My ADFA Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc business cards have arrived in the mail. I am now officially ADFA’s Social Media Voice and I’m very proud and honoured to be asked to take on this very important role and one that I am very passionate in getting the word out that there is no safe asbestos, asbestos kills. Helping via Social Media to create awareness, support and advocacy is a very powerful tool in today’s modern technology.Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) is a not-for profit organisation working to provide support to people living with asbestos related diseases, family members, carers and friends. ADFA is a community based group founded by Trade Unions, victims, families of victims, and concerned citizens to meet the needs …Read more
Emotional eating is something we’re all familiar with. Maybe you had had a rough week at work and all you want on Friday night is to plop down and watch a movie with a giant bowl of buttery popcorn. Maybe you’re a student stressed about a big exam and you’re munching on candy as you study. Or maybe your child’s birthday party is coming up and you’ve bought an ice cream cake to serve a small army to celebrate. Happy or sad, up or down, there’s a plethora of media in the world that tells us our moods often dictate the foods we choose to eat.More recent studies, though, have shown that negative moods and positive moods may actually lead to preferences for different kinds of foods. For example, if given the choice between grapes or chocolate candies, someone in a good mood may be more inclined to choose the former while someone in a bad mood may be more likely to choose the latter.But what if we could make better choices in any emotional state?A forthcoming article by University of Delaware associate professor Meryl Gardner finds that there’s more to stress eating than simply emotion and in fact, thinking about the future may help people make better food choices.”We were interested in the ‘why,'” said Gardner. “Why when someone is in a bad mood will they choose to eat junk food and why when someone is in a good mood will they make healthier food choices?”Gardner, a faculty member in UD’s Lerner College of Business and Economics, with co-authors Brian Wansink of Cornell University, Junyong Kim of Hanyang University ERICA and Se-Bum Park of Yonsei University, found that a lot depends on our perspective of time.”In an evolutionary sense, it makes sense that when we feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, we know something is wrong and focus on what is close to us physically and what is close in time, in the here and now,” said Gardner. “We’re seeing the trees and not the forest, or how to do things and not why to do things.”To get at the “why,” the researchers married the theories of affective regulation (how people react to their moods and emotions) and temporal construal (the perspective of time) to explain food choice.They conducted four laboratory experiments to examine whether people in a positive mood would prefer healthy food to indulgent food for long-term health and well-being benefits and those in a negative mood would prefer indulgent foods to healthy foods for immediate, hedonistic mood management benefits.In the first study, the researchers investigated the effect of a positive mood on evaluations of indulgent and health foods by examining 211 individuals from local parent-teacher associations (PTAs).The findings indicated individuals in a positive mood, compared to control group participants in a relatively neutral mood, evaluated healthy foods more favorably than indulgent foods.”We expect this is possibly because they put more weight on abstract, higher-level benefits like health and future well-being,” said Gardner. “The remaining question was whether individuals in a negative mood would act differently.”Testing that question in a second study using 315 undergraduate students recruited from a large Midwestern university, the researchers found further support for their hypothesis that individuals in a negative mood liked indulgent foods more than healthy foods.According to Gardner, the finding that people in a positive mood liked the more nutritious options and also liked the idea of staying healthy in their old age is consistent with the hypothesis that time construal is important.”It suggests that positive mood makes people think about the future, and thinking about the future makes us think more abstractly,” said Gardner.The researchers were then left to eliminate goal achievement as an alternative explanation.”Our manipulations of mood in the first two studies involved having participants read positive, negative or neutral articles,” said Gardner. “As it turned out, the positive articles involved someone who had a great life and achieved lots of goals, and the negative articles involved someone who had a sad life and did not achieve goals. …Read more
