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Comments Please: Is Google Making Us Stoopid?

This is from an article in the Atlantic Monthly from last summer. It did resonate with me, as I've noticed the same changes in myself.

Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet...

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded....

But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski...

Full article here.

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Update: no IP address recording for ixquick!

I just did a ixquick search today and it now says:
New: Ixquick does NOT record your IP address !
GOOD NEWS! lets hope they don't get bought out. No longer any reason to use Google, na na na na, na na na na, heyyyy goodbye Google!

and I don't read your screenname

did you believe me?

Resonating through the hivemind

"as I've noticed the same changes in myself"

It's stunning to think about the amount of information that is produced and put into the internet every second.

Not sure about the accuracy here but "15 hrs of video currently uploaded to YouTube every minute."

My question is not if Google and other online sources for information are making us stupider, but HOW they are making us stupider as a whole. There is no doubt that bad information is being constantly distributed, but at what cost to society? Who's watching all this stuff? Who's producing it? Is it really being moderated correctly? Do people actually believe this garbage?

All things are good in moderation, and in my humble opinion, the internet is fast becoming a devoid wasteland of intellect due to marketing and memes.

I find myself constantly using quotes from people in the past to describe current situations, and I wonder if this is part of my brains new syndrome, as if it needs to tag every experience with a relevant quote from a famous dead person.

There are many complicated issues that are being fought every day in every part of our nation that are new, frightening, and dangerous, and can all be traced back to the widespread availability of information. For better or for worse we as a Nation have embraced the Internet as an information distribution technology that is replacing print, compact disc, and soon many devices will exist that will simply pull all the information they need to function from the Internet itself. I just hope that when my child asks a question, that they get the right answer, and not a 20 minute marketing segment designed to brainwash them into loving a product.

It's all way too complicated to get into here.

Take it from somebody who

Take it from somebody who used google beta.

Google has changed their page-rank formula so that they only return web sites polished by dedicated circus dogs who unwittingly serve external power interests.

Searching in newsgroups is the only good way to find stuff, now.


What are those? Is that just another term for message/discussion boards?

AltaVista Ron Paul.

Webcrawler Ron Paul… I've never cared for Google. I can readily access dozens of search engines from my home page. Of all those search indexes, Google and Yahoo are generally my least favorite. They're much too monopolistic!

In itself, the "Google Ron Paul" phrase displays Google's overly excessive influence on the public at large. Mass influence of that magnitude is indeed dangerous.

Anything that gets so massive as well as overtly influential is best ignored. A force so strong will probably just bite you in the butt.

--Cliff, Sioux City, Iowa
January's song: That's the Way of the World by Nelson Rangell

On Facebook:
Personal ProfilePolitical GroupPolitical Page

also ixquick.com

is indepedant form Google, it keeps searches for 48 hours max, compared to indefinitly. Katherine Albrecht (on gcnlive.com) recomends this

Dr. Katherine Albrecht to Head US MediaRelations for Ixquick.com

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2008

Dr. Katherine Albrecht to Head US Media Relations for Ixquick.com
Noted privacy expert will help raise awareness for privacy-friendly
search engine

The world's most privacy-friendly search engine, Ixquick.com, announced
today that Dr. Katherine Albrecht will head up the company's US media
relations and marketing outreach efforts.

Dr. Albrecht is a respected expert in the privacy arena, with a decade
of experience as a privacy researcher, activist, and frequent media
commentator. She is a perhaps best known for her work on privacy issues
associated with RFID (radio frequency identification) and retail data
collection. Albrecht co-authored the best-selling book "Spychips," and
hosts a daily, syndicated radio talk show. Her writings on privacy have
appeared in several notable publications, including Scientific American
and the Denver University Law Review.

"I'm excited to be working with Ixquick because I'm a huge fan of their
product," said Albrecht. "Ixquick.com guarantees to delete all search
data so it can't be abused by Big Brother bureaucrats and snoopy
marketers. I've been using Ixquick as my own search engine for months,
and I can't wait to tell others who care about privacy as much as I

Albrecht is in a good position to spread the word, having granted
literally thousands of interviews to radio, print, and television
journalists worldwide. Executive Technology Magazine calls her "possibly
the country's single most vocal privacy advocate and staunchest opponent
of technologies that track consumers," and Wired.com calls her a "PR

Albrecht will work from New Hampshire and report to Ixquick CEO Robert
Beens at the company's headquarters in the Netherlands. She will be
responsible for strategy, execution, and management of all media
communications and marketing initiatives in the US.

"We are thrilled to have Katherine on board," said Ixquick CEO Robert
Beens. "Her knowledge of privacy and her media experience will be a
tremendous asset to Ixquick. We are confident that she will do a great
job of educating the American public about search engine privacy and how
Ixquick.com can help."

