Attention spans are ridiculously short

Hey! Remember these hot news stories?

There are probably some other major events, but I forgot them.

Can an entire country, or possibly an entire species, come down with acute Alzheimer’s disease?


  1. says

    How about TFG’s presidency or have we forgotten about it already? If we did, Good! I don’t ever want to remember or go through such a presidency again let alone experience an even worse one.

  2. StevoR says

    Information overload. So much, so overwhelming it gets really depressing so people want to forget -and then they do forget.


    It doesn’t change the reality or make the problems go away.

    So things often get worse for being forgotten.

  3. wzrd1 says

    Well, there was that mass shooting everyone forgot about in Buffalo, NY.
    Can’t forget COVID, both daughters have it – again, so do all the grandkids. It’s only the fourth time, but herd immunity, yo!
    Or something.
    Trump keeps referring to himself as president, oh wait, that’ll never be news. He said something stupid and today is a day that ends in “Y” in English.
    Real news, Putin just did away with the maximum military age, so now they can conscript people over 40, claiming precision guidance systems need people with experience to keep them running.
    And PZ has discovered that the US press has the attention span of a flea, next week he’ll discover Newton’s laws.

    I am curious, in major changes in one’s life, is maladaption still adaptation?
    And, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to observe or hear it, does anyone care?

  4. robro says

    TV entertainment news requires a constant refresh. Today’s outrage. Today’s feel good story. Today’s sports. Today’s weather. And then some stuff about tomorrow. But yesterday? Forget about it.

    Owosso Harpist — I would love to forget Chump ever existed but I fear that forgetting him is not in our best interest. We need to remember him and the cabal of enablers he rode in on.

  5. silvrhalide says

    Herd immunity does not appear achievable.
    1) Humans can keep getting infected over and over again.
    2) Animal reservoirs appear plentiful for this pathogen, whether we are talking about bats or civet cats in Asia or white-tailed deer in North America. And there’s no rhyme or reason as to what species is and is not susceptible. Red foxes appear vulnerable, coyotes and dogs do not. Looks like this thing is here to stay and we need to start planning accordingly. Right now, the current vaccine saves you from dying, for the most part, but not from getting sick and may be less than protective against long Covid syndrome, which has some really profound implications for health care going forward. Implications like cost and system capacity, as well as long Covid syndrome weakening the human host enough that something else takes the host out, whether that’s a worsening of kidney disease/failure or increased incidence/severity of type II diabetes. And the US healthcare system, at least in the private sector, is utter crap.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Owosso Harpist @1
    Let the wanker back on Twitter ! He will keep reminding voters of “the good old days” 2016-2020 when every week brought another scandal.

  7. says

    StevoR and robro — I agree with both of you. Forgetting about the problems we had and having don’t make it all go away. Only when we do something about t can we make all those problems disappear for good.

  8. says

    I signed up for a series of memory improvement classes. But, I kept forgetting to go!
    FROM the Temple of Veracious Pacific Enlightenment — Thought Provoking:
    In a comic of 03 February 2022 by Wiley Miller called NonSequitor (a favorite of mine), he showed what he titled ’the Philosophical Showdown’ (copyright 2022 WILEY INK, LTD.)
    – two robed characters approached each other around a corner
    – one held a sign which said ’forgive and forget’
    – the other held a sign which said ‘learn from the past, never forget’
    This should compel us to consider ALL the different concepts involved and their full implications. Here are some ideas that come to mind:

    It’s not a binary (either/or) decision. I see the following elements, all of which must be considered.
    We must remember the past and learn from it to prevent foolish, destructive decisions
    There should be accountability for wrongdoing as a deterrent to their recurrence and perpetuation
    There should be reparations to any who are injured in any way; ideally by those causing the injury.
    But, we shouldn’t focus on destructive or disproportionate vengeance
    Forgiveness should be reserved for only those instances when, on the part of the person(s) committing the damaging or injurious act, there is sincere regret, reparation to those who suffered the damage or injury, and a diligent, effective, permanent effort to never engage in the wrongdoing again.

  9. robro says

    PZ; The shooting in Chattanooga seems like “gang” fighting, or just kids run amok. The report is vague but teens up to 20yo were shooting at each other. Six people were injured, 2 seriously. There was at least one arrest. Raises the question…again!…of letting teenagers have guns. But don’t worry, some politician will be telling us not to politicize this tragic event, thoughts and prayers (well maybe not), and nothing can be done about it except arm the streetlights.

  10. StevoR says

    @ 12. shermanj :

    – one held a sign which said ’forgive and forget’
    – the other held a sign which said ‘learn from the past, never forget’

    Depends really on context but more the second than the first except do be willing to gibvve folks and opportuinity to change. So a bit of forgiveness yeah, but don’t just foregt and do learn fromthe past and try tobe better from it.

    My 5 cents worth.

  11. StevoR says

    Meme seen earlier today :

    Ban guns and tell those who are upset that they have our thoughts and prayers. If its good enough for the victims of gun violence, it should be good enough for the gun fetishists too.

    Paraphrased roughly.

    Incidentally, I wouldn’t just ban guns but would have reasonable restrictions and checks and balances eg no assault weapons and proper safety measures and tougher gun restrictions. Make tehm harder to get and much rarer and make peopel show just why they really need them.

    Also there’s a quote from a SCOTUS Justice of old that says how much of a fraud (his words) the 2nd Amendment is but will quote that later.

  12. James Fehlinger says

    As Gore Vidal called us all those years ago: The United State of Amnesia.

    Of course, it was so much worse in Gore Vidal’s heyday.

