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FROM THIS EPISODE

When it comes to communications, the biggest thing since the printing press is the Internet, but it turns out that some of the electronic gadgets being given as holiday presents are altering the way the human brain functions. Neuroscientists are trying to figure out how that's happening. In this discussion, which originally aired in June, we debate whether the outcome is good or bad. Also, Haiti, still reeling from a devastating earthquake and cholera outbreak, prepares for elections. On Reporter's Notebook, Prince William and Kate Middleton have set the date for a royal wedding. But marriage is not what it used to be, as we hear from a recent survey with some surprising results.

Banner image: Seven-year-old Ashling Cannon next to a computer screen displaying the Webkinz website and her webkinz cuddly toys in Washington. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Andrea Brody

Reporter's Notebook Our Changing Views of Marriage 7 MIN, 26 SEC

The big wedding of this century may well be that of Britain's Prince William and the Commoner Catherine Middleton. Comparison to the marriage of William's father Prince Charles to Princess Dianna is irresistible, and that's a starting point for discussing the latest survey on marriage itself. Time magazine and the Pew Research Center have compared current American opinions about marriage with those in 1960, the year that Princess Dianna was born.  Belinda Luscombe reports for Time magazine.

Guests:
Belinda Luscombe, Editor at Large, Time magazine

Cognitive Surplus

Clay Shirky

Making News Haiti, Still Reeling, Prepares for Elections 7 MIN, 46 SEC

Even if the Island nation of Haiti had not suffered a devastating earthquake, electing a new president was not going to be easy. Ready or not, the election will be held on Sunday.  Jacqueline Charles is Caribbean correspondent and Haiti Bureau Chief for the Miami Herald.

Guests:
Jacqueline Charles, Haiti Bureau Chief, Miami Herald

Too Much to Know

Ann M. Blair

Main Topic Hooked on Gadgets, Muddling Our Minds? 35 MIN, 46 SEC

As you're buying holiday presents, think about this. Internet multi-tasking is both a magnificent research tool and an infuriating distraction. Neuroscientists are sure that it's transforming the human brain. What they're not sure about is whether the change is for better or worse. Critics insist it's reducing the ability to focus, enforcing shallowness, stifling the creative impulse and breaking connections between human beings. Advocates say the media revolution is producing new ways of thinking and more human connectedness than ever before. In this rebroadcast of a program originally aired in June of this year, we hear both sides.

Guests:
Matt Richtel, Technology Reporter, New York Times
James Olds, Professor of Neuroscience, George Mason University
William Powers, author, 'Hamlet's BlackBerry'
Clay Shirky, Adjunct Professor in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program
Andrew Blum, journalist and author (@ajblum)

The Shallows

Nicholas Carr

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