Albrecht holds a Doctorate in Consumer Education and a Masters in
Instructional Technology from Harvard University. She received an
undergraduate degree in International Marketing from the University of
Southern California, graduating with magna cum laude honors.

About Ixquick

Ixquick.com is the world's most private search engine, leading the
industry with its promise to delete all user IP addresses within 48
hours of collection. The company's innovative privacy policy and
stringent data handling practices have been certified by an independent
third-party auditor. Ixquick is the first and only search engine to earn
the prestigious European Privacy Seal, which is awarded for adherence to
exemplary privacy standards.

Ixquick is owned by Surfboard Holding BV, a Dutch company. Further
information on Ixquick can be found at www.ixquick.com Further
information on the EU Privacy Seal can be found at

For press inquiries please contact:

Dr. Katherine Albrecht
U.S. Media Relations
877-434-3100 [US toll free]
+1 973-273-2125 [for International access]

Thanks for the reminder!

I just now got an Ixquick plugin for Firefox.

--Cliff, Sioux City, Iowa
January's song: That's the Way of the World by Nelson Rangell

On Facebook:
Personal ProfilePolitical GroupPolitical Page

Google is not the only search engine.

As the ultimate insult to them, do a google search on scroogle, and then install scroogel as your search engine instead of google.

The meaning of scroogle should be obvious.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

That's definitely me...

I would much rather surf the net and pick up bits of everything than sit down and mull over a good book. After I finish grad school, I am cutting my Interent time down to one hour a week.

Google Brought Me Here! 8]

And I love yuze guyz!
This is one of , if not the main source of news for me now.
Actually, the other day when I was walking down the street loking at the (fake) news papers I started to daydream...
Of a daily rag called the the Toronto Daily Paul
I'd subscribe in a heartbeat! 8]

www.Umake.it - The online resource for the Hand Made Society

Well, I think

I spend to much time sitting at the computer and need to get busy making super.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

This happened

When I went through the paradigm shift of this revolution. Before I rarely used Google, now I'm a sponge for new information. I've fully dived deep into the information war and I know it affects everything I thought was once important-money, sports, beer and broads (well maybe not money). Google has probably limited my attention span-like TV used to do-but now I can quote Jefferson, know my constitution, understand false flag attacks and can out debate any keynesian economist. In the end its been more positive for me probably because I search for stuff that's relevant to the real world. When people start searching for pictures of Paris Hilton or any other inane thing is when they start to lose the benefits of the overmind of Google.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Start getting freedom today by dumping Federal Reserve Notes, Stocks, Banks and anything made outside the USA. Buy precious metals, real estate, businesses, food and guns and get your business community to use local or sound currenc

I admit I've less patience for "non-interactive" media now

which unfortunately includes books. I'd much rather the authors of the world all had blogs and could communicate their ideas directly with their audience. Everyone is a potential teacher or student.
Talk to someone new every day. You'll be surprised what you learn.

"The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic..." —Alan Moore

I cant seem to find

internet sights that deal with the topics I want like I can find books on the subjects I want. Or should I say the books are much higher quality. For example How to win friends and influence people by dale carnagie, dale spent 40 years developing the ideas in this book (among others) but where on the internet can I find that? Also I cant seem to find any good biographies on the internet. I can only seem to find a few paragraphs on an important person instead of the whole story. The people I have found on google books seem to be all in children format so that hasnt helped me either. So as far as I can tell on many subject's the books are far superier.

Although Since I now have high speed internet I will never need to watch tv again (except for heroes and football) the internet is far far better.

I had this problem for about two weeks

when I moved from the country to town. The biggest change was the water I was drinking. I lived in the country all of my life drinking well water. Then I moved into town and started drinking that water. I had checked and found out that they did not put fluoride in. But after about a week of drinking the water I had headache's, brain fog (I think this is what you are refering too), and my kidneys had started hurting. At this time I had drank only water for a year. So I started drinking distilled water and within two days I was back in good health. Then I found out that even though the town I was living did not put fluoride in the water there was still 2 parts per million in it "naturally".


The internet is making me smarter. Before Ron Paul I was an idiot and this article applied to me. But google and wikipedia is now making me more intelligent and informed. Before the internet my only reading was the newspaper and school work.


I just got back from the grocery store, and when it came time to make change for my payment, the cashier stared at the register for a minute, and then called for the manager on the microphone. Apparently an over-ring on the register.
The manager came over and stared at the register, while the cashier asked her, "How much is $21.75 minus $2.75?"
The manager proceeds to pull out a calculator, and says, "I have to use the calculator. I can't do stuff like that without it."

The cashier looks at me, and says, "It must be getting near closing time. I need to go home and veg-out in front of the TV for awhile".

