the costs of constant connectivity

The balance between connectivity and contemplation
Restoring Contemplation: How Disconnecting Bolsters the Knowledge Economy, by Jessie L. Mannisto
“While constant access to information enabled by digital devices has done much to improve our lives, it also exacts costs with respect to our attention and productivity that are especially harmful in a knowledge based economy. Increased public awareness of the impact of our information consumption habits—and ways to develop a healthier “information diet”—will help mitigate the negative impacts of constant connectivity. To build this awareness, librarians and educators can teach information consumers to differentiate actively between gathering and processing information and help them understand when and how each of these modes of thought will benefit them. Libraries also can provide services and spaces that promote contemplation within the modern information infrastructure. Software developers and system engineers can contribute by creating products and services that promote contemplation. Researchers can help us better understand the costs of constant connectivity and tailor an information infrastructure that better supports creative and analytical thought—and, ultimately, a higher quality of life.”

MadSilence in review 2011

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for MadSilence.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holy Moly! and Kreativ Blogger Award

Hey all!  I’m absolutely flabbergasted and so pleased that you enjoyed the post on the Yoshida Brothers!  I’ve often told my co-workers how the most rewarding part of my job as an English-language teacher in Japan is being a cultural bridge for my students, but it’s not often that I get to be one in the opposite direction as well!  Thank you so much for responding so positively and for the WordPress team for selecting MadSilence for Freshly Pressed.  The comments included interesting links I’ve listed here:

LadyRuby found a re-make of a Nightmare Before Christmas track by the Yoshida Brothers:

OneRetweet links to AutoTune to the News:

Kreative Blogger Award!

Kreative Blogger Award!

Also, in today’s awesome news, we’ve been selected to receive the Kreative Blogger Award by the lovely Elaine over at Latefruit!

There are 5 things you have to do when you receive this award – so let’s give it a go!

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. Thank you so much Elaine!  I hadn’t stumbled across her blog before, and I’m glad she came forward so I could!  Elaine writes very positive and inspiring entries about aging and art, which I think is terribly important in our youth-centric society.  She helps us remember that aging is not just about the failures of health and beauty that TV and drug companies like to remind us of, but a time of wisdom and enrichment of the soul that’s more important than an unlined face or un-experienced heart.
  2. Copy the logo to your blog (that’s it, no link or anything) Done!  And a very cute logo it is!
  3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. Done!  LateFruit is now featured in the Blogroll as well as this post.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. 1)  MS the Younger has a serious Lois McMaster Bujold obsession.  If any of you like SF or just good lit, please please go and read some Bujold, especially the Vorkosigan series!  2)  MS the O&W used to write for AntiqueWeek on glassware and other collectibles.  3)  MS the Younger refuses to eat natto.  Ever.  No matter how long she lives in Japan.  4)  MS the O&A had been known to wear lederhosen in his younger days.  Hooray for German club!  5)  MS the younger has been known to wear medieval clothing and attend the occasional SCA event.  6)  MS the O&A has an amazing singing voice.  7)  MS the Younger and MS O&W have the same face!  It’s scary how much we look like each other!
  5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

MadDad recommends the following:

I discovered Six Orange Carrots last year, a WordPress blog dedicated by Beth to “my very small chicken named Pocket. And the very silly things I fall in love with on eBay. And to ongoing adventures in home improvement, gardening and making things myself.”

Garden History Girl encourages the reader to take seriously the study of garden history.  “…gardens were–are–so much more than just a pretty place. So much more than just a collection of plants.” Arcady’s blog  “include[s] recent garden history…spaces and objects of interest now, as well as what is past. No generation has a lock on what is beautiful or innovative, so the best understanding, the best design, the most satisfying garden places, have something of both past and present, now and then.”

The Younger Suggests:

Foodie At Fifteen (now 17), a wonderful blog by a boy with love for food after my own heart.  I love reading about his adventures in the restaurant business and making food with professional techniques I’ve never heard of!