Sep. 10, 2013 — Water found in ancient Moon rocks might have actually originated from the proto-Earth and even survived the Moon-forming event. Latest research into the amount of water within lunar rocks returned during the Apollo missions is being presented by Jessica Barnes at the European Planetary Science Congress in London on Monday 9th September.Share This:The Moon, including its interior, is believed to be much wetter than was envisaged during the Apollo era. The study by Barnes and colleagues at The Open University, UK, investigated the amount of water present in the mineral apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral found in samples of the ancient lunar crust.“These are some of the oldest rocks we have from the Moon and are much older than the oldest rocks found on Earth. The antiquity of these rocks make them the most appropriate samples for trying to understand the water content of the Moon soon after it formed about 4.5 billion years ago and for unravelling where in the Solar System that water came from,” Barnes explains.Barnes and her colleagues have found that the ancient lunar rocks contain appreciable amounts of water locked into the crystal structure of apatite. They also measured the hydrogen isotopic signature of the water in these lunar rocks to identify the potential source(s) for the water.“The water locked into the mineral apatite in the Moon rocks studied has an isotopic signature very similar to that of the Earth and some carbonaceous chondrite meteorites,” says Barnes. “The remarkable consistency between the hydrogen composition of lunar samples and water-reservoirs of the Earth strongly suggests that there is a common origin for water in the Earth-Moon system.”This research has been funded by the UK Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by Europlanet Media Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? …Read more
Sep. 3, 2013 — Hashtag #doyouknowwhoswatchingyou? A new study from USC researchers sampled more than 15 million tweets, showing that some Twitter users may be inadvertently revealing their location through updates on the social media channel.The study, which appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Geoinformatics, provides important factual data for a growing national conversation about online privacy and third-party commercial or government use of geo-tagged information.”I’m a pretty private person, and I wish others would be more cautious with the types of information they share,” said lead author Chris Weidemann, a graduate student in the Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) online master’s program at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “There are all sorts of information that can be gleaned from things outside of the tweet itself.”Twitter has approximately 500 million active users who are expected to tweet 72 billion times in 2013. Reports have shown that about six percent of users opt-in to allow the platform to broadcast their location with every tweet.But that’s only part of the footprint Twitter users leave, and even users who have not opted-in for location tagging may be inadvertently revealing where they are, the study shows.To get a fuller sense of what publicly accessible data might reveal about Twitter users, Weidemann developed an application called Twitter2GIS to analyze the metadata collected by Twitter, including details about the user’s hometown, time zone and language.The data, generated by Twitter users and available through Twitter’s application programming interface (API) and Google’s Geocoding API, was then processed by a software program, which mapped and analyzed the data, searching for trends.During the study’s one-week sampling period, roughly 20 percent of the tweets collected showed the user’s location to an accuracy of street level or better.Many Twitter users divulged their physical location directly through active location monitoring or GPS coordinates. But another 2.2 percent of all tweets — equating to about 4.4 million tweets a day — provided so-called “ambient” location data, where the user might not be aware they are divulging their location.”The downside is that mining this kind of information can also provide opportunities for criminal misuse of data,” Weidemann said. “My intent is to educate social media users and inform the public about their privacy.”In addition to being a graduate student at USC, Weidemann works for a company that builds geographic information systems for the federal government. He initially developed Twitter2GIS as part of a capstone project for a course taught by Jennifer Swift, associate teaching professor of spatial sciences at USC.Swift, Weidemann’s thesis adviser, said the project stood out for its thoughtful look at geospatial information.”It will help create an awareness among the general population about the information they divulge,” said Swift, a co-author on the study.Weidemann is a self-described “conservative” Twitter user, using the social media channel infrequently. He has the privacy set to not share any location information about his tweets. Still, in the course of doing this study, he turned Twitter2GIS on his own account and was surprised at the specificity the application was able to find about his location, based on a hashtag he used about an academic conference.”This research has been fun,” Weidemann said. …Read more
