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Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

Researchers measured the activity of neurons in people’s brains as the drugs took hold. Photograph: Suresh Muthukumaraswamy

Study records what appears to be the first evidence for mind-opening state experienced by users of LSD, ketamine and psilocybin 

 

Brain scans have revealed the first evidence for what appears to be a heightened state of consciousness in people who took psychedelic drugs in the name of science.

Healthy volunteers who received LSD, ketamine or psilocybin, a compound found in magic mushrooms, were found to have more random brain activity than normal while under the influence, according to a study into the effects of the drugs.

The shift in brain activity accompanied a host of peculiar sensations that the participants said ranged from floating and finding inner peace, to distortions in time and a conviction that the self was disintegrating.

Researchers at the University of Sussex and Imperial College, London, measured the activity of neurons in people’s brains as the drugs took hold. Similar measurements have shown that when people are asleep or under anaesthetic, their neurons tend to fire in a more predictable way than when they are awake.

“What we find is that under each of these psychedelic compounds, this specific measure of global conscious level goes up, so it moves in the other direction. The neural activity becomes more unpredictable,” said Anil Seth, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex. “Until now, we’ve only ever seen decreases compared to the baseline of the normal waking state.”

Brain activity with (left to right) psilocybin, ketamine and LSD

 Brain activity with (left to right) psilocybin, ketamine and LSD. The red areas indicate higher levels of random brain activity than normal.Photograph: Suresh Muthukumaraswamy

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, appears 74 years to the day after the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman went on the world’s first LSD trip. In one of the most terrifying examples of self experimentation in the annals of science, Hoffman ingested 250 micrograms of lysergic acid and had to be helped home on his bicycle by his lab assistant. After a local doctor reassured Hoffman that he was not about to die, the scientist began to enjoy himself, writing later about fantastic images surging in on him and “exploding in coloured fountains.”The scans found the most notable effects in parts of the brain that are known to be important for perceptions, rather than other roles such as language and movement. And while it is unclear how the change in brain activity affects consciousness, the result is what the scientists expected.

“I think people would have the intuitive idea that their experience on psychedelic compounds is a bit more random, a bit less constrained, that there’s a mixing of the senses, and all kinds of connections that are experienced between things that are previously unconnected,” Seth said.

Robin Carhart-Harris, a researcher at Imperial College who took part in the study, said the sudden increase in randomness in brain activity appeared to reflect a deeper and richer conscious state.

“People tend to associate phrases like ‘a higher state of consciousness’ with hippy speak and mystical nonsense. This is potentially the beginning of the demystification, showing its physiological and biological underpinnings,” he said. “Maybe this is a neural signature of the mind opening.”

Beyond confirming what scores of hippies learned more than 40 years ago, the research could help scientists to understand what neural activity corresponds to different levels of consciousness in humans. Another hope is that by understanding how people respond to the drugs, doctors can more accurately predict which patients might benefit from having psychedelic drugs to treat mental disorders, such as depression.

Carhart-Harris was among researchers who published a small trial last year into the use of psilocybin to treat serious depression. The results were promising, but more studies are needed before the compound can be considered for treatment, and the scientists warned people off picking magic mushrooms to treat their condition.

 

“The evidence is becoming clear that there is a clinical efficacy with these drugs,” said Seth. “We might be able to measure the effects of LSD in an individual way to predict how someone might respond to it as treatment.”

Source : This article was published theguardian By Ian Sample

Facebook is responding to the challenge from Snap in the classic way that tech companies try to face new competitors — by duplicating every core feature that made Snap popular, and then trying to crush it with distribution and marketing.

According to a story published Tuesday in The Information (subscription required), Facebook created a "Teens Team" to figure out how to grab teenagers back from Snapchat, and has been up front about its tactics within the company: The internal mantra among some groups is "don't be too proud to copy."

Unfortunately for Facebook, the track record for this strategy is poor.

Flash back to the early 2000s, when Microsoft was the undisputed king of the tech industry, with two unassailable monopolies — operating systems and productivity apps for personal computers.

It faced a lot of competitors, but the one that scared it the most was Google, which was in a completely different business.

Google didn't start by creating alternatives to Windows and Office, although it did so later. Instead, it created a suite of online services — first search, followed by email and maps — that threatened the entire purpose of a personal computer. Why rely on Microsoft software running locally when you could get so much done with web apps?

Microsoft's response? Trying to build the exact same service that made Google famous — a search engine, first known as MSN Search, later rebranded to Bing.