BubbaChic, a fun blog I discovered through Etsy!  She makes amazing handmade dolls and her quilting and decorating projects are inspiring, not to mention fun pet and family stories as well!

WiseCraft who creates super-cool crafts from thrift-store finds…

Argot, full of crafting, cats, food and fun!

Last but not least, New Dress a Day.

One person’s trash is becoming my treasure this year.  365 days. 365 items of clothing. 365 dollars. And the blogging begins…

Need I say any more?  Surfing in each day to see what sexy, stylish outfit Marisa has cobbled out of a few vintage buttons, ripped-out shoulders and muu-muus has become a daily obsession!

~The MS Team

A life of solitude

If a blog falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Douglas Quenqua writes about the future of blogging for  The New York Times:

…many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world. Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, said that at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but “it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views.” He added, “There’s a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one.”

All I ever wanted was “…to be anonymous [...] to write, like, long entries, and no one wants to read that stuff.”

Fellow bloggers, is it time for Embracing a Life of Solitude ?

Related MadSilence post:  Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers


More food blogs for your buck – Blogs with Bite Holiday Style

BlogsWithBite!  Take-Out in the Dining Room, after Paul Signac,” by Mike Licht.

BlogsWithBite - the logo! "Take-Out in the Dining Room, after Paul Signac,” by Mike Licht.

NotionsCapital is back with Blogs with Bite – this time with a very holiday feel to it!  Go check out their latest installation, including some awesome sites about the history of the turkey, The Barf Blog and The World’s Largest Food Encyclopedia!  Here’s a little excerpt to get your salivary glands going…

Here is a fresh serving of Blogs with Bite:

A Brief History of Turkey Research at BARC The USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center developed the Beltsville Small White Turkey, the genetic foundation of most turkeys sold today.

MeatHenge - Grilled meat, smoked meat, roasted meat and photography. Restaurant and product reviews from across the USA; recipes.

Gastronomer’s Guide - Well-written food blog by New York’s Joseph Erdos.

International Federation of Competitive Eating – IFOCE “supervises and regulates eating contests in their various forms throughout the world” with affiliates in United States, Japan, England, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Thailand and Ukraine.

~MS the Younger

More Best Food Blogs…

Photo credit ginnerobot.

Photo credit ginnerobot.

…from the wonderful blog NotionsCapital:

Blogs with Bite is an occasional omnivorous sampling of food blogs and sites we find particularly tasty. Follow the trail of bread crumbs back to earlier editions, starting here.

The latest serving of Blogs with Bite:

The Local Beet– “Local” means Chicago, but there are well-written blogs and features to interest readers (and eaters) everywhere.

Popcorn! — Website of the nonprofit Popcorn Board. Recipes, Encyclopedia Popcornica, features foe kids and teachers. Season it with the savory history of popcorn feature at USDA’s National Agricultural Library website.

Wild Fermentation– Micro-organisms make your meals tasty and your food longer-lasting. Unique, well-written website by Sandor Ellix Katz (Sandorkraut). Recipes and tips for making sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough, alcohol, and more.

Howcast Food & Cooking Videos – Kitchen skills, techniques, and recipes in a good selection of cuisines. Excellent production values.

Table Matters– Online magazine with outstanding features, particularly in the Culinaria and DIY departments.

Other Kitchens –  First-rate food photos; links to recipes.

Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook – Tasty Turkish cooking blog by Canadian author Binnur Tomay.

Seafood Selector – “Choose fish that are good for you and the ocean” through this webpage by the Environmental Defense Fund.

World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle – That may be “ketchup” to you, but this monument is in Collinsville, Illinois, former home of Brooks Catsup (now fresher!).

Beer Maps – The Beer Mapping Project. Maps of cities in the U.S.A. and a dozen other countries with locations of breweries, brewpubs, beer bars, beer stores, and homebrew stores. Beer Trip Planner function.

