Thank you, Tony Hue of LonePlacebo for helping me spend money. A couple of weeks ago, Tony wrote about the mStand, a monitor stand that almost looks like it could have been designed by Apple. I decided that I needed a stand, so I took the plunge and bought the swiveling version of the stand, the mStand 360, along with an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad.
Now I’ve seen everything. Would you have more incentive to go to the gym if you knew that a missed workout was going to hit you where it counts – in the wallet? If so, check out the New York Times’ coverage of GymPact, an iPhone app that can provide this type of monetary incentive to working out.
This is one time when downscaling technology isn’t a cliché. None of that “cell phone implanted in your tooth” malarkey– the mChip is serious business. Serious, potentially game (and life) changing business.
Once upon a time, getting tested for HIV involved a trip to the doctor, a bit of blood-letting, and a rather tense wait. It was months, at first, then weeks, then days, and eventually it worked its way down to minutes. That’s all fine and dandy if you live in a developed country, but if you happen to live in Africa, where HIV is running rampant, then visiting your local doctor’s office could involve something of a trek. A trek you may not be able to afford or, due to fear of results, lack of time, or whatever other reason, may not be inclined to make.
Researchers at Columbia University have found a way to help.
Using nanoparticles and microfluidics, they have taken an entire laboratory and miniaturized it in the mChip. All it takes is a drop of blood and a cheap optical sensor and the chip gives results in 15 minutes that are plain as day and require no interpretation. It can test for HIV and/or syphilis and has a 100% detection rate. There is a 4-6% chance of a false positive, as well, but that is the same margin in a traditional lab test. A false positive may be scary, but it beats the hell out of a false negative.
The best part about the mChip is the price. It only costs $1, which is amazing for a new piece of technology meant to help people. Or maybe I’m just a wee bit cynical… Either way, the price is fantastic.
The mChip also has the potential to be instantly actionable. If the user has a digital medical file, the mChip can reportedly use cellphone or satellite technology to interface with medical files and include the new record.
This is a fantastic step forward in the fight against HIV in undeveloped countries, but it’s possible technology like this will find its way into your local Wal-Mart pharmacy at some point. It would only make sense, wouldn’t it? And dating could get just a bit safer — if a bit awkward: “Just put a drop of your blood here, please. If all goes well, we can get started in about 15 minutes.”
Side Note: There is also an mChip that diagnoses prostate cancer that has been approved for use in Europe.
What are your thoughts on the mChip?
Having many friends is classically considered a desirable thing, leading to things like wealth of spirit, a good self-image, and a generally happy life. Not so in the modern days of the internet, where terms like “friend” are used as a label for the barest acquaintance, and sometimes even for enemies. In fact, in a recent study by psychologists from Edinburgh Napier University, it was discovered that the amount of “friends” you keep on Facebook may be linked to heightened feelings of anxiety and stress.
Scream image by Robbert van der Steeg
200 students were surveyed, and it was discovered that at least 12% of them felt that Facebook made them anxious. Each of those 12% maintained an average of 117 “friends,” while the remaining 88% kept an average of 75. Some other interesting findings were as follows:
- Many felt a great pressure to be on Facebook, but there was “considerable ambivalence” as to its benefits.
- Stress from Facebook use was caused by many different stimuli, including “feelings of exclusion, pressure to be entertaining, paranoia, or envy of others’ lifestyles.”
- 63% would delay replying to friend requests.
- 32% felt guilty rejecting friend requests.
- 10% didn’t like receiving friend requests at all.
The word “friend” could be the main cause of Facebook-related stresses. Perhaps the social media giant should come up with a proprietary name they can trademark, or use something closer to the word “acquaintance” as opposed to a word that is meant to engender feelings of warmth, familiarity, and long term trust. Keeping things as they are, however helps to foster an environment where users, who are still emotionally tied to the meaning of the word friend (no matter how watered down it has become), feel compelled to log on, invite others, and be a part of the service — and maybe more due to its negative aspects instead of the purported positives.