July 31, 2013 — About one in three American youths age 14-20 say they’ve been of victims of dating violence and almost one in three acknowledge they’ve committed violence toward a date, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 121st Annual Convention.”Adolescent dating violence is common among young people. It also overlaps between victimization and perpetration and appears across different forms of dating abuse,” according to Michele Ybarra, MPH, PhD. She is with the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, based in San Clemente, Calif.Researchers analyzed information collected in 2011 and 2012 from 1,058 youths in the Growing Up with Media study, a national online survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship.Girls were almost equally likely to be a perpetrator as a victim of violence: 41 percent reported victimization and 35 percent reported perpetration at some point in their lives. Among boys, 37 percent said they had been on the receiving end, while 29 percent reported being the perpetrator, Ybarra said. Twenty-nine percent of the girls and 24 percent of the boys reported being both a victim and perpetrator in either the same or in different relationships.Girls were significantly more likely than boys to say they had been victims of sexual dating violence and that they had committed physical dating violence. Boys were much more likely than girls to report that they had been sexually violent toward a date. Experiencing psychological dating violence was about equal for boys and girls. Rates generally increased with age but were similar across race, ethnicity and income levels, according to Ybarra.The relationship between bullying and teen dating violence was the focus of a separate presentation by Sabina Low, PhD, of Arizona State University, and Dorothy L. Espelage, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. …Read more
July 24, 2013 — The “broken-windows theory,” which was propounded by two Harvard University researchers in the early 1980s, holds that urban “disorder” — visible signs of neglect, such as broken windows — actually promotes crime, initiating a vicious feedback loop. The theory was the basis for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s crackdown on petty crime, but it’s come under sharp criticism from some social scientists. One of the difficulties in evaluating the theory is that it’s hard to quantify something as subjective as visible disorder.In the latest issue of the journal PLoS One, researchers from MIT’s Media Lab present a new online tool that they hope will help social scientists take a more rigorous look at city dwellers’ emotional responses to their environments. The tool presents online volunteers with pairs of images randomly drawn from Google Maps’ compendium of street-level photographs; each volunteer selects the image that better represents some qualitative attribute. Algorithms use the results of the pairwise comparisons to assign geographical areas scores, from one to 10, on each attribute.In the experiments reported in the PLoS One paper, volunteers ranked the neighborhoods depicted in the images according to how safe they looked, how “upper-class,” and how “unique” — an attribute selected in the hope that it would not be strongly correlated with the other two. The researchers found that the scores for the U.S. cities selected for the study — New York and Boston — showed greater disparity between the extremes for both class and safety than did those for the two Austrian cities selected, Linz and Salzburg.They also found that, controlled for income, area, and population, the perceived-safety scores for neighborhoods in New York correlated very well with incidence of violent crime.Esse es percipiBut César Hidalgo, an assistant professor of media arts and sciences, who led the new study, says that measures of subjective impressions are most interesting when they are not simply a proxy for other data. The disparities between class scores in the United States and Austria, for instance, may not map onto similar disparities in some related statistic — say, average income in the same geographic regions.”Income inequality is invisible if it’s in a bank account, but if it’s expressed in assets, as homes and cars, it becomes experiential,” Hidalgo says. “And the question for me is whether the experiences of inequality can elicit behaviors. I don’t have any evidence that this is the case, but at least I can show that some cities provide a more unequal experience. …Read more
July 12, 2013 — Social media websites can be a boon for employers scoping out job applicants, and that’s bad news for certain groups of young people, according to a new Northwestern University study.Researchers found that — among young adults — men, Hispanics and those with lower Internet skills are the least likely to keep employment-related audiences in mind when it comes to their online profiles. Women, whites and those with higher Internet skills are more likely to actively manage their social media privacy settings as they seek a job or maintain employment.This is the first study to analyze how different demographics of young adults approach online reputation management strategies during a job search. It was published online in June in the journal IEEE Security & Privacy.”Young people could benefit from understanding the implications of these issues,” said Eszter Hargittai, lead author of the study. “Without adequate privacy settings, inappropriate pictures or comments posted on a social media profile