Facebook doesnt waste time it wastes attention spans Thats worse

first_img 6 NurPhoto It’s a chilly winter night in Munich, Germany. I’m alone in an empty hostel dorm, basking in the warmth of the heater and the hostel’s surprising hygiene, trying to watch Mad Men on my MacBook.I say “trying” because this is proving to be a peculiarly difficult task. Watching 50-minute episodes of Mad Men is taking anywhere between one and a half to two hours because I keep getting distracted.I’ll just check Facebook. Maybe someone from home has messaged me. I should take a look at Twitter — oh, I forgot, Twitter is awful. You know what, I’m going to Instagram-stalk the hippie I met in Serbia. Ah, that’s right, I forgot to reply to that Facebook message from the other day. Some variation of these thoughts creeps into my brain every few minutes, glacializing my Mad Men progress. How will Don Draper’s story end? I suspect I’ll never know. Tags 5:14 This was four months ago. I left Australia last August for a solo backpacking trip through Europe. Yeah, meeting people and seeing the world is cool, but I also wanted to use this trip to catch up on random shows, books and movies I could never get around to in my real life. I figured I’d have almost unlimited time, so it would be easy. It turns out that unlimited time means little when paired with a limited attention span.Personal discontent about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter use is so common it’s almost redundant. If you tell someone you’re quitting Instagram or trying to use Facebook less, the odds are high that said person will reply with “Oh, wow, I really need to do that too.”Some of this is empty posturing, like the pageantry of saying you want to eat fewer carbs even though you already know there’s no quitting your 11 p.m. cheese toastie habit. (Me. I’m talking about me now.) But the widespread understanding that social media use is a waste of time is telling.1-bu77rat955qeo0xal45c5qOh, Don. Whatever will become of you? AMC Like everyone else on the planet, I often complain that there aren’t enough hours in a day. There are so many books to read, games to play and TV shows to Netflix, but how can I be expected to do that amid the daily grind of work, commuting, attempting to exercise, keeping up with family and friends, and, y’know, sleep.To this end, I used to think of social media as a waste of precious time. An hour spent on Facebook and Instagram is an hour I could have spent reading, mirin’ Don Draper, learning a language or otherwise being productive. But that’s not quite accurate.When I jetted to Europe, I was jetting away from all my responsibilities — and was shocked by how little difference this made. Because, for me at least, the problem isn’t 15-minute blocks of time lost to social media. It’s the 10-second gaps that social media fill that make it impossible to concentrate on anything for a sustained period of time, protracting even simple tasks.The trouble is when the cheeky Instagram check-in goes from filling the 10-second wait for the green man at traffic lights to the 5-second lull in a TV show. Then, minutes later, you realize nothing makes sense because you actually haven’t been paying attention. It also obviously bleeds into work. If a page is loading, I would find myself opening a Twitter tab even though the original page would have loaded in literally a second. Given studies have shown it can take over 20 minutes to get your mind back to the task at hand once distracted, this can be a productivity disaster. Maybe even a bigger problem than not being able to enjoy the latest quality television productions from AMC.boompromoClick for more Boom With a View. I’d noted how poor my attention span was earlier in the trip, but Mad Men was my attentive nadir. Something had to change. Growing up, my parents told me watching TV would ruin my attention span. Now I can’t even concentrate on TV long enough for it to ruin my attention span. I deactivated my Twitter account the next day, with Instagram following soon after. (Now, four months later, Twitter has been reactivated but used much less frequently.) Facebook’s app has been deleted off my phone, and is a laptop-only activity.After the social media purge, I didn’t miss lying in bed and scrolling through Instagram. I did, however, yearn for these apps in situations where there’s no option to do anything else. Time spent waiting in line for coffee or on the 5-minute bus to the train station aren’t substantial enough for me to be doing anything productive, for instance, so scrolling Twitter isn’t so dangerous. (Except it is because, as mentioned, Twitter is awful.)People freaked out last Wednesday when Facebook and Instagram were down. The outage led many users to Twitter, a real oven-to-the-frying-pan situation. Some users went into panic mode. I call it a good start. If you struggled during the outage, look at it as a challenge. You already went 12 hours without Facebook and Instagram, see if you can make it longer. See how you feel after seven days. And for the record, I still have six seasons of Mad Men to go.  Comments Share your voicecenter_img Facebook Instagram Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: What’s your relationship… Mobile Culture Boom With a View Now playing: Watch this:last_img read more

