It’s time to face the naked truth. According to the New York Daily News the latest celebrity phone hacking scandal hasn't stopped or even slowed people down from taking naked selfies. In fact the McAfee security company’s 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey reveals that 54% of their respondents regularly send or receive intimate photos, videos, texts and emails, and that number spikes to 70% when it comes to those aged 18 to 24. "I can only think of two people my age who haven't done it. It becomes like a sort of weird correspondence. If I snapchat someone a pic, they would send one back," says Julia, a 22-year-old English student, "It's sort of like a flirty thing, you meet a boy on a night out, you'd snapchat him a picture instead of texting him."
“If you’re taking selfies on a regular basis, that is going to get boring,” says John Suler, a member of the editorial board for the journal, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. “So it becomes more risque, and that eventually leads to nude photos.” The desire to capture the naked body and share it with others is nothing new. “Every new medium that comes along, from cave paintings onward, no sooner does the medium get invented then people start using it for nudes,” says Robert Thompson, a pop-culture historian at Syracuse University. “We’ve found very explicit nude paintings on the walls of Pompeii.” While abstaining from taking nudies altogether is the only way to guarantee they won’t leak, it’s not a realistic approach for many. It’s more practical to password protect your phone and photo storage, doublecheck the recipient before hitting “send,” and to only sext someone you trust completely. “We have decided that the things we like to do online are things we like so much that we’re willing to take the risk,” says Thompson. “I know my credit card is not totally secure anywhere online... but I am willing to take that chance because I want to be able to order things online.”
Several Britons agreed to give up their eldest child in return for the use of free wifi, in an experiment to highlight the dangers of public Internet, published on Monday.
Londoners were asked to agree to terms and conditions as they logged on to use free wifi in a cafe in a busy financial district and at a site close to the houses of parliament.
The terms included a "Herod clause", under which the wifi was provided only if "the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity."
Only six people agreed to the terms and conditions, however:
In just 30 minutes, 250 devices connected to the hotspot -- some of them doing so automatically due to their settings.
The company was able to collect the text of emails they sent, the email addresses of the sender and recipient, and the password of the sender.
Gizmodo reports on the use of mesh network by the Hong Kong protesters:
Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong's financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city's political candidates, and many use their phones to organize.
College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong's activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.
FireChat's parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once.
[...] FireChat helps people create what are known as "mesh networks." These connections go between devices, using a phone's hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds...
[...] Mesh networks are an especially resilient tool because there's no easy way for a government to shut them down. They can't just block cell reception or a site address. Destroying one part won't kill it unless you destroy each point of access; someone would have to turn off Bluetooth on every phone using FireChat to completely break the connection.
Present-day lithium batteries are efficient but involve a range of resource and environmental problems. Using materials from alfalfa (lucerne seed) and pine resin and a clever recycling strategy, Uppsala researchers have now come up with a highly interesting alternative. Their study will be presented soon in the scientific journal ChemSusChem.
Although present-day batteries contain non-renewable inorganic materials, this is not the first time batteries composed of renewable materials have been presented. But the recycling and recovery strategy is a wholly new concept. Constructing a new battery from a spent one is also feasible. In other words, a straightforward process enables it to be reused.
The scientists have shown that the lithium extracted from a spent battery can be used for a new battery: all that needs to be added is more biomaterial. Their battery proved capable of delivering as much as 99% of the energy output from the first. With future modifications, this figure can very probably become even higher, say the researchers.
The key to creating a material that would be ideal for converting solar energy to heat is tuning the material’s spectrum of absorption just right: It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth’s surface from the sun — but not much of the rest of the spectrum, since that would increase the energy that is reradiated by the material, and thus lost to the conversion process.
Now researchers at MIT say they have accomplished the development of a material that comes very close to the “ideal” for solar absorption. The material is a two-dimensional metallic dielectric photonic crystal, and has the additional benefits of absorbing sunlight from a wide range of angles and withstanding extremely high temperatures. Perhaps most importantly, the material can also be made cheaply at large scales.
The New York Times published an interesting article about other tasty articles—Thai food:
Hopscotching the globe as Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra repeatedly encountered a distressing problem: bad Thai food.
Too often, she found, the meals she sampled at Thai restaurants abroad were unworthy of the name, too bland to be called genuine Thai cooking. The problem bothered her enough to raise it at a cabinet meeting.
