Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

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Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

Postby ucim » Sat May 14, 2016 1:44 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:...reading is a passive enterprise whereas now new media has come out where you can have more interactive methods of communication...
Huh? Just the opposite. Reading requires active engagement. The book is inert - it won't read to you, dance around, play music, or wiggle things in your face. The new "interactive" methods are, well, mostly entertainment. Yeah, VR could possibly be considered "active" in that you have to move around, but the world is placed around you and you just do what you normally do. In many ways it's quite non-active.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat May 14, 2016 8:07 pm UTC

I wager Lucrece was referring to videogames?
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby ucim » Sat May 14, 2016 9:25 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I wager Lucrece was referring to videogames?
Well, that's a substitute for reading the same way playing baseball is. In any case, I'd hardly call it "communication".

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 15, 2016 3:52 am UTC

Communication could mean story telling. Or education. Surely you agree that videogames can be used to both tell a story and to educate?
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby ucim » Sun May 15, 2016 4:17 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Communication could mean story telling. Or education. Surely you agree that videogames can be used to both tell a story and to educate?
Yes, and you can sit on books too; that doesn't make them furniture.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Lucrece » Sun May 15, 2016 6:18 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Communication could mean story telling. Or education. Surely you agree that videogames can be used to both tell a story and to educate?
Yes, and you can sit on books too; that doesn't make them furniture.

Jose


I guess I used my books as furniture then, because what taught me English when I emigrated from Venezuela wasn't all the bilingual classes assigning me Sherlock Holmes or Rebecca or The Catcher in the Rye, but rather the Reading Blaster and Where in The World is Carmen San Diego videogames my father brought me from trips abroad. I've learned more English, math, and science from what is dismissed as frivolous entertainment over the dry collection of textbooks assigned to me over my educational run.

It doesn't even need to be videogames; it could be lab work or educational web videos/online assignments from the likes of Wiley/Pearson that lends itself far more for people like me to absorb concepts rather than staring at a torrent of word vomit that some textbook pages can be and hope some of it sticks, assuming my attention hasn't wandered elsewhere because I became bored or my eyes got tired by the third page.

Don't forget your auditory/visual/tactile learners.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby ucim » Sun May 15, 2016 2:13 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I've learned more English, math, and science from what is dismissed as frivolous entertainment over the dry collection of textbooks assigned to me over my educational run.
I'm not saying you can't learn from things other than books, or that other things are not better than books for learning (or anything else, for that matter). My contention was that books are not "passive". The require the reader to take initiative. Movies do not. Video games provide stimulus; books do not.

Lab work could be considered more active (actually trying to figure something out rather than merely reading what other people have figured out), but to my knowledge, libraries don't have lab sections.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 15, 2016 3:05 pm UTC

In the context of 'active' vs 'passive', I think it's quite clear that books are a form of communication/media that one is not actively engaged in shaping the progress of the communication, whereas video games are.

In the context of 'which provides stimulus', I think it is quite clear that movies, plays, printed media, and video games alike all provide stimulus. If a book provides exercises, then those exercises are active portions. But the act of reading itself is not an 'active' activity, any more than the act of watching television is an 'active' activity.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby ucim » Mon May 16, 2016 2:17 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:But the act of reading itself is not an 'active' activity, any more than the act of watching television is an 'active' activity.
TV feeds itself to you. In the case of books, you have to actually feed yourself. Watching TV is essentially an act of observation - spectating. However, merely "observing" the printed page is not enough to read a book.

Izawwlgood wrote:In the context of 'active' vs 'passive', I think it's quite clear that books are a form of communication/media that one is not actively engaged in shaping the progress of the communication, whereas video games are.
I'm not convinced video games are a form of communication at all, any more than playing (meat-space) baseball is. Sure, communication is involved, but it's not the point of the thing.

This becomes a little like the difference between going to the theater as an audience member, or as an actor. And the "audience participation" stuff looks like it is midway between the two, but I'm not so sure.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby BattleMoose » Mon May 16, 2016 10:33 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:And any information that has not yet been digitized from journals and such sources was simply not seen by your colleagues.