Eleven years later, Bing is a small minority player in search, with less than 10 percent market share on the desktop and less than 1 percent in mobile, according to NetMarketShare. Google dominates with almost 80 percent share on the desktop and well over 90 percent in mobile. "Google" has become a verb. Nobody "Bings" anything.

Bolstered by the massive margins in search advertising, Google has moved farther and farther into Microsoft's core territory, adding a massively successful mobile operating system (Android), web browser (Chrome), online productivity apps (Google for Work) and an increasingly robust cloud computing business. It also surpassed Microsoft in market cap for the first time in 2012 and remains ahead today.

Google faced its own Bing moment in 2011,

 when it faced a challenge from then-upstart Facebook. The social network didn't threaten Google by building a better search engine. It did so by creating an entirely different online service, based around social networking and real identities, that drew people's attention away from search and other Google properties. As people spent more and more time on Facebook, advertisers followed.

Google's response? To launch a competing social network based on real identities called Google+. It was just as successful as Bing — which is to say, not successful at all.

Facebook may still win. After all, Microsoft used this playbook very effectively in the 1990s to eliminate the threat posed by Netscape Navigator — it built a better browser, then shipped it with Windows. It dominated web browsing for almost a decade (until Google came along with Chrome and Apple's iPhone introduced the concept of effective mobile web browsing).

But Microsoft in the 1990s had an effective monopoly on personal computing platforms with Windows. If you wanted to go online, you had to go out of your way not to use Windows. The same is not true for Facebook — there are many ways to communicate and share information in real time with friends, including text messaging platforms like SMS and Apple's iMessage, and competing social networks like Twitter and — yes — Snapchat.

Facebook will have to do more to regain teens' attention than simply duplicating every feature that made Snapchat popular.

Source : cnbc.com

At the topmost level, there are two types of people in the world: Those who think personality types can be categorized and those who can't.

Among those in the first group are psychologists who began developing a system for classifying personality traits based on an analysis of language way back in the 1880s. With the advent of larger data sets, in 1978 Paul Costa and Robert McRae published their Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness Inventory (NEO-I) that grouped personalities according to three principal traits. In 1985 after further research, they added two more, and published the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI). The groupings constitute the five personality traits psychologists use today, known as “The Big Five.” Together, they form the acronym OCEAN.

OCEAN

Each personality trait is characterized by six individual facets.

The assumption has long been that these inventories could be useful in statistical studies, revealing how personality correlates to an individual’s behavior and degree of life satisfaction. And this has turned out to be true. Few scientists would assert that personality is the only factor that determines how one lives — situational factors are believed to be just as important — but there are some intriguing correspondences.

If you like, you can take a free online International Personality Item Pool Representation of the NEO PI-R™ (IPIP-NEO) test to find out where you fit into the Big Five inventory. The original version has 300 questions, and there’s an abbreviated one with 120.

Here are the five personality traits, their six traits, and some interesting things psychologists have learned about people who score highly on each trait.

Openness to Experience

art

This one describes people who enjoy the arts and new experiences. The may exhibit these facets:

  •  Fantasy — have a vivid imagination
  •  Aesthetics — believe in the importance of art
  •  Feelings — experience emotions intensely
  •  Actions — prefer variety to routine
  •  Ideas — like complex problems
  •  Values — tend to vote for liberals

Findings

High scorers are creative, into discovering new things, and have a strong internal life characterized by extended musings over concepts and experiences. Low scorers are more conventional, with narrower interests, and are more down to earth.

One study found that these people tend to become leaders, while another discovered you may be able to identify someone open to experience by their positive expressions in selfies.

Conscientiousness

organized

These people are organized, and tend to keep going and going. They're methodical, down to their to-do lists. Their sub-six are:

  •  Competence — complete tasks successfully
  •   Order — like order
  •  Dutifulness — follow the rules
  •  Achievement-striving — work hard
  •  Self-discipline — get chores done right away
  •  Deliberation — avoid mistakes

Findings

Hard-working, dependable, and not afraid of some hard work? You might score highly in conscientiousness. If you go with the flow, make decisions impulsively, and in general like to wing it, odds are you’re a low scorer.

Not surprisingly, these are the people who get ahead and often find themselves in leadership positions.

Extraversion

party

This is about degree of sociability, and one's source of energy and excitement: Is it derived from other people? (This is also sometimes called “surgency,” which ruins the OCEAN acronym.)

