Are Smartphones Shrinking People’s Memories?
Aug24

Are Smartphones Shrinking People’s Memories?

In the United States, about 90% of adults own a mobile phone, 64% of which are smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center. Across the world, there are about five billion mobile phone users. In other words, mobile technology has taken over the world — but that may not be as great as you might think. An “overwhelming” majority of consumers — 90% — “use the Internet as an extension of their brain,” says a new study from Kaspersky Lab. Researchers surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 16 and 55, and found that nearly half (44%) of the participants admitted that their smartphone “serves as their memory.” According to the study, 70% of participants could recall their significant other’s phone numbers, 56% could remember their siblings’ numbers, 48.6% remembered a friend’s phone number, 45.4% could remember the phone number of where they work, 34% could recall one of their kids’ numbers, and just 30% knew their neighbors’ numbers. “Digital amnesia,” as researchers dubbed it, was prevalent across all age groups, and amongst men and women equally. However, 16- to 24-year-olds were the most likely to say their devices were the “only place” they keep essential information. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Internet is making people dumber. First of all, the study does not examine the long-term effects of using the Internet to remember things. Second of all, using the Internet as an external memory might actually help clear the brain of clutter, allowing people to concentrate easier and remember more important things. Then again, almost one-third (28.9%) of those surveyed “would forget an online fact as soon as they had used it.” In other words, they’d look something up, and immediately forget the answer. That’s not necessarily bad, considering that Albert Einstein, a guy most would consider to be kind of smart, did once advise people to “Never memorize something that you can look...

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Emailing Outside of Work Is Bad For You, New Study Says
Aug24

Emailing Outside of Work Is Bad For You, New Study Says

Email is an integral part of the business world nowadays. It’s a key way to engage consumers,and build real relationships with them, which can have a huge payoff. Research shows that building loyalty with 5% more customers could lead to an increased average profit per customer of 25-100%. Plus, it lets employees to quickly and effectively communicate with each other, allowing them to get more things done in less time. However, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that email comes with a cost. Researchers from Germany asked more than 100 people to complete a daily survey over the course of eight days; half of the subjects were expected to be available for work, while the other half weren’t. While researchers surveyed all participants, they asked half to provide saliva samples so that they could measure their cortisol levels, the hormone released in response to stressful situations. The study found that those who were supposed to be available had elevated cortisol levels, and reported being more stressed. What’s interesting is that even if it was only through email, those who were expected to be available were still more stressed. Additionally, those who worked evenings and weekends were more likely to complain of headaches, insomnia, and anxiety. Is email really that big of a deal? After all, isn’t it easy to just respond to whatever was sent, and get on with the day? A study from last June says otherwise. “We looked at the tone of the email and the time it took you to respond to the email,” said Marcus Butts, a professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, who co-wrote a study focusing on email’s emotional effect when received during non-work hours. “When it comes to emails that are negative in tone, it makes you angry. Being angry takes a lot of focus and our resources and it keeps us from being engaged with other things.” In other words, one email can wreck a person’s mood for the whole night, even if it’s not that bad. If you can, you’d be wise to leave work at work. It’ll make your personal life...

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The New Branto Orb is Both a Gift and a Curse for Remote Control Users
Aug20

The New Branto Orb is Both a Gift and a Curse for Remote Control Users

This December, a new all-in-one home device controller called the Branto Orb is being released — and since the average American household has 2.24 television screens, it could be the greatest thing to ever happen to remote control technology. It could also frustrate you beyond belief. According to Gizmag, the Branto Orb is a “personal smart assistant” that can be left anywhere in your home and can control everything from lights and security systems, to televisions and DVD players, from an app that is connected to the device. While the technology is incredible, it could compound the frustration of remote control functionality that everybody has experienced at one point or another. Sys-Con Media reports that an Indiegogo campaign has been launched to fund development of the product. While the Branto Orb’s end-goal of controlling everything in your home from one device is promising, the process of programming every single one of your appliances can be daunting for many who yearn for a time when everything was controlled by its own remote. For those who are just seeking a replacement for their lost or broken remote controls, the Branto Orb is probably not the answer. Original equipment remotes never need to be programmed, and having to link all of your devices to one central control system could lead to even more remote control confusion. Still, if executed properly, Branto’s newest product could be the answer for people who want to keep an eye on their home 24 hours a day. The product features a “full-HD motorized video camera that rotates 360 degrees and can also look up and down.” While the technology is exciting, let’s just hope that it doesn’t follow suit with every other universal remote control that turns on the ceiling fan when you just want to change the...

