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Monday, July 28, 2008

San Diego and other random things

So, I flew out to San Diego for the weekend (yeah, I know the jet-set life is real tough), so here I am catching up on a couple of things that I noticed/read along the way. I wish I could pass some kind of judgement on California but three days really is just too short. San Diego was fun, I can see how living there is highly appealing, but I need to go again, for longer to really judge it. Last time I tried judging a city/country after a short vacation, I got torched by a friend even when most of my observations were only meant sarcastically, thus I will simply refrain from doing so here.
  • I flew into Denver Thursday evening from the North, sitting on the left of the plane and looking out onto the Eastern plains of Colorado. That place is empty. I mean like empty. There were virtually no houses, few roads, just space. Wide open space. I really need to go out West at some point in my life in order to experience this part of the country.

  • Only in the United States: TVs installed above the pumps at a gas station in San Diego.

  • I was amazed that on leaving San Diego one can be in the solitude of the desert after an easy 30-40 minutes drive. Again, the West is different, I totally need to check this out at some point.

  • Nicholas Carr is putting forth an interesting thesis that the internet is making us stupid. I don't necessarily agree with every point he makes. I still read literature for example, something which he argues he has unlearned because of internet-overusage, and I found the change cited below horrible and never even glance at it. But, I do believe that the skimming of articles, the reading of headlines only has made knowledge more superficial. At the same time people only have to blame themselves for this I believe (just pick up a paper, and no, I don't believe you when you say you don't have the time to read one) and additionaly the shear amount of news has of course increased significantly (I doubt even avid newspaper readers in 1960s had as much of a global vision as we today do) making it virtually impossible to keep up to date on every development in much detail.

    When, in March of this year, The New York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts, its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.

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