Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, May 1, 2014
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people who care more about social capital than market capital, and who
think access is more valuable than ownership, will increasingly disrupt
established businesses and transform economies, according to economic
and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin.
Rifkin is the author of The Zero Marginal Cost Society, a new book that describes how the emerging Internet of Things
is propelling us toward an era of nearly free goods and services and
how a growing culture of sharing rather than owning is speeding the
growth of a global Collaborative Commons. And those forces, he says, will mean the eclipse of capitalism as we know it.
In an essay posted at CommonDreams.org, Rifkin cites opinion surveys by Latitude Research
reporting 75 percent of respondents believe their sharing of physical
objects and spaces will increase in the next five years; 78 percent said
online interactions have made them more open to sharing with strangers;
and 85 percent think the web and mobile technologies will help build
large scale sharing communities.
In a New York Times essay,
Rifkin identifies what he calls "a paradox at the heart of capitalism."
He says the "inherent dynamism of competitive markets" is bringing
costs so far down that many goods and service are becoming cheap,
plentiful and no longer subject to market forces. He says that began
with peer to peer file sharing that let people bypass conventional
sources for entertainment and information. He predicts many giant
enterprises in a variety of commercial sectors won't survive the trend.
is a six-year-old start up that has booked three million guests for 10
million nights in 33,000 cities in 192 countries. This year, Rifkin
writes, Airbnb expects to fill more rooms than the Hilton
InterContinental hotel chain -the world's largest hotel operation. Airbnb
connects people who want to earn income by renting out their unused
space and people looking for interesting, inexpensive temporary lodging.
The website offers accommodations that range from rooms and apartments
to boats and tree houses. Its biggest competitor, Couchsurfing.org
is described on its website has a global community of 7 million people
in more than 100,000 cities who "share their life, their world, their
members provide free space to each other, and emphasize the opportunity
for social interaction. Rifkin says more than 19.1 million friendships
have developed from couchsurfing visits.
A multitude of websites offer sharing and renting of cars, toys, tools, and clothing for children and adults. Tie Society is a subscription service for men who can receive and exchange the high-end fashion accessories for as little as $11 a month. The Freecycle Network is a nonprofit that claims more than seven million members world wide and allows users to give away used items for free.
not surprising that a younger generation that grew up recycling
plastic, glass and paper would turn to recycling items they own," Rifkin
writes. "The notion of optimizing the life cycle of items in order to
reduce the need to produce more partially used goods has become second
nature to young people for whom sustainability is the new frugality."
thinks The Internet of Things, a recent phenomenon based on a
technology platform that is beginning to connect everyone to everything,
has potential to create a new economic model in which collaborative
consumption outpaces owning. According to WhatIs.com, a thing, in the Internet of Things (IoT), can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low -- or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. Rifkin
writes that today, more than 11 billion sensors are attached to things
and feeding data into the IoT. People can connect to the network and use
available tools to access a huge range of products and services. Rifkin
calls IoT a game changer that will allow a collaborative commons to
flourish alongside conventional commercial markets.
Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, February 13, 2014
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The language of leadership often reflects hierarchy and elaborates distinctions between leaders and followers. The "great man" theory of history proposed by nineteenth century philosopher Thomas Carlisle
still offers an appealing view of extraordinary men and women shaping
and moving events through their own personal strength and charisma.
Scholar and author Mila Baker, PhD,
argues one of the most profound social shifts in recent years has been
erosion of individual power and the rise of collective power enabled by
technology and social media.
need a mindset and language of leadership that maintains equilibrium
between leading and following-a conception of leadership that is agile
and stateless in its composition," she writes in her new book Peer to Peer Leadership: Why the Network is the Leader.
"Like the U.S. Constitution guides and influences the nation's
trajectory without stifling the rights and freedoms of its populace,
organizations' design needs to facilitate leading and following on an
Baker isn't saying CEOs have no role. She is saying today's changing
business world requires them to adopt new thinking and behavior. In the
architecture of a peer to peer network
community, every computer-or electronic device-represents a node. The
network connects people and provides instant flow of information. All
nodes within the network are equal participants in a larger whole, a
concept Dr. Baker calls equipotency. Electronic technology is no longer
just a tool in organizations. It changes the way we relate to one
another. It enables information to be sent and received among peers
working toward a common goal. Everyone leads and everyone follows. Dr.