I work in a very respectable department doing science stuff. And can confirm that if it isn't digitized, it might as well not exist. That's not to say that old works are just discarded, but rather the important ones are digitized (scanned). Trying to access stuff published before 1990, starts to get a bit, iffy.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby HES » Mon May 16, 2016 11:22 am UTC

ucim wrote:I'm not convinced video games are a form of communication at all, any more than playing (meat-space) baseball is.

I think you're basing your assumptions on a limited exposure to video games. There's more to the medium than "just a game like baseball", some of which is incredibly narrative driven.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 16, 2016 12:30 pm UTC

Yeah, 'video games’ is a broad category. Some are close in spirit to baseball, or to juggling, and others are very close to the storytelling of a novel or a movie. Or more like a textbook with a teaching aim and exercises. Sandbox -style games can be more like a piece of canvas, with players showing their creations to others. And you find all kinds of mixtures, you just can't pin down the concept of a 'video game' precise enough for sweeping statements about them.

Wittgenstein wrote about that. He used 'game' as an example of a word that's easy to use, but doesn't have a good definition that covers all cases. You can pick a game, write down the characteristics that make it a game, and then find another game that doesn't share any of those.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon May 16, 2016 2:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:TV feeds itself to you. In the case of books, you have to actually feed yourself. Watching TV is essentially an act of observation - spectating. However, merely "observing" the printed page is not enough to read a book.
I find this a somewhat bizarre attempted distinction - I'm reading things right now on my computer screen, and am doing nothing particularly different than when I watched Game of Thrones on my TV screen last night. How is my 'observation' of what's on my TV screen different than my 'observation' of what's on my computer screen or on the pages of the novel in front of me, beyond of course the fact that a novel is a physical entity and the text or images on a screen are not?

ucim wrote:I'm not convinced video games are a form of communication at all, any more than playing (meat-space) baseball is. Sure, communication is involved, but it's not the point of the thing.
Then I don't think you've played many video games, truthfully. This view is, to me, akin to claiming comics are just people in tights punching one another, or that science fiction/fantasy are just stories for kids.

ucim wrote:This becomes a little like the difference between going to the theater as an audience member, or as an actor. And the "audience participation" stuff looks like it is midway between the two, but I'm not so sure.
Yes - reading a book and watching TV is quite akin, if not identical to being an audience member in a play. Playing video games is more akin to being an audience member in a play that has audience participation.

Incidentally, I'd say reading a textbook is more akin to the former, while doing exercises in the back of the chapter are more akin to the latter.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zohar » Mon May 16, 2016 2:49 pm UTC

ucim wrote:TV feeds itself to you. In the case of books, you have to actually feed yourself. Watching TV is essentially an act of observation - spectating. However, merely "observing" the printed page is not enough to read a book.

What if I'm not a native speaker and I have to concentrate/read subtitles?
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby ucim » Mon May 16, 2016 5:16 pm UTC

Perhaps you're right. No, I don't play videogames; perhaps they've progressed into actual story telling vehicles.

I do have one thing to say though: Get off my lawn!

:)

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zohar » Mon May 16, 2016 5:28 pm UTC

"Progressed" from what point? Video games have been telling stories since the 80s. They grew more complex with time, in general, but by the 90s you certainly had hundreds of titles with complex storylines and characters.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby morriswalters » Mon May 16, 2016 5:43 pm UTC

In the case of fictional writing, a book requires you to flesh out the world. To make whole cloth from text. Visual mediums are more fully loaded, the story is easier to follow and requires less work. The world is created for you. And text for enjoyment and text for teaching are two separate things. Reading a book requires effort. Watching Games of Thrones requires no such effort unless you find you are going to be graded on it.
Zohar wrote:What if I'm not a native speaker and I have to concentrate/read subtitles?
I hear language when I read subtitles. Subtitles are a special kind of a book. Much like comic books the context is presented visually, and without that context(the visual) the text wouldn't make much sense.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon May 16, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: Reading a book requires effort. Watching Games of Thrones requires no such effort unless you find you are going to be graded on it.
Counterpoint - You seem to believe that reading Twilight is more intellectually arduous than watching, say, Primer.

morriswalters wrote:I hear language when I read subtitles. Subtitles are a special kind of a book. Much like comic books the context is presented visually, and without that context(the visual) the text wouldn't make much sense.
This is perhaps true, but entirely irrelevant to the point of how media is consumed. I have a particularly difficult time understanding spoken dialog so often prefer subtitles, but I'd hardly consider auditory information to be 'passive' and all visual information 'active'.

