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Corey Parker

Corey Parker

How to check if a photo shared on social media has been digitally altered

What is it: A tool that analyses digital images, showing the areas where they could have been altered

Cost: Free for a basic report for images in JPEG and PNG format. A Lab version with additional features is available at a cost.

How is it of use to journalists: Verifying information from social media is becoming a key skill for journalists today. You can find many helpful guides for verifying images sourced online – the process involves multiple steps including geolocating the photo, checking whether the person who shared it online is the creator of the image and contacting them whenever possible.

 

FotoForensics can help along the way by providing analysis of the digital image that could help you work out whether the photo has been altered or not.

The site is free to use and you don’t need an account to check a particular photo – you can upload your file from your device or using a URL, and you will receive a report that includes information such as metadata and error level analysis.

Moreover, FotoForensics features a number of tutorials to help you learn more about how to analyse what you see, and what each of the factors included in the report mean.

As well as analysing a number of photos alongside notes from FotoForensics to help you make a better assessment, you can also read a list of common mistakes you can make when going through the process.

One thing to consider when using this tool is that it cannot give you a verdict on whether or not an image has been edited. It can provide information you can use to make up your own mind. When assessing images sourced from social media, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible they have been reposted a number of times, and the image quality has deteriorated with every share.

“The very first question an analyst should ask is ‘where did this picture come from?’,” an article from FotoForensics outlining common mistakes explains. “Online services, like Facebook and Twitter, resave pictures at a low quality. The size of an image and the quality of the picture directly impacts the ability to evaluate the file. A large picture that has been repeatedly resaved with JPEG compression is also unlikely to have subtle artifacts intact.”

The free version of FotoForensics, which you can access without an account, is a public website. Each image you upload is stored by FotoForensics and can be used for research purposes. You can find out more about the privacy policy of the tool here. Registering an account and signing up for the Lab version gives you more privacy options.

FotoForensics has been recommended by verification experts including Tetiana Matychak, co-founder of Ukrainian fact-checking site StopFake, and Craig Silverman, media editor, BuzzFeed News, and editor of the Verification Handbook.

 

When using this tool, remember that it is only one step of the verification process. It could help speed up your task, but it won’t provide you with all the answers in a few seconds.

This article was  published in journalism.co.uk by Catalina Albeanu

The most effective call-to-action techniques use basic psychology. You can use some of these psychology methods in your calls to action to turn visitors into repeat customers.

For example, let’s say you just read about an online tool that can make your business run faster and increase productivity. Who doesn’t want that?

So you go to the website and snoop around. Ten minutes later you’re clicking the PayPal button and checking your email for confirmation.

Do you know what persuaded you to go to that website and buy the product? It was an effective set of call-to-action methods that pushed you through the buying process.

Call these methods sneaky, but when done right, an effective call to action will guide your visitors through the buying process, thus getting you more clicks, more buys, and more sign ups.

 

How Compelling Is Your Call to Action?

Your website is competing with more than a billion other websites. Every one of those sites asks the user to do something, whether it be to buy, read more, or hand over their email address. You won’t compel anyone to hand over their money or personal information unless you give them a good reason.

Luckily, creating a click-worthy call to action isn’t hard. In fact, you don’t need to look any further than the nearest psychology book.

Here are seven ways you can use psychology to create a more compelling call to action.

1. Use Repetition

The human brain automatically scans material for themes and patterns that can help it process and understand information faster. Take advantage of the brain’s inclination to seek out repetition and use a recurring phrase to prime your user for the call to action.

For example, if you want more people to sign up to your newsletter, incorporate the phrase “save money” throughout the page. Use that phrase in the header, body, and final call-to-action button. By the time the user reaches the call-to-action button, his brain has already correlated the action of “clicking to subscribe” with saving money.

If you’re not sure which recurring phrase will be effective, use your targeted SEO keyword. This provides a seamless start-to-finish search experience for the user: He types the keyword into the search engine, then recognizes it in your ad copy or meta description, then sees it again once he clicks through to your page. By the time he reaches the call to action containing the same keyword, his brain has begun associating your page with the phrase he initially searched, and he won’t hesitate to click the button.

2. Create a Sense of Urgency

Ever notice that retailers make sales sound like an emergency? Or have you come across a deal with a time limit?

Optimal Countdown Timer

There’s a reason for this. Certain words and phrases, and the feeling of missing out prompt us to act faster.

This is why ads that tout “amazing limited-time offers” or bargains that only last “until supplies run out” are common. We’re more likely to buy now if we’re afraid that we can’t buy tomorrow.

You can improve conversions by creating the same sense of urgency. Also known as scarcity marketing, this technique uses phrases like “last chance,” “offer expires,” or “going fast.”

This method highlights the scarcity of your product, thereby prompting the user to click your call to action before the deal is gone. This is why so many calls to action include the word “now.”

 

Exclusivity is another powerful motivator. Nothing feels more exclusive than being one of the first to have the insider scoop, especially if you can give the user bragging rights.

So don’t just ask your user to just plain old “subscribe here,” prompt them to “become an insider” or “ask for an invitation” to your mailing list. Other motivators include “be the first to hear about it” or “get it before everyone else.” They’ll be more inclined to join your list if they think they’re gaining access to something that can elevate their status.

3. Focus on a Benefit

Think back to the last time you were on a website evaluating a service. What were you looking for?

While looking through the features of a service or product, I bet you were asking “what’s in it for me” the whole time.

Newbie marketers often make the mistake of talking up features rather than the benefits those features can provide. Higher conversions happen when you can clearly answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Psychologically, users aren’t interested in bells and whistles. They’re interested in how those bells and whistles help them solve problems. Think about how your product saves time, money, or hassle for the user, then incorporate that value into your call to action.

A call-to-action button that says “never be late again” is more impactful than one that says “get our time management app.” The same goes for a button that says “shave 10 hours off your work week” rather than “read our time-saving tips.”

Phrase your call to action to focus on results, and you’ll instantly see more clicks.

4. Minimize the Risk

Everyone loves high value and low risk. So why not do like smart marketers do and use money-back and no-obligation tactics to seal the deal? Minimizing risk alleviates your user’s fears and hesitations during the buying process and encourages them to buy or sign up.

