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Case Number 25446: Small Claims Court

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The Distracted Mind

PBS // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // March 21st, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Clark Douglas is...sorry, what were you saying?

The Charge

Attention, distraction and the myth of multi-tasking.

The Case

In our technology-fueled world, we tend to do a lot of multi-tasking. For example, it's quite common for someone to watch television while surfing the web and sending texts to a friend, or to talk on the phone and keep an eye on the GPS while driving. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Adam Gazzaley, the human brain is only capable of handling so much information at once. At what point do we need to shut out the assorted distractions that surround us and focus on the task at hand?

In this new PBS special, Dr. Gazzaley claims that…oh, hey, give me a sec, I just got an e-mail I need to reply to. It'll just be a minute.

Sorry about that. One of my relatives wants to have some kind of get-together next weekend, and she wants to know whether I want to bring soda and ice or some sort of casserole. I think I'll bring soda. Last time we did this, whoever was responsible for bringing the soda only brought one bottle of diet soda even though the majority of my relatives prefer to drink diet. On the other hand, I would like to try making that pasta dish.

Oh! That reminds me, I need to set the DVR to record that new celebrity cooking show that starts tonight. I heard that Gary Busey is gonna be on there. I was reading an article online the other day saying that he's tasked with preparing blowfish for the rest of the contestants. One of the members of The Eagles is on the show, too, but I forget which one. Not Don Henley, one of the other guys.

Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the PBS thing. Though there are certain types of multitasking that we can handle well enough, in many cases we add additional activities at the expense of the initial activity. For instance, if we talk on the phone while we're driving, our driving tends to become noticeably worse. If we're surfing the web while we're watching a TV show, we don't process what we're watching terribly well. And if we're SAILORS FIGHTING IN THE DANCE HALL/OH MAN, LOOK AT THOSE CAVE MEN GO/IT'S THE FREAKIEST SHOW…sorry, I like to listen to music while I write. This is my jam. IS THERE LIFE ON MARS?

You know, there was actually another PBS special about that very thing. And I saw something on CNN recently where some scientists were saying that at one point in time, Mars may have actually been capable of sustaining some sort of life. So in a way, I guess David Bowie is sort of like the Jules Verne of music. Or is it H.G. Wells? I forget which. Anyway, they were going into more detail, but I was also checking Facebook at the time and I think I missed a few things. Oh, but there was the one great comic strip my friend posted…let me see if I can find it…did he delete it? I think he deleted it. God, he's always doing that. If things don't get enough likes, he assumes no one cares and just deletes everything. That guy.

Hmmm? Oh, right. So, the DVD transfer is solid enough and the sound is good. There aren't any extras, though.

In conclusion, The Distracted Mind is an informative and thought-provoking special that reminds us that…crap, I forgot to set a reminder about the laundry on my phone! I've got to leave for work in fifteen minutes and all of my clothes are wet. Maybe that Hawaaian shirt in the closet still fits. It's not too loud, as Hawaaian shirts go. But it is kinda cold outside…maybe a Hawaaian shirt and a coat? Or maybe I could, uh…LAYLA! YOU GOT ME ON MY KNEES! LAYLA! I'M BEGGING DARLIN' PLEASE!

The Verdict

Judge Douglas was too busy playing air guitar to provide us with a definitive verdict. We're going to assume he would have said not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Science and Nature
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


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