Tag: life

Bad online experiences affect life

O2-BMD-Stick-LifeA new Microsoft survey show nearly two-thirds of people surveyed had at least one negative online experience that had an impact on them in the real world.

Apparently, if you have a bad online experience it can result in side-effects including loss of trust in others, increased stress or sleep deprivation and thinking oranges might make good political leaders (we made the last one up).

The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2016,” polled youths aged 13 to 17 and adults aged 18 to 74 in 14 countries. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those polled said they had fallen victim at some point to at least one of 17 different online risks.

That figure grows to 78 percent when respondents included the online experiences of their friends and families. Half of those surveyed reported being “extremely or very” worried about online risks generally, with the most common concerns being unwanted contact (43 percent) and various forms of harassment (39 percent).

Young people said they were more likely to suffer social and academic losses following some sort of online conflict. More than 20 percent said they lost a friend or their scholastic performance suffered, while 13 percent said they intentionally spent less time at school due to online conflicts.

Both adults and teens said they became less trusting of others in the real world after a negative interaction online at about an even rate. For adults, it was 31 percent, for teens 29 percent. However, consequences to adults outpaced those to teens, such as becoming less trusting of people online and a reluctance to participate in blogs and other online forums.

It was not all bad. More than 29 percent of adults said they tried to be more constructive in their criticism of others after a negative online situation, compared with 25 percent of teens.

The full report will be out early next year.

A top vole said Microsoft had chosen to make this preliminary release, featuring some adult data, following the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election and in conjunction with World Kindness Day on 13 November.

The months leading up to the new year and Safer Internet Day 2017 represent an opportunity for a “digital reset… to ensure we’re putting our best digital foot forward … Digital civility is everyone’s responsibility, and Microsoft can help put you and your family on a path to good digital citizenship.”

Google thinks about offering eternal youth to employees

Google could one day offer its employees longer lives as part of their employment packages.

Silicon Valley employment packages are getting hard to top, particularly as the big companies are now allowed to headhunt. It seems that Google thinks that a longer life is something that staff will want.

Todd Carlisle, director of staffing at Google, suggested to ZDNet it could reach a point where the perks of working at a company include extending your life.

If that were the case then people would likely never leave. They would be incredibly loyal, he suggested.

What is weird about this scenario is that Google is headed in that direction.

Late last year it hired Ray Kurzweil who is a big fan of the singularity idea. This predicts life extension technologies will eventually extend people’s lives indefinitely and enable people to start using more robotic bodies.

Apparently this will start happening in earnest within this decade. Earnest is not a small town in Utah.

The singularity will require the world’s largest, most powerful computer system, which is exactly what Google is building. It means that its engineers will probably accept lower salaries for the chance to be among the first to benefit from singularity.

The downside is that if you stop working for Google they could switch you off and wipe your personality from its hard-drive, or sell you to the NSA. 

Scientists scan the moon for alien life

Scientists at the Arizona State University have programmed their computers to scan millions of snaps of the lunar surface to look for signs that aliens might have landed there.

After all, if you have defeated the problems of speed of light travel and come all that way to see the Earth the first place you are going to put your landing gear down is going to be an orbiting lump of cold rock . The next thing you will do is go and scare some brain dead American farmer by giving him an anal probe.

But Professor Paul Davies and Robert Wagner at Arizona State University claim that passing extraterrestrials might have left messages, scientific instruments, heaps of rubbish or evidence of mining on the dusty lunar surface that could be spotted by human telescopes and orbiting spacecraft.

According to the journal Acta Astronautica, which we get for the Spot the Quark competition the pair admit that there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon, but since it is closer we might as well have a look.

It is also cheaper to scan lots of pictures rather than use expensive radio telescopes.

The scientists are using Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has mapped a quarter of the moon’s surface in high resolution since mid-2009. These images have also spotted the Apollo landing sites and all of the Nasa and Soviet unmanned probes.

They have developed software to search for strange-looking features, such as the sharp lines of solar panels, or the dust-covered contours of quarries or domed buildings. Because the moon is geologically inactive they might be visible millions of years after they were built.

Alien life might once have set up a lunar base in the underground networks of lava tubes beneath the moon’s dark, basaltic plains, and perhaps have left rubbish when they departed. “The same factors that make lava tubes attractive as a habitat imply that any artefacts left behind would endure almost indefinitely, undamaged and unburied,” the scientists write.

Quite why any alien civilisation would bother is not a question Wagner and Davies have answered. 

iPhone app prevents crime and save lives

A new application for the iPhone launched today which will supposedly prevent crime, save lives, and help you find your kids, not to mention feed the world, cure cancer and invent a perpetual motion machine.

The application, IcePics, which stands for In Case of Emergency Pictures, allows an iPhone user to point their phone at a suspicious individual and click the IcePics button to take a picture of them and automatically email it, along with the GPS location of where the photo was taken, to a pre-selected email address.

Examples given, included in the video below, involve children being accosted by a stranger, who must obviously be a kidnapper, so the children take his photo which then gets sent off with the location to the childrens’ parents. Those parents then panic, the mother drops the frying pan and sets the house on fire and the father runs out of the house screaming while trying to call the police. An hour later the man who the children assumed was a rapist is hunted down and arrested and everyone lives happily ever after.

Except the man was just asking for directions. Or he shouted at the little brats for kicking his car. But now he has to sign the sex offenders register. All, theoretically, what IcePics could do for the world.

That’s not the only major flaw of the application, of course. Jeff Neumeyer, the developer of IcePics, said that “a person with ill intent, such as a child-napper, mugger or rapist, will almost certainly abandon their plans because the chance of them being caught is almost assured.”

That’s assuming that taking a picture of someone scares them enough into not committing the crime. And how does the perpetrator know for certain that you are taking a picture, or, indeed, that it is being emailed anywhere? Unless you shout: “I have an app on this phone – don’t make me use it!” They might just commit the crime and steal or break your phone while they’re at it.

IcePics added: “Even if a person does not have an iPhone, or doesn’t purchase IcePics, once criminals become aware of the app they will flee when any phone is aimed at them. Most criminals will not stop and second guess whether or not someone actually has an iPhone equipped with IcePics.”

Let’s face it, it’s easy to know if someone has an iPhone or not, particularly when they’re pointing it in your face. Pointing a phone at someone is unlikely to stop a crime – particularly if they’re a phone thief.

A “secondary use” for the application involves the parents of a child calling them up and asking them to take a photo using IcePics. This gets mailed with the GPS location of the child to the parents, helping them locate their kid. Simply asking “where are you?” when they called the child might have worked too, but clearly most children are lying through their teeth, must be up to something and need to be tracked by satellites at all times.

And what’s to stop an unscrupulous person using this GPS tracking to also track the child? The same technology could actually put them in danger.

In fact, the examples given are so ludicrous that they even have you snapping shots of a stranger knocking at your door before opening it. So someone knocks to ask if you want to buy something and here you are taking their picture and mailing it off to someone as evidence of a crime that will undoubtedly be committed, because everyone is secretly a criminal.

Is this the beginning of a really rubbish Minority Report sequel?