 

Do your sales pages and calls to action make it clear that your free trial is “no-obligation”? Or, does your service include a “money-back guarantee”? Make sure you’re clearly stating them in your call to action or in the copy leading up to it.

While you’re at it, don’t overlook the power of the word “free.” It can be one of the most powerful and persuasive words in the English language, and it’ll help you get more clicks.

Remember, the less risk involved, the more likely your user is to click a call to action — and telling them something is free eliminates any financial risk in their mind.

5. Choose the Right Color

With the absence of physical space — meaning your product or service is fully online — the only senses you communicate through is visual (and audio if you use video). This is why using the right color is so important.

Colors automatically invoke emotion in humans and transmit information on a subconscious level. For example, black has long been associated with sleek sophistication while pink has been associated with femininity — and we all know that green means “go.”

Since you can only communicate through visuals (and sound), use a color that will get your users to “click.”

If you want to energize, choose a vibrant yellow or orange (think Kayak.com). If you want to come across as trustworthy, choose blue as the color of most financial institutions. Or opt for a rich purple if you want to convey a sense of opulence and luxury (think Jet.com).

You can place even more emphasis on your call to action by choosing a color that pops, a color different from the rest of your website. This is easily done by confining your landing page to a monochromatic color scheme and incorporating a contrasting color for your calls to action, whether it be keywords or action buttons.

Conversely, avoid the temptation to make the color design too simple. If your user can’t easily spot your call to action, they won’t be clicking on it. Avoid gray calls to action altogether — gray is the default color when a button or field is inactive; users will skip right over it.

6. Ask at the Right Time

So far we’ve talked about how to ask your visitor to bite at your call to action, but it’s just as important as when you ask them to do it.

 

If you’re seeking opt-ins for your course or email list, implement a welcome mat or design your opt-in above-the-fold like marketing leaders Darren Rowse and Brian Dean.

Problogger website welcome mat

Welcome mats are full-page call to actions and above the fold is the first area you see when you visit a website.

Backlinko website welcome mat

Welcome mats and above-the-fold call to actions provide a less invasive user experience than traditional pop-up boxes. These eliminate the risk of a user leaving your site before seeing your call to action.

However, if your primary goal is to get your users to buy something, it’s best to follow steps 3 and 4 (focus on a benefit and minimize buyer risk) before asking them to sign up via a welcome mat. Users will rarely agree to buy without having some idea of what they’re getting for their money.

7. Keep It Simple

It’s good practice to follow up your primary call to action with a secondary one, such as following your company on social media after purchasing a product. However, it isn’t good practice when your primary call to action is followed by several more calls to action.

The more options you give the user, the less likely they are to choose one — and the more likely they are to bounce. This phenomenon is called decision paralysis, and preventing your visitors from it can help you get higher conversions.

Make sure your primary call to action is immediately visible and understandable, then see if other elements on the page could distract visitors from that call to action. If you’re giving the visitor several other calls to action to click on, it’s probably too much.

Streamline your visitor’s experience and increase success rate by making sure you have a primary call to action and one secondary call to action. Any more than that and it will distract and deter people from staying on your website.

Final Thoughts

Attract more visitors and increase conversion rates by helping your visitors through the buying process using effective call-to-action techniques that have roots in basic psychology.

 

Implementing these steps today will make your content more appealing and will turn visitors into clients, and customers into repeat visitors.

This article was  published in searchenginejournal.com by Dev Sharma

New research in the field of microorganisms has revealed that bacteria are much more advanced organisms than we thought before. Up to now, research has shown that bacteria can communicate via chemical signals through their quorum sensing capabilities. Bacteria who communicate with their own species using this personal language can coordinate their attacks or advocacy on this issue.

New research in this area has revealed that bacteria can communicate not only with their own species but also with different types of bacteria. Bacteria that use chemical signals to communicate with their species use electrical signals to communicate with other species.

 

Jintao Liu, a researcher who has been studying the biofilms of bacterial colonies, made this important breakthrough after noticing oddities in the development of biofilms. Discovering the existence of a phylum from a period of two hours during biofilm expansion followed by a two-hour inactivity period, Liu noticed that this expansion and pause cycle benefited all types of bacteria in the biofilm.

If the outer cells continued to expand uncontrollably, the bacterium in the center could not get enough nutrients and the biofilm skeletal structure would collapse from the center. Liu realized that the bacteria were working together to prevent this situation. This meant that different types of bacteria could somehow communicate with each other. Because biofilms contain many different types of bacterial colonies.

 

Knowing that bacteria can not communicate with different species using quorum-detection, researchers have begun to investigate how bacteria interact with other species. At this point, Arthur Pringle, another researcher on Jianto Liu’s team, found that bacteria used electrical signals to communicate with different species.

According to the article published in the Nature magazine of the team, including Jintao Liu and Arthur Pringle, bacteria can open pores used as ion channels. Bacteria then send positively charged potassium ions from these pores. Neighboring cells feel these molecules, open their pores and send more positively charged ions. Thus, electrical signals can be transmitted to the outer cells of the biofilm.

 

This article was  published on business2community by  Cem Akbulut

Back in 2010, we shared with you 100 awesome search engines and research resources in our post: 100 Time-Saving Search Engines for Serious Scholars. It’s been an incredible resource, but now, it’s time for an update. Some services have moved on, others have been created, and we’ve found some new discoveries, too. Many of our original 100 are still going strong, but we’ve updated where necessary and added some of our new favorites, too. Check out our new, up-to-date collection to discover the very best search engine for finding the academic results you’re looking for.

General

Need to get started with a more broad search? These academic search engines are great resources.

