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These 3 medical advances could change your life

<p><span>From bioprinting a heart valve to isolating new treatments for diabetes, some of the most amazing and revolutionary medical research is going on right here in our own backyard. Here we look at three of the most exciting projects and how they’re going to change our lives for the better.</span></p> <p><strong>1. The research: 3D bioprinting human organs</strong><span> </span></p> <p><strong>Where:</strong><span> </span>The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia<span> </span></p> <p><strong>Research team:</strong><span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://vasclab.mech.uwa.edu.au/barry" target="_blank"><span>Dr Barry Doyle</span></a> (pictured above, left) and team</p> <p>Thanks to a revolutionary new bioengineering program, we may one day see human organs printed on demand and then transplanted into sick patients needing organ transplants.</p> <p>Dr Barry Doyle, head of the vascular engineering laboratory at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research says it’s still early days, yet he is hopeful that the new biomedical research facility that brings experts from many different disciplines together will help speed up the process to breakthroughs.</p> <p>“What’s possible at the moment around the world is that scientists can print crude structures with cells in them and keep that alive for a matter of weeks afterwards. To go from transplanting that into a human needs a lot more work, but one day hopefully we should be able to print all the major organs in the body such as the kidneys and liver,” he says.</p> <p><strong>What’s involved?</strong><span> </span></p> <p>At the moment Doyle’s team is focused on bioprinting a heart valve and keeping it alive long enough to implant it into an animal. A heart valve has been successfully printed before in the US, but researchers weren’t able to keep it alive long enough to implant it into a live host to see if it works.</p> <p>Doyle plans to reach this stage in the next couple of years, a goal he says would be a huge step forward towards the ultimate goal of producing other organs. “The heart valve is quite a complicated geometry but if we can create one and implant it into an animal, we’ll have a good shot at being able to extend on sections of the aorta and build towards the heart,” he says.</p> <p>Bioprinting organs that have been specifically printed from a recipient’s own cells could potentially replace the need for donor organs, not to mention the lengthy waiting times for suitable donor organs to be found.</p> <p>Since bioprinting involves using a patient’s own cells, it becomes less likely that the organ will be rejected by the body as well. Donor organ rejection is currently a major problem in transplant recipients after surgery with recipients required to take anti-rejection medications on an ongoing basis.</p> <p><strong>How do you bioprint an organ?</strong><span> </span></p> <p>The technology that will make all this possible is called a 3D bioprinter. A 3D bioprinter works by depositing layers of material on a flat surface. First, living cells are taken from a patient, cultured in the lab and mixed into a soft gel-like substance called a hydrogel, which is then put into a 3D bioprinter. Another stiffer material is added to the printer and two nozzles move back and forth depositing these substances to build up the structure of an organ, layer upon layer.</p> <p>“The printing process is quite easy to carry out, but it’s keeping the printed structures alive after printing that’s where the big challenge lies,” says Doyle.</p> <p>To overcome this hurdle, Doyle’s team needs to perform tests to better understand the mechanical properties of the substances they’re using. “You can make different blends of these materials and each blend changes the material properties slightly, so one of the challenges is really understanding the hydrogel that we’re working with,” he says.</p> <p>It’s a huge task but one that Doyle’s team is well qualified for. His team has already developed another promising technology called patient-specific modelling that will one day help cardiovascular specialists and surgeons better predict and personalise patient care.</p> <p>For example, by making 3D computer models of the heart or aorta from the images taken by heart surgeons, his team can simulate the way blood will flow out of a patient’s heart and down through the vessels using computers. With this information surgeons can better determine whether a patient will need an operation, what type of operation, and even where to operate.</p> <p>“Only one in ten aortic aneurysms rupture but a huge number of operations are performed each year that are probably unnecessary. But using these computer models we can very specifically predict if operations are even needed,” Doyle says.</p> <p><strong>2. The research: Fighting cancer with nanotechnology</strong><span> </span></p> <p><strong>Where:</strong><span> </span>University of Sydney Nanotechnology Hub, Sydney<span> </span></p> <p><strong>Research team:</strong><span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://sydney.edu.au/science/people/zdenka.kuncic.php" target="_blank"><span>Professor Zdenka Kuncic</span></a><span> </span>and team</p> <p>At the University of Sydney Professor Zdenka Kuncic, director of the Australian Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (AINST) and her team are working on ways to detect and destroy tumour cells from cancers spreading around the body, known as metastasised tumour cells.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/2833592/heath-research-syd-wyza-com-au.jpg" alt="Heath -research -syd -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="300" /><br /><em>Professor Zdenka Kuncic and her team's research hopes to find a cure for cancer (Image: University of Sydney)</em></p> <p>This is a real problem in medicine because there are currently no imaging techniques that can detect metastasised tumour cells and no techniques that can specifically target and kill them. But using nanotechnologies like the ones being developed by Kuncic and her team, we might one day be able to detect them and even deliver drugs and therapeutic agents to destroy them. But what is nanotechnology and how does it work? </p> <p>Nanotechnology is a branch of science that uses tiny particles called nanoparticles. These particles are no bigger than the size of a single molecule of glucose. In fact, you can only see them with an electron microscope. They can be made of different substances and can even be changed and ‘programmed’ to carry out specific tasks.</p> <p>One of the most exciting applications for nanotechnology is in medicine because nanoparticles have different physical properties than normal sized objects. All of the biochemical processes that happen in our bodies every day occur because of nanoscience and by understanding the properties of nanoparticles, researchers can develop nanotechnologies that work in a non-invasive way in the body.</p> <p>Nanoparticles can move around the body using the body’s own systems and can be made virtually invisible to the body’s immune system.</p> <p>Professor Kuncic and her team are already quite advanced in programming (functionalising) nanoparticles to perform certain tasks. That’s when a nanoparticle is coated in a certain type of chemical coating or when it has an antibody or other small molecule attached to it to carry out a certain job in the body. But now her biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to control those nanoparticles once they go into the body. “It’s one thing to see the nanoparticles work in a lab in a petri dish, it’s another thing to actually make them work in a living person,” she says.</p> <p>To unlock the secrets to controlling nanoparticles, Kuncic says there is an enormous amount of testing still to be done. However she is hopeful for future breakthroughs. “There are a number of nanotechnology strategies that have passed through clinical trials already and they’re being used right now,” she says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/2833595/heath-research-suits-syd-wyza-com-au.jpg" alt="Heath -research -suits -syd --wyza -com -au" width="500" height="300" /><br /><em>At the Sydney Nanoscience Hub researchers are trying to unlock the secrets to controlling nanoparticles (Image: University of Sydney)</em></p> <p><strong>What will nanotechnology do for us?</strong><span> </span><br />If Professor Kuncic and other researchers in this field succeed, treating cancer might one day be simply a matter of ingesting a pill or having an injection at the oncologists’ and letting the nanoparticles inside find and destroy the disease.</p> <p>But the potential benefit of this technology is not just in fighting cancer. Nanotechnology has far-reaching applications in medicine, according to Kuncic. It may one day also be used by GPs to detect if patients have taken their medicine, and even as a way to detect and treat diseases before they have surfaced. “The holy grail would be to detect the signs of disease in people and be able to nip it in the bud before it starts to become a problem and that’s more than a decade away,” says Kuncic.</p> <p><strong>3. The research: Finding out how exercise protects against diabetes and other diseases</strong><span> </span></p> <p><strong>Where:</strong><span> </span>The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney NSW<span> </span></p> <p><strong>Research team:</strong><span> </span><span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.garvan.org.au/research/diabetes-metabolism/cellular-and-molecular-metabolism/marfeb" target="_blank">Professor Mark Febbraio</a></span> and team</p> <p>You’ve probably heard before that exercise can help protect you against a whole lot of diseases, but what you might not know is exactly how this happens.</p> <p>One way exercise helps protect you is that your muscles secrete protective substances while you’re exercising. These substances are called ‘myokines,’ and by identifying these molecular links, scientists can better develop ways to treat these diseases.</p> <p>This is the crux of Professor Mark Febbraio’s research as the division head of diabetes and metabolism and head of cellular and molecular metabolism at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3342342/shutterstock_323905706.jpg" alt="Shutterstock _323905706" width="500" height="336" /><br />Febbraio says that lifestyle interventions like exercising and watching your diet are still the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes</em></p> <p>One area of his research is finding a molecular link for type 2 diabetes.<span> </span><span>Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, and although it can be initially managed through lifestyle changes, around one-in-two people will eventually need insulin. </span></p> <p>According to Febbraio, in healthy people, myokines can help protect you against diabetes by activating special kinds of fat cells in your body. Unlike white fat cells, brown fat cells chew up a lot of energy when they’re activated. Myokines turn white fat cells into brown fat cells – which may assist in counteracting the metabolic processes that leads to obesity and or diabetes.</p> <p><strong>How far along is this research now?</strong><span> </span></p> <p>At the moment Febbraio and his team have evidence that myokines can help protect us from disease, but they’re not quite sure exactly which substances do what, and that’s what they’re trying to work out, but not just for diabetes. They’re also trying to identify the molecular links in a range of other diseases too, such as in obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and some types of cancers.</p> <p>“By identifying the substances that have the most protective effects (the molecular links between exercise and this protective effect) we can then use medicinal chemistry and the pharmaceutical industry to come up with drugs that doctors can use to provide more personalised treatment options for people with these diseases,” says Febbraio.</p> <p><strong>How do we find myokines?</strong><span> </span></p> <p>Finding these substances is not easy. Febbraio and his team use what’s called proteomic and genomic techniques to screen for them. Once substances have been found, they then use bioinformatics – basically complex mathematics and statistics and mice models to help them determine which of the substances are the most important.</p> <p>One promising protective muscle substance recently discovered by his lab is a substance that helps protect women against breast cancer. If further trials in mice and humans prove successful, this could prove a huge step forward in breast cancer treatment.</p> <p>While finding the molecular links will almost certainly result in better pharmaceutical treatments, Febbraio recommends being physically active as a tried and true way to prevent disease.</p> <p>“In 80 per cent of [type 2] diabetes cases, if there was no obesity in those patients they would not have the disease. So lifestyle interventions like exercising and watching your diet is still the best way to prevent diabetes,” he says.</p> <p><em>What would you like medical researchers to investigate and why? Let us know in the comments section below.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Dominic Bayley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/these-3-medical-advances-could-change-your-life.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Millions of Facebook user records exposed in data breach

