Monthly Archives: May 2013

Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity

Description: Name a target anywhere in China, an official at a state-owned company boasted recently, and his crack staff will break into that person’s computer, download the contents of the hard drive, record the keystrokes and monitor cellphone communications, too.

Source: nytimes.com

Date: May 22, 2013

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The culture of hacking in China is not confined to top-secret military compounds where hackers carry out orders to pilfer data from foreign governments and corporations. Hacking thrives across official, corporate and criminal worlds. Whether it is used to break into private networks, track online dissent back to its source or steal trade secrets, hacking is openly discussed and even promoted at trade shows, inside university classrooms and on Internet forums.

The Ministry of Education and Chinese universities, for instance, join companies in sponsoring hacking competitions that army talent scouts attend, though “the standards can be mediocre,” said a cybersecurity expert who works for a government institute and handed out awards at a 2010 competition.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Why do feel the Chinese Government encourages HACKING, while in the west ,we see it as a bad thing?

2. What do you think would help change this culture in China with regards to their view of Hackers, so that it becomes more congruent with the West?

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How the Smartphone Killed the Three-Day Weekend

Description: It would seem an ideal time to take a break, but our ability to unplug and relax is under assault. A three-day weekend? We can barely get through three waking hours without working, new research shows. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes.

Source: CNBC.com

Date: May 24, 2013

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There’s plenty of debate among economists and psychologists whether the economy is to blame, or we do this to ourselves. There’s little arguing that the concept of a Sabbath is in serious danger.

“It’s like an arms race … everything is an emergency,” said Tanya Schevitz, spokeswoman for Reboot, an organization trying help people unplug more often. “We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive, and we can’t keep going on like this.”

There’s a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Has Technology affected our ability to enjoy and have downtime from our daily pursuits?  Why or Why Not?

2.  “We need a modern day-rest that brings balance back to life”  Do you agree of disagree with this statement? Explain.

An Algorithm for Everything, Even Bras

Description: THE two and a half miserable hours that Michelle Lam spent in a fitting room, trying on bras, one fine summer day in 2011 would turn out to be, in her words, a “life-changing experience.” After trying on 20 bras to find one that fit, and not particularly well at that, she left the store feeling naked and intruded upon

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 23, 2013
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Professional bra fitters have also moved online. Linda Becker, whose family owns two bra stores in New York, says she sells twice as many bras online today at LindaTheBraLady.com as she does in her stores. Some of her online customers have previously visited one of her shops and been fitted in person. But new customers take their own measurements and work with customer service representatives on the phone. She says only 10 percent of online orders are returned.  But some customers turn out to be extremely hard to fit and it’s hard to tell why, Ms. Becker says. “That kind of customer will be impossible to fit online because the problem is unseen. There’s no way of figuring it out over the phone.”  Read Rest of Story 

Definition of algorithm: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer.

 Questions for discussion:

1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?

2.  Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application?  Why or why not?

How to Give Viewers What They Want

Description: In the television business, there is no such thing as a sure thing. You can have a gold-plated director, a bankable star and a popular concept and still, it’s just a roll of the dice.  Or is it?

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 24, 2013

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Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.  Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix. A third of the downloads on the Internet during peak periods on any given day are devoted to streamed movies from the service, according to Sandvine, a networking provider. And last year, by some estimates, more people watched movies streamed online than on physical DVDs.  Read Rest of Story 

Questions for Discussion:

1. Can Big Data be the silver bullet that can determine something as subjective as a what will bea hit TV show or Movie?  Why or Why Not?

2.  What other applications can you see Netflix using there vast amount data that could create revenue streams for the company?

Essay-Grading Software Gives Professors a Slack Job

Description: Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the “send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program.

Source: nytimes.com

Date: April 4, 2013

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The new service will bring the educational consortium into a growing conflict over the role of automation in education. Although automated grading systems for multiple-choice and true-false tests are now widespread, the use of artificial intelligence technology to grade essay answers has not yet received widespread endorsement by educators and has many critics.

Anant Agarwal, an electrical engineer who is president of EdX, predicted that the instant-grading software would be a useful pedagogical tool, enabling students to take tests and write essays over and over and improve the quality of their answers. He said the technology would offer distinct advantages over the traditional classroom system, where students often wait days or weeks for grades.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Comment on the following statement “The technology is available therefore we should be using it?”

2. What do you see as the two biggest benefits of this technology and what do you see as the two biggest detriments to using this technology?

Are Smartphones driving friends away!

Description: It’s probably better to talk: How checking our phones 60 times a day is driving away friends
Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

Date: Dec 1, 2012

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Young people’s attachment to their mobile phones is eroding their personal relationships, according to a new study.  The claims come after research revealed that young adults – in addition to sending over 100 texts – check their mobile up to 60 times a day.  Experts behind a new study have now said compulsively checking a mobile phone is an addiction similar to compulsive spending or credit card misuse.  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel cell phone usage has a detrimental affect on personal relationship development?  Why or Why Why not?

2.  Should young people be regulated as to how much usage of their cell phones they are allowed?  Who should be doing the regulating?

 

Does Technology Affect Happiness & Well Being?

Description: A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?

Source: nytimes .com

Date: Jan 25, 2012

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The research raises as many questions as it seeks to answer, as the scientists readily acknowledge. That is because the research was based on an online survey taken by more than 3,400 girls, a sample that may well not be representative of the larger population and, because the responses are self-reported, are not subject to follow-up or verification by the researchers.

Among the crucial questions that the researchers were not able to answer is whether the heavy use of media was the cause for the relative unhappiness or whether girls who are less happy to begin with are drawn to heavy use of media, in effect retreating to a virtual world.  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1. How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?

2. Do you have confidence in this studies finding? Why or Why not?