Science and Technology: The Age of the (ubiquitous, big) Screen

As much as many pan the notion, I believe we have entered the Age of the Screen. If you’re the observant type, you’ll notice screens are everywhere. There are multiples in our houses, and not just TVs. How many of us own more than one computer, tablet, and smartphone? I know I’m guilty, and likely so are you. And that doesn’t even include the screens at work, school, the restaurant, and just about everywhere else we look.

There is lots of press about the negatives of “screen time,” and to be sure, unmanaged, it is a negative, but I posit that our problem with screen time and all these ubiquitous, big screens is that we haven’t figured out how to use them yet. We’re in an era where technology is developing faster than we understand its impact, and it shows.

Follow me here: one of the main arguments against screen time is that it is addictive and changes brain development, especially in children. The fact that is true is undeniable, yet it also glosses over a particular set of facts: both the addiction and the development are manageable if we don’t stop doing the things we did before the screens. Screens are a modern addition to a long history that changes how humans behave, and what is lacking is management.

I find this subject particularly fascinating because so much of what I do right now involves screens. I create art on them. I write on them. I communicate on them. I interact on them. In those ways, screens are incredibly beneficial for me in a variety of ways. Where the screens fail me is when I use them to sate my sometimes overwhelming boredom by almost ritualistic use of the screen as brain candy. That failure is fixable. It’s a simple matter of doing other things. It’s a matter of discipline.

For me, the beauty of the screens is that they work the way my brain does. I get not everyone feels that way. But the fact is screens are here to stay, so we should start learning how to manage them for the best use possible. And that management is possible. We just have to do it.

–DLH

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My View from the Ramparts: Reintroducing this blog

As you can see from the history, this blog has languished for a while. Well, it will no more.

What prompted the absence and the change?

It started with the fact that I got really sick two and a half years ago–in fact, so sick I almost died–and I’ve spent the time since recovering. I’m now recovered enough that I am am able to get back into what my wife, Keba, and I set out to do with our farm, Innisfree on the Stillwater.

Further, beyond my work on the farm, I am also working to develop myself as a freelance writer, and it turns out having a solid portfolio is an important part of that process. It seems to me that writing about what I am doing is a great way to populate that portfolio, so here we are.

My goal is to post here at least once a week, or more often if some subject spurs me to write more. I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

DLH

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Wordcraft by Dennis L Hitzeman: Testing, testing

I’m testing out microblogging from various devices to my blogs. Stay tuned…

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Readiness: Get ready now

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gotten comfortable recently and slacked of my own readiness plans, but we had multiple tornadoes touch down in our area last night, and it reminded me that disaster can strike anyone at any time. Being ready is a must.

This isn’t a statement of paranoia. It’s an acknowledgement that that having a kit in my closet or my car can mean the difference between needing help and being able to help. If I choose, I can buy a premade kit, or I can put one together for  not a lot of money. The internet is full of good resources, and I have a few of them listed on this site.

The moral of the story is this: be ready.

DLH

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The Rambling Road: Take a break

To say that I am motivated to lose weight and increase my overall fitness is an understatement. My overall health is directly tied to those two variables, and moving them in my favor promises a whole host of benefits.

I’m here to say it’s possible to want it too much.

Over the past four and a half months I have pushed myself, occasionally to the point of breaking and renewed illness, only to jump back into it again the moment I was able. I’ve increased my average daily steps from 4,800 a day in January to 11,000 right now. I’ve increased my average hours of movement from 2ish to 4ish. I’ve lost and kept off 25 pounds since the first of the year.

And I’m exhausted.

Now, that’s to be expected, given the ramp up in activity I’ve inflicted on myself, but it’s also unsustainable. Over the past few weeks, I’ve begun to suffer a series of chronic warning signs the outcome of me ignoring them I know too well. I’ve reached the edge of my envelope, and it’s time to back off.

I’m telling you all about this as both a warning and an encouragement. Every single thing we do has a long term effect, even if we don’t realize the correlation when that effect occurs. It could be a good effect. It could be bad. But it will be there.

What we have to be aware of is the fact that, if we burn it all up now, there may not be anything left for later. It’s okay to take breaks. It’s okay to back off for a bit. Backing off now may well be the way you push yourself harder down the road.

So, for the moment, I’m taking a break. I’m ramping down my steps for the rest of the month and transferring that effort into more natural movement pursuits and, for the next week or so, getting my sleep sorted out again. Once I have, I’ll be back at it, stronger and more motivated than ever.

DLH

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