Burnt Lumpia –  Well-written, self-aware blog about Filipino cuisine and Southern California culture. Fun.

Dairy Today – Skim the cream of milk industry news from this Farm Journal website.

Cook Eat Fret–  A cooking blog by Nashville’s Claudia Young.

Food Photography Club– A Flickr photo group. 224 members, 5,644 photos, discussion and tips.

Eat Make Read – Chatty personal cooking blog by Brooklyn’s Kelly Carámbula. Excellent photography.

FoodConsumer – Informative — perhaps too informative — about possible health threats in comestibles. On the other hand, reading it may be an effective appetite suppressant for dieters.

Eat Me Daily – This group blog looks at food, culture, food in culture, and the culture of food. Recent posts: cooking in submarines, a digital Big Mac commerical, food paintings by Philadelphia artist Mike Geno, and a tribute to Gidget the Taco Bell chihuahua (1994 — 2009).

~MS the Younger

If you’re hungry for more, head over to our previous 50 Best Food Blogs post!

50 Best Food Blogs

Addiction is a hard thing to deal with.  The inability to sleep, the sore wrists, the bleary eyes – all caused by a personal favorites list that contains over a hundred blogs!  And the Times Online UK certainly hasn’t helped.  I’m loving their list of the Best 50 Food Blogs.  A bunch I already follow are featured (I posted about them way back in September 2007) but there’s plenty of new ones to feast on.

Here are two particularly delectable food blogs:

Tea & Cookies is a food blog, a collection of essays, photos, recipes, and other adventures written by Tea, a writer, home cook, and avid traveler; it’s the intersection between food and life.

Delicious Days has a cool name and a huge following, currently Technorati’s highest ranking food blog.  Well-conceived, with an international flavor but healthy dose of German influence, its easy to navigate sections include a food news feed.  DD features the author’s own recipes, as well as adaptations from other cookbooks.  An invaluable article offers FoodbloggingDo’s and Don’ts.

Also wonderful is a strange Twitter account called @cookbook or @Maureen.  This lady Tweets recipes!  Full recipes, in 140 characters or less.  They look a little something like this:

Mango Yakisoba: saute 2T oil/thyme&garlic/c leek&shroom 9m; +c mango/.5t redcurrypaste/4T lemon/T tamari&mint. Toss +4oz/100g al dente soba.

Lemon Lentil Soup: mince onion&celery&carrot&garlic; cvr@low7m+3T oil. Simmer40m+4c broth /c puylentil/thyme&bay&lemonzest. Puree+lemonjuice.

The New York Times has a cute little article about them here.  I’ve also found that the homepage of the Dining and Wine Section provides good browsing material.

For a further healthy serving of food blogs, try [the]

As we say in Polish,  Smaczniego!  Very tasty!


Art Bloggers, Rejoice! It’s official

Art Bloggers, Rejoice!  It’s official: Wikipedia has published an article on “Art blogs.”  Here’s what the collaboratively written, free encyclopedia has to say on the subject:

An art blog is a common type of blog that comments on art. Art bloggers cover a wide range of topics, from art reviews and commentary to insider art world gossip, auction results, museum news, personal essays, and artists’ journals. Participants from all areas of the art world maintain art blogs: artists, critics, dealers, students, journalists, art historians, and collectors. The popularity of art blogs by independent bloggers has led to their adoption by mainstream media companies, museums and other organizations, but these corporate attempts are not considered “proper” blogs by many in the independent blogging community.

Wikipedia refers to Peter Plagens’ article published in the November 2007 issue of Art in America, “Report from the Blogosphere: The New Grass Roots,” as well as Martha Schwendener’s recent article in The Village Voice, “What Crisis? Some Promising Futures for Art Criticis,” for further discussion.

Schwendener believes that art blogs have helped shape a more laissez-faire climate for art writing. 

