Words Can Hurt as Much as Sticks and Stones

privacy on internetJust as the digital age has ushered in new ways of enhancing human connection, it’s also opened up the scope and range of social rejection. Unfriend—as in, un-Facebook ‘friend’ — was the word of the year in 2009, joining its older cohort “cyberbully,” amid the advent of the text breakup or the Facebook status change as ways to tell him or her that it’s over.

With the yin and yang of digital life in mind, it seems relevant to explore what science knows about emotional pain and its connection to the physical kind.

Language has always mirrored the connection between the two: we suffer from “broken hearts” as well as bones, and speak of “bruised feelings” along with toes. This all seems intuitively right because we recognize the common basis of the pain we experience, whether a throbbing headache or the pain of missing someone so much that you ache. Is there anyone out there who actually believes the line, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me”? I somehow doubt it, but now science has a bead on the literal harm that words inflict.

Human beings don’t thrive going it alone the way snakes do. Just as physical pain signals us that we must withdraw from or flee from something that is hurting us in order to survive, so too does the loneliness we feel in isolation or the anxiety induced by abandonment reinforces us to seek out and maintain social connections.

While both physical and emotional pain both “hurt,” they seem, on the surface at least, to do so in different ways, right? Well, maybe not as much as we might think. While it’s true that slicing your finger instead of the onion on the cutting board is one kind of experience and being dumped by someone you love is another, there’s evidence that they have more in common than not.

Of course, it certainly doesn’t feel like an advantage, evolutionary or otherwise, when you’re in the throes of emotional devastation the moment you hear that your ex is madly in love, blissed to the max, and about to get married, when your close friend cuts you off with nary a word of explanation, or at the moment your mother, who never has anything nice to say about you, tells you once again that you’re a horrible disappointment.

Just because we can’t see the wounds doesn’t mean they aren’t literally and physically there.

Warning ‘Heartbleed Bug’ – Public Urged To Reset All Passwords

OpenSSL-HeartBleed-BugA flaw has been discovered in an encryption method used on about two-thirds of all websites, including Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Facebook, potentially exposing web traffic, user data and stored content to cyber criminals.

The “heartbleed bug” was found in the OpenSSL software by a team of security engineers last week, leaving technology companies scrambling to fix their systems before it was announced on Monday night.
A newly discovered bug in widely used Web encryption technology has made data on many of the world’s major websites vulnerable to theft by hackers in what experts say is one of the most serious security flaws uncovered in recent years.

Bugs in single software or library come and go and are fixed by new versions. However this bug has left large amount of private keys and other secrets exposed to the Internet. Considering the long exposure, ease of exploitation and attacks leaving no trace this exposure should be taken seriously.

Updates are already available to address the vulnerability in OpenSSL, which could enable remote attackers to access sensitive data including passwords and secret keys that can decode traffic as it travels across the Internet. Computer security experts warned that means victims cannot tell if their data has been accessed which is troubling because the bug has existed for about two years.

Google said it had fixed the flaw in key Google services and Facebook said it had added protections before the issue was publicly disclosed. Amazon Web Services, whose clients include sites from Netflix to Unilever, said it had applied “mitigations” so customers did not need to act. Yahoo said it had “made the appropriate corrections” to its main properties and was working to fix its other sites.

But even those who fix the software cannot necessarily see if a hacker has already used the vulnerability to access their systems. Netcraft, which monitors what code is used in each site, said more than half a million trusted websites were vulnerable to the bug.

You can read more about Heartbleed Bug on there website >> Heartbleed.com

Google Doodle’s Halloween Turns You Into a Witch

canvasThe image begins with a green-faced witch with a huge warty nose intently reading a large book with the word Google across the front of it in arcane letters. You can click on the book and when you do so, you are taken to the witch’s lair where she can be seen stirring a bubbling cauldron full of witch’s brew. The user is then invited to add ingredients to the brew such as a bone, an apple or a skull. Throwing in these items creates a puff of smoke, following which the with disappears from view.

