Very few online readers these days read an article from start to finish. That's according to slate.com's tech writer, Farhad Manjoo, who worked with a Web-traffic company to observe how his site's readers interacted with content. He says, "I asked Josh Schwartz, a data scientist at the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, to look at how people scroll through Slate articles. … Schwartz's data shows that readers can't stay focused. The more I type, the more of you tune out. And it's not just me. It's not just Slate. It's everywhere online. When people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page." Manjoo concludes, "With ebooks and streaming movies and TV shows, it's easier than ever, now, to switch to something else." [slate.com, 6/6/13]
In the evolving online landscape, shopping decisions are increasingly influenced by images rather than words. And that trend is making image-oriented sites such as Pinterest more important to marketers pushing their wares in cyberspace. "Social [media] is very rapidly shifting away from text," says Apu Gupta, whose company, Curalate, helps retail clients such as Gap and Saks try to maximize their impact on sites like Pinterest. "It's going to change shopping behavior both online and offline. … This is the direction the world is moving—everyone has a cameraphone in their pocket, and the whole Web is becoming high def. In many ways we're circling back to the days of our ancestors. Back when we all lived in caves we painted on walls. Now we're pinning and reblogging and doing various other things to express our aspirations." [wired.com, 4/26/13]
Some South Korean physicians are worried that children are suffering from a new form of cognitive debilitation brought about by overuse of digital media. The syndrome, which doctors have dubbed "digital dementia," may be causing an imbalance between the right and left sides of the brain. While the brain's left side—which controls reasoning and language functions, among other things—is worked heavily by digital devices, the more creative right side doesn't get nearly as much attention, leaving it "untapped or underdeveloped," according to Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul. South Korea has the highest smartphone ownership in the world, with more than two-thirds of its citizens owning one. [msn.com, 6/24/13]
Following the death of actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO's The Sopranos, sales of the show's DVDs have skyrocketed. Before Gandolfini's death, Amazon ranked the complete Sopranos DVD set as its 1,463rd most popular product. Afterward, the set shot to No. 2. [time.com, 6/24/13 stats, c&e]
The Los Angeles Times reported that This Is the End directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were actually expecting their recent movie to receive an NC-17 rating. In fact, they "didn't just expect their raunchy Judgment Day comedy to be slapped with an NC-17 rating—they secretly planned on receiving the adults-only rating. … Acting on the advice of distributor Sony Pictures, Rogen and Goldberg intentionally larded the film with a few sexually explicit frames that they felt certain would shock the movie ratings panel and result in an NC-17 mark." Then they reportedly intended to snip out some of the most offensive segments and re-submit for a more marketable R, raking in free publicity along the way. Instead, the film received an R rating right out of the gate, with no further edits required. According to the Times, "The decision stunned Rogen and Goldberg. 'All the ratings stuff doesn't make sense in the first place, but this is like ludicrous,' Goldberg said. Added Rogen: 'We actually made it even a little worse than we wanted and that version got approved. Insanely, [we] didn't have a ratings issue.'" [latimes.com 6/10/13]
Actor Jim Carrey recently sought to distance himself from his forthcoming film Kick-A‑‑ 2 in a series of tweets criticizing the movie's violence. "I did Kicka‑‑ a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence," he tweeted. "My apologies … to others involve[d] with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart." Mark Miller, one of the movie's screenwriters, responded via blog post: "Ironically, Jim's character in Kick-A‑‑ 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place." [foxnews.com, 6/24/13]
"I guess that the jury's out on … God. And the afterlife and all that. … If you say, 'Well, OK, I don't believe in God. There's no evidence of God,' then you're missing the stars in the sky and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, 'Well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar,' and you have to wonder about that guy's personality."
—prolific author Stephen King, talking with NPR's Terri Gross [latimes.com, 5/29/13]
"I have faith, I believe in God. I look at Christ as this magnificent figure. I don't go to the evangelical side of it I suppose. … There are very cool people out there, very relevant people that have faith in their lives and people who want faith, and, like I say, are afraid to enter the conversation. That's all I care about: entering the conversation. I have four sons who are basically growing up in a world where they don't believe in s‑‑‑, and I know that's not good either. I'm not saying you have to believe in God or Christ or any of that stuff, just come in the conversation for a bit. It's awakening. … [It's] far more interesting than talking about Lindsay Lohan, you know what I mean?"
—actor Corbin Bernsen, who rocketed to fame on L.A. Law and appears on the USA show Psych. Bernsen was discussing his involvement with Home Theater Films, which he co-founded and says is dedicated to making faith-based movies. [foxnews.com, 4/15/13]
"My faith has been the center of my life for a long time, and it's the center of her life as well, and that's no secret. We are proud of that fact. We realize that it's viewed as kind of being weird these days, but we are not going to shy away from it. We are unapologetic."
—reality star Sean Lowe, who proposed to fiancée Catherine Giudici in this year's season finale of The Bachelor. In March, the couple said they were not going to have sex before they got married. When they do officially tie the knot, it will be on television. [GMA.yahoo.com, 6/12/13]
After signing headline-inspiring Christian quarterback Tim Tebow to his New England team several weeks ago, Patriots owner Robert Kraft went on the record saying Tebow's spiritual convictions were part of what prompted the team to pick him: "For me personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he's someone who believes in spirituality, he's very competitive and works hard, and has a great attitude, and he's a winner," Kraft told ESPN. "So having him as part of our franchise is great, but he has to compete just like anyone else. We're blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is very important to him is very appealing to me." [profootballtalk.nbcsports.com, 6/13/13]
"If there's one thing you can count on Disney for, it's creating strong leading female characters in its movies—and then reducing them to wide-eyed idiots in their merchandising. The Belle who obsessed on books and the Tiana who scrimped and saved for her own restaurant, the warrior Mulan and the wise Pocahontas—they've all been reduced to flowing hair and off-the-shoulder dresses and coy looks in their post-cinematic incarnations. … There's something deeply disturbing and wrongheaded about the Disney princessization of American girlhood. … The message—one that is now rammed down our daughters' throats from birth, literally—is not one of effort or even action. Princesses don't become princesses; they simply are princesses, even as babies. That Disney has left Merida relatively alone in one small corner of its brand doesn't change that. There's no narrative, no adventure, in the Disney princess world—just the simpering image of pretty girls with crowns on their heads. I just hope that no matter what Disney tries to pull, we as parents and consumers don't forget the stories behind those princesses."
—Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams, in her article, "What's Wrong With Disney Princesses" [salon.com, 5/15/13]