Always Providing You With Information

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People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found.

In each of their tests, subjects were split into two groups: those who regularly do a lot of media multitasking and those who don’t.

In one experiment, the groups were shown sets of two red rectangles alone or surrounded by two, four or six blue rectangles. Each configuration was flashed twice, and the participants had to determine whether the two red rectangles in the second frame were in a different position than in the first frame.

They were told to ignore the blue rectangles, and the low multitaskers had no problem doing that. But the high multitaskers were constantly distracted by the irrelevant blue images. Their performance was horrible.

Because the high multitaskers showed they couldn’t ignore things, the researchers figured they were better at storing and organizing information. Maybe they had better memories.

The second test proved that theory wrong. After being shown sequences of alphabetical letters, the high multitaskers did a lousy job at remembering when a letter was making a repeat appearance.

The low multitaskers did great  while the high multitaskers were doing worse and worse the further they went along because they kept seeing more letters and had difficulty keeping them sorted in their brains.

Still puzzled

Puzzled but not yet stumped on why the heavy multitaskers weren’t performing well, the researchers conducted a third test. If the heavy multitaskers couldn’t filter out irrelevant information or organize their memories, perhaps they excelled at switching from one thing to another faster and better than anyone else.

Wrong again, the study found.

The test subjects were shown images of letters and numbers at the same time and instructed what to focus on. When they were told to pay attention to numbers, they had to determine if the digits were even or odd. When told to concentrate on letters, they had to say whether they were vowels or consonants.

Again, the heavy multitaskers underperformed the light multitaskers.

They couldn’t stop from thinking about the task they weren’t doing. The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can’t keep things separate in their minds.

The researchers are still studying whether chronic media multitaskers are born with an inability to concentrate or are damaging their cognitive control by willingly taking in so much at once. But they’re convinced the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they could.

“When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” said Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

So maybe it’s time to stop e-mailing if you’re following the game on TV, and rethink singing along with the radio if you’re reading the latest news online. By doing less, you might accomplish more.

The sequel To Kill A Mocking bird , Go Set A Watchman is to be released July 14, 2015.

New details have emerged that call into question the official story of how and when the work was discovered after being stored in a safe-deposit box for many years. According to both Tonja Carter, Harper Lee’s lawyer, and the publisher HarperCollins, Carter stumbled upon the typewritten text when she was rummaging around a batch of old documents last August.

But the New York Times on Thursday provide a very different series of events. According to the newspaper, Go Set a Watchman was found almost three years earlier – by a rare books expert from the Sotheby’s auction house, who was asked to review documents held in a safe-deposit box in Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where she lives today in a nursing home.

At a meeting in October 2011, the paper reports, the Sotheby’s expert, Justin Caldwell, came across the manuscript of a novel that he noticed as distinct from To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee’s celebrated account of the racial fault lines of a small town in the deep south told through the eyes of a child named Scout.

Go Set a Watchman is described as a “parent” book to Kill a Mockingbird – though it is set 20 years after the famous novel, in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, it was in fact written before Mockingbird, with Lee having been encouraged by her then editors to have another go.

On the night of the launch, excerpts will be read at New York’s 92nd Street Y by Mary Badham, who played Scout alongside Gregory Peck in the legendary 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

A War Service Library bookplate.
COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ARCHIVES

During World War I, librarians operated camp and hospital libraries,and in both world wars, librarians promoted books drives and encouraged donations.

Librarians were especially active during World War I. The American Library Association reports that between 1917 and 1920, its Library War Service established three dozen camp libraries with the support of the Carnegie Corporation and raised $5 million in public contributions. Special uniforms were created for librarians in World War I. The American Library in Paris — established in 1920 by the American Library Association and American expatriates, and seeded with books from the Library War Service — continues to this day.

ALA and other organizations collected more than 10 million volumes during the first World War. Moreover, during the Second World War more than 17 million books were gathered through the Victory Book Campaign.

Librarians volunteered sort and weed out books in poor condition or not suitable for young fighting men before the books were shipped. Books that did make it into the hands of the troops, boosted morale, provided connections to people back home and offered technical guidance. The books from home were therapeutic for those convalescing in hospitals, easing their physical and emotional pain. And certain books helped to alleviate homesickness, chase away boredom and provide training to those who wanted to land jobs when they returned home.

In the Second World War, American libraries became centers for public information and technical education. Several Army bases and USO clubs featured libraries and public libraries also served as magnets for military members.

Servicemen used the library often to polish up on mathematics and economics. The Chicago Public Library created a special Servicemen’s Center — run by volunteers — with 5,000 books. And other libraries provided music and local tourist information to visiting troops.

Franklin Roosevelt, poster notes: “No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.”

And librarians are the weapons experts.