Art blogs have created a new, largely unedited, admirably ‘unprofessional’—hence, democratic—venue for people to speak their minds, gossip, or theorize about art.

Wikipedia provides a list of 17 Notable art blogs.  Check them out.  Several are listed on MadSilence’s Blogroll, including CultureGrrl, Edward Winkleman, Modern Art Notes, Modern Art Obsession, and Two Coats of Paint.


How Web is different from Print

Blogs, or weblogs, are electronic extensions of traditional print journals and diaries.  We blog to share our thoughts with others in the “virtual realm”, to seek out those who believe as we do: The art of one human relating to another.

How does this new electronic medium affect the nature of our writing?  In moving from a print and hardcopy environment to an electronic one, What is lost?  What is gained?

There is a difference. Blog posts are usually shorter, less detailed, perhaps more frequent than their hardcopy equivalents.  And blog posts are permanent.  A print diary page can be torn out and destroyed, journal writings crossed out and erased.  The method of distribution also differentiates Web from print.  Blog posts can be distributed to a potentially infinite audience, while a print journal entry can be shared with an individual or small group.

Linking, and especially deep linking, is a Web-unique activity that distinguishes Web from print, and transforms the nature of Web-based writing.  A link is a powerful tool that immediately brings in content from an external source, information that can color and affect our writing, altering the reader’s experience.

Author Gerry McGovern addresses the question, What makes the Web different from print?

We need to carefully answer this last question because otherwise we are in danger of approaching the Web with our print-thinking and print-techniques. We are in danger of saying: ‘This is what quality writing is,’ when really what we are saying is: ‘This is what quality print writ1ing is.’

Here are some of the ways the Web is different from print:

The Web is about links. Print is about units of content. A 500-word article, a book, a magazine, a report. Print writing is often a solitary task. The Web is about linking. We’re linking one piece of content to another. We’re linking the consumer of the content with its producer.
The Web is a functional, task-oriented place. We come to the Web to do, and we already have the context when we get to the website. Print lends itself to length and because print is physically going out to the reader, it tends to have lots of contextual language. The Web is bare, hermetic, pared-down-an ugly but useful place.
The Web is about the customer trying to find the content, rather than the content trying to find the customer. The Web turns much of advertising and marketing on its head. You must know the words your customers use when they search. Otherwise you are lost.
The Web is about permanence. Over time, most print content degrades, dissolves, disappears. Try finding that brochure you published in print in 2003. But if you put it up on your website, it’s still there. This is the great blind spot of web teams. Review and remove.
The Web is a process. Print is an event. You get it all together and then you publish. And then it’s over. Job done. On the Web it’s job begun. The print and IT culture of launch and leave is a ruinous strategy on the Web. Great websites involve continuous improvement of your top tasks.
The Web is about the customer. It is not about the control of elites. It is about the wisdom of crowds, the collective intelligence. At the center of the Web is the customer, not the organization. It is about the things the customer wants to do, not the things the organization wants to do to the customer.


MadSnow, Mad Friends, MadQuote

MadSnow. It may be  snowing on WordPress even as we post but Long Island had it’s first snow of the season last night.  We woke up to an inch of the white & fluffy on the ground.  The snow started last night as we were leaving the Christmas concert at St. John’s University. Perfect timing!

Mad Friends. On the sidebar on the right you’ll see a new blogroll category entitled “Mad Friends.”  Mad Friends are blogs and websites that we visit regularly, read often, comment sometimes, and always leave enriched and enlightened.  All are well worth visiting for a variety of reasons.  The content may be highly creative, the commentary intelligent, the art work inspiring, the creative writing engaging, the design savvy impressive.

Just beware.  Many of these authors are “slow bloggers” and deep thinkers.  They make you think.

MadQuote. We’ve also added the category “MadQuote.”  MadQuote will be updated every so often with quotations of interest on a variety of subjects.  Suggestions always welcome.



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