Wow, maybe the internet does make you stupid..........

So during my morning surfing, I came across this article.

Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say

Needless to say, your Grouchy Historian was shocked and intrigued.  How can this be so?  But, after reading the follows with the general dumbing down of America, particularly the digital generation that I have written about before...we are raising a generation of Americans that can't write more than 140 characters, think Jon Stewart is a legitimate news source, and thought that Barrack Obama was gonna give them free health care, a free college education, and free legalized marijuana. 

So, after digging into this article a little, I became even more frightened.

Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia.....There is concern that young children’s affinity and often mastery of their parents’ devices could stunt the development of deep reading skills.
This is how sound byte politics--- "War on Women"..."No Blood for Oil"..."Down with the 1%" gets started...ignorant peasants that can be manipulated by divisive politics.  No ability for critical thought, analysis of conflicting information...just the next cool video on YouTube.  Obviously reading, like many other cognitive activities, needs to be practiced:

The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read....Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on...The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading, and it has been documented in academic studies. Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade when dealing with other mediums as well.
Wow, that's a scary, scary thought.  But maybe there is hope.  Because our brains are infinitely adaptable...well, maybe not liberal brains, they can never accept that capitalism works, men and women are different and turkey bacon is NOT bacon, perhaps our brains can be retrained to accept both worlds:

Already, there is some intriguing research that looks at that question. A 2012 Israeli study of engineering students — who grew up in the world of screens — looked at their comprehension while reading the same text on screen and in print when under time pressure to complete the task.

The students believed they did better on screen. They were wrong. Their comprehension and learning was better on paper.

Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly and that the differences should be dealt with in education, particularly with school-aged children. There are advantages to both ways of reading. There is potential for a bi-literate brain.
A bi-literate brain...hmmm...we'll see.  I have not completely bought into the whole e-reader thing myself...I am a dinosaur who loves books and paper, and bookmarks...real bookmarks not a file.

But the article overall is scary, we are creating a generation of technically savvy DRONES who can't read deeply, think critically, or discern truth from propaganda.  Which has the unfortunate side effect of making them very susceptible to influence by lefty liberal tree hugging teachers, professors, and other progressive agitators who spout simplistic slogans of 140 characters or less. 

Think about many students read Wealth of Nations?  Or Machiavelli?  Or Animal Farm?  Not as many as play Candy Crush I bet...and that is how civilizations fall.