This is real. It just happened to me about an hour ago.
Not sure that the internet is the problem here.

I think

Stoopid is the correct spelling in this instance.

Stupid dosen't quite explain the situation.

Find out if you have a local militia - http://www.uaff.us/

Real Patriots for 9/11 truth -- http://patriotsquestion911.com/

This is a load of bull

This is a biased article from the "technology is scary and bad" crowd. Technology alarmists are just as bad as environmental alarmists.
"We will never give up. We will never give in." - Dr. Ron Paul

"We will never give up. We will never give in." - Dr. Ron Paul

Too Long

Sorry i couldn't finish reading the article; it was too long. :)


Google and wikipedia are making me smarter.

You just have to *remember* what you read.

I do use wikipedia to look up numbers a lot which I tend to forget (I'm a chemist so it's handy to look up molecular weights of things) - but for that I would have either done it by hand or looked it up in a book anyways.

I agree with that

Google, Wikipedia, and the internet in general have made me much more intelligent. I've learned a lot of stuff I previously did not know.

I don't like google's policies but i don't agree with this

I've always skimmed books long before the internet but the issue is mainly the quality of the writing not the quantity.

I'm willing to read books and I still do on occasion with no problem as long as the writing is semi-interesting. I'd rather read something interesting I've already read than read something new (like this article).

To me it read like a really wordy rant that had a few interesting citations.

I''m more inclined to say wikipedia is making us stupid because it's policing intelligent thought with unqualified and heavily biased individuals. A lot of the good articles when it first started have been turned into mush.

I think more likely what is happening is that people are learning to skim (or at least practicing it more) over clearly written text so when they run into something they used to like in a book it feels cumbersome or wordy.

Then they have some sort of subjective struggle with trying to understand their personal experience and blog about it.

You might as well blame JK Rowling and Harry Potter for dumbing down your reading and that's a book.


Glen Beck -- An Exposed Enemy:
Glenn Beck Supports NAFTA and taking your job:

Not really

I haven't noticed this, I have been doing more book reading than ever and at the same time doing constant web reading. I have been an IT professional for over 10 years and google provides very good support information as quickly as possible. I have noticed a serious drop in my spelling ability though, I am constantly fighting that battle daily. I have stopped using a spell checker since, I do believe it was making me stupid. It's possible that this is a result of reading so much in specific subjects that I am simply not exposed to certain words often enough, but I'm not sure.

"The credit expansion boom is built on the sands of banknotes and deposits. It must collapse.", www.mises.org

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero, www.freedomshift.blogspot.com


It is partly to do with the economic/political climate of worry we are living in right now. There is a lot of fear and doubt in the back of our minds and it seems to be taking over our waking consciousness, not just our subconscious anymore; it is now a real threat to our lives and survival takes precedent over secondary pursuits. This could be at least part of the reason for our inability to focus and concentrate fully on one subject for an extended period of time. I don't think this is going to get any better this year unfortunately.

"There can be only one permanent revolution - a moral one: The regeneration of the inner man."

"The body is but a vessel for the soul,
A puppet which bends to the soul's tyranny.
And lo, the body is not eternal,
For it must feed on the flesh of others,
Lest it return to the dust whence it came.
Therefore the soul deceives and despises."

Good article!

I've definitely noticed my attention span for reading going south ... I have developed the habit of reading 4 or 5 different books at a time. When I get to the end of my attention span on one subject, I often put it down and open another book. (I'm not talking about light, entertaining reading here ... more like philosophy, science, theology, history). The internet has had its effect on my brain, for sure.

Of course, the utilitarian philosophy driving Google is utterly flawed. Wisdom (right thinking) is the ability to properly interpret information, whereas information without wisdom gives us things like atomic bombs, federal reserve systems, etc. ... any one of which are finally fatal.

People are definitely on information overload thanks to Google. Had they any wisdom , it would help them discard much of its bs. But most people are hopelessly confused about what to believe. I think it's out of desperation that so many have hung all their hopes on the empty rhetoric of Obama ... "change" ... because the one thing they do know in their bones is that something is dreadfully wrong..

I have to think about this article for awhile and decide how I'm going to apply the information. I may just give up Google for Lent!

This may be the wrong place to post this

Since coming across Ron Paul and the ideas of our Founders...I like many others in this movement have read hundreds of pages...from books to blogs and everything in between...often we are found posting hundreds of comments to posts that are poorly researched and misrepresent our ideas.

While this article from the Atlantic may be spot on with some folks, it hardly represents me....or other Ron Paul people I meet. We are the type to read every last detail then do something that is rare...use critical thinking and voice our opinions.

The only time I felt this article correct, is when I stopped reading IT and clicked back here to comment!!!!!!

Pretty interesting thought,

Pretty interesting thought, but its too long. I got lost halfway through.