The Internet fosters social contact
A Pew report issued Wednesday, supports the idea the use of the Internet expands social contact:
The Pew Internet and American Life Project also finds that U.S. Internet users are more apt to get help on health care, financial and other decisions because they have a larger set of people to which to turn.
Further rebuking early studies suggesting that the Internet promotes isolation, Pew found that it “was actually helping people maintain their communities,” said Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto sociology professor and co-author of the Pew report.
The study found that e-mail is supplementing, not replacing, other means of contact. For example, people who e-mail most of their closest friends and relatives at least once a week are about 25 percent more likely to have weekly landline phone contact as well. The increase is even greater for cell phones.
“There’s a certain seamlessness of how people maintain their social networks,” said John Horrigan, Pew’s associate director. “They shift between face-to-face, phone and Internet quite easily.”
Meanwhile, Internet users tend to have a larger network of close and significant contacts — a median of 37 compared with 30 for nonusers — and they are more likely to receive help from someone within that social network.
It does worry me just a little that even the nonusers network of close and significant contacts is quite a bit larger than my own. Introversion has its downsides.
We don't have to remember everything
According to an Editor's Summary at Nature:
A study of brain activity in subjects performing a task in which they were asked to 'hold in mind' some of the objects and to ignore other objects has revealed significant variation between individuals in their ability to keep the irrelevant items out of awareness. This shows that our awareness is not determined only by what we can keep 'in mind' but also by how good we are at keeping irrelevant things 'out of mind'. This also implies that an individual's effective memory capacity may not simply reflect storage space, as it does with a hard disk. It may also reflect how efficiently irrelevant information is excluded from using up vital storage capacity.
Well, that explains it.
Via wake up!
And most importantly:
Poetry is good for your health
That, at least, is the premise of studies currently under way for the Arts Council and the Department of Health. One study, published a couple of years ago in the journal Psychological Reports, suggested that writing poetry boosted levels of secretory immunoglobin A. Another, undertaken by a consultant at Bristol Royal Infirmary, concluded that poetry enabled seven per cent of mental health patients to be weaned off their anti-depressants. Poetry, it seems, is not the new rock'n'roll, but the new Prozac. [...]
OK, so the rest of the article isn't quite so promising. Still, I'm practicing belief in the unlikely, remember?