Reducing Information Pollution
Sherry Zheng was cleaning up from dinner, ready to toss out the remaining fried rice, when she grabbed her phone from the counter to text her husband, Chris. He was upstairs bathing their three children. “Should I save you the leftovers?”
Her phone vibrated: “Sure.”
In 1986, the answering machine was a miracle. In 2016, it’s a joke.
Gail Eddy, Nederland. Does anyone else wonder if they spend too much time on their phone? Too much time using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites? I know for me there have been times when I have picked up my phone to (gasp!) make a phone call. After I enter my passcode, it opens to the last screen I had active. If it is Facebook, I’ll check my notifications, completely forgetting about that call. Does that ever happen to you?
The court filings paint a grisly picture: As Ashley Kubiak sped down a Texas highway in her Dodge Ram truck, she checked her iPhone for messages. Distracted, she crashed into a sport utility vehicle, killing its driver and a passenger and leaving a child paralyzed.
With driving fatalities rising at levels not seen in 50 years, the growing incidence of distracted driving is getting part of the blame. Now a lawsuit related to that 2013 Texas crash is raising a question: Does Apple — or any cellphone maker or wireless company — have a responsibility to prevent devices from being used by drivers in illegal and dangerous ways?
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Texting, we have all come to admit, is the enemy of road safety everywhere. Applying makeup behind the wheel: more or less universally frowned upon. Few would condone driving while reading a book, rooting around in the back seat or eating anything that involves utensils.
In New Jersey, where suburban sprawl has elevated cars from mere possessions to four-wheeled appendages, and driving from an activity to a near-perpetual state of being, things are slightly more complicated.
The owner of a cocktail bar in the UK has turned to physics in an attempt to force his customers to actually talk to other instead of just staring at social media all night.
Steve Tyler, who owns the Gin Tub in East Sussex, has built his very own Faraday cage around the establishment to block mobile phone signals from entering the building.
Over the last seven years, most states have banned texting by drivers, and public service campaigns have tried an array of tactics — “It can wait,” among them — to persuade people to put down their phones when they are behind the wheel.
Yet the problem, by just about any measure, appears to be getting worse. Americans confess in surveys that they are still texting while driving, as well as using Facebook and Snapchat and taking selfies. Road fatalities, which had fallen for years, are now rising sharply, up roughly 8 percent in 2015 over the previous year, according to preliminary estimates.