The Internet World

When the Internet Becomes Too Much

posted by René Volpi on August 30th, 2010

One of the top tech trends for 2008 will be internet addiction, prognosticates J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency powerhouse. What’s old is new again. “Internet addiction has been a concern since the dawn of the Web,” acknowledges Ann Mack, the agency’s director of trendspotting.

It may not be a new trend, but it remains an important one. Mack points to online discussions, internet gambling, online porn, and interactive role-playing games. But just about everything about the internet can snag you in one way or another.

Are you an internet addict? A surprising number of people are. Between 5% and 10% of web users suffer from some form of internet dependency, estimates Maressa Hecht Orzack, who has studied computer addiction at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass., affiliated with Harvard University.

There’s even a name for it: Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). It first made waves in 1995, 2 years after the web went graphical with the introduction of the browser Mosaic. Ironically, the disorder was suggested by New York City psychiatrist Ivan Goldberg as a joke, parodying the bevy of new psychiatric conditions that had been recently recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

But his thoughts struck a chord, with colleagues telling Goldberg that his descriptions were right on target, and Goldberg came to accept IAD as a serious affliction. People were, and are, going overboard, spending too much time online to the detriment of their work, academic, family, and social lives.

IAD hasn’t yet been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association as a formal diagnosis, and the term “Internet overuse syndrome” is probably better descriptively. But there are ways to tell if you’re so afflicted, according to Goldberg, who maintains a website titled Depression Central (

You may be addicted to the internet, says Goldberg, if you need to spend more and more time online to achieve the same level of satisfaction or if you feel anxious when not connected. You might grasp your situation but find it difficult to cut down on your internet use.

If you’re an addict, says Goldberg, you’re probably reducing or forgoing important social, occupational, or recreational activities in favor of your time online. You may even be experiencing sleep deprivation, facing marital difficulties, losing friendships, and neglecting your job or schoolwork to the point of possibly being fired or flunking out.

Some experts dispute that IAD is a true addiction, but Kimberly S. Young differs. “It’s like other addictions,” says Young, director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery ( and a professor at St. Bonaventure University. “It has the same qualities as compulsive gambling, shopping, even smoking and alcoholism.”

Before you can be cured of internet addiction, as with other addictions, you have to recognize that you’re hooked, according to Young.

Common warning signs, she says, are compulsively checking your email, always anticipating your next internet session, and complaints from others that you’re spending too much time or money going online. As with any other addiction, you have to be motivated in order to kick the habit. “You have to really want to change,” says Young.

Re-establishing a healthy relationship to the internet depends to a great extent on your individual circumstances. In some cases, all you may need to do is develop time management techniques to help you better control yourself, says Goldberg. You could, for instance, set a daily online time limit of an hour a day.

In other cases, you may need to deal with any underlying reasons that cause you to feel compelled to spend so much time online. There may be problems or conflicts you’re consciously or subconsciously trying to avoid, which may be dealt with best through therapy.

“Internet addiction can be an attempt to deny or avoid another more serious problem in your life,” says Goldberg. “People spend excess time in front of their computer[s] to avoid thinking about such difficulties as what they will do when they graduate from school, the infidelity of [a] spouse, the drug abuse of their children, and so on.”

The key concept here is the surrendering of the will. If you no longer control your relationship to it—whether it’s the internet or a pharmaceutical drug—you’re in trouble.

The internet is a fantastic medium, dramatically improving our ability to communicate with one another and find information to help us with our careers or studies. But, as with most things in life, there’s a need to keep things in healthy balance.

Thank you or for your cooperation on this research

30 Photographs that changed the world

30 Photographs That Changed the World

August 4th, 2010
by René Volpi

Ok. It’s true…A good photograph makes a point; a great one serves as a statement about culture, life, and everything that’s happening outside the image’s frame. Photos have been inspiring people and showing them the truth for centuries now, so it’s hard to narrow the list of influential images to just 30, but here are some of the photos that have changed the world:

