Will You Join The Virtual Reality World?

English: World Skin - Maurice Benayoun Virtual...

English: World Skin – Maurice Benayoun Virtual Reality Installation – 1997 “A Photo Safari in the Land of War” Français : World Skin – Maurice Benayoun Installation de Réalité Virtuelle – 1997 Un safari photo au pays de la guerre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there is one thing you should learn besides computer and online safety, it’s about VR (virtual reality)
How VR came back ‘from the dead’

‘By the late 1990s, the hype surrounding consumer VR had all but fizzled out. For a time, it seemed as if consumer-level virtual reality would remain primarily the stuff of movies, comic books and TV.

‘It would take decades and a lot of new technology for that to change.

‘Computer processing power, perhaps the chief engine behind believable VR, doubled many times over since the 1990s…’
And that started the renaissance of VR

‘When scientist and futurist Jaron Lanier cooked up the term “virtual reality” in the 1980s, it was little more than a marketing device.

‘“We were in our early 20s,” Lanier, now 53, recalled. “I thought we were doing the most important thing humanity had ever encountered.” The excitement surrounding this new frontier in human interaction and engagement was palpable.

‘“There was reason to believe,” said Harold Rheingold, who wrote 1991 book Virtual Reality, “that any applications that let people interact with computers or simulations would be very big.”

‘Lanier and VPL did spark a revolution. Virtual reality‘s impact is evident in everything from the AMNH exhibit to automobile design (Ford’s Immersive Vehicle Environment is particularly impressive), surgical simulations and CNN’s guesses at what happened to Malaysian Flight MH370…’
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Is Science Fiction the Wrong Model for Imagining the Future?
Robinson Meyer thinks so
‘A lot of people might read that line and think: Wow, cool, Google is trying to make the future!

‘But “science fiction” provides but a tiny porthole onto the vast strangeness of the future. When we imagine a “science fiction”-like future, I think we tend to picture completed worlds, flying cars, the shiny, floating towers of midcentury dreams.

‘We tend, in other words, to imagine future technological systems as readymade, holistic products that people will choose to adopt, rather than as the assembled work of countless different actors, which they’ve always really been. The futurist Scott Smith calls these ‘flat-pack futures,’ and they infect “science fictional” thinking.

‘Science fiction, too, can underestimate the importance and role of social change…’

How Tech is exploding all across the UK
‘London certainly is a heavyweight player. Last year, in Tech City alone, more than 15,000 startups launched, which is more than any other area in the country. From a Twilio perspective, London was a natural fit for our first home outside of San Francisco. A vibrant startup ecosystem, the financial market, talent and flexible business conditions were all contributing factors.

‘But it’s important to highlight that the tech industry has exploded all across the UK, and not just in London. In fact, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research’s recent report told us that there are at least 270,000 digital companies across the country…’

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Adult Attention-span Like Child’s Because of Gadgets

dailymail-article-2258877-16CE01FF000005DC-678_468x286When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Online Devices
‘Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical and consulting psychologist at Harvard, recently wrote . For her book, Steiner-Adair interviewed more than 1,000 kids from the ages of 4 to 18. She talked to hundreds of teachers and parents.

‘”One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off,” she says, “was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents’ attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry.”…’

Is it Idolatry When You Love a Person More than you Love God?
That’s what conservative Christians believe
Couple Who Never Spent a Night Apart Die Together After 70 years of marriage
‘When Helen Felumlee passed away at the age of 92 Saturday morning, her family knew her husband Kenneth Felumlee, 91, wouldn’t be slow to follow her. The couple couldn’t bear to be apart very long, and Kenneth passed away only 15½ hours after his wife of 70 years.

‘“We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” said daughter Linda Cody. “We wanted them to go together, and they did.”

‘After Kenneth had his leg amputated 2½ years ago because of circulation problems, Helen became his main caretaker, making sure he got everything he needed. She continued this up until three weeks before their deaths, when she became too frail to care for him…’

Activist Blogger Accidentally Kills Avenging ex-Cop
Arkansas ex-cop killed while trying to set anti-corruption blogger’s hot dog cart on fire
‘A former police officer died while trying to set ablaze a food cart belonging to a blogger who exposed crooked cops and other corrupt city officials. ArkansasMatters.com reported Friday that former Little Rock Police Officer Todd Payne died when blogger Ean Bordeaux (pictured above) tackled him as Payne tried to flee the scene of the attempted arson.

‘Bordeaux is the proprietor of the Corruption Sucks blog, a webpage dedicated to exposing corruption in the Little Rock local government and in the state government of Arkansas. At about 4:30 a.m. on Friday, he awoke to find the hot dog cart he operates for a living in flames…’

The CIA/Mafia/Vatican drug alliance
‘”The secrets of Masonry are not that hard to find out….”
The Knights of Malta are very well represented in US intelligence agencies. For the last seven hundred years these two forces have been engaged in non-stop warfare.