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers at the cybersecurity firm UpGuard have said that they’ve discovered the existence of two datasets that contain the personal data of hundreds of millions of Facebook users.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both datasets were publicly accessible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UpGuard explained in a </span><a href="https://www.upguard.com/breaches/facebook-user-data-leak"><span style="font-weight: 400;">blog post</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> how they connected the databases. They connected the first one to a Mexico-based media company called Cultura Colectiva, which contained over 146GB of data. This amounts to over 540 million Facebook user records.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The user records include comments, likes, reactions, account names, Facebook user IDS and much more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The second leak was connected to an app that was integrated with Facebook called “At the pool” and had exposed around 22,000 passwords.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The passwords are presumably for the ‘At the Pool’ app rather than for the user’s Facebook account, but would put users at risk who have reused the same password across accounts,” UpGuard said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The second database contained information about users’ friends, likes, groups and locations where they checked in using the app.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both datasets were stored in unsecured Amazon S3 buckets and could have been accessed by anyone. Neither bucket was password protected, but since UpGuard have reported on the breach, they have either been taken offline or made more secure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UpGuard explained the difference in the datasets: “The data sets vary in when they were last updated, the data points present, and the number of unique individuals in each. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What ties them together is that they both contain data about Facebook users, describing their interests, relationships, and interactions, that were available to third party developers.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UpGuard then added: “As Facebook faces scrutiny over its data stewardship practices, they have made efforts to reduce third party access. But as these exposures show, the data genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook were quick to work with Amazon to take down the databases and release a statement saying that they’ve done so:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Facebook’s policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database. Once alerted to the issue, we worked with Amazon to take down the databases. We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people’s data.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the damage has already been done.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UpGuard has warned users of the app to change their passwords and say that the breach “puts users at risk who have reused the same password across accounts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have you been impacted by the breach? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s "new rules" for the internet

<p>After years of rejecting calls for increased regulatory oversight of Facebook,<span> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/zuck">founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg</a><span> </span>has now<span> </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mark-zuckerberg-the-internet-needs-new-rules-lets-start-in-these-four-areas/2019/03/29/9e6f0504-521a-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html">called for</a><span> </span>more cooperation with government in dealing with problems posed by internet platforms and emergent internet technologies.</p> <p>But the social media giant needs to do more than just talk about a solution. What we’re waiting for now are some clear indications that Zuckerberg will take a role in making change real.</p> <p>It’s important that Facebook, an online platform with<span> </span><a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/">more than two billion users</a>, navigates the complexities of platform governance by engaging users, governments and civil society groups in that process.</p> <p>Zuckerberg’s article followed<span> </span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47255380">criticism</a><span> </span>regarding how the social media platform is used by some for<span> </span><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/12/28/zuckerberg-facebook-can-never-fully-stop-use-platform-election/">political interference</a>, or to spread harmful material, such as the<span> </span><a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&amp;objectid=12214281">footage from the alleged gunman who live-streamed his attack</a><span> </span>on two New Zealand mosques.</p> <p>In an opinion piece<span> </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mark-zuckerberg-the-internet-needs-new-rules-lets-start-in-these-four-areas/2019/03/29/9e6f0504-521a-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html">in the Washington Post</a><span> </span>over the weekend (and available on<span> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10107013839885441">his Facebook page</a>), Zuckerberg wrote:</p> <p><em>Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks.</em></p> <p>But he says companies alone should not be the ones to set up rules on what is acceptable.</p> <p><em>I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.</em></p> <p><strong>Four steps for change</strong></p> <p>Zuckerberg argues that four areas warrant deeper cooperation:</p> <ul> <li>harmful content</li> <li>election integrity</li> <li>privacy</li> <li>data portability.</li> </ul> <p>To tackle harmful content, he suggests the creation of an independent body to review Facebook’s content moderation decisions. He also wants the formation of a set of standardised rules for harmful content.</p> <p>For election integrity, he bemoans the inconsistency and inadequacy of existing laws for electoral advertising and media.</p> <p>As for privacy, he points to the<span> </span><a href="https://www.wired.co.uk/article/what-is-gdpr-uk-eu-legislation-compliance-summary-fines-2018">European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation</a><span> </span>as a useful starting point.</p> <p>Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly<span> </span><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/13/free-the-social-graph/facebook-free-the-social-graph/">given Facebook’s history</a>, Zuckerberg argues legislation should establish and protect data portability rights. This would empower users with access to their data, and give them the ability to choose to take that data to other platforms.</p> <p>Zuckerberg wrote:</p> <p><em>I believe Facebook has a responsibility to help address these issues, and I’m looking forward to discussing them with lawmakers around the world. We’ve built advanced systems for finding harmful content, stopping election interference and making ads more transparent.</em></p> <p><em>But people shouldn’t have to rely on individual companies addressing these issues by themselves. We should have a broader debate about what we want as a society and how regulation can help. These four areas are important, but, of course, there’s more to discuss.</em></p> <p>While there’s certainly more to say about each of the issues that Zuckerberg has highlighted, for now, let’s consider the prospect of increased cooperation, and the pursuit of better online governance.</p> <p><strong>Worth seeking, even if it's difficult</strong></p> <p>It’s welcome to see a new enthusiasm from Zuckerberg regarding engagement with government.</p> <p>His opinion article demonstrates some optimism for unification and standardisation for governance and policing of issues like harmful content and privacy.</p> <p>This is likely because a global unification of standards poses a significantly lower cost to Facebook for conforming to a standardised regulatory approach, rather than dealing with a patchwork of regulatory frameworks from dozens of countries and regulatory agencies.</p> <p>That said, we should hope Zuckerberg stays true to this commitment to increased cooperation, even in the absence of international agreement or standardisation.</p> <p>Whether it is convenient to Facebook or not, it has a duty to its users to operate responsibly. That responsibility should not be abrogated just because international regulatory compliance is difficult.</p> <p>While Zuckerberg has discussed the notion of greater cooperation with governments and regulatory agencies, it’s important this cooperation doesn’t stop at the offices of government and regulatory bodies.</p> <p>Governments may be the arbiters of what is<span> </span><em>legal</em><span> </span>in a country or territory, but the legislative demands that are made of Facebook and other internet platforms may not necessarily be<span> </span><em>just</em><span> </span>or<span> </span><em>fair</em><span> </span>to the people affected by those laws.</p> <p>As an example, I suspect neither Facebook nor its developers particularly want their platform to be used as a tool for the oppression of LGBTQIA+ people<span> </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/gay-relationships-still-criminalised-countries-report">in countries where homosexuality is criminalised</a>.</p> <p>I’ve noted previously that the responsibilities to balance free expression with socio-cultural norms, personal desires, and local regulatory regimes is a<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/anxieties-over-livestreams-can-help-us-design-better-facebook-and-youtube-content-moderation-113750">particularly complex task</a>. Unfortunately for Facebook, deeper cooperation with government will not make this any easier.</p> <p>We must consider: when should we expect Facebook to follow the law? And when could we expect Facebook to defy what it considers unjust laws?</p> <p>As a balance to the demands of government, Facebook should also look to engage with civil society organisations like as the<span> </span><a href="https://www.eff.org/">Electronic Frontiers Foundation</a><span> </span>or the<span> </span><a href="https://www.aclu.org/">American Civil Liberties Union</a>, as well as academic researchers to weigh the requests of government against appropriate criticism and discourse.</p> <p><strong>Time to 'update the rules'</strong></p> <p>Zuckerberg’s key argument here is that the current rules governing the internet have allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to “build services that changed the world”.</p> <div class="grid-ten large-grid-nine grid-last content-body content entry-content instapaper_body"> <p>This, he writes, has created a lot of value in people’s lives, but now it’s time for reform:</p> <p><em>It’s time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward.“</em></p> <p>It’s equally important that we hold Facebook’s feet to the fires of responsibility, reform, and regulation — to ensure that these latest commitments are more than just hot air.</p> </div> <div class="grid-ten grid-prepend-two large-grid-nine grid-last content-topics topic-list"><em>Written by Andrew Quodling. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/zuckerbergs-new-rules-for-the-internet-must-move-from-words-to-actions-114593">The Conversation</a>.</em></div>