  1. iSEEK Education:iSeek is an excellent targeted search engine, designed especially for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers. Find authoritative, intelligent, and time-saving resources in a safe, editor-reviewed environment with iSEEK.
  2. RefSeek:With more than 1 billion documents, web pages, books, journals, newspapers, and more, RefSeek offers authoritative resources in just about any subject, without all of the mess of sponsored links and commercial results.
  3. Virtual LRC:The Virtual Learning Resources Center has created a custom Google search, featuring only the best of academic information websites. This search is curated by teachers and library professionals around the world to share great resources for academic projects.
  4. Academic Index:This scholarly search engine and web directory was created just for college students. The websites in this index are selected by librarians, teachers, and educational consortia. Be sure to check out their research guides for history, health, criminal justice, and more.
  5. BUBL LINK:If you love the Dewey Decimal system, this Internet resource catalog is a great resource. Search using your own keywords, or browse subject areas with Dewey subject menus.
  6. Digital Library of the Commons Repository:Check out the DLC to find international literature including free and open access full-text articles, papers, and dissertations.
  7. OAIster:Search the OAIster database to find millions of digital resources from thousands of contributors, especially open access resources.
  8. Internet Public Library:Find resources by subject through the Internet Public Library’s database.
  9. Infomine:The Infomine is an incredible tool for finding scholarly Internet resource collections, especially in the sciences.
  10. Microsoft Academic Search:Microsoft’s academic search engine offers access to more than 38 million different publications, with features including maps, graphing, trends, and paths that show how authors are connected.
  11. Google Correlate:Google’s super cool search tool will allow you to find searches that correlate with real-world data.
  12. Wolfram|Alpha:Using expert-level knowledge, this search engine doesn’t just find links; it answers questions, does analysis, and generates reports.

 

Meta Search

Want the best of everything? Use these meta search engines that return results from multiple sites all at once.

  1. Dogpile:Find the best of all the major search engines with Dogpile, an engine that returns results from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, with categories including Web, Images, Video, and even White Pages.
  2. MetaCrawler:MetaCrawler makes it easy to “search the search engines,” returning results from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
  3. Mamma:Check out the mother of all search engines to pin down the best resources on the web. Mamma even searches Twitter and job postings!

Databases and Archives

Resources like the Library of Congress have considerable archives and documents available, and many of them have taken their collections online. Use these search tools to get access to these incredible resources.

  1. Library of Congress:In this incredible library, you’ll get access to searchable source documents, historical photos, and amazing digital collections.
  2. Archives Hub:Find the best of what Britain has to offer in the Archives Hub. You’ll be able to search archives from almost 200 institutions from England, Scotland, and Wales.
  3. National Archives:Check out this resource for access to the National Archives. Find online, public access to find historic documents, research, government information, and more in a single search.
  4. arXiv e-Print Archive:Cornell University’s arXiv.org offers open access to a wealth of e-prints in math, science, and related subjects. Search this resource to find what you need among 756,133 documents and counting.
  5. Archivenet:An initiative of the Historical Centre Overijssel, Archivenet makes it easy to find Dutch archives and more.
  6. NASA Historical Archive:Explore the history of space in this historical archive from NASA, highlighting space history and manned missions.
  7. National Agricultural Library:A service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can find global information for agriculture in the National Agricultural Library.
  8. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System:Get access to the considerable resources of the Smithsonian Institution through the Research Information System, a great way to search more than 7.4 million records from the Smithsonian’s museums, archives, and libraries.
  9. The British Library Catalogues & Collections:Explore the British Library catalogues, printed materials, digital collections, and even collection blogs for a wealth of resources.
  10. CIA World Factbook:As the center of intelligence, the CIA has certainly done its job with The World Factbook, offering information on major reference information around the world. History, people, government, economy, and more are all covered in this online publication.
  11. State Legislative Websites Directory:Use this database to find information from the legislatures of all 50 U.S. states, DC, and the Territories. You can look up bills, statutes, legislators, and more with this excellent tool.
  12. OpenDOAR:In the Directory of Open Access Repositories, you can search through freely academic research information with more directly useful resources.
  13. Catalog of U.S. Government Publications:Search through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications to find descriptive records for historical and current publications, with direct links where available.

 

Books & Journals

Instead of heading to the library to bury your face in the stacks, use these search engines to find out which libraries have the books you need, and maybe even find them available online.

  1. WorldCat:Find items from 10,000 libraries worldwide, with books, DVDs, CDs, and articles up for grabs. You can even find your closest library with WorldCat’s tools.
  2. Google Books:Supercharge your research by searching this index of the world’s books. You’ll find millions for free and others you can preview to find out if they’re what you’re looking for.
  3. Scirus:For scientific information only, Scirus is a comprehensive research tool with more than 460 million scientific items including journal content, courseware, patents, educational websites, and more.
  4. HighBeam Research:Research articles and published sources with HighBeam Research’s tools. You’ll not only be able to search for what you’re looking for, you can also choose from featured research topics and articles. Note: HighBeam is a paid service.
  5. Vadlo:Vadlo is a life sciences search engine offering protocols, tools, and powerpoints for scientific research and discovery. Find what you’re looking for, and then stick around to check out the forums.
  6. Open Library:Find the world’s classic literature, open e-books, and other excellent open and free resources in the Open Library. You can even contribute to the library with information, corrections to the catalog, and curated lists.
  7. Online Journals Search Engine:In this free, powerful scientific search engine, you can discover journals, articles, research reports, and books in scientific publications.
  8. Google Scholar:Check out Google Scholar to find only scholarly resources on Google. The search specializes in articles, patents, and legal documents, and even has a resource for gathering your citations.
  9. Bioline International:Search Bioline International to get connected with a variety of scientific journals. The search is managed by scientists and librarians as a collaborative initiative between Bioline Toronto and and the Reference Center on Environmental Information.
  10. SpringerLink:Search through SpringerLink for electronic journals, protocols, and books in just about every subject possible. You can also browse publications by collection and content type.
  11. Directory of Open Access Journals:When you need top-quality journal writings for free, the Directory of Open Access Journals is a great place to check out. You’ll get access to a searchable journal of full-text quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals.
  12. Jurn:In this curated academic search engine, you’ll get results from over 4,000 free scholarly e-journals in the arts and humanities.

 

Science

With a focus on science, these academic search engines return all-science, all the time.

