By Stephanie Smith, Staff Writer
On average, Americans spend five hours a day on the Internet. I would hanker a guess that people our age are spending a lot more time than that surfing the web and updating statuses, whether on a computer, smart phone or tablet.
Often times, we refer to our constant Internet use as an addiction, but some psychologists are saying that it could actually be a clinical problem.
Bradford Regional Medical Center believes that Internet addicts should seek treatment — at their new rehab facility. This Pennsylvania establishment is the first of its kind, specializing in Internet addiction therapies.
In a Discovery News article from September 5, Kimberly Young, the chief psychologist at Bradford, treats Internet addiction as a physical and mental problem.
Young believes that Internet addiction could be worse than an alcohol addiction. After a ten-day detox, patients at Bradford can be cured of their constant screen staring and finger-typing.
In an interview with CNN, Ryan Van Cleave, a former Internet addict, understands the struggles of overcoming an Internet addiction. This acclaimed writer, professor and husband lost his job, many friends and was close to getting a divorce as a result of his 80 hours per week of Internet dosage. Cleave said that a comparison to alcoholism is the only logical analogy.
Many disagree with these claims, though. In the most recent update in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, it makes no mention of Internet addiction as an illness.
John M. Grohol, psychologist and cofounder of Mental Health Net, argues that without a diagnosis there cannot be an in-patient treatment process.
Young retaliates say that with more people on smart phones at all times, the Internet is even more accessible. Grohol said that the access to the Internet gives people a high that is similar to any other addition that can be treated with therapy and rehab.
Since the Internet is around us at all times and is difficult to avoid, Van Cleave explains that the recovery process is more like that of someone with an eating disorder. With advancements in technology and a shift towards a fully digital medium, the Internet is still vital in order to gather information. Recovering is about learning which sites to get involved with and how long is too long online.
So before traveling to Pennsylvania and admitting yourself into Bradford, try breaking from the Internet for a bit, so you don’t risk losing friends or a job.
But first, send this article to your internet-obsessed friends, of course!
By Christina Janansky
As citizens of the 21st century, we have the technological world at our feet.
And that world of technology may soon be in the palms of our hands.
At the 2013 CHI conference in Paris, a team of computer scientists from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science introduced a series of shape-shifting smartphones called “Morphees.”
Morphees, according to an article in Discovery News, are “Transformer-like” mobile devices that can condense several technological devices into one. While Morphees are still in their primary stages, future models will be able to shift shapes to accommodate your everyday needs. This can range from normal cellphone activity to a using the device as a gaming console.
And just when you thought cellphones couldn’t get any fancier…
Researchers have developed six new prototypes of Morphees and are hoping to finalize a device in the near future. These prototypes were made out of a variety of materials including plastic, paper and wood. Prototypes also contained shape-changing materials and shape-memory alloys.
Although these materials seem hardly fit for a smartphone, researchers have tested numerous materials to develop potential concepts for future models.
Along with a variety of materials, the research team is also considering different shapes for the product. In order to give these devices more affordance –- or, in other words, the capability of an object to tell you how it would like to be used — researchers are entertaining a doorknob-like shape, which will fit nicely in a cupped hand and allow the holder to turn, push or pull it.
While the concept is still in its primary stages, we can look forward to a new generation of gadgets that will transform we utilize our everyday activities.
By Christina Janansky
Suffering from a fresh breakup?
Fearsome of dying alone?
Worried you will replace your loneliness with dozens of cats?
Well, no need to fear— the new “girlfriend coat” is here.
The girlfriend coat— a new development by a team of students at the University of Tsukuba in Japan— won’t ever cheat on you or leave you!
According to a Discovery News article, you simply put the hooded toggle coat on and fasten its lime green nylon belt around your waist. The coat contains a mechanical device on the back of the waist that tightens the belt to simulate the feeling of a hug.
Interesting? Yes. Strange? Most definitely.
It gets even creepier: the jacket also has an audio component. The wearer of the girlfriend coat simply plugs in a set of headphones. When the coat “hugs” it also emits a female voice that says “I’m sorry! I’m late!”
In Japan, the girlfriend coat is actually called the “Riajyuu Coat,” which is Japanese slang for “someone who is pleased with their life outside the Internet.”
No— this is not a joke, though developers laughed at themselves at the creation, as seen in the video.
However, the girlfriend coat won’t hit the markets just yet. As of now, the girlfriend coat remains a concept device and is not for sale.
So hold onto your loneliness and find yourself a cuddle buddy until then.
You can check it out in this YouTube video:
By Christina Janansky
Nowadays, losing something in your wallet is just as easy as losing the wallet itself.
We have gift cards, credit cards, business cards, debit cards, student IDs, licenses, membership cards (and maybe even some cash, if we’re lucky). Needless to say, our wallets are constantly overflowing with an array of different things. Where’s the convenience in that?
Well according to an article on gizmag.com, thanks to a new development by Carnegie Mellon researchers, future consumers may never need their wallets again— all they’ll need is their fingerprints.
