See Big Data Grow on the Internet in Real Time


An animated preview of “The Internet in Real Time” website

Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocksLab).

We’ve all heard statistics about how much data is shared on the Internet in just a few minutes. Well here is a site that will make it come alive: The Internet in Real Time. This animated image gives you a preview of what the site does: but when you actually land on the web page, it starts counting at 0 for each of the types of data in question. And then it starts to count up.

Is this really what people mean by Big Data? No, not exactly. But I think it helps to make the concept of big data more understandable. If you sit with the website active for just a few minutes you very quickly understand how data can get to be so big.

Did Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment Create Harm?


Facebook Shows No Regard for Impact of Its Human Mood Experiments

Facebook Shows No Regard for Impact of Its Human Mood Experiments

Yesterday, The Atlantic broke the story about “Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment” This story isn’t about Facebook manipulating news feeds for advertising–that’s not news to any of us who have been paying attention (and, I might add, their ads are labeled). This story is about Facebook subjecting people to mood experiments two years ago, without full informed consent and without a post-experiment debriefing.

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Self Care in the Digital Age


Woman looking to plug into a tree with one of three plugs: Soul, Mind, Body

Most of our devices work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Email apps sends us notifications round the clock to let us know that someone is trying to reach us. We have come a long way from the days when we were reliant on the natural cycles of light and dark to determine when to rise and when to sleep — digital devices are just the latest development in a process where we began to shape our environment and our routines with technology.

But devices that are 24/7 can suck us into to trying to do the same. In order to not respond to the newest notification on my phone I need to actively make a choice: do I ignore it? turn off notifications? set them up with a schedule to leave me alone at certain time? or just look at my phone to see who it is?
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The Newest Technology is Always the One that Will Ruin the World


I don’t typically do just a photo post, but this one was so perfect I couldn’t resist.

The newest technology is always the one that will ruin the world.        Image from Transcendent Man

Toddlers May Learn More From Touch Screens Than Educational TV


Toddler looking at touchscreenI came across this story last month and it seemed appropriate to highlight here. It’s really not that surprising a finding, because watching TV is essential a passive activity and interacting with an electronic touch screen device is active. But for some reason, many of us tend to throw all “screen” related activities in the same mental bucket, so a study like this reminds us that screens can involve very different activities. Continue reading

A Magazine is an iPad that Doesn’t Work


This short video illustrates a cute variation of the paradigm confusion that I mentioned in my post Are You Experiencing Paradigm Confusion? For those of you who do workshops or teach on technology or the impact of technology, it would be fun to add it to your content.

Are You Experiencing Paradigm Confusion?


Photo of large TV Screen with sign, below it, that says "NOT a Touch Screen"

A scene I stumbled upon in a Pennsylvania Information Center, Summer 2013.

I took this photo in a Pennsylvania Information Center this summer. It gave me a chuckle, because it seemed like a great indicator that our relationship to screens is undergoing a change, but that we’re not fully there yet. Touch screens started out as a feature of smartphones, then were incorporated into tablets–now they are starting to be seen as a feature of large screens, at least often enough so that a sign was deemed necessary to stop people from trying to operate the screen through touch. Continue reading

Families Cope with the Loss of an Online World


I came across an article recently, Coping with the Loss of an Online World, and have been thinking about it since then. I admit to never having heard of this world, but that’s really not surprising, since there are many virtual worlds, probably hundreds (although I couldn’t find a number readily in my Google searching).

What stood out to me in reading this article was that this world, and, no doubt, many others, provided a platform for family members to connect with each other. In a day and age when families are spread out, that’s not a small accomplishment.

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The Self, BodyMind, and Virtual Worlds


The World Grid and the Whirled Mind

One of the primary reasons that virtual worlds like Second Life fascinate me is because of what they teach us about who we are, how we know the world, and the nature of reality. One of the earliest experiences that intrigued me was how quickly I came to identify with my avatar, despite the fact that she looks nothing like me.

Body Mapping

I recently came across a post that offered an explanation for this phenomenon happens in the brain. The author, Peter Small, discusses “body mapping” theory and describes how it might apply to virtual worlds: Continue reading

Virtual Worlds: Portals to Our Self-Discovery?


I came across this story recently, and it got me thinking about how little we understand about the power of our minds and our imaginations. And it reminded me of why I love virtual worlds: because they provide opportunities for us to glimpse the power of our minds to shape reality–both virtual and physical reality.

Here’s the story:

From New World Notes: Woman with Parkinson’s Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life

This is Fran, an 85 year old woman who plays Second Life as an avatar named Fran Seranade, and while that’s interesting in itself, many other senior citizens like her are known to be active in SL. Here is the truly extraordinary thing: For over 7 years, Fran has been afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system afflicting millions around the world, including actor Michael J. Fox and sports legend Muhammed Ali. In Fran’s case, Parkinson’s has made it difficult for her to stand from a sitting position, and maintain her balance while upright. But now Fran reports she’s gained significant recovery of physical movement — as a direct consequence of her activity in Second Life.

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