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The Day You Became a Better Writer (2nd Look) | Scott Adams' Blog

Business writing is about clarity and persuasion. The main technique is keeping things simple. Simple writing is persuasive. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. Don’t fight it. Simple means getting rid of extra words. Don’t write, “He was very happy” when you can write “He was happy.” You think the word “very” adds something. It doesn’t. Prune your sentences. Humor writing is a lot like business writing. It needs to be simple. The main difference is in the choice of words. For humor, don’t say “drink” when you can say “swill.” Your first sentence needs to grab the reader. Go back and read my first sentence to this post. I rewrote it a dozen times. It makes you curious. That’s the key. Write short sentences. Avoid putting multiple thoughts in one sentence. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think. Learn how brains organize ideas. Readers comprehend “the boy hit the ball” quicker than “the ball was hit by the boy.” Both sentences mean the same, but it’s easier to imagine the object (the boy) before the action (the hitting). All brains work that way. (Notice I didn’t say, “That is the way all brains work”?) That’s it. You just learned 80% of the rules of good writing. You’re welcome.

Brain scans show compulsive gamers have hyperconnected neural networks

“Hyperconnectivity between these brain networks could lead to a more robust ability to direct attention toward targets, and to recognize novel information in the environment,” says Anderson. “The changes could essentially help someone to think more efficiently.” One of the next steps will be to directly determine whether the boys with these brain differences do better on performance tests. More troublesome is an increased coordination between two brain regions, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction, a change also seen in patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome, and autism. Hyperconnectivity between the two regions is also observed in people with poor impulse control.

Phone Notifications Are Distracting Even When You Ignore Them

The researchers found that performance on the assessment suffered if the student received any kind of audible notification. That is, every kind of phone distraction was equally destructive to their performance: An irruptive ping distracted people just as much as a shrill, sustained ring tone. It didn’t matter, too, if a student ignored the text or didn’t answer the phone: As long as they got a notification, and knew they got it, their test performance suffered.

The digital avalanche

Silicon Valley’s interest in meditation is, in some respects, adaptive. “We’re at the epicenter of being stimulated with digital stuff,” Mamood Hamid, a venture investor at Social Capital, told me. “Five years ago, it was just e-mail. Now if you’re not on Twitter, if you don’t know how to use social, you’re a Luddite. And then you add the Apple Watch that’s going to be giving you notifications every five minutes—text messages, e-mails. It’s going to drive you insane.” Stewart Butterfield, the C.E.O. of Slack, noted that this is a fate that awaits us all. “I feel like we’re in the early stages of a species-level change with devices,” he told me.