Grimpen Mire

A while back I wrote a column about cloud computing in which I noted that the physical location our online services still matters, and commented that:

In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play, turning the cloud into a miasma as heavy with menace as the fog over the Grimpen Mire that concealed the Hound of the Baskervilles in Arthur Conan Doyle’s story.

Nick Carr coined the phrase ‘miasma computing‘ in response (and I wish I’d thought of it first!), and at GikIII recently the excellent Miranda Mowbray presented ‘The Fog over the Grimpen Mire: Cloud Computing and the Law‘, which organiser Andres Guadamuz called ‘a virtuoso remix of Sherlock Holmes and cloud computing’ that was ‘both endearingly performed and absolutely spot on.’

I’m sorry I missed it, but her slides are here

Changing the Way We Think

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website, and Nick Carr has picked up on it]

In her recently published book ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century, Professor Susan Greenfield brings her considerable expertise as a neuroscientist to bear on the question of whether and how our current use of computers is changing the way our brains work.

Greenfield argues that the visual stimulus we get from screen-based information and entertainment differs so markedly from that available to previous generations that certain areas of the brain, specifically those areas that are older in evolutionary terms and retain the capacity to alter as a result of experience, may be affected in ways that express themselves a changes to personality and behaviour.

It’s an interesting hypothesis, and one that has the virtue of being experimentally testable, unlike many other claims about the effect of modern living on human psychology.

Continue reading “Changing the Way We Think”