“We are heading to a nuclear catastrophe, climate change is inevitable, while everyone is hunched over their devices”


On the 100 year anniversary of the United State’s annexation of the Phillipines and Guam,  Greater San Francisco historian and geographer Gray Brechin published Imperial San Francisco, his account of the city that at the end of the 19th century staked its reputation and milked the federal purse on the promise of its destiny to inherit the Westward Course of Empire Taking its Way.

At the height of the dot-com bubble, with indigenous digital technology striking out across the globe,  Brechin documented that bygone triumphalism, and mapped the deployment of the fortunes of the city’s leading plutocrats toward bringing about that destiny. His book spent 16 weeks on the bestseller list of the San Francisco Chronicle – a publication the history and origins of which the book tells in uncomfortable detail. (The Chronicle panned the book in its review.) It’s been a staple in the San Francisco section of local bookstores since, though now has passed into print-to-order status.

On the hundred year anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake, Brechin added an updated preface, in which he wrote:

“I’d used San Francisco as a case study of how imperial cities parasitize their hinterlands for the benefit of those who own their land and much else besides – especially the channels of information that shape perceived reality for millions. That city’s magnates hoped to make it the new Rome or New York of the Pacific, but San Francisco, of itself and for all its charm, was a failed star, an also-ran in the firmament of truly imperial cities.” 

On a recent Wednesday afternoon I caught up with Brechin, 100 years after the Panama Pacific International Exhibition where the leading capitalists of a rebuilt San Francisco declared Asia their imperial oyster with a copious bombast about the city’s endemic entrepreneurship and showcasing the wonders of technology (and the myth of the impending global conquest of the Aryan American race, an idea which the city’s leaders proudly and frequently extolled, and even engraved into their monuments, many of which remain but carry plaques saying, essentially, sorry)…

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80% of U.S. Toddlers Use Technology Devices by Age 4


The study was published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, in Philadelphia conducted the study.
Data was collected from the parents of 350 children between 6 months old and 4 years old. They completed the survey during their waits to see health care providers.

Survey results showed that nearly all households owned televisions (97 percent). However, tablet (83 percent) and smartphone (77 percent) ownership was also high.

Dr. Matilde Irigoyen is head of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center. She explained that the researchers also wanted to learn about how often toddlers use mobile devices, and when they start to use them.

Tablets have not gone extinct

Some findings surprised them. By 4 years old, half of the kids owned their own TVs, and three-quarters owned their own mobile device. The tablet was the most popular one, with two-thirds of 4-year-old preschoolers owning units such as iPads or Galaxy Notes.

In addition, by the age of 3 or 4, half of the kids could use mobile gadgets without any help, according to CBS News. They were also fast learners.
Most toddlers started to use mobile devices before their first birthday. Parents gave them the gadget to use and keep.

The app and educational landscape for kids

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is the executive director of Digital Health at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She explained that parents should check if mobile apps actually help their children. For example, Apple’s iTunes Store offers about one million apps for kids under 8 years old, while 100,000 are labeled as “educational.”

More help or more harm?

The study also showed that 28 percent of parents used a mobile device to put their kids to sleep, according to 13WMAZ. Swanson explained that giving kids mobile devices at bedtime could cause problems. This is when they should be following routines such as reading, singing, and family time.

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