Sunday, 28 August 2011


Waiting for Irene...(and feeling a little wordy)

I was darn near late getting back from my lunch break on Friday - I was listening to a great report on CBC radio about technology and 'unplugging'. (The interview is here - it starts at about 14:00) Fascinating stuff. There have been studies done that say that when you read a computer screen, if there is a block of text (much less a picture) that doesn't have anything to do with your reading, it shoots your comprehension of what you do read by 50%.

That's scary, thinking about how much of what we read is broken up by fancy, shimmery ads and different fonts and scrolling texts with coloured backgrounds.

Our brains use different pathways to process things - even things as similar as reading off a screen and reading off a page.Read all your stuff off a screen, and the pathways used to comprehend words off a page? Begin to shut down.

Getting all the news about this incoming was-a-hurricane-but-is-now-a-tropical-storm? Is like waiting for Godot - the bad news is still there, and you can look for Jesus' co-conspirators if you like,  but it...never...comes. Yesterday we ran around frantically tying down the tractor and tidying everything away, doing the storm checklist: Do we have food? Can we cook if the power goes out? Does everyone know where to go if a tree falls on the house? and then today.....we waited.
It's spit rain and misted a lot, and there have been some interesting gusts of wind, but listening to the forecasts and forecasts and forecasts is really just stressing out the kids and making them punchy.

So today we've been watching movies and reading books (we made a run to the library earlier) and treating this like any other rainy, might storm, y'know, day.

And I wonder if exposing them to two days of news broadcasts and footage of roiling waves and flooding streets is good for them. If they might not be better off not having so much to think about. So much lag time before the actual event, so to speak.

If we should have unplugged.

I am so grateful that all my friends and family are safe from the effects of this storm. Please do not think I am negating the good things that having an early-warning system does.


Molly said...

Thanks for the link---fascinating stuff. I wonder if Kindle and Nook, all these things trying to give books the boot, also reduce our ability to read and comprehend the printed page?

Anonymous said...

The worst storms are the ones that sneak up on us. Irene must have gotten a better offer. :)

alison said...

Glad that Irene was mostly benign in your neck of the woods. Interesting link, thanks.