    Yes, of course, the News Cycle — as measured by today’s headlines
    and op-eds and gabblings of the talking heads on cable news —
    is, um, distractible.

    But when I was a kid, that’s all there was.
    Dad bringing home the Evening Journal and Walter Cronkite
    on the TV (CBS — one of just three networks) at 7 PM.
    And local AM radio playing during breakfast and all day
    long while mom did the housework, until the soap operas
    came on the TV at 2 PM. The Inquirer on Sunday.

    Sure, maybe if you had a family like Noam Chomsky’s there’d
    be an enormous collection of press clippings from all over
    the world — your own private “morgue” — together with a
    vast annotated collection of books to keep you centered in
    the wash of global events. And, you know, Kate Russell’s
    daddy Bertrand could give his daughter a first-class education
    right out of his head.

    But before the internet, life for most people was lived,
    by necessity, skimming the surface of events. And that
    surface skin was far shallower than it is today.

    Say what you will about the Web, at least today there’s
    a bit (a considerable amount, actually) of history and
    context available to those with at least a modicum of interest and
    smarts and facility with the family computer. Not
    distributed equitably, of course, but in contrast to what
    I grew up with (in an American middle-class family),
    closer to having the Library of Congress at your fingertips.

    And yes, there’s also QAnon, if that’s your thing. (I fear
    that for some members of my family, that would have
    been their thing. :-/ ).

  13. says

    I’m thinking of tacking a white board to my bedroom door. On it I will write all of the things the cause me to lose sleep. Problem is, I’m old enough that I probably can’t read the list without a magnifying glass.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    James Fehlinger @ # 16: … when I was a kid, that’s all there was.

    Dunno about in your family, but back then you could actually get a lot of information from a now-obsolete medium called “magazines”. Time, Newsweek, even National Geographic, etc – they did something called “in-depth” stories now quite rare, but which if read spaced out over, say, seven days, could inform you better than the same time invested in today’s “newsbytes”.

    Of course, you had the “accuracy” and “honesty” problems, but some things do remain constant. :-(

  15. fishy says

    I have to go back to work in the factory on Tuesday. They wanted me to work this Saturday and I told them I had plans.
    I work a ten hour shift.
    We are going to be working a twelve hour shift.
    They are desperate to meet orders they won’t stop taking.
    My attention span is fine.
    The world seems very heavy now.

  16. StevoR says

    @15 . Also there’s a quote from a SCOTUS Justice of old that says how much of a fraud (his words) the 2nd Amendment is but will quote that later.

    Later then being currently now :

    “The Gun Lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies – the militia – would be maintained for the defense of the state.The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guaratee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.

    – Warren Burger, Supreme Court Chief Justice.

  17. numerobis says

    Those three stories are literally the three topics “above the fold’ on the New York Times website right now.

    You might forget them if you don’t read the news at all, sure.

  18. rorschach says

    After 15 years of Facebook, Twitter, and TV shows with more ads than content, many people now have the attention span of mole rats on Speed. But to be fair, there’s been a lot to digest these last few years, I have mentioned the rhinos before, at some stage people tune out. In my own public health/pandemic office, hardly anyone wears a mask anymore.
    With regards to shootings, this is a tried and tested tradition in the US, the media visit the locality of some unthinkable atrocity en masse for a few days in the aftermath, get a few nice shots of crying parents and flowers, and then the news cycle moves on.
    I think homo sapiens brains can’t handle the current bad news input anymore, maybe 200 years ago they still could. Even during the Spanish flu, after 2 years people lost interest.

  19. wzrd1 says

    As observed above, herd immunity is kaput. Both of our daughters have COVID-19, the youngest still being a long COVID patient from the first wave. All of the grandkids have it as well.
    This is all of their fourth infection. The lauded vaccine is losing efficacy slightly, mostly due to a lack of willingness to get boosters, but also due to genetic drift of the virus.

    Apparently, there are earmarked funds for razing schools where mass shootings occur, replacing the school and installing a memorial. Not recently passed, but already present, preauthorized funding. That says more than I ever could. Not a cent toward mental health care systems, but razing schools and replacing them is funded.

  20. torcuato says

    I wouldn’t say that “no one cares” about Covid; there’s still an Impending-doom-masks-forever! minority. But thankfully most people have realized that if you are vaccinated and boosted, getting Covid will most likely mean spending a few days with a runny nose. And your chances are even better if you are not overweight, exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep. Lots of family and friends have gotten Covid since the start of Omicron. For none of them it was any worse than a bad cold. Some who had zero symptoms learned they had Covid only because a positive routine test at work. So yeah, after more than two years of restrictions, most people came to accept the overwhelmingly small risk of getting a severe Covid infection in exchange for having a normal life.

  21. Pierce R. Butler says

    torcuato @ # 25: …getting Covid will most likely mean spending a few days with a runny nose.

    Perhaps, not always. You might even end up as one who also dodges the Long Haul. Yay for you!

    Too bad about Uncle Fred and the rest. Let’s party!

  22. rorschach says

    torcuato the clueless trivialiser @25,

    “that if you are vaccinated and boosted, getting Covid will most likely mean spending a few days with a runny nose”

    Vaccines confer hardly any protection against LongCovid, which 10-12% of infected will suffer from. 2 million people in the UK alone, 500000 people wiped from the job market there because of permanent disability. But you don’t see that in the news a lot.

    “overwhelmingly small risk of getting a severe Covid infection in exchange for having a normal life”

    More nonsense. Look at the US, look at Portugal. Different mutants, but same effect, hospitals full, deaths way up, and behold, it’s not winter. In Australia, where it is winter, total carnage from Covid and Influenza. There is no 2019 normal anymore. But there sure is mass delusion.