Tag Archives | Fear

Online carjacking: do auto manufacturers realise dangers of networked motors?

mroach (CC BY-SA 2.0)

mroach (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While computers bring great benefits they come with drawbacks too – not least, as news stories reveal every day, the insecurity of often very private data connected to the public internet. Only now that computers are appearing in practically everything, the same insecurity also applies – as demonstrated by the drive-by hack of a speeding Jeep SUV, hijacked and shut down by security researchers as it sped past at 70mph.

Vehicles are growing ever more sophisticated, with technological additions to newer models designed to increase safety, comfort and convenience while providing entertainment features and improving the car’s environmental impact. These innovations are more than just marketing ploys for manufacturers to sell their vehicles as cutting edge, they also help save money on materials and to comply with increasingly stringent safety and environmental laws.

Consider the benefits of a fully-connected vehicle: computers are never distracted, never get tired.… Read the rest

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Is your fear of radiation irrational?

John Jones (CC BY-ND 2.0)

John Jones (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Radioactivity stirs primal fears in many people, but Geoff Watts argues that an undue sense of its risks can cause real harm.


Listen to or download an audiobook of this story on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Bad Gastein in the Austrian Alps. It’s 10am on a Wednesday in early March, cold and snowy – but not in the entrance to the main gallery of what was once a gold mine. Togged out in swimming trunks, flip-flops and a bath robe, I have just squeezed into one of the carriages of a narrow-gauge railway that’s about to carry me 2 km into the heart of the Radhausberg mountain.

Fifteen minutes later we’re there and I’m ready to enjoy what the brochures insist will be a health-enhancing environment. Enjoyment, of course, is a subjective term. The temperature inside the mountain’s dimly lit tunnels is around 40°C, and the humidity is 100 per cent.… Read the rest

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For believers, fear of atheists is fueled by fear of death

Recognizing death’s inevitability, people find comfort in their beliefs. Andreas Hunziker/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Recognizing death’s inevitability, people find comfort in their beliefs. Andreas Hunziker/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Corey L Cook, University of Washington and Sheldon Solomon, Skidmore College

Skepticism about the existence of God is on the rise, and this might, quite literally, pose an existential threat for religious believers.

It’s no secret that believers generally harbor extraordinarily negative attitudes toward atheists. Indeed, recent polling data show that most Americans view atheists as “threatening,” unfit to hold public office and unsuitable to marry into their families.

But what are the psychological roots of antipathy toward atheists?

Historically, evolutionary psychologists argue that atheists have been denigrated because God serves as the ultimate source of social power and influence: God rewards appropriate behaviors and punishes inappropriate ones.

The thinking has gone, then, that believers deem atheists fundamentally untrustworthy because they do not accept, affirm and adhere to divinely ordained moral imperatives (ie, “God’s word”).… Read the rest

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Fear is the Mind Killer

Fear-is-the-mind-killer-Dune

Via Don Hazen at AlterNet:

“Fear is the mind-killer” – Frank Herbert, Dune

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. As numerous studies have shown, fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. For people who have suffered trauma, fear messages can sometimes trigger uncontrollable flight-or-fight responses with dangerous ramifications.

Yet over time, many interlocking aspects of our society have become increasingly sophisticated at communicating messages and information that produce fear responses. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid—very afraid.

In addition, television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life, as researchers have pointed out. And more recently, we have witnessed the massive militarization of local police departments with equipment, gear and attitudes that treat citizens as if they were terrorists, as recently evidenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Have We Been Tricked Into Fearing Artificial Intelligence?

Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Erik Sofge at Popular Science thinks that we’ve been duped into fearing artificial intelligence by the fear-mongering media. Are we being too cautious? Not cautious enough?

via Popular Science:

Earlier this week, an organization called the Future of Life Institute issued an open letter on the subject of building safety measures into artificial intelligence systems (AI). The letter, and the research document that accompanies it, present a remarkably even-handed look at how AI researchers can maximize the potential of this technology. Here’s the letter at its most ominous, which is to say, not ominous at all:

Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.

And here was CNET’s headline, for its story about the letter:

Artificial intelligence experts sign open letter to protect mankind from machines

BBC News, meanwhile, ventured slightly further out of the panic room to deliver this falsehood:

Experts pledge to rein in AI research

I’d like to think that this is rock bottom.

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Fear is the Mind-Killer

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

via Humanity Plus Magazine:

Anxious people tend to perceive their world in a more threatening way. That is, the more anxious a person is, the more likely they are to notice threatening things around them. This is called the threat bias.

Some researchers believe that the threat bias makes it harder for people to get rid of anxiety disorders because they get stuck in a loop – they feel anxious, they start noticing threatening things in their environment, and this in turn makes them even more anxious.

However, the threat bias isn’t just something that people with anxiety disorders experience. Everyone can have trouble keeping worrying thoughts and feelings of anxiety out of their minds. And there are things you can do to make it easier for your brain to inhibit worrying thoughts.

Read More: http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/11/04/fear-mind-killer/

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It Does Appear Maniacal Clowns are Attacking People with Guns and Knives in France

Some "evil clowns" spotted in southern France. Note the shoes. Photo via Facebook/Vice

Some “evil clowns” spotted in southern France. Note the shoes. Photo via Facebook/Vice

 

via Vice:

For my entire life, when I’ve met new people and arrived at the point in the relationship where we find ourselves talking about our fears, I’ve come away feeling disappointed. Why? Well, here is a list of legitimate fears: attack dogs, STD tests, that heartbeat moment when you Snapchat your junk to someone and their name begins with the same letter as someone in your family, your house burning down in the night.

Nowhere on that list is the word clowns, because for a long time, being scared of clowns has been the most bullshit fear on Earth. It’s a fear adopted by teenagers who don’t know any better to make them seem interesting by association. It’s a fear sprung from seeing a picture of Pennywise from Stephen King’s It and thinking, Yeah, that seems like a cool fear.

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No Sympathy for the Devil: Why People Fear Satanism

Domestic Satanism by Thawt Hawthje via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Domestic Satanism by Thawt Hawthje via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Benjamin Radford writes at Live Science:

A public ceremony of Satanists planned in Oklahoma City this month has prompted protests, a lawsuit from the Catholic Church, talk of a “black mass,” and even the airing of laws against bloodletting.  Such public images of fear are not uncommon when it comes to Satanist groups, though they may not be justified.

The ceremony for the Oklahoma City Satanists is slated for Sept. 21 in the city’s civic center and requires a ticket for admission. Officials from the city could not legally bar the group, as doing so would violate their First Amendment rights.

Officials did warn, however, that all laws must be followed, including fire codes and those involving public nudity; a spokeswoman for the parks and recreation department noted: “No bloodletting of any kind will be allowed.” (Though bloodletting and animal sacrifice are popularly associated with Satanism, they have historically been part of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.) [Tales of the Top 10 Craziest Cults]

The event has been described in the news media as a “black mass,” which, as James Lewis notes in his book “Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture” (ABC-CLIO, 2001), “refers to a blasphemous parody of a conventional [Catholic] Mass that was traditionally thought to be the central rite of Satanism.” This ritual was typically said to involve perverse orgies, a torrent of various bodily fluids, obscene gestures and even “a black candle made from the fat of unbaptized babies,” Lewis wrote.

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