Basically, I think we're just throwing up a bunch of untenable positions on things here that really only reflect our preferences for which media type is best media type.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby morriswalters » Mon May 16, 2016 8:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Counterpoint - You seem to believe that reading Twilight is more intellectually arduous than watching, say, Primer.
No, or at least I didn't mean to give that impression. Reading just requires more effort. Unless your experience reading is different than mine. I see the stories in my mind, I create as I read. It's impossible for me not to. The experience of watching Twilight is different than reading Twilight. How meaningful, intellectually speaking, Twilight is has nothing to do with the greater cognitive load reading imposes.
Izawwlgood wrote:This is perhaps true, but entirely irrelevant to the point of how media is consumed.
Not really, at least in my opinion. The media, film or whatever, conveys so much information visually, that the existences of subtitles, can make a non native language like Japanese, appear to me to be spoken language. The greater amount of information in a film is encoded in the film, not the dialog. But an anime that has been translated provides even less of a cognitive load than subtitles. I don't agree with ucim, because I believe most media consumption to be passive.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 16, 2016 9:02 pm UTC

Calories burned per hour watching TV: 55

Calories burned per hour reading: 70

Source: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/lif ... hart_x.htm

Both are fairly passive, but reading seems to be somewhat less so. They didn't bother to break it out by media type, but I can't imagine it differs all that greatly. Might make a fun study, though.

It occurs to me that ya'll might mean something other than "energy expended", but I can't imagine how else you would gauge activity/passivity other than calories expended. *shrug*

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 12:00 pm UTC

When your source is USA Today on scientific subject, it's time to reconsider your point.

morriswalters wrote: I see the stories in my mind, I create as I read. It's impossible for me not to.
And you cannot imagine situations the characters on the screen are getting into? Conversations they'd have? You can't imagine yourself in the places you've seen?

It sounds like you're saying 'drinking a cup of coffee in a market coffee shop in a far away destination is less effort than reading a book', because the act of reading, which I love, is somehow a rigorous activity that makes visual information less intellectually rigorous. Is standing in a museum and looking at art less of an 'intellectual load' than sitting on a couch reading a book?

morriswalters wrote: The greater amount of information in a film is encoded in the film, not the dialog.
So you're saying that the more information a source of media provides you with, the more intellectual effort you expend whilst consuming it? That seems... A bit odd and difficult to prove. Especially considering 'thinking hard' doesn't actually increase caloric load, and please pardon the actual pop-science article.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 17, 2016 12:52 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So you're saying that the more information a source of media provides you with, the more intellectual effort you expend whilst consuming it? That seems... A bit odd and difficult to prove.
Exactly backwards. The less information media gives you the harder you need to work. Book equals less, video equals more. Your constructed to consume either, but reading puts a higher cognitive load on since you have less information to work with and your ability to consume it is limited by the bandwidth of the media. And the amount of information in a book as compared to say, video, is quantifiable.

Take a favorite movie of mine, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I watch it with subtitles. I told you that at its best the subtitles disappear and I hear language. But if I read just the subs without the video the movie wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. The two together, subs and video are information rich. To get the same information from a book requires much more time, some audio books can run over 14 hours plus. And although you can see faster than you can listen you still can't consume information as fast as when you use at least two senses. The average movie runs two to three hours.
Izawwlgood wrote:It sounds like you're saying 'drinking a cup of coffee in a market coffee shop in a far away destination is less effort than reading a book', because the act of reading, which I love, is somehow a rigorous activity that makes visual information less intellectually rigorous. Is standing in a museum and looking at art less of an 'intellectual load' than sitting on a couch reading a book?
Isn't it? You continuously consume reality, you can't be awake and not do so, it is the nature of consciousness. And you do it with multiple senses. When you stand in a Gallery and examine a painting you are doing no more or less than what you do when you people watch at MacDonald's. It may be emotionally different but in how you consume it there is no difference at all. Reading requires attention and focus. Every thing comes to you through one sensor, your eyes(or ears for audiobooks). If for instance I'm reading a book that captures me I lose the outside world, nothing else registers. My attention becomes completely focused on the book, to the detriment of everything else.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue May 17, 2016 1:22 pm UTC



