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How to unfollow a page on Facebook using your phone or computer

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfollowing a page on Facebook is easy as you don’t have to unlike the page either.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfollowing the page means that notifications and updates won’t appear in your News Feed, but you’ll be able to access the page and its posts if you go to it manually.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are two ways to unfollow a page on both mobile and desktop.</span></p> <p><strong>How to unfollow a page on Facebook on your computer</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Log in to Facebook on a browser on your computer.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Get to the page you want to unfollow.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hover over the “Following” button on the page and select “unfollow this page”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">You will receive a notification that says “You have unfollowed [page] and will no longer see posts from this page in your News Feed”. Click on “Done”.</span></li> </ol> <p><strong>How to unfollow a page on Facebook from your News Feed</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Select the three dots in the upper right hand corner on the page’s post in your News Feed. </span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Select “Unfollow [page].</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">See? Simple! Onto mobile devices.</span></p> <p><strong>How to unfollow a page on Facebook from your mobile device</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Open the Facebook app on your iPhone or Android phone.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go to the page that you want to unfollow.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Select the three dots in the top right corner and hit “Following”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Select the “Unfollow” option under the “In Your News Feed” section. You are also able to turn off page notifications in this section by tapping on “Edit Notification settings”.</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfollowing a page on Facebook from your News Feed on mobile is the same as it is on a computer.</span></p>

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Apple could be forced to change charger cables for iPhone AGAIN

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple could be forced to change the iPhone cable again under new rules that will be enforced in Europe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The tech giant might have to switch to USB-C cables and ditch the well-known Lightning connector in Europe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company would only have to use this charger in EU countries but would likely do the same globally.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EU is set to vote on the matter “at a future session”, but no date has been confirmed as of yet, according to </span><em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/10737203/apple-iphone-charging-cable-usb-c-lightning-forced-eu/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></a></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The switch would force Apple users to buy a new lead if they upgrade their phone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new cable would be Apple’s third in 13 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EU has previously called for common chargers on phones, but now wants to enforce the ruling.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“To reduce electronic waste and make consumers’ lives easier, MEPs want binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices,” the EU explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices, MEPs will insist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“According to estimates, old chargers generate more than 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Apple has previously spoken out against proposals to force common chargers across the industry.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it,” Apple’s Claire Darmon told the EU in 2019.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers.”</span></p>

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Aussies latest target in horrific new scam

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aussies are the latest targets in a worldwide scam that is circulating on Facebook, as the scam lures in victims with the promise of very cheap smartphones.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This scam is unlike normal Facebook scams, as online hackers have gone to great lengths to make it look like legitimate news articles are endorsing the very cheap smartphones.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other publications that have been caught up in the scam include </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian, BBC, Stuff NZ, Yahoo News! And news.com.au</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The scam has also been operating worldwide in other countries, such as the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway, Sweden and France.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Swinburne University social media major director Dr Belinda Barnet said to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/sick-fraudsters-target-aussies-in-facebook-fake-news-scam/news-story/67f877e521f9a9357752f84b57f7f2be"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the attention to detail from the scammers is “particularly disturbing”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The fake news articles offer Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones for $1 to $3, pretending that the very cheap deal is a part of a “marketing strategy” to inflate its popularity over Apple.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Samsung can regain AU users by giving away extremely low-priced phones to people and converting them to repeat Samsung customers who will spread the word to their friends,” the fraudulent article said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Readers are then encouraged to click a link to “claim their offer”, which leads to a copied Samsung website that extracts names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and their credit card details to pay for the $3 phone. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Victims instead report being charged $99 by an unknown company and receiving no phone in return.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These scams are proliferating more and more and Facebook is not doing enough to counter it,” Dr Barnet. “It’s obviously concerning that an actual masthead is being used.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If we regulate and make social media companies responsible for the pieces they promote — even if we didn’t regulate organic posts but just the things that make Facebook money — that would solve a lot of problems.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Samsung says that they are aware of this scam and have urged customers to "be vigilant".</span></p> <p><span>"Samsung is aware of this hoax offer for the Samsung Galaxy S10. We can confirm this is not an official Samsung promotion and we caution customers to be vigilant when considering third-party offers for Samsung products," the company said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span>"If customers would like to verify an offer or promotion regarding a Samsung product, they can contact <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.samsung.com%2Fau%2Finfo%2Fcontactus%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7CLilia.Villela%40edelman.com%7C767941065b764e9f425408d798c2b460%7Cb824bfb3918e43c2bb1cdcc1ba40a82b%7C0%7C0%7C637145834344082553&amp;sdata=2hK1PnWszlQFALLz1aD95j54NK03Ad0VXHWsoTll0uQ%3D&amp;reserved=0" target="_blank" data-auth="NotApplicable">Samsung</a> for further information."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook said that the social network uses automated and human moderators to identify scams but is unable to “catch every ad” that promotes a hoax.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We do not want ads that include widely debunked misinformation or make misleading and unsubstantiated claims on our platform,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platform Inquiry found that scams on digital platforms have grown by 188 per cent over four years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The ACCC is concerned by the increase in this behaviour and the use of digital platforms to facilitate such conduct,” the report found.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is damaging for businesses that inadvertently display these advertisements, and for consumers who fall victim to these scams and suffer both financial and non-financial loss.”</span></p>

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Winning at social media is easier than you think

<p>The world is starting to see <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-lost-15-million-us-users-in-the-past-two-years-report-says/">the gradual decline of Facebook</a>, with 15 million US users dropping off between 2017 and last year.</p> <p>Nonetheless, Facebook remains <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/#:%7E:targetText=How%20many%20users%20does%20Facebook,network%20ever%20to%20do%20so.">the largest social network</a> in the world. As of late last year, almost 60% of <a href="https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-january-2019/">Australians</a> had a Facebook account, half of whom logged-on daily.</p> <p>And while most of us intuitively understand what others find interesting, there’s a growing body of research on online engagement and the characteristics of viral content.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/facebook-and-conversation-analysis-9781350141612/">For my research</a>, I studied more than 1,200 posts from 266 Facebook users - everyday people aged 21-40 – to identify the common denominator among “successful” Facebook posts.</p> <p><strong>Share if you agree</strong></p> <p>For the study, I decided to create a distinction between “likes” and comments. I treated likes as a simpler form of acknowledgement, and comments as a more active mode of engagement – they require time, effort and a deeper understanding of the content.</p> <p>I found posts which performed relatively well in terms of engagement (more than five comments), could be characterised by certain linguistic features.</p> <p>Successful posts tended to prompt further action from readers, or used humour to engage.</p> <p>Conversations on Facebook feeds generally start by “tellings”, meaning posts which contain narratives. For example, what a friend is doing, a video, or a selfie.</p> <p>Among the content I studied, the more popular posts requested a response of some kind, usually through questions, or requests such as “click on this funny link”.</p> <p>Simply adding “what do you think of this?” at the end of a post was likely to increase engagement - and this was true for posts with varying subject matters.</p> <p>I also found posts that were simple to understand performed better, as opposed to those which were vague or confusing - sometimes referred to as <a href="https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/imbecilic-art-vaguebooking/">vaguebooking</a>, like this example:</p> <p><strong>Laughter is the best medicine</strong></p> <p>Humour also increased engagement.</p> <p>Research has shown conversations driven by jokes <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0378216694901171">encourage involvement and inclusion</a>.</p> <p>I observed this too, with funny posts securing more responses. Similarly, posts that were not overtly funny were more likely to do well if they received funny comments.</p> <p>Ongoing conversations also stimulate further engagement. Successful Facebook users didn’t just post content, they also responded to comments on their posts.</p> <p>The take home message?</p> <p>Although the success of Facebook content also relies on privacy settings, the number of friends a user has, how active the user is and how popular they are outside Facebook, strategically designed posts can give any user a quick upper hand.</p> <p>And it’s likely you can use the same principles on other platforms such as Twitter or Instagram.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/matteo-farina-908782">Matteo Farina</a>, Adjunct Lecturer, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/winning-at-social-media-is-probably-simpler-than-you-think-128704">original article</a>.</em></p>

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App used by 1.5 billion has "crucial" flaw