American Library Association volunteers in Paris on Feb. 27, 1919.
COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ARCHIVES
Lets not forget
Sadie Peterson Delaney.jpg
The chief librarian of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, for 34 years. She is well known as a pioneer for her work with bibliotherapy. Sadie Peterson Delaney, daughter of Julia Frances Hawkins Johnson and James Johnson, was born on February 26, 1889, in Rochester, New York. She attended high school in Poughkeepsie, New York, and also spent one year at Miss McGovern’s School of Social Work. She attended college at the College of the City of New York, graduating in 1919. She went on to receive her library training at the New York Public Library School from 1920 to 1921. Delaney had one daughter named Grace with her first husband, Edward Louis Peterson. They divorced in 1924, and she married Rudicel A. Delaney in 1928. Delaney continued her work at the New York Public Library after she completed her training. She worked at the 135th Street Branch in Harlem through 1923. She worked diligently to increase the programs available for children of different ethnic backgrounds. She ran story hours, discussion groups, and other events for children. Some of the events were geared specifically toward juvenile delinquents, foreign-born children or blind children. Her interest in working with blind children led her to learn Braille and Moon Code, a system of reading and writing for blind people. She also worked with parents and community elders, helping them to see the value of the library for the children that they worked with at home or in community groups.

Veterans Administration Hospital

Delaney was approached to head the library at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. The hospital was home to physically disabled African American war veterans and veterans with mental or emotional issues. Delaney initially took a six-month leave of absence from the New York Public Library; however, she ended up staying in Tuskegee for the remainder of her career. When she arrived at the Veterans Administration Hospital in January 1924, there were just 200 books and a table in the library.

One of the first things Delaney did in Tuskegee was make the library more welcoming. She moved it into a larger room and added plants, wall hangings, flowers and other inviting elements. She wanted to have a positive impact on the patients in the hospital. She also began acquiring books for both the patients and the medical staff.

Within one year of Delaney’s arrival in Tuskegee, the library had 4,000 volumes available for patients and 85 volumes available in the medical library. Library circulation had risen to 1,000 books per month. By 1954, there were over 13,000 volumes in the patient library and over 3,000 volumes in the medical library. In addition to the chief librarian, there were six library assistants to help handle the demand for library resources. Delaney died in 1958 after working 34 years at the hospital.

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Legislators are still holding hearings on the Internet of Things. A resolution was passed by the Senate however privacy and security was not mentioned.  The Federal Trade Commission, the primary regulator entrusted with protection the privacy of consumers in the United States, published a lengthy report on the privacy and security of the Internet of Things that recommended Congress hold off on passing legislation specifically focused on the area.

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Pearl Thompson wanted to check out a book from a North Carolina Library in 1942 while a student at Shaw University. She was told she could not because she is not white. A county library official changed that Thursday, years after the 1942 incident during the days of racial segregation.”She came to the library in 1942 to use a book for a paper she was writing, and she was denied access because she was African-American,” said Ann Burlingame, deputy director for Wake County Public Libraries.

Read More On Pearl Thompson & Her Library Card Experience Here

Pearl Thompson, 92, approaches the checkout desk before receiving a Wake County library card Thursday, July 2, 2015 at the Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh. Thompson was a student at Shaw University in 1942 when she was told she couldn't check out a book from the Olivia Raney Public Library because she was black.

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The sales of fitness trackers has been increasing but do they really work? The experts all agree that people to set goals and remind them of their goal absolutely works. However, evidence that people get healthier when using fitness trackers is limited because the devices are new and studies have mostly been small or focused on specific groups of people. Fitness trackers can grab a lot of data: how many steps you’ve taken, where you’ve run, how many calories you’ve burned, how fast your heart is beating, how much oxygen you’ve got in your blood, and how well you’re sleeping. They can be synced with smartphones, apps and scales. The International Data says more than 11 million of the devices were sold in the first quarter of this year, triple sales from a year ago. Fitbit’s product sales doubled and revenue nearly tripled in 2014. In one of the few completed clinical trials of fitness trackers, Dr. Lisa Cadmus-Bertram found that overweight middle-aged and older women who used a Fitbit got about an hour of additional exercise a week. A group of women who were given pedometers didn’t improve.

Cadmus-Bertram thinks that if the women had received more support they might have experienced even bigger gains. But the study involved a specific group of women — they were around 60, white and affluent. And they still didn’t reach the activity goals that experts recommend. The results were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this month. Cadmus-Bertram is preparing to launch additional studies on Garmin’s Vivofit tracker and plans to test the LED-based heartbeat sensors in some activity trackers to see if their measurements are accurate. She said it’s hard for researchers to keep up with the pace of innovation and new features to determine if they are really useful. Experts say, even though the trackers’ benefits prove hard to quantify, they may do some real good because they could change the way people think about their own habits and approach to health.

 

 

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