I don't think that that article at all, supports what you are claiming that it does. Some choice quotes:

"University, for example, volunteers that completed a series of verbal and numerical tasks showed a larger drop in blood glucose than people who just pressed a key repeatedly."

"Volunteers who performed the more challenging task showed bigger dips in blood glucose, which the researchers interpreted as a direct cause of greater mental effort."

"Students who exercised their brains helped themselves to around 200 more calories than students who relaxed."

At the same time I can completely agree with the author's general hypothesis:

Messier has related explanation for everyday mental weariness: "My general hypothesis is that the brain is a lazy bum," he says. "The brain has a hard time staying focused on just one thing for too long. It's possible that sustained concentration creates some changes in the brain that promote avoidance of that state. It could be like a timer that says, 'Okay you're done now.' Maybe the brain just doesn't like to work so hard for so long."


I have attended and administered enough calculus tutorials (which have always run for 2 hours) to know that after about 80 minutes, people have just had enough. Concentration and effort go way down, almost to zero at some points and certainly not because anyone is a bad student, its just got something to do with our biology. I have always joked that its because, we have run out of "brain juice" and need time for it to replenish. And its certainly not due to an insufficiency of glucose. But that is not the same as saying that our brains didn't use more energy than they otherwise would have. Indeed I am sure they did.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 1:34 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I don't think that that article at all, supports what you are claiming that it does. Some choice quotes:
No, it does - I'm not saying that 'intellectually demanding activities' don't make you tired, I'm saying that they don't consume a different amount of calories. Which is exactly what the article stated. Thinking hard tires you out and stresses you, but not because 'your brain is consuming more glucose'.

Another choice quote is the sentence after what you quoted -
Their blood glucose levels also fluctuated more than those of students who just sat there, but not in any consistent way. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol, however, were significantly higher in students whose brains were busy, as were their heart rates, blood pressure and self-reported anxiety. In all likelihood, these students did not eat more because their haggard brains desperately needed more fuel; rather, they were stress eating.


morriswalters wrote:Exactly backwards. The less information media gives you the harder you need to work. Book equals less, video equals more. Your constructed to consume either, but reading puts a higher cognitive load on since you have less information to work with and your ability to consume it is limited by the bandwidth of the media. And the amount of information in a book as compared to say, video, is quantifiable.
That was a typo on my part, apologies. Yes - I'm saying that 'greater cognitive load' does not equal 'more calories expended by your brain'. That's not how your brain works. And furthermore, I still think it's a bizarre claim that 'written information' is implicitly and consistently representative of 'increased cognitive load'. Reading Dick and Jane does not tax your brain more than watching Primer, simply by virtue of Dick and Jane being words on a page.

morriswalters wrote:Isn't it? You continuously consume reality, you can't be awake and not do so, it is the nature of consciousness. And you do it with multiple senses. When you stand in a Gallery and examine a painting you are doing no more or less than what you do when you people watch at MacDonald's. It may be emotionally different but in how you consume it there is no difference at all. Reading requires attention and focus. Every thing comes to you through one sensor, your eyes(or ears for audiobooks). If for instance I'm reading a book that captures me I lose the outside world, nothing else registers. My attention becomes completely focused on the book, to the detriment of everything else.
And does your attention not become completely focused on a TV show/movie? Have you never heard of someone becoming lost in thought in a museum?
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zohar » Tue May 17, 2016 1:47 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I have attended and administered enough calculus tutorials (which have always run for 2 hours) to know that after about 80 minutes, people have just had enough.

But aren't you basically saying that calculus tutorials, by nature of being a performance that uses up all senses, should be less strenuous than reading? I have often read for longer than two hours at a time, without becoming particularly tired, even though pretty much all of my reading is done in a non-native language.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue May 17, 2016 1:48 pm UTC

No, it does


I missed that part, where did that happen?