  1. SciSeek:In this science search engine and directory, you’ll find the best of what the science web has to offer. Browse by category, search by keyword, and even add new sites to the listings.
  2. Chem BioFinder:Register with PerkinElmer to check out the Chem BioFinder and look up information about chemicals, including their properties and reactions.
  3. Biology Browser:Biology Browser is a great resource for finding research, resources, and information in the field of biology. You can also check out their Zoological Record and BIOSIS Previews.
  4. Athenus:Athenus is an authority on science and engineering on the Web, sharing a directory and full-featured web search.
  5. SciCentral:Use SciCentral as your gateway to the best sources in science. This site has a literature search, journals, databases, and other great tools for finding what you need.
  6. Strategian:Strategian is a great place to find quality information in all fields of science. Featured resources include free full-text books, patents, and reports, as well as full-text journal and magazine articles, plus a special collection of Vintage Biology with important articles and books in biology.
  7. Science.gov:In this government science portal, you can search more than 50 databases and 2,100 selected websites from 12 federal agencies. This is an incredible resource for millions of pages of U.S. government science information.
  8. CERN Document Server:This organization for nuclear research serves up a great search and directory for experiments, archives, articles, books, presentations, and so much more within their documents.
  9. Analytical Sciences Digital Library:Through the Analytical Sciences Digital Library, you’ll find peer-reviewed, web-based educational resources in analytical sciences, featuring a variety of formats for techniques and applications.
  10. WorldWideScience:Use WorldWideScience.org as a global science gateway, offering excellent search results in the sciences, and even the option to select specific databases and find resources in your own language.

 

Math & Technology

Keep your results limited to only the best math and technology resources by using these search engines.

  1. MathGuide:Check out the MathGuide subject gateway to find online information sources in mathematics. The catalog offers not just a search, but a database of high quality Internet resources in math.
  2. ZMATH Online Database:Zentralblatt MATH’s online database has millions of entries from thousands of serials and journals dating back as far as 1826. Nearly 35,000 items were added in 2012 alone.
  3. Math WebSearch:This semantic search engine allows users to search with numbers and formulas instead of text.
  4. Current Index to Statistics:In this bibliographic index, you’ll find publications in statistics, probability, and related fields. There are more than 160 preferred journals, plus selected articles from 1,200 more and 11,000 statistics books to draw from in this search.
  5. Inspec:This database was made for scientists and engineers by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. You’ll find nearly 13 million abstracts and research literature, primarily in the fields of physics and engineering.
  6. CiteSeerX:Get searchable access to the Scientific Research Digital Library by using the CiteSeerX website.
  7. The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies:Find more than 3 million references to journal articles, conference papers, and technical reports in computer science with this bibliography collection.
  8. Citebase:Still in experimental demonstration, Citebase Search is a resource for searching abstracts in math, technology, and more.

 

Social Science

Researchers working in the fields of psychology, anthropology, and related subjects will find great results using these search engines.

  1. Behavioral Brain Science Archive:Check out this searchable archive to find extensive psychology and brain science articles.
  2. Social Science Research Network:In this research network, you can find a wide variety of social science research from a number of specialized networks including cognitive science, leadership, management, and social insurance.
  3. Psycline:Find a journal with Psycline’s journal and article locator, a tool that offers access to more than 2,000 psychology and social science journals online.
  4. Social Sciences Citation Index:The Thomson Reuters Social Sciences Citation Index is a paid tool, but well worth its cost for the wealth of relevant articles, search tools, and thorough resources available.
  5. Ethnologue:Search the languages of the world with Ethnologue, offering an encyclopedic reference of all the world’s known living languages. You’ll also be able to find more than 28,000 citations in the Ethnologue’s language research bibliography.
  6. SocioSite:Use this site from the University of Amsterdam to browse sociological subjects including activism, culture, peace, and racism.
  7. The SocioWeb:Check out this guide to find all of the sociological resources you’ll need on the internet. The SocioWeb offers links to articles, essays, journals, blogs, and even a marketplace.
  8. WikiArt:With this custom Google search engine, you can find open access articles about archaeology.
  9. Encyclopedia of Psychology:Search or browse the Encyclopedia of Psychology to find basic information, and even translations for information about psychology careers, organizations, publications, people, and history.
  10. Anthropology Review Database:Through this database, you can get access to anthropology reviews, look up publishers, and find resources available for review.
  11. Anthropological Index Online:This anthropological online search includes both general search of 4,000 periodicals held in The British Museum Anthropology Library as well as Royal Anthropological Institute films.
  12. Political Information:Political Information is a search engine for politics, policy, and political news with more than 5,000 carefully selected websites for political information.

 

History

Find awesome resources for history through these search engines that index original documents, sources, and archives.

  1. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection:Use the LUNA Browser to check out David Rumsey’s Map Collection with more than 30,000 images, searchable by keyword.
  2. Genesis:Find excellent sources for women’s history with the Genesis dataset and extensive list of web resources.
  3. Fold3:Get access to historical military records through Fold3, the web’s premier collection of original military records and memorials.
  4. Internet Modern History Sourcebook:Use the Internet Modern History Sourcebook to find thousands of sources in modern history. Browse and search to find full texts, multimedia, and more.
  5. Library of Anglo-American Culture and History:Use the history guide from the Library of Anglo-American Culture and History for a subject catalog of recommended websites for historians, with about 11,000 to choose from.
  6. HistoryBuff:History Buff offers an online newspaper archive, reference library, and even a historical panoramas section in their free primary source material collection.
  7. Digital History:University of Houston’s Digital History database offers a wealth of links to textbook, primary sources, and educational materials in digital history. The database has multimedia, an interactive timeline, active learning, and resources for teachers.
  8. Internet Ancient History Sourcebook:The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook is a great place to study human origins, with full text and search on topics including Mesopotamia, Rome, the Hellenistic world, Late Antiquity, and Christian origins.
  9. History and Politics Out Loud:History and Politics Out Loud offers a searchable archive of important recordings through history, particularly politically significant audio materials.
  10. History Engine:In this tool for collaborative education and research, students can learn history by researching, writing, and publishing, creating a collection of historical articles in U.S. history that can be searched for here by scholars, teachers, and the general public.
  11. American History Online:Through American History Online, you can find and use primary sources from historical digital collections.

