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Heading for an iDisorder!
Dr. Rossen discusses in this short article about our connections with technology slowly becoming an obsession. He coined a term “iDisorder”, which refers to individuals exhibiting symptoms of psychiatric disorders similar to OCD, ADHD, and even addiction, after repeated exposure (or excessive use) of technology. He recently highlighted key findings in his lab related to this phenomenon:
In an online survey of more than 1,000 Americans, more than half of teenagers and young adults in both iGeneration (1990s) and Net Generation (1980s) explained they become anxious when they don’t check their text messages in a single day. The typical teen sends nearly 3,417 text messages per month, with teenaged girls sending nearly 4,000. The study also demonstrated that teens and young adults check both their facebook and text messages several times a day. Furthermore, children are experiencing sleep deprivation not because of late-night studying, but because of technology use. These kids claim to use their smartphones to surf the web and check facebook statuses. Some report to even sleep with their phone on vibrate, to continue to visit their email and facebook when notifications come about (which in turn adds to sleep disturbances and restlessness). Finally, Dr. Rossen suggests a few tips to mitigate iPhone compulsion.
This is an interesting article to me, primarily because we’re all attached to technology in one way or another. Some people have the luxery of owning high-tech laptops and iPhones, while others may not own anything but a vehicle. What I begin to witness as the years go by, is an increasing dependency of technology use. I’ve been seeing smartphones and computers working like drugs; becoming increasingly exposed to a stimulant (in this case, technology) will eventually require more of said exposure to reach a certain level of pleasure or “high”. Humans are both pleasure seeking and social dependent; most of us enjoy communicating with friends and family and often hate to feel alone. Social networks and texting makes communication convenient and easy for even introverts. I believe social networking is becoming an addiction for some individuals to the point where they can not focus on their job or homework assignments. The urge to text and surf through facebook via smartphones even creeps on us while driving. Much like drugs effects, I have seen the consequences of the absence of technology. Some of my friends became anxious and irritated when they go phone-less for a few days, or when they were forced to delete their Facebook/Twitter for whatever reason. One person went as far as surf through his friend’s facebook and use their phone to text! The scariest thing out of all of this is that most of us that are attached to our devices are completely unaware of what it is doing to us psychologically.

Norfolk is continuing to grow as the years go by, and our population is not exactly decreasing along with it. Eventually, we just may run out of space to expand. The world is never stagnant, and neither is Norfolk. So, how can we balance the quality of our planet Earth with the needs of our population?

This proposal is a City Plan for the future of Norfolk. The only way to sustain our city is to maintain the quality of life. There are two steps to solve the issue of economy vs. economy:

We can do this by installing bicycle transportation on campus here at Old Dominion University. This will suit the needs of our students who constantly have to walk to and from class across campus. It’s a way for our school to also raise more money, by distributing these bikes at a reasonable price for everyone to use. Bicycle taxi services will be provided for residents near our campus. Riding bikes will reduce car transportation as well, so it will reduce carbon emission, which will reduce green house effects. So, easy transportation, improve the quality of the air, suitable for our economy; it’s a brilliant idea.

Growing plants in our buildings (also known as window farming) is the second step to improve the quality of our environment, and increase our food production. Farmers will lose land due to city expansion, but this idea is a great way for them to keep their jobs. This plan also intends on growing plants on top of our buildings, because surely we need the plants and trees for oxygen. Finally, we need to continue to fund and expand our recycling programs here at ODU.

Another issue to address is that with an increase in population, there will be a massive increase in energy use and waste. Solar, wind, and ocean power is what we need to invest in to not only control our energy waste, but to reuse them.

This is Project Norfolk, and our future is now.

  • How many people does Steffen estimate we will have living in or near cities by mid-century?

8 Billion people.

  • Explain how you agree or disagree with Steffen’s point that our energy use is “predestined” rather than “behavioral”.

I disagree to this point because years ago, energy use was a behavioral method. We could’ve easily chosen when or not to use energy, and our society did not depend on energy use as much as it does today. I would agree, however, that our energy use is “predestined” to this very day, because with rapid urbanization comes extreme energy use. We simply can not avoid using so much energy in order for an incredibly dense city to operate efficiently.

  • What correlation does Steffen make between a city’s density and its climate emissions?

Denser places have lower climate emissions. This would be described as a negative correlation.

  • What are the “eco districts” that Steffen mentions? How you see these as feasible or unfeasible in a city like Norfolk?

The new neighborhoods, which are infill developments to sustain the larger city. It manages our energy use as our cities are becoming increasingly dense. I see it applicable to Norfolk, but I’m not sure how much more space is our there for us to be able to sustain this metropolitan city.

  • Explain how you agree or disagree with the “threshold effect” that Steffen discusses related to transportation.

I agree, with this theory, because people would rather not bother using so much energy (i.e. transportation) in an environment so dense. I believe people have a certain tolerance for driving in an environment so crammed, including with an increase in gas prices. When you narrow it down, someone will eventually think “is it worth to spend so much gas to drive to Starbucks, when it’s only a 5 minute walk?”

