US college freshmen this year "watch television everywhere but on a television" and have "never seen an airplane 'ticket'", according to an annual list created to detail the generation gap.
The "Mindset List", whose 2012 edition came out Tuesday, was created in 1998 "as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues 'watch your references'", and aims to give insight to the "intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness", its authors say on their website.
According to the latest edition, for this generation, born in 1994, late Nirvana frontman "Kurt Cobain has always been dead" and actor Robert De Niro is better known for being a retired CIA agent in "Meet the Parents" than as the young Vito Corleone in "The Godfather".
"They can't picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it," and consider "the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds."
They have also "come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America's future".
And during their lifetimes, "two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good".
The list's authors are Tom McBride, an English professor at Beloit College, Wisconsin, and Ron Nief, a retired public affairs director at the same school.
The website themindsetlist.com also offers a daily quiz, a blog with tips for how professors can use the list to spark student discussions, and a link to a book they wrote inspired by the annual guide.