  •  Warmth — make friends easily
  •  Gregariousness — love large parties
  •  Assertiveness — take charge
  •  Activity — am always busy
  •   Excitement-seeking — love excitement
  •  Positive Emotions — radiate joy

Findings

High scorers people light up around other people. They love the spotlight and are often the life of the party. They may also be thrill-seekers. People who score low in this trait tend to be quieter, more inward, and more deliberate. Being around people is a chore for them.

Extraversion is also a strong indicator of leadership quality, like conscientiousness.

Agreeableness

friendly

These people are all about trust, honesty, and getting along with others. They’re also tolerant. Their six facets:

  •  Trust — trust others
  •  Compliance — would never cheat on taxes
  •   Altruism — make people feel welcome
  •  Straightforwardness — am easy to satisfy
  •  Modesty — dislike being center of attention
  •  Tender-mindedness — sympathize with the homeless

Findings

People who score highly for agreeableness are honesty, dependable, and generous, looking for the best in others. They’re often mild-mannered and consider loyalty an important value. Low scorers have low expectations of others, and may be sneaky as a result: They’re generally suspicious of other humans.

Agreeable people folks tend to be happier because they gravitate toward the positive, though they’re not as likely to get ahead as some others who are dissatisfied with things as they are and think less of their peers. According to one study, agreeable people are more likely to have a looser walk, too.

Neuroticism

neurotic

We may not all be psychologists, but we pretty much know what “neurotic” means. These people have these facets to them:

  •  Anxiety — worry about things
  •  Hostility — get angry easily
  •  Depression — often feel blue
  •  Self-consciousness — am easily intimidated
  •  Impulsiveness — eat too much
  •  Vulnerability — panic easily

Findings

Well, obviously, people who score high in neuroticism aren’t especially happy. They’re vulnerable to frequent strong negative emotions — sadness, anger, fear — and are uncomfortable with themselves. Lower scores for this trait are calm, more stable, and not as likely to react extremely when presented with stressors.

Remember how open-to-experience people looked upbeat in their selfies? These people are the most likely to throw out duck lips.

Editor's note: This post originally identified the five personality categories as "types" which made them seem more exclusive than they are. "Types" has been changed to "traits" throughout the post. 

Source : bigthink.com

THE tech giant is working on a job site called Google Hire, which could let prospective employers snoop your embarrassing search history.

IN THIS day and age, every boss is going to quickly Google a prospective employee before asking them to come in for an interview.

But now the technology giant is working on project called Google Hire, which The Sun reports will help employers learn perhaps a little bit too much about their new recruits.

It will reportedly be a recruitment tool similar to LinkedIn — however, early reports suggest it will be available through your personal Google account.

If that’s the case, it will link things like your search history and YouTube account with your job applications, laying it all bare for employers to see.

Imaging if recruiters knew every single thing you’d ever looked up on Google. Picture: iStock

Imaging if recruiters knew every single thing you’d ever looked up on Google. Picture: iStockSource:Supplie

Technology website Axios reports the tool is currently under testing, and that it will let employers post job listings, and accept and manage applications. 

Google Maps launches real-time location sharing

It was apparently developed by Google’s enterprise and cloud division, headed up by Diane Greene, whose start-up was acquired by Google in 2015.

The login page is currently live, however as the service hasn’t officially been announced it’s not yet possible to actually check the website out.

Just make sure when it does go live, you don’t do any X-rated browsing.

Source : news.com.au

Whenever we’re on the topic of humblebrags, a friend reminds me of a funny thing she did when she was 11 years old: When her family moved from Canada to Germany, she began casually wearing all the academic and sports medals she had ever won to a local hangout for teens. She never referred to the medals around her neck, but instead counted on the display of her illustrious past to impress potential new friends.

It didn’t work. Instead, after a snide comment from a competitive girl, she felt embarrassed about the half-dozen awards and stopped wearing them out.

William Irvine, a professor of philosophy at Wright State University, would say that my young friend was playing “the social hierarchy game,” where we compare ourselves to those around us to make sure we’re doing okay or better than our peers, or use self-promotion as a tool to climb the social ladder. From the standpoint of evolutionary psychology, status-watching is an adaptive behavior: early humans had to avoid rejection from the group to stay alive, so status was connected to survival and access to resources. Although our circumstances have changed considerably, that ancient habit of minding the pecking order still manifests in the brands we buy, what we share on Instagram, the food we eat, and even the books we read.

It would be nice to think that we stop wasting time and energy on the comparison game as we age—what’s endearing in an 11-year-old is just thirsty in an adult—but the reality is we’re all walking around wearing a gaggle of medals, and it can be a serious impediment to our happiness.

