Window Seat: Popcorn Brain

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 17, 2024 IST

Window Seat: Popcorn Brain

Mrinal Chatterjee

‘Popcorn Brain’ refers to a multitude of kernel-like thoughts jostling about in one’s brain, rather than one or more substantial concepts. Coined by researcher David Levy in 2011, it refers to a person’s attention jumping from thought to thought like the kernels popping in popcorn. A 2003 study by the University of California Irvine found the average attention span was two minutes and 30 seconds. Recent studies have shed light on Gen Z's shorter attention span, revealing significant implications for every industry. Research conducted by Microsoft in 2015 found that the average attention span of Gen Z individuals was only about eight seconds, four seconds less than that of millennials.

We are inundated with a deluge of information, comprising both meaningful data and trivial details. This flood of content overwhelms our brains, diminishing their ability to discern what truly holds significance. With our mental landscape crowded by a constant barrage of information, there's little room left for the cultivation of clear, cogent thoughts or opinions.

This is so pervasive, that I strongly suspect we are heading towards a popcorn brain pandemic.

Graphic Novel

I was writing an essay on Graphic Novels on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of ‘A River of Stories’, considered to be the first Indian graphic novel. There is a difference between Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Comic Books are serialized stories, mostly short in length and the stories they contain can continue over months and sometimes years. Graphic Novels on the other hand tend to be much longer, and also usually have their story lines wrapped up in one or two books. Graphic Novels are usually more complex and layered.

Incidentally the first graphic novelist of the world Will Wisner was born in this month- March, 107 years ago. His graphic novel ‘A Contract with God’ was published in 1978, though it was not promoted as a graphic novel.

I first heard about graphic novels about six years ago from a fifteen year old boy, who was writing one himself. He named it Monster Park. That teenager Himanshu Parija, son of Neelima BN, Professor of Mass Communication at Tirupati based Padmavati Women University is 21 now, pursuing graduation in veterinary science, because he wants to treat sick wild animals.  If ever I write a book on Graphic Novels in India, which I am planning to do- I’ll dedicate that book to him.

The Wise Owl

Our house is located almost inside a forest. It borders a reserve forest on the back side. There are a number of mango and jamun trees and bamboo groves across the boundary wall on the front side.

The other night I found an owl sitting on a bamboo grove in front of our house. We often meet. And whenever we do, he hoots- and in its language, gives me some gyan.

That night he said something, which I found printed on a banyan some days ago: may the forest be with you.

When I retire (in two years) and shift from this place, adjacent to a reserve forest to Bhubaneswar, the only thing that I’ll definitely carry with me is this forest. It’ll remain with and within me for as long as I live.

AI Teacher

A school in Kerala has introduced India's First Artificial Intelligence Teacher, Iris. The saree clad Caucasian, early thirty looking female teacher, an Artificial Intelligence driven robot is claimed to be able to answer complex questions of the students.
 
I can understand the reasons behind introducing AI teachers in a state where there probably are more teachers than students. There are two sets of reasons: one- pushing the boundary of knowledge and technology; two- no salary, no pension, no lafda, no tension.

I am thinking of a future scenario. In the not too distant future, in our schools the robo-teachers will teach robo- students, while human beings search for another planet to live on as the planet earth is increasingly becoming unlivable. Human beings are now called Homo Sapiens; ‘Sapiens’ mean wise men. The future human beings, as my friend J P Jagdev says, “will be called Hobo Sapiens: intelligent and homeless.

Height of Marketing

Holi, being a festival of colours, used to be the occasion to wear dresses- sarees, salwar kameez, kurta- which were old and soon to be discarded.

Not so anymore.

Specially designed sarees and Kurtas to wear on Holi are being sold online and in brick and mortar shops. These sarees and Kurtas have holi motifs printed on them.

Either we have grown sticking rich or have become stupid.

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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