Brain-Breaking News

For the last several months, I’ve been on a news diet. Instead of constantly being bombarded with news on reddit, YouTube, and the Twitter Explore page, I’ve limited my consumption to checking Wikipedia's Current Events page and a few specific newsletters. While not always the most reliable source of information, I use Wikipedia for news because it’s an encyclopedia, it’s not sensationalized. Plus once you’re done reading the news of the day, there’s no infinite scroll. Newsletters are great because you can get information on very niche topics. This change has improved my mental health significantly, and I don’t feel any less informed.

Digital Health

A survey by the American Psychological Association found that more than half of Americans say the news stresses them out. Many reported anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss resulting from daily news consumption. Still, 1 in 10 adults check the news every hour, and 20% report “constantly” monitoring social media feeds, which expose them to news headlines if they seek them out or not. In David Perrell's new article, he argues that daily news is like sugary cereal. It has been normalized as a healthy thing to consume by the people who profit from it, but it’s not actually good for you.

Connected Culture

W.H.O. Fights a Pandemic Besides Coronavirus: an ‘Infodemic’

With the amount of false claims circulating, the World Health Organization has declared the current coronavirus situation as an “infodemic.” Numerous rumors have been circulating, including that the illness is actually biological warfare created by Bill Gates to sell vaccines. I wish I was making that up. The W.H.O has partnered with Facebook, Google and Pinterest to promote educational content that debunks various viral rumors. 

An Algorithm That Grants Freedom, or Takes It Away

An increasing number of police departments are employing algorithms to set police patrols, prison sentences and probation rules. These risk identification systems are keeping people on parole without any transparency in how these decisions are made. But is the human touch of a judge better than the unfeeling decision of an algorithm? “I can’t explain my situation to a computer,” a parolee said. “But I can sit here and interact with you, and you can see my expressions and what I am going through.”

A new implant for blind people jacks directly into the brain

When the cochlear implant was invented in 1957, it was the first time humans had created a device that could directly tap into a person’s sensory processing system, bypassing the disabled ear and creating hearing. Now, researchers are fabricating a similar system for vision. With this new 100 electrode device, a totally blind person can see in a 10x10 pixel resolution.