Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Email Apnea and Technical Hilarities


Yesterday afternoon, DJ Prefect (yours truly) took on the Brood of the Mau Mau time slot from 2pm to 4pm and battled multifarious Pirate Cat Radio Cafe demons to bring you an interview with Linda Stone embedded in 2 hours of truly eclectic radio.

Download the Interview with Linda Stone from Podomatic.

Linda Stone, technologist at Apple through the 80s and 90s, first got online in 1993, and began writing about kinds of attention we pay to these technological devices clearly paving the way ahead. Her ideas stood askew of the popular notion that we were "multitasking". She instead termed it "continuous partial attention" and cautioned us to be aware that time divided not only didn't all add up to equivalent productivity among multiple tasks; it may also have mental and physical health effects.

Check out Linda Stone's keynote speech on "Continuous Partial Attention" at IdeaConference 2006 (and thanks to Dorian Taylor for pointing this out to me originally).

Her more recent research into what she calls Email Apnea -- manifested in her Huffington Post article -- reveals that time spent obsessing at screens, hunched over in poor posture and states of non-relaxation for long periods of time, results in a sustained fight-or-flight reaction which causes some very real physiological changes in our bodies, such as preventing us from reaching a state of satiety. The consequences could be many: irrational overeating, information addiction, and so on.

This interview is packed full of interesting information about the enculturated ways we spend our time physically and the surprising "commutative" effects of breathing on our mental state: our mental state can produce physiological effects, but effecting these physiological states like quick shallow breathing can also instate the mental condition we would normally cite as the "cause".

[Side note: I announced Linda's domain name wrong after the interview -- she's on LindaStone.net rather than dot-com.]

The normal running length of this program would be 2 hours, but technical difficulties (preventable power outages and strange mixing board settings, mainly) caused the official Pirate Cat Radio podcast for Monday, Oct 12, 2009 2-4pm to cut off at 21 minutes in due to the mp3 stream dying at about 20 minutes in. But it's worth a listen for a bit of science news and to find out what I've been up to for the past 2.5 weeks.

Fortunately, 10 minutes of music bought me time to hack a quick fix by setting up a new Pirate Cat streaming mp3 relay and recruiting excellent friend Chris in Toronto to stream-rip the show in progress.

Conclusion: Having a network of truly awesome friends is teh awesome.

And: EXHALE.

Related: this show's music playlist.

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