Email is as addictive as a slot machine. Back in the early 1990s, email was a privilege granted only to those who could prove they needed it. Now, it has turned into a nuisance that’s costing companies millions. We may feel that we have it under control, but not only do we check email more often than we realise, but the interruptions caused are more detrimental than was previously thought. In a study last year, Dr Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after interruption by email. So people who check their email every five minutes waste 8.5 hours a week figuring out what they were doing moments before. — The Guardian

The year television ate itself: The A.V. Club’s Fall 2008 TV Preview. With networks panicking to fill schedules after last year’s strike, and with eyes straying to other forms of entertainment, this year’s fall schedule is all about familiarity and desperation. Remember Knight Rider? It’s back, and possibly dumber than ever. That hit show from Australia? It’s here now, but with American accents. “It’s derivative with a twist. That’s what they’re looking for,” Mad Men’s Donald Draper said of a TV pitch in a recent episode. And that certainly seems to be the case with what’s coming up this year. — A. V. Club

Let’s face it, this isn’t a job for supernanny. The Upper East Side mother’s approach was unorthodox, to put it mildly. “My kids are a pain,” read the opening line of her Craigslist solicitation for a live-in nanny… The listing, posted last week, was by turns self-effacing, self-justifying and extremely revelatory. It read as a participant’s critique of a particular strain of moneyed-class hyper-parenting that dominates in certain reaches of New York, as well as a desperate request for a certain kind of masochist. — NYT [via Jezebel]

Hope floats. Perhaps the most captivating part of Spike Lee’s 2006 Hurricane Katrina documentary, “When the Levees Broke,” was Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc. The then 42-year-old’s account of fleeing the floodwaters with her husband, Ron, and their eventual return to New Orleans ranged from unbridled anger (“I will take you outside and beat your muthafuckin’ ass!” she threatened a particularly unhelpful U.S. servicewoman) to devastating pleas for “some kind of compassion, empathy, understanding.” She’s now written a memoir, “Not Just the Levees Broke: My Story During and After Katrina.” Written from the cramped confines of a FEMA trailer over the past two years, the book further details and updates the LeBlanc family’s travails. — Salon

Peter Fray

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