Showing posts from January, 2013

Reading Journal: The Hopkins Touch

David Roll, The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler. Oxford University Press, 2013. 

“The political biographies most popular in the modern era often tell us less about their subjects than about the moment in which the books themselves are published.” Jill Abramson, reviewing Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (New York Times Book Review November 2, 2012)
In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President and faced the daunting challenge of leading a nation in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The new President responded with a $800 million dollar stimulus package, the American Resource and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), with the goal of creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, and strengthening the social safety net for those affected by the economic downturn. As the result of ARRA, President Obama has been compared to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his economic stimulus package has been called “the new N…

Reading Journal: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Nicholas Carr. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Most of us who use the Internet recognize the phenomenon: we click around, check email, check Facebook, find ourselves unable to focus on a task. At best, we find ourselves “multitasking.” At worst, we’re simply unable to concentrate on any task at all. The Internet is a “technology of distraction,” overloading our brains with stimuli. Drawing on research on “neuroplasticity,” Nicholas Carr argues that this technology actually alters the human brain, creating new circuitry adapted to the rapid-fire, stimulus-rich environment of the Internet. Studies of how people read on the Internet, for example, show that people tend to skim, scanning the page for the salient points. Deep, reflective reading is sacrificed for a rapid and efficient gathering of relevant information. Carr worries that, as our brains are rewired for this kind of shallow reading on the Internet, we will lose the capacity…