Newsletter: Harvesting human attention

“Druze man in Lebanon plays football” by Samer Mohdad (via Rabih)

Below is a collection of links I think you'll find interesting. Watch the world's first drone rescue after the jump. Enjoy!

Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone? How can we win back our focus in the distraction era? Turn it gray. That’s right: we need to dull our screens to bore our senses. Turning the phone grayscale doesn’t make it dumb, it just makes it less attractive. Writes Nellie Bowles in the New York Times: “I’m not a different person all of a sudden, but I feel more in control of my phone, which now looks like a tool rather than a toy. If I unlock it to write an email, I’m a little less likely to forget the goal and tap on Instagram. If I’m waiting in line for coffee, this gray slab is not as delightful a distraction as it once was.”

Seeking the Lost Art of Growing Old with Intention. The Father of National Parks John Muir once said that “most people are on the world, not in it.” His words must have influenced naturalist and author Bernd Heinrich. The 77-year-old runner who still completes a 6-minute mile remains awed by the beautiful power of nature: “We all want to be associated with something greater and more beautiful than ourselves, and nature is the ultimate. I just think it is the one thing we can all agree on.”

The Subtle Art of Getting Your Work Noticed. When asked how to achieve success, comedian Steve Martin advised to “be so good they can’t ignore you.” The author Cal Newport wrote a book with the same title. But I like the way life hacker Zat Rana emboldens the adage by saying “Be so interesting that they can’t ignore you.” Being good isn't enough; being interesting and unique is way more memorable.

Book I'm reading

[easyazon_link identifier=”0804170045″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu[/easyazon_link]: “The game of harvesting human attention and reselling it to advertisers has become a major part of our economy. I use the crop metaphor because attention has been widely recognized as a commodity, like wheat, pork bellies, or crude oil. Existing industries have long depended on it to drive sales. And the new industries of the twentieth century turned it into a form of currency they could mint. Beginning with radio, each new medium would attain its commercial viability through the resale of what attention it could capture in exchange for its “free” content.”

Video I'm watching

Lifeguards deployed a drone to save two struggling teenage swimmers stranded in rough seas off the coast of Australia.

This is apparently the first time drone technology carrying a flotation device has rescued swimmers.

Watch: Drone to the rescue

Thought of the week

“Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)


Wells Baum is creating a daily blog that collects and remixes the most interesting pieces of art, beats, life, and technology from around the web. Your support goes a long way: for every contribution, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.


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wells baum aka bombtune

A daily blogger who connects the dots between beats, culture, and technology.

4 thoughts on “Newsletter: Harvesting human attention”

  1. Love the title and the content on this post! And yes, we are all too attached to our devices! That’s why in our family we also make time to walk in nature — less so in the winter, but indoor sports during the coldest months do the trick! It’s especially hard for parents of teens, who seem to live for the moments they can get back to their devices. My son games with team players from all over the world who also share precious tidbits about life in their countries, so my feelings about his device time are a bit mixed…

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