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air date: 11/29/12 2:00 PM
Social critic and technologist Steven Johnson is the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You, The Ghost Map, The Invention of Air, and other books. Johnson spends much of the episode discussing the positive aspects of video games and television. He says that video games are not necessarily a useless diversion and that the more sophisticated games teach young players delayed gratification and offer a high level of experience, calling on problem-solving abilities, reasoning, and goal-setting skills. At the same time, Johnson addresses the addictive quality of some games and the gender divide that still characterizes video game playing. As for television, he praises the many contemporary television shows that incorporate complicated plot lines and call on viewers to use complex reasoning. Johnson also talks about his book, The Ghost Map, which examines the cholera epidemic in Victorian London.
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