You are then taken to a series of different mini games, from whack-a-mole with the undead, to a shell game where your goal is to find a mummy in a sarcophagus.

Social Media – Pros & Cons

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Facebook, Google, Amazon Technology Gurus To Design Cancer Research Game

facbook amazon googleScientists from a British cancer charity are teaming up with technology gurus from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google to design and develop a mobile game aimed at speeding the search for new cancer drugs.

The project, led by the charity Cancer Research UK, should mean that anyone with a smart phone and five minutes to spare will be able to investigate vital scientific data at the same time as playing a mobile game. The first step is for 40 computer programmers, gamers, graphic designers and other specialists to take part in a weekend “GameJam” to turn the charity’s raw genetic data into a game format for future so-called “citizen scientists“.

After the GameJam, which runs in London from March 1-3, an agency will build the game concept into reality and the team plans to launch it in mid 2013.  Cancer already kills more than 7.5 million people a year and the number of people with the disease worldwide is expected to surge by more than 75 percent by 2030, according to the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC.

CRUK’s scientists are working hard to identify the genetic faults that drive cancer to try to find new ways of diagnosing and treating patients in a more targeted way based on their genetic profile and that of their tumors. In a major international study on breast cancer genetics published last year, CRUK researchers said they are now able to classify the disease into 10 subtypes – a finding that could lead to more accurate and tailored treatment in future. That study also found several completely new genes that drive breast cancer, offering potential targets for new types of drugs. Yet this type of research generates colossal amounts of data that need to be analyzed, CRUK said as it announced the gaming project. And while advances in technology mean scientists can process data faster than ever, much of it still needs to be analyzed by people rather than machines.

“The human eye can detect subtle changes that machines are not programmed to look for – leading to serendipitous discoveries providing clues to the causes and drivers of the disease,” the charity said. With the collective power of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe helping our scientists to analyze this data we could drastically speed up research.”

Facebook Will No Longer Let Users Have Say In It’s Privacy Rules

Social Network, Facebook announced Friday 23rd November 2012 that it will no longer let users have a say in its privacy policies or be allowed to vote on proposed policy changes at the company because their comments weren’t good enough. The move prompted data protection regulators in Europe to seek urgent clarification from the company. Facebook revealed that it will reverse its 2009 policy that let users vote on its privacy rules, blaming the move on the low quality of the comments that it often received.

While promising to value user feedback, Facebook Vice President for Communications, Public Policy and Marketing Elliot Schrage declared in a company blog that

“We’re proposing to end the voting component of the process in favor of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement”

Facebook said in a post detailing the proposed changes published on Wednesday.

The news hasn’t gone down well with Facebook users, who ironically have taken to the social network to voice their rage and dissatisfaction. Leaving messages saying:

”I oppose the change, want to vote on this. I do not approve of any private or public data, created, stored, shared, or posted on my profile or associated with my profile, to be used by any other party including Facebook, without my prior explicit approval.”

”Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the proposed changes. I do NOT want these changes to go into effect. I do not want you to use my information for your own purposes. I do not want my information shared with those whom YOU decide. In short, I vehemently oppose these proposed changes. You do not have my permisson to share any information about me.”

”I demand the abilty to delete anything and everything that I wish to remove from facebook and demand that any such deleted information, picture or otherwise, be deleted from facebook permanently. I oppose facebook storing any information about me that I wish to remove. I oppose the changes and want an opportunity to vote.
Further, I want an “opt-in” policy rather then “opt-out” and a clear explanation of changes that are going to be made with specific examples before the changes are implemented”

”I have to disagree with these changes, Big Brother comes to mind, I have never shared information about me, pics or any thing that would be offensive, but want to choose who sees my “life”, I will choose to opt out and close my FB account if this is your bottom line. I only have a FB account to stay in touch with close family and friends who are far away through the miles, but we can skype and call it a good day instead. It is your site, and you need to do what is in your best interest for your site, but you will probably lose many of your users over this one.”

”I oppose the changes and want a vote about the demands on www.our-policy.org”

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