In Canada, we have this television station called "Space: The Imagination Station". It's run by Moses Znaimer et al., down at CHUM television, in Toronto. It is a good station; far better, in my opinion, than the Sci-Fi Channel. To Sci-Fi's credit, however, they do show all the good shows before Space does, which is a pain in the ass but easy enough to get through, emotionally speaking. What's hard is convincing your American friends to shut the fuck up about Children of Dune, you'll see it when it comes out for Chrissake.
They show a good deal less commercials than most other stations, so less so that they have a free three or four minutes after every hour-long program. In these three or four minute blocks, they show science- and science fiction-related factoids. For example, you'll see a picture of Saturn's ring structure accompanied by shoddy chyron work which informs you that the rock which forms Saturn's rings ranges in size from the size of an ice cube to the size of a house. Or, conversely, you'll see an interview with some astrophysicist ne'er-do-well who tells you why the next Mars mission is going to be revolutionary.
Yesterday, I watched a snippet of an interview with a fat, young computer scientist graduate student. This fat, young man was talking about how, with the onset of the internet, and the various instant messaging and electronic mail functions inherent to the present design, there is increasing evidence that we are sleeping less.
Additionally, he posits that there is less effort involved with communicating with other humans, and thus less energy is spent, in general. There seems to be merit, at least in the base logic of such a claim, but he takes it a step further.
He refers also to the fact that humans require a fairly specific amount of sleep per night, and that as a deviated result of the internet, we are sleeping less. All because of things like E-mail, text messaging, and instant messaging software. He also notes that various other software contain forms of instant messaging. Many other forms of entertainment, like video games and peer-to-peer software, contain messaging utilities of their own.
As a result of this, humans aren't expending as much of their energy stores to communicate with other humans. As a result of this, humans are not going to sleep when they usually do. As a result of this, they are not experiencing rapid eye movement sleep for as great a time as they previously did. As a result of this, we are all going slightly insane. "Mad" is the word that he used.
To dumb it down for the non-fat, non-young of us: what he's saying is that the internet is making us crazy.
Well, thanks. I hadn't noticed it before.