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6 dementia apps to try

<p>From synced shopping lists to booking an Uber, there’s no doubt that technology has changed our lives immeasurably – and made us more productive and efficient.</p> <p>It’s also helping dementia patients in ways we could never have hoped for 20 or 30 years ago.</p> <p>Touchscreens and specialised apps that are simple to use and help memory and interaction are also becoming indispensable for many people living with the condition, says dementia and aged care expert Tamar Krebs from Group Homes Australia.</p> <p>“If a person with dementia understands and remembers how to use the technology, then smartphones and iPads are wonderful! They can be used to remind someone about their daily routine – ie, when to take medication, what to have for lunch, keeping a schedule of who is coming to visit,” she explains. “However, technology can be very challenging if the person’s dementia is severe.”</p> <p class="float-image-right"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3664090/itsdone-app-300x450.jpg" alt="Itsdone -app -300x 450" width="300" height="450" /></p> <p>The staff at Krebs’ group homes use a variety of apps to engage their residents, depending on their personal interests. “We have a lady who was a mathematician, so she loves solitaire and sudoku,” she explains. “Another resident who was a teacher enjoys letter and numeric games – which can be great for engagement.”</p> <p>There are so many apps to choose from, so do your research and choose those that are simple and as easy to use as possible, so it just becomes all about enjoying the app and engaging. Below, we take six recommended apps for a test drive.</p> <p><strong>It’s Done! $2.99 (iPhone + iPad)</strong></p> <p>If a person is having trouble remembering to turn the heater off or grab their keys before leaving the house, this app is extremely useful. You can make a list of things that can be ‘ticked off’ daily or lists for tomorrow or next week and as you tick them off the app makes a very satisfying ‘clunk’ sound. One downside: bigger text would make this app even better.<span> </span></p> <p><em>View it in the app store<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/its-done!/id439338524?mt=8" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><strong>MindMate, Free (iPhone + iPad)</strong></p> <p>This brilliant app has it all – a ‘My Life’ section for personal information, which could be accessed by hospital or home care staff if necessary, a ‘My Story’ section where you can create galleries of photos of loved ones, and a heap of fun games where you can train your attention, your memory and your speed and get points the more games you play. There are also health tips, workouts to follow and videos to watch on the app too.<span> </span></p> <p><em>View it in the app store <a rel="noopener" href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindmate-empowering-people/id1030422375?mt=8" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3664096/mindmate-app_edited_520px.jpg" alt="Mindmate -app _edited _520px" width="520" height="350" /></em></p> <p><strong>AmuseIt ($14.99 for iPad, Microsoft, Android)</strong></p> <p>Easy to navigate and use, this quiz app is designed to get the conversation going with carers and dementia sufferers. The interface is simple, with beautiful images and big buttons accompanying a range of multiple choice questions. Choose from categories such as lifestyle, baking, general knowledge, animals, sport, horticulture or arts / entertainment. It’s a little pricier than some of the other apps, but well worth considering.</p> <p><em>View it in the app store<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/amuseit/id1132937390?mt=8" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3664093/amuse-it-300x450.jpg" alt="Amuse -it -300x 450" width="300" height="450" /></em></p> <p><strong>Flower Garden ($2.99 for iPad, iPhone + Android)</strong></p> <p>A cute app enabling you to grow flowers in pots, water them, send bouquets to people on your contact list via email or SMS. Just be aware that if the app is linked to a credit card on the AppStore the person can also go crazy buying ‘seeds’ via the shop to grow more plants!</p> <p><em>View it in the app store <a rel="noopener" href="https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/flower-garden-grow-flowers/id311265471?m" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3664091/flower-garden-app520x924.jpg" alt="Flower -garden -app 520x 924" width="520" height="293" /></em></p> <p><strong>BrainyApp (Free for iPad, iPhone + Android)</strong></p> <p>This app, developed by Alzheimer’s Australia in partnership with BUPA Health, gives you a brain health survey and a report on where you can improve in terms of diet, activity, socializing. You can play Brain Tennis where you unscramble words (choose level from Easy to Evil!), upload photos and captions to the BrainyApp community, or do a quick quiz.<span> </span></p> <p><em>View it in the app store<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.yourbrainmatters.org.au/a-little-help/brainyapp" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><strong>Let’s Create! Pottery (Free, for iPad, iPhone + Android)</strong></p> <p>A fantastic app for anyone with dementia who loves craft or used to be a keen potter. The pottery wheel starts with a lump of clay and spins around; you ‘shape’ your bowl or vase by moving your finger around it. Super easy and just one click to ‘fire’ your creation in the kiln (complete with sound effects). You then get a beautiful image of your completed ceramic. Therapeutic, relaxing and, dare we say, highly addictive!</p> <p><em>View it in the app store<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/lets-create!-pottery-hd/id380090605?mt=8" target="_blank"><span>here</span></a>.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/3664097/pottery-app_edited_520x414.jpg" alt="Pottery -app _edited _520x 414" width="520" height="350" /></em></p> <p><em><strong>Have your found some great apps for your smartphone or tablet? Share them below.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Written by Rachel Smith. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/6-dementia-apps-to-try.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Discover who is following your profile on Facebook

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Did you know people are able to “follow” your personal or professional Facebook page without sending you a friend request? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s important to know who is following you on Facebook, as this means that your posts are appearing in their News Feed without your knowledge and will appear more regularly than you think.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, people are only able to follow your personal Facebook account if your profile is public instead of private.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can be a bit tricky to see how someone is following your Facebook page, so here are a few tips to work out how.</span></p> <p><strong>How to see if someone is following your Facebook page</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go to your “Friends” tab and click on the “More” section.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on “Following”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll through who is following your Facebook page.</span></li> </ol> <p><strong>How to unfollow people on Facebook</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re tired of seeing someone’s specific posts in your News Feed, but don’t want to unfriend them, you’re able to “unfollow” them.</span></p> <p><strong>Unfollow them via their Facebook profile</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go to their Facebook profile.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click the “Following” button so it doesn’t have the tick with “Following” any longer.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Done! You’ve unfollowed them on Facebook.</span></li> </ol> <p><strong>Unfollow them via your News Feed</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have you just been reminded why you don’t like seeing this person’s posts? Unfollowing them from your News Feed is pretty simple.</span></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Find a status update or post from the friend you want to unfollow.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of the post.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll down until you find the “Unfollow” option.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on the “Unfollow” option.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">There! You have successfully unfollowed your friend.</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means that their posts will no longer appear in your News Feed on Facebook but you’re still friends with them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Did you know about the “Unfollow” option on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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The brand new technology you're about to see in Woolworths

<p>Woolworths has introduced a new surveillance technology to monitor its store.</p> <p>The supermarket giant is trialling a new robot in Sydney’s Gregory Hills branch to roam around the aisles and alert staff members on any potential safety hazards.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.5px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7825973/woolies2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3d16d2dd7a13436e823a7c9bebf6440e" /></p> <p>“We’ve been working hard to reduce trips and slips in our stores, but we still see too many,” a Woolworths spokesperson told <em>Over 60</em>.</p> <p>“We’re trialling new technology in Gregory Hills to see if it can help make the store safer for our customers and team. It will roam the store looking for potential safety hazards, and allow one of our store team members to quickly attend to it.”</p> <p>He said Woolworths have no plans to expand the robot trial to other stores at this time.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.5px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7825974/woolies1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0b3d67865dd54ddc863b1bd8bbb7c9f5" /></p> <p>The retailer has also installed iPad screens with in-built cameras at the self-serve checkouts to deter theft. </p> <p>“We know the vast majority of our customers do the right thing at self-serve checkouts,” the spokesperson said. “This is a security measure we are trialling for those that don’t.”</p> <p>The spokesperson said the supermarket has ensured that the PIN pad will be out of view from the cameras, and that the technology is “fully compliant with payment card security standards”. </p> <p>He said, “The store has eight manned checkout lanes, and we’ve hired 40 customer service team members, for customers who prefer to interact with our team as they checkout.”</p> <p>The move came after Coles debuted <a rel="noopener" href="/finance/legal/coles-debuts-new-tactic-to-stop-self-checkout-thefts/" target="_blank">tablet-sized cameras</a> at the self-serve checkout area in 12 of their Melbourne stores last week.</p>

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What happens when online communities close down?