- I'm not saying that 'intellectually demanding activities' don't make you tired, I'm saying that they don't consume a different amount of calories. Which is exactly what the article stated.


Specifically where? Because, it didn't when I read it.

Thinking hard tires you out and stresses you, but not because 'your brain is consuming more glucose'.
Right. The stress is not a consequence of consuming more glucose. Doesn't mean, more glucose wasn't consumed.

as were their heart rates


Its not thermodynamically possible to have a higher heart rate, and not use more energy.

But aren't you basically saying that calculus tutorials, by nature of being a performance that uses up all senses, should be less strenuous than reading? I have often read for longer than two hours at a time, without becoming particularly tired, even though pretty much all of my reading is done in a non-native language.


Ummmm, no, I wasn't involved at all in the discussion of reading versus watching. I would hazard that it depends almost exclusively on what is being read or watched. Calculus tutorials/lectures, are just about the most mentally demanding environments, commonly (for some definition of common) many humans are subjected to. I have read for hours on end to, its not demanding at all in my opinion.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 17, 2016 2:18 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:That was a typo on my part, apologies. Yes - I'm saying that 'greater cognitive load' does not equal 'more calories expended by your brain'. That's not how your brain works. And furthermore, I still think it's a bizarre claim that 'written information' is implicitly and consistently representative of 'increased cognitive load'. Reading Dick and Jane does not tax your brain more than watching Primer, simply by virtue of Dick and Jane being words on a page.
Assuming that a movie and a book contained similar quantities of information than I would expect to have to maintain focus on the book longer than the movie to garner the same amount of information. I don't find that controversial.
Izawwlgood wrote:And does your attention not become completely focused on a TV show/movie? Have you never heard of someone becoming lost in thought in a museum?
Certainly. But when was the last time you spent say 8 hours doing so? That is my average time for a book. I'm not making a relative value statement about the intellectual worth of any given media. I'm simply saying that books require time to acquire and ingest than a movie. Even if they required exactly the same energy per unit time to acquire, books would take more energy than movies because of the time involved in ingesting them.
Zohar wrote:But aren't you basically saying that calculus tutorials, by nature of being a performance that uses up all senses, should be less strenuous than reading? I have often read for longer than two hours at a time, without becoming particularly tired, even though pretty much all of my reading is done in a non-native language.
Try learning Calculus by just reading the texts. I'm pretty sure that you will find an increased cognitive load, since you don't get the same quality of information from reading as you do a combination of reading and lectures.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 2:26 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I missed that part, where did that happen?
Well, in the summary sentence for starters -

"Unlike physical exercise, mental workouts probably do not demand significantly more energy than usual. Believing we have drained our brains, however, may be enough to induce weariness"

Second paragraph -

"What the latest science reveals, however, is that the popular notion of mental exhaustion is too simplistic. The brain continuously slurps up huge amounts of energy for an organ of its size, regardless of whether we are tackling integral calculus or clicking through the week's top 10 LOLcats. Although firing neurons summon extra blood, oxygen and glucose, any local increases in energy consumption are tiny compared with the brain's gluttonous baseline intake. So, in most cases, short periods of additional mental effort require a little more brainpower than usual, but not much more."

Little later -

"Although quite a few studies have confirmed these predictions, the evidence as a whole is mixed and most of the changes in glucose levels range from the miniscule to the small."

And particularly damning to the claim that thinking hard burns more glucose -

"Authors of other review papers have reached similar conclusions. Robert Kurzban of the University of Pennsylvania points to studies showing that moderate exercise improves people's ability to focus. In one study, for example, children who walked for 20 minutes on a treadmill performed better on an academic achievement test than children who read quietly before the exam. If mental effort and ability were a simple matter of available glucose, then the children who exercised—and burnt up more energy—should have performed worse than their quiescent peers."

Basically, the brain isn't a muscle, and using it 'harder' isn't burning glucose. It's certainly stressful, and this may certainly affect your glucose use, but it's not like a bench press.