The following lessons—inspired by Stoic and contemporary philosophy, psychological research, and Buddhism—explain how to escape, or at least tame, insidious social comparison and make space for a more considered life.

Observe yourself, then follow the quitters

The Stoic philosophers—including Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and others—lived 2,000 years ago, or more, and even then took exception to their culture’s focus on status. According to Irvine, also the author of A Guide to The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, they believed in egalitarianism as a virtue; they also felt it would be a waste of time to devote energy to those things decidedly outside of one’s control, like what other people thought of them.

We all seize opportunities to look cleverer, funnier, better-read, or more loyal or cynical—whatever is prized in our circle.The original Stoics didn’t talk a lot about happiness, per se, but they aspired to live in a state of tranquility, and they recognized that for many people, the social hierarchy game was a hindrance to it. It wasn’t just an energy-draining distraction: Getting lost in the game made it easy for someone to be led astray and unwittingly follow someone else’s priorities.

“The theory was that one of the tricks to having a good life is realizing that there are some people whose opinion you should care about, but there’s a whole bunch who don’t matter,” says Irvine. “In fact, it’s a sign of progress if I win condemnation rather than adulation from some people.”

Irvine decided to follow their example in his own life. “I have lately made a practice of pausing, before sending emails, to look for and delete material that has no function in the message other than to let the reader know what a wonderful person I am,” he wrote in an essay about his quest, adding, “In many cases, I end up deleting so much material that there is no longer a message worth sending.”

Give it a try. “For instance, do you listen to someone with interest, or wait for them to stop talking about their vacation so that you can tell them about yours?” he asks.

What you may discover is that you hide minor slights in jokes and withhold compliments with some frequency. We all do it. We seize opportunities to look cleverer, funnier, better-read, or more loyal or cynical—whatever is prized in our circle—than everyone else in the proverbial room. Even the professor once caught himself mildly teasing a student who had announced his acceptance to a highly regarded graduate school, an envy-driven misstep he divulged in one of his books.

Name your mistakes, Irvine suggests, and learn to give out praise for the admirable traits you see in other people. “You may be extremely reluctant to do that, because in some way, they’re your competitors,” he says, “but sometimes people do things that are worthy of praise, and to openly praise them in a certain culture is an act of courage because you’re admitting that they’re outplaying you in some way.”

When you face veiled insults from those looking to gain an upper hand, disarm their barbs by criticizing yourself even more harshly, or ignore the comment entirely. If insults are allowed to take up space in your psyche, you’re back in the game, warns Irvine.

Eventually, being mindful of your interpersonal behavior can trigger an attitudinal change in other realms of life. And when others see you as “socially safe,” Irvine adds, you’ll have closer, more authentic relationships.

Change your framing

Modern psychology has examined this tendency to look to others for information about our own value. American social psychologist Leon Festinger developed the Social Comparison Theory in the 1950s, noting that people evaluate themselves by comparison when objective standards don’t exist.

How do you feel about your life now versus another point in your personal history?Sometimes people compare up, which leads to feelings of envy and low self-esteem, and sometimes they cast a glance downwards, to those who they’re “beating out,” which leads to satisfaction with one’s own achievements.

Occasionally, envy can be motivating. But obsessively comparing is never a good idea. Too much of it “poisons” the perpetrator, writes Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology at Princeton University, in a 2010 paper published in American Psychologist. It may feed a person’s feelings of envy, which is linked to depression and low self-esteem, or nurture scorn at those “beneath” their station, which leads to self-centeredness and a cluelessness about the experiences of others.

One of psychology’s answers to destructive comparing is to look for an alternate form of self-assessment: How do you feel about your life now versus another point in your personal history?

Even when there is a quantitative way to measure achievements, you can still find a better approach. In Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression, psychiatrist James Gordon describes a client who was distraught to learn that he wasn’t among the top 10% of his medical school class. Gordon’s advice was to change his framing to “P=MD,” a passing grade equals getting a degree and becoming a doctor. Passing is “good enough,” a framing that, in many arenas, can save a person—whether a medical student or new mother—from the self-doubt and fear of falling short of an “ideal.”

British philosopher Alain de Botton, in his 2005 classic, Status Anxiety, and subsequent essays and talks, has also offered his readers and followers a modified lens through which to see status. For one, de Botton suggests we see status-seeking behavior as a request for “love from the world.” What’s more, he says, “we live in a society that has pegged emotional rewards to material goods,” which is why we care so much about our status and careers, and why people determine how much time they’ll give to someone they meet at a cocktail party based on their answer to one question: “What do you do?”

