I Have a “1 Screen at a Time” Rule For Myself, and It’s a Game-Changer

Photographer: Paul KabataRestrictions: For editorial and internal use only. No advertising or print.Product Credits: Tibi Top, Amrapali Ring

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I can’t pinpoint the time I started watching TV while also scrolling through my phone, but I do remember the day I realised my double-screen habit had gotten a little out of hand. As I sat on the couch watching an episode of This Is Us, I found myself rewinding not once, not twice, but five (!) times because I’d been checking email and Twitter rather than paying attention.

At first, I thought, what’s the big deal? It’s fun to scroll through funny tweets about The Bachelor while I watch the show, and as a parent, I have limited time to myself, so why not multitask by moving through my DVR and my inbox at once? That’s just me being efficient! Well, here’s the thing: once I became aware of the two-screen habit, I couldn’t help but notice the negative effects. In splitting my attention between multiple tasks at once, I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. I’d walk away from a TV/texting/email/Twitter session feeling frazzled and unsure.

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Late-Night Tweeting Degrades Your Performance the Next Day

Late-night Twitter use social media

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A new study of NBA players reports that it does indeed: A player’s shooting accuracy declines if they were up late tweeting the night before a game.

“These findings may apply widely to other sports, and other cognitive and behavioral outcomes,” writes a research team led by Jason Jones, an assistant professor of sociology at Stony Brook University. Nearly one-third of Americans don’t get the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep; these findings suggest the quality of their work may suffer as a result.

Why it’s vital to switch that podcast off occasionally and let yourself get bored

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It has become part of my daily routine to slip headphones on as I leave the front door. I don’t take them off until I reach my destination, unless I’m buying something in a shop or giving directions – as the writer Lucy Prebble has remarked, “taking off headphones is the new removing your hat”. I sometimes listen to music, but mainly I listen to talk.

Perhaps the biggest cost, though, is that I’m listening to myself less. When I’m riveted by the narrative of a real-life murder mystery, my thoughts don’t wander, and it’s only when thoughts are allowed to wander that they become interesting.

Facebook’s ’10 Year Challenge’ Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right?

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Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years.

Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don’t reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it’s not uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my Facebook friends’ profile pictures shows a friend’s dog who just died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more.

In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.

The 2009 vs. 2019 Meme Is a Gift From Our Smartphones

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You saw it. We saw it. Everyone saw it. Slowly but surely this past weekend everyone started posting current pictures of themselves next to photos from 2009. Largely marked #2009vs2019 or #10yearchallenge the posts flooded Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As might be expected, the meme quickly got picked up by those looking to make a point about the state of the world—or get LoLs—through posting political images or jokes about celebs, but the more personal side of it, the actual nostalgia bit, is a gift given to us by our devices.

The reasoning is simple: By 2009, thanks to the boom in smartphones, most folks had very decent cameras in their pockets at all times.

Delicious Doesn’t Always Mean Pretty

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I’m still not sure precisely why, but a couple of months ago I decided I wanted to come up with a chicken recipe that would go viral on social media.

O.K., fine. I do know why. I was just too embarrassed to admit it outright: I was jealous of the New Yorker food correspondent Helen Rosner’s blow-dryer roast chicken. And every recipe the Times food columnist Alison Roman has ever written. So I wanted to throw my hat into the ring. With a chicken recipe. Because everyone (besides vegetarians, I guess) likes chicken, right?

What emerged from the oven about an hour later looked beautiful to me, but every mother thinks her children are gorgeous. In truth, I knew it wasn’t destined for a life of hashtags and retweets. It just wasn’t photogenic enough.