Her political party has since been thrown out of office, in a May military coup, but her initiative in culinary diplomacy lives on.
At a gala dinner at a ritzy Bangkok hotel on Tuesday the government will unveil its project to standardize the art of Thai food — with a robot.
Diplomats and dignitaries have been invited to witness the debut of a machine that its promoters say can scientifically evaluate Thai cuisine, telling the difference, for instance, between a properly prepared green curry with just the right mix of Thai basil, curry paste and fresh coconut cream, and a lame imitation.
A boxy contraption filled with sensors and microchips, the so-called e-delicious machine scans food samples to produce a chemical signature, which it measures against a standard deemed to be the authentic version.
The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as “an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic.”
I myself am a bit hesitant to believe that a machine can truly judge the quality of food, especially its authenticity. From my experience, the only real judge of good Thai food is when it's so spicy that my head is about to explode. Does the machine have a similar response?
Ars Technica brings us AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers:
Like other carriers, AT&T slows the speeds of certain users when the network is congested. Such network management is a necessary evil that can benefit the majority of customers when used to ensure that everyone can connect to the network. But as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has argued, the carriers’ selective enforcement of throttling shows that it can also be used to boost revenue by pushing subscribers onto pricier plans.
AT&T’s throttling only applies to users with “legacy unlimited data plans,” the kinds of customers that AT&T wants to push onto limited plans with overage charges. Initially, the throttling was enforced once users passed 3GB or 5GB in a month regardless of whether the network was congested. In July, AT&T changed its policy so that throttling only hits those users at times and in places when the network is actually congested, according to an AT&T spokesperson. The 3GB and 5GB thresholds, with the higher one applied to LTE devices, were unchanged.
You can use the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine to see that, through June, AT&T throttled unlimited subscribers whether its network was congested or not. The site, both then and now, encourages heavy data users to switch to a tiered or shared data plan. AT&T says that more than 80 percent of its postpaid smartphone subscribers are on limited plans.
The University of Queensland reports:
Mantis shrimp eyes are inspiring the design of new cameras that can detect a variety of cancers and visualise brain activity.
University of Queensland research has found that the shrimp’s compound eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarised light, providing a streamlined framework for technology to mimic.
Professor Justin Marshall, from the Queensland Brain Institute at UQ, said cancerous tissue reflected polarised light differently to surrounding healthy tissue.
“Humans can’t see this, but a mantis shrimp could walk up to it and hit it,” he said.
“We see colour with hues and shades, and objects that contrast – a red apple in a green tree for example – but our research is revealing a number of animals that use polarised light to detect and discriminate between objects.
Jason Clenfield writes in Businessweek that tax returns show that a former video game champion and pachinko gambler who goes by the name CIS traded 1.7 trillion yen ($15 Billion) worth of Japanese equities in 2013 -- about half of 1 percent of the value of all the share transactions done by individuals on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The 35-year-old day trader whose name means death in classical Japanese says he made 6 billion yen ($54 Million), after taxes, betting on Japanese stocks last year. The nickname is a holdover from his gaming days, when he used to crush foes in virtual wrestling rings and online fantasy worlds.
“Games taught me to think fast and stay calm." CIS says he barely got his degree in mechanical engineering, having devoted most of college to the fantasy role-playing game Ultima Online. Holed up in his bedroom, he spent days on end roaming the game’s virtual universe, stockpiling weapons, treasure and food. He calls this an early exercise in building and protecting assets. Wicked keyboard skills were a must. He memorized more than 100 key-stroke shortcuts -- control-A to guzzle a healing potion or shift-S to draw a sword, for example -- and he could dance between them without taking his eyes off the screen. “Some people can do it, some can’t,” he says with a shrug. But the game taught a bigger lesson: when to cut and run. “I was a pretty confident player, but just like in the real world, the more opponents you have, the worse your chances are,” he says. “You lose nothing by running.” That’s how he now plays the stock market. CIS says he bets wrong four out of 10 times. The trick is to sell the losers fast while letting the winners ride. “Self-control is so important. You have to conserve your assets. That’s what insulates you from the downturns and gives you the ammunition to make money.”
Researchers say there should be an international database containing the very latest information about organ donations and transplants, so policy makers can make informed decisions on whether to adopt an opt-out or opt-in system.
