"She just paints whoever inspires her," twitters Mandy Nagy — aka Liberty Chick — whose mother's deep, dark and delicious portrait of Andrew Breitbart (detail above) caught our eye in the thrust and parry of the social media matrix yesterday. Breitbart's using the image as his new Twitter avatar. "Your face was a good one to paint (while listening to "Burning Down the House)," quipped artist Nagy. "Like Andrew Breitbart only more so," we chimed in. (View Nagy Gallery here)
"Why bother to remember when you can just use Google?" runs the ars technica headline teasing the latest scientific findings of where our social-networking heads are at:
The potential to find almost any piece of information in seconds is beneficial, but is this ability actually negatively impacting our memory? The authors of a paper that is being released by Science Express describe four experiments testing this. Based on their results, people are recalling information less, and instead can remember where to find the information they have forgotten.
Like any set of entrails, these have got some of our fellow opinionators tearing their hair out over the end of civilization as we know it, but we're kinda thrilled. It's totally Darwinian, our homo sapient survival instincts kicking in to adapt us to a changing environment. As a brand manager might put it, It's the "transactive memory," stupid.
"Transactive memory suggests an analysis not only of how couples and families in close relationships coordinate memory and tasks in the home, but how larger groups and organizations come to develop 'group minds,' memory systems that are more complex and potentially more effective than those of any of the individuals that comprise them," explains Daniel M. Wegner, John Lindsley Professor in Memory of William James (a co-author of the paper described above) of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Can you say Adam Smith's Invisible Hand? Above, flocks of birds "wheel and swoop in unison," not unlike twitterers and other social network denizens," as we blogged a couple of years back. Totally awesome must-watch video here.
"Researchers found that people are more likely to remember information if they believe they won't be able to access it in the future, and that they are more likely to remember how they found the information than the information itself." Works for us. Choose your battles. Keep your ammo close to the chest. Go for the jugular. "Shoot to where it's going, not to where it's been." "Don't retreat, reload." "Fight like a girl!" As Ben Franklin said, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."
Clicking over to the Nagy online studio, we were smitten with the artist's wild and whacky portrait of take-no-prisoners Red Eye force of nature Greg Gutfeld (detail above). We agree with Chris Barnhart that Red Eye has "the potential to be the 'gateway drug' of a whole new generation of conservatives and independents."
"The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves," write the authors in their abstract of the study. Enter, stage right, Google+. Again the social network is aflutter over what it all might mean for the future of our species, and again, it's Darwinian, in the Thomas Sowell/Geerat Vermeij sense:
It's starting to appear that Google actually does have the chops, and obviously the financial backing, to put out a social product sweet enough to lure people, who tend to be creatures of habit, to spend less time with their traditional network and cultivate a new one.
Andrew Breitbart. Greg Gutfeld. Looks like NagyArt is on a roll. Could Jonah Goldberg's Twitter avi (above) be next on her palette of immortals who will keep the (incandescent) lights burning in the Shining City?
It's the market forces, stupid.
Update from the Liberty Chick herself:
Update II: The conversation continues.