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The NewsMinutes app was inspired by the 2011 book The Shallows, which explored the effects of Internet technology on the human brain. Most news apps provide access to a plethora of articles and encourage users to maximize the number of stories they consume, which leads them to skim various content quickly without engaging in much contemplation. Over time, this can lead to a reduced ability to think deeply and focus on one subject for a prolonged period of time.

In contrast, the NewsMinutes app enables you to input your reading speed and how much time is available for reading. It then provides a single news article for you to read within the available time. The intent is to counteract the negative cognitive side effects of new media by encouraging deep reading and enhancing your ability to concentrate on a single topic.