Saturday, August 29, 2009

Words Worth a Thousand Pictures

In a changing society of rapidly advancing technologies, where even television sometimes doesn't provide a conveniently direct enough relayer of information, it is easy for some of us to lose interest in the MOST revolutionary, pervasive, and thus-far effective method of learning and retrieving important information: reading.

Given, we live in a fast-paced world and lead extremely busy lives. And if you are anything like me, you don't have the time to flip through and thoroughly read every page of your local morning paper. Nor will you make use of the investment of numerous magazine or national daily news subscriptions that may only be utilized as packing material or a rag for cleaning windows in future (in case you don't know, newspapers are great at minimizing streaks!)

Here's what I do:
1) Subscribe to a weekly periodical
(my favorite is "The Economist") - most offer ridiculous student discounts and allow you to receive all of your important current events for the week in a single sitting.

2) Utilize a weblog feed reader
(my favorite is Google Reader) - syndicate RSS feeds from daily news websites (,,, etc.), where you can usually specify which section or topic. At the same time, you can subscribe to blog feeds as well to cater more to your specific interests or to get a more juicy, opinionate take on current events. When using a feed reader, you can give up checking every site individually for updates. Instead, updates will come to you all at one place, where you choose what to read and what to leave.

3) Don't rely on television for national news; LOCAL is fine, especially in Hawai‘i!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption=""Allow this to be the last consumer decision you will ever need to make!""]Allow this to be the last consumer decision you will ever need to make![/caption]

So, besides the believed hypnotic, manipulative, and additive qualities that are the usual concern over its excessive usage...
Why not television?

At 30 fps, an hour long television program broadcasts a total of 108,000 still pictures! So, if a "picture is (really) worth a thousand words," then an hour long television show should provide us with an equivalent to 108 millions words, or 432,000 pages...yeah, i don't think so.

Of course, I don't mean to be that wag that points flaws in idioms that are obviously not created to be taken completely literally! The only point I'm trying to make is that maybe pictures are only valuable when being completely absorbed or read with focused attention not characteristic of watching TV. Perhaps, what is needed is a sort of brain activity similar to reading a book, or even better, surfing the web! Even non-educational, "leisure" reading can stimulate and encourage new connections of neurons to increase intelligence, maybe even more effectively than "educational" television broadcasts.

Furthermore, news broadcasts on television are so full of celebrity gossip, inter-network politics and biases, that it takes a substantial effort to filter any substance through all of the shenanigans. So, make the right choice, and don't forget to use a Reader if you don't already!:

Wow Terry, a little much?!

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