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A surprising flaw in the popular app WhatsApp allows hackers to crash the app by sending a simple text message.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The flaw is so serious that the text can force users to reinstall WhatsApp to fix the issue and group chats impacted by the issue disappear forever.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cyber experts at security firm Check Point discovered the flaw, saying that one text can crash multiple phones in one go. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The impact of this vulnerability is potentially tremendous, since WhatsApp is the main communication service for many people,” Check Point researchers </span><a href="https://research.checkpoint.com/2019/breakingapp-whatsapp-crash-data-loss-bug/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">explained</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Thus, the bug compromises the availability of the app which is a crucial for our daily activities.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With as many as 65 billion messages being sent via WhatsApp every day, bugs in the system can impact massive numbers of people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once you’ve received the message in a group chat, the app crashes for everyone in the chat and will require you to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the app has been reinstalled, you will be unable to return to your group chat or access the chat history.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When a user sends a message inside a group chat, the app examines the data to discover who sent the message.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check Point have since created a tool that accesses this data and edits it, replacing it with a message that causes the app to crash.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The bug will crash the app and it will continue to crash even after we reopen WhatsApp, resulting in a crash loop,” Check Point explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Moreover, the user will not be able to return to the group, and all the data that was written and shared in the group is now gone for good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The group cannot be restored after the crash has happened and will have to be deleted in order to stop the crash.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naturally, WhatsApp have already fixed the bug, but you’ll need to update the app to make sure you’re safe. If the app is updated to the latest version already, it’s impossible for your phone to be attacked by this bug.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4i4kG1FH5o/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4i4kG1FH5o/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Avoid being added to a group chat with people outside of your inner circle. 👯‍♀ Now you can have more control over who can add you to a group. To enable this setting, update to the latest version of #WhatsApp! https://blog.whatsapp.com/10000661/New-Privacy-Settings-for-Groups</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/whatsapp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> WhatsApp</a> (@whatsapp) on Nov 6, 2019 at 5:02pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“WhatsApp greatly values the work of the technology community to help us maintain strong security for our users globally,” said WhatsApp software engineer Ehren Kret in a statement sent to </span><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/10569563/whatsapp-bug-crash-app-reinstall-text/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Thanks to the responsible submission from Check Point to our bug bounty program, we quickly resolved this issue for all WhatsApp apps in mid-September.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We have also recently added new controls to prevent people from being added to unwanted groups to avoid communication with untrusted parties altogether.”</span></p>

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4 inventions that have changed the world in the last decade

<p>When we think about major inventions, most of us jump right to things like the telephone or electricity. And sure, those completely changed the world, but new products and services are being launched every year that also have major impacts. The past decade has seen a significant-tech boom and an increase in products featuring smart technology. Here are some of the most important and influential inventions since 2010.</p> <p><strong>1. Apple iPad</strong></p> <p>Given the ubiquity of Apple iPads – especially where kids in restaurants are concerned – it’s hard to believe that they’ve only been around since 2010. This tablet computer is a hybrid of a smartphone and laptop, providing a larger touchscreen interface that is used to control the device.</p> <p>“It’s a tech innovation that without a doubt changed our lives during this decade,” Mike Satter, interim president at OceanTech and president at WipeOS tells Reader’s Digest. “The iPad completely changed our lives with a cross between having a mobile device that could be used for personal downtime to a hard-working machine that essentially replaced the business workhorse laptop computer. If you look around today you will notice children, coworkers, friends, family and/or a stranger next to you on a plane that depends on their iPad to help them through the day.”</p> <p><strong>2. Air fryers</strong></p> <p>Fried food is delicious, but unfortunately, it’s not very healthy. That’s what makes the invention of the air fryer such a food game-changer. The first air fryer as we know it hit the market in 2010 when Philips introduced what it coined “Rapid Air Technology.” The idea behind the device is to achieve the same crispiness as frying food in oil, but using extremely fast-moving air instead. The air fryer really started appearing on kitchen counters across the country when Oprah named it one of her “Favourite Things” in 2016. Though the food cooked in an air fryer doesn’t taste exactly like it would from a fast food shop, it is a decent option for those looking to eat healthier.</p> <p><strong>3. Squatty Potty</strong></p> <p>Though we have become accustomed to sitting on a toilet when doing our business, many places around the world squat over a latrine on the ground. And when Bobby Edwards’ mother became chronically constipated, her doctor suggested that she try using a footstool to raise her knees while she sat on the toilet. She tried it and it worked wonders, and in 2011, the Squatty Potty was born. This seemingly simple plastic stool that is stored at the base of a toilet has made Edwards and her family multimillionaires. Though sales were initially slow – $17,000 in 2011 – they hit $19 million in 2016 and continued to rise from there. Not only has the Squatty Potty changed the way many people use the toilet, it has also helped spark a wider conversation about digestive health and bathroom habits.</p> <p><strong>4. Smart speakers</strong></p> <p>Though different forms of voice recognition software and devices have been around since the 1970s, it wasn’t until the 2010s that the technology truly entered our homes. Well, first it came to our phones, when Apple introduced Siri, an electronic assistant, as a regular feature on iPhones in 2010.</p> <p>At that point, people got used to pressing a button on their phone and asking a faceless woman all sorts of questions. Though Siri felt (and was) futuristic, the trend really took off with the invention of smart speakers, which had the ability to answer the same kinds of questions as Siri but also control certain elements of your home, like lighting and heating.</p> <p>The most common smart speaker – Amazon’s Alexa – launched in 2014, and was soon followed by Google Assistant. Today, 66.4 million people — or 26.2 percent of the U.S. adult population—have a smart speaker in their home. Of course, with this technology came a new set of ethical issues regarding companies being able to listen in to your home and what happens to all the data this device collects.</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/culture/inventions-that-changed-the-world-in-the-last-decade/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Elizabeth Yuko. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/18-inventions-that-have-changed-the-world-in-the-last-decade"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p>

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Robots and drones: The new age of toys

<p>I’m a geek. And as a geek, I love my tech toys. But over time I’ve noticed toys are becoming harder to understand.</p> <p>Some modern toys resemble advanced devices. There are flying toys, walking toys, and roving toys. A number of these require “configuring” or “connecting”.</p> <p>The line between toy, gadget and professional device is blurrier than ever, as manufacturers churn out products including <a href="https://www.t3.com/features/best-kids-drones">drones for kids</a> and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Spy-Nanny-Camera-Wi-fi/dp/B07P7BCYZT">plush toys with hidden nanny cams</a>.</p> <p>With such a variety of sophisticated, and sometimes over-engineered products, it’s clear manufacturers have upped their game.</p> <p>But why is this happening?</p> <p><strong>The price of tech</strong></p> <p>Toys these days seem to be designed with two major components in mind. It’s all about the smarts and rapid manufacture.</p> <p>In modern toys, we see a considerable level of programmed intelligence. This can be used to control the toy’s actions, or have it respond to input to provide real time feedback and interaction – making it appear “smarter”.</p> <p>This is all made possible by the falling price of technology.</p> <p>Once upon a time, placing a microcontroller (a single chip microprocessor) inside a toy was simply uneconomical.</p> <p>These days, they’ll <a href="https://au.rs-online.com/web/c/semiconductors/processors-microcontrollers/microcontrollers/">only set you back a few dollars</a> and allow significant computing power.</p> <p>Microcontrollers are often WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, too. This allows “connected” toys to access a wide range of internet services, or be controlled by a smartphone.</p> <p>Another boon for toy manufacturers has been the rise of prototype technologies, including 3D modelling, 3D printing, and low cost CNC (computer numerical control) milling.</p> <p>These technologies allow the advanced modelling of toys, which can help design them to be “tougher”.</p> <p>They also allow manufacturers to move beyond simple (outer) case designs and towards advanced multi-material devices, where the case of the toy forms an active part of the toy’s function.</p> <p>Examples of this include hand grips (found on console controls and toys including Nerf Blasters), advanced surface textures, and internal structures which support shock absorption to protect internal components, such as wheel suspensions in toy cars.</p> <p><strong>Bot helpers and robot dogs</strong></p> <p>Many recent advancements in toys are there to appease our admiration of automatons, or self operating machines.</p> <p>The idea that an inanimate object is transcending its static world, or is “thinking”, is one of the magical elements that prompts us to attach emotions to toys.</p> <p>And manufacturers know this, with some toys designed specifically to drive emotional attachment. My favourite example of this is roaming robots, such as the artificially intelligent <a href="https://www.anki.com/en-us/vector.html">Anki Vector</a>.</p> <p>With sensors and internet connectivity, the Vector drives around and interacts with its environment, as well as you. It’s even <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Vector-Robot-Anki-Hangs-Helps/dp/B07G3ZNK4Y">integrated with Amazon Alexa</a>.</p> <p>Another sophisticated toy is Sony’s Aibo. This robot pet shows how advanced robotics, microelectronics, actuators (which allow movement), sensors, and programming can be used to create a unique toy experience with emotional investment.</p> <p><span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/ho-chi-minh-city-vietnam-apr-1095006827" class="source"></a></span><strong>Screens not included</strong></p> <p>Toy manufacturers are also leveraging the rise of smartphones and portable computing.</p> <p>Quadcopters (or drones) and other similar devices often don’t need to include their own display in the remote control, as video can be beamed to an attached device.</p> <p>Some toys even use smartphones as the only control interface (used to control the toy), usually via an app, saving manufacturers from having to provide what is arguably the most expensive part of the toy.</p> <p>This means a smartphone becomes an inherent requirement, without which the toy can’t be used.</p> <p>It would be incredibly disappointing to buy a cool, new toy - only to realise you don’t own the very expensive device required to use it.</p> <p><strong>My toys aren’t spying on me, surely?</strong></p> <p>While spying may be the last thing you consider when buying a toy, there have been several reports of talking dolls <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/20/506208146/this-doll-may-be-recording-what-children-say-privacy-groups-charge">recording in-home conversations</a>.</p> <p>There are similar concerns with smart-home assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, which store <a href="https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/may/31/ro-khanna/your-amazon-alexa-spying-you/">your voice recordings in the cloud</a>.</p> <p>These concerns might also be warranted with toys such as the Vector, and Aibo.</p> <p>In fact, anything that has a microphone, camera or wireless connectivity can be considered a privacy concern.</p> <p><strong>Toys of the future</strong></p> <p>We’ve established toys are becoming more sophisticated, but does that mean they’re getting better?</p> <p><a href="https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020/">Various</a> <a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/technology/technology-trends-2019">reports</a> indicate in 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will continue to be pervasive in our lives.</p> <p>This means buying toys could become an even trickier task than it currently is. There are some factors shoppers can consider.</p> <p>On the top of my list of concerns is the type and number of batteries a toy requires, and how to charge them.</p> <p>If a device has <a href="https://theconversation.com/nearly-all-your-devices-run-on-lithium-batteries-heres-a-nobel-prizewinner-on-his-part-in-their-invention-and-their-future-126197">in-built lithium batteries</a>, can they be easily replaced? And if the toy is designed for outdoors, <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-batteries-have-started-catching-fire-so-often-68602">can it cope with the heat?</a> Most lithium-ion batteries degrade quickly in hot environments.</p> <p>And does the device require an additional screen or smartphone?</p> <p>It’s also worth being wary of what personal details are required to sign-up for a service associated with a toy - and if the toy can still function if its manufacturer should cease to exist, or the company should go bust.</p> <p>And, as always, if you’re considering an advanced, “connected” toy, make sure to prioritise your security and privacy.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127503/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-maxwell-561482">Andrew Maxwell</a>, Senior Lecturer, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/robots-ai-and-drones-when-did-toys-turn-into-rocket-science-127503">original article</a>.</em></p>

