Japanese = 386 / 414
Korean = 393 / 420
Vietnamese = 365 / 400
Asian Indian = 390 / 438

Anonymous said...

2010 STAR , CA

Cupertino School District, ( Home of Appple )

7th grade English / 7th grade Math, with regression

Black = 363 / 353
Hispanic = 362 / 349
Filipino = 388 / 382
White = 401 / 403
Chinese = 436 / 447
Japanese = 377 / 432
Korean = 405 / 424
Vietnamese = 414 / 424
Asian Indian = 435 / 451

--

In this school district, the Indian caste blend is likely upto 80% uppper caste