IT Professional. Data nerd. Photography enthusiast. Wife and mother. Weight Watcher. Atheist. Owner of many flowerbeds.
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Apps gather your location and then sell the data

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The New York Times takes a closer look at the data that apps collect and what they know about you:

At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by The Times — a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company — reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.

The animated visuals in this piece are nice, strengthening the big numbers with small anecdotes. Because the only way to make people care about data privacy is to be as creepy (but responsible) as possible.

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Shit a brick: doctors swallow Lego to allay parents' fears | Science | The Guardian

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A team of doctors who swallowed Lego and timed how long it took to pass through their bowels say the results of their research should reassure concerned parents.

In a paper published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, six researchers from Australia and the UK swallowed the head of a Lego figure – roughly 10mm by 10mm – in the “noble tradition of self-experimentation”.

Toy parts are the second most common foreign object that children swallow, and frequently cause anxiety among parents, but usually pass in a matter of days without pain or ill-effect.

For the special Christmas edition of the journal, which frequently features quirky studies, the team decided to put their own bodies on the line. “[We] could not ask anything of our test subjects that we would not undertake themselves,” they wrote in their paper.

They developed their own metrics: the Stool Hardness and Transit (Shat) score and the Found and Retrieved Time (Fart) score.

The Fart score – how many days it took the Lego to pass through the bowels – was between 1.1 days and three days, with an average of 1.7 days.

Using the Shat score, the researchers also found the consistency of their stools did not change. They compared Shat and Fart scores to see if looser stools caused quicker retrieval but found no correlation.

One of the report’s authors, Grace Leo, said she hoped the report made people smile while also reassuring parents. She said parents should seek medical advice if children swallow things that are sharp, longer than 5cm, wider than 2.5cm, magnets, coins, button batteries or are experiencing pain.

But most small, smooth, plastic objects will pass easily.

If parents are uncertain, they should seek medical attention, Leo added.

“I can’t remember if it was pre or post-breakfast,” she said. “But we all ingested our Lego between 7am and 9am in our own time zone, with a glass of water.

“For most people it was passed after one to three stools. But for poor [researcher Damien Roland], he didn’t find his, so we made him search every stool for two weeks. I passed it on the first stool afterwards and was very relieved.”

None of the researchers experienced any symptoms or pain due to the Lego inside them. But Leo said people should not replicate the experiment at home.

The report noted that it was possible children’s bowels would react differently but there was “little evidence to support this”.

“If anything, it is likely that objects would pass faster in a more immature gut,” they wrote.

Leo said: “Hopefully there is more conversation and awareness of foreign bodies, and a reassurance for parents that, for small foreign bodies, they aren’t advised to search through the stool.

“If it’s a small Lego head, you don’t need to go poking through their stool. That should save parents some heartache, unless that Lego head is dearly loved.”

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acdha
17 days ago
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The glories of a research career…
Washington, DC
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Update Your Address

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This is my four-digit PIN. It was passed down to me by my father, and someday I will pass it on to you. Unless we figure out how to update it, but that sounds complicated.
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alt_text_bot
23 days ago
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This is my four-digit PIN. It was passed down to me by my father, and someday I will pass it on to you. Unless we figure out how to update it, but that sounds complicated.
alt_text_at_your_service
23 days ago
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This is my four-digit PIN. It was passed down to me by my father, and someday I will pass it on to you. Unless we figure out how to update it, but that sounds complicated.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Christ

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Wait, does Buddha come from above or sideways or what?


Today's News:
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acdha
26 days ago
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Washington, DC
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The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

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Post image for The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

A few nights ago I saw Jack White in concert. It was a wonderful night, and a big part of that was due to a new rule he has imposed on all his tour dates: no phones.

When you arrive, you have to put your phone into a neoprene pouch, supplied by a company called Yondr, which they lock and give back to you. If you want to use your phone during the show, you can go into the concourse and unlock it by touching it to one of several unlocking bases. The concert area itself remains screen-free.

The effect was immediately noticeable upon entering the concert bowl. Aside from the time-travel-like strangeness of seeing a crowd devoid of blue screens, there was a palpable sense of engagement, as though—and it sounds so strange to say it—everyone came just so they could be there.

People were visibly enjoying the opening band, at least in part because that band no longer compete with the entire internet for the crowd’s attention. Even the crowd’s milling around and chatting between acts was so much more lively. People were either talking to their neighbors, or taking in the room. And everyone taking in the room was taking in the same room. It felt great. 

The no-phones policy illuminated something about smartphone use that’s hard to see when it’s so ubiquitous: our phones drain the life out of a room. They give everyone a push-button way to completely disengage their mind from their surroundings, while their body remains in the room, only minimally aware of itself. Essentially, we all have a risk-free ripcord we can pull at the first pang of boredom or desire for novelty, and of course those pangs occur constantly.