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New research shows playing with old phones teaches children good habits

<p>Screens are everywhere, including in the palms of our hands. Children see how much time we adults spend on our smartphones, and therefore how much we seem to value these devices – and they want to be a part of it.</p> <p>Children see us constantly looking up information we need to know, and being continuously connected. It’s only natural that they should want to copy this behaviour in their <a href="https://theconversation.com/imitation-and-imagination-childs-play-is-central-to-human-success-7555">play</a>, and “practise being an adult”.</p> <p>Most people have an opinion about children and technology, and the media regularly present stories of their potential for learning, or horror stories of the damage they can cause. My <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjet.12791">research</a> takes a slightly different tack.</p> <p>Rather than studying children’s screen use per se, I looked at how they play with old and discarded devices, such as a hand-me-down phone handset or an old and defunct laptop that has otherwise outlived its usefulness.</p> <p>Many early childhood education centres contain play spaces set up to mimic situations in everyday adult life. Examples include “home corner” containing kitchen equipment, of other situations such as offices, hairdressing salons, doctors’ surgeries, and restaurants. These spaces might also let children play at using mobile phones, computers, iPads, EFTPOS machines, or other electronic devices.</p> <p>I observed classes of 4 and 5-year-olds at two early education centres as they played imaginatively using technologies, to find out how they use devices in their play.</p> <p><strong>Facebook aficionados</strong></p> <p>Some of the children’s behaviours were fascinating and eye-opening.</p> <p>Four-year-old Maddie, for example, “videoed” her educator dancing, and then said she was going to post it to Facebook. She knew the process involved, even though she had only ever watched her mother post, and had never done it herself.</p> <p>Four-year-old Jack made a “video camera” from cardboard boxes and pretended to film other children. It even had a screen where you could watch the footage he had shot.</p> <p>Another educator told me her two-year-old child knows the difference between her work phone and her personal phone, and uses a different voice while pretending to talk on each.</p> <p>In my research, children put phones in pockets or handbags before they went off and played, one child stated “I can’t go out without my phone!”</p> <p><strong>Practise and pretend</strong></p> <p>During <a href="https://theconversation.com/making-up-games-is-more-important-than-you-think-why-bluey-is-a-font-of-parenting-wisdom-118583">pretend play</a>, children are often acting at a higher level to practise new skills.</p> <p>The children in my study had seen grown-ups doing “grown-up” things with their devices, and wanted to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09575146.2016.1167675">recreate them in their play situations</a>.</p> <p>Early childhood educators can use this kind of play to help children understand complex concepts and situations. For example, I have observed preschool children acting out tsunamis in the sandpit, discussing X-rays and broken bones, and showing a child how to care for a doll to practise interacting with a new sibling.</p> <p>Technologies are no different. Parents and educators can use pretend play with technologies to teach children useful life lessons, such as how to behave appropriately with mobile phones, and when it is appropriate to use them.</p> <p>In the Facebook example above, the educator could have had a conversation with Maddie about asking permission before taking a video of someone else and posting it to Facebook. They could ask questions like “how would you feel if someone took a video of you dancing and then posted it to Facebook?”</p> <p>When the children were playing restaurants, one child declared: “no screens at the table!” The children then negotiated that it was okay when the call was very important, or if they needed to look something up to help with whatever the group was discussing. In this way, the children displayed their understanding of the importance of social interactions.</p> <p>Not only can educators teach children through play, they can also model appropriate behaviour with technologies. By asking children if it is alright to take a photo or video of them, showing the child their image before it is shared with others, and being present and not looking at a screen when a child is speaking, we can show children we respect them and behave ethically towards them.</p> <p>So before you throw away your broken laptop or your old mobile, consider donating it to your local early childhood centre or, if you have children in your own home, give it to them to use as a toy. You might be surprised at what they will teach you.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127727/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jo-bird-817807"><em>Jo Bird</em></a><em>, Lecturer, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-new-england-919">University of New England</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/playing-with-old-phones-teaches-children-good-habits-and-reflects-our-bad-ones-back-at-us-127727">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How one month at sea taught me to steal my life back from my phone

<p>A survey this year revealed that Australians, on average, spend <a href="https://wearesocial.com/au/blog/2019/02/digital-report-australia">10.2 hours</a> a day with interactive digital technologies. And this figure goes up every year.</p> <p>This is time we don’t get back. And our analogue lives, which include everything not digital, shrink in direct proportion.</p> <p>I recently decided to spend four weeks at sea without access to my phone or the internet, and here’s what I learnt about myself, and the digital rat race I was caught in.</p> <p><strong>Cold turkey</strong></p> <p>Until a year or so ago, I was a 10.2 hours a day person. Over the years, dependence on technology and stress had destroyed any semblance of balance in my life – between work and home, or pleasure and obligation.</p> <p>I wanted to quit, or cut down, at least. Tech “detox” apps such as the time-limiting <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/17/17870126/ios-12-screen-time-app-limits-downtime-features-how-to-use">Screen Time</a> were useless. Even with these, I was still “on”, and just a click away from unblocking Instagram.</p> <p>So I thought: what about going cold turkey? No screen time at all, 24/7. Was that possible, and what would it feel like?</p> <p>My commute to work passed the Footscray docks, where container-ships come and go. Passing one day, I wondered if it was possible to go on one of those ships and travel from Melbourne to … somewhere?</p> <p>Turns out it was. You can book a cabin online and just go. And in what was probably an impulse, I went.</p> <p>For about four weeks I had no devices, as I sailed solo from <a href="http://www.cma-cgm.com/products-services/line-services/Flyer/AAXANL">West Melbourne to Singapore</a>.</p> <p>I wanted to experiment, to see what it felt like to take a digital detox, and whether I could change my habits when I returned home.</p> <p><strong>What I learnt</strong></p> <p>Cold turkey withdrawal is difficult. Even in prison, <a href="https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi560">many inmates have access of some kind of device</a>.</p> <p>The time on that ship taught me there is a whole other side to life, the non-digital side, that gets pushed aside by the ubiquitous screen.</p> <p>Real life contains people, conversations, flesh and textures that are not glass or plastic.</p> <p>It also contains whole worlds that exist inside your head, and these can be summoned when we have the time, and devote a bit of effort to it.</p> <p>These are worlds of memory and imagination. Worlds of reflection and thought. Worlds you see differently to the pallid glare of a screen.</p> <p>I took four books with me and read them in a way I hadn’t before: slower, deeper and with more contemplation. The words were finite (and therefore precious).</p> <p>I’d never spent time like this in my whole life, and was inspired to write about it in <a href="https://grattanstreetpress.com/new-releases/">detail</a>.</p> <p>Of course, we all have our own commitments and can’t always do something like this.</p> <p>But away from the screen, I learned a lot about our digital world and about myself, and have tried to adapt these lessons to “normal” life.</p> <p>Since I’ve been back, it feels like some sense of balance has been restored. Part of this came from seeing the smartphone as a slightly alien thing (which it is).</p> <p>And instead of being something that always prompts me, I flipped the power dynamic around, to make it something I choose to use - and choose when to use. Meaning sometimes it’s OK to leave it at home, or switch it off.</p> <p>If you can persist with these little changes, you might find even when you have your phone in your pocket, you can go hours without thinking about it. Hours spent doing precious, finite, analogue things.</p> <p><strong>How to get started</strong></p> <p>You could begin by deleting most of your apps.</p> <p>You’ll be surprised by how many you won’t miss. Then, slowly flip the power dynamic between you and your device around. Put it in a drawer once a week - for a morning, then for a day - increasing this over time.</p> <p>If this sounds a bit like commercial digital detox self-care, then so be it. But this is minus the self-care gurus and websites. Forget those.</p> <p>No one (and no app) is really going to help you take back your agency. You need to do it yourself, or organise it with friends. Perhaps try seeing who can go the furthest.</p> <p>After a few weeks, you might reflect on how it feels: what’s the texture of the analogue world you got back? Because, more likely than not, you will get it back.</p> <p>For some, it might be a quieter and more subjective pre-digital world they half remember.</p> <p>For others, it might be something quite new, which maybe feels a bit like freedom.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127501/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robert-hassan-197946"><em>Robert Hassan</em></a><em>, Professor, School of Culture and Communication, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-month-at-sea-with-no-technology-taught-me-how-to-steal-my-life-back-from-my-phone-127501">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Celebrities pose with their younger selves in stunning art series