De Botton’s advice is to keep in mind that meritocracy is a myth: it’s a combination of favorable circumstances—like race, family income, connections, geography, education, and luck— that allow some people to advance to higher paying or high-profile jobs. The illusion that social mobility is within anyone’s reach leads people to equate a lack of status with laziness or the absence of talent.

Rather than idolizing super-achievers, he says, look for something transcendent to contemplate. That might be fine art, for example, which often challenges the power and status hierarchies. Make up “your own version of success that doesn’t correspond with the capitalist agenda,” he says. Your job shouldn’t define you or anyone else, and neither should some jobs be more valued than others.

Your job shouldn’t define you or anyone else, and neither should some jobs be more valued than others.If Irvine’s strategy is to put the everyday interactions under a microscope, de Botton seems to suggest the opposite: look at larger forces and myths feeding into your perceptions and allow that awareness to free you of corrosive status-conscious behaviors.

Connect with what Buddhism calls your “essential self”

Psychiatrists who work with billionaires say that even people who have seemingly “won” the game find other ways to compare themselves and feel they’re lacking in some respect. Are they as charitable as one of their siblings? Are they as interesting? It’s rare to find any territory in which people can’t bring their best social comparison game.

Tara Brach, a Buddhist scholar who holds a PhD in clinical psychology, says that underneath our need to gain acceptance and status is what she calls “the trance of unworthiness, a chronic feeling that we are deficient.”

“The sense that we are not enough is a pervasive suffering in our culture—one that makes it difficult to be intimate with others, to take risks to be creative at work, and to enjoy our moments,” Brach, author of Radical Acceptance, wrote in an email to Quartz. “Even those who appear as high achieving usually live with imposter syndrome and compare themselves unfavorably to others in their field.”

The tendency to compare wanes with age.She also sources the problem to a part of our oldest mental framework, but points to a negativity bias built into our DNA to keep early humans alert to what was
wrong, and what could go wrong, which Brach explains, “also made it easy to dismiss our own goodness.”

Buddhist psychology has a workaround. “[It] shows how this limiting sense of self is at the root of our suffering: We’ve forgotten the love, awareness, intelligence and tenderness of our essential being,” says Brach. When caught by a pang of envy, she recommends taking a moment to breathe deeply. “Let the present moment—the breath, sensations, sights and sounds that are right here—be a refuge, a safe haven,” she says.

To her mind, meditation is a form of spiritual reparenting that can train the brain to quiet its fears and reconnect with that deeper self, and on her website she offers several guided exercises. She often recommends four steps easily remembered by an acronym: RAIN: “Recognize what is going on; allow the experience to be there, just as it is; investigate with interest and care; nourish with self-compassion.”

“Remind yourself of what you appreciate about yourself,” she writes specifically about those instances when you’re caught feeling like not enough. “It might be your love of your family, your honesty, your commitment to keep growing, your sense of humor, your creativity, your capacity for wonder.”

In returning to this exercise regularly, “you’ll undo the habit of envy, comparison and self-doubt,” Brach continues. “In their place will grow an increasing confidence and trust in yourself, and a deep sense of wellbeing.”

Finally, there’s one last bit of encouraging news from psychological research: Although we’re inveterate comparers, and the habit never goes away, says Fiske, the tendency does naturally wane as we reach our later years. “As we age,” she says, “we become more comfortable with who we are.”

Source : qz.com

Samsung's new personal assistant makes its debut on the Galaxy S8. Let's take a look at what it can -- and can't -- do.

Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant have a new frenemy. Samsung's Bixby is a personal assistant that comes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Here are eight things we currently know about the mysterious assistant.

It's on the Galaxy S8 only... for now

Bixby is making its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, with more Samsung products anticipated to integrate the assistant in the future. If you own an older Galaxy phone, you'll need to upgrade in order to gain Bixby.

Bixby Voice will be MIA at launch

Little more than a week before the Galaxy S8's launch, Samsung announced that Bixby Voicewill not be available in the US until later this spring, and the UK and other English-speaking countries at some point in the future. It's unfortunate and frustrating, but if it's not ready, it's better for Samsung to delay the feature.

The good news is other Bixby features, such as Home, Reminders and Camera, will be ready at launch.

Opening Bixby is super easy

When it does arrive, you'll have a few different options to open Bixby. On the left side of the Galaxy S8, just below the volume buttons is a dedicated Bixby button.

A quick press of the button to launch Bixby and give a command, or long-press to open Bixby Home. The third method to access Bixby is through the camera app.

