HAVE SMARTPHONES DESTROYED A GENERATION?

Smartphone Smarter

I have just finished reading a rather fascinating article about ‘transhumanism’, the idea that we can meld technology with our biological selves, the ultimate merging of man and machine so as to make humanity a whole lot better. The article describes a transhuman as “a chimera, a fusion of two forms, one an ugly bag of water and the other a nice clean circuit board inscribed on silicon (or similar).”

The benefits of this technological advance is, apparently, immense. At one point Martin speculates that “Somewhere out there is a guy with a chip in his head (or ‘neural implant’) that enables him to know whether there is any broccoli left in the fridge without ever opening the door.” Which one of us wouldn’t want that special power?

Smartphone Laughing

Martin continues to say that this process of ‘hybridisation’, where we become more and more engineered, will result in a different type of makeover:

A full-body engineering makeover, physical and mental, bionic and cognitive: the temptation to become a Hollywood superhero will surely become irresistible. In the realm of the Matrix, humans will become simulacra of themselves, but very good at running up walls and firing guns upside down. – Andy Martin, 24 Aug 2017, independent.co.uk, from the article Transhumanism: The Final Chapter In Humanity’s Perpetual Quest To Be Kitted Out In Comforting Accessories

And what of those fools, like myself, who would likely resist such silicon advances? Martin has a response for that too:

And alongside the homo deus would presumably stand the homo stultus, the village idiot or holy fool who remains regressively or aggressively unenhanced. Smartness versus dumbness – who will win? The knowledge-based economy has only one answer. – Andy Martin, 24 Aug 2017, independent.co.uk

Transhuman Eye

Currently there are two types of articles written about technology. You have the utopian ideals of technological advance mentioned above, but you also have dystopian dilemmas presented by other writers. I recently came across another technology related article that shows clearly how, in the age of all this modern technology, we are not as progressive as we think we are, due to our mental well being or lack thereof. The article, by Jean M Twenge, is rather lengthy but well worth a read. I have picked out my favourite quotes and presented them below.

However, just before we get to the serious stuff, here is a video that somewhat illustrates where I think we are actually heading. As always, enjoy!


Our Generation Is F*cked


Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?

Jean M Twenge, Sep 2017, Atlantic Monthly

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Falling Phone

Theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone. The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

The twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed. One of the ironies of iGen life is that despite spending far more time under the same roof as their parents, today’s teens can hardly be said to be closer to their mothers and fathers than their predecessors were. “I’ve seen my friends with their families—they don’t talk to them,” Athena told me. “They just say ‘Okay, okay, whatever’ while they’re on their phones. They don’t pay attention to their family.” Like her peers, Athena is an expert at tuning out her parents so she can focus on her phone. She spent much of her summer keeping up with friends, but nearly all of it was over text or Snapchat. “I’ve been on my phone more than I’ve been with actual people,” she said. “My bed has, like, an imprint of my body.”

Stampa

Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy. There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.

When teens spend more time on smartphones and less time on in-person social interactions, loneliness is more common. So is depression. Once again, the effect of screen activities is unmistakable: The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.

What’s the connection between smartphones and the apparent psychological distress this generation is experiencing? For all their power to link kids day and night, social media also exacerbate the age-old teen concern about being left out. Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly—on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it. Accordingly, the number of teens who feel left out has reached all-time highs across age groups. Like the increase in loneliness, the upswing in feeling left out has been swift and significant.

Social media levy a psychic tax on the teen doing the posting as well, as she anxiously awaits the affirmation of comments and likes.