<p>Dutch graphic designer<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Bmadul1H9/" target="_blank">Ard Gelinck</a><span> </span>has spent his time for the last ten years creating pictures of celebrities posing with their younger selves.</p> <p>Gelinck uses Photoshop to create the iconic masterpieces, which are perfectly edited to appear side by side the older celebrity.</p> <p>He spoke to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.unilad.co.uk/celebrity/artist-creates-incredible-pictures-of-celebrities-posing-with-their-younger-selves/" target="_blank">UNILAD</a></em><span> </span>about his hobby, saying that he has been creative since he was a child.</p> <p>“I often challenge myself to create a certain series of images, including the ‘then and now’ series that you see a lot now,” he explained.</p> <p>“The ideas come up and the celebrities that I choose are often random.”</p> <p>Gelinck has received a lot of attention for his creations, with many of his celebrity subjects sharing his creations on their social media pages. However, he stays humble.</p> <p>“I was pleasantly surprised when it was picked up by various media worldwide. [It’s] nice to see that you can entertain people and show something that makes them think and laugh,” he said.</p> <p>Some of the creations that Gelinck is most proud of include David Bowie and Lady Gaga but added there were “too many” to choose from.</p> <p>With examples like Harrison Ford and Han Solo, Mark Hamill and Luke Skywalker as well as beloved Madonna with her younger self, it’s easy to see why he has a hard time choosing a favourite.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see some of these iconic creations.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: Instagram @<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/ardgelinck/" target="_blank">ardgelinck</a></em></p>

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The $85 million plan to desalinate water for drought relief

<p>The deal to crank up Adelaide’s desalination plant to make more water available to farmers in the drought-stricken Murray-Darling Basin makes no sense.</p> <p>It involves the federal government paying the South Australian government up to A$100 million to produce more water for Adelaide using the little-used desalination plant.</p> <p>The plant was commissioned in 2007 at the height of the millennium drought. It can produce up to 100 gigalitres of water a year – enough to fill 40,000 olympic sized swimming pools. But has been used sparingly, operating at its minimum mode of 8 gigalitres a year, because of the expense of turning seawater into freshwater.<span class="attribution"><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/" class="license"></a></span></p> <p>Adelaide has continued to mostly draw water from local reservoirs and the River Murray, which on average has supplied about half the city’s water (sometimes much more).</p> <p>But with federal funding, the desal plant will be turned on full bore. This will free up 100 gigalitres of water from the Murray River allocated to Adelaide for use by farmers upstream in the Murray Darling’s southern basin.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301212/original/file-20191112-178525-auvb3v.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301212/original/file-20191112-178525-auvb3v.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The southern Murray–Darling Basin.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/water/aust-water-markets-reports/awmr-2015-16/southern-murray-darling-basin#region-overview" class="source">ABARES</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-NC</a></span></p> <p>The federal government expects the water to be used to grow an extra <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-07/how-will-the-sa-desal-plant-revival-help-australian-farmers/11682044">120,000 tonnes of fodder</a> for livestock. The water will be sold to farmers at a discount rate of A$100 a megalitre. That’s 10 cents per 1,000 litres.</p> <p>By comparison, the residential price for that <a href="https://www.sawater.com.au/accounts-and-billing/current-water-and-sewerage-rates/residential-water-supply">water in Adelaide</a> would be A$2.39 to A$3.70 per 1,000 litres.</p> <p>The production cost of desalinated water is about <a href="https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/water/resources/desalination">95 cents per 1,000 litres</a> when there’s rainwater already stored, according to a cost-benefit study published by the SA Department of Environment and Water in 2016. That means the total cost for the 100 gigalitres will be about A$95 million.</p> <p>So the federal government is effectively paying A$95 million to sell water for A$10 million: a loss to taxpayers of A$85 million.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301431/original/file-20191113-77363-3vm9vd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">The Conversation</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-ND</a></span></p> <p><strong>What do we get for the money?</strong></p> <p>The discounted water provided to individual farmers will be capped at <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-07/drought-stimulus-sa-desalination-plant-murray-river-water-farms/11679136">no more than 25 megalitres</a>. The farmers must agree to not sell the water to others and to use it to grow fodder for livestock.</p> <p>There are many different forms of fodder but livestock producers most favour lucerne hay because it is highly nutritious. But it is also more expensive than cereal, pasture or straw hay.</p> <p>The amount of hay that can be grown with a megalitre of irrigation water depends on many things, but 120,000 tonnes with 100 gigalitres is possible in the right conditions.</p> <p>In the Murray-Darling southern basin lucerne hay currently sells for <a href="https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/industry/farm-inputs-and-costs/hay-report">A$450 to A$600 a tonne</a>. That would make the market value of 120,000 tonnes of lucerne A$54 million to A$72 million.</p> <p>It means, on a best-case scenario, the federal government will be spending A$85 million to subsidise the production of hay worth A$72 million to its producers.</p> <p><strong>The reality of farming</strong></p> <p>In practice farms and farmers are incredible diverse, so not all irrigators will necessarily grow lucerne. Alternative fodders such as pasture or cereal hay generally have much lower market values. Which meaning the value of the fodder produced may be much less than the best-case scenario.</p> <p>It’s worrying that this policy shows such little regard for farming realities. It appears to have been crafted on the premise that every farmer has the same land, the same equipment and the same needs.</p> <p>Dictating the water must be used for a single purpose runs counter to the needs of the agriculture sector. If farmers could put it to a more effective use, why not allow it?</p> <p>In addition, it’s not clear how all the monitoring will be done to maintain compliance over such a restrictive regime.</p> <p>What measures will prevent farmers buying the discounted water and then simply selling an equivalent amount of any carry-over allocation at the going rate of up to <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/water/dashboards/#/water-markets/national/state/at">$1,000 a megalitre</a>?</p> <p>How will the government distinguish between the fodder grown with the 25 megalitres provided at low cost and any other fodder harvested on the same farm? How much will it cost to monitor and enforce such arrangements?</p> <p>The difficulty of answering these types of questions is precisely the reason why countries in the former eastern bloc failed to adequately provide for their populations. Telling people what crop to grow, when to grow, how to water the crop and how it should be consumed has not worked in the past. Farm businesses that respond to prices and use inputs, including water, in a way that suits their long- term commercial needs are generally better off.</p> <p>It seems a long way from the type of national drought policy Australia needs. It’s hard to see how a policy of this kind does anything other than waste a large amount of public money and disrupt important market mechanisms in agriculture in the process.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126681/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lin-crase-9904">Lin Crase</a>, Professor of Economics and Head of School, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/up-the-creek-the-85-million-plan-to-desalinate-water-for-drought-relief-126681">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How the use of lasers and small satellites helps information get through space