The new system called “PayTango” scans shoppers’ fingerprints, retrieves their payment information from a database and allows them to purchase items. The system was designed to consolidate students’ various cards into a single— and simple— payment method.
Using PayTango is easy. At the checkout, a registered user simply places his or her fingers on the scanner. The scanner then uses the shopper’s fingerprints to access his or her personal account. Then PayTango bills the cost to the consumer’s preferred card or payment method.
The university has already implemented PayTango in its own dining halls after a successful pilot test last year. However, developers are hoping to extend the benefits of this breakthrough to other college campuses, retail stores and gyms across the nation.
Signing up for PayTango is nearly as simple as using it. With the touch of the scanner and 20 seconds time, anyone can register. First the user places his or her index and middle finger on the biometric scanner. After the device scans the person’s fingerprints, he or she swipes a credit card through the device and enters a phone number to make a personalized account.
The PayTango can register any card with a magnetic strip—this includes gift cards, debit cards and a variety of others.
That’s right—no more mountains of MasterCards or collections of four birthdays’ worth of gift cards. A shopping addiction could be at the convenience of your fingertips.
Here’s a video of the PayTango in all of its simplistic glory, via gizmag.com:
By Christina Janansky
If you were a multibillionaire, what would you do with your money?
Well if your name was Clive Palmer—an Australian billionaire who has made his fortune in mining—you might build a life-sized replica of the Titanic and prepare it for sailing. You might also order more than 100 life-sized robotic dinosaurs from China to create the world’s largest dinosaur exhibit.
Yes. This man is seriously building the “Titanic II”—which expects completion in 2016—and a park of giant, robotic dinosaurs.
Rumors of Palmer’s dinosaur exhibit stemmed in early August, in which he initially denied. But now the eccentric Aussie has officially released his plans to turn his North Australian resort into a robo-Jurassic Park.
In a March 30 edition of Discovery News, Palmer reported that he plans to acquire 165 “animatronic dinosaurs” total, with 100 expected to arrive by the end of April. These dinosaurs—some of which stand seven meters tall and weigh 1.2 tons—will be able to move their chests, wag their tails and blink their eyes. He already has two of these massive robots at his Palmer Coolum Resort, named Bones and Jeff.
Sure it’s awesome—anyone with half of a soul loves dinosaurs. But why spend billions on it?
Well according to Palmer in a Discovery News report: “I want to spend the money I’ve got before I die.” So, naturally, he builds a robotized Jurassic Park and a real-sized Titanic.
Seems reasonable enough.
By Christina Janansky
It’s hard enough to flip through a Victoria’s Secret catalog or Calvin Klein ad without thinking: “How could society ever expect us to look like that?”
But the question becomes all too real when out shopping; you know—when you see the six-foot tall, size 00 mannequin in the window modeling ‘doll-sized’ clothing. (I mean, come on! who actually looks like that?)
Well according to a recent article by Science Daily, thanks to researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and their new invention, “iDummy,” we no longer have to compete with these plastic models.
With the simple click of a computer mouse, the iDummy—short for “intelligent dummy”—can match your body type by simultaneously changing its dimensions and size. So rather than being disappointed that that dress looked better on the mannequin than it did on you, now you can see what it’ll look like on your precise body type before hitting the dressing room.
The iDummy, which is controlled through a computer using a Graphic User Interface (GUI), is also compatible with Bluetooth technology. Developers told Science Daily that this technological combination makes the iDummy ideal for clothing design. The iDummy will help designers more accurately fit various body types prior to mass production.
The new mannequin will also aid in customized clothing design. Clients of designers will be able to enter their size dimensions and measurements on their computers and send them to the designers and companies.
Developers also foresee iDummy as an important educational device, in which aspiring fashion designers and students can fit different styles of clothing to a wide array of body types. The mannequin also automatically rotates 360 degrees, allowing designers to observe every angle of the clothing.
Seriously, what can’t this thing do?
While the iDummy won’t be found in your local department stores just yet, researchers expect their “breakthrough” technology to debut in the clothing industry sometime soon.
By Christina Janansky, Staff Writer
As college students of the 21st century, we’re constantly typing, texting and tapping on the 15 different technological devices we all now own.
Screens are getting bigger, buttons are getting smaller and nearly every device utilizes sensitive touch-screen technology.
This is just one reason why computer scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created an alternative to texting. They hope this new method—which was reported in Discovery News on March 4—will minimize typing errors and make communication more convenient.
The new method is called “air-writing” and it is exactly what it sounds like— writing letters in the air.
Computer scientist Christoph Amma and his colleagues designed a special glove system for air-writing that contains accelerometers and gyroscopes. These sensors can recognize hand movements and detect the letters the wearer is drawing in the air.
Once the glove is done interpreting the “air-drawn” letters, it transcribes them into digital letters and wirelessly enters them into an email, text, or other app.
According to the original report, Amma’s model currently has an 11 percent error rate. However, once the system learns to recognize the user’s personal writing style, that number drops to 3 percent.
The glove system currently interprets gestures and recognizes nearly 8,000 words (and, if it’s not as inconvenient as it sounds, it could prevent a whole lot of premature arthritis).