I asked my undergraduate students at San Diego State University what they do with their phone while they sleep. Their answers were a profile in obsession. Nearly all slept with their phone, putting it under their pillow, on the mattress, or at the very least within arm’s reach of the bed. They checked social media right before they went to sleep, and reached for their phone as soon as they woke up in the morning (they had to—all of them used it as their alarm clock). Their phone was the last thing they saw before they went to sleep and the first thing they saw when they woke up. If they woke in the middle of the night, they often ended up looking at their phone. Some used the language of addiction. “I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it,” one said about looking at her phone while in bed. Others saw their phone as an extension of their body—or even like a lover: “Having my phone closer to me while I’m sleeping is a comfort.” It may be a comfort, but the smartphone is cutting into teens’ sleep: Many now sleep less than seven hours most nights. Sleep experts say that teens should get about nine hours of sleep a night; a teen who is getting less than seven hours a night is significantly sleep deprived.

phubbing

Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day. Electronic devices and social media seem to have an especially strong ability to disrupt sleep. Teens who read books and magazines more often than the average are actually slightly less likely to be sleep deprived—either reading lulls them to sleep, or they can put the book down at bedtime. Watching TV for several hours a day is only weakly linked to sleeping less. But the allure of the smartphone is often too much to resist. Sleep deprivation is linked to myriad issues, including compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It also affects mood: People who don’t sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety. Again, it’s difficult to trace the precise paths of causation. Smartphones could be causing lack of sleep, which leads to depression, or the phones could be causing depression, which leads to lack of sleep. Or some other factor could be causing both depression and sleep deprivation to rise. But the smartphone, its blue light glowing in the dark, is likely playing a nefarious role.

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24 Quotes From Muslim Comedians

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I am taking a quick break from ISIS related attacks in Barcelona, white racist related attacks in Charlottesville, continued chaos in the very White House, depressing BBC documentaries about the partition of India, and the prevailing dust in my house thanks to the awesome extension my wife has embarked upon (very much a solo endeavor on her glorious part).

So, before I catch my breath back, here are 24 quotes on a range of subjects from Muslim comedians, along with an eight minute video from up and coming journalist Aymann Ismail on the touchy and complex subject of Muslims and jokes. As always, enjoy!


Muslims Can’t Take A Joke About Islam? Don’t Tell That To These Muslim Comedians…


9/11 was a tragedy because we lost 19 of our best guys. – Kumail Nanjiani, from his movie The Big Sick (2017)

Aziz Ansari Composite

Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think “Muslim,” the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction. It’s of a scary terrorist character from “Homeland” or some monster from the news. – Aziz Ansari

Bigots hate all of sorts of groups. So if you say you are Muslim, in a way you are also gay, you are also Mexican, you are also Asian, you are also vegan. It literally does not matter what you are to those who hate. You turn the dial and you are that thing to whoever is hating, because bigotry is not super nuanced. So it is patently absurd when we don’t fight other peoples fights. It is just absurd. – Negin Farsad

For the moderate Muslim it is very easy to scare the living shit out of everybody now…It’s because we don’t have a lot of representation, that’s why people are scared. We don’t see a lot of Muslims on television. You’ve got Fareed Zakaria, Dave Chappelle, Barack Obama. That’s about it. – Aasif Mandvi

For those of you who don’t know much about us Muslims, you’ll recognise us from that hit TV show, the news. We have been on that one a lot this series, haven’t we? We’ve got recurring characters. It’s on at prime time. We’ve smashed that show. – Tez Ilyas

Here’s the big secret I’ve learned in the last few years. Nobody knows what they’re doing. Nobody does. Everyone’s winging it out there. Some people are just better at pretending to be confident. Because nobody, nobody’s done. Nobody’s cooked. People are constantly growing and evolving and changing. When I was a kid, I thought of my parents as these superheroes who knew everything, and that they were already the people they would always be. And as a grown-up, I realize they have the same struggles I do, that everybody does. They uprooted their lives and moved to America in their 50s, started over. In the last ten years, I’ve seen them change in ways I never thought possible. – Kumail Nanjiani, May 2017, from the Grinnell College Commencement Address in Iowa

I am an immigrant. I am an Indian, and also a Muslim, but I lead with the Indian part just because the Muslim part is a little controversial sometimes. – Aasif Mandvi

