Saturday, September 29, 2007

Winkin, Blinkin, and Pod: Word doc

The printed word can have a magical quality – the right moment, the right wordsmithy, and the word can pop on off the page.

There is a way of knowing, among others, a type of cognition that derives from neurons firing piston-like, causing ideas’ flowering like fireworks as the eye scans a story – say about science – say in the New York Times.

But there is a way of knowing that derives from hearing the spoken word. It can equal or better the printed word, depending, firing those pretty little brain synapse thingies along another salient.

Working in the Internet medium – cant call it the press, but it does have to do with the visual presentation of words, in this case in electronic form – one wonderswhere it is all going. People are farily ready to download stories and listen to them, perhaps as they jog or drive. You wonder if they just don’t like the act of reading.

My son reads books, but, by and large, he scans magazines, doesn’t pick up a newspaper, and when he reads mags, he hardly reads much of the captions. We were told as journalism students to, when we rode the subway, to watch how people read a paper. It didnt take long to discover that people just pick bits and pieces out of a newspaper as if casting lures into a fishy stream. The scanning mechanism is pretty well known – but now it seems headed for the stratosphere.

I think you learn thins in a certain deep way when you stare at the word, encounter it visually, absorb it as a representative symbolic pattern. Think of College biology or physics, or the rape of Tralala as described by Hubert Selby – what have you..

Is there not a power in words written? I know when I write even usually banal technical thins that contain a well parsed sentence.. that that has a power to drop the damn buster bomb somewhere on the skylight of your awareness. Of course, swinging hips and a sunsuit have p-p-p-power too…

I am thinking people are losing touch with a part of the brain and a part of general cognition when reading is beyond them.

… well maybe si, maybe no. Reading the Tues Sci Times has been often a tedious chore in recent years, as I wonder into the middle ages. And learning about DNA, space, neuroscience, and so on.. once so enticing, ‘various and new,’ is a tough task. Recently my competency with iPodcast buttons has enabled me to begin to listen to the science story from the New York Times. And it is a wake up call.

Of course the fact that I can take care of my really really tedious unavoidable chores – cooking, doing dishes, driving the car – while I dig this science stuff is part of it. I am in dream world where the words of science are sorbed, rather than read, while I place my pedestrian attention on the great mundane.

Listening to the Tues Sci Time podcasts has given me a second chance at learning the history of Sputnik the influence of the theatrical magic on studies of perception.. .and so on. It is good – I am learning. Learning is not over.

I have a real feeling about the [technical] journalist’s trade. Though it may be a minority report. If you don’t get on the phone or out of the office and chat to humans about whatever the topic of interest is, you have a lesser appreciation perhaps of some nuance of inflection in the pool of information. That seems to be in synch with the idea that aural info has an important place. When I think about how science tackled me as a young youth, I have to count visual and aural representations a bit above the printed word. There was Connections; Walter Cronkite on the NASA Program, Monitor Radio reports on Space. the sound of Sputnik. Nova. N so on. Course there was Jules Verne, a great writer, but know best to me through Disney’s 20,000 leagues under the sea. "I am dazzled, blinded."

Next, maybe, the Innocuous Device.

NYT Podcast page - includes handy info on what podcasts are for people over 30.

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