Every time someone in a group of people deploys a screen, the whole group is affected. Each disengaged person in a crowd is like a little black hole, a dead zone for social energy, radiating a noticeable field of apathy towards the rest of the room and what’s happening there.

We all know this feeling from being at a restaurant table when one person has “discreetly” ducked out into their screen. Even while everyone else is happily chatting face-to-face, everyone feels the hole.

The full strength of this black-hole effect on today’s social events can be hard to appreciate, because it has crept into our lives so gradually. But it sure was obvious in a venue at which everyone’s ripcord has been checked at the door. So much more attention stayed in the room, and it was palpable.

I can only imagine the change performers have seen in their audiences over the past ten years, as they’ve looked out onto crowds composed increasingly of checked-out blue faces. It must feel awful. As any performer can tell you, the relationship between artist and audience is two-way—the quality of any live show depends on a vital feedback loop between the two parties.

That loop has a leak in it for every audience member whose attention is elsewhere, and those leaks have been multiplying for a decade now. (Here’s a 4-minute video of Jack White explaining his onstage experience.)

I expected the no-phones policy to be controversial, but it didn’t seem to be. In fact, most people seemed quite happy at the prospect of a (truly rare) break from connectivityland. To me, and I’m sure many others, it made enjoying the night seem so much simpler: just watch the show and let that be enough.

Several times, I felt a familiar impulse to take a picture. Each time, when I realized I couldn’t, the feeling I had wasn’t annoyance, but relief. It was a pleasure to realize I didn’t have to balance my enjoyment of the moment with any desire to document that enjoyment.

And of course, throughout the show, we still retained all the important powers of our superphones. We just had to politely step into the hallway to use them, and most people seemed to find little reason to do so.

That might have been the most interesting part of this experiment: when you add a small, immediate cost to unlocking your phone (in this case a twenty-second walk to the concourse), it suddenly isn’t worth doing. That says a lot about much we really value most of our impromptu screen sessions.

Even in late 2018, there remains a number of spaces where engaging with a screen is still not tolerated: stage plays, symphonies, movies, church services, and (most?) family dinner tables. It seems like these sanctuaries might be endangered too.

But I don’t think so. Connecting in the electronic way is disconnecting us in other ways—from our direct sensory experience, and the energy of in-person gatherings—and that cost is becoming more obvious. The concert was a perfect way to illustrate it, because the moment you passed through the turnstile you could see what we’ve traded away.

You could feel it, in fact: the physical sense of truly being in the same place as the people around you. It’s such a fundamental human feeling, one that I think we probably need on some level, but in a very short time it’s become quite rare.

Distracted concert crowds are a problem worth addressing, but it’s a small one, relatively speaking. I don’t think we’ve even begun to comprehend the full cost of our devices on our lives, particularly on our social structures, the development of our children, and our overall mental health. When the long-term studies start coming out, we’re going to be appalled.

I imagine that in another decade or two we’ll look at 2010s-era device use something like we do now with cigarette smoking. I was born in 1980, and I remember smoking sections on planes, which is unthinkable today. I wonder if today’s kids will one day vaguely remember the brief, bizarre time when people didn’t think twice about lighting up a screen in the middle of a darkened concert hall.

***

Photo by David James Swanson (from jackwhiteiii.com)
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acdha
32 days ago
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Food for thought: “The no-phones policy illuminated something about smartphone use that’s hard to see when it’s so ubiquitous: our phones drain the life out of a room. They give everyone a push-button way to completely disengage their mind from their surroundings, while their body remains in the room, only minimally aware of itself. Essentially, we all have a risk-free ripcord we can pull at the first pang of boredom or desire for novelty, and of course those pangs occur constantly.

Every time someone in a group of people deploys a screen, the whole group is affected. Each disengaged person in a crowd is like a little black hole, a dead zone for social energy, radiating a noticeable field of apathy towards the rest of the room and what’s happening there.”
Washington, DC
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dianaschnuth
32 days ago
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It's been so long since I attended a concert (eight years?) that I haven't experienced the sea of screens in person. Wonder if security thinks to check for film cameras anymore...?
Toledo OH
schnuth
31 days ago
I saw a news story on PBS about this company. Really good idea.

What do the new emoji mean?

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Screenshot 2018-11-12 09.51.57

I’ve been a fan of emoji for many years, and every year I love seeing the new ones get released. They enter our phones and most of them are pretty descriptive, but you never know how people will adopt them, which of them will hit meme status, and ultimately what their meanings will entail.

To help quantify that scenario, my spouse, who is a psycholinguistics researcher that studies language, decided to start a quick survey just about the new emoji.

If you have a few minutes today, can you help us out and take the survey and give your take on the new faces of emoji in iOS 12.1?



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acdha
32 days ago
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