Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bedtime browsing to start the day


I turned on the TV this morning and saw some old news. Senator Chris Dodd is retiring. To NBC this was 'Breaking News' and yes, he only announced it early this morning, but to me it was old news. You see, I get all the stuff that I need to know before I get out of bed. My iPhone alarm sounds and I reach for the phone to turn it to snooze. After one or two snooze cycles, I click the AP news button, and a quick glance tells me the major news, some saucy snippets from Hollywood and what I can expect from the weather today (COLD!). From my early morning bedtime browsing, I also know that England was blanketed in snow last night, that UK talk show host, Jonathan Ross (or Wossy to his Tweeter-buds) couldn't start his car today and fed the birds in his yard before taking a taxi to work, that there is a nasty virus attached to a particular Facebook group and that I had no urgent e-mails to worry me. All this took about 5 minutes, maybe less, and provided me with a working view of my environment for the day, whether it will really affect me or not.
So, do we need NBC? or CBS, or any TV news station, any more? I do like the recipe sections on the morning editions, and the interviews are interesting at times. For news, however, they have to offer something spectacular for me to be able to watch. There has to be something I couldn't find in a headline on my iPhone. US news channels use a rapid fire approach so that all the major news is over within the first 3 minutes. To survive, maybe US news should take a cue from the BBC. Each item gets thorough coverage with news and in-depth contextual background. WE can get a taste of it with BBC America over here. When I first came to the States I was shocked at the almost dismissive nature of the 5 o'clock news. Now I am used to it but find there are better ways to get 3 minutes of whiz bang breaking news--on my iPhone before I even get up.
There are elements of my environment that my iPhone cannot tell me about. There is the mood of my family members first thing in the morning (dubious at best) but then again, if one should ever get up before me, they would likely post their status on FB and so I would have that too. Imagine if I could get a read out of how I am doing healthwise. I see a future where we have a tiny implanted chip that records what we eat during the day, and how our bodies respond to it. Maybe one morning, I will add to my browsing list, the details of my previous day's health status. Maybe it will say something that might translate to this, 'take it steady today, you ate twice as many calories as you need and went way overboard on the fat with that giant bag of potato chips. Oh, and your serotonin is a little low so be on the lookout for depressive thoughts, and try to walk a bit more, lardy.' We could get used to our personal baselines, and then bit by bit, try to do better each day until we are making a real impact on our longer term outcomes. Maybe it would help us learn to connect our lifestyle choices more closely with the health impacts. Just thinking about it makes me want to eat an apple. See, it's working already.
PS: the picture is of a couple of puff pastry mince pies- just one of the items my in situ health monitoring chip would tell me to avoid like the plague...
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