We're paying more attention than you think!

The great fear aabout web readers is that we’re losing any long term attention span. We link from thought to thought like endless web browsing with no goal in mind. Turns out we may not be so distracted after all. According to a recent study by Poytner Institute web news readers actually have a greater attention span than print news readers.

The EyeTrack07 survey by the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based journalism school, found online readers read 77 percent of what they chose to read while broadsheet newspaper readers read an average of 62 percent, and tabloid readers about 57 percent. Read more.

Hat tip to Pajamas Media.

Teach the Bible in Public School? Time Magazine says. "Yes"

Religion editor David Van Biema looks at the growing trend of teaching the Bible in public schools as a cultural document. While some objects (both conservatives and liberals) other people see this as an opportunity to help contextualize American culture. From the founding fathers to the Martin Luther King and modern politicians, biblical images and ideas have influenced our national rhetoric as well as our national imagination. 

Some biblical literacy may help shine light into American history as well as the current cultural conversation. I agree with Biema that this is a positive development. I think the Bible has played a particular role in our history and it is worthy to explore that connection.

The kind of class Biema discusses is not a comparative religion class but sounds more like a class in cultural literacy. And yet, I also see the value in comparative religion classes.

While I am an Evangelical Christian, I think students should have some basic knowledge of various world religions, including the tremendous influence of some ancient religions such as Zoroastrianism. I am opposed to the idea that faiths which have shaped people groups and nations should be completely excluded from the public conversation.

If we truly embrace diversity, we should be able to listen to one another,  and still feel free to disagree.

Multitasking may cost U.S. $650 billion a year

With cell phones, email, ipods, treos and laptops, we’re multitasking more than ever. NY Times points to research suggesting it is an illusion that we can really multitask like we think we can.  Not only is  it causing more accidents, it may actually be slowing down (not speeding up) productivity at work.  Interesting  research. Seems our studies are pointing to an ancient sin the church fathers warned about: sloth (acedia).

Sloth sounds like laziness but it may actually be the result of busyness. If we get too busy, we lose diligence both in work and in spiritual practice. I fear many of us our guilty of sloth. Lord have mercy!

For a more nuanced explanation of sloth, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung offers a thoughtful reflection on sloth.

Rickie Lee Jones and The Words of Jesus

rickylee.jpegBrowsing emusic this morning I discovered a new album from Ricky Lee Jones called The Sermon on Exposition Blvd. Since the word sermon caught my attention, I stumbled on over to read more about it. Turns out she really has released an album exploring themes inspired by Jesus. What I’ve listened so far, sounds pretty cool. Of course, you have to like her unique voice.

What stirred her to release this album? Apparently, Lee Cantelon wrote The Words, a books that brings the words of Jesus into a setting where contemporary readers from within and outside the Christian tradition can encounter the words in a fresh way. This led to a larger project involving writers, theologians, scholars and more bringing these words to cultures around the world in various languages. While Lee’s work has received a welcome audience outside the Christian tradition, it has also received the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, the official authorization of a theological text by the Roman Catholic Church.

Lee wanted to gather a few artists to record the Words. Ricky ended up getting involved (read more about that story here), and she ended up recording an album.

SXSW 2007




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Originally uploaded by dulasfloyd.

My first visit to southby. Cool conference. I plan to post a few observations next week but right now I am getting ready for a retreat.

Let me just say that if you’re interested in the new web world, this is the place go. Lots of exciting discussion on new possibilities coming into view.

I’ll comment more specifically when I have time.

Scribd – Writing and Reading with Analytics

I can’t remember how I landed on scribd but somehow I ran across the other day. It’s a basic site to post writings that may or may not have images and other formatting possibilities. Instead of blog, it makes room for any type of entry, and some people are posting research papers.

The community is relatively small right now (a little over 6,000), but the interface is cool and offers a variety of fascinating “real time” analytics. Like the map below of the viewer locations.

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Open Source Comics? Jeep and Marvel want you!

comics.jpgIn another experiment with online interactivity, Jeep and Marvel comics are creating a user generated comic book. While its not really open source, it still offers a sense of community participation by inviting users to submit story panels that may be translated into a developing comic book. Joe B informs me this is a variation of an idea by comics theorist Scott McCloud.