 

Business and Economics

Using these search engines, you’ll get access to business publications, journal articles, and more.

  1. BPubs:Search the Business Publications Search Engine for access to business and trade publications in a tool that offers not just excellent browsing, but a focused search as well.
  2. Virtual Library Labour History:Maintained by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, this library offers historians excellent content for learning about economics, business, and more.
  3. EconLit:Visit EconLit to access more than 120 years of economics literature from around the world in an easily searchable format. Find journal articles, books, book reviews, articles, working papers, and dissertations, as well as historic journal articles from 1886 to 1968.
  4. National Bureau of Economic Research:On this site, you can learn about and find access to great resources in economic research.
  5. Research Papers in Economics:Find research in economics and related sciences through the RePEc, a volunteer-maintained bibliographic database of working papers, articles, books, and even software components with more than 1.2 million research pieces.
  6. Corporate Information:Perfect for researching companies, Corporate Information offers an easy way to find corporate financial records.
  7. Inomics:Economists will enjoy this excellent site for finding economics resources, including jobs, courses, and even conferences.
  8. DailyStocks:Easily look up stocks with this search engine to monitor the stock market and your portfolio.
  9. EDGAR Search:The SEC requires certain disclosures that can be helpful to investors, and you can find them all here in this helpful, next-generation system for searching electronic investment documents.

 

Other Niches

Find even more specialized information in these niche search engines.

  1. PubMed:From the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PubMed is a great place to find full-text medical journal articles, with more than 19 million available.
  2. Lexis:Find reliable, authoritative information for legal search with the Lexis site.
  3. Circumpolar Health Bibliographic Database:Visit this database to find more than 6,300 records relating to human health in the circumpolar region.
  4. Education Resources Information Center:In the ERIC Collection, you’ll find bibliographic records of education literature, as well as a growing collection of full-text resources.
  5. MedlinePlus:A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus offers a powerful search tool and even a dictionary for finding trusted, carefully chosen health information.
  6. Artcyclopedia:Search Artcyclopedia to find everything there is to know about fine art, with 160,000 links, 9,000 artists listed, and 2,900 art sites indexed.

 

Reference

Get connected with great reference material through these search tools.

  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus:Use this online dictionary and thesaurus to quickly find definitions and synonyms.
  2. References.net:Through References.net, you can get connected with just about every reference tool available, from patents to almanacs.
  3. Quotes.net:Need the right thing to say? Check out Quotes.net to reference famous words from famous people.
  4. Literary Encyclopedia:Check out the Literary Encyclopedia to get access to reference materials in literature, history, and culture.

Source: teachthought.com

Wi-Fi technology has only been around for a couple of decades, but demand for high-speed public access has exploded over the last few years. Now, devices can easily connect to the internet at millions of public hotspots worldwide -- which some analysts estimate could grow eight-fold to 300 million hotspots globally in 2018. Along with increased demand for a greater number of hotspots, there has also been growing demand for faster connection speeds as users want to stream videos seamlessly and to be able to download and upload huge amounts of data from multiple devices.  

There are many companies looking to provide the infrastructure and technology necessary for that growth -- from traditional internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), with its Xfinity service that ranked the fastest ISP in the U.S. in 2016 by PCMag, to the companies that provide hardware, security, and many other parts of the total wireless internet market.

 

Many of the companies innovating in this space are located in the United States. However, in terms of how the U.S. compares to other countries in public Wi-Fi speed -- it's barely a contender. The U.S. ranks number 19 on the list of countries with the fastest average public Wi-Fi download speeds according to RottenWifi. Here are the five countries with the fastest public Wi-Fi as of 2016. 

Sun setting over buildings in the old town of Vilnius, Lithuania.
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Lithuania

Topping the list of fastest public Wi-Fi is Lithuania, with average download speeds of 16.6 Mbps, nearly double that of the U.S. This small Baltic country seems very focused on promoting itself as a good option for businesses to set up shop as it tries to attract more international investment. This seems to be fueling the focus on tech-forward thinking, including investment in helping to spread public Wi-Fi in the country. 

 

The Singapore skyline with reflections of the buildings and ferris wheel in the night water.
THE ISLAND NATION OF SINGAPORE. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Singapore

Singapore has moved up the list in recent years, which makes sense as this small island-country between Malaysia and Indonesia has become a financial and technological tentpole of the region. The Singaporean government has set up a program offering free public Wi-Fi via thousands of hotspots across the island called "[email protected]" Last year, the government announced that it is upgrading the hotspots to faster speeds and that they will double the number to 20,000 across the country by 2018. 

 

A Swiss flag hangs over houses in the town of Zermatt with the famous Matterhorn of the Swiss Alps rising in the background.
A TOWN IN SWITZERLAND OVERLOOKING THE MATTERHORN AND SWISS ALPS. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Switzerland

Switzerland is serious about its public Wi-Fi -- locals and visitors can access the internet in public areas like parks, beaches, museums, public squares, and other open areas. The country is also known for its skiing, and one operator there is combining the two. A resort near Davos recently opened a new chairlift that comes equipped with sensors that adjust the seat height before the skier boards, heated seats -- and free public Wi-Fi for the 8 minute ride to the top.

 

Colorful houses and some boats along the river in Copenhagen, Denmark.
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Denmark

Denmark wants to expand its public Wi-Fi reach further through an initiative that would see thousands of new lamp posts across the country connected with services beyond just offering light. As announced in 2014, the long-term vision is to have the lamp posts see coming bicyclists and increase their brightness accordingly, sense when there's a dumpster that needs to be emptied -- and also serve as free public Wi-Fi hot spots. The program is being developed in Copenhagen in conjunction with Cisco as part of its "smart cities" initiative. 

 

The famous Westminster Bridge with the sun setting over a double decker bus in London.
LONDON, U.K. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

United Kingdom

Though the U.K. makes the top five on this list, the government there wants to upgrade its connectivity infrastructure, particularly in London as a means to keep its status as a financial center of Europe. Partner companies are working to install hundreds of devices in government fixtures (like lamp posts, etc.) throughout the City of London in 2017 to bring better connectivity to the area. Those hotspots will reportedly have speeds up to 1Gbps -- nearly 100 times as fast as average download speeds across the U.K. now. 