BattleMoose wrote:Right. The stress is not a consequence of consuming more glucose. Doesn't mean, more glucose wasn't consumed.
Well, right, but that's an important disThe data suggests that thinking hard increases stress, and this can cause people to eat more, and that stress can cause fluctuations in blood glucose (note: fluctuations != always reductions). The article does NOT suggest that thinking hard results in more glucose being consumed.

BattleMoose wrote:Its not thermodynamically possible to have a higher heart rate, and not use more energy.
Sure. But again, the brain isn't a muscle. 'Thinking hard' or 'doing math' or thinking '+infinity! -infinity!' over and over isn't like bench pressing.

BattleMoose wrote:Calculus tutorials/lectures, are just about the most mentally demanding environments, commonly (for some definition of common) many humans are subjected to. I have read for hours on end to, its not demanding at all in my opinion.
Eh - I could argue that being a drone operator is more mentally demanding than calculus. That being a 911 operator is more mentally demanding. But yes, I find reading very relaxing personally too.

morriswalters wrote:Certainly. But when was the last time you spent say 8 hours doing so? That is my average time for a book. I'm not making a relative value statement about the intellectual worth of any given media. I'm simply saying that books require time to acquire and ingest than a movie. Even if they required exactly the same energy per unit time to acquire, books would take more energy than movies because of the time involved in ingesting them.
You read 8 hours straight? Or do you mean it takes 8 hours to read a book?

But, sure - I was on vacation the month of April, and during this time I watched a number of tv shows and movies. For example, I powered through season 2 of Daredevil in maybe 2 sittings. I wager sitting on the couch watching that show was exactly as intellectually demanding as when I later read Mother of Storms.

If you're talking about 'unit of time per thing' then that's not a good comparison - I'm sure many of us have spent a lot of time reading, just like many of us have spent a lot of time watching TV or playing videogames. Getting a movie in 2 hours vs getting a book in 8 doesn't change the fact that both represent the same sort of activity - passively consuming information.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby PAstrychef » Tue May 17, 2016 2:30 pm UTC

If you people watch and construct narratives for those you observe, you are still doing cognitive work. Gazing idly at art can be effectively effort less, but studying a piece, trying to understand the artist's intent, how her technique helped or hindered the result, wondering if your interpretation is the one intended, thinking about how objects and their meanings change over time i. e. interacting with art is quite intensive. Watching an episode of Star Trek for the umpteenth time can be effort less. Watching a political discussion can require close thinking.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue May 17, 2016 3:04 pm UTC

Well, in the summary sentence for starters -


Yeah, the title. Also focus on the word, probably. Also, I am not going to take my science from reading titles of journalism pieces.

Image

I may have misspoken. The article does assert that: any, local increases in energy consumption are tiny, but without backing it up, or how we could know that. Especially considering that "Most laboratory experiments, however, have not subjected volunteers to several hours' worth of challenging mental acrobatics".

"Although quite a few studies have confirmed these predictions, the evidence as a whole is mixed and most of the changes in glucose levels range from the miniscule to the small." The article describes changes in glucose levels between minuscule to small. Then later references works that describe the glucose levels like "a larger drop" or "a bigger dip". These comparisons essentially become meaningless.

"If mental effort and ability were a simple matter of available glucose" This is just an obvious strawman. Suggesting that using brain hard uses more glucose, is certainly not disproven by people doing better on tests scores while doing physical exercise before. The amount of energy stored in the human body is orders of magnitude greater than that which is consumed by 20 minutes on a treadmill. What that study showed, is that moderate exercise improves people's ability to focus.

The article does NOT suggest that thinking hard results in more glucose being consumed.


And I can agree with that. But it also doesn't show that thinking hard doesn't increase energy demand. Which was my original complaint. In short, this article doesn't show much at all. If there was some good science done, it wasn't represented in this article.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zohar » Tue May 17, 2016 3:09 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Try learning Calculus by just reading the texts. I'm pretty sure that you will find an increased cognitive load, since you don't get the same quality of information from reading as you do a combination of reading and lectures.

I'm not sure that's true, and it certainly depends on the teacher.