  • What does Steffen mean by the idea that, “…even space itself is turning into a service…”? Can you provide any examples that you see here in Norfolk or elsewhere?

People can share space and use it in collaboration on a daily basis. In a city such as Norfolk, one would practically have to share space with someone or something else. An example I can think of is the gas station by 49th street. They share a parking lot with the automobile service building directly next to them. The lot is directly split between the two companies.

  • Describe your understanding of Steffen’s argument that, “…it’s not about the leaves above, but the systems below…”.

Rather than keep the green earth above, we should use the space below the earth, to build under water canals to gather run-off water for restorative purposes. Obviously to balance out extensive energy use, we need to occupy space above the earth to build necessary technology. Simply put, our plants and trees now may not be as efficient as the technology we can create.

  • Finally, overall in what way(s) do you see Steffen’s ideas working / not working here in Norfolk? Spend time with this question!

The city of Norfolk is becoming incredibly dense as the years go by. Space is easily starting to become a “shared service” amongst various companies that inhabit this city. I also think the “threshold level” Steffen discusses is applicable to numerous people who reside in this city, and the numbers will increase as this city becomes more and more dense/populated. As much as I oppose the idea of destroying the environment (trees especially), the city will have to to sustain the population at hand. By doing this, we would be better off building systems below the earth for cleaning/restoration purposes for our earth. Unfortunately, I don’t see this process lasting very long because we’ll eventually run out of space below the soil to balance extreme energy use.

How beer saved the world

When I think about the positive outcomes of consuming alcohol, the only things I thought about were how it tends to reduce stress and anxiety by bringing one’s mentality to the “base line”, if you will. What this video has shown, however, were more positive factors, from just the invention of beer itself.

Beer brought about historic transformations. The accidental discovery of beer led to establishment of farms (to produce more beer), which eventually grew into civilizations. Beer also helped innovate ideas of mathematics and writing. Also, bribing Egyptians with beer to build pyramids? I for one did not see that coming! It is amazing what people would do to obtain a simple buzz.

More importantly, we should note that beer did not cause the evolution of mankind and technology, but it helped our ancestors get motivated to continue enhancing technology and civilization to this very day. When early scientists figured out a way to clean pond water to make beer safe enough to drink, they didn’t stop there; they continued to look into ways to enhance medicine throughout history.

Begley, S. 2001. Protecting America: The top 10 priorities. Newsweek (5 November): 26-40.

Safety, for all American citizens, has been an ongoing issue since the tragic moment at the U.S. Postal Service’s Brentwood center. Two workers suffered anthrax inhalation while handling mail. Unfortunately, this was not the first incident of anthrax exposure in this sort of manner; federal officials claimed (after the first incident) that anthrax spores simply cannot leak from an envelope. After the two workers had died, anthrax exposure even reached the off-site mail centers serving the White House. It was only then that the director of Homeland Security had realized what was going on; terrorists were resorting to even using biological warfare over seas. It was only then, that we as a nation, had realized our vulnerability of detecting risks of potential threat even with the technology we had. To better protect ourselves from various forms of threats, previous risk consultants assured the best possible method was to identify those (in our country) who need defense, and then assess the size of the threat in order to determine how to handle it. Regardless of our military power, one thing was for certain: our enemies in the east have exposed us to our technological weakness of detecting threats as simple as anthrax-laced envelopes within our borders. Now, we have contemplated various measures to reduce risks, from restricting backpack carrying to sporting events to installing particle filters in ventilation systems everywhere.

While we are not perfect in detecting potential threats, both overseas and within our own borders, taking but so long to realize what we needed to do about potential threats was, in my opinion, our greatest downfall within the last few months of 2001. The first anthrax exposure was our defining moment of federal official arrogance, and the spread of anthrax to our capital was the consequence. The method of taking severe precautions everywhere is the step we needed to take in order to make our country safe, regardless if it spreads anxiety and fear in our society. It was time for us to become more aware that our enemies overseas are gaining intelligence of our weaknesses, and that we must improve our technology with each passing year to provide safety for our people.

Are we (as a society) really becoming too attached to technology?

After viewing the video earlier in today’s class, it made me think about our obsessions with our phones, and our reliance on Apps to guide us in the right directions. I have been thinking, and as horrifying as it sounds, our future generations may have difficulty survivng on human instinct alone if there were to be a huge power outage (or if their smart-phones went dead).

50 years ago, I believe technology was more of convenience rather than a necessity people make it out to be today. What do you think?

I can remember when I was a child, the Gameboy was the biggest hit in town. Next to television and radio, the Gameboy was my first electronic experience. Years later, to this very day, Game systems such as XBox 360 and Playstation 3 never cease to amaze me. The graphics and sound updates are evidence that we as humans came a long way since the Gameboy. One thing is for certain, it is only going to continue to become better.

Why is this so? Because I believe our society is advancing quickly; we as humans mentally depend on technology use and we feel the need to adapt for social, economic, and military purposes. Besides entertainment systems, we are inventing more efficient automobiles, homeland security, even simple kitchen devices.

I can’t begin to imagine what would happen to our country if we (all of a sudden) became stagnant. Could you?

My first post

This is my first blog, but certainly not the last.