Investing in the continued growth of Wi-Fi worldwide

There are an estimated 3.7 billion people with internet access in 2017, just under half of the world's population. Many companies outside of the traditional ISP realm are popping up as major players in the effort to grow that total internet access. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced recently that it would lay hundreds of miles of fiber optic cables and set up Wi-Fi hot spots across Africa, starting in Nigeria and Kenya. Undoubtedly, Facebook is making this decision in the hope of bringing ever more users to its platform. 

Still, for Facebook and others, in areas like Africa, India, and many other regions worldwide, the opportunity for new growth is massive, and potentially very lucrative. As billions more people gain access to the internet in the years to come -- much of which will be through fast and free public Wi-Fi -- the opportunity and ideas for how this could affect internet service providers, social media platforms, content creators, e-commerce companies, and many more industries becomes an increasingly interesting trend for investors to watch. 

 

Forget Comcast: "Total conviction" buy signal issued
The Motley Fool's co-founders, David and Tom Gardner, rarely agree on a stock. But when they do, their picks have beaten the market by nearly 10x on average.*
That's why many investors consider their joint stamp of approval to be a "total conviction" signal to buy. The Motley Fool recently announced a new "total conviction" stock…and it wasn't Comcast!
 
This article was published on fool.com By Seth McNew

New research in the field of microorganisms has revealed that bacteria are much more advanced organisms than we thought before. Up to now, research has shown that bacteria can communicate via chemical signals through their quorum sensing capabilities. Bacteria who communicate with their own species using this personal language can coordinate their attacks or advocacy on this issue.

New research in this area has revealed that bacteria can communicate not only with their own species but also with different types of bacteria. Bacteria that use chemical signals to communicate with their species use electrical signals to communicate with other species.

 

Jintao Liu, a researcher who has been studying the biofilms of bacterial colonies, made this important breakthrough after noticing oddities in the development of biofilms. Discovering the existence of a phylum from a period of two hours during biofilm expansion followed by a two-hour inactivity period, Liu noticed that this expansion and pause cycle benefited all types of bacteria in the biofilm.

If the outer cells continued to expand uncontrollably, the bacterium in the center could not get enough nutrients and the biofilm skeletal structure would collapse from the center. Liu realized that the bacteria were working together to prevent this situation. This meant that different types of bacteria could somehow communicate with each other. Because biofilms contain many different types of bacterial colonies.

 

Knowing that bacteria can not communicate with different species using quorum-detection, researchers have begun to investigate how bacteria interact with other species. At this point, Arthur Pringle, another researcher on Jianto Liu’s team, found that bacteria used electrical signals to communicate with different species.

According to the article published in the Nature magazine of the team, including Jintao Liu and Arthur Pringle, bacteria can open pores used as ion channels. Bacteria then send positively charged potassium ions from these pores. Neighboring cells feel these molecules, open their pores and send more positively charged ions. Thus, electrical signals can be transmitted to the outer cells of the biofilm.

 

This article was  published on business2community by  Cem Akbulut

Sometimes, even on my best days, I just need a little encouragement at work.

Other times, I could use a big kick in the butt to get stuff done. With that said, I can't always rely on a co-worker or my boss to hold me accountable and be my cheerleader.

Luckily, I can get plenty of inspiration and motivation right from my computer—and just by opening a new tab in my browser.

And you can too, if you add one of these extensions to your internet homepage. (Who needs a personal trainer or life coach?)

 

1. To stay on track with your goals: Don't Break the Chain

Don't Break the Chain is a deceptively simple online tool made famous in the '90s sitcom Seinfeld. All you do is choose the goal you want to track and then mark an X on the calendar every day you achieve it. The trick is that, once you see a few days in a row marked off, your brain will want you to continue "the chain." 

2. To get the best tech tips and tricks: labnol

If you don't already know Digital Inspiration, I promise you'll be glad you found it now. This website's been around forever in internet time (since 2004) and is one of the most popular how-to blogs all about software tools. And, with the labnol (Digital Inspiration's easily-searchable nickname for itself) extension, you can quickly find exactly the tutorial you need from their massive database of amazingly clever and useful guides and articles.

3. To complete all your to-dos: Strict Workflow

Even if you're a master at making to-do lists, it's not always easy to get it all done. Strict Workflow helps you stay on track by encouraging — or, if you set it this way, forcing — you to focus. Just click to start a 25-minute timer and then get to work. At the end of the time, you'll get a five-minute break. And, if you need something more "strict," you can block yourself from distracting sites during your work period.

 

Based on the famous Pomodoro technique, this is proven to work.

4. To take care of yourself: Save My Eyes

I bet that you spend a good part of your work day (and maybe your free time, too) in front of your computer. While it might not feel physically demanding, it can take its toll. Save My Eyes protects your vision and your body by reminding you to take regular breaks.

This is your chance to either just rest your eyes or get up and exercise. Whatever you choose, you'll come back feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to be productive again.

5. To remember what's important: Dayboard

In a nutshell, Dayboard replaces your new tab page with your to-do list — but what I love about it is that it only lets you list five tasks. So, you'll always remember your top priorities. It also shows you all the tasks you've done during the last two weeks for an extra boost of confidence.

6. To be more generous: Helpfreely App

It's OK to admit it — we all love to shop online. But did you know that doing it can also raise money for charity? When you have the Helpfreely extension and you look for a product in your search engine of choice, the extension will show you how much of your purchase is being donated to charity, and it won't cost you or the organization a thing.

 

7. To make your own motivation: Reminders of Inspiration

Sometimes, basic is best. This simple extension lets you add either a quote or an image to be shown in every new tab. So, you can put that quote that always lifts you up, the lyrics to your personal "fight song," or maybe a picture of that gorgeous little Italian village you're planning to visit when you finally save up enough. I'm all about customization like this as a way to motivate yourself. After all, who knows better what moves you than you?

