15 Stories

For Smartphone Zombies, a New Kind of Traffic Light

One German town takes action after a teen dies while distracted by her phone

(Newser) - It's only been a matter of weeks since a 15-year-old girl in Germany was hit, dragged, and killed by a tram while she was distracted by her smartphone and headphones, but the nearby city of Augsburg has decided to take action. Citing two similar, though not lethal, incidents of... More »

Distracted at Work? You Might Be a Genius

All those great ideas are clogging your brain, study suggests

(Newser) - The modern world is rife with distractions, but new research suggests those who find it most difficult to focus tend to be the most intelligent. "The difficulty to withstand multiple tasks and distractions in the office affects smart people in the same way as everyone else, if not more,... More »

Half of Doctors Constantly Play Mobile Games at Work

Dopamine activated by gaming 'overrides judgment': psych professor

(Newser) - "Let's start your colonoscopy as soon as I complete Dreamworld Level 171" probably isn't something you want to hear your gastroenterologist say, but according to a new YouGov survey on phone usage in the workplace, a good number of doctors just can't quit their mobile gaming... More »

Texting While Walking Is Dangerous, Too

And lots of people do it: study

(Newser) - We all know texting while driving is dangerous—but texting while walking is dangerous too, a new study finds, and many pedestrians are doing it. Researchers found that almost one-third of walkers in Seattle were distracted by a mobile device while crossing busy streets. Some were talking on the phone... More »

Wearing Headphones While Walking? Bad Idea

Reports of accidents, deaths tripled from 2004 to 2011

(Newser) - Next time you slip on your headphones before walking to work, consider this: It could kill you. Last year, 47 pedestrians were killed or badly injured while wearing headphones—that's nearly three times the 16 who experienced the same fate in 2004, AFP notes. In total, 116 headphone-wearers were... More »

Ford's Now Building Smartphones on Wheels

'In-car connectivity' is a plethora of distractions

(Newser) - Ford's got a slick new whiz-bang simulator, and Maureen Dowd kicked the tires—and almost ran smack "into a huge green truck," she writes for the New York Times. The problem is Ford's new "in-car connectivity"—a "cornucopia of diversions on your dashboard," Dowd... More »

Why Overheard Calls Are So Annoying

Our brains hate hearing 'halfalogues'

(Newser) - Does hearing people blab away on their cell phones make you want to scream? You're not alone—and now scientists know why. Hearing someone talk on his phone is, in fact, more annoying than overhearing a conversation, according to new study published in Psychological Science . Turns out our brains can't... More »

Let's Stamp Out Hyperlinks

They're a little too distracting

(Newser) - Tech writer Nicholas Carr is rethinking the usefulness (or at least the placement) of one of the Internet's classic tools: the hyperlink. They're too distracting, the author of the Shallows writes on his blog . You might start out reading about the Israeli ship mess but a few clicks later find... More »

Smartphones Block Out Real World

Fathers, lovers, etc. lost in omnipresent gratification of data

(Newser) - Once upon a time, a professor says, we “put up” with the piecemeal flow of information “because we had to,” but now that the world is at our fingertips, it’s hard to resist. Just ask the dad who let a bathtub holding his daughter overflow because... More »

FAA Revokes Northwest Pilots' Licenses

Distracted duo have 10 days to appeal

(Newser) - The distracted pilots of Northwest Airlines Flight 188 are no longer pilots: the FAA today announced it has revoked the licenses of Timothy Cheney, 53, and Richard Cole, 54, for the incident last week in which the pair overshot their destination airport by 150 miles. The pilots, who attributed the... More »

Some Software to Keep You Focused

Digital nannies keep you away from distracting web sites

(Newser) - The PC is a devilishly distracting tool, with news, social-networking, and game sites—not to mention work—vying for your attention. To salvage his productivity, Farhad Manjoo turned to a number of programs designed to cut down on distractions, he writes for the New York Times. There are three types.... More »

Distracted Doodling Helps Us Focus, Study Shows

(Newser) - Doodling while listening actually increases retention of memory, LiveScience reports. A new study shows that subjects who “mindlessly” sketched while listening to a not-so-interesting phone message remembered key facts 29% more than others instructed to just listen. “It helps to keep us on track with a boring task,... More »

Science Probes 'Senior Moments'

Researchers discover why an aging brain is prone to distraction

(Newser) - Science has found clues to why older people tend to lose their train of thought so easily: Slower internal brain communications are behind those misplaced names, words, keys, and other “senior moments,” the Wall Street Journal reports. A 200-millisecond difference in an older person’s ability to quickly... More »

Hang Onto That BlackBerry, Barack

Many arguments to lose the phone; all are silly

(Newser) - This weekend was full of stories about how Barack Obama will have to give up his beloved Blackberry as president—but that’s wholly unnecessary, writes Stephen Wildstrom in BusinessWeek. The only good reason to dump the phone would be because it's a timesuck, but “Obama has shown himself... More »

What Was I Writing?

Chronic distraction —a self-inflicted malady—may seem comic, but it's deadly

(Newser) - We all complain about the myriad distractions in the wired world, but Bryan Appleyard goes further in the Guardian: Distraction is not just annoying, it can kill you, and will be the downfall of democracy. “Chronic, long-term distraction” may be as deadly as smoking, and the habits of the... More »

15 Stories