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FDA Approves First 3D-Printed Pill
Aug20

FDA Approves First 3D-Printed Pill

According to a recent report from Business Insider, the Food and Drug Administration is announcing the first 3D-printed pharmaceutical drug. The drug, used to treat seizures and manufactured by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, is designed to dissolve with very little additional water. This is revolutionary for patients who experience seizures that make them unable to swallow. Dr. Marvin Rorick, a neurologist at Riverhills Neuroscience in Cincinnati, said in a press release: “In my experience, patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen. Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge. Especially for children and seniors, having an option for patients to take their medication as prescribed is important to managing this disease.” This will be the first time that a drug made with 3D printing will be approved by the FDA, and marks a milestone in the road for personalized medicine. 3D printed drugs would allow specialists to engineer specifically customized versions of medications to meet the exact needs of an individual patient. Individuals who respond to different aspects of certain medications could have the option to tweak the medication to better fit their exact needs. Additionally, the ability to print drugs could lead to hybrid medications with lowered collective side effects. 3D printed pharmaceuticals would also be cheaper to produce, experts say. This means that soon, you may be able to find these 3D printed drugs at your local pharmacy or urgent care point-of-care dispensary, Which 48.6% of urgent care facilities have on site. However, it could also mean easier mass-production of illicit drugs. 3D printing binds the powders of the drug without compression, allowing a larger dose to be easily absorbed. Only time will tell how this technology will affect future drug production, legal and illegal. Other advancements in 3D printing medicine have recently yielded 3D printed stem cells, skull replacements, and model...

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St. Louis Health System Faces 20-Hour Computer Outage
Aug20

St. Louis Health System Faces 20-Hour Computer Outage

From Tuesday, July 28 to Wednesday, July 29, BJC HealthCare, the largest healthcare provider in the St. Louis, MO area, endured a computer outage lasting about 20 hours, temporarily disrupting operations throughout its systems. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the computer outage began at about 3 p.m. Tuesday and continued through 11 a.m. Wednesday, bringing operations to a halt at 13 hospitals across the area. Rich Liekweg, the hospital system’s executive vice president said the outage blocked access to several key functions and services, including electronic medical records, email, appointment scheduling and registration. The bed tracking system responsible for transferring patients from the emergency room to a hospital bed also went down. “Any time you have a system go down for any extended period of time it’s a concerning event,” Liekwig said. “But that’s also why we have contingency plans.” For the first time in years, as a result, the health system recorded patient appointments and registrations with pen and paper. At press time, BJC HealthCare has not yet determined the cause of the outage. The company has plans to switch to a new clinical software program by 2017 that will offer more advanced computer services, but hasn’t yet begun the switch, Liekweg said. During the outage, no patient or employee information was compromised. Liekweg said he doesn’t think the outage was caused by a hack. “We didn’t see anything in our routine tracking that indicates that data has left our firewall,” Liekweg said. BJC HealthCare will continue to work alongside vendors to fix its information technology issues, the Columbia Daily Tribune...

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Why Every Estate Plan Should Consider Digital Assets
Aug18

Why Every Estate Plan Should Consider Digital Assets

According to the U.S. private wealth management division of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Atlantic Trust, digital assets should be accounted for and included in any estate planning you do. Considering that 64% of Americans surveyed in a recent RocketLawyer poll answered that they don’t know what happens to their digital assets after death, it’s important to equip yourself with the proper knowledge. Joshua Miller, managing director and senior wealth strategist for the Atlantic Trust, recently tried to better explain the reasoning to PRNewswire.com. “Given the growing digital footprint that most people have, it’s really important to think about what happens to these assets when you or a loved one dies,” he said. “Considering how to dispose of digital assets and accounts, including the potential efficacy of trust ownership and powers of attorney, should be a part of any estate planning discussion.” It’s a new frontier with much to be learned, and then presumably revised, changed, and tweaked countless times in the near future. Still, it’s important to keep up with the laws and regulations as they are being crafted and evolving rather than try to play catch-up down the road. For example, according to PRNewswire.com, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) that passed last year provided fiduciaries with “at least the authority to manage and distribute digital assets, copy or delete digital assets, and access digital assets.” This updated laws set in place since 1986 — predating the internet itself, let alone social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. In addition to the financial digital assets people own, wealthmanagement.com points out that more and more emotional and sentimental assets, like pictures, are being stored digitally and can be lost forever without proper protection. A comprehensive estate plan should be something everyone compiles at some point, preferably sooner rather than later. Nowadays, digital assets are just one more aspect every person needs to consider when putting theirs...

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