too much reading

Monday October 30, 2017

This could be classified as a classic example of doing something beneficial to a fault. I would sit down, start my timer, and browsing my saved items on Facebook and liked tweets on Twitter, processing all the newsletters on my email, opening all those links, kick my visual and mental processing into the next gear, start taking notes, and place all those helpful and beneficial links into specific bins for an easy access in the future.

I am a hoarder. I hoard every piece of interesting information to read and to learn. And mind you, my range of interest spans over a great width of the area. All thanks to the internet.

Based on my back-of-the-envelope math, my current daily email burden is about 11 emails per day. I do not receive any notification from social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) because I turned them all off, except for security-related notifications. I turned off and/or unsubscribe all notifications that do not concern me at all (e.g. shopping).

The list looks like this now (in an alphabetical order):

  1. Atlas Obscura
  2. Digital Ocean
  3. HackerNoon
  4. JSTOR Daily
  5. Nature News Alert
  6. Nieman Lab
  7. NPR Goat & Soda
  8. PLOS
  9. Quartz
  10. Science AAAS
  11. Slate Future Tense
  12. STAT News
  13. The Atlantic
  14. Undark
  15. Vox

Despite having 15 active subscriptions, I am still looking for more. The list you see here contains the general newsletters, or so I would call them. I happen to have subscriptions for alerts from a number of scientific journals related to my current field of study, which is virology/microbiology.

Here is the list:

  1. Clinical Virology
  2. Microbes & Infections
  3. Vaccine (previously Vaccine Engineering)
  4. Virology
  5. Molecular Biology of the Cell (ASCB)
  6. Journal of Virology (ASM)
  7. Clinical & Vaccine Immunology
  8. Journal of Bacteriology
  9. Infection & Immunity

I do not have much time to process this. Instead, I rely heavily on my instinct. Upon receiving the alert and at my earliest convenient to look at the email, anything that attracts my attention will be opened on my phone’s browser and will stay there for a moment. This is the first screening. Then I will read the introduction, one main body paragraph, and the conclusion paragraph. This is the second screening, which will tell me whether I should keep it or not. If I do want to keep them, all the items will find their eventual resting place on Caspershire Vault, among other places.

So, why am I doing this?

I have this motivation to be a well-informed person. Or to put this simply, I do not want to appear ignorant. There is so much we can learn with a couple of clicks and taps away. Shame on us if we do not utilize this technology properly.

Let’s do a quick math. Say that, hypothetically, that hundreds of years ago, only 5% of the human population had an access to the vast trove of information. 95% of them (from the 5% pool, so 4.75%) would desire to hog every last morsel of knowledge available within reach.

Today, let’s say that 95% of human population (this is a little bit of an exaggeration) can access knowledge at a blazing fast speed, we could see that only 5% of them would appreciate the wonders this world has to offer.

If you think you have not read enough, you should do something.