For now though, the model is fairly large and inconvenient. But Amma is hopeful: he told Discovery News that he’s looking for more compact sensors to insert in a wristband or a smartphone.
By Christina Janansky
There have been some strange smelling inventions of the 21st century.
Burger King’s “Flame,” a charred beef-scented perfume.
The vomit- and fart-scented scratch-and-sniff stickers.
The “Leather Jacket” Crayola scented crayon.
But this one might take the cake: a space-scented candle.
ThinkGeek—a toy company and the mastermind behind the new invention—worked with NASA to create the most realistically spacey scent possible, according to an article on SPACE.com.
You might be wondering what space even smells like. Given it doesn’t have much of an atmosphere, you’d think it have no smell at all.
Well apparently space has a distinct—and somewhat unpleasant—smell to it.
Some astronauts described the smell of space as an “acrid” aroma thought to be the result of “atomic oxygen adhering to their spacesuits,” according to the article in SPACE.
However, most people don’t—not such a huge surprise. Taking this into consideration, the candle’s creators threw a hint of lavender into the mix to make the product more marketable.
Although space travel for the average—yet incredibly wealthy—person is on the horizon, chances are you won’t make it to Mars, Jupiter or the Moon.
But thanks to ThinkGeek, you don’t even have to leave your bedroom to enjoy the smells of space.
The cosmic “Space” candle is part of a four-pack candle set, including a Nirvana-inspired “Teen Spirit,” a cinnamon scented “Retro Arcade” and a Lord of the Rings inspired “Middle Earth” scent.
By Christina Janansky, Staff Writer
Have you ever watched someone sneeze? In a split second, thousands of tiny particles are floating everywhere, (and I mean everywhere).
Unfortunately, the same thing happens when someone vomits, which explains how the nasty norovirus wreaks havoc in BU’s dorms nearly every semester.
With a heightened breakout of the norovirus this year, scientists are now looking for ways to understand and control it.
And that’s where Larry comes in.
Larry’s not your average guy—he’s a robotic head that projectile vomits fluorescent fluids for several consecutive hours a day.
Scientists created Larry—an open-mouthed dummy at the United Kingdom Health and Safety Laboratory—in an attempt to better understand and control the norovirus, according to Discovery News.
Scientists hope that by understanding the virus better, they might minimize its spread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the norovirus is highly contagious and can infect anyone. It causes vomiting, diarrhea and severe stomach and abdominal pains.
There are many strains of the norovirus, with new ones emerging constantly. According to a recent USA Today article, a calculated 21 million Americans suffer from the norovirus and other stomach bugs annually.
Larry’s esophagus is attached to a cylindrical compartment filled with water and fluorescent liquid. This fluorescent concoction allows scientists to observe Larry’s puke’s trajectory with an ultraviolet light after he’s finished.
To make Larry spew, scientists use a special pump that shoots the imitation vomit out through his mouth and across the room —sometimes it extends farther than 10 feet.
But Larry’s accomplishments could go farther than that. It is suspected that nearly 800 of the 21 million Americans with norovirus die each year. If Larry’s experiments prove successful, he could be a world hero.
And yes, ladies…He’s single.
Larry in action.
By Kimberly Clark, Science Tuesday Editor
According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the end of the world will be Dec. 21.
I doubt anyone finds this statement majorly shocking or troublesome. People have been anticipating some sort of cataclysmic event for years. William Miller, a Baptist preacher, thought that, according to the Bible, the end of the world would occur by March 21, 1844. Fifty thousand New Englanders believed him. Obviously, it didn’t happen.
Harold Camping, an American Christian radio broadcaster, claimed that Miller’s interpretation of the Bible was wrong and that the end of the world was going to be May 21, 2011. I think we can all call him out on that one.
And even Hollywood threw its interpretation into the mix and gave us the movie “2012.”
So the idea that the world will come to an end is not a new one and despite certain predictions, it hasn’t happened yet. But does that mean we shouldn’t worry?
Well, in terms of the Mayan calendar interpretation, I don’t think it should be something to lose sleep over. Studying for finals will do that to you, anyway.
However, the people who are losing sleep over a possible end to the world are convinced that the end of the Mayan “long count” calendar, which lands on Dec. 21, 2012, spells disaster for the world as we know it. The last time the “long count” calendar ended was in the Gregorian year 1000. And yet, here we are.
But it’s not to imply that a cataclysmic event cannot occur. It happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth and vaporized sulfur-rich rocks which resulted in acid rain and plummeting global temperatures.
There was also that volcanic eruption in Siberia 250 million years ago that caused the extinction of approximately 80 percent of all species.
Today, according to NASA, Earth is surrounded by nearly 10,000 asteroids that are within striking distance. Also, the levels of carbon dioxide are higher than they have ever been in 800,000 years. And from the extreme weather patterns the world has experienced over the years (the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Typhoon Bopha, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, to name a few), we should know by now that Mother Nature isn’t fooling around. Global warming is no joke. Thank you, humans.
So maybe the more important question is not just if the world will end, but how and when?