could be seen by an employer and cost you a job opportunity.”Hargittai is an associate professor and Delaney Family Professor in the department of communication studies at Northwestern.”Managing the privacy of your social media profiles can be complex,” she said. “A site’s settings can change quickly, and if you are not keeping track and checking in on your settings regularly, you could inadvertently leave parts of your profile open to the public even if you had set them to more restricted access earlier.”Because a significant portion of the young people in this study seemed at risk in regard to privacy management practices, there may be a need for more formal training from career service organizations, libraries and others on best practices for maintaining self-presentation online, Hargittai said.Study highlights:34.5 percent of men and 25 percent of women never managed their privacy settings or the content of their social media profiles with respect to an employer audience. Whites were much more likely than other races to adjust social media profiles at least once in the past year in anticipation of employers searching for information about them. Hispanics were the least likely to keep an employment-related audience in mind in regards to the content of their online profiles. Women were more likely than men to manage their privacy settings for an employer-related audience and tended to do so more frequently. Those more knowledgeable about Internet privacy matters and privacy-related terms, such as “tagging,” “limited profile” and “preference settings,” were more likely to engage in managing the privacy of their social media profiles. For the study, researchers analyzed responses from a paper-and-pencil survey given to a sample of 545 diverse young adults, ages 21 or 22. …Read more
July 3, 2013 — With more and more women representing the 50 states on Capitol Hill every year, many have noted that female politicians are not given the same treatment as males in the media. A recent study from a special mini symposium in Political Research Quarterly (a SAGE Journal) finds that news coverage of female politicians focuses more on character traits and less on their policy arguments than it does for their male counterparts.Share This:”There is clear variation across [poltical] races in terms of the focus of news stories,” stated study authors Johanna Dunaway, Regina G. Lawrence, Melody Rose, and Christopher R. Weber. “In line with the previous literature and our own expectations, on the whole, races with female candidates are more likely to feature trait stories than male versus male races.”Dunaway et. al collected data from approximately 10,000 newspaper articles covering statewide elections (Senate and gubernatorial races) in the 2006 and 2008 elections across the US.They found that for male-only election coverage, the stories focused on character traits 6% of the time and the issues 55.5% of the time, for male-female races, the articles focused on traits 10.8% of the time and the issues 53.1% of the time, and for female-only elections, the stories focused on character traits 9.4% of the time and on the issues 51.7% of the time.The researchers concluded, “Races with a female candidate lead to news that is more focused on the personal traits and characteristics of the candidates, and this finding is especially stark for gubernatorial campaigns.”Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Journal Reference:J. Dunaway, R. …Read more
July 5, 2013 — News agencies continue to have an edge over Twitter in being first with the news, a study found.Research into reporting of news events by Twitter and newswire services has found that while Twitter can sometimes break news before newswires, for major events there is little evidence that it can replace traditional news outlets.Twitter’s main benefits for news are bringing additional coverage of events, and for sharing news items of interest to niche audiences or with a short lifespan, such as local sports results.Scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow developed a software algorithm to track Twitter activity. They used it to study 51 million tweets over 11 weeks in summer 2011 and compared these with output from news outlets for the same period. Newswires tracked included the BBC, CNN, Reuters and the New York Times, which seek to set the news agenda and break news stories ahead of one another.Scientists were able to examine Twitter messages relating to major news items. They also identified a large amount of minor news items that had featured on Twitter but had been ignored by the mainstream media.Neither Twitter nor newswires was regularly faster than the other in breaking high-profile news, but when Twitter outperformed newswires for speed, it was for mainly for sport and disaster-related events, their findings showed.The study, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is to be presented at the 7th International AAAI Conference On Weblogs And Social Media, in Boston, US, next week.Dr Miles Osborne, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, who led the study, said: “Twitter and traditional news outlets each have their strengths in terms of delivering news. However, Twitter can bring added value by spreading the word on events that we might not otherwise hear about, and for bringing local perspectives on major news items.”Read more