1. General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon; Eddie Adams, 1968
AP photographer Eddie Adams captured this shot of a South Vietnamese general executing a Viet Cong officer in the Tet Offensive, and it became one of the most iconic shots of the Vietnam War. Sadly, Adams would come to lament the damage the Pulitzer-winning photo did to Nguyen and his family, claiming that the man had killed a “so-called bad guy” and been demonized by people who didn’t understand the scope of the situation.
2. Migrant Mother; Dorothea Lange, 1936
This image of a working woman who had just sold her cars tires to feed her seven children came to represent the Depression and the Dust Bowl in the popular imagination.
3. Kent State; John Paul Filo, 1970
The Kent State protest in Ohio at the news that President Nixon was sending troops into Cambodia drew the presence of the Ohio National Guard, who turned on the crowd and fired, killing four. The horrible image of a young woman crying in anger over the dead body of a student won a Pulitzer Prize for John Filo. The event inspired Neil Young to write the protest song “Ohio.”
4. Tiananmen Square; Jeff Widener, 1989
Shooting the Chinese protests for the Associated Press, Jeff Widener captured this shot of “the unknown rebel” standing in front of a line of tanks. The man was shortly led away and never seen again, but his act of nonviolent protest was a vital moment in world history.
5. Galloping Horse; Edward Muybridge, 1878
This series of 12 photos was a biological landmark because it proved that there is indeed a point in a horse’s stride when all its hooves leave the ground.
6. Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Massery; Will Counts, 1957
Elizabeth Eckford was one of the first black students admitted to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This photo shows her grueling walk to class while being shouted at by white student Hazel Massery. Although Massery would later express regret for her actions, the photo showed the nation and the world the heated strife in the Southern United States.
7. How Life Begins; Lennart Nilsson, 1965
Lennart Nilsson began taking pictures of developing fetuses with an endoscope in 1957, and the 1965 publication of his photos in Life Magazine was a breakthrough in showing people where we all came from.
8. Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima; Joe Rosenthal, 1945
One of the most indelible images of World War II as well as a Pulitzer winner, this photo of U.S. Marines raising their flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima is widely used as a tribute to American heroism. Of the six men in the shot, three died in the battle. The image was used to create the USMC War Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
9. Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston; AP, 1965
The rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston remains controversial because of the way Liston went down halfway through the first round, seemingly out of nowhere. This shot of Ali standing over his prey became one of the many iconic shots of the man known as “the greatest.”
10. The Hindenburg disaster; UPI, 1937
The stirring image of the Hindenburg zeppelin going down in flames helped galvanize public opinion on the dangers of airships and end their era once and for all.
11. Earthrise; William Anders, 1968
Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders snapped this shot of the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon as he and Frank Borman orbited the Moon. The shot changed the way we think of our planet and its place in the cosmos.
12. President Johnson Sworn In Aboard Air Force One; Cecil W. Stoughton, 1963
Cecil Stoughton was President Kennedy’s photographer, and he captured this heartbreaking image of Jackie Kennedy standing with the newly sworn-in President Johnson mere hours after Kennedy was shot.
13. V-J Day in Times Square; Alfred Eisenstadt, 1945
No image said more about the relief Americans felt at the end of World War II than this classic image of a sailor sweeping a nurse into his arms for a kiss when hearing the war had ended.
14. The Abu Ghraib scandal; 2004
The Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was the site of multiple counts of prisoner torture and abuse, which became news when this and other photos showing American soldiers mistreating prisoners surfaced. They changed the course of public opinion for many people.
15. Hurricane Katrina aftermath; 2005
This stunning image of an abandoned home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reminded people how badly the city of New Orleans had suffered through one of the biggest natural disasters in American history.
16. Wounded Soldier at Home; Eugene Richards, 2008
Eugene Richards’ “War Is Personal” documents the human cost of the Iraq War, as seen in this photo of a soldier who survived a brutal attack that took part of his head.
17. The 9/11 attacks; New York Times, 2001
There are many haunting images of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but this one of a person standing in a gaping hole of wreckage, with no exit or hope of rescue, is one of the most wrenching.
18. Birmingham beatings; Charles Moore, 1963
Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the focal points of the civil rights movement, and black residents and protestors faced near-constant torment as they struggled for equality. This image of young people being assaulted with a fire hose showed the lengths their attackers would go in order to fight the changing tides.
19. The Terror of War; Huynh Cong Ut, 1973
A naked girl runs with a group of other children after the napalm bombing of a Vietnamese village. She survived by removing her clothes. This was one of the many award-winning images that brought war’s atrocities into Americans’ homes.
20. “Dewey Defeats Truman”; 1948
Perhaps the most famous incorrect headline in history, the Chicago Tribune printed early editions of that day’s issue saying that Harry Truman had lost the presidential election in order to make their deadlines. Their Washington correspondent, as well as conventional wisdom, assumed Truman would lose. However, Truman pulled ahead and won, making the papers inaccurate and leading to this classic image of a newly minted president showing the dangers of sloppy journalism.
21. Lynching; Lawrence Beitler, 1930
Thousands of whites descended on an Indiana park to hang a pair of black men accused of raping a white woman. The image is a shocking reminder of how recently something like this could happen in the U.S.
22. Omaha Beach; Robert Capa, 1944
One of the few surviving images from D-Day, Robert Capa’s haunting, blurry image was a brief glimpse for many people into a world of war they might not otherwise understand.
23. Burning Monk; Malcolm W. Browne, 1963
Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire to protest the government’s persecution of Buddhists, and the resulting photo captured millions of people’s attention.
24. Man Walks on the Moon; Neil Armstrong, 1969
Neil Armstrong snapped this image of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the first human trip to land on the Moon. It became a testament to American innovation and dedication.
25. Afghan Girl; Steve McCurry, 1984
Known only as the Afghan girl — her real identity unknown until she was rediscovered in 2002 — Sharbat Gula’s face became one of the most iconic National Geographic covers of all time, and a symbol of the struggle of refugees everywhere.
26. Abbey Road cover; Iain Macmillan, 1969
The final album recorded by The Beatles before their breakup, the cover of Abbey Road featured a shot of the four men crossing the road almost in lock-step, except for Paul McCartney, whose off-balance stride spurred the urban legend that he was dead.
27. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr. raised his arms as he addressed the crowd in his “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963. His performance there, and the subsequent photos of the crowds and his address, were a turning point in the blossoming civil rights movement.
28. “Tear down this wall”; 1987
Speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, President Reagan bluntly exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” It was the beginning of the end, as the wall would fall in 1989. The site of Reagan in front of the gate is a key one in 20th century history.
29. Federal Dead on the Field of Battle of First Day, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Mathew Brady, 1863
One of the earliest war photographs, this sobering look at the war ravaging America remains one of the most important war images of all time.
30. Tetons and the Snake River; Ansel Adams, 1942
Ansel Adams is a legend among photographers, and his 1942 “Tetons and the Snake River” is a prime example of the stark nature photography that he elevated to fine art. It was also one of the 115 pictures embedded on the golden record and sent on the Voyager spacecraft. The picture also fueled an environmental protection movement that lasts to this day.
What’s your take?  Leave me a comment!