<p>Satellites are becoming increasingly important in our lives, as they help us meet a demand for more data, exchanged at higher speeds. This is why we are exploring new ways of improving satellite communication.</p> <p>Satellite technology is used to navigate, forecast the weather, monitor Earth from space, receive TV signals from space, and connect to remote places through tools such as satellite phones and <a href="https://www.nbnco.com.au/learn/network-technology/sky-muster-explained">NBN’s Sky Muster satellites</a>.</p> <p>All these communications use radio waves. These are electromagnetic waves that propagate through space and, to a certain degree, through obstacles such as walls.</p> <p>Each communication system uses a frequency band allocated for it, and each band makes up part of the <a href="https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/toolbox/emspectrum1.html">electromagnetic spectrum</a> – which is the name given to the range of all types of electromagnetic radiation.</p> <p>But the electromagnetic spectrum we are able to use with current technology is a finite resource, and is now completely occupied. This means old services have to make room for new ones, or higher frequency bands have to be used.</p> <p>While this poses technological challenges, one promising way forward is optical communication.</p> <p><strong>Communication with lasers</strong></p> <p>Instead of using radio waves to carry the information, we can use light from lasers as the carrier. While technically still part of the electromagnetic spectrum, optical frequencies are significantly higher, which means we can use them to transfer data at higher speeds.</p> <p>However, one disadvantage is that a laser cannot propagate through walls, and can even be blocked by clouds. While this is problematic on Earth, and for communication between satellites and Earth, it’s no problem for communication between satellites.</p> <p>On Earth, optical communication via fibre optic cables connects continents and provides enormous data exchanges. This is the technology that allows <a href="https://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/11562024/too-embarrassed-to-ask-what-is-the-cloud-and-how-does-it-work">the cloud</a> to exist, and online services to be provided.</p> <p>Optical communication between satellites doesn’t use fibre optic cables, but involves light propagating through space. This is called “free space optical communication”, and can be used to not only deliver data from satellites to the ground, but also to connect satellites in space.</p> <p>In other words, free space optical communication will provide the same massive connectivity in space we already have on Earth.</p> <p>Some systems such as the <a href="https://artes.esa.int/edrs-global">European Data Relay System</a> are already operational, and others like SpaceX’s <a href="https://www.space.com/see-spacex-starlink-satellites-in-night-sky.html">Starlink</a> continue to be developed.</p> <p>But there are still many challenges to overcome, and we’re limited by current technology. My colleagues and I are working on making optical, as well as radio-frequency, data links even faster and more secure.</p> <p><strong>CubeSats</strong></p> <p>So far, a lot of effort has gone into the research and development of radio-frequency technology. This is how we know data rates are at their highest physical limit and can’t be further increased.</p> <p>While a single radio-frequency link can provide data rates of 10Gbps with large antennas, an optical link can achieve rates 10 to 100 times higher, using antennas that are 10 to 100 times smaller.</p> <p>These small antennas are in fact optical lenses, and their compact size allows them to be integrated into small satellites called CubeSats.</p> <p>CubeSats are not larger than a shoebox or toaster, but can employ high speed data links to other satellites or the ground.</p> <p>They are currently used for a wide range of tasks including earth observation, communications and scientific experiments in space. And while they’re not able to provide all services from space, they play an important role in current and future satellite systems.</p> <p>Another advantage of optical communication is increased security. The light from a laser forms a narrow beam, which has to be pointed from a sender to a receiver. Since this beam is very narrow, the communication doesn’t interfere with other receivers and it’s very hard, if not impossible, to eavesdrop on the communication. This makes optical systems more secure than radio electromagnetic systems.</p> <p>Optical communication can also be used for <a href="https://qt.eu/understand/underlying-principles/quantum-key-distribution-qkd/">Quantum Key Distribution</a>. This technology allows the absolute secure exchange of encryption keys for safe communications.</p> <p><strong>What can we expect from this?</strong></p> <p>While it’s exciting to develop systems for space, and to launch satellites, the real benefit of satellite systems is felt on Earth.</p> <p>High speed communication provided by optical data links will improve connectivity for all of us. Notably, remote areas which currently have relatively slow connections will experience better access to remote health and remote learning.</p> <p>Better data links will also let us deliver images and videos from space with less delay and higher resolution. This will improve the way we manage our resources, including <a href="https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/community-safety/flood/wofs">water</a>, agriculture and forestry.</p> <p>They will also <a href="https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/earth-obs/case-studies/mapping-bushfires">provide vital real-time information in disaster scenarios such as bushfires</a>. The potential applications of optical communication technology are vast.</p> <p><strong>Banding knowledge together</strong></p> <p>Working in optical satellite communication is challenging, as it combines many different fields and research areas including telecommunication, photonics and manufacturing.</p> <p>Currently, our technology is far from achieving what is theoretically possible, and there’s great room for improvement. This is why there’s a strong focus on collaboration.</p> <p>In Australia, there are two major programs facilitating this - the Australian Space Agency run by the federal government, and the <a href="https://smartsatcrc.com/">SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre</a> (CRC), also supported by the federal government.</p> <p>Through the SmartSat CRC program, my colleagues and I will spend the next seven years tackling a range of applied research problems in this area.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126344/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gottfried-lechner-877898">Gottfried Lechner</a>, Associate Professor and Director of the Institute for Telecommunications Research, University of South Australia, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-using-lasers-and-toaster-sized-satellites-to-beam-information-faster-through-space-126344">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Like father like son! Ricky Ponting’s adorable first Twitter and Instagram posts

<p>Cricket fans have been anticipating this moment for years, and their wish has finally been granted: Ricky Ponting has joined social media.</p> <p>While most Aussie athletes are active on social media platforms, Ponting has avoided Instagram and Twitter until now.</p> <p>The 44-year-old tweeted four adorable photos of his son Fletcher playing cricket to mark his first post.</p> <p>The pictures show the doting dad teaching Fletcher how to grip a cricket bat during their first net session together.</p> <p>“A day of firsts; finally on social media and the first net with my son Fletcher,” posted Ponting.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">A day of firsts; finally on social media and the first net with my son Fletcher. <a href="https://t.co/DAe79MzqKr">pic.twitter.com/DAe79MzqKr</a></p> — Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) <a href="https://twitter.com/RickyPonting/status/1204672548551553024?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">11 December 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Shortly after, Ponting made an Instagram account, where he posted footage of him throwing tennis balls at his son in the nets. The younger Ponting was a natural, and clearly following in his father’s footsteps as he hit a shot that went right above his dad’s head.</p> <p>Channel 7’s cricket account was dropping hints on their Twitter about a “big, huge, enormous, massive breaking news”.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B57MOTVBTdA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B57MOTVBTdA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A day of firsts; finally on social media and the first net with my son Fletcher.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rickyponting/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Ricky Ponting AO</a> (@rickyponting) on Dec 11, 2019 at 12:08am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“In exactly one hour, there will be breaking news; a never before seen event,” posted 7 Cricket.</p> <p>“Although it will be more important to people on Twitter rather than those who aren’t.”</p> <p>Within one hour, Ponting’s Twitter and Instagram accounts had over 3700 and 1300 followers respectively.</p>

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The problem of living inside a social media echo chamber