Baker tells of her own experience working in a psychiatric emergency room.
Each individual had an equal opportunity to contribute, which was not
defined by an individuals' role or position, but the need of the moment.
"We shared power and authority-we followed and gave orders as
necessary," she writes, all respecting each other's commitment to the
wellbeing of patients. "In general, she says, "equipotency blurs the
line between leader and follower, and at the same time clarifies the
overall purpose within groups and organizations."
dynamic action needed to respond to a situation, she says, "occurs at
the intersection of art and science." That's the relational dynamic that
develops within a network when all perspectives are heard, integrated
and accounted for. The network becomes the leader, Dr. Baker writes,
because actions are based on a consensus of needs.
what is the paradigm for new leadership? Dr. Baker says leadership can
only be demonstrated in the context of a relational dynamic. She
describes leadership as a "dyad exchange structure." She says this kind
of leadership is shown by "the catalytic action that occurs in the
relational dynamic between two individuals working together toward a
common goal." In organizations that have successfully evolved away from
the Industrial Age individual-centered command and control model, dyad
exchange structures will connect nodes-people-for the purpose of
resolving polarities and innovating. Dr. Baker says these structures
will strengthen the bonds among people, enable the network to do its
work, and allow us to embrace technology "as an extension of our
capacity to evolve as humans in a connected world." The connected world
means we need to move beyond the idea that leadership is limited to
individuals, and that information should flow mainly from boss to
subordinate. Networked information in organizations means more openness
and more agility. Hazards associated with increased openness can be
mitigated by technology that quickly uncovers patterns and identifies
Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, July 11, 2013
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What’s the difference between ideas that bomb and ideas that go viral?
It may be that we’re hard wired for sharing, and the ideas we spread are the ones we think will be interesting and useful to others, not just the ones we like ourselves. This potential communal pleasure actually sparks a measurable response in our brains.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have for the first time identified regions of the brain associated with the successful spread of ideas, a finding that could have broad implications for public health campaigns, advertising, and better ways for teachers to communicate with learners.
The UCLA News describes work by Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and behavioral science, and colleagues, who say brain data shows we are always alert for ideas and stories we think will amuse and engage others. "At our first encounter with information we are already using the brain network involved in how this can be interesting to other people,” Lieberman told UCLA News writer Stuart Wolpert. "I think that is a profound statement about the social nature of our minds.”
Nineteen UCLA students had functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) brain scans while being presented with ideas for 24 fictitious TV pilots. They then made video taped evaluations of each pilot, and decided which ones they would recommend for production. Another group of 79 students played the role of producers, who watched the student assessment videos and came up with their own ratings. When students first saw the pilots they would later recommend, activity in the brain region known as the temporopareital junction, TPJ, markedly increased. Activity in the TPJ region was also higher in the brains of students who were most persuasive in pitching their favored pilots to the producers. The findings are reported in the online edition of the journal Psychological Science.
Lieberman explains that when we enter the minds of fictional characters in a book or a movie, or when we try to figure out what another real person is thinking or feeling, we’re activating the brain’s "mentalizing network." That network includes the TPJ, located on the outer surface of the brain, and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, located in the middle of the brain.
"Before this study, we didn’t know what brain regions were associated with ideas that become contagious, and we didn’t know what regions were associated with being an effective communicator of ideas,” said Emily Falk, lead author of the journal article who was a researcher in Lieberman’s lab and is now at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication. "Now we have mapped the brain regions associated with the ideas that are likely to be contagious and are associated with being a good idea salesperson. In the future we would like to be able to use these brain maps to forecast what ideas are likely to be successful and who is likely to be effective at spreading them.” Interestingly, predictions based on neuroimaging may provide faster and more accurate indications of real-world outcomes than self-reporting by individuals.
image source: marketingpilgrim.com
Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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For James Gleick,
the massive interconnectivity that kept Americans informed and
misinformed on the Boston bombings, shootings, manhunt and capture of a
suspect represents a "watershed for Total Noise" in a strange and
unstable information ecosystem where reality and fiction intermingle.