June 20, 2013 — Bumblebees searching for nectar go for signposts on flowers rather than the bull’s eye. A new study, by Levente Orbán and Catherine Plowright from the University of Ottawa in Canada, shows that the markings at the center of a flower are not as important as the markings that will direct the bees to the center.Share This:The work is published online in Springer’s journal, Naturwissenschaften — The Science of Nature.The first time bees go out looking for nectar, which visual stimuli do they use to identify that first flower that will provide them with the reward they are looking for? Orbán and Plowright test the relative influence of the type of floral pattern versus pattern position in a group of bumblebees that have never searched for nectar before i.e. flower-naive bees.In a series of two experiments using both radio-frequency identification technology and video recordings, the researchers exposed a total of over 500 flower-naive bees to two types of patterns on artificial clay flowers: concentric versus radial. Concentric patterns are composed of circles or rings with the same center. Radial patterns are composed of distinctly colored lines extending from the outside of the flower, converging at the center where nectar and pollen are usually found. The patterns tested were in one of two positions on the artificial flowers: either central or peripheral, on the corolla (or petals) of the flower.They found that both visual properties had significant effects on flower choice. However, when pitted against each other, pattern type trumped position. Bees preferred radial patterns over concentric patterns. When the influence of radial patterns in the center was compared with the influence of radial patterns on the periphery, there was little difference in the bees’ response. …Read more
June 14, 2013 — Social phobias affect about 15 million adults in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and surveys show that public speaking is high on the list of such phobias. For some people, these fears of social situations can be especially acute: For example, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome often have difficulty making eye contact and reacting appropriately to social cues. But with appropriate training, such difficulties can often be overcome.Now, new software developed at MIT can be used to help people practice their interpersonal skills until they feel more comfortable with situations such as a job interview or a first date. The software, called MACH (short for My Automated Conversation coacH), uses a computer-generated onscreen face, along with facial, speech, and behavior analysis and synthesis software, to simulate face-to-face conversations. It then provides users with feedback on their interactions.The research was led by MIT Media Lab doctoral student M. Ehsan Hoque, who says the work could be helpful to a wide range of people. A paper documenting the software’s development and testing has been accepted for presentation at the 2013 International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, known as UbiComp, to be held in September.”Interpersonal skills are the key to being successful at work and at home,” Hoque says. “How we appear and how we convey our feelings to others define us. But there isn’t much help out there to improve on that segment of interaction.”Many people with social phobias, Hoque says, want “the possibility of having some kind of automated system so that they can practice social interactions in their own environment. … They desire to control the pace of the interaction, practice as many times as they wish, and own their data.”The MACH software offers all those features, Hoque says. …Read more
June 3, 2013 — In 2012, Nicholas Fisher a distinguished professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University and postdoctoral scholar Zosia Baumann, working with a colleague at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, reported that they had detected radioactivity in Pacific bluefin tuna swimming off the California coast. The source of the radioactivity was Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi powerplants, which were damaged by the strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11 March 2011 and released large quantities of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. The news prompted widespread media interest and speculation as to the possible risks to seafood consumers posed by the levels of radioactivity found in the tuna.Now, Fisher, Baumann and colleagues at Stanford and the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) report in a paper entitled “Evaluation of Radiation Doses and Associated Risk from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident to Marine Biota and Human Consumers of Seafood,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that the likely doses of radioactivity ingested by humans consuming the contaminated fish, even in large quantities, is comparable to, or less than, the radiological dosages associated with other commonly consumed foods, many medical treatments, air travel and other background sources. The authors also conclude that contamination