Technology Articles

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research Policy

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research PolicyIn any modern, first-world country, the government requires legitimate university researchers to go through an independent review board (IRB) when conducting research on human beings. This is due to past abuses by both governments and organizations who have used the guise of “seeking knowledge” to cover up their efforts to manipulate people for their own means and ends.

But you know what? Facebook isn’t a first-world country. So in an effort to better understand how to best monetize your use of their service, they don’t need an IRB’s approval to conduct research on you.

And now, in my opinion, they are outright mocking their users with their latest update to their research practices.

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole Story

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole StoryThe issue of whether porn addiction is real has produced a storm of controversy. Yet all this noise may be distracting us from a graver risk to healthy sexuality: sexual conditioning of adolescents.

I monitor a number of popular online recovery forums. I have read self-reports of thousands of otherwise healthy young men who heal severe symptoms, including sexual dysfunctions (anorgasmia, delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, loss of attraction to real people) by removing a single variable: Internet porn use.

Sleep and Light Exposure

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Sleep and LightThe information and research findings on sleep are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be a backlash to the cult of productivity and the former “badge of honor” for functioning on the least amount of sleep. There is a recurrent theme, which is that by not making restorative sleep a priority, there are both short-term and longer term negative consequences.

The negative impact of too much artificial light has become increasingly more relevant, as many of us are using multiple light-emitting devices right up until when our head hits the pillow. If you are interested in the optimal functioning of the human organism, it’s time to evaluate your sleep quantity, quality, and routine, as well as your exposure to both natural and artificial light.

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal Brand

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal BrandIn October 2009, I wrote my first piece in a series for Psych Central on the changing landscape of therapists online. Psychotherapists Unmasked on the Internet reflected upon a conversation I’d had with my psychiatrist father five years prior, who gave me an earful around the ethics of having my picture up on my website.

What he didn’t realize at that time was that websites were becoming an important marketing tool in our profession and that a move toward therapist demystification was occurring. A hearty discussion among many in our field around how to navigate it all was under way.

Can Handwriting Foster Emotions and Relationships?

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Hand Writing On a Notebook

I have a treasure chest, well ok — a suitcase — in my office of old handwritten letters from friends, ex-sweethearts and family. Every now and then, I open this old-fashioned suitcase and pick out a letter or two reminding me of a great love, a wonderful experience, a heart that touched mine, or vice versa.

The letters from my family members have become especially treasured, as several of them are no longer living.

As I look through them, I can’t help but notice that the letters recount my history up to a certain point in time, about twenty years ago, and then they stop.

OKCupid: Let’s Manipulate Matches in the Name of ‘Research’

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

OKCupid: Wouldn't It Be Fun If We Lied to Our Users in the Name of 'Research'?Let’s imagine that, once upon a time, you signed up for an online dating service that you thought was going to provide you with the best possible matches it could based upon the information you gave it.

Let’s also imagine that the guy who ran the site decided to play a game. He decided that, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to show people the opposite of what we’d regularly show them as their best matches and see what happens?” He’ll do it under the guise of an “experiment” to make it all sound legit.

Maybe this guy doesn’t understand much about human ethics. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.

Sadly, you don’t have to imagine this scenario. Because if you’re a user of OKCupid, an online dating site, you may have been an unwitting participant in a research study its co-founder, Christian Rudder, decided to run earlier this year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Remembering Loved Ones Affected by ALS

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

ice_cubes

I am impressed with the viral nature of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” but I’m wondering if people really understand its purpose above and beyond the fun of calling out their friends (and enemies).

This challenge is intended to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — but to me ALS means “my mom’s disease.” So, let me take you on a journey through ALS so you really know what it feels like in the hopes that you donate rather than, or in addition to, take the “icy way” out of the challenge. I challenge you to read this without crying — and then I call you out to raise awareness on what this craze is really all about.

The Power of Curiosity: 3 Strategies for Staying Curious

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / James JordanAs kids we’re insatiably inquisitive. Everything — from cups to cupboards to dirt to our own hands — fascinates us. But for many of us, as we start getting older, we lose our appetite for curiosity.

And yet curiosity is powerful. It adds color, vibrancy, passion and pleasure to our lives. It helps us solve stubborn problems. It helps us do better in school and work. And even more so, it is our birthright, as Ian Leslie writes in his book Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It.

The Value of Stillness

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The Value of StillnessWhat is the value of stillness? We are indoctrinated with media in a traditional format, television and newspapers, and more informally with social media, Facebook. But what does it really mean to experience stillness and how does taking the time to implement stillness into our lives benefit us?

After thinking about the potential value of stillness for a while, I set up an experiment for myself by making a conscious decision to avoid television, my smart phone and computer for 24 hours. I did not go on a vacation or getaway and simply remained at home, telling my family and friends I would be avoiding electronics for a 24 hour period to avoid worry.

3 Big Reasons to Try Mindfulness

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

mindfulness

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk, author and peace activist

What does it feel like when you are talking to someone and they check their text messages? Or you try to tell your husband about something the children did today and he starts opening the mail?

Mindfulness helps us focus our attention on one thing or one person without feeling compelled to follow distractions where our wandering mind wants to take us. That is truly being present.

How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

meditation-yogaI have to earn my place here. Other people don’t struggle like I do. I should’ve figured this out by now. There’s something wrong with me.

Do these thoughts — or some version of them — swirl in your head? Do they consume you daily? Or arise whenever you try something new or make a mistake?

These thoughts are examples of limiting beliefs, according to Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. Limiting beliefs derive from a variety of sources.

Life is Like a Game of Tetris

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Life is Like a Game of TetrisI always loved the game of Tetris as a kid. I don’t allow myself the time to play it so much anymore, but maybe it would be a useful practice now and then. Tetris, while a game of speed and strategy, also teaches us acceptance, flexibility, and gratitude if we are open to learning.

There was nothing more satisfying than clearing four lines at a time. It was enough to bring jumping and shrieks of joy. It was even better when playing against someone else.

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