<p>This week saw the<span> </span><a href="https://support.google.com/plus/answer/9195133">closure of Google+</a>, an attempt by the online giant to create a social media community to rival Facebook.</p> <p>If the<span> </span><a href="https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-march-2019/">Australian usage of Google+</a><span> </span>is anything to go by – just 45,000 users in March compared to Facebook’s 15 million – it never really caught on.</p> <p>But the Google+ shutdown follows a string of organisations that have disabled or restricted community features such as reviews, user comments and message boards (forums).</p> <p>So are we witnessing the decline of online communities and user comments?</p> <p><strong>Turning off online communities and user generated content</strong></p> <p>One of the most well-known message boards – which existed on the popular movie website<span> </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/imdb-message-boards-shut-down-why-films-a7562701.html">IMDb</a><span> </span>since 2001 – was shut down by owner Amazon in 2017 with just two weeks’ notice for its users.</p> <p>This is not only confined to online communities but mirrors a trend among organisations to restrict or turn off their user-generated content. Last year the subscription video-on-demand website<span> </span><a href="https://help.netflix.com/en/node/9977">Netflix</a><span> </span>said it no longer allowed users to write reviews. It subsequently<span> </span><a href="https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/netflix-deletes-all-user-reviews-1202908904/">deleted all existing user-generated reviews</a>.</p> <p>Other popular websites have disabled their comments sections, including<span> </span><a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2016/08/17/489516952/npr-website-to-get-rid-of-comments">National Public Radio (NPR)</a>,<span> </span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/letters/archive/2018/02/we-want-to-hear-from-you/552170/">The Atlantic</a>,<span> </span><a href="https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments">Popular Science</a><span> </span>and<span> </span><a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/11/07/editors-note-reader-comments-in-the-age-of-social-media/">Reuters</a>.</p> <p><strong>Why the closures?</strong></p> <p>Organisations have a range of motivations for taking such actions, ranging from low uptake, running costs, the challenges of managing moderation, as well as the problem around divisive comments, conflicts and lack of community cohesion.</p> <p>In the case of<span> </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/01/closure-google-plus-everything-you-need-to-know">Google+</a>, low usage<span> </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/08/google-plus-security-breach-wall-street-journal">alongside data breaches</a><span> </span>appear to have sped up its decision.</p> <p><a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2016/08/17/489516952/npr-website-to-get-rid-of-comments">NPR</a><span> </span>explained its motivation to remove user comments by highlighting how in one month its website<span> </span><a href="https://www.npr.org/">NPR.org</a><span> </span>attracted 33 million unique users and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters; the number of commenters who posted in consecutive months was a fraction of that.</p> <p>This led<span> </span><a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2016/08/17/489516952/npr-website-to-get-rid-of-comments">NPR’s managing editor for digital news, Scott Montgomery, to say</a>:</p> <p><em>We’ve reached the point where we’ve realized that there are other, better ways to achieve the same kind of community discussion around the issues we raise in our journalism.</em></p> <p>He said audiences had also moved to engage with NPR more on<span> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/NPR/">Facebook</a><span> </span>and<span> </span><a href="https://twitter.com/NPR">Twitter</a>.</p> <p>Likewise,<span> </span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/letters/archive/2018/02/we-want-to-hear-from-you/552170/">The Atlantic</a><span> </span>explained that its comments sections had become “unhelpful, even destructive, conversations” and was exploring new ways to give users a voice.</p> <p>In the case of IMDB closing its message boards in 2017, the<span> </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/imdb-message-boards-shut-down-why-films-a7562701.html">reason given was</a>:</p> <p><em>[…] we have concluded that IMDb’s message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide.</em></p> <p>The<span> </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/06/imdb-shuts-down-message-boards">organisation also nudged users</a><span> </span>towards other forms of social media, such as its<span> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/imdb">Facebook page</a><span> </span>and Twitter account<span> </span><a href="https://twitter.com/imdb">@IMDB</a>, as the “(…) primary place they (users) choose to post comments and communicate with IMDb’s editors and one another”.</p> <p><strong>User backlash</strong></p> <p>Unsurprisingly, such actions often lead to confusion, criticism and disengagement by user communities, and in some cases petitions to have the features reinstated (such as<span> </span><a href="https://www.change.org/p/google-save-google">this one for Google+</a>) and boycotts of the organisations.</p> <p>But most organisations take these aspects into their decision-making.</p> <p>For fans of such community features these trends point to some harsh realities. Even though communities may self-organise and thrive, and users are co-creators of value and content, the functionality and governance are typically beyond their control.</p> <p>Community members are at the mercy of hosting organisations, some profit-driven, which may have conflicting motivations to those of the users. It’s those organisations that hold the power to change or shut down what can be considered by some to be critical sources of knowledge, engagement and community building.</p> <p>In the aftermath of shutdowns,<span> </span><a href="https://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2018/social/Presentations/5/" title="There's No Place Like Home�: Online Community Displacement and Migration">my research</a><span> </span>shows that communities that existed on an organisation’s message boards in particular may struggle to reform.</p> <p>This can be due to a number of factors, such as high switching costs, and communities can become fragmented because of the range of other options (Reddit, Facebook and other message boards).</p> <p>So it’s difficult for users to preserve and maintain their communities once their original home is disabled. In the case of Google+, even its<span> </span><a href="https://plus.google.com/communities/112164273001338979772">Mass Migration Group</a><span> </span>– which aims to help people, organisations and groups find “new online homes” – may not be enough to hold its online communities together.</p> <p>The trend towards the closure of online communities by organisations might represent a means to reduce their costs in light of declining usage and the availability of other online options.</p> <p>It’s also a move away from dealing with the reputational issues related to their use and<span> </span><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1461670X.2014.972076">controlling the conversation</a><span> </span>that takes place within their user bases. Trolling, conflicts and divisive comments are common in online communities and user comments spaces.</p> <p><strong>Lost community knowledge</strong></p> <p>But within online groups there often exists social and network capital, as well as the stock of valuable knowledge that such community features create.</p> <p>Often these communities are made of communities of practice (people with a shared passion or concern) on topics ranging from movie theories to parenting.</p> <p>They are go-to sources for users where meaningful interactions take place and bonds are created. User comments also allow people to engage with important events and debates, and can be cathartic.</p> <p>Closing these spaces risks not only a loss of user community bases, but also a loss of this valuable community knowledge on a range of issues.</p> <p><em>Written by Stan Karanasois. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/goodbye-google-but-what-happens-when-online-communities-close-down-114729">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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How to easily save videos on Facebook

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since Facebook wants to keep you on their app all the time, every second of the day, they make it difficult to save or “bookmark” things as they’d prefer it if you came back to watch it on the Facebook app.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, this doesn’t mean you can’t save or download videos to watch later, whether you’re on your computer, Android phone or iPhone.</span></p> <p><strong>Saving or “bookmarking” a video</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook offers a bookmarking section that you’re able to use within the platform. You’re able to save videos to watch them again later.</span></p> <p>The steps to do this are as follows:</p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Find the video you want to save</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tap or click on the three dots at the top right of the post</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on “Save video”</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You’ve saved your first video!</span></p> <p>Now, if you want to watch it again later, this is easy to find as well:</p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re on a computer, click on the Facebook icon at the top left of your window. Click on “Watch” and then “saved videos”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re on your phone, tap the three horizontal lines, then tap “saved”.</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you know any handy Facebook hacks? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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How to change your iPad password with ease

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whether you keep forgetting your code or found an old iPad that you want to start using again, changing the password is easier than you think.</span></p> <p><strong>If you know the password to your iPad but want to change it</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you already know your password but want to change it, that’s simple to do once you know the steps.</span></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Log into your iPad with the current password</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go to the “Settings” app which looks like grey gears</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll down until you find “Passcode”. This can be called “Touch ID &amp; Passcode” on newer devices</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Enter in your current passcode and scroll down to “Change Passcode”. You will enter in your current passcode again (they’re very secure).</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can now enter in your new code. Your code can be 6-digit numbers, a custom alphanumeric code, a custom numeric code or the standard 4-digit numeric code.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Enter in your new password twice and you have successfully changed your passcode.</span></li> </ol> <p><strong>If you don’t know the passcode and forgotten it</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The only way to fix this is to restore your iPad to factory settings. Make sure you’ve backed it up before you’ve done this, otherwise you will lose all of your data.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, if you’re definitely unable to remember the code, say goodbye to your data on the iPad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are two ways to reset your iPad. One is via iTunes and the other is via your iCloud account online.</span></p> <p><strong>Method one: via iTunes</strong></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plug in your iPad and load up iTunes.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Open the device in iTunes by clicking on the little icon underneath the sound bar.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once you have opened the device, click on “Restore iPad”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">iTunes will warn you that you will lose all of your data by doing this. Click on the “restore” button anyway.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your iPad will start up as a brand-new device, which you can access from iTunes</span></li> </ol> <p><strong>Method two: via iCloud account online</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You are able to remotely erase the data on your iPad thanks to iCloud.com. This method is usually used if the device has been stolen or is lost but can also be used to erase data off your iPad.</span></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go to iCloud.com and log into your iCloud account. This is the same as your Apple ID.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on “Find my iPhone”, which is located at the top of the screen. Click “All devices” and select your iPad’s name.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click on “Erase iPad”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">You will be warned that your data will be lost, and you will be unable to track your device anymore. Click on “erase”.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your device is now restored to factory settings.</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Did you know of the iCloud method for restoring your iPad? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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Why your Gmail account just got a whole lot better

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gmail, Google’s email service, has turned 15 and in order to celebrate, Google has added a new feature that’ll help out its users.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new feature allows users to schedule emails to send at a particular time within Gmail.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Google explained how to use the feature and why it’s been introduced in a </span><a href="https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/g-suite/15-years-and-counting-making-gmail-work-faster-and-smarter-for-businesses"><span style="font-weight: 400;">blog post</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">: </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We understand that work can often carry over to non-business hours, but it’s important to be considerate of everyone’s downtime.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We want to make it easier to respect everyone’s digital well-being, so we’re adding a new feature to Gmail that allows you to choose when an email should be sent.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Just write your email as you normally would, then schedule it to arrive in your recipient’s inbox at a later date and time.”</span><a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/original_images/SCHEDULE_SEND_DESKTOP.gif"><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The feature is easy to use and just one of many that were implemented on Gmail’s birthday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other features include:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Smart Compose” which is designed to help users on the go. The feature can adapt to the way you write, as the feature will stay true to your email voice.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dynamic emails, which allows users to respond to a comment thread in Google Docs or schedule a meeting within the email message itself.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What feature will you be using? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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Are you at risk? Data sharing amongst health apps is more common than you think

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the sensitive information you might share with a doctor, including your age, sex, medical conditions and current symptoms, are being shared with popular health apps.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although it’s easy to feel like these applications are helping you, a new study has found that the data that users input into these apps are being shared with third party entities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study, published in the </span><a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l920"><span style="font-weight: 400;">British Medical Journal</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, has found that user data from health-related mobile apps on the Android platform is routine and not transparent at all.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The information that is put into these health apps can be shared with app developers, their parent companies and potentially dozens of third-party entities. Therefore, the information that you think is private ends up being distributed on a wide scale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lead author of the report, Dr Quinn Grundy, said that health apps are a “booming market”, but is one with many privacy failings. She told </span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-03-21/health-apps-sharing-data-common-practice-study-finds/10923484"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ABC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I think many of us would expect that this kind of data should be treated differently," said Dr Grundy, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Unfortunately, our study shows that that's not the case. These apps behave in much the same way as your fitness app, weather app or music app."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Grundy and colleagues at the University of Sydney examined 24 medicine related Android applications that are popular in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom. Some of these apps included ones that might remind you when to take a prescription.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers found that 19 out of 24 apps shared data outside of the application to a total of 55 different entities, owned by 46 parent companies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The information that was shared included users emails and device ID to medical conditions and drug lists.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers discovered that Amazon and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, received the highest volume of user data. This was closely followed by Microsoft.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Grundy explained that whilst most apps have a privacy policy and said that the data was stripped of identifying information, they described what was collected and shared in very general terms.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"They wouldn't name specific third parties or why data was shared with them. But would say, 'we never sell your data, but we may shared anonymised, aggregated reports with third parties for legitimate business purposes'," she explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Peter Hannay, an adjunct lecturer and security researcher at Edith Cowan University has offered a solution.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It's not a matter of 'swap to a different app'," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It would be a matter of just not using those sorts of services at all."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, if you do want to use these services, he has some advice for that as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If the application is reminding you to take medication, I would try to find one that doesn't require permission to connect to the internet," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If it's able to work offline, that's something I would consider to be desirable."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you use any apps that require health data? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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"Hang up or delete the voicemail": ATO's warning over new phone scam

