SUNDAY, 29 MARCH 2015

Five things to know about government’s proposed net neutrality

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netImage Source: Bloomberg/BGR

 

I promised earlier to write more about net neutrality That is the assumption now signed into law by the current American regime, that the internet is really just like a telephone service, and can be regulated like a utility.

The obvious problem is that the internet is not a utility; it is, rather, a supermedium operating on various utilities that enables almost all other media as a result. It is a pure information stream.

So, getting control of the internet means getting control of the information flow as such. That should attract scrutiny.

That, and two other things: Governments tend to enforce what’s easily enforceable… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015

Does social media use increase emotional stress for caregivers?

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It depends on what stresses us.

A Pew survey released this year found that social media do not increase stress across the board. And for some groups, may lower it. An obvious example of reduced stress is a woman working alone at night in security, who has an iPod and a personal alarm, and whose desk is monitored by CCTV.

But as Pew reports,

… there is one way that people’s use of digital technology can be linked to stress: Those users who feel more stress are those whose use of digital tech is tied to higher levels of awareness of stressful events in others’ lives.
Sometimes, a social media user’s awareness of events… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015

How much should we invest in creating equal results in boys’ and girls’ education?

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), established in 1961 and headquartered in Paris, surveyed gender differences in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 64 countries, done every three years on 15-year-olds. See “The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence” (paywall), subtitled “Tackling underperformance among boys.” Boys are not doing as well as girls in today's schools. But why?

This chapter examines gender differences in the activities in which boys and girls engage outside of school, in their ability to regulate their behaviour and emotions, in engagement with school and attitudes towards learning, and in the marks boys and girls receive in school. All of these… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

SUNDAY, 22 MARCH 2015

Smartphone? Should we call it the dumbphone instead?

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Possibly, if we heed a recent group of studies from the University of Waterloo in Canada, involving 660 participants: “Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking”:

The study, from researchers at the University of Waterloo and published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggests that smartphone users who are intuitive thinkers -- more prone to relying on gut feelings and instincts when making decisions -- frequently use their device's search engine rather than their own brainpower. Smartphones allow them to be even lazier than they would otherwise be.
"They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it," said… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 2015

Is there still religious freedom at universities?

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university groupChi Alpha student group kicked off California State University campus
for requiring religious leaders to share its faith. Photo: Beckett Fund

 

Not if we go by this story:

Unlike other non-religious student groups such as the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance or Greek fraternities, the Cal State system now refuses to recognize any religious group that requires that its leaders share the group’s mission and beliefs.

Before we proceed further, let’s ask ourselves a simple question: Would a Muslim student group or a pro-choice/abortion student group be treated the same way?

Why even ask?

Did you know that in the upcoming Canadian federal election, all candidates for the historic Liberal… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 17 MARCH 2015

Should we or someone we love go into debt for university?

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college cost

 

It’s not necessarily clear. Let’s look at some decision factors.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel has offered smart young techs $100,000 each to just quit school. That worked out okay for them. But then they were just the kind of smart young techs he was specifically looking for. No U could teach them what no one else yet even knew.

But is that true of the typical family physician? Nurse practitioner? Chemistry teacher? Mechanical engineer? Clearly, university is necessary. On the other hand, lots of people end up serving coffee while paying off student loans they can’t shed even if they die. So how do our families sort it… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 16 MARCH 2015

Who is Edward Snowden and why should we care about him?

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As I write this, my words may be monitored by various governments and criminals. Fine.

Snowden is

Born in North Carolina in 1983, Edward Snowden worked for the National Security Agency through subcontractor Booz Allen in the NSA's Oahu office. After only three months, Snowden began collecting top-secret documents regarding NSA domestic surveillance practices, which he found disturbing. After Snowden fled to Hong Kong, China, newspapers began printing the documents that he had leaked to them, many of them detailing invasive spying practices against American citizens. With the U.S. charging Snowden under the Espionage Act but many groups calling him a hero, Snowden remains in Russia, with the U.S. government working on extradition. A documentary on his story, Citzenfour, won an Oscar in 2015.

Snowden took… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 12 MARCH 2015

Net neutrality, what’s next? And Uber Taxi, what about that insurance issue?

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This is a two-edged column because I am updating two different issues.

One is net neutrality, the effort of governments to get control of the Internet. My sense is that it will be about as successful or otherwise as the effort of governments centuries ago to get control of books has been.

But now that net neutrality has won in the United States, as almost all progressive causes have, the question is, what happens next. From the Daily Dot:

Politics may or may not play an important role in the outcome of the net neutrality case at the appellate level, but political calculations will almost certainly determine whether the case reaches the Supreme Court.
Every year, the Supreme Court… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

TUESDAY, 10 MARCH 2015

Net neutrality: The basics—what does it really mean?

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net

 

I promised earlier to write more about Net neutrality, recently signed into law by the Obama regime in the United States. It means more regulation of Internet prices and services, and almost certainly price increases as a result.

Might it mean more than that?

Yes indeed. The four million U.S. write-in votes for government regulation of the Internet were not in vain. The international telecommunications union sought a greater role for regulation and intervention but were always resisted in the past by the view that the Internet is simply an information service, period. It is delivered in a variety of ways, but it is still just information.

But in the United States, the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SUNDAY, 8 MARCH 2015

The Internet can help the grass roots grow—or lay down astroturf

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American investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, author of Stonewalled, offers a look at astroturf—the way false climates of opinion can be built up, principally through new media.

Yes, just as new media can enable voices that have never been heard before to finally be heard, they can also enable pressure groups and lobbies to create the impression of a broad consensus, which they hope will result in changes to legislation, regulations, or funding that will benefit them:

Astroturfers often disguise themselves and publish blogs, write letters to the editor, produce ads, start non-profits, establish Facebook and Twitter accounts, edit Wikipedia pages or simply post comments online to try to fool you into thinking an independent or grassroots movement is speaking. They use their partners in… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

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Connecting is MercatorNet's blog about social media and the virtual self. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your tips and suggestions. Post comments. We want to make it as lively as possible. The editor is Denyse O'Leary, a Canadian journalist. 


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