Do smartphones make people more shallow?

I probably shouldn’t post this blog. I share some of the guilt. After all, I’m a producer of internet content.

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I felt creeping despair.

Balboa Park is an amazing, wonderful, special place. Lifted eyes see a world that is infinitely interesting and beautiful.

About one third of the people I observed had their eyes absolutely fixed to the tiny screens of their smartphones. They were too obsessed to notice the vast world around them. Nor other people around them.

Of these, many were grown adults searching for a virtual Pokemon, a game fit for the simple mind of a child. At least these people looked up from time to time.

Yes, I know some people were busy communicating with friends, or perhaps looking up information, or a map of the park.

I also know that our lives are complex and so is human psychology. Everyone is different. I, too, have my silly, simple pleasures. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions. Technology changes. The culture changes. People change. Fads come and go.

But it does appear that humans are powerfully drawn to stimuli on isolated screens.

And, of course, the wonderful thing about smartphones is they can make life so much easier. Eye-to-eye politeness is no longer required. The potential for vulnerability in spontaneously spoken words is thankfully avoided. Problem solving is automatic. Critical thinking is less and less necessary. Simple and self-comforting ideas flood social media. Self absorption is made as easy as pie. Narcissism is rewarded.

I often wonder, as virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent, whether people will permanently insert their whole selves into shallow, shrinking virtual worlds. The Matrix, of our own calculated making.

If it feels good, why fight it?

Fun sights you can discover in San Diego!

How time flies! Cool San Diego Sights is almost five years old!

You might not realize it, but Cool San Diego Sights now has hundreds of unique blog posts, and thousands upon thousands of fun photos that you can explore!

One easy way to revisit old blog posts that share a particular theme or subject is to click a tag. You might be surprised by all the diverse, unexpected things you’ll discover!

Some of Cool San Diego Sight’s more interesting tags include: history, public art, nature, eventsarchitecture, Balboa Park, Gaslamp, Old Town, beaches, Comic-Con, street art and museums.

Click one that interests you!

As you explore my blog, you might notice there’s a whole universe of tags. You can find a handful of pertinent ones located at the bottom of each post. If you’re interested in a particular San Diego neighborhood, those tags exist, too!

There’s also a handy search box that you can use. Look for it in the sidebar.

Make exciting discoveries and have fun with me as I explore San Diego! I’m going somewhere fascinating this Saturday that very few people know about!

If you’d like, you can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Pinterest pins of beautiful Balboa Park!

Pinterest pins of beautiful Balboa Park!

Do you love Balboa Park?

I just added a bunch of colorful photos to my page of Pinterest pins concerning Balboa Park. You can see them here.

These represent some of my best photographs from my special blog Beautiful Balboa Park.

You might also visit some of my other San Diego Pinterest boards, which I update from time to time. I have pins of places and events, San Diego Comic-Con and street art, and all sorts of cool, surprising stuff!

Feel free to pin or repin anything you’d like! I love the way Pinterest organizes so many memories all together in one place. If I’m stuck indoors and miss walking, a jumble of wonderful visions is just a click away!

Help raise awareness for World Rare Disease Day.

World Rare Disease Day is February 28, 2018. Show you care by spreading the word.
World Rare Disease Day is February 28, 2018. Show you care by spreading the word.

I learned something important today. This coming Wednesday–February 28, 2018–is World Rare Disease Day.

I wouldn’t have known this had I not walked through Mission Beach’s Belmont Park and met some smiling volunteers. They are working to raise awareness about rare diseases. They had a table set up near the carousel and told me a little about this often overlooked problem.

Rare diseases are usually caused by faulty genes, and about half of the people affected by rare diseases are children. Almost a third of these children will not live to see their fifth birthday.

Sadly, about half of all rare diseases do not have a specific foundation supporting or researching the condition. As you can see, it’s critical for many kids that we spread the word and provide support for those who are sick, and fund research in the search for effective treatments.

Two websites where you can learn more and perhaps help are here and here.

Please click my photo of the information chart, and it will enlarge so you can read it. Feel free to share any of these images.

These cool volunteers at Mission Beach's Belmont Park were informing the public about rare diseases.
These cool volunteers at Mission Beach’s Belmont Park were informing the public about rare diseases.
Rare diseases are often caused by faulty genes. They impact more people than cancer and AIDS combined. Only 5 percent have an FDA approved drug treatment.
Rare diseases are often caused by faulty genes. They impact more people than cancer and AIDS combined. Only 5 percent have an FDA approved drug treatment.
Help fight rare diseases by learning more and spreading the word.
Help fight rare diseases by learning more and spreading the word.

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

A short story about social media and isolation.

This morning I wrote a short story titled One Thousand Likes. It touches upon the human heart, the pleasure produced by facile happiness, and the dark, isolating effect of social media.

To read it, click here.

Help restore a beautiful Navy sailor memorial.

Volunteers and Boy Scouts work to improve the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.
Volunteers and Boy Scouts work to improve the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.

Your help is needed to help restore a beautiful U.S. Navy sailor memorial in San Diego. I’m speaking of the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. Some of the 66 oak trees planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion in 1905 have themselves died. They need to be replaced.

The San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is working to restore and improve the historic oak grove with the help of hardworking Boy Scouts and locally-based U.S. Navy sailors. You can read more about these efforts here.

But money is needed. Donations are sought to purchase new trees. Please contact the San Diego DAR to learn how you can help honor and beautify the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

A dead oak tree that needs to be replaced.
A dead oak tree that needs to be replaced.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Cool San Diego Sights in many languages!

I’ve made a couple of cool changes to my website! Now it’s easy to enjoy Cool San Diego Sights (plus my other blog Beautiful Balboa Park) in dozens of languages!

If you’re viewing this page on a computer screen or large tablet, you will see a Google Translate button near the top of the sidebar, on the left side of your screen. Select your preferred language and everything on the website will be instantly translated!

If you’re using a smaller device, like a smartphone, click those three parallel lines up at the top of this page and the sidebar will open up. Google Translate should be the first thing you see.

What else is new?

I’ve added buttons to my sidebar which make it easy to follow Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr! I only update my Pinterest and Tumblr pages every few months, but if you’re on those social media platforms, you might want to check it out!

As always, please feel free to share anything you happen to find on any of my blogs. It’s all for fun!

By the way, I just finished writing a new short story for my Short Stories by Richard blog. It’s called The Silver of Ice. It’s based a bit on my own personal experience, when I lived on the high plains many years ago.

I’m going to Balboa Park in a few minutes to check out something that should be really cool. I’ll post photos when I get home!

Have a great Sunday!

Richard