‘The Knights of Malta are allies of the Vatican and the Mafia. It’s a complicated world, isn’t it?’
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Proof that Evidence Backfires

blog.handcraftImagine if the illustrations below could be applied to actual crimes
‘…As if things couldn’t get any more depressing, Norbert Schwarz the coauthor of the “facts and myths” paper suggests that when a respected institution such as the CDC weighs in and debunks a claim, this can actually end up lending credence to the claim in people’s minds. Schwarz cites as an example an internet rumor about flesh-eating bananas that was so prolific it was debunked by the CDC website. When this happened, the flesh-eating banana scare grew and began actually being attributed to the CDC!

‘In an another study a similar backfire effect was found in Conservative voters who believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. After receiving a correction that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction they became more likely to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction than controls…’

Interview with a Time Traveller
See if this would convince you that time travel is possible
‘Rather, from his grasp of classical philosophy and science, he has developed a convincing methodology for transcending time, not via a device or machine, but through the agency of human consciousness. It is not some futuristic technology, but present-day technique, Von Braschler demonstrates, that allows us to cross the time barrier.

‘A former newspaper and magazine editor, Von Braschler hosted his own weekly radio program, “Healing with Your Pet: Our Psychic, Spiritual Connection.” But it is his present effort that readers may find the most immediately engaging of all his singular achievements.

‘I began by asking him an obvious question…’

How Artists’ Brain are Different
‘Lead author of the study, Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium, told BBC News that she was interested in finding out how artists saw the world differently.

“The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory,” she explained.

“It falls into line with evidence that focus of expertise really does change the brain. The brain is incredibly flexible in response to training and there are huge individual differences that we are only beginning to tap into.”

‘One of the study’s other authors, Chris McManus from University College London, said it was difficult to know what aspect of artistic talent is innate and how much is learnt:…’

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Biggest Tech Downside?

ibtimes-homeless-gopro-projectTechnology is Making People Lose Empathy for Strangers
Will you even just look at a needy stranger on the street when you’re busy with your gadget? You probably said no right?
‘Now four years sober, Adam Reichart said he agreed to take part in the Homeless GoPro project in a bid to turn his life around. He will wear the camera for two hours a day, with the footage uploaded onto the project’s website.

‘”Most people who are homeless don’t have any type of real interaction that means anything when you’re homeless because people treat you so much differently,” he said.

‘”I notice every day that people are losing their compassion and their empathy not just for homeless people but for society in general.

‘”I feel technology has changed so much where people are emailing and don’t talk face-to-face anymore, people are losing social skills…and their compassion…’

Children losing manipulative skills because of tablet addiction
Children can swipe a screen but can’t use toy building blocks, teachers warn. Computer habits are also hindering progress at school

‘Children are arriving at nursery school able to “swipe a screen” but lacking the manipulative skills to play with building blocks, teachers have warned.

‘They fear that children are being given tablets to use “as a replacement for contact time with the parent” and say such habits are hindering progress at school.

‘Addressing the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Colin Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, said excessive use of technology damages concentration and causes behavioural problems such as irritability and a lack of control…’

Six core qualities of a person endowed with vision
How to Cultivate Practical Wisdom in Our Everyday Lives
From psychologist Barry Schwartz, author of the influential The Paradox of Choice, and political scientist Kenneth Sharpe

‘…Perhaps most importantly, practical wisdom requires a degree of self-awareness and self-reflection, affirming the notion that it’s more important to understand than to be right — something not always easy in a culture dominated by the illusion of the separate ego:

‘Practical wisdom demands more than the skill to be perceptive about others. It also demands the capacity to perceive oneself—to assess what our own motives are, to admit our failures, to figure out what has worked or not and why… Such self-reflection is not always so easy when … we feel we’ve been wronged. And it’s also difficult when we’ve been wrong — thoughtless, careless, too self-interested. Being able to criticize our own certainties is often a painful struggle, demanding some courage as we try to stand back and impartially judge ourselves and our own responsibility.

‘Schwartz and Sharpe go on to outline the six core qualities of the person endowed with telos:…’

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Appeals Court says Blogs are Not Only Media…

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

they’re also an important source of news and commentary

A recent legal decision that helps support the idea that bloggers are entitled to and whether they should be the same as those given to professional journalists, was handed down in a Florida court case involving accusations of defamation:

‘Under state law, anyone who wants to pursue a defamation case has to notify the media outlet in question five days before filing. But Christopher Comins argued he didn’t have to do so in the case of a blog post from university student Matthew VanVoorhis, because blogs aren’t a traditional form of media and therefore aren’t entitled to notice.

‘As Techdirt notes, Comins’s argument was thrown out by the original court, but he appealed. Now, an appeals court has upheld that decision — and in the course of doing so, the judges in question chose to provide some great commentary on the importance of blogging as a form of media. The decision says:

Using a Fake Account to Commit Libel
Those are 2 different crimes
Fake Peoria mayor Twitter account prompts real raid of West Bluff house

‘Police searched a West Bluff house Tuesday and seized phones and computers in an effort to unmask the author of a parody Twitter account that purported to be Mayor Jim Ardis.