<p>Taxpayers have been warned to beware of scammers using ‘Robocall’ technology to make phone calls from what appears to be a real tax office phone number and demanding payments.</p> <p>The warning came after the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) received a “record” number of 40,225 reports of impersonation scams in 2019 so far, with just over $1 million in losses.</p> <p>“Scammers are sending pre-recorded messages … and are manipulating caller identification so that your phone displays a legitimate ATO phone number despite coming from an overseas scammer,” said ATO assistant commissioner Gavin Siebert.</p> <p>“We are now seeing thousands of Australians missing a call from a scammer, returning the call based on the number on caller ID and speaking to legitimate members of the ATO.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">🚨 PHONE SCAM ALERT! 🚨 Scammers are ‘spoofing’ our numbers in an attempt to legitimise their contact. Hang up on suspicious calls &amp; phone our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/scam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#scam</a> hotline on 1800008540 for support. Read more: <a href="https://t.co/gASgV3U5vh">https://t.co/gASgV3U5vh</a> <a href="https://t.co/Yf3L60cQHD">pic.twitter.com/Yf3L60cQHD</a></p> — ato.gov.au (@ato_gov_au) <a href="https://twitter.com/ato_gov_au/status/1113601418332528640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 4, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>In the voicemail, scammers often threaten the victim with an arrest warrant or a sentence if they do not call the scammer back on a provided phone number.</p> <p>Once scammers make contact, Siebert said they will generally request debt payment through unusual methods such as gift cards, vouchers and Bitcoin.</p> <p>“The scammers will threaten you with immediate arrest, attempt to keep you on the line until payment is made and may become rude or aggressive,” said Siebert.</p> <p>The Office said it will never:</p> <ul> <li>show caller ID or send pre-recorded messages</li> <li>threaten taxpayers with arrest, jail or deportation</li> <li>demand immediate payment, or</li> <li>refuse to allow taxpayers to speak with a trusted adviser or regular tax agent.</li> </ul> <p>“If you receive a pre-recorded message claiming to be from us, either hang up or simply delete the voicemail,” said Siebert.</p> <p>Taxpayers are reminded not to return any suspicious calls or voicemail messages, and to instead contact the ATO’s scam enquiry line on 1800 008 540 to check if the call was legitimate.</p> <p>Last month, the ATO also warned about an email scam where taxpayers are sent a fake tax refund notification with a malicious link that redirects them to a page designed to steal their personal information.</p> <p>The Office said all online tax services should be carried out through a genuine myGov account.</p> <p>Have you or anyone you know been a victim of this new ATO phone scam? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

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How artificial intelligence is scamming online daters

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Online dating is tricky for everyone. After all, anyone can be whoever they want to be on the internet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It doesn’t help that the majority of internet users think they can spot a dating scam from miles away and that it would never happen to them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, thanks to new technology, it’s harder than ever to know if someone is being genuine over the internet. Scammers are constantly figuring out new ways to be deceptive </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">and gain people’s trust.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a new artificial intelligence technology available called Deepfake. This technology is able to produce hyper realistic images and videos of people and situations that don’t exist and have never happened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The videos look so realistic that it is hard to prove they are fake. For example, Barack Obama never called Donald Trump a “dips**t”, but this video would have you believing otherwise.</span></p> <p><iframe width="653" height="380" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cQ54GDm1eL0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unless you look very closely, you would believe that Obama had said this. There are small tips to look out for, such as blurring or distortion on the video, but they’re only visible when you know what to look for.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phillip Wang, the man behind the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com told </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/how-disturbing-ai-technology-could-be-used-to-scam-online-daters/news-story/1be46dc7081613849d67b82566f8b421"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">that he created the site to prove a point to friends about AI technology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I then decided to share it on an AI Facebook group to raise awareness for the current state of the art for this technology. It went viral from there.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wang said he created the site to raise awareness about how easy it is to make a fake person. He also wants to raise awareness about the implications this technology could have in the future.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s getting more and more difficult to tell deepfakes from reality, and Wang has said that it’s “beyond something that simple photoshop forensics can help defeat.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have you dabbled at online dating? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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4 Facebook hacks that put you back in control

<p>It can be hard keeping up with the constant changes of Facebook. It seems like it’s harder to unfriend people and see the content you love. There are a few ways you can change that.</p> <p><strong>1. Unfriending isn’t your only option</strong></p> <p>Everyone has those few Facebook friends who posts are always annoying or argumentative or both. But if those friends are your real-life friends or relatives, unfriending them could cause some tumult in the real world.</p> <p>Here’s the solution: Click the “Following” button at the top of the page and select “Unfollow.”</p> <p>You’ll stop seeing their posts, you’ll still be “friends” with them, and their feelings don’t get hurt. Win-win!</p> <p><strong>2. </strong><strong>Erase your search history</strong></p> <p>Every Facebook user makes some searches they’re not proud of, whether it’s an ex’s profile or something not safe for work. But never fear: Facebook can erase all traces them.</p> <p>Click the downward-pointing arrow in the top right-hand corner of your screen and go to “Activity Log.” From there, click “More” under “Comments” and look for “Search history.”</p> <p>If there’s one particular search you’re less than proud of, search through the chronological entries and click the crossed circle next to one to delete it.</p> <p>Otherwise, you can wipe your slate clean by clicking “Clear searches” at the top of the page.</p> <p><strong>3. Turn off those endless birthday notifications</strong></p> <p>You love it when Facebook reminds you that your cousin’s birthday is today and you haven’t sent her a balloon emoji-filled text, but you hate when it do the same for the people you occasionally talked to in high school.</p> <p>While there’s no way to choose whose birthdays you can get notified for, you can turn off all birthday notifications by going into “Settings” (under the upper right-hand arrow), “Notifications,” and then “On Facebook.”</p> <p>That lists everything you get notified for, including groups you’re in, pages you run, and yes, birthdays.</p> <p><strong>4. </strong><strong>Prioritise the content you want to see</strong></p> <p>Facebook has recently introduced an algorithm that allows Facebook to prioritise posts from your friends and family.</p> <p>However, this means you miss out on posts from your favourite media outlets that you might want to see.</p> <p>To change that, go to the companies Facebook page, click on the “Following” button, and then click “See First”.</p> <p>Easily fixed.</p> <p>Do you have any more tips for Facebook? Let us know in the comments.</p> <p><em>Written by Claire Nowak. This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/15-facebook-hacks-put-you-back-control">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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The exciting new products coming soon from Apple

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple announced three subscription services as it searches for new areas of revenue growth. This is to compensate for stalling iPhone sales. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The three products that were announced are:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple TV / Apple TV+</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple News+</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">A titanium credit card</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple TV+ is Apple’s answer to Netflix, as it allows users to view original video content that has been produced by Apple. There are 34 different TV shows and movie productions in the works. No price point has been announced for the subscription service.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple News+ is a paid tier of the Apple News app that includes magazine content for $10 a month. Magazines that you know, and love are included in the service, including </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wired</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">National Geographic</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The titanium credit card is only available in the US, but people are intrigued. It’s called Apple Card.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the reason behind a credit card to </span><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/25/apple-spring-tv-and-news-event-live-coverage.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CNBC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We saw an opportunity to transform another fundamental form of payment, and that's the credit card."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, many are left wondering whether or not Apple have lost the creative edge that put them on top.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the products were announced, some were unimpressed. Swinburne University digital media expert Belinda Barnet explained that Apple should have set their sights a little higher instead of trying to take on Netflix.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“People were expecting flying cars and a new iPhone but [the online content-focused launch] could be very significant in that Apple may be intending to take on a company like Amazon,” Dr Barnet said to </span><a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/tech/2019/03/26/apple-online-streaming-launch/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Daily</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I don’t think Netflix is the end game here. Just look at the market cap of the companies to see who the real competitor is.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With another announcement from Apple announcing the Apple Arcade – which aims to curate many of the games available on the App Store into a subscription service – it’s clear that Apple aren’t messing around anymore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A company like Apple does know everything about you but has never shared it,” Dr Barnet explained. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So their tactic might be to leverage their dominance in terms of data – they certainly know more about you than Amazon does – with privacy absolutely central to their brand as opposed to all these other players.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What do you think about the Apple launch? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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6 ways your mobile phone affects your body and mind

<p>It can be hard to switch off your mobile phone, but there are benefits for your health if you decide to do so.</p> <p><strong>1. It can keep you safe</strong></p> <p>First, some good news. Your phone can keep you safer.</p> <p>A study in the<span> </span><em>Journal of Emergency Medicine</em><span> </span>that analysed emergency dispatches over an 11-year period revealed that 137 more lives were saved per 100,000 patients when people called emergency services from a mobile phone rather than from a landline.</p> <p>They can be pretty handy in a pinch. The mobile phone can also be a bane, both to yourself and others.</p> <p><strong>2. It keeps you from focusing</strong></p> <p>When you are awake, a single buzz signalling a new 
notification on your phone can weaken your ability to focus on a task, researchers at Florida State 
University have found.</p> <p>Switch your phone to “do not disturb” mode to remove the distraction.</p> <p><strong>3. It makes you achy</strong></p> <p>People now spend more than five hours a day swiping, typing and tapping – and feeling achy because of it all.</p> <p>“Selfie elbow” is a strain injury caused by holding your elbow at an extreme angle, and roughly 85,000 people a month search for “texting thumb” and similar terms on Google.</p> <p><strong>4. Risk of cancer is low</strong></p> <p>Radiation exposure, long thought to be a risk for heavy-duty phone users, is probably not a significant concern.</p> <p>Smartphones do emit radiation, but most scientific evidence has not linked the use of a mobile phone to cancer.</p> <p>One draft study found that exposing male lab rats to the highest levels allowed for mobile phones was linked to one type of rare tumor in the tissues surrounding nerves in the heart.</p> <p>If you’re worried, use earbuds or a headset when you talk on your phone.</p> <p><strong>5. It hinders your memory</strong></p> <p>Snapping a pic with your smartphone may also hinder your memory.</p> <p>On a test after a visit to an art museum, students were less likely to remember objects they had taken photos of.</p> <p>“As soon as you hit ‘click’ on that camera, it’s as if you’ve outsourced your memory,” says psychologist Linda Henkel.</p> <p><strong>6. It hurts your eyes</strong></p> <p>Your phone can do a number on your eyes.</p> <p>A study in the US found that about 60 percent of respondents experience digital 
eye strain symptoms such as dryness, irritation, blurred vision, eye fatigue and headaches.</p> <p>Try blinking often, increasing font size and 
taking a break from screens every 20 minutes.</p> <p><em>Written by Michelle Crouch. This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/13-ways-your-mobile-phone-affects-your-body-and-mind">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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How your grandkids can beat cybersecurity challenges head on