I asked my mate Chris about his wedding. I asked him “Chris, what’s it going to be like? What can I expect? Is it going to be a big wedding? How many days do I need to take off?” And this lunatic said “One.” One day! How do you fit it all in mate? I said “Alright, one day. That’s mental!” I then said “Alright, but it is going to be a big wedding?” He said “Massive mate. Massive wedding mate.” I said “Cool. How many people are going to be there?” This guy goes “A hundred.” And I’m like “Bruv, I have a hundred people over at Sunday roast in my family.” A hundred people! This guy’s bragging about his big wedding. Now, I went there, I had an amazing time, it was wonderful. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a white persons wedding before. It was really, really nice and well organised. And that’s not even a dig, I’m just saying it is, they are. Just the people invited, only they turn up, it’s crazy, it’s insane. – Tez Ilyas

I censored myself after the Manchester attack. It just felt too raw going on stage and talking about terrorism. As a comedian you have to understand the climate you’re performing in. There’s a time and a place to do that material. I was hurting too – I grew up half an hour away from Manchester. Also, audiences can be a bit drunk at a club night and what you’re saying can get lost sometimes. There are times when I’ve made a point of not censoring myself, like after the Paris attacks. I wanted to show that Muslims are not those people who committed those atrocities and so wilfully kept my material the same. – Tez Ilyas

I did kiss my boyfriend’s many times…via text message. – Sakdiyah Maruf

Ramy Youssef

I feel something in my heart when I pray. I really do. The connection is there. But I also really feel something in my heart when I get a Tinder match at 2 in the morning. And I don’t know how to deal with that. Do I drive over? Do I pray Fajr? I do both. – Ramy Youssef

I grew up in an Indian Muslim family. A lot of Americans can’t understand how Indian and Muslim goes together. It doesn’t compute for them. It’s sort of like seeing a construction worker eat a sorbet. They’re like how do these two things go together? But it was tough growing up in a Muslim home because I didn’t have a lot of things that my western friends had, like the Easter bunny, and bacon bits, and I never got to see my mother’s face. Things like that…[Waits for audience to laugh] That’s wrong. That’s wrong. Fuck you all for laughing at that. You’re all racists. – Aasif Mandvi

I love being British. If you are not British, you are missing out. Frankly, that is my conclusion, because there are so many benefits to being British. Literally. There are so many benefits. Just learn how to fill out a form, and it is brilliant. I don’t call them benefits, obviously, I call them reparations, but never the less they are great. – Tez Ilyas

I never feel that I need to worry about a fundamentalist reaction to my stand up because I live in America. That’s why I think being Muslim in America is the best place to do stand up. Yes, okay, there is all this stuff, there’s bans, there is this, that, or whatever, and all this politics. But I think we get to be ourselves in a way that we can’t anywhere else. And I think that’s why our parents came here, because they want to be Americans because they feel like that is the thing that will allow them to be Muslim. – Ramy Youssef

I recently learned that being in the vegan club is the exact opposite of being in fight club. In that, the first rule of vegan club is: tell everyone about vegan club; and the second rule of vegan club is: tell everyone about vegan club; and then the third rule is: don’t eat meat, et cetera. – Tez Ilyas

I went to this Catholic church…and I did notice that it was a bit cold in there because they don’t have central heating in there like we do in mosques. I’m not showing off, I’m just saying, you know. We haven’t got as much money as they have, but we don’t spend it on stupid things…like ruby slippers…and all that compensation. – Imran Yusuf

I’m not good with my feelings, which is why I try and deflect people using my bad jokes. – Kumail Nanjiani

It is hard to be Muslim in America. It is difficult, because we are Muslim and we want to believe, but we also want to do what everyone is doing. And the hardest day is Friday, because there is Friday prayers, and then there is Friday night. Sometimes you see the same people in both places. – Ramy Youssef

It’s an interesting time being Muslim at the moment because a lot of people have written and said a lot of things about us over recent weeks, months, even years. Like some people, you know, the ones out there, the ones with access to the internet, they think being Muslim is only about animal cruelty, oppressing women, and claiming benefits. That’s what they think it is, and what those people haven’t realized is there are downsides as well. It’s not all summer camps and Nandos up here! Have you tried looking after four wives in today’s economy? It’s expensive. It’s expensive. – Tez Ilyas

My mother wears the burqa, mainly because she doesn’t want to be seen with my dad. – Shazia Mirza