of Pacific bluefin tuna and other marine animals from Fukushima poses little risk to these animals.Fisher and colleagues found that the sampled tuna contained elevated levels of radioactive cesium-134 and cesium-137, important components of the radionuclide mix released at Fukushima. Pacific bluefin tuna spawn in the western Pacific off Japan and reach the eastern Pacific, off the California coast, after a transoceanic migration.In the original paper, the authors presented data on the radionuclide concentrations in the tissues of the bluefin, but did not estimate doses or health risks to marine biota or human seafood consumers that these concentrations might represent. The new works takes this next step.The levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides in marine biota, including Pacific bluefin tuna, were compared with the radiation doses from naturally-occurring radionuclides in the same organisms. The principal radionuclide found in all samples is polonium (specifically the isotope 210Po), a naturally-occurring isotope that is an alpha-emitter, which causes greater biological damage.”For American and Japanese seafood consumers, the doses attributable to Fukushima-derived radiation were typically 600 and 40 times lower, respectively, than the dose from polonium,” said Professor Fisher. “In estimating human doses of the Fukushima-derived radioactive cesium in Bluefin tuna, we found that heavy seafood consumers — those who ingest 124 kg/year, or 273 lbs., which is five times the US national average — even if they ate nothing but the Cs-contaminated bluefin tuna off California, would receive radiation doses approximately equivalent to that from one dental x-ray and about half that received by the average person over the course of a normal day from a variety of natural and human sources. The resulting increased incidence of cancers would be expected to be essentially undetectable.”Read more
May 31, 2013 — A Facebook profile is an ideal version of self, full of photos and posts curated for the eyes of family, friends and acquaintances. A new study shows that this version of self can provide beneficial psychological effects and influence behavior.
Catalina Toma, a UW-Madison assistant professor of communication arts, used the Implicit Association Test to measure Facebook users’ self-esteem after they spent time looking at their profiles, the first time the social psychology research tool has been used to examine the effects of Facebook. The test showed that after participants spent just five minutes examining their own Facebook profiles, they experienced a significant boost in self-esteem. The test measures how quickly participants associate positive or negative adjectives with words such as me, my, I and myself.
“If you have high self-esteem, then you can very quickly associate words related to yourself with positive evaluations but have a difficult time associating words related to yourself with negative evaluations,” Toma says. “But if you have low self-esteem, the opposite is true.”
Toma opted to use the Implicit Association Test because it cannot be faked, unlike more traditional self-reporting tools.
“Our culture places great value on having high self-esteem. For this reason, people typically inflate their level of self-esteem in self-report questionnaires,” she says. “The Implicit Association Test removes this bias.”
Additionally, Toma investigated whether exposure to one’s own Facebook profile affects behavior.
“We wanted to know if there are any additional psychological effects that stem from viewing your own self-enhancing profile,” says Toma, whose work will be published in the June issue of Media Psychology. “Does engaging with your own Facebook profile affect behavior?”
The behavior examined in the study was performance in a serial subtraction task, assessing how quickly and accurately participants could count down from a large number by intervals of seven. Toma found that self-esteem boost that came from looking at their profiles ultimately diminished participants’ performance in the follow-up task by decreasing their motivation to perform well.
After people spent time on their own profile they attempted fewer answers during the allotted time than people in a control group, but their error rate was not any worse. Toma says the results are consistent with self-affirmation theory, which claims that people constantly try to manage their feelings of self-worth.
“Performing well in a task can boost feelings of self-worth,” Toma says. “However, if you already feel good about yourself because you looked at your Facebook profile, there is no psychological need to increase your self-worth by doing well in a laboratory task.”
But Toma cautions against drawing broad conclusions about Facebook’s impact on motivation and performance based on this particular study, as it examines just one facet of Facebook use.
“This study shows that exposure to your own Facebook profile reduces motivation to perform well in a simple, hypothetical task,” she says. “It does not show that Facebook use negatively affects college students’ grades, for example. Future work is necessary to investigate the psychological effects of other Facebook activities, such as examining others’ profiles or reading the newsfeed.”Read more