Tag Archives | Digital Age

How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night and Highlighting the Problem of Present Shock

8 hour sleeping is a modern invention.

Imagine you are a denizen of the 18th century. It’s just past 8:30 P.M., you’ve got your night-cap on. You blow out your candles and fall asleep to the smell of the wax and the wick, which gently fills the air around your bed. Some hours pass. 2:30 AM. You awaken, grab your coat, and visit the neighbors because they, too, are up. Doing quiet reading, prayer, or even having sex. Well, apparently before the age of electricity, sleeping twice a night was completely ubiquitous.

Back in those times, we slept twice a night, getting up for an hour or two for recreation before heading back to bed until dawn.

From Slumberwise.com:

The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech.

His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk.

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Hospital Medical Devices Increasingly Riddled With Computer Viruses

Technology Review on the looming hazard of malware causing deadly misfunction in the era of digitalized medical care:

Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to participants in a recent government panel. These infections can clog patient-monitoring equipment and other software systems, at times rendering the devices temporarily inoperable.

Olson told the panel that infections have stricken many kinds of equipment, raising fears that someday a patient could be harmed. “We also worry about situations where blood gas analyzers, compounders, radiology equipment, nuclear-medical delivery systems, could become compromised to where they can’t be used, or they become compromised to the point where their values are adjusted without the software knowing,” he said. He explained that when a machine becomes clogged with malware, it could in theory “miss a couple of readings off of a sensor [and] erroneously report a value, which now can cause harm.”

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On The Amazing Benefits Of Mind Uploading

Photo: Kemitsv (CC)

Photo: Kemitsv (CC)

Music and paying the gas bill have been digitalized, so you knew this was next. How can we stop abusing the environment, give ourselves superintelligence, and live forever? H+ Magazine on the inevitable necessity of switching from spongy flesh brains to uploaded ones:

Universal mind uploading, or universal uploading for short, is the concept (I’m not sure who originated it –if you know, say so in the comments), that the technology of mind uploading will eventually become universally adopted by all who can afford it, similar to the adoption of modern agriculture, hygiene, and permanent dwellings. Some futurists, such as myself, see the eventuality as plausible by as early as 2050.

Mind uploading would involve simulating a human brain in a computer in enough detail that the “simulation” becomes, for all practical purposes, a perfect copy and experiences consciousness, just like protein-based human minds. If functionalism is true, as many cognitive scientists and philosophers believe, then all the features of human consciousness that we know and love — including all our memories, personality, and sexual quirks — would be preserved through the transition…

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Cellphones Gain Population In Prisons,Though Banned

Photo: United States Department of Homeland Security employee confiscating a cellphone during a pat-down inspection

Photo: United States Department of Homeland Security employee confiscating a cellphone during a pat-down inspection

What do prisoners do for fun? Play games on Facebook, text their friends, and organize strikes via their smartphones. Though prisoners are locked up and cut-off from the outside population, they are finding ways to become and remain part of the digital society. The New York Times reports:

A counterfeiter at a Georgia state prison ticks off the remaining days of his three-year sentence on his Facebook page. He has 91 digital “friends.” Like many of his fellow inmates, he plays the online games FarmVille and Street Wars.

He does it all on a Samsung smartphone, which he says he bought from a guard. And he used the same phone to help organize a short strike among inmates at several Georgia prisons last month.

Technology is changing life inside prisons across the country at the same rapid-fire pace it is changing life outside.

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