<p>How well are we preparing the typical primary school kid for life when they graduate in 2032?</p> <p>Current attitudes to education around cybersecurity and online safety skew towards caution at all costs. We often<span> </span><a href="https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/princyber.aspx">focus on schools’ duty of care</a><span> </span>rather than fostering skills and<span> </span><a href="https://doi.org/10.14264/uql.2018.865">frameworks of digital ethics</a><span> </span>which empower students.</p> <p>There is a danger we are letting kids down with a fear-driven mentality instead of engaging their challenges head on. Both parents and teachers can help kids in this capacity: let’s take a look at how (tips below).</p> <p><strong>Fear can be a barrier</strong></p> <p>We educational technologists often have cybersecurity discussions with students, parents and teachers with digital fluency levels ranging from expert to little-to-no knowledge.</p> <p>As parents and teachers we can understandably be fearful of the role of technology in kids’ lives, however this can sometimes be a barrier to student learning.</p> <p>Around six years ago, Wooranna Park Primary School in Victoria, Australia introduced new technologies that had an immediate positive influence on student outcomes. Yet some drew negative feedback from parents, due mainly to misconceptions and fear of the unknown.</p> <p><strong>Communication is vital</strong></p> <p>Sandbox video game Minecraft  is a powerful tool for collaborative learning. It provides an infinite 3D space where students collaboratively learn just about anything you can think of: from numeracy and literacy, to 3D printing, coding, science, financial literacy and art.</p> <p>Many schools use Minecraft now. Yet it was met with a lot of trepidation from parents when first introduced as a learning tool at the school. One parent had specific fears about Minecraft (“isn’t it about murdering babies or something?”), taking these directly to the principal, who took the time to share the benefits and provide detailed information. This particular parent now plays Minecraft with their children.</p> <p>Likewise when YouTube was first allowed within the school, some parents and even staff were worried about it. However as a video sharing service where people can watch, like, share, comment and upload videos, it is now a core technology supporting self-directed learning. Today the school would feel like it was coming to a standstill without it.</p> <p>The pedagogic context is the key here — and it wasn’t until learning engagement data was communicated to the school community that overall negative opinion changed to a positive one. Now students aren’t just consuming content from YouTube, they are uploading their own work and sharing it with their parents.</p> <p><strong>Personal responsibility, healthy conversations</strong></p> <p>Minecraft and YouTube are examples of Web 2.0 technologies. We are now transitioning into the age of<span> </span><a href="https://www.techopedia.com/definition/4923/web-30">Web 3.0 </a><span> </span>– the decentralised web, where personal responsibility is paramount.</p> <p>We’re at the cusp of the widespread adoption of a whole range of disruptive technologies that work less like curated gardens and more like ecosystems. These are based on new core technologies like blockchain and the distributed web (also known as Interplanetary File System, or<span> </span><a href="https://ipfs.io/">IPFS</a>).</p> <p>These approaches effectively eschew the “platform”, and allow users to connect directly with each other to communicate, create and transact. These will benefit students in the long term, but will inevitably draw alarm due to misunderstanding in the short term.</p> <p>The way we can get ahead of this as a community is by introducing a culture of having healthy conversations at home and in school much more often.</p> <p><strong>Start them young</strong></p> <p>It is almost never too early to start teaching kids about cybersecurity.</p> <p>Students at Wooranna Park Primary School as young as five and six are learning about cutting edge technologies such as IPFS, cryptography, blockchain, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).</p> <p>The kids learn these topics within the context of active inquiry, giving them choices about the software and devices they use in order to empower them as technology-enhanced learners.</p> <p>A<span> </span><a href="https://doi.org/10.14264/uql.2018.865">recent study</a><span> </span>of 1:1 classroom projects by researcher Theresa Ashford found a strongly regulatory culture in education focused on “filtering and monitoring”. This failed to instil a critically important framework of digital ethics, with students quickly finding ways to navigate around barriers.</p> <p>We can avoid this by not being fearful of technology use by children, but instead helping them navigate through the complexities.</p> <p><strong>Tips on how to talk to your children about cybersecurity</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>talk to them about what they are doing online, what websites they visit, and what apps and online services they are using</p> </li> <li> <p>sit with them while they use technology and observe, then discuss what they think about and how they feel</p> </li> <li> <p>ask whether they think what they see online is always true, and how they would know if something wasn’t real</p> </li> <li> <p>encourage critical thinking and credibility evaluation skills (what Howard Rheingold calls “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHVvGELuEqM&amp;feature=youtu.be">crap detection</a>”) as well as ethical engagement by talking through specific examples</p> </li> <li> <p>provide clear ways that kids can check primary sources, such as looking for credible primary sources (not just depending on the Wikipedia entries, but reading the primary sources linked by them)</p> </li> <li> <p>encourage kids to protect their personal data, and explain that when you put something online it will most likely be there forever</p> </li> <li> <p>brainstorm with them about possible online pitfalls, like bullying, scams, targeted advertising, child exploitation and identity theft</p> </li> <li> <p>commit to learning alongside your kids about the online worlds they inhabit.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Terms to search and explore with your child</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>password strength</strong><span> </span>– the measure of the effectiveness of a password against attackers</li> <li><strong>two-factor (or two-step) authentication (2FA)</strong><span> </span>is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by utilising something they know like a password, with a second verification like an SMS or verification app</li> <li><strong>encryption</strong><span> </span>– the translation of data into a secret code instead of “plain text”</li> <li><strong>blockchain</strong><span> </span>– a distributed ledger technology that records transactions using many computers</li> <li><strong>cyberbullying</strong><span> </span>– the use of services such as text messages or social media to bully a person</li> <li><strong>SSL</strong><span> </span>– the “s” at the end of https:// when you visit a website, which means you can generally trust the site to transport your personal information in an end-to-end encrypted format</li> <li><strong>virtual private network (VPN)</strong><span> </span>ensures a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network</li> <li><strong>virus and malware</strong><span> </span>– software written expressly to infect and harm computer networks and devices</li> <li><strong>IPFS</strong><span> </span>– interplanetary file system, the decentralised web</li> <li><strong>peepeth</strong><span> </span>– blockchain-powered, decentralised social network</li> <li><strong>hardware wallets</strong><span> </span>– a device that stores the public and private keys which can be used to secure cryptocurrencies, and can also act as a means of two factor authentication.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Security tools to explore with your child</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://haveibeenpwned.com/">haveibeenpwned.com</a><span> </span>– check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach</li> <li><a href="https://beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en_us/interland">interland</a><span> </span>– embark on a quest to become a confident explorer of the online world</li> <li><a href="https://myaccount.google.com/security-checkup">Google security check</a><span> </span>– evaluate your security within the Google ecosystem</li> <li><a href="https://authy.com/">authy.com</a><span> </span>– add two-factor authentication to common services</li> <li><a href="https://howsecureismypassword.net/">howsecureismypassword.net</a><span> </span>– work out how long it would take a computer to crack your password.</li> </ul> <div class="grid-ten large-grid-nine grid-last content-body content entry-content instapaper_body"> <p><em>This article was written with significant input from Kieran Nolan, a Melbourne-based educational technologist.</em></p> </div> <div class="grid-ten grid-prepend-two large-grid-nine grid-last content-topics topic-list"><em>Written by Matthew Riddle. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/skills-like-crap-detection-can-help-kids-meet-cybersecurity-challenges-head-on-113915">The Conversation.</a></em></div>

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Why dangerous asteroids heading to Earth are so hard to detect