Perhaps we should all just bite the bullet and prune our lists down to our actual friends?
What do you think?
Does Facebook Stress You Out? [WebProNews]
According to a Dutch study, our beloved Wi-Fi — the stuff that large populations of the planet now use in their homes, their workplaces, where they shop, where they drink coffee, and pretty much everywhere else they go — may be killing our trees. Or at least contributing to it. The researchers of Wageningen University say that more analysis is required to reach a solid conclusion on the matter, but so far, it looks like the particular radiation that is Wi-Fi is not at all interested in becoming a tree-hugger.
The tests were done in urban areas, where the high Wi-Fi and mobile phone network concentrations battle it out with other not-so-nice-for-trees elements such as fuel and other particle emissions. This leads to an obvious question about whether the trees’ sickness is more a result of other side-effects of urban sprawl, but the researchers feel they have a pretty good case against Wi-Fi. This is unfortunate, as Wi-Fi has become more and more a part of our daily necessities. Either way, something that is in the air in areas of major and connected human cities is causing the upper and lower layers of leaves to die, leaving behind a “lead-like shine” — and apparently inhibiting the growth of corn cobs.
This news, while not entirely proven true, may mark down one more in an ever-growing list of our human comforts and advancements that may actually be harmful to our immediate environment.
What do you think?
Study: Wi-Fi Makes Our Trees Sick [Read Write Web (via PC World)]
I like it when science fiction tech waltzes its way into the “really real” — and that’s what eLegs is doing. Well, it may not be waltzing just yet, but it’s certainly going a long way to helping paraplegics start walking!
eLegs is based on the HULC exoskeleton built for the military by Berkeley Bionics and is heading into medical trials. At the moment, it is not complete upright mobile freedom, but it is a huge step forward and actually does help paraplegics to get out of their chairs and walk. The creators say that they are already working on a “home” version that will allow users to walk unassisted (outside of the robotic exoskeleton, of course).
This is a fantastic step forward for rehabilitation efforts and generally helping people — and while the irony of eLegs developing from a military contract doesn’t escape me, it is equally fantastic that something so positive came from the technology. The grin on the woman in the video below says more than enough to me…
Berkeley Bionics introduces eLEGS exoskeleton [Make Magazine]
With fall now in full swing and winter just around the corner, people are putting on their “germaphobe” hats, armored t-shirts and gloves — and, of course, posts about ways to protect yourself from the invisible nasties have started to hit the blogosphere. One such post, just today on My Life Scoop, detailed some tech solutions to combat germs that I thought I would share with you; two, in particular. After all, tech isn’t always about computers and related objects and software… a fact that I need to remind myself of, on occasion.
We tech geeks spend much of our time at the computer, and, as a result, we spend much of our time in a chair. If this concerns you, it is with good reason. BusinessWeek recently discussed how your office chair is killing you. The article points out that as recently as 150 years ago, 90% of human endeavor was agricultural, and that in a small span of time we’ve become “chair-sentenced.” The article cited several statistics for the proposition that a sedentary job is bad for your health, even if you exercise outside of work.
Well, it’s official, we live in the age of computers. Surprised? Ok, so you’re probably not — but that only serves to illustrate my point. These are the days where people are often attached to their machinery for hours and hours and sometimes days at a time; and because you geeky folks out there reading this post are so very well informed, you are probably equally aware of the rise in health issues that are related to said machinery. That’s right, I’m talking everything from arthritis, to heart attacks, to severe anxiety linking back, in many ways, to that thing attached to that soul-sucking monitor on your desk (or lap) — especially if you work from home. Which I do.
So that, in conjunction with my current bout with a very annoying cold that I was only too glad to confirm was not Swine Flu, inspired a small amount of research on maintaining a healthy outlook as one of today’s trending geek-boys. Read on and enjoy! READ MORE