The truth is that most of us read continuously in a perpetual stream of incestuous words, but instead of reading novels, book reviews, or newspapers like we used to in the ancien régime, we now read text messages, social media, and bite-sized entries about our protean cultural history on Wikipedia.
In the great epistemic galaxy of words, we have become both reading junkies and also professional text skimmers. Reading has become a clumsy science, which is why we keep fudging the lab results. But in diagnosing our own textual attention deficit disorder (ADD), who can blame us for skimming? We’re inundated by so much opinion posing as information, much of it the same material with permutating and exponential commentary. Skimming is practically a defense mechanism against the avalanche of info-opinion that has collectively hijacked narrative, reportage, and good analysis.
According to research leader, Celia Klin, the perception comes from us desperately trying to find context in the thin clues of a sparse text message. “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations,” Klin said. “When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on. People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them – emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”
Most of what we learn about gunshot wounds, we learn from watching television. A small sliver of this programming is actually educational, like the ballistics tests performed on Mythbusters. (Some lessons: Bullets fired into liquids will stop or disintegrate rather than slice through seawater a la Saving Private Ryan, and a weapon that would blow a victim backwards would also blow the shooter back.) But these examples are outliers. Depictions of gun violence in fictional shows and movies are routine, and often wildly imaginative. Those depictions are distorting understanding of what bullets can—or can’t—do to bodies.
Other than Daryl Morey, Curry is perhaps the figurehead in the NBA’s Three-Point Revolution™. It’s easy to get swept up in the narrative that 3-point shooting has been long-undervalued and that smart sharpshooters are finally taking over the NBA. Teams that shot the most and the best from beyond the arc last year dominated like never before. The correlation between a team’s rate of attempting threes and its winning percentage was the highest it has ever been (.47). In the playoffs, the top 3-point-shooting teams made up the entirety of the conference finals:
Quite soon I made the basic discovery that even very simple programs can show immensely complex behavior—and over the years I discovered that all sorts of systems could finally be understood in terms of these kinds of programs.