<p>Earth is often in the firing line of fragments of asteroids and comets, most of which<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-why-meteors-light-up-the-night-sky-35754">burn up</a>tens of kilometres above our heads. But occasionally, something larger gets through.</p> <p>That’s what happened off Russia’s east coast on December 18 last year. A<span> </span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47607696">giant explosion occurred above the Bering Sea</a><span> </span>when an asteroid some ten metres across detonated with an explosive energy ten times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.</p> <p>So why didn’t we see this asteroid coming? And why are we only hearing about its explosive arrival now?</p> <p><strong>Nobody saw it</strong></p> <p>Had the December explosion occurred near a city – as<span> </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/15/hundreds-injured-meteorite-russian-city-chelyabinsk">happened at Chelyabinsk in February 2013</a><span> </span>– we would have heard all about it at the time.</p> <p>But because it happened in a remote part of the world, it went unremarked for more than three months, until details were unveiled at the<span> </span><a href="https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2019/">50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference</a><span> </span>this week, based on<span> </span><a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/fireballs/">NASA’s collection of fireball data</a>.</p> <p>So where did this asteroid come from?</p> <p><strong>At risk from space debris</strong></p> <p>The Solar system is littered with material left over from the formation of the planets. Most of it is locked up in stable reservoirs – the Asteroid belt, the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud – far from Earth.</p> <p>Those reservoirs continually leak objects into interplanetary space, injecting fresh debris into orbits that cross those of the planets. The inner Solar system is awash with debris, ranging from tiny flecks of dust to comets and asteroids many kilometres in diameter.</p> <p>The vast majority of the debris that collides with Earth is utterly harmless, but our planet still<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/target-earth-how-asteroids-made-an-impact-on-australia-92836">bears the scars of collisions</a><span> </span>with much larger bodies.</p> <p>The largest, most devastating impacts (like that which<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-dinosaurs-went-extinct-asteroid-collision-triggered-potentially-deadly-volcanic-eruptions-112134">helped to kill the dinosaurs</a><span> </span>65 million years ago) are the rarest. But smaller, more frequent collisions also pose a marked risk.</p> <p>In 1908, in Tunguska, Siberia, a<span> </span><a href="http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160706-in-siberia-in-1908-a-huge-explosion-came-out-of-nowhere">vast explosion</a><span> </span>levelled more than 2,000 square kilometres of forest. Due to the remote location, no deaths were recorded. Had the impact happened just two hours later, the city of St Petersburg could have been destroyed.</p> <p>In 2013, it was a 10,000-tonne asteroid that<span> </span><a href="https://earthsky.org/space/meteor-asteroid-chelyabinsk-russia-feb-15-2013">detonated above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk</a>. More than 1,500 people were injured and around 7,000 buildings were damaged, but amazingly nobody was killed.</p> <p>We’re still trying to work out how often events like this happen. Our information on the frequency of the larger impacts is pretty limited, so estimates can vary dramatically.</p> <p>Typically, people argue that Tunguska-sized impacts happen<span> </span><a href="https://academic.oup.com/astrogeo/article/50/1/1.18/201316">every few hundred years</a>, but that’s just based on a sample of one event. The truth is, we don’t really know.</p> <p><strong>What can we do about it?</strong></p> <p>Over the past couple of decades, a concerted effort has been made to search for potentially hazardous objects that pose a threat before they hit Earth. The result is the<span> </span><a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/stats/totals.html">identification of thousands of near-Earth asteroids</a><span> </span>upwards of a few metres across.</p> <p>Once found, the orbits of those objects can be determined, and their paths<span> </span><a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/">predicted into the future</a>, to see whether an impact is possible or even likely. The longer we can observe a given object, the better that prediction becomes.</p> <p>But as we saw with Chelyabinsk in 2013, and again in December, we’re not there yet. While the catalogue of potentially hazardous objects continues to grow, many still remain undetected, waiting to catch us by surprise.</p> <p>If we discover a collision is pending in the coming days, we can work out where and when the collision will happen. That happened for the first time in 2008 when astronomers discovered the tiny<span> </span><a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/news/2008tc3.html">asteroid 2008 TC3</a>, 19 hours before it hit Earth’s atmosphere over northern Sudan.</p> <p>For impacts predicted with a longer lead time, it will be possible to work out whether the object is truly dangerous, or would merely produce a spectacular but harmless fireball (like 2008 TC3).</p> <p>For any objects that truly pose a threat, the race will be on to deflect them – to turn a hit into a miss.</p> <p><strong>Searching the skies</strong></p> <p>Before we can quantify the threat an object poses, we first need to know that the object is there. But finding asteroids is hard.</p> <p>Surveys scour the skies,<span> </span><a href="https://spaceguardcentre.com/what-are-neos/finding-and-observing-asteroids/">looking for faint star-like points moving against the background stars</a>. A bigger asteroid will reflect more sunlight, and therefore appear brighter in the sky - at a given distance from Earth.</p> <p>As a result, the smaller the object, the closer it must be to Earth before we can spot it.</p> <p>Objects the size of the Chelyabinsk and Bering Sea events (about 20 and 10 metres diameter, respectively) are tiny. They can only be spotted when passing very close to our planet. The vast majority of the time they are simply undetectable.</p> <p>As a result, having impacts like these come out of the blue is really the norm, rather than the exception!</p> <p>The Chelyabinsk impact is a great example. Moving on its orbit around the Sun, it approached us in the daylight sky - totally hidden in the Sun’s glare.</p> <p>For larger objects, which impact much less frequently but would do far more damage, it is fair to expect we would receive some warning.</p> <p><strong>Why not move the asteroid?</strong></p> <p>While we need to keep searching for threatening objects, there is another way we could protect ourselves.</p> <p>Missions such as<span> </span><a href="https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/hayabusa/in-depth/">Hayabusa</a>,<span> </span><a href="http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/en/">Hayabusa 2</a><span> </span>and<span> </span><a href="https://www.asteroidmission.org/">OSIRIS-REx</a><span> </span>have demonstrated the ability to travel to near-Earth asteroids, land on their surfaces, and move things around.</p> <p>From there, it is just a short hop to being able to deflect them – to change a potential collision into a near-miss.</p> <p>Interestingly, ideas of asteroid deflection dovetail nicely with the<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/mining-asteroids-could-unlock-untold-wealth-heres-how-to-get-started-95675">possibility of asteroid mining</a>.</p> <p>The technology needed to extract material from an asteroid and send it back to Earth could equally be used to alter the orbit of that asteroid, moving it away from a potential collision with our planet.</p> <p>We’re not quite there yet, but for the first time in our history, we have the potential to truly control our own destiny.</p> <p><em>Written by Jonti Horner. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-dangerous-asteroids-heading-to-earth-are-so-hard-to-detect-113845">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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The internet is now an arena for conflict – and we're all caught up in it