<p>Pick any of the big topics of the day – <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49560557">Brexit</a>, <a href="https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03092019/hurricane-dorian-climate-change-stall-%20%20record-wind-speed-rainfall-intensity-global-warming-bahamas">climate change</a> or <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/us/politics/trump-immigration-policy.html">Trump’s immigration policies</a> – and wander online.</p> <p>What one is likely to find is radical polarization – different groups of people living in different worlds, populated with utterly different facts.</p> <p><a href="https://qz.com/933150/cass-sunstein-says-social-medias-effect-on-democracy-is-alexander-hamiltons-nightmare/">Many people</a> want to <a href="https://www.adweek.com/digital/arvind-raichur-mrowl-guest-post-filter-bubbles/">blame</a> the “social media bubble” - a belief that everybody sorts themselves into like-minded communities and hears only like-minded views.</p> <p>From my perspective as a <a href="https://objectionable.net/">philosopher</a> who thinks about <a href="https://philpapers.org/rec/NGUCAA">communities</a> and <a href="https://philpapers.org/go.pl?id=NGUCIA&amp;aid=NGUCIAv1">trust</a>, this fails to get at the heart of the issue.</p> <p>In my mind, the crucial issue right now isn’t what people hear, but whom people believe.</p> <p><strong>Bubble or cult?</strong></p> <p>My research focuses on <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/episteme/article/echo-chambers-and-epistemic-bubbles/5D4AC3A808C538E17C50A7C09EC706F0">“epistemic bubbles” and “echo chambers.”</a> These are two distinct ideas, that people often blur together.</p> <p>An epistemic bubble is what happens when insiders aren’t exposed to people from the opposite side.</p> <p>An echo chamber is what happens when insiders come to distrust everybody on the outside.</p> <p>An epistemic bubble, for example, might form on one’s social media feed. When a person gets all their news and political arguments from Facebook and all their Facebook friends share their political views, they’re in an epistemic bubble. They hear arguments and evidence only from their side of the political spectrum. They’re never exposed to the other side’s views.</p> <p>An echo chamber leads its members to distrust everybody on the outside of that chamber. And that means that an insider’s trust for other insiders can grow unchecked.</p> <p>Two communications scholars, <a href="https://www.asc.upenn.edu/people/faculty/kathleen-hall-jamieson-phd">Kathleen Hall Jamieson</a> and <a href="https://www.asc.upenn.edu/people/faculty/joseph-n-cappella-phd">Joseph Cappella</a>, offered a careful analysis of the right-wing media echo chamber in their 2008 book, <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/echo-chamber-9780195398601">“The Echo Chamber.”</a></p> <p>Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News team, they said, systematically manipulated whom their followers trusted. Limbaugh presented the world as a simple binary – as a struggle only between good and evil. People were trustworthy if they were on Limbaugh’s side. Anybody on the outside was malicious and untrustworthy.</p> <p>In that way, an echo chamber is a lot like a cult.</p> <p>Echo chambers isolate their members, not by cutting off their lines of communication to the world, but by changing whom they trust. And echo chambers aren’t just on the right. I’ve seen echo chambers on the left, but also on parenting forums, nutritional forums and even around exercise methods.</p> <p>In an epistemic bubble, outside voices aren’t heard. In an echo chamber, outside voices are discredited.</p> <p><strong>Is it all just a bubble?</strong></p> <p>Many experts believe that the problem of today’s polarization can be explained through epistemic bubbles.<span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/wroclaw-poland-april-10th-2017-woman-624572783?src=-1-15" class="source"></a></span></p> <p>According to legal scholar and behavioral economist <a href="https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10871/Sunstein">Cass Sunstein</a>, the main cause of polarization is that <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10935.html">internet technologies</a> have made the world such that people don’t really run into the other side anymore.</p> <p>Many people get their news from social media feeds. Their feeds get filled up with people like them - who usually share their political views. Eli Pariser, online activist and chief executive of Upworthy, spotlights how the <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/309214/the-filter-bubble-by-eli-pariser/9780143121237/">invisible algorithms</a> behind people’s internet experience limit what they see.</p> <p>For example, says Pariser, Google keeps track of its user’s choices and preferences, and changes its search results to suit them. It tries to give individuals what they want – so liberal users, for example, tend to get search results that point them toward liberal news sites.</p> <p>If the problem is bubbles, then the solution would be exposure. For Sunstein, the solution is to build more public forums, where people will run into the other side more often.</p> <p><strong>The real problem is trust</strong></p> <p>In my view, however, echo chambers are the real problem.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/F2sFqWtZfpgU9nfK8u3E/full">New</a> <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Filter-Bubbles%2C-Echo-Chambers%2C-and-Online-News-Flaxman-Goel/9ece17d2915f65c66c03fa28820447199addec45">research</a> suggests there probably aren’t any real epistemic bubbles. As a matter of fact, most people are regularly exposed to the other side.</p> <p>Moreover, bubbles should be easy to pop: Just expose insiders to the arguments they’ve missed.</p> <p>But this doesn’t actually seem to work, in so many real-world cases. Take, for example, climate change deniers. They are fully aware of all the arguments on the other side. Often, they rattle off all the standard arguments for climate change, before dismissing them. Many of <a href="http://opr.ca.gov/facts/common-denier-arguments.html">the standard climate change denial</a> arguments involve claims that scientific institutions and mainstream media have been corrupted by malicious forces.</p> <p>What’s going on, <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/episteme/article/echo-chambers-and-epistemic-bubbles/5D4AC3A808C538E17C50A7C09EC706F0">in my view</a>, isn’t just a bubble. It’s not that people’s social media feeds are arranged so they don’t run across any scientific arguments; it’s that they’ve come to systematically distrust the institutions of science.</p> <p>This is an echo chamber. Echo chambers are far more entrenched and far more resistant to outside voices than epistemic bubbles. Echo chamber members have been prepared to face contrary evidence. Their echo-chambered worldview has been arranged to dismiss that evidence at its source.</p> <p>They’re not totally irrational, either. In the era of <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-great-endarkenment-9780199326020">scientific specialization</a>, people must <a href="https://doi.org/10.2307/2027007">trust</a> doctors, statisticians, biologists, chemists, physicists, nuclear engineers and aeronautical engineers, just to go about their day. <a href="https://philpapers.org/go.pl?id=NGUEAT&amp;aid=NGUEATv1">And they can’t always check</a> with perfect accuracy whether they have put their trust in the right place.</p> <p>An echo chamber member, however, distrusts the standard sources. Their trust has been redirected and concentrated inside the echo chamber.</p> <p>To break somebody out of an echo chamber, you’d need to repair that broken trust. And that is a much harder task than simply bursting a bubble.<em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/c-thi-nguyen-606694">C. Thi Nguyen</a>, Associate Professor of Philosophy, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/utah-valley-university-2123">Utah Valley University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-problem-of-living-inside-echo-chambers-110486">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What sadfishing is and how it can mean something darker

<p>When Kendall Jenner recently shared a series of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BswTPcNDbuH/?utm_source=ig_embed">emotionally-charged Instagram posts</a> about her experiences with acne, the 24-year-old model was immediately accused by many online observers of “sadfishing” – particularly because the post was a paid brand partnership with a skincare product used to treat acne.</p> <p>Although the term “sadfishing” is relatively recent – coined at the beginning of 2019 by <a href="https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/21/sadfishing-social-media-trend-making-misery-profitabl-8367931/">writer Rebecca Reid</a> – many people are probably familiar with the act of fishing for sympathy online, whether they’ve seen it happen, or are guilty of it themselves. Reid defines sadfishing as the act of posting sensitive, emotional personal material online to gain sympathy or attention from the online community.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>Lots of us sadfish sometimes, and that’s okay. Attention seeking is a perfectly legitimate thing. There’s nothing wrong with wanting attention.</em></p> <em>— Rebecca Reid (@RebeccaCNReid) <a href="https://twitter.com/RebeccaCNReid/status/1178967554808778753?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 1, 2019</a></em></blockquote> <p>However, sadfishing is increasingly being used to accuse people of attention-seeking, to criticise people, or to belittle a person’s online content – whether they were actually sadfishing or not. When Justin Bieber made a post <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B17JfkkHEKt/?utm_source=ig_embed">detailing his mental health struggles</a>, for example, he was met with a variety of responses, including accusations of sadfishing. However, it’s almost impossible to know if someone is genuinely sadfishing or not. And everyone from regular people to politicians and entertainers have been accused of sadfishing for attention or trying to exaggerate the importance of a particular issue.</p> <p>The concept of online “sadfishing” is relatively new, which means there’s currently no research examining these behaviours. However, parallels can be drawn with sadfishing and general attention-seeking behaviour, where a person acts out to gain attention, sympathy, or validation from others. <a href="https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/doi/book/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596">Attention-seeking behaviour</a> is associated with low self-esteem, loneliness, narcissism, or Machiavellianism (the desire to manipulate other people).</p> <p>However, it’s difficult to understand the motivations of social media users just by reading through their posts or online activity. It might be the case that so-called sadfishing posts are intended to genuinely highlight an important or sensitive issue, such as depression or anxiety. Others might simply be sharing information with little regard for the response it might generate. Some so-called sadfishing posts might even exist only to exploit or provoke readers.</p> <p><strong>Attention-seeking and sadfishing</strong></p> <p>Although everyone can be guilty of sadfishing, celebrities are more commonly accused of sadfishing by online users, especially if they’ve shared personal details about struggles they’ve faced. These accusations can often become hostile, with many celebrities becoming victims of online abuse as a result. But what impact does even just observing online abuse have on observers?</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.09.020">Recent research</a> had participants read a series of celebrity tweets, some of which were emotionally negative. They were then asked to judge if these celebrities were to blame for any abuse that they received. The study found that the way a person perceived the severity of online abuse depended upon how strongly they exhibited narcissism, Machiavellianism, or psychopathy – the so-called <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/dark-triad">“dark triad”</a>. Results showed that people who exhibited higher dark triad characteristics gave less sympathy to celebrities.</p> <p>It’s likely that if a person exhibits these dark triad personality traits, they will be more likely to judge posts as less genuine, or an example of sadfishing. It’s also likely that these traits influence whether or not a person is a sadfisher. People who score high in narcissism and Machiavellianism are more like to <a href="http://www.fortunejournals.com/articles/exploring-the-dark-side-relationships-between-the-dark-triad-traits-and-cluster-b-personality-disorder-features.pdf">exhibit attention-seeking behaviour</a> – which may mean they’re more likely to sadfish.</p> <p>But like real-world attention-seeking behaviour, sadfishing might reflect a deeper problem, such as a personality disorder. For example, <a href="https://icd.who.int/browse10/2016/en#/F60.4">histrionic personality disorder</a> is characterised by high levels of attention-seeking, and begins in early adulthood. These people have an excessive need for approval, are dramatic, exaggerate, and long for appreciation.<span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/portrait-sad-girl-smartphone-one-hand-1508704817?src=cce4ed71-d2c9-4f48-96a5-eb0f90754cdf-1-7" class="source"></a></span></p> <p>Sadfishers may be hard to recognise, unless they admit to these behaviours openly. Although presenting sensitive or deeply personal information publicly might lead to accusations of sadfishing, it’s possible that these accusations may be incorrect. Wrongly accusing someone of sadfishing when they’ve genuinely reached out for support – rather than for attention – can have a <a href="https://www.hmc.org.uk/blog/new-daukhmc-report-identifies-latest-online-trends/">powerful impact on that person’s health</a>.</p> <p>A person wrongly accused of sadfishing may be at risk of <a href="https://www.hmc.org.uk/blog/new-daukhmc-report-identifies-latest-online-trends/">experiencing lowered self-esteem, anxiety, and shame</a>. They might also be discouraged from seeking support from family, friends, partners, or support workers.</p> <p>But people who deliberately “go sadfishing” should know their actions can potentially <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/facebook-emotions-are-contagious/">effect the well-being of others</a>. Posting deeply emotional content, such as about serious health concerns, might also cause readers to experience anxiety, physical or mental stress. Although social media can provide a supportive place for people to talk about their mental health or other health issues, it’s important to know that disingenous posts could do more harm than good.</p> <p>Social media users should think carefully about what information they share and with who. Those genuinely needing support might find it better to reach out to people close to them privately as they might be able to <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/talking-to-friends-family/#.XeUemuj7TIU">provide support</a>, or even share their own experiences. It’s also important to make contact with support services such as healthcare providers or professional support groups.</p> <p>Despite its new name, sadfishing is simply just a new label for attention seeking. This deliberate attention seeking can have a negative impact on both the person writing the post, and those reading it.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts as a result of cyber-bullying, phone Samaritans on 116 123. Young people under the age of 19 can also phone Childline on 0800 1111. These services operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126292/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-hand-876077">Christopher Hand</a>, Lecturer, Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/glasgow-caledonian-university-913">Glasgow Caledonian University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sadfishing-frequently-sharing-deeply-emotional-posts-online-may-be-a-sign-of-a-deeper-psychological-issue-126292">original article</a>.</em></p>