Anyway, I feel we've gone pretty far off the subject. I think we all agree there are different degrees to how difficult or strenuous a particular medium can be, and I honestly don't remember where this relates to libraries.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 3:14 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:And I can agree with that. But it also doesn't show that thinking hard doesn't increase energy demand. Which was my original complaint. In short, this article doesn't show much at all. If there was some good science done, it wasn't represented in this article.
The article was meant to outline that there have been mixed studies showing mixed results. I didn't make the claim that thinking hard was physically taxing, I'm pointing out that said claim is spurious at best. Which is what the article underlines. Tyn linked a bunker still article that suggested reading on a couch consumed more calories than watching TV on a couch, which is why we got started on this notion of which activity is more calorically demanding. Because 'thinking hard' is A ) unrelated to whether or not you're reading, and B ) unrelated to increases in energy demand.

Zohar wrote:Anyway, I feel we've gone pretty far off the subject. I think we all agree there are different degrees to how difficult or strenuous a particular medium can be, and I honestly don't remember where this relates to libraries.
ucim raised the idea that books were superior in some respects because they required more effort to consume than screen media. This potentially relates to libraries because rubaruba kids today are lazy with their hippen and their hoppen and their screens.

PAstrychef wrote:If you people watch and construct narratives for those you observe, you are still doing cognitive work. Gazing idly at art can be effectively effort less, but studying a piece, trying to understand the artist's intent, how her technique helped or hindered the result, wondering if your interpretation is the one intended, thinking about how objects and their meanings change over time i. e. interacting with art is quite intensive. Watching an episode of Star Trek for the umpteenth time can be effort less. Watching a political discussion can require close thinking.
The medium is not the message.
But this.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 17, 2016 3:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:If mental effort and ability were a simple matter of available glucose, then the children who exercised—and burnt up more energy—should have performed worse than their quiescent peers."
But the fact that the data exists says that reading has a definite cognitive cost. Better blood flow with exercise would bring more oxygen and glucose.
Izawwlgood wrote:I wager sitting on the couch watching that show was exactly as intellectually demanding as when I later read Mother of Storms.
I have no idea, but what I am willing to bet is that that you didn't power through as many books as you did videos in the same amount of time.
Izawwlgood wrote:Getting a movie in 2 hours vs getting a book in 8 doesn't change the fact that both represent the same sort of activity - passively consuming information.
And I never said differently. I simply said reading took more effort.

I meant that the average book takes 8 hours to read, not that I read the book in 8 hour sittings.
Zohar wrote:I honestly don't remember where this relates to libraries.
Me neither.

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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Zohar » Tue May 17, 2016 3:17 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Zohar wrote:Anyway, I feel we've gone pretty far off the subject. I think we all agree there are different degrees to how difficult or strenuous a particular medium can be, and I honestly don't remember where this relates to libraries.
ucim raised the idea that books were superior in some respects because they required more effort to consume than screen media. This potentially relates to libraries because rubaruba kids today are lazy with their hippen and their hoppen and their screens.

Well in this case I think a mod should split this to a "Is engaging/hard-to-consume media more worthwhile than simple/easy media"...
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 3:20 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:But the fact that the data exists says that reading has a definite cognitive cost. Better blood flow with exercise would bring more oxygen and glucose.
But again, 'cognitive cost' is not the same as 'increased glucose demand'.
morriswalters wrote:I have no idea, but what I am willing to bet is that that you didn't power through as many books as you did videos in the same amount of time.
Which may or may not be a valid statement (I have numerous RPGs with 60+ hour saves on them), but nevertheless an irrelevant one since we aren't discussing 'number of complete experiences consumed per unit of time' or 'length of time to consume single experience'.
morriswalters wrote:And I never said differently. I simply said reading took more effort. I meant that the average book takes 8 hours to read, not that I read the book in 8 hour sittings.
And I disagree. More time != more effort, and as I pointed out, there are numerous TV series that involve significantly more than 8x 1hr episodes.

Also, the 'average book takes 8 hrs'? That seems spurious.
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Re: Should all public libraries be closed?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 17, 2016 5:40 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
morriswalters wrote:But the fact that the data exists says that reading has a definite cognitive cost. Better blood flow with exercise would bring more oxygen and glucose.
But again, 'cognitive cost' is not the same as 'increased glucose demand'.