The call comes after a study [in the UK], carried out by The University of Nottingham, the University of Stirling and Northumbria University, showed that overall an opt-out system might provide a greater number of organs for transplant but many factors can influence the success of either system and a repository of accessible information would help individual countries decide which one would be better for them.
The research published in the online academic journal BioMed Central Medicine (BMC Medicine), is the first international comparison that examines both deceased as well as living organ/transplant rates in opt-in and opt-out systems.
[...] Professor Fergusson argues that it is imperative for transplant organizations to routinely collect data on important organ donation indices -- consent type, procurement procedure, number of intensive care beds and trained surgeons -- and make this publicly available to inform future research and policy recommendations.
Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways—some simple and some involving new technologies—to hide objects from view. The latest effort, developed at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but it uses inexpensive, readily available materials in a novel configuration.
“There’ve been many high tech approaches to cloaking and the basic idea behind these is to take light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there, often using high-tech or exotic materials,” said John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester. Forgoing the specialized components, Howell and graduate student Joseph Choi developed a combination of four standard lenses that keeps the object hidden as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing position.
“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multi-directional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” said Choi, a PhD student at Rochester’s Institute of Optics.
What makes someone rise to the top in music, games, sports, business, or science? This question is the subject of one of psychology’s oldest debates. In the late 1800s, Francis Galton—founder of the scientific study of intelligence and a cousin of Charles Darwin—analyzed the genealogical records of hundreds of scholars, artists, musicians, and other professionals and found that greatness tends to run in families. For example, he counted more than 20 eminent musicians in the Bach family. (Johann Sebastian was just the most famous.) Galton concluded that experts are “born.” Nearly half a century later, the behaviorist John Watson countered that experts are “made” when he famously guaranteed that he could take any infant at random and “train him to become any type of specialist [he] might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents.”
The experts-are-made view has dominated the discussion in recent decades. To test this idea, Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and colleagues recruited violinists from an elite Berlin music academy and asked them to estimate the amount of time per week they had devoted to deliberate practice for each year of their musical careers. Based on these findings, Ericsson and colleagues argued that prolonged effort, not innate talent, explained differences between experts and novices. These findings filtered their way into pop culture. They were the inspiration for what Malcolm Gladwell termed the “10,000 Hour Rule” ( http://gladwell.com/outliers/the-10000-hour-rule/ ) in his book Outliers.
However, recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece. In the first study ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201516 ) to convincingly make this point, the cognitive psychologists Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli found that chess players differed greatly in the amount of deliberate practice they needed to reach a given skill level in chess. For example, the number of hours of deliberate practice to first reach “master” status (a very high level of skill) ranged from 728 hours to 16,120 hours. This means that one player needed 22 times more deliberate practice than another player to become a master.
In concrete terms, what this evidence means is that racking up a lot of deliberate practice is no guarantee that you’ll become an expert. Other factors matter.
[Related Abstract]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=(Macnamara+and+Hambrick)
Link is: http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.7254
This article describes the research done by Jisun An, Daniele Quercia, Jon Crowcroft on how sharing political articles on social sites, namely Facebook and Twitter, affect the way you see the world.
Perhaps the good old newsfeed style of stuff is where it's at, while ones that are sorted using some magical rating (I'm looking at you Facebook, Reddit, etc.) and don't give you an option for chronological order are a bit broken! Don't forget to sort by time SN!
Time reports on statements made by President Obama during an interview:
When asked about comments by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group, Obama said, “That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”
Obama had already admitted that the rise of ISIS took the U.S. by surprise. “I think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectations of policymakers both in and outside of Iraq,”
Statement by the President on Iraq: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/09/statement-president-iraq
Can Google’s winning ways be applied to all kinds of businesses? The authors of “How Google Works,” ( http://www.howgoogleworks.net/ ) Eric Schmidt, Google’s former chief executive, and Jonathan Rosenberg, a former senior product manager at Google, firmly believe that they can.
The critical ingredient, they argue in their new book, is to build teams, companies and corporate cultures around people they call “smart creatives.” These are digital-age descendants of yesterday’s “knowledge workers,” a term coined in 1959 by Peter Drucker, the famed management theorist.
Do people of SN agree that such success can be replicated in diverse environments, diverse cultures? Or, is Google's success one of a kind?