8. To get your visual fix: Pinterest

Who isn't inspired by gorgeous photos? Now, you can use the Pinterest Chrome extension to be awestruck every time you open a new tab. Choose the category you're interested in (like photography, food, or fashion), and Pinterest will serve you up the best pins in that topic. Plus, you'll still see your own calendar in the tab so you don't get too off track for the day.

9. To have some (feline) fun: Tabby Cat

With all these extensions to make you work better or be better, you might be ready for something a little lighter. How about a "new cat for every new tab"? Tabby Cat will show you a cute cartoon kitty whenever you open a new page. They're adorably animated, and they leave you little gifts.

Plus, they have the best names (like Grand Bubbles or Tricky Wrinkle), and there's a built-in "camera" for photographing your favorites. This might be just the lightheartedness you need to get through the day. 

 

Download these extensions to your browser, and surfing the web will be the most productive thing you do all day.

Read the original article on The Daily Muse. Copyright 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017 11:28

How Search Engines Make Us Mentally Lazy

“Just Googling it” may do more harm than we think.

In an eye-opening piece on Quartz titled “Googling gives us answers — but deprives us of intelligence,” writer Ted Hunt explores the darker side of search engines, specifically the way they affect our intellectual abilities.

The idea he points to, the “Google Effect,” isn’t new, but it’s worth revisiting. In 2011, researchers from Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard teamed up to study how having so much information readily available to us via the internet affects our memory. The Google Effect refers, broadly, to the idea that we get mentally complacent as a result of knowing that we can easily look something up if we need to. When we know an answer is at our fingertips, we’ll remember how to retrieve that information (see: Google search) but not how to recall the information on our own.

 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

This means “we quickly become less vigilant and increasingly passive in our judgement of the world around us,” Hunt writes. Knowing everything is readily available with a quick search makes us less reliant on our own thoughts and knowledge and cuts us off from the wisdom of others, too. In a nutshell, we’re mentally lazy not just about storing information for ourselves, but we’re also less likely to ask our friends or family for answers.

 

While we can’t change the search system all at once, you can try looking something up in a place other than the internet before you turn to a search engine. Experiment with using an “old fashioned” technique like asking a friend, using an encyclopedia or heading to the library.

This article was  published on journal.thriveglobal.com by Lorman

Unpaywall is a web browser plug-in that brings free information to those who seek facts. The open-source service is disrupting traditional publishing by giving users access to peer-reviewed journal articles for free, and it's all totally legal.

FREE INFORMATION

Getting blocked by a paywall can be irritating, especially if you’re trying to access peer-reviewed scientific research. Open access advocates would certainly think so. To paraphrase Richard from HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” who doesn’t want free information? Well, there may now be a way to get scientific publications for free — and it’s completely legal.
 
Open-source nonprofit Impactstory, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has developed a web browser plug-in called Unpaywall, and as the name suggests, it’s a way to get through to paywalled research papers for free.

 

“Now more than ever, humanity needs to access our collective knowledge, not hoard it behind paywalls,” according to Unpaywall’s website. “Lots of researchers feel the same; that’s why they upload their papers to free, legal servers online. We want to help bring that open access content to the masses.”

SUPER LEGAL

Unlike similar services that rely on means like automated web scraping, Unpaywall’s method of getting full-text access to scientific journals is totally legal. It scans a database of more than 90 million digital object identifiers (DOIs) for copies of papers that the researchers themselves have uploaded, whether on some pre-press servers or university websites. Unpaywall is also completely secure, as it doesn’t ask you for any personal information.
 

Best of all, to use the service, you just need to install the plug-in on your Chrome or Firefox desktop browser. A little lock symbol will appear every time you visit a journal article’s landing page. If the lock is green, you have access to a full-text copy of the article. A gold lock means an article already has open license access from the publisher.
 
Image credit: Unpaywall, screenshotImage credit:
 
Unpaywall, screenshot “We’re able to deliver an OA copy to users more than half the time,” Jason Priem, one of Unpaywall’s creators, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. He’s excited for the service to hit critical mass: “That’s when people start thinking, ‘Hey, why are we paying millions of dollars to subscribe to tens of thousands of journals when our researchers have about a better-than-even chance of reading an article with no subscription at all?'
 

 

 
”A service like Unpaywall’s can help fight the flood of fake news or unverified information. It’s a fact-checking tool that’s readily accessible to anyone with an internet connection and the appropriate web browsers. Truly, the only thing worse than no information might just be information that’s false.
 
This article was  published in futurism.com by Dom Galeon

"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." -- Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt is trying to upset us. And his thought here warrants close attention because as a software engineer and the CEO of Alphabet (Google), he arguably understands the Internet about as well as anyone on planet earth. It’s a probe that does for the Internet what Marshall McLuhan’s famous probes did for television in the 1960’s: it shakes us up.

McLuhan used his probes to remove the blinders from our narrow, naïve thinking about electronic media so we could see where they were actually taking us: towards the electronically connected global village that we inhabit today.

Schmidt’s probe does likewise for the Internet with the difference that his vision is markedly darker than McLuhan’s. It dispels once and for all the puffed-up and endlessly marketed notion of the Internet as an unmitigated blessing for humanity. It nudges us to look past all this hype so we can see the Internet for what it is: a mixed blessing at best, replete with promise and fraught with peril for humanity.

 

That’s not an easy task. Most people feel uncomfortable being nudged in this way. Perhaps law firms especially. It’s not hard to imagine a group of complacent, white-wigged English barristers hearing Schmidt’s musings about Internet anarchy and then chiming in with mocking shouts of “Hear, hear!”

At the same time, such white-wigged sarcasm surely warrants respect, for its roots lie in the lawyerly aversion to anarchy and the disposition to order that marks the practice of law on both sides of the pond.

But there’s a second and more pressing reason why law firms might be prone to neglecting the Internet’s downside. This has to do with the hyper-competitiveness of all business today—the relentless drive for business growth that’s being fueled (of all things) by the Internet. In this heady atmosphere, law firms risk succumbing to the temptation—indeed, the seeming necessity—to exploit to the hilt the Internet’s huge upside—its massive growth and profit potential—while neglecting its huge downside: its immense threats to data security.

