Can high tech recreate destroyed national treasures?

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Palmyra, Syria.  Photo: ALAMY via The Telegraph


Can it save key world sites currently doomed by fanaticism?

Cultural treasures throughout the Middle East are in danger from Islamist fanatics.

The Telegraph tells us

Isil 'blows up Temple of Bel' in ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

It is the second of the city's ancient temples to be destroyed in a week as jihadist groups continues its programme of "cultural cleansing"

Readers may be aware that Islamists also blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas (2001), have destroyed and threaten many others, including the Pyramids, and—should they reign unfettered in Turkey—will likely destroy Gobekli… click here to read whole article and make comments



The unreal, unhealthy world kids can see online

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That parents may never have heard of. No wonder Steve Jobs was low tech at home.

At The Conversation, teen literacy expert Margaret Kristin Merga warns:

Heavy screen use has been associated with a range of health issues, such as obesity, spinal issues, ocular health problems and sleep disruption. Mental health may be affected, and increasing access to devices may also lead to increased opportunities for cyberbullying.

… Around three-quarters of secondary students already exceed the recommended two-hour limit on daily screen time.

Pediatricians agree. Here’s some more ammo, in case you need any:

– Should the popular Suicide Girls be role models? Would… click here to read whole article and make comments



Ashley Madison may be doomed; others not

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Recently we looked at the  Ashley Madison hack, in which about 32 million accounts of people who signed up for partners for extramarital affairs were dumped onto the Deep Web—and are now being converted into more easily searchable files.

Deep Web? Or Dark Web? Breathless news accounts sometimes confuse terms. Let’s start with the Dark Web. From PC Advisor: 

… a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that are publicly visible, but hide the IP addresses of the servers that run them. Thus they can be visited by any web user, but it is very difficult to work out who is behind the… click here to read whole article and make comments



Ashley Madison hack: Non-cheaters, listen too.

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The hugely successful Ashley Madison matchmaking site for adulterers, founded 2001, markets safe and easy anonymous affairs (“Over 38,920,000 anonymous members!”). Bloomberg reports 

The site is unapologetic about the nature of its services, arguing that it has even strengthened some marriages. “We’ve had stories from members that we’ve returned love to the marital bed and made others realize the grass is not greener on the other side,” [international relations head Christoph] Kraemer said.

The site's slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair." Many have agreed; Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media enjoyed 45 percent sales growth last year and a profit of 20–25 percent, according to company sources.

But thanks to one… click here to read whole article and make comments



Old media doesn’t get new media

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Pass it on.

In the wake of Google’s decision to rebrand as “Alphabet,” an old-school journalist launched an attack that demonstrates the gulf that exists between legacy media and new media

First, the rebranding: Google was plagued, as many Silicon giants are, by branching out in all kinds of money-losing directions. Its core business is Internet search but suddenly it was sponsoring driverless cars and pharmaceuticals.

Eh, what? Who asked for driverless cars? What does Google know about pharmaceuticals?

That tendency has been the road to ruin for many gargantuan businesses. They disastrously assume that because they know everything about one thing, they know a lot about everything. No correlation (except the huge financial losses that follow).

So the rebranding is intended to keep the… click here to read whole article and make comments



Serious argument: The right to marry a robot

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From “A.I. Thee Wed,” by Gary Marchant, professor of emerging technologies, law, and ethics at ASU Slate :

Based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, he writes,  

Robot-human marriages might be next on the list. Probably not soon, admittedly, but it nevertheless will be an inevitable part of our future. Indeed, some critics of same-sex marriage, including some conservative Christian opponents of gay marriage, have argued that the court’s recognition of same-sex marriage would inevitably lead to robotic-human marriages. There has recently been a burst of cogent accounts of human-robot sex and love in popular culture: Her and Ex Machina, the AMC drama series Humans,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Had to happen. Internet addiction treatment centre

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Photo: Fusion / Kristen V. Brown/Kent Hernández



Fusion offers a longish but revealing article on “click sickness.” at a treatment centre in rural Washington state, which is home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo America, where early adopters have been experiencing the fallout.

It feels like an idyllic woodland retreat, but inside the center’s main house are reminders of the reason people come here. A sign at the entrance asks visitors to turn off their phones. A wall in the dining room is covered in post-it notes responding to the prompt, “How does digital media use get in the way of living your life to the fullest?” On… click here to read whole article and make comments



Do they really need all those gadgets?

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The video above, with English kids talking about how their parents use their electronic devices, is either hilarious or terrifying, depending on your point of view.

Based on these conversations, market researchers for Start-rite, a British company which sells stylish shoes for children, reached some startling conclusions about how youngsters used their mobile phones, tablets and computers. It’s not a rigorous study, but surely there must be more than a grain of truth in it.

  • Do Mum and Dad set a good example? Happily, 64% say that their parents do not spend “too much time” on their gadgets – although we are in the dark about what “too much time” might be. Unhappily, 34% do think… click here to read whole article and make comments



Tweet this!: Twitter’s value is way down

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I am not especially sorry to report that Twitter is not doing well financially, according to a CNBC report earlier this month:

Twitter shares continued their slide on Monday, falling to their lowest-ever closing price amid lingering concerns about the social media platform's growth prospects. ...

The stock had never closed below $30 per share, but it ended the day down more than 5.5 percent at $29.27. It bottomed below $29 in intraday trading Monday, down more than 6 percent.

Bloomberg Business suggests it’s a takeover target, possibly by Google. However,

Competitors are looking at some of Twitter’s assets: its employees. Two product executives announced their departures… click here to read whole article and make comments



Spam filters force Nigerian prince to abdicate?

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spam  Flickr: freezelight


As we learn from Digg: 

In the 2000s, our email inboxes were often reminiscent of the classic Monty Python sketch: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spammity Spam. Spam still makes up over 50% of all email activity, but the trend is moving in the right direction (down), after the insane peak in the late aughts — when pleas from Nigerian princes and other garbage made up a whopping 9 out of 10 emails — thanks to the take-down of some huge botnets … 

And from Quartz: 

This is a stark contrast from 2008 to 2010, when spam made up… 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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