You can also summon Bixby using your voice, with the wake word of "Bixby," naturally enough.

There's also Bixby Home

Flipboard's newsfeed is gone, replaced by Bixby Home on the Galaxy S8. With a swipe to the right from the home screen, a stream of information ranging from smart reminders for tasks you commonly carry out on your phone, to news and weather are displayed. Third-party apps such as Facebook or Uber can also display cards in Bixby Home.

Voice commands mimic touch commands

When using your voice to interact with Bixby, it will accept commands such as, "Set screen brightness to 50 percent" or, "Show photos I took in San Francisco."

Samsung equates Bixby voice commands to touch actions, stating if you can do it with touch, you can do it with Bixby.

There's a 'handful' of apps at launch

When it becomes available, Bixby will only work within Samsung apps and a limited number of them at that. Samsung is only saying a "handful" of apps are supported at launch, but stopped short of providing an exact list or number.

The company has committed to regularly updating Bixby and adding more apps and capabilities over time.

During the S8 launch announcement, Samsung demonstrated taking a screenshot and sending it as an attachment in a text message using Bixby. The company also announced Bixby will work with Google Play Music.

 

Bixby can control the camera

Using the camera app on the Galaxy S8, Bixby Vision is capable of six things:

  • Product search
  • Wine search
  • Identifying places and landmarks
  • Translating text
  • Find similar images
  • QR code and barcode reading

Just hold up your phone, wait for Bixby to scan an object or landmark, and tap on the proper button at the bottom of the display.

There's a lot it doesn't know

Answering questions about the age of a celebrity isn't something you can ask Bixby quite yet, and Samsung isn't ready to say when it will be possible.

For now, you're going to have to rely on Google Assistant (just long-press the home button) to answer trivia questions or provide random facts.

Source : cnet.com

Facebook may have revolutionized how we stay in touch with friends and family, but a new study has found that too much time on social media actually leads to increased feelings of isolation.

The study, published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined feelings of social isolation among more than 1,787 US adults between the ages of 19 and 32. 

The researchers defined social isolation as the lack of a sense of belonging, true engagement with others, and fulfilling relationships.

Participants were given a questionnaire which assessed how socially isolated a person felt, as well as how much and how often they used 11 popular social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.

The researchers found that participants spent an average of just over an hour (61 minutes) on social media each day, and visited social media sites a median of 30 times each week.

Twenty-seven percent of the participants reported feeling high levels of social isolation, with researchers concluding that greater social media use was linked to greater feelings of social isolation.

For instance, those who used social media more than two hours daily were around twice as likely to report feeling high levels of social isolation. Those who visited social media sites 58 times or more per week were about three times as likely to report feeling high levels of social isolation.

“We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together,” lead author Brian Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a press release. 

“While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for,” he continued.

The researchers noted that part of the problem could be that social media can give people the impression that others are leading happier lives, because people sometimes portray themselves unrealistically online.

Another theory is that people spending a lot of time on social media have less time for real-world interactions, and that such sites can make people feel excluded – such as when a person sees their friends at a party they weren't invited to.

However, the problem doesn't necessarily stem directly from social media. The researchers said it's possible that those who already felt socially isolated are simply more likely to spend a lot of time on social media.

“We do not yet know which came first – the social media use or the perceived social isolation,” co-author Elizabeth Miller, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a statement.

“It’s possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world.”

Miller also said it “could be a combination of both,” but noted that if social isolation came first, it does not seem to be alleviated by spending time online.

Source : rt.com 

Is your dwindling bank account impacting your health? The American Psychological Association (APA) released a survey showing that money stress impacts Americans' health nationwide. And, as it turns out, the wealthy are also stressed about money -- not just those in lower-income households.

You can eliminate some of that financial stress by earning extra income, even if you have a full-time job. Steve Chou of MyWifeQuitHerJob famously started two six-figure businesses while continuing to work at his day job.

Whether you’re looking for cash to launch your startup or make new investments with, or dig out from mounting debt, a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month can change your life. Here’s how to get started.

1. Start a service business.

Launching a service business can be done without a large network, an online presence or much overhead. The easiest way to start is by telling people in your existing network what you’re offering and asking them to spread the word.

Noah Kagan from AppSumo nailed this concept. He decided to see if he could earn $1,000 in 24 hours, starting from scratch. He ended up founding a successful beef jerky subscription business that he gave to one of his students to run.

You can steal his concept, with a business like dinner catering, freelance writing or online marketing. Start by crafting a killer outreach email to get yourself up and running in just a few days.