Sure, but...how do you measure it, then?

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Re: Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 6:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, but...how do you measure it, then?
By any number of measurements of stress or activity. fMRI data could show increased blood flow to relevant brain regions, cortisol levels could show stress, pupillary reflex or eye movements could show attention/awareness. Hell, you could probably look at EEGs and learn something useful.

The brain is a really complex organ. It's fairly plastic, and it's also doing a whole mess of a lot in terms neuronal activity. Instead of thinking of the brain like a race car that revs to higher RPMs when accelerating, it may be better to think of it as a carpenter with a toolbox. Mostly, the hammer and saw get used, but every so often, the plumb bob does as well. The more the plumb bob is used, the better the user gets at using the plumb bob. But using the plumb bob doesn't mean the hammer and saw aren't also being used, and using the plumb bob doesn't change the frequency of hammer/saw use.

That's a pretty sloppy analogy for a couple reasons, but the point is, muscles in your body get stronger as they are used for specific reasons, and this doesn't really apply to the brain in the same way. Furthermore, if one works out, you can burn a lot of calories, because 'increased physical activity results in increased glucose burning', but if you 'think really hard' you won't see the same thing, because the brain isn't a muscle, and 'thinking really hard' doesn't 'work the brain harder'.
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Re: Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 17, 2016 6:16 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, but...how do you measure it, then?
By any number of measurements of stress or activity. fMRI data could show increased blood flow to relevant brain regions, cortisol levels could show stress, pupillary reflex or eye movements could show attention/awareness. Hell, you could probably look at EEGs and learn something useful.


Attention/awareness can happen regardless of the complexity of the subject matter, I think.

I'm not so much asking "can it, in theory, be measured", as I am asking specifically how you would measure the proposed difference. What measure is BETTER than caloric expenditure here, and why?

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Re: Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 17, 2016 7:29 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Also, the 'average book takes 8 hrs'? That seems spurious.
Well in your world I don't know, in mine that is conservative. The average audio book I own averages about 7 hours, spoken. The Mote in Gods Eye is about 22. That last is about 178,000 words. My approximate reading speed is 400 words per minute. For the Mote that is about 8 hours, and that is speed reading, not for fun. For anything technically challenging that could drop to 30 words per minute or less. And for a Calculus text that would be even slower since I couldn't absorb it without doing problems.

Looking at a couple of papers which examine this topic at least in passing suggest that what is happening is that the available resources are more or less fixed and that attention or focus is given to higher cognitive loads at the expense of other tasks. I didn't read them all that well. Which makes sense since I have seen experiments with smartphones which suggest that the more you focus on the phone the less you focus on the other tasks. Here is a link to the search.

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Re: Differences in media consumption-library thread spin off

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 17, 2016 8:38 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Attention/awareness can happen regardless of the complexity of the subject matter, I think.
Yes, I agree, indeed it could happen regardless of the medium in which the subject matter is being conveyed even. That was my point.

Tyndmyr wrote:I'm not so much asking "can it, in theory, be measured", as I am asking specifically how you would measure the proposed difference. What measure is BETTER than caloric expenditure here, and why?
Izawwlgood wrote:By any number of measurements of stress or activity. fMRI data could show increased blood flow to relevant brain regions, cortisol levels could show stress, pupillary reflex or eye movements could show attention/awareness. Hell, you could probably look at EEGs and learn something useful.


morriswalters wrote:Looking at a couple of papers which examine this topic at least in passing suggest that what is happening is that the available resources are more or less fixed and that attention or focus is given to higher cognitive loads at the expense of other tasks. I didn't read them all that well. Which makes sense since I have seen experiments with smartphones which suggest that the more you focus on the phone the less you focus on the other tasks. Here is a link to the search.
I've read similar things and I think they're quite reproducible. This also jibes with the observation that people who are better at tasks are more able to focus on them or focus on them longer - i.e., they require a smaller cognitive load, and are thus easier to do.

But remember, the 'fuel' for 'cognitive load' is not glucose in the same way that the actual factual fuel for muscle contraction is glucose (well, ATP).
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