The incidences are becoming numerous. You’re about to mention a name and suddenly realize you can’t recall it. “It’s at the tip of my tongue,” you mutter embarrassedly. “Happens to me all time,” a sympathetic listener responds. You’re suffering from “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI). And so do a billion others.
While one could easily dismiss this as a collective “senior moment,” society is facing phenomena never experienced before: a non-stop assault on the senses brought on by rivers of data, a proliferation of media and advertising, all propelled by faster living, copious multitasking, plus a growing reliance on digital memory devices.
Scientists note that average scores on memory tests decline steadily after age 25. By midlife, memory erosion accelerates, with humans losing on average 1% of brain volume each year.
And there’s growing evidence that cellphones, calculators, speed-dialing, GPS and other memory-saving aids have reduced the need for mental acuity, causing the brain to deteriorate at a faster pace than ever before.
Research by psychologist Denise Park at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana shows that adults who multitask frequently have more memory complaints than their parents in their 70s.
With memory lapses on the upswing, the brain fitness business is…
Gary Kamiya tells stories on SFGate.com
, from the history of San Francisco and its newspaper archives. It’s a rich history for such a small city, and it’s a strong literary history, too, which is apt with Silicon Valley becoming a Media Valley.
This week Mr. Kamiya tells the story of Oscar Wilde’s visit to San Francisco in 1882,
as part of strange promotional stunt for a Gilbert & Sullivan opera lampooning the Aesthetes, an English artistic and literary set enamored with a “Cult of Beauty,” a heightened level of sensitivity to the beauty of nature, and in the decor of their surroundings — rooms, furniture, and even wallpaper.
[San Francisco's Legion of Honor museum last year hosted an excellent "Cult of Beauty" exhibit with several pre-Raphaelite artists represented, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti; William Morris graphics design; and Aubrey Beardsley.]
Oscar Wilde was young, just 28 years old but already well known in London for his literary and other achievements, mostly on a very public stage of London society. He was considered a leading light of the Aesthetes, even though after three…
We all knows that some plants are more useful than others.
Amy Stewart knows about plants that create the world’s great drinks. She’s the author of “The Drunken Botanist” and she’s going to talk about her research (and sign copies of her book) at a lecture followed by a reception beginning at 6 p.m. October 16, 2013, in the Volmer Center of Clyburn Arboretum at the H.P. Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, 3100 Swann Drive, Baltimore, Maryland.
Who knew that horticulture was such an intoxicating subject? In her fourth New York Times bestseller
, Stewart explores the odd, unusual and surprisingly common plants that have produced the world’s greatest spirits. “The Drunken Botanist” uncovers the enlightening botanical history and the fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 herbs, flowers, trees, fruits — and even a few fungi.
Tickets are $40. All proceeds directly benefit the Rawlings Conservatory.
is one former Beatle who is not afraid of embracing the 21st century.
Yes, it’s true. Ringo has written an eBook!
Aptly titled Photograph
(after his 1973 hit solo single released after the Beatles broke up), the 72-year-old drummer shares the story of his life via pictures, video and audio.
While there may be a bit of interest in seeing snaps of baby Ringo growing up in Liverpool or an older Ringo traveling the world, the ultimate sales trigger will be the 100 never-before-seen candid photos of the Fab Four during their catapult to fame and years as the best rock band of the 20th century during the mid-to-late 1960s.
The eBook is actually an iBook, available exclusively from Apple’s iTunes on pre-order for $9.99 now (for delivery on June 12). In addition to the photos, you’ll also get video and audio narration by Starr himself, who says, quite frankly, “These are shots that no one else could have. I just loved taking pictures and I still do.”
Sources: Apple.com and FStoppers.com
People who know me well know that I’m a sucker for a new read. As long as there’s not six other books in queue or the recommended book is so uncompelling I can’t get through it, it’s mine for the taking. When I was beating up on myself recently,
a friend recommended I look into the work of Brene Brown.
I started with her TED talk and then moved to her book: The Gifts of Imperfection
— oh such a compelling title in a country that deems itself more perfect than any other. Some may call it a personal self help book, and while aspects of that may be true, the category has gotten such a bad rap lately that I’d prefer to call content what it is designed to do: help you get from A to B through whatever wisdom the author shares through their vantage point and skillset. If that’s self help, fine.
Is it self help when you need to learn a specific management skill and an expert who has the wisdom shares it through a book to get you unstuck? We look down upon wisdom that might…
Climate Change. Global Warming. Whatever title you give “it,”
we don’t talk about “it”
at dinner parties, not in the same way we discuss things which happen at our child’s school, the latest movie or episode of Mad Men or where we’re going on vacation this year.
‘s latest book: Flight Behavior,
attempts to convey the dangers of climate change through an All American
story of a farming family whose lives are turned upside down because of it. As butterflies settle on their land because of weather shifts in Mexico the previous year, a mystery unravels as to why.
A witty, melancholy and pure account of rural life in the American Appalachia belt, it is also a serious play-by-play of what could happen to a species when their normal ”flight behavior”
gets changed as a result of being forced to winter (and mate) somewhere new.
While the narrative is driven by the not yet true
extinction of the Monarch butterfly, she taps into expert sources for guidance in constructing a fictional story within a plausible biological framework.
Flight Behavior is a suitable title since the phrase applies to butterflies as much as it does to humans, as evident through the unraveling of a dysfunctional marriage of…
I just finished yet another Milan Kundera novel: Immortality.
He is, as always intense. I happen to be one of his fans, one who patiently understands the flow of his meandering style, knowing the poetic philosopher in him who needs us to read each and
It’s as if I’m in his head when I really listen
to his meanders, and can even sense where and
how he is sitting when he writes a passage, can feel the women he has known and
not known and all the intricate details which make up his life, or least the bit of his life which gives it meaning.
Although there were many, my favorite two excerpts and meanders were these.
The first is about image: A person is nothing but his image says a main male character of the novel. “Philosophers can tell us that it doesn’t matter what they world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don’t understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be. Thinking about how others see us and trying to
Ernest Freeberg is the author of “The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America.” He was recently interviewed at the Computer History Museum in Santa Clara on the legacy of Edison’s R&D approach, its visible impact on the tech industry today, the challenges of controlling IP, and the myth of the lone inventor.
You write that “Edison invented a new style of invention, a coordinated program of scientific research and product development.” Did that style impact the way that today’s technology companies pursue research and development?
That basic concept has been transformative. We live in a world where we assume invention is not just something that comes along when someone has a great idea, but this is a force that can be shaped and controlled with the proper investment of capital. That invention is something which is not a gift from the intellectual gods but is something that human beings can make happen.
It’s changed a lot since Edison’s day, of course. Universities have come to play a much more central role. University-trained researchers and the government play a role in directing…
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