Never in my wildest dream did I aspire to become a stand up comic. In fact dreams and aspirations are luxuries for women living in my community. – Sakdiyah Maruf

We are all human. And I guess that is what comedy is all about. Comedy is not about me. Comedy is about you and me. It is about us. It is about us celebrating our humanity, acknowledging that we are all human and, by extension, that we are all flawed. And that we do not have the right to feel that we are the rightest of the right or the truest of the truth. We’re just human. We are flawed. – Sakdiyah Maruf

Why is it that when Alex grows a beard he’s a sexy lumberjack, but when Tez grows a beard we gotta ask him questions? – Tez Ilyas

Citizen Khan

Comedy has the ability to humanise communities, as you are constantly looking for common traits, you are looking for universality. So when you are writing a comedy, I think, especially on BBC One, if you can get to the point where people can connect with a British Muslim Pakistani father, that’s a good thing, so that you in a sense laugh at the same things, the same concerns. – Adil Ray, creator and star of the BBC sitcom Citizen Khan

THE BATTLE OF THE MAN BABIES RAGES ON

Trump Man Babies

We all know the media is obsessed with Trump, especially CNN. But why am I? Even after all that has happened? And my obsession is dark, it is negative, and it shows no signs of abating. There is nothing about the man I like. At all. Is there a psychological definition for someone who is obsessed with all things Trump? Can my own symptoms be described as some form of mental psychosis? If so then, dear reader, I most terribly afflicted.

But it seems I am not the only one. The website Quora asked Why Is Everyone Obsessed With Trump? and here are some of the responses:

If Obama didn’t have so much attention, it was because no one thought he was unstable enough to launch a nuclear war on the basis of a Tweet, or gullible enough to trust his gut over the data provided by seventeen intelligence agencies. Trump is a loose cannon.

Imagine you are in a room with a toddler and he has a loaded gun. Trump is that toddler…While we are all in that room we should all watch the toddler closely.

He’s the biggest circus to come to town in a century. How could we look away?

And it is not just adults who are afflicted. The journalist Annie Pfeifer describes how her 3 year old is also plagued:

My 3-year-old daughter is obsessed with Donald Trump…Who could blame her? He shared a first name with Donald Duck, and his last name rhymed with “jump,” her favorite activity. She was never able to pronounce Hillary Clinton, which evolved into “Hairy Clinton,” and then finally, “Mustache.” (I can’t pretend to follow a toddler’s logic, but it appears this was one more demographic with which Secretary Clinton failed to resonate.) – Annie Pfeifer, 20 Jul 2017, nytimes.com, from an article entitled Help! My 3-Year-Old Is Obsessed With Trump

So what has my obsession been up to these days? He has been doing his best John Wayne impression, hoping it scares off Kim Jong-Un. In the World War II movie Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949) John Wayne proudly declares “Lock and load.” Fast forward to 2017 and we have President Trump boasting from his New Jersey golf resort that “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded.”

At this precise moment the Battle Of The Two Man Babies is raging on, albeit verbally, with the self-declared leader of the free world and his Asian-lookey-likey trying to out-whack-a-doo each other. As we all seem to be dragged towards a nuclear zombie apocalypse, I thought it best to laugh while we still can. In that hopeful vein here are some rather satirical comments about Trump. Enjoy!

PS For more funny Trump quotes please see here and here.

Trump Breaking Alert

The nuclear age began this week in August, right around this time in 1945, when we dropped two bombs called Fat Man and Little Boy. And this week it came full circle with a different Fat Man and Little Boy. Oh yes, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, if you haven’t read about it, are trying to see who has the bigger micropenis. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? This whole conflict could be resolved by two hookers willing to lie. That’s all I’m saying…Also, they changed the hats. It says ‘Make America Glow Again’. – Bill Maher

Knowing this administration the nuclear launch code is probably ‘password’. – Bill Maher

Trump once said, and this is an actual quote, “We love the Bible. It’s the best. We love ‘The Art of the Deal’ but the Bible is far, far, far superior, right?” Not only is the Bible better than ‘The Art of the Deal’ it’s also the opposite. The only thing they have in common is that Trump has never read either of them. – Seth Meyers