In a New York magazine essay, Gleick describes the condition that late novelist David Foster Wallace called Total Noise: "the tsunami of available fact, context and perspective." Gleick is the author of Chaos: Making a New Science,
which came out in 1987 and first made the principles and early
development of chaos theory understandable to the general public. He is a
prolific writer, whose 1999 book Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything (review),
tells how we had even then undergone an informational and social phase
change through the massive interconnections of people by way of modern
technology. In his New York piece, he writes that with Twitter feeds
burgeoning, microblogging, Instagram, "Internet vigilantes bleeding into
the FBI's staggeringly complex" forensic video analysis, and
crowdsourcing by social media users, the dividing line between
cyberspace and the real world has vanished.
In her New York Times column, Maureen Dowd
recalls when Gleick was her editor, and reports on a recent interview
in which she asked him to reflect on how we can make sense of relentless
waves of unorganized contradictory and changeable data. Gleick told
her he followed Twitter on his iPhone during the Boston crisis, and
added, "The Internet is messy, pointillist, noisy, often wrong. But if
you had a visceral need for instantaneity, TV couldn't compete."
writes about the gaffs of TV news reporters and anchors who traded
accuracy for speed, the blizzard of banal verbiage from commentators who
had to fill time with no new information, and misleading bits bandied
about when everyone is monitoring everyone else and "no one can bear to
be left out." Reddit users named innocent people as suspects. Gleick says the best understanding of events was produced in newspaper stories written by reporters on the scene.
Dowd asked him about an incident in which the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the AP Twitter
account and falsely reported that President Obama had been injured in
White House explosions, causing a three minute $136 billion stock plunge. He notes hacking happens; and bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not the only one who has had real and fake Twitter accounts.
is no perfect trust in Cyberspace," Gleick told Dowd. "We have all
these new channels and tools to understand the world as it happens, but
there is no reliable algorithm for sorting through the morass. ...we
have to invent a new personal methodology every day. And if we're
waiting for things to settle down and become simple, that's never going
Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013
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Networking and internet research help patients become
increasingly involved in treatment of their illnesses, and people with Lou
Gehrig’s disease are providing dramatic examples of medical autonomy. Many are making themselves guinea pigs
to test unofficial treatments.
Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as
ALS for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a degenerative disease that damages
nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and leads to loss of muscle control
and eventual immobility. Life expectancy after diagnosis is only two to five
yeas, and there is no known cure.
"Do It Yourself Medicine,” a story in TheScientist.com by Jef Akst
tells the story of Eric Valor, a 42-year-old with advanced ALS who helped set
up an independent drug trial for himself and other ALS sufferers. Although he
needs a ventilator to breathe and cannot move any part of his body except his
eyes and some facial muscles, he managed to use his eyes to research the web
for information about a new drug and set up a website where he and fellow
experimenters could report their data. Clinical trials for a new ALS drug NP001 developed by Neuraltus
were to begin in 2010, but Valor’s debilitated physical condition made
him ineligible. Developers hope
the drug might slow progression of the disease, so to show any impact Valor couldn’t
just stop getting worse. He’d have to start getting better, something not
proven with any ALS drug.
Based on their research, Valor and others thought the drug
contained 50 percent sodium chlorite, a chemical available online for about $50
a quart. He asked his mother to inject a dilute solution into his feeding
tube. More than two dozen patients
have done the same, and shared their experiences and data.
They used a site at PatientsLikeMe, a company cofounded
in 2004 by three MIT engineers, Benjamin and James Heywood and Jeff Cole. The Heywood family
had spent years searching for anything that would extend and improve the life
of a third brother who had ALS, and the experience inspired
creation of a health sharing platform.
The goal is to help patients manage their own care, and change the way industry
According to a Wall Street Journal story by Amy Docker Marcus, many
ALS patients concoct their own drugs because they feel they don’t have time to
wait for clinical trials and FDA approval. They are also reluctant to risk
getting placebos rather than the real thing in a clinical trail. Some medical
authorities worry about that approach. Marcus quotes Jonathan D. Glass, professor of
neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, who suggests research needs
the rigors and controls set by the medical establishment. He worries that
guinea pigs could hurt themselves, adding, "Who knows what they’re actually
making in their kitchens?”
Neurologist and researcher Richard Bedlack, who directs the
Duke University ALS Clinic, thinks greater patient involvement is a good thing.