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iPhone 11 pro models reportedly sending data to Apple despite permissions being turned off

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs has alerted the public about a worrisome location tracking feature on Apple’s latest iPhone 11 Pro.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He revealed on his website </span><a href="https://krebsonsecurity.com/2019/12/the-iphone-11-pros-location-data-puzzler/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">KrebsOnSecurity</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that even if you turn off your location services on the latest iPhone, the phone intermittently tracks your location and sends the data to Apple anyway. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Location Services Privacy policy reads:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Location services allows Apple and third-party apps and websites to gather and use information based on the current location of your iPhone. If Location Services is on, your iPhone will periodically send the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers (where supported by a device) in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple to be used for augmenting this crowdsourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, in the video below, you can see the purple arrows which mean that location services are still being used despite the services being turned off.</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/37_3hd_SK24"></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Krebs notified Apple and said that an engineer got back to him, saying that they “do not see any actual security implications”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We do not see any actual security implications,” an Apple engineer wrote to Mr Krebs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It is expected behaviour that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Krebs tried to replicate the tracking issue on an earlier iPhone 8 but was unable to, which points to a possible issue with the iPhone 11 Pro devices themselves instead of the software.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple later disclosed to Krebs that the behaviour is tied to the inclusion of a new short-range technology that lets iPhone 11 users share files locally with other nearby users that support this feature. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple also said that a future version of its mobile operating system will allow users to disable it.</span></p>

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China's failed gene edited baby experiment proves we're not ready for human embryo modification

<p>More than a year ago, the world was shocked by Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui’s attempt to use CRISPR technology to modify human embryos and make them resistant to HIV, which led to the birth of twins Lulu and Nana.</p> <p>Now, crucial details have been revealed in a recent <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614764/chinas-crispr-babies-read-exclusive-excerpts-he-jiankui-paper/">release of excerpts</a> from the study, which have triggered a series of concerns about how Lulu and Nana’s genome was modified.</p> <p><strong>How CRISPR works</strong></p> <p>CRISPR is a technique that allows scientists to make precise edits to any DNA by altering its sequence.</p> <p>When using CRISPR, you may be trying to “knock out” a gene by rendering it inactive, or trying to achieve specific modifications, such as introducing or removing a desired piece of DNA.</p> <p>Gene editing with the CRISPR system relies on an association of two molecules. One is a protein, called Cas9, that is responsible for “cutting” the DNA. The other molecule is a short RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecule which works as a “guide” that brings Cas9 to the position where it is supposed to cut.</p> <p>The system also needs help from the cells being edited. DNA damage is frequent, so cells regularly have to repair the DNA lesions. The associated repair mechanisms are what introduce the deletions, insertions or modifications when performing gene editing.</p> <p><strong>How the genomes of Lulu and Nana were modified</strong></p> <p>He Jiankui and his colleagues were targeting a gene called CCR5, which is necessary for the HIV virus to enter into white blood cells (<a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320987.php">lymphocytes</a>) and infect our body.</p> <p>One variant of CCR5, called CCR5 Δ32, is missing a particular string of 32 “letters” of DNA code. This variant naturally occurs in the human population, and results in a high level of resistance to the most common type of HIV virus.</p> <p>The team wanted to recreate this mutation using CRISPR on human embryos, in a bid to render them resistant to HIV infection. But this did not go as planned, and there are several ways they may have failed.</p> <p>First, despite claiming in the abstract of their unpublished article that they reproduced the human CCR5 mutation, in reality the team tried to modify CCR5 <em>close</em> to the Δ32 mutation.</p> <p>As a result, they generated different mutations, of which the effects are unknown. It may or may not confer HIV resistance, and may or may not have other consequences.</p> <p>Worryingly, they did not test any of this, and went ahead with implanting the embryos. This is unjustifiable.</p> <p><strong>The mosaic effect</strong></p> <p>A second source of errors could have been that the editing was not perfectly efficient. This means that not all cells in the embryos were necessarily edited.</p> <p>When an organism has a mixture of edited and unedited cells, it is called a “mosaic”. While the available data are still limited, it seems that both Lulu and Nana are mosaic.</p> <p>This makes it even less likely that the gene-edited babies would be resistant to HIV infection. The risk of mosaicism should have been another reason not to implant the embryos.</p> <p>Moreover, editing can have unintended impacts elsewhere in the genome.</p> <p>When designing a CRISPR experiment, you choose the “guide” RNA so that its sequence is unique to the gene you are targeting. However, “off-target” cuts can still happen elsewhere in the genome, at places that have a similar sequence.</p> <p>He Jiankui and his team tested cells from the edited embryos, and reported only one off-target modification. However, that testing required sampling the cells, which were therefore no longer part of the embryos - which continued developing.</p> <p>Thus, the remaining cells in the embryos had not been tested, and may have had different off-target modifications.</p> <p>This is not the team’s fault, as there will always be limitations in detecting off-target and mosaicism, and we can only get a partial picture.</p> <p>However, that partial picture should have made them pause.</p> <p><strong>A bad idea to begin</strong></p> <p>Above, we have described several risks associated with the modifications made on the embryos, which could be passed on to future generations.</p> <p>Embryo editing is only ethically justifiable in cases where the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.</p> <p>Technical issues aside, the researchers did not even address an unmet medical need.</p> <p>While the twins’ father was HIV-positive, there is already a well-established way to prevent an HIV-positive father from infecting embryos. This “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779710/">sperm washing</a>” method was actually used by the team.</p> <p>The only benefit of the attempted gene modification, if proven, would have been a reduced risk of HIV infection for the twins later in life.</p> <p>But there are safer existing ways to control the risk of infection, such as condoms and mandatory testing of blood donations.</p> <p><strong>Implications for gene editing as a field</strong></p> <p>Gene editing has endless applications. It can be used to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02770-7">make plants such as the Cavendish banana more resistant to devastating diseases</a>. It can play an important role in the adaptation to climate change.</p> <p>In health, we are already seeing <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/11/19/780510277/gene-edited-supercells-make-progress-in-fight-against-sickle-cell-disease">promising results</a> with the editing of somatic cells (that is, non-heritable modifications of the patient’s own cells) in beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease.</p> <p>However, we are just not ready for human embryo editing. Our techniques are not mature enough, and no case has been made for a widespread need that other techniques, such as preimplantation genetic testing, could not address.</p> <p>There is also much work still needed on governance. There have been individual calls for a moratorium on embryo editing, and expert panels from the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00942-z">World Health Organisation</a> to <a href="https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-panel-experts-calls-ban-editing-human-dna-avoid-unethical-tampering-hereditary-traits">UNESCO</a>.</p> <p>Yet, no consensus has emerged.</p> <p>It is important these discussions move <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03525-0">in unison</a> to a second phase, where other stakeholders, such as patient groups, are more broadly consulted (and informed). Engagement with the public is also crucial.</p> <p><em>Correction: this article originally described RNA (ribonucleic acid) as a protein, rather than a molecule.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/128454/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dimitri-perrin-392467">Dimitri Perrin</a>, Senior Lecturer, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gaetan-burgio-202386">Gaetan Burgio</a>, Geneticist and Group Leader, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/chinas-failed-gene-edited-baby-experiment-proves-were-not-ready-for-human-embryo-modification-128454">original article</a>.</em></p>

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5 ways to outsmart a burglar

<p>From burglars’ mouths to your ears: Here are the vulnerabilities they look for when they’re deciding whether to rob you blind.</p> <p><strong>1. Keep a car parked in your driveway</strong></p> <p>The investigative team at the Portland 24-hour news station KGW conducted an anonymous survey of 86 inmates incarcerated for burglary in a state prison, and almost all of the burglars surveyed said they’d think twice if they saw a car in a driveway.</p> <p><strong>2. Keep your doors and windows locked</strong></p> <p>Yes, this seems obvious. Yet a lot of people actually forget to lock their doors and windows. Most burglars KGW surveyed said they tended to “break in” simply by walking through an unlocked door or climbing through an unlocked window.</p> <p><strong>3. Consider making your door kick-proof</strong></p> <p>Some of the burglars surveyed by KGW said they’d be willing to kick in a locked door. It’s actually not difficult to kick in a door.</p> <p><strong>4. Don’t ignore a knock on the door</strong></p> <p>Every burglar surveyed by KGW reports knocking on the front door before breaking into a home; if someone answers the door, the burglar makes up an excuse and moves on. You don’t have to open the door for the person, but definitely let the person know you’re home – you just might thwart a burglary.</p> <p><strong>5. Prune those shrubs</strong></p> <p>Burglars value their privacy while they’re breaking and entering. Theoretically, if every house on a particular block seemed empty, a burglar would still choose to target the house that offers the most privacy. To deter would-be burglars, keep the shrubs around your house well-trimmed.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Cahn. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/im-a-burglar-heres-how-to-outsmart-me"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p>