For law firms such neglect is exceedingly consequential, for it puts at risk core principles and capabilities that make possible the very practice of law. These include the fundamental tenet of attorney/client privilege and the indispensable ability to conduct sensitive M&A negotiations in absolute confidence. On the need to protect the former, E-Discovery expert Ralph Losey makes the essential point:

Cybersecurity should be job number one for all attorneys. Why? Because we handle confidential computer data, usually secret information that belongs to our clients, not us. We have an ethical duty to protect this information under Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

To put it mildly, a dilemma arises here. And there arises also a challenge that may be put this way: in a digital age, does there exist a sweet spot between business growth and cybersecurity? A valid answer to this question requires, first, an awareness of the actual consequences of lax cybersecurity.

On this score we need look no farther than to the 2016 hacking of partner emails—specifically, a number of spear-phishing attacks—that led to the enormous data breaches of the elite New York firms of Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP. The stakes could hardly have been higher, for these firms, as Wall Street Journal said, represent “Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies in everything from lawsuits to multibillion-dollar merger negotiations.”

7 gigabytes of data were stolen. That’s enough for tens or even hundreds of thousands of emails.

The three Chinese hackers recently charged with the hacks were smart. As targets they chose partners whose practice areas included mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property.

The Chinese hackers are charged with using hacked data to make $4 million in profits from insider trading. That’s bad. Worse yet is the possibility of hackers kidnapping M&A and intellectual property data and holding it hostage for huge ransoms. The worst-case possibility, as Fortune magazine reports, is that “the breach [of Cravath and Weil, Gotshal] took place as part of a larger initiative by the Chinese government”.

So then: what’s to stop breaches like these from occurring in 2017? No nearly enough. In today’s digital world there exist dozens of groups of expert hackers, be they Chinese or Russian, state agents, trained professionals or self-educated teens, that are entirely capable of doing to other firms what the Chinese hackers did to Cravath and Weil Gotshal.

And there exist dozens of law firms—including BigLaw firms—that aren’t taking these hacker groups seriously enough.

At times, the legal profession’s disregard of cybersecurity can be stunning. To take just one instance: the American Bar Association’s 2015 Legal Technology Survey Report finds that nearly 40 percent of lawyers in the U.S. are using public Wi-Fi to access client data, but only 22 percent are using an encrypted connection.

.  .  .  .  .  

All this raises the question of the actual state of law firm cybersecurity today. Several years ago Jody R. Westby of the American Bar Association observed that “Law firms have never been very good with technology, and now they are struggling, as breaches in firms have made headlines and clients increasingly are asking questions about their security programs.” Demand for data protection came, notably, from clients, not attorneys.

Recently the 2016 Novitex and Association of Legal Administrators' (ALA) Report documented the extend of this neglect today. Based on a survey of hundreds of firms worldwide, the report found that “… law firms across the globe [are] primarily concerned with bolstering their business operations and financial viability above all else”.

The Report went on to say that “Only 8.4 percent of [800] firms [surveyed] were most concerned with reducing cybersecurity risk, compared to 7.8 percent of firms concerned with improving workflows. Around of half of those (4.1 percent) were also primarily focused on upgrading their technologies.”

These findings are alarming. In the long run, priorities like these one are invitations to trouble. There’s a mantra going around these days that cybersecurity in a digital world isn’t an IT problem, but a business problem. It’s the right mindset, and it points the way to the sweet spot of data security as an actual driver of business growth.

 

Now let’s see how law firms can strengthen their cybersecurity practices.

.  .  .  .  .

Belatedly, the legal profession is responding to market demand for data safety. Belatedly. Consider this ILTA Technology Review graphic of 2012:

As abysmal as these numbers are, what matters for our purposes here is the eight activities they measure. As an IT professional whose job it is to protect Chi Networks’ Customers from the downside of Internet anarchy, I see the need for these eight activities, in more comprehensive version of them, to be as familiar to all members of a business as the rules of the road are to drivers. That’s saying a lot. But in digital world, computer security should be second nature. Think of a day when your colleagues are as comfortable talking with each other while securing their computers as they are comfortable talking with passengers while driving. That’s the goal to strive for. Because when all is said and done, it’s our strongest protection from the dark side of the Internet.

My own updated and more comprehensive list of eight focal points for business protection looks like this:

 

1. Emails. For emails end-to-end encryption is the gold standard. But it requires both ends—your end and, say, your client’s end—to be encrypted. In any event, use a provider that supports strong encryption. If you host your own emails, use encryption software.

2. For passwords, use two-factor authentication. Require employees to use a modern password manager that can create complex passwords, change passwords automatically and show you have to improve password security. Although password managers require time to learn and stock all with secure passwords, they are free, save time in the long run, and they really, truly make life easier and safer.

3. Require employees to use only firm-approved mobile (BYOD) phones. Have your IT staff partition BYOD phones into separate encrypted compartments that securely wall off company from personal data. At my company, Chi Networks, call this the Work Wall.

4. Secure computers with firewalls and virus protection. Keep operating systems and software up to date.

5. Ensure employee mastery of company cybersecurity policies. Update them based on the findings of periodic risk assessments.

6. Implement ongoing, firm-wide employee education on the latest cyber threats. By trial and error, create learning environments—group sessions, fun contests with prizes, self-paced individual tests, one-on-one interactions with IT staff—that work best for your employees.

7. Have penetration tests on your IT system conducted by outside firms or your own security team. Hack yourself before someone else does, then fix the hacks.

8. Conduct regular practice drills testing everyone’s ability to respond correctly in the event of an actual data breach.

So: will these eight steps, effectively implemented, make cybersecurity second nature for your colleagues? They won’t. But they are solid steps in the right direction.

Wrapping up, Eric Schmidt has it right. The Internet is an experiment in anarchy. It’s taking humanity deeply and inexorably into a brave (and dangerous) new world of creative disruption on a global scale. That much we know for certain.

 

This awareness gives the legal profession in particular, as a primary guarantor of societal order, the responsibility of ensuring that data security becomes an actual driver of business growth. There’s your sweet spot. If these words don’t strike a chord, maybe six others will: Cravath Swaine & Moore, Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Source : corpcounsel.com

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