"There’s a new model of medicine, in my opinion,” he told TheScientist. "Once upon a time we had a very paternalistic system
where patients would come…and doctors would ask all the questions and give all
the answers. In the past decade, things
have really shifted, almost to the other side, where a lot of medicine is
Results from the independent sodium chlorite trials are
equivocal. While some self-dosers reported improvement, a report published by
PatientsLikeMe investigators found a potentially negative effect. Neuraltus
researchers last October announced its drug showed progress, and it seeks a big-pharma
partner for a Phase 3 clinical trial. Valor, for one, would like early access
to the drug, and he sees no conflict in being both patient and researcher. "I
just treat myself as another lab rat,” he said.
Posted By Prucia Buscell,
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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in its many varieties, is big business, and it’s not just the flowers,
candy and jewelry that sell well on Valentine’s Day.
and mating go on all year. Money can’t buy love, but it can buy a
chance to meet potential lovers and spouses. About 30 million
people--that’s 10 percent of the U.S. population--visit dating sites on a
monthly basis, according to Nielsen, the market research firm. A Wall Street Journal Market Watch story by Quentin Fottrell
reports that the internet dating industry is now worth about $1.2
billion, a 4 percent increase from a year ago. Fees have risen along with
increased use and popularity. Match.com, which charged $9.95 a month when it opened in 1995, now charges $36 a month. EHarmony, launched in 2000, now charges $60 a month.
too long ago, the story notes, couples who met online didn’t mention
that at their weddings. Now online dating is main stream, and the
fastest growing segment of online daters is baby boomers---people over
50 years old who are more likely than younger people to be widowed or
divorced. The AARP started a dating site for seniors in January.
dating services offer opportunities to meet just about every sort of
partner. There are sites where singles can seek other single
Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Christians, Jews,
Muslims, atheists, artists and environmentalists. There are dating sites
targeted toward athletes, farmers, and amputees. There are even sites
for very vain hotties. BeautifulPeople.com
is a sight people can only use if members considered them gorgeous
enough to be voted in. Many tout algorithms they say will match
potential partners according to interest, intelligence, values, beliefs
and any number of personality traits.
There are also coaches to meet specialized romantic needs. A Wall Street Journal piece by JoPiazza
describes widows and divorcees deciding to date after long term
marriages. Flirting doesn’t always come naturally to those who haven’t
done it in decades. And some needs are complex, such as coaching needed by formerly
Hasidic men and women who are just entering the dating pool.
market research company reports that more than half of American online
daters lie on their profiles, according to Fottrell’s story. While most
paid sites try to weed out sexual predators and scam artists, there are
few ways to detect the small lies people tell to burnish their imaged or
cover flaws. Some deceptions go beyond shaving off a couple years and a
few pounds. AshleyMadison.com
caters to married customers looking to cheat on their spouses. The
site's motto is "Life is short. Have an Affair” and it boasts 17,850,000
members seeking extramarital adventure. AshleyMadison CEO Noel Biderman told ChicagoNow that many singles sites are overrun with married men who lie about their status and that monogamy is obsolete anyway.
Reuben J. Thomas, assistant professor of sociology at the City College of New York, told a writer for Match.com that internet dating is successful because "with
technology eroding the face-to-face social scene, it's rare for people
to accidentally meet in real life anymore.” Even kids know love can be
outsourced. When students in an eighth grade class in New Jersey were
asked to write an essay describing how the internet would make their
lives different from the lives of their parents, one wrote, "You can get a
new husband or wife online. Our parents had to go to bars for that.”
The comment wasn’t unusual.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Jorge Parada, medical director of the infectious disease unit at Loyola University Health System, told The Scientist.com
"Mid-February is usually the peak season for infectious diseases, such
as the seasonal and H1N1 flu, mononucleosis, colds, and coughs." So
instead of kissing, sharing dessert, or cuddling by the fire, he
suggests the best valentine is getting and giving the gift of a flu
shot. He insists that really says "I love you.”
Posted By Susan Doherty,
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2013
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From the University Health Network website -
When most people hear the words "social network,” they think of the recent movie or one of the many websites that "bring people together.” But the General Surgery unit at TGH has put a twist on social networking, proving that it’s useful for more than just keeping track of friends in far-off places. Led by Nurse Manager Brenda Perkins-Meingast, the unit has been busy working on a new hand hygiene initiative with the Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) department that maps the relationships between the people on her team.