‘The account — known as @Peoriamayor on the popular social media service that limits entries to 140 characters — already had been suspended for several weeks when up to seven plainclothes police officers executed a search warrant about 5:20 p.m. at 1220 N. University St.

‘Three people at the home were taken to the Peoria Police Department for questioning. Two other residents were picked up at their places of employment and taken to the station, as well…’
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Auto-Text Your Friends If You Don’t Make It Home
Whether you’re meeting up with a stranger or just taking a midnight stroll, give Kitestring a heads up. We’ll check up on you with a simple text message. Reply to let us know you’re okay. If you don’t check in, we’ll send your emergency contacts a customizable alert message.

A ‘Legal’ Search Engine for Illicit Searches
New ‘Google’ for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy
The dark web just got a little less dark with the launch of a new search engine that lets you easily find illicit drugs and other contraband online.

Grams, which launched last week and is patterned after Google, is accessible only through the Tor anonymizing browser (the address for Grams is: grams7enufi7jmdl.onion) but fills a niche for anyone seeking quick access to sites selling drugs, guns, stolen credit card numbers, counterfeit cash and fake IDs — sites that previously only could be found by users who knew the exact URL for the site.

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Progress in World’s Longest Experiment [Video]

English: The pitch drop experiment, a long-ter...
Drop of pitch falls after 13 years of waiting
‘After a wait of more than 13 years, the ninth drop of pitch collided ever so slowly with the eighth drop in the bottom of the beaker.

‘The experiment was set up in 1927 to demonstrate that solid materials—pitch shatters if hit with a hammer—can flow like liquids.

‘Pitch Drop custodian Professor Andrew White said seven drops had fallen between 1930, when the experiment began, and 1988, at an average of one drop every eight years…’
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The Terrifyingly Real Science Of ‘Transcendence’
‘Over the years, the biggest proponent of the singularity has been noted author, scientist, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who freely acknowledges that, “Science fiction is the great opportunity to speculate on what could happen.” Although a notorious eccentric, Kurzweil’s thinking has led to numerous technological innovations over the last few decades. Recently, he partnered with Google (yes, Google) in their efforts towards “using techniques of deep learning to produce an artificial brain.”

‘Ray Kurzweil’s most famous work, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, defines the singularity as, “the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.” It goes on from there:…’

5 Strange Facts About Memory
‘Memory can be a playful thing. It collects minute details from childhood events, yet leaves us wondering where we left our keys.

‘There are several types of memories, and the brain has a unique way of forgetting each kind. Psychologists have classified various ways by which we forget, and biologists have studied forgetting mechanisms at the cellular level.

‘They’ve found that forgetting is normal, and actually vital to how the brain works. Here is a look at the strange facts about how people forget things…’

How Dissociative Identity Disorder Works
‘Dissociative Identity Disorder was known as multiple personality disorder until a case of mass hysteria brought on by the movie-mad public and unscrupulous psychiatrists led to a stigma over the term. Now psychiatry has gotten serious about the condition…’

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Americans Nervous of Futuristic Science, Tech

Science fiction museum
‘Americans are generally excited about the new technology they expect to see in their lifetimes. But when confronted with some advances that already appear possible — from skies filled with drones to meat made in a lab — they get nervous.

‘Nearly two out of three Americans think it would make things worse if U.S. airspace is opened up to personal drones. A similar number dislike the idea of robots being used to care for the sick and elderly, and of parents being able to alter the DNA of their unborn children.

‘Those are the findings in a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, which sought to gauge public opinion about our rapidly changing world of science and tech…’

Is Science Fiction the Wrong Model for Imagining the Future?
Robinson Meyer thinks so
‘A lot of people might read that line and think: Wow, cool, Google is trying to make the future!

‘But “science fiction” provides but a tiny porthole onto the vast strangeness of the future. When we imagine a “science fiction”-like future, I think we tend to picture completed worlds, flying cars, the shiny, floating towers of midcentury dreams.

‘We tend, in other words, to imagine future technological systems as readymade, holistic products that people will choose to adopt, rather than as the assembled work of countless different actors, which they’ve always really been. The futurist Scott Smith calls these ‘flat-pack futures,’ and they infect “science fictional” thinking.

‘Science fiction, too, can underestimate the importance and role of social change…’

Who Really Birthed the Scientific Method?
If you answered Isaac Newton, Galileo, or Aristotle, you’re wrong
‘In 1011, Ibn al-Haytham was placed under house arrest by a powerful caliph in Cairo. Though unwelcome, the seclusion was just what he needed to explore the nature of light. Over the next decade, Ibn al-Haytham proved that light only travels in straight lines, explained how mirrors work, and argued that light rays can bend when moving through different mediums, like water, for example.

‘Little is known about Ibn al-Haytham’s life, but historians believe he was born around the year 965, during a period marked as the Golden Age of Arabic science. His father was a civil servant, so the young Ibn al-Haytham received a strong education, which assuredly seeded his passion for science. He was also a devout Muslim, believing that an endless quest for truth about the natural world brought him closer to God. Sometime around the dawn of the 11th Century, he moved to Cairo in Egypt. It was here that he would complete his most influential work…’

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