China still lags US but building towards navy

first_imgThe PLA Navy is likely to secure significant new funding in China’s upcoming defence budget as Beijing seeks to check U.S. dominance of the high seas and step up its own projection of power around the globe.China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.Now, with President Donald Trump promising a U.S. shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.”It’s opportunity in crisis,” said a Beijing-based Asian diplomat, of China’s recent naval moves. “China fears Trump will turn on them eventually as he’s so unpredictable and it’s getting ready.”Beijing does not give a breakdown for how much it spends on the navy, and the overall official defence spending figures it gives – 954.35 billion yuan ($139 billion) for 2016 – likely understates its investment, according to diplomats.China unveils the defence budget for this year at next month’s annual meeting of parliament, a closely watched figure around the region and in Washington, for clues to China’s intentions.China surprised last year with its lowest increase in six years, 7.6 percent, the first single-digit rise since 2010, following a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit jumps.”Certainly, the PLA Navy has really been the beneficiary of a lot of this new spending in the past 15 years,” said Richard Bitzinger, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.”We don’t how much they spend on the navy, but simply extrapolating from the quantity and the quality of things that are coming out of their shipyards, it’s pretty amazing.”RAPID DEVELOPMENTThe Chinese navy, once generally limited to coastal operations, has developed rapidly under President Xi Jinping’s ambitious military modernisation.It commissioned 18 ships in 2016, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates, according to state media.Barely a week goes by without an announcement of some new piece of equipment, including an electronic reconnaissance ship put into service in January.Still, the PLA Navy significantly lags the United States, which operates 10 aircraft carriers to China’s one, the Soviet-era Liaoning.Xu Guangyu, a retired major general in the People’s Liberation Army now senior adviser to the government-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said China was keenly aware of the U.S. ability to project power at sea.”It’s like a marathon and we’re falling behind. We need to step on the gas,” Xu said.Trump has vowed to increase the U.S. Navy to 350 ships from the current 290 as part of “one of the “greatest military buildups in American history”, a move aides say is needed to counter China’s rise as a military power.”We’ve known this is a 15-20 year project and every year they get closer to being a blue-water navy with global aspirations,” said a U.S. administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”What you have seen this last year and what I think you will see with the new budget is that they are moving ahead with the short-term goal of being the premier naval force in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, with the mid-term goal, of extending all the way to the Indian Ocean.”In January, China appointed new navy chief, Shen Jinlong, to lead that push.Shen has enjoyed a meteoric rise and is close to Xi, diplomatic and leadership sources say.”The navy has gotten very lucky with Shen,” said a Chinese official close to the military, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now they know for certain their support goes all the way to the top.”Recent PLA Navy missions have included visits to Gulf states, where the United States has traditionally protected sea lanes, and to the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, in what the state-run website StrongChina called Shen’s “first show of force against the United States, Japan and Taiwan”.Last month, a Chinese submarine docked at a port in Malaysia’s Sabah state, which lies on the South China Sea, only the second confirmed visit of a Chinese submarine to a foreign port, according to state media.The submarine had come from supporting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, where China has been learning valuable lessons about overseas naval operations since 2008.Chinese warships have also been calling at ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, unnerving regional rival India.”It’s power projection,” said a Beijing-based Western diplomat, of China’s navy. ($1 = 6.8640 Chinese yuan)last_img read more

United Methodist Church scraps plans to host General Conference in the Philippines

first_img Catholicism A rabbi pleads with AG William Barr: Don’t bring the death penalty to Pittsburgh Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,(RNS) — The United Methodist Church has scrapped plans for its first General Conference meeting outside the United States.The global denomination had been planning to hold the 2024 meeting of its decision-making body in Manila, capital of the Philippines.But plans for a meeting there, first announced in 2015, are now off.Sara Hotchkiss, business manager for the Commission on General Conference, said organizers could not find convention space available for two full weeks to host the gathering of United Methodists from around the world.So the General Conference will be held elsewhere.“No one has done anything wrong, or there’s no reason not to go. It’s just simply when we did a bid process, the facilities needed for the length of our conference were not available,” Hotchkiss said.RELATED: The ’Splainer: What happened at the United Methodist General Conference?The business manager said the commission, which chooses the locations for and plans the denomination’s quadrennial meeting, had not received any bids from facilities it had contacted during the bid process to host the meeting.Those bids were due in early July, she said.Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso “Rudy” Juan of the Davao Area in the southern Philippines — the commission member who initially had invited the General Conference to the Philippines — told the United Methodist News Service the decision made him “sad.”“I spoke passionately about my disappointment in this decision,” Juan said. “I did not support the cancellation, but I respect the decision.”The Philippines, red, located in eastern Asia. Map courtesy of Creative CommonsFinances and the “current climate in the church” did not play a role in that decision, the Rev. Gary George, secretary of the commission, said in the UMNS report.The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., and its membership is growing most quickly in the Philippines and many African countries.The Commission on General Conference made the decision not to hold the 2024 meeting in the Philippines last week during its meeting in Lexington, Ky.RELATED: Adam Hamilton on ‘Methodists in the middle’ and what’s next for the denominationAlso at that meeting, a task force reported to the commission it had found “credible objective evidence that four ineligible persons cast votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present” at a special session of the General Conference held this February in St. Louis to discuss the place of LGBTQ people in the church.Delegates to the special session approved the so-called Traditional Plan, which strengthened the denomination’s rules barring LGBTQ United Methodists from ordination and marriage.The four ineligible voters would not have impacted the outcome of the vote on the Traditional Plan, according to a press release from the United Methodist Church.But they might have had an impact on a narrow vote on a measure allowing congregations to leave the denomination with their property.The commission determined that vote is void and is asking the denomination Council of Bishops to refer it to its top court, the Judicial Council.Jessica LaGrone, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, presents the Traditional Plan during the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Kit DoyleDonations to church ministries, including the General Conference, have “declined significantly” in the months since the special session, according to UMNS.And both opponents and supporters of the Traditional Plan are still discussing how to proceed since the vote. Among their options are leaving the denomination, pushing for a new plan to change its structure to allow United Methodists with differing viewpoints to stay together or dissolving it entirely.The next General Conference meeting will gather 862 delegates, both clergy and lay people, from May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.Hotchkiss said she didn’t have information to share about where the 2024 meeting might be held.But, the business manager added, there is no concern that the meeting itself might be canceled. The commission quickly had found a location for the special session after the 2016 General Conference requested it, she noted.And, she said, “Manila and the people of the Philippines and the United Methodists of the Philippines are wonderful, and I know that they could do the hosting that was required to do it.”“I sincerely hope someday to be able to do it.” Columns • Opinion • Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith News Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! Share This! As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,Kashmiri Americans organize to put a human face to the crisis in their homeland Share This! Tagshomepage featured Philippines UMCGC United Methodist Church United Methodist Church General Conference,You may also like Share This!center_img Emily McFarlan Miller Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.,Add Comment Click here to post a comment By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites We are not all the same, and in our difference we are divine August 30, 2019 Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Emaillast_img read more