<p>Most people think the internet operates as a kind of global public square. In reality, it’s become a divided arena where conflict between nation states plays out.</p> <p>Nation states run covert operations on the same platforms we use to post cat videos and exchange gossip. And if we’re not aware of it, we could be unwittingly used as pawns for the wrong side.</p> <p>How did we get here? It’s complicated, but let’s walk through some of the main elements.</p> <p><strong>The age of entanglement</strong></p> <p>On the one hand, we have an information landscape dominated by Western culture and huge multi-national internet platforms run by private companies, such as Google and Facebook. On the other, there are authoritarian regimes such as China, Iran, Turkey and Russia exercising tight control over the internet traffic flowing in and out of their countries.</p> <p>We are seeing more cyber intrusions into<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-state-actor-has-targeted-australian-political-parties-but-that-shouldnt-surprise-us-111997">nation state networks</a>, such as the recent hack of the Australian parliamentary network. At the same time,<span> </span><a href="https://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/news/lucas-kello-gives-evidence-to-house-of-lords-committee.html">information</a><span> </span>and influence operations conducted by countries such as Russia and China are flowing through social media into our increasingly shared digital societies.</p> <p>The result is a<span> </span><a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/stack">global</a><span> </span>ecosystem<span> </span><a href="https://nsc.crawford.anu.edu.au/news-events/podcasts/video/10698/towards-political-ecology-cyberspace-3-3">perpetually</a><span> </span>close to the threshold of war.</p> <p>Because nations use the internet both to assert power and to conduct trade, there are incentives for authoritarian powers to keep their internet traffic open. You can’t maintain rigid digital borders and assert cyberpower influence at the same time, so nations have to “<a href="https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/IS3903_pp007-047.pdf">cooperate to compete</a>”.</p> <p>This is becoming known as “entanglement” – and it affects us all.</p> <p><strong>Data flows in one direction</strong></p> <p>Authoritarian societies such as China, Russia and Iran aim to create their own separate digital ecosystems where the government can control internet traffic that flows in and out of the country.</p> <p>The Chinese Communist Party is well known for maintaining a supposedly secure Chinese internet via what is known in the West as the “<a href="https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/2010-11/FreedomOfInformationChina/the-great-firewall-of-china-background/index.html">Great Firewall</a>”. This is a system that can block international internet traffic from entering China according to the whim of the government.</p> <p>For the majority of the<span> </span><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/21/china-reaches-800-million-internet-users/">802 million people online</a><span> </span>in China, many of the apps we use to produce and share information are not accessible. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter are blocked. Instead, people in China use apps created by Chinese technology companies, such as Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu.</p> <p>Traffic within this ecosystem is monitored and censored in the most sophisticated and comprehensive surveillance state in the world. In 2018, for example, Peppa Pig was<span> </span><a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/how-peppa-pig-became-a-gangster-figure-in-china">banned</a> and the People’s Daily referred to her as a “<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20180502092019/http://media.people.com.cn/BIG5/n1/2018/0426/c40606-29950870.html">gangster</a>” after she became iconic of rebelliousness in Chinese youth culture.</p> <p><strong>Complete blocking of data is impossible</strong></p> <p>A key objective of this firewall is to to shield Chinese society and politics from external influence, while enabling internal surveillance of the Chinese population.</p> <p>But the firewall is not technologically independent of the West – its development has been reliant upon US corporations to supply the software, hardware innovation and training to ensure the system functions. And since the internet is an arena where nations compete for economic advantage, it’s not in the interest of either side to destroy cyberspace entirely.</p> <p>As cyber security expert Greg Austin<span> </span><a href="https://www.springer.com/la/book/9783319684352">has observed</a>, the foundations of China’s cyber defences remain weak. There are technical ways to<span> </span><a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F11957454_2">get around the firewall</a>, and Chinese internet users exploit<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/from-metoo-to-ricebunny-how-social-media-users-are-campaigning-in-china-90860">Mandarin homophones and emoji</a><span> </span>to evade internal censors.</p> <p>Chinese economic and financial entanglement with the West means complete blocking of data is impossible. Consistent incentives to openness remain. China and the United States are therefore engaged in what Canadian scholar of digital media and global affairs Jon R Lindsay<span> </span><a href="https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/IS3903_pp007-047.pdf">describes</a><span> </span>as:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>chronic and ambiguous intelligence-counter intelligence contests across their networks, even as the internet facilitates productive exchange between them.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>That is, a tension exists because they are covertly working against each other on exactly the same digital platforms necessary to promote their individual and mutual interests in areas such as trade, manufacturing, communications and regulation.</p> <p>Since Russia is less dependent upon the information technology services of the United States and is therefore less entangled than China, it is<span> </span><a href="https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/unsw-canberra-cyber/news/australian-cyber-ideas-moscow">more able</a><span> </span>to engage in bilateral negotiation and aggression.</p> <p><strong>Different styles of influence</strong></p> <p>If the internet has become a contest between nation states, one way of winning is to appear to comply with the letter of the law, while abusing its spirit.</p> <p>In the West, a network of private corporations, including Twitter, Google and Facebook, facilitate an internet system where information and commerce flow freely. Since the West remains open, while powers such as Russia and China exercise control over internet traffic, this creates an imbalance that can be exploited.</p> <p>Influence operations conducted by China and Russia in countries such as Australia exist within this larger context. And they are being carried out in the digital arena on a<span> </span><a href="https://blog.google/technology/safety-security/update-state-sponsored-activity/">scale</a>never before experienced. In the words of the latest<span> </span><a href="https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/2019-ATA-SFR---SSCI.pdf">US Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>Our adversaries and strategic competitors […] are now becoming more adept at using social media to alter how we think, behave and decide.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The internet is a vast infrastructure of tools that can be used to strategically manipulate behaviour for specific tactical gain, and each nation has its own style of influence.</p> <p>I have previously written about attempts by<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-digital-media-blur-the-border-between-australia-and-china-101735">China</a><span> </span>and<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/russian-trolls-targeted-australian-voters-on-twitter-via-auspol-and-mh17-101386">Russia</a><span> </span>to influence Australian politics via social media, showing how each nation state utilises different tactics.</p> <p>China takes a subtle approach, reflecting a long term strategy. It seeks to connect with the Chinese diaspora in a<span> </span><a href="https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/57781/apt/operation-cloud-hopper-apt10.html">target country</a>, and shape opinion in a manner favourable to the Chinese Communist Party. This is often as much as about<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-china-will-be-watching-how-we-commemorate-anzac-day-75856">ensuring some things aren’t said</a>as it is about shaping what is.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/russian-trolls-targeted-australian-voters-on-twitter-via-auspol-and-mh17-101386">Russia</a>, on the other hand, has used more obvious tactics to infiltrate and disrupt Australian political discourse on social media,<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/weve-been-hacked-so-will-the-data-be-weaponised-to-influence-election-2019-heres-what-to-look-for-112130">exploiting</a><span> </span>Islamophobia – and the divide between left and right – to undermine social cohesion. This reflects Russia’s primary aim to destabilise the civic culture of the target population.</p> <p>But there are some similarities between the two approaches, reflecting a growing cooperation between them. As the<span> </span><a href="https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/2019-ATA-SFR---SSCI.pdf">US Intelligence Community</a><span> </span>points out:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>A strategic alliance between Russia and China</strong></p> <p>The strategic<span> </span><a href="https://toinformistoinfluence.com/2017/07/24/forget-sun-tzu-the-art-of-modern-war-can-be-found-in-a-chinese-strategy-book-from-1999/">origins of these shared approaches</a><span> </span>go back to the early internet itself. The Russian idea of<span> </span><a href="https://www.nato.int/DOCU/review/2015/Also-in-2015/hybrid-modern-future-warfare-russia-ukraine/EN/index.htm">hybrid warfare</a><span> </span>– also known as the<span> </span><a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/05/im-sorry-for-creating-the-gerasimov-doctrine/">Gerasimov Doctrine</a><span> </span>– uses information campaigns to undermine a society as part of a wider strategy.</p> <p>But this concept first originated in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In 1999, Chinese PLA colonels penned a strategy titled<span> </span><a href="https://www.oodaloop.com/documents/unrestricted.pdf">Unrestricted Warfare</a>, which outlined how to use media, government, pretty much everything, in the target country not as a tool, but as a weapon.</p> <p>It recommended not just cyber attacks, but also fake news campaigns – and was the basis for information campaigns that became famous during the 2016 US presidential election.</p> <p>In June 2016, Russia and China<span> </span><a href="http://www.russia.org.cn/en/russia_china/president-vladimir-putin-and-chairman-of-the-people-s-republic-of-china-xi-jinping-held-talks-in-beijing-june-25-2016/">signed</a><span> </span>a joint declaration on the internet, affirming their shared objectives. In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new<span> </span><a href="http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/official_documents/-/asset_publisher/CptICkB6BZ29/content/id/2563163">Doctrine of Information Security</a>, which establishes how Russia will<span> </span><a href="https://www.cyberdb.co/russia-and-china-are-making-their-information-security-case/">defend</a><span> </span>its own population against influence operations.</p> <p><a href="https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=d23109be-661d-4e90-a92c-32b7330e3a49">Observers</a><span> </span>noted the striking similarity between the Russian document and Chinese internet<span> </span><a href="https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/cybersecuritylaw/?lang=en">law</a>.</p> <p>Russia and China also<span> </span><a href="https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/cyberattack-revelations-appear-undercut-russia-un">share a view</a><span> </span>of the global management of the internet, pursued via the United Nations:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>[…] more regulations to clarify how international law applies to cyberspace, with the aim of exercising more sovereignty – and state control – over the internet.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The recent “sovereign internet”<span> </span><a href="http://sozd.duma.gov.ru/bill/608767-7">bill</a><span> </span>introduced to the Russian Parliament<span> </span><a href="https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-bill-on-autonomous-operation-of-internet-advances-in-duma/29765882.html">proposes</a><span> </span>a Domain Name System (DNS) independent of the wider internet infrastructure.</p> <p>If the internet is now a site of proxy war, such<span> </span><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2466222">so-called</a><span> </span>“<a href="https://www.rferl.org/a/q-a-hurdles-ahead-as-russia-surges-on-with-sovereign-internet-plan/29766229.html">balkanization</a>” challenges the dominance of the United States.</p> <p>Nations are competing for<span> </span><a href="https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/harnessing-david-and-goliath-orthodoxy-asymmetry-and-competition">influence, leverage and advantage</a><span> </span>to secure their own interests. Russia and China don’t want to risk an all out war, and so competition is pursued at a level just below armed conflict.</p> <p>Technology, especially the internet, has brought this competition to us all.</p> <p><strong>We're entering turbulent waters</strong></p> <p>Despite its best efforts, China’s leaders remain concerned that the digital border between it and the rest of the world is too porous.</p> <p>In June 2009, Google was blocked in China. In 2011, Fang Binxing, one of the main designers of the<span> </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/great-firewall-of-china">Great Firewall</a><span> </span>expressed concern Google<span> </span><a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=dEGdCwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA113&amp;lpg=PA113&amp;dq=Fang+Binxing+2011+riverbed+benjamin+bratton&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=61Gnc-6vW-&amp;sig=ITVdygMm5ZmxuelLYB6w9oa6Cos&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwib66X9mPvcAhXHU7wKHRHrDiUQ6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=Fang%20Binxing%202011%20riverbed%20benjamin%20bratton&amp;f=false">was still potentially accessible in China</a>, saying:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>It’s like the relationship between riverbed and water. Water has no nationality, but riverbeds are sovereign territories, we cannot allow polluted water from other nation states to enter our country.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The water metaphor was deliberate. Water flows and maritime domains define sovereign borders. And water flows are a good analogy for data flows. The internet has pitched democratic politics into the fluid dynamics of<span> </span><a href="http://politicalturbulence.org/">turbulence</a>, where algorithms shape<span> </span><a href="https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xwjden/targeted-advertising-is-ruining-the-internet-and-breaking-the-world">attention</a>, tiny clicks<span> </span><a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods/article/quota-sampling-using-facebook-advertisements/0E120F161C9E114C6044EBB7792B5E70">measure participation</a>, and personal data is<span> </span><a href="https://www.chinoiresie.info/the-global-age-of-algorithm-social-credit-and-the-financialisation-of-governance-in-china/">valuable</a><span> </span>and apt to be<span> </span><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3224952">manipulated</a>.</p> <p>While other nations grapple with the best mix of containment, control and openness, ensuring Australia’s<span> </span><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/china-in-focus/10181900">democracy remains robust</a><span> </span>is the best defence. We need to keep an eye on the nature of the political discussion online, which requires a coordinated approach between the government and private sector, defence and security agencies, and an educated public.</p> <p>The strategies of information warfare we hear so much about these days were conceived in the 1990s – an era when “surfing the web” seemed as refreshing as a dip at your favourite beach. Our immersion in the subsequent waves of the web seem more threatening, but perhaps we can draw upon our cultural traditions to influence Australian security.</p> <p>As the rip currents of global internet influence operations grow more prevalent, making web surfing more dangerous, Australia would be wise to mark out a safe place to swim between the flags. Successful protection from influence will need many eyes watching from the beach.</p> <p class="p1"><em><span class="s1">Written by Tom Sear. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-internet-is-now-an-arena-for-conflict-and-were-all-caught-up-in-it-101736"><span class="s1">The Conversation.</span></a></em></p>

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Fitness trackers overestimate the number of calories burned

<p>Researchers in Aberystwyth University have found that popular brands of fitness trackers can overestimate the number of calories burned while walking by more than 50 per cent.</p> <p>Dr Rhys Thatcher has said that devices had an “inherent tendency” to overmeasure.</p> <p>The tests, which were carried out for the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006sggm">BBC X-Ray programme</a>, measured the amount of oxygen a volunteer used during ten minutes of walking and running sessions on a treadmill before comparing it to a range of various fitness trackers.</p> <p>The fitness trackers on offer were varied in price, ranging from £20 ($AUD 36) to £80 ($AUD 147).</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BrYGUEsBryN/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading&amp;utm_campaign=embed_locale_test" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BrYGUEsBryN/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading&amp;utm_campaign=embed_locale_test" target="_blank">A post shared by fitbit (@fitbit)</a> on Dec 14, 2018 at 9:43am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The Fitbit Charge 2 was very accurate in testing calories while the volunteer was running, underestimating by 4 per cent. However, when the volunteer was walking, the tracker overestimated by 50 per cent.</p> <p>Dr Thatcher explained:</p> <p>"If you want to know the exact number of calories that you are burning during an exercise session then it doesn't matter which device you use, you have to interpret the data with some caution”</p> <p>Fitbit have said that they’re confident about the performance of their product.</p> <p>Have you noticed that your fitness tracker over estimates the number of calories burned? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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