2. Invest in real estate.

Becoming a landlord isn’t always practical for those who are employed full-time and already strapped for cash. But you can look at buying a condo or small property in another country as a vacation getaway instead. The price tag is typically cheaper, even when you hire a local property management group to manage renters while you’re away.

Commercial real estate can also be a lucrative way to invest and earn passive income, even without a large down payment. Get started with a site like Realty Mogul, and invest in commercial real estate for as little as $5,000. You'll get vetted deals and access to high-end listings you wouldn’t otherwise find.

3. Launch an online resource.

Share your expertise by launching an online ebook or course to help others while you earn passive income. My own ebook, 100 Days of Growth, ended up generating more income than my day job. It was a ton of up-front work, but once it was ready to go, it took minimal effort to maintain and to keep up with sales.

If writing ebooks isn’t your strong suit, launch a video course or bootcamp instead. I didn’t stop at books -- I also launched a content marketing bootcamp through ContentMarketer.io to help my clients master content-marketing abilities in 10 weeks.

4. Leverage the power of Amazon.

It’s always an admirable goal to launch your own online store and build a customer base, but you’re also talking about wearing many different hats. You need to research products, find a manufacturer, market your site and figure out how to fulfill orders. Don’t forget about customer service and refund requests.

Instead, you could sell a product and develop a presence directly on Amazon without the need to take on so many roles. Some sellers even have their products shipped directly to Amazon’s fulfillment center and never touch the product itself.

5. Join the sharing economy.

It’s not hard to nail down a few hundred to thousands of dollars a month by leveraging the sharing economy. But it’s not just about renting out your spare bedroom or basement on Airbnb. Rent out your car on Turo and bike to work or carpool instead. Rent out your camera equipment lying around your house on Cameralends, your snowboard or bike on Spinlister or your sailboat on Sailo.

And if you are going to rent on Airbnb, consider helping your revenue skyrocket by renting out your entire house instead, and using the opportunity to visit family or go on vacation.

6. Host an event.

You can make money hosting events without aiming for thousands of sign-ups, vendors and high-profile guest speakers. Instead, form a free MeetUp group on a topic you’re knowledgeable about, like growth hacking, and run free events.

After you secure a loyal following, charge for an event with a reputable guest speaker. Rent out a small, upscale conference room at a nearby hotel, and grow your new MeetUp by hosting exclusive, sought-after events that charge a premium for fantastic content.

7. Get paid to do what you’re already doing

Take inventory of what you're doing in your free time. People who love skydiving (like me!) can get certified to teach and do jumps on the weekend. You get to do what you love while earning extra money at the same time. Ask your local bar if you can help run its trivia night, or bartend a few nights a week while hanging out and getting to talk to interesting people.

Even if you’re not interested in doing much but relaxing and surfing online, you can earn money by testing websites and recording your opinion with a site like UserTesting.

So, get out there. Use your imagination to start a flow of extra income today.

Source : entrepreneur.com

Artificial intelligence has made great progress in helping computers recognize images in photos and recommending products online that you're more likely to buy. But the technology still faces many challenges, especially when it comes to computers remembering things like humans do.

On Tuesday, Apple’s director of AI research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, discussed some of those limitations. However, he steered clear during his talk at an MIT Technology Review conference of how his secretive company incorporates AI into its products like Siri.

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Salakhutdinov, who joined Apple in October, said he is particularly interested in a type of AI known as reinforcement learning, which researchers use to teach computers to repeatedly take different actions to figure out the best possible resultGoogle (GOOG, +0.17%), for example, used reinforcement learning to help its computers find the best possible cooling and operating configurations in its data centers, thus making them more energy efficient.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon, where Salakhutdinov is also an associate professor, recently used reinforcement learning to train computers to play the 1990's era video game Doom, Salakhutdinov explained. Computers learned to quickly and accurately shoot aliens while also discovering that ducking helps with avoiding enemy fire. However, these expert Doom computer systems are not very good at remembering things like the maze's layouts, which keeps them from planning and building strategies, he said.

Part of Salakhutdinov’s research involves creating AI-powered software that memorizes the layouts of virtual mazes in Doom and points of references in order to locate specific towers. During the game, the software first spots what's either a red or green torch, with the color of the torch corresponding to the color of the tower it needs to locate.

Eventually, the software learned to navigate the maze to reach the correct tower. When it discovered the wrong tower, the software backtracked through the maze to find the right one. What was especially noteworthy was that the software was able to recall the color of the torch each time it spotted a tower, he explained.