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Titanium is the perfect metal to make replacement body parts

<p><em>To mark the <a href="https://www.iypt2019.org/">International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements</a> we’re taking a look at how researchers study some of the elements in their work.</em></p> <p><em>Today’s it’s titanium, a metal known for its strength and lightness so it’s ideal for making replacement hips, knees and other parts of our bodies, but it’s also used in other industries.</em></p> <hr /> <p><a href="http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/22/titanium">Titanium</a> gets its name from the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Titan-Greek-mythology">Titans of ancient Greek mythology</a> but this thoroughly modern material is well suited to a huge range of high-tech applications.</p> <p>With the chemical symbol Ti and an atomic number of 22, titanium is a silver-coloured metal valued for its low density, high strength, and resistance to corrosion.</p> <p>I first studied titanium via a Master’s degree at the Institute of Metal Research in the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1999. One of my projects was to investigate the formation of titanium alloys for their high-strength characteristics.</p> <p>Since then, the applications for this metal have grown exponentially, from its use (as <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/titanium-dioxide">titanium dioxide</a>) in paints, paper, toothpaste, sunscreen and cosmetics, through to its <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/titanium">use as an alloy</a> in biomedical implants and aerospace innovations.</p> <p>Particularly exciting is the perfect marriage between titanium and 3D printing.</p> <p><strong>Custom design from 3D printing</strong></p> <p>Titanium materials are expensive and can be problematic when it comes to traditional processing technologies. For example, its high melting point (1,670℃, much higher than <a href="https://www.bssa.org.uk/topics.php?article=103">steel alloys</a>) is a challenge.</p> <p>The relatively low-cost precision of 3D printing is therefore a game-changer for titanium. 3D printing is where an object is built layer by layer and designers can create amazing shapes.</p> <p>This allows the production of complex shapes such as replacement parts of a <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/victorian-woman-gets-3d-printed-jawbone-implant/8400410">jaw bone</a>, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-21/rare-cancer-sufferer-receives-3d-printed-heel/5830432">heel</a>, <a href="https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2014/05/16-ground-breaking-hip-and-stem-cell-surgery.page">hip</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27313616">dental implants</a>, or <a href="http://www.media-studio.co.uk/news/media-studios-first-3d-printed-titanium-cranioplasty-plate-delivered">cranioplasty plates</a> in surgery. It can also be used to make <a href="https://3dprint.com/219546/3d-print-golf-clubs-and-equipment/">golf clubs</a> and <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norsk-boeing-idUSKBN17C264">aircraft components</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/MF/Areas/Metals/Lab22">CSIRO is working with industry</a> to develop new technologies in 3D printing using titanium. (It even <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oc8GoOOUo4">made a dragon</a> out of titanium.)</p> <p>Advances in 3D printing are opening up new avenues to further improve the function of <a href="https://www.materialise.com/pl/node/3197">customised bodypart implants</a> <a href="https://www.renishaw.com/en/metal-3d-printing-for-healthcare--24226">made of titanium</a>.</p> <p>Such implants can be designed to be porous, making them lighter but allowing blood, nutrients and nerves to pass through and can even <a href="https://3dprint.com/219795/3d-printed-lattice-structures/">promote bone in-growth</a>.</p> <p><strong>Safe in the body</strong></p> <p>Titanium is considered the most biocompatible metal – not harmful or toxic to living tissue – due to its resistance to corrosion from bodily fluids. This ability to withstand the harsh bodily environment is a result of the protective oxide film that forms naturally in the presence of oxygen.</p> <p>Its ability to physically bond with bone also gives titanium an advantage over other materials that require the use of an adhesive to remain attached. Titanium implants last longer, and much larger forces are required to break the bonds that join them to the body compared with their alternatives.</p> <p>Titanium alloys commonly used in load-bearing implants are significantly less stiff – and closer in performance to human bone – than stainless steel or cobalt-based alloys.</p> <p><strong>Aerospace applications</strong></p> <p>Titanium weighs about half as much as steel but is 30% stronger, which makes it ideally suited to the aerospace industry where every gram matters.</p> <p>In the late 1940s the US government helped to get production of titanium going as it could see its potential for “<a href="https://titaniumprocessingcenter.com/titanium-technical-data/titanium-history-developments-and-applications/">aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and other military purposes</a>”.</p> <p>Titanium has increasingly become the buy-to-fly material for aircraft designers striving to develop faster, lighter and more efficient aircraft.</p> <p>About 39% of the US Air Force’s <a href="https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/f22/">F22 Raptor</a>, one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, is made of titanium.</p> <p>Civil aviation moved in the same direction with Boeing’s new <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/boeing-787-dreamliner">787 Dreamliner made of 15% titanium</a>, significantly more than previous models.</p> <p>Two key areas where titanium is used in airliners is in their landing gear and jet engines. Landing gear needs to withstand the massive amounts of force exerted on it every time a plane hits a runway.</p> <p>Titanium’s toughness means it can absorb the huge amounts of energy expelled when a plane lands without ever weakening.</p> <p>Titanium’s heat resistance means it can be used inside modern jet engines, where temperatures can reach 800℃. Steel begins to soften at around 400℃ but titanium can withstand the intense heat of a jet engine without losing its strength.</p> <p><strong>Where to find titanium</strong></p> <p>In its natural state, titanium is always found bonded with other elements, usually within igneous rocks and sediments derived from them.</p> <p>The most commonly mined materials containing titanium are <a href="https://geology.com/minerals/ilmenite.shtml">ilmenite</a> (an iron-titanium oxide, FeTiO<sub>3</sub>) and <a href="https://geology.com/minerals/rutile.shtml">rutile</a> (a titanium oxide, TiO<sub>2</sub>).</p> <p>Ilmenite is most abundant in China, whereas Australia has the highest global proportion of rutile, <a href="http://www.ga.gov.au/education/classroom-resources/minerals-energy/australian-mineral-facts/titanium#heading-6">about 40% according to Geoscience Australia</a>. It’s found mostly on the east, west and southern coastlines of Australia.</p> <p>Both materials are generally extracted from sands, after which the titanium is separated from the other minerals.</p> <p>Australia is one of the world’s <a href="https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/titanium/mcs-2015-timin.pdf">leading producers of titanium</a>, producing more than 1.5 million tonnes in 2014. South Africa and China are the two next leading producers of titanium, producing 1.16 and 1 million tonnes, respectively.</p> <p>Being among the top ten most abundant elements in Earth’s crust, titanium resources aren’t currently under threat – good news for the many scientists and innovators constantly looking for new ways to improve life with titanium.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you’re an academic researcher working with a particular element from the periodic table and have an interesting story to tell then why not <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/pitches">get in touch</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/115361/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/laichang-zhang-715775">Laichang Zhang</a>, Professor Mechanical Engineering, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/titanium-is-the-perfect-metal-to-make-replacement-human-body-parts-115361">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Commonwealth Bank issues urgent warning over phishing scam

<p>Commonwealth Bank has issued an urgent warning telling customers of an email scam that has hit thousands of unsuspecting inboxes across Australia.</p> <p>The scam, which contains the words “CommBank” was detected on November 29 by anti-virus software company Mailguard.</p> <p>Customers have received an email asking them to verify recent transactions on their card.</p> <p> “We encourage our customers to stay vigilant and look out for fraud and scams,” a spokesperson told<a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/business/banks/commonwealth-bank-issues-urgent-warning-on-new-email-scam-hitting-inboxes-right-now-c-587199" target="_blank"> <em>7NEWS.com.au</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>“We offer our customers the benefit from our 100 per cent guarantee against online fraud where they are not at fault.</p> <p>“Where there is fraudulent activity, our process is to fully reimburse our customers as quickly as possible to minimise inconvenience.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833028/commbank.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/881a4a09c8e34134bef991afd5b851ab" /></p> <p>A blog shared by Mailguard about the phishing scam gave clear signs customers can follow to check if their emails from banks are authentic or not.</p> <p>The blog warned to check for spelling errors, and be aware if it takes you to the actual bank website or not.</p> <p>“This is another reminder for those who utilise online banking, to pay close attention to the emails they receive from their banks,” the post read.</p> <p>“To best protect yourself, it is imperative that you do not click any link contained within an email, especially if it does not address you by name.”</p> <p>Anyone who believes they have been scammed is urged to contact Commonwealth Bank. </p>

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