A year in Florence

Posted by René Volpi for WordPress on August 1st, 2010

1. Florence architecture , Photo: Rosino

reading2. Reading on fountain steps, Photo: Alaskan Dude

meats3. Italian sliced deli meat platter with olives, Photo: Alaskan Dude

shops4. Homes with flowers by the Arno River, Photo: Pasujoba

street performer5. Street performer, Photo: McPig

tree6. View from outside the city, Photo: McPig

aerial view7. Aerial view, Photo: Carlo Alcos

cafe inside8. Evening cafe snack, Photo: McPig

cafe outside9. Street side cafe, Photo: McPig

turtle rider10. Rubbing the stomach of Little Bacchus is said to bring good luck, Photo: Alaskan Dude

shoes11. Funky shoes for sale, Photo: Alaskan Dude

market12. Deli offerings, Photo: Alaskan Dude

music13. Live music in the square, Photo: Rosino

baby statue14. One of many, many statues in Florence. Photo: Carlo Alcos

gelato15. Eating gelato with both hands, Photo: Alaskan Dude

biscotti16. Italian cafe snack, Photo: McPig

florence by night17. The city by night, Photo: McPig

grafitti18. Street art in Florence, Photo: smokeonit

shopping19. Shops at Ponte Vecchio, Photo: Gimli_36

bridge reflection20. Florence at sunset, Photo: Chi King

Community Connection

Planning on studying abroad in Florence? Check out Matador’s Green Guide to Florence and the Italy Focus Page.