81 posts tagged internet
Web and mobile phone users willingly share personal data in exchange for free stuff, but not everyone is ready to throw in the towel on privacy
"No single vice causes so much mental and physical debility,” began a section of a popular home medical guide published in 1921, “than masturbation. It impairs the intellect, weakens the memory, debases the mind, ruins the nervous system and destroys body, mind and soul." Its author, Isaac D Johnson, wasn’t saying anything particularly new. At the turn of the 20th century, moral panic about masturbation was so widespread, everyone from the Boy Scouts of America to Kellogg’s – who sold Cornflakes on the basis they were a “non-stimulating” dietary option for adolescent boys – was telling young men to keep their hands out of their pants. Believing it to cause everything from acne to depravity, the anti-masturbation movement saw the creation in 1876 of such devices as the “Stephenson Spermatic Truss”, a metal cage that fitted like a pair of boxer shorts and made an erection physically impossible (or at least, extremely painful). Like something from a Game of Thrones torture scene, there was even, in 1903, the development of an electrified version that would frazzle your penis like a fly if it dared venture upwards.
go read ..
irony..! sort of..
You’ve Been Obsessing Over Your Likes and Retweets Way Too Much
The digital age version of the proverbial tree falling in the woods question is: Does something exist if it hasn’t been liked, favorited, linked to, or re-tweeted? According to many tech critics, the tragic answer is no. Like Lady Gaga, we live for the applause. But if constantly chasing other people’s approval is a shallow way to live that leads to time and energy being wasted over pleasing others and recurring feelings of insecurity and emptiness, how can we course correct? The first step is to acknowledge a problem exists. Too many people are desperate for attention and build their self-esteem with bricks made of external recognition. Take Rameet Chawla, founder of the mobile app company Fueled. Feeling spurned by friends who didn’t appreciate that he simply was too busy to like their pics on Instagram, Chawla became desperate and resorted to a depressing measure: outsourcing faux sentiment to technology. He actually designed a program that automatically liked the photos other people posted, and then, voilà, his “popularity soared.” (via You’ve Been Obsessing Over Your Likes and Retweets Way Too Much | Opinion | WIRED)
Will the Internet Achieve Sentience? If it does, (or rather when it does), should we expect hoards of robot armies to soon rise up under its control? Or would a less dramatic outcome be more likely? This book explores the topic of this possible emergent sentience, and its ramifications for Humanity. This exposition from the mind of the rogue philosopher, Bill M. Tracer, takes his readers on a thought provoking journey to explore possible answers to that title question. Bill takes his readers along on his train of thought, and quite a ride it is. Throughout this work of futurist’s speculations, you too can take this ride with him, first into the burgeoning mind of an emerging Internet sentience, then further into a possible future in which the ultimate symbiosis of the biological, and the synthetic could transform humanity forever more, even as we someday spread from this world and outward to the stars, together with our artificially sentient ally, known as VOX, for the purposes of this book. Taking us into an alternative to the Transhumanists vision of the Singularity, this book unfolds a metaphysical path that could ultimately open the doors toward the ascension of our species to a non-corporal pure energy form, someday.
Anthony Fisher, a lecturer at Nottingham University, has become the latest casualty of unwise social media use after causing outrage with Facebook posts about his students and their intellectual ability, or lack thereof. Public humiliation ensued, which in turn prompted official institutional statements on the matter that could leave Fisher with a mark against his name for the rest of his career. He is by no means the first to become a pariah for failing to think before he posts. Fellow academic Geoffrey Miller, from the University of New Mexico, felt the heat last year after tweeting about “obese” PhD applicants and PR executive Justine Sacco was fired after sending an offensive tweet about AIDS just before getting on an 11-hour flight to South Africa. By the time she landed, her missive had been retweeted thousands of times. Unfortunately, the media frenzy that so often surrounds these cases only fuels the fire for those who oppose social media and can be devastating for the people involved. They find themselves at the centre of debates being carried out across continents between people they don’t even know and become the subject of mocking memes, as Sacco quickly found.
Sometimes, the backlash is so extreme, it could even be defined as cyberbullying. Messages posted in response can be threatening and can involve the friends and family of the person who sent the original.
Will 2014 be the year that the Internet is reined in? When Edward J. Snowden, the disaffected National Security Agency contract employee, purloined tens of thousands of classified documents from computers around the world, his actions — and their still-reverberating consequences — heightened international pressure to control the network that has increasingly become the world’s stage. At issue is the technical principle that is the basis for the Internet, its “any-to-any” connectivity. That capability has defined the technology ever since Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn sequestered themselves in the conference room of a Palo Alto, Calif., hotel in 1973, with the task of interconnecting computer networks for an elite group of scientists, engineers and military personnel. The two men wound up developing a simple and universal set of rules for exchanging digital information — the conventions of the modern Internet. Despite many technological changes, their work prevails.
With a flood of dark memes and viral horror stories, the internet is mapping the contours of modern fear (via Creepypasta is how the internet learns our fears – WIll Wiles – Aeon)
Shelfie: show us a photo of your bookshelf
This year may go down in history as the year of the ‘selfie’, with even world leaders getting in on the act, but we’re asking for something a little different. We want your shelfie. What’s more telling than a bookshelf? You can share a snap of a single shelf or your entire bookcase - you decide. If you’re feeling in a particularly adventurous mood, you could even film yourself giving a guided tour of your shelf, explaining your categorising methods; do you, for example, only place novels together if you think the characters in them would get along? You can send us your photo by clicking on the blue ‘contribute’ button on this page or download the free GuardianWitness smartphone app and upload your shelfie from your phone. You can look at the contributions on GuardianWitness and we’ll feature a selection of our favourite image (via Shelfie: show us a photo of your bookshelf | Books | theguardian.com)
How do you show a Shelfie for ebooks?