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However, Salakhutdinov said this type of AI software takes “a long time to train” and that it requires enormous amounts of computing power, which makes it difficult to build at large scale. “Right now it’s very brittle,” Salakhutdinov said.

Another area Salakhutdinov wants to explore is teaching AI software to learn more quickly from “few examples and few experiences.” Although he did not mention it, his idea would benefit Apple in its race to create better products in less time.

Some AI experts and analysts believe Apple's AI technologies are inferior to competitors like Google or Microsoft because of the company's stricter user privacy rules, which limits the amount of data it can use to train its computers. If Apple used less data for computer training, it could perhaps satisfy its privacy requirements while still improving its software as quickly as rivals.

Author : Jonathan Vanian

Source : fortune.com

It is hard to predict the future but not impossible. The experts of their respected field are predicting its future so does the tech-geeks. Their predictions were partially right then, and they might be right in the future. We are in the first half of the 2017 and all the predictions for this year are starting happening. But in this article, I am going to take you two decades ahead and will tell you the impacts of the internet in the year 2037.

Augmented and Virtual Reality will start playing a major role due to the internet:

The world wasn’t ready for the augmented reality few years back that is why Google Glass failed. But the way virtual reality (VR) is making everyone crazy. Its first cousin VR is getting acceptance day by day that is why in the next 20 years, augmented reality (AR) will be our best friend that will not only project the internet but will also embed it in the real world. Microsoft HoloLens is its recent example that is increasing the credibility of this prediction by the experts. But before the storm of augmented reality in the world, virtual reality will keep entertaining us till the rise of AR. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are the set to dominate the world entertainment with VR and internet.

Privacy will be the commodity of others:

Even I am writing this blog on the MS Word in my beautiful garden just after the dawn, I am still connected to the internet and the websites like Facebook, Google or any app in my smartphone is busy in downloading my browser cache just to show me the advertisement of my interest. Same way, everyone is connected to the internet and under the scanner. That is why our privacy is becoming the commodity of others. Things are bad right now as far as privacy concern, but it can become worst in the next 20 years. It looks like that in the next two decades, only the rich will afford to be entirely off the chart. This will result in the companies investing billions of their capitals just ensure the privacy of their customers. They will succeed in it or not; it is another story.

The IoT will be matured enough to:

The IoT or the internet of things is a phenomenon that connects our refrigerators, alarm clocks, TV and other various things to each other. The way IoT and AI are getting matured, possibilities are high that our other daily life accessories like vehicles, health monitors, wallets, home security and even the paper currency will all be connected too. It will only achieve when the information starts moving freely through the high-efficiency internet. The more freely information start flowing, the greater power and freedom we will get and we may able to witness a day when we successfully connect everything to the internet.

Luddites can come back:

We all have read about the Luddites of the 1811-16 in the England who used to destroy all the machines because they thought this would take their places. They can come back in the next 20 years. Though the Luddites of 1811-16 were right and the machines did take their jobs, but the story of 2037 could be different from this. The pace of the technology development of the present era is pretty fast, and in the next 20 years, this pace will become astounding. That is why companies and business will search for the people who can understand every development of the technology and internet and can use them for the companies.

man-person-clouds-apple

Mars can get connected with the internet:

Don’t know about the aliens, but the earth is the only planet with the internet connection. But not for long because SpaceX founder Elon Musk is on a mission to provide the internet to our brothers in Mars. Means, he wants to colonize the Mars for which, the internet is important so they can be able to contact with their friends and family back home on Earth. How astonishing it sounds! SpaceX is planning to launch a satellite which will orbit the Mars and will transmit the data back and forth. According to some calculations, this transfer will take approximately up to 24 minutes to complete. It is like using the internet speed in kbps down here.

AI and the faster internet:

At the rate AI is getting closer to human intelligence, the future is very sure for the AI but not for the humans. The new artificial intelligence has proven much effective in regulating internet traffic as compared to the human engineers. This is not it, AI with the help of faster internet will able to take the place of the humans especially in the fields like education where the AI robots can easily replace the teachers. On the paper, the AI teaching system would be much advanced and sophisticated with the answer of almost every problem and the tendency to give never ending lectures.

Conclusion:

Although all of these predictions are the grain of salt, if we analyze the past of all these predictors, they are the ones who predicted the present of the internet. However, there will be many twists and turns in the development of the internet, but the only thing which is certain is that the way we are using internet toady will be almost unrecognizable for our future generations.

Source : http://lerablog.org/internet/impacts-of-the-internet-on-the-world-in-next-20-years/

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