25 March 2007


I think I'm pushing my multi-tasking skills to the limit as I'm coming up on some big deadlines in the next few days... a newspaper, a 96-page school yearbook, stories for the summer issue of Sandpoint Magazine, the collection of auction donations for the Festival at Sandpoint, a project to build new bleachers at Clark Fork High School, taxes...

And this morning, I read that even the New York Times thinks I can't do it all.

Still, isn't that just the politically correct thing to say?

In an article called Slow Down, Multitaskers, and Don’t Read in Traffic by Steve Lohr,
he says that four Vanderbilt researchers reported on the efficiency that's lost when someone attempts to do two things at once. "... researchers found that response to the second task was delayed by up to a second when the study participants were given the two tasks at about the same time."

I can actually read a book, and sing along with a song on the radio, at the same time. Through the years, that ability has driven my family nuts. (Most people can read and listen to a song, it's the singing it that stops some folks.) I'm sure I read slower when I'm doing that, but does that really matter if both things need to happen during a certain time frame?

Of course, what really got to me about this article was the old "cell phone in the car argument."
"But one implication of the Vanderbilt research, Mr. Marois said, is that talking on a cellphone while driving a car is dangerous. A one-second delay in response time at 60 miles an hour could be fatal, he noted.

“We are under the impression that we have this brain that can do more than it often can,” observed Mr. Marois, who said he turns off his cellphone when driving."

Let's have a little scientific rigor here. Because the inference isn't that talking on a cell phone is dangerous... it's that talking is.

So before we run out to make more laws banning cell phone use while driving, let's go ahead and deal with the real problem, and ban any talking at all by a person driving a car.

And now it's back to work. 'Cause while I can multi-task, my computer keyboard can't. Typing here means I'm not typing on pages that need to be completed.

See ya later

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