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The following review was written with a certain amount of sleep deprivation. I should have waited to either write the review and/or post it. I say a few things that I think are more inflammatory than they should have been, I might or might not write a more coherent review / edit this one in the near future. Or not. Ill erase this preamble if I ever go through with making myself sound like less of a tard than I currently do in this review.Months ago I wrote a review where I talked about science being only one narrative among many in making up the world. A small fight broke out in the comment section and I bowed out of the fight without saying what I wanted to, partially because I was at work at the time and when I got home a mere 7 or so hours later in internet time the moment had passed and it didnt seem appropriate to stir up the waters again, and partially because I was still thinking about what I wanted to say. As a slight aside Im fairly certain that one person on goodreads dropped me as a friend because of my heresy in demoting science to a mere narrative. Whatever. But to return to the argument it was mostly between David and MFSO. At one point MFSO accused me of creating a straw man (I did), and said that most scientists dont think in the limited way that I was portraying them (or actually maybe as David was, fuck, I should go read the old review, and maybe put a link here, be right back.... ok here is the review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), whatever, if you want you can read the back and forth between the two of them with my very limited engagement if you want to have the context of what Im talking about here. This review is going to be sort of what I might have said that day if I continued with the argument. I had actually just started reading this book back then, and some of the ideas were fresh in my mind. Actually I should have been reading this book instead of wasting my time reading that stupid New Age book I found in my bedroom at my parents house. Actually maybe its not going to be. Maybe Ill come back to this argument later on, but for now Ill sum up a larger thought in a simpler manner than Id like (because Im daunted by getting everything Im thinking down in a coherent manner), the scientific thinking that I was critiquing isnt in Scientists, but in people who have turned over a fanatical belief in say God or philosophy for the warm embrace and reassurance of science. Its the people who believe that science can give a quick remedy and happiness to life in the popping of a daily pill of venlafaxine. Of people who wield and submit to statistics about everything and base the way they see the world from them. People who blindly trust and believe in what they think is holy writ coming from some ivory tower Mt. Sinai. The idiots who believed in Y2K because some authority figure told them it would be so. Everyone with very strong pro and con opinions about global warming who take their opinions from whichever scientific camp they prefer the sound-bite of but who have never gone to see what the actual data is or what is really being said, and I could keep on running off examples on and on and on......And I would even add anyone who has it on the authority of some scientist that the internet is changing (or not) the way we think, our attention spans or dumbing us down or making us smarter.....What Ive learned (been reminded of might be a better term) from this book is that scientists have many different perspectives, they are living beings with their own experiences and their own prejudices and interests. Ive also learned that no one knows what the internet is doing to our thinking, and that in the space of ten pages you can have one scientist saying how she believes the sustained use of it will modify some of the brains structures and then have Steven Pinker say the exact opposite, that the internet wont change our brains in a physical way. This book is filled with optimists and pessimists. Former writers who screamed the praise of the internet back in Wired during the 90s now see it as a frightening thing. Daniel Dennet writes about how it has robbed him of his productivity, other writers scream praises about how it allows them to be more productive in their professional lives and get work done that would have been impossible without the wonders of access to all that information. Some wish they could turn off the constant barrage of connectivity and others write about the lengths they go to stay connected at all times. And these are all (generally) very smart and informed people and they are (mostly) writing about themselves, and they dont agree at all about the question of what the internet is doing to them. So many different viewpoints is fucking awesome, it shows that the nay-sayers who see the internet as some kind of great homogenizer into a mass intellectual groupthink hive when it comes to the future of scientific thought couldnt be farther off the mark, there is a great big world of differing thoughts and they are all in one way or another poking around at this massively great big world of information from their own vantage points to continue moving forward, or just getting stuck reading too many celebrity gossip columns online, but all bringing something personal to the way they view this monster that is the internet. I also learned that the close minded entries in this book all seemed to come from the creative sector. Some of the novelists, artists and musicians (not all though) were the ones with the very limited scientific view (even if it was a very negative version of it), or who mistakenly took their own opinions as a gospel of sorts (ok, there were a few scientists too who seemed to mistake their own viewpoint and experiences with the internet as being indicative of the whole, a couple who see the interent (as in one essay) as a giant structure that raises the awareness of environmental issues. Yeah maybe the internet does that, but I think that is in one small corner of the interent among people whose main interest is environmental issues, it would be like me saying that the internet is a great big structure that brings more book reviews written by non-professional book reviewers into the world just because for me that is my main preoccupation with the internet, or the guy who thinks of the internet as a giant structure for engaging in fantasy baseball.... you get the point though). Most of the essays that annoyed me were by the people who I should have been sympathetic with, those that come from the humanities world. But even those essays usually gave me something to think about. Every essay actually helped spark some idea, made me mull over some stuff in my head, or sent me on some tangential idea. This book is awesome for that. My only (real) complaint about the book is that it is like the internet itself to me, its too fucking overwhelming. I could only read a handful of essays at a time before I got overwhelmed with all the viewpoints and everything got messy in my head. In order to think about what Id read Id have to stop reading, and sometimes the book scared me and Id avoid it because there was just too much stimulation in it. I get overwhelmed just as easily by the internet. My only other complaint (ok, there are two, this one is really pedantic though) is that the majority of the essays didnt answer the question. The question was Is the Internet changing the way you think?, but most of the responses were more like an answer to How is the internet effecting your life?, or How is the internet influencing you?. The word thinking got thrown around a lot in essays but very few really focused on what is thinking and how is the thinking being changed or not changed. The word was being very casually used, and it was kind of being used at times like a synonym for any number of things, of which actual thinking may or may not have been really related to. Id recommend people read this book but even though there were requests for my copy Im going to decline lending it out. My own copy has too much marginalia and its embarrassing to me to lend out books that Ive marked up.AppendixMy answer to the question, feel free to answer it yourself. Im going to be like most of the writers in this book and not focus on my actual thinking, or thought process. I think that the way I generate thoughts and how I go about thinking is roughly the same as before I used the internet. I still have the same over-thinking and anxiety inducing shit running through my head. As far as being a distraction, yes it is, but its one that overwhelms me and when I get overwhelmed by it I just ignore it and go on to something else. I find it much less distracting than TV, and it doesnt bombard me with the overflow of information and stimulation that watching quick edited commercials or MTV used to. There is more content, an immense amount more a few keystrokes away, on the internet but there is no one deciding the pace I have to be absorbing it. I read or view what I want when I want to, I can pause on the internet. I feel no compulsion to answer an email right away. I very very rarely open up a chat program so there is no real-time communication going on between me and anyone generally when Im online. I sometimes wish I felt more of a compulsion to keep up with things going on in the internet world Im a part of, but I make my own tradeoffs between seeing everything that is happening and say watching a movie or reading. With the internet I read more books than I do without the internet but I read very little on the internet. Its made me more dynamic and thoughtful about what I read because I feel some compulsion to write these silly book reviews. Yes, the internet wastes large chucks of time, did I need to spend an hour playing Mahjong Safari tonight? Or the hours last week I spent playing the stupid balloon popping game? Yes I could have spent those hours doing something better but Im sort of lazy and its my own fault I let stupid games distract me, Id probably play video games or watch movies if I wasnt doing those things. The internet allows me to have some semblance of interaction with people who share interests that I do, first when I started using the internet back in the early 90s with music, and now with books. If I had to rely on only the people I knew in real life to talk about books I read Id be pretty much only talking to Karen, as very few other people I know personally have anything close to my tastes, but there is something limiting about only seeking out people who are like you in some way, but since Im a reclusive type its not like Id be going out of my way to meet interesting people with a wide variety of interests in the real world, maybe the internet has helped in making me a bit more of a recluse than I would have been, but in any of the instances mentioned above it only amplifies parts of my life that were already there but I cant say that its done much to change me.

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