Citizens around the world have been hugely relieved to know that the missiles and bombs which will end their lives will be fired not by mad terrorists from an armoured truck, but by responsible pilots carrying out the whims of a mad president. – from Private Eye magazine, Number 1442, 21 Apr 2017

Trump would hate church. It’s an hour of people talking about someone other than him. [Imitates Trump] “Is this whole thing gonna be about Jesus? Did you know he had zero hotels? True story. On the day he was born, he could not get a hotel reservation. It’s sad.” – Seth Meyers

He fulfills an important role of celebs: giving millions of people the chance to feel superior to him. The gloomy face and the antique adolescent hair, the mannequin wife and the clueless children of privilege, the sheer pointlessness of flying around in a 747 to say inane things to crowds of people — it’s cheap entertainment for us, and in the end it simply doesn’t matter. – Garrison Keillor

Voting for Trump is how a country commits political suicide. – Tony Kushner

To summarize: Spicer quit because of Scaramucci, who took down Priebus, who was replaced by Kelly, who took down Scaramucci. – tweet from Paul Farhi, 31 Jul 2017

There’s not enough Prozac to get through the day. – Al Gore, referring to living in the era of President Trump

In London last week, I met a Nigerian man who succinctly expressed the reaction of much of the world to the United States these days. “Your country has gone crazy,” he said, with a mixture of outrage and amusement. “I’m from Africa. I know crazy, but I didn’t ever think I would see this in America.” – Fareed Zakaria, 27 Jul 2017, before Priebus and Scaramucci were fired

A guy that shits in gold plated toilets is talking to blue collar workers. – from a CNN report

I said I would drain the swamp but then I clogged the drain with Goldman Sachs turds. – Trump, from the satirical TV program The President Show, 27 Jul 2017

I’m telling you guys, this White House, you can’t get this big a shit-show at 3am in Berlin…I love this White House so much. You know, most presidents would try to get their team all on the same page, but Trump has his team try every page. He’s like “Okay, you tell them we didn’t talk about pardons. You tell them we only talked about pardons. You tell them I died during the meeting. And I’m going to tweet that I’ve never met any of you guys. All right? Go!” – Trevor Noah, Jul 2017, referring to Trump’s lawyer and his communications director saying opposite things about discussing presidential pardons

The Trump presidency is the answer to the question: what would happen if The West Wing was written by Adam Sandler? – Nish Kumar

I have a very simple test for fairness: does this thing earn me money, make me look smart, or arouse me sexually? If the answer to any of those is no, totally unfair. – Trump, from the satirical TV program The President Show, Jul 2017

I make promises, and when I break them I make excuses. I make something out of absolutely nothing, like voter fraud. I can even make something into nothing, like climate change. Poof! Where did it go?! I make a spectacle of myself, the networks make a killing, and you make believe everything is going to be okay. And I don’t know, maybe it will. – Trump, from the satirical TV program The President Show, Jul 2017

Trump thinks impeachment means really enjoying a peach. – from BBC TV program The Mash Report

6 FUNNY VIDEOS ABOUT MUSLIMS

Guz Khan

Due to the loss of my broadband for a week, and with my house currently being a building site as it is extended because my wife wants so desperately to keep up with the Kardashians, I have not really been able to blog that much. Not that anyone has noticed.

Anyways, as you may have gathered I absolutely love riding that big wave of comedy, so I thought why not just do a quick blog post featuring some short funny video clips, just to add a wee bit of levity to proceedings.

Therefore please enjoy the following 6 rather funny videos which, as with all good humour, make some thought provoking points inbetween the punchlines. Enjoy!


Playground – A Muslim, A Sikh And A Racist & 9/11

Amir K – Fake Terrorist

Aasif Mandvi – Aasif Mandvi’s Deportation Jamboree

Guz Khan – Why Do Muslims Commit Terror?

Ali Hassan – Best Joke Ever

Omer Wahla – Muslims Are Terrorists?