Playing the Online Hero, Offline - February 18, 2014 by zeldalegacy

An interesting study was issued recently by psychologists at the University of Illinois, suggesting that the profile pictures or “avatars” that people choose to use in online gaming may subconsciously influence how they see themselves, and how they treat other people.  Researchers found that when subjects thought of themselves as Superman, they were less likely to harm someone else when given an opportunity to do so (in a minor way) in real life.  Conversely, when the subjects identified with the evil Lord Voldemort from “Harry Potter”, they were far more likely to take advantage of a real-life opportunity to harm someone else – again, even if only in a minor way.

Obviously there are potential implications from this study with respect to violent video games, and these results will be poured over by experts in developmental psychology. However rather than focusing on the negative conclusions one might reasonably draw from such findings, it might be more useful to look at them as another example of science proving a human trait which, instinctively, we all share.  Humans want to know about other humans to look up to, and to model themselves after, even if realistically they only are able to achieve that mirroring in the smallest of ways.

We should first clarify what this study is NOT. These findings are not some sort of justification to go out on a make-believe crusade and behave like an idiot, thereby running the risk of injuring oneself or others.  Sadly, in this day and age, such a caveat is in fact necessary.  Yet putting aside those with some sort of street vigilante death wish, there is something anciently, fundamentally human about the practice of talking about heroes, real or imagined, and then looking to those heroes as examples.

In ancient cultures, stories were of course told about the exploits of the gods, but legends were also told about humans who did extraordinary things.  The touchstones of Western literature, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are accounts of the deeds and exploits of such men and women, designed to make those who heard them appreciate the differences between good and evil, right and wrong.  In the process, authors such as Homer hoped that the audience would be inspired by the pursuit of good, and shun the embrace of evil.  Perhaps the average Greek would never get to slay ferocious beasts like Hercules in these kinds of stories or in the art they inspired, but they could discern the better aspects of his character and behaviour, and try to imitate his example in their own lives, while simultaneously avoiding the excesses of his personal pitfalls.

Fast-forward to Ancient Rome, and we have the real-life cult of the gladiators.  In ancient graffiti in the Coliseum and throughout the Roman Empire, we see evidence of people arguing heatedly over which of the arena performers was the greatest.  Although they were not gods or demi-gods themselves, these men who fought one another in public garnered huge followings as people projected themselves onto both their actual exploits on the sands, as well as the legends being told about them, which circulated like court gossip.  It allowed the average Roman citizen to imagine that he could fight a wild beast or a savage enemy himself, if put to the test, even if he led a reasonably uninteresting life in some provincial capital.

Today, to those who think they are too sophisticated to fall into such practices, one would suggest they look about the next time they go out in public – or for that matter, cast an accusing eye into the mirror.  See that fellow wearing the jersey with Alexander Ovechkin or Peyton Manning’s name and number emblazoned on it?  Is he really any different from that ancestor inspired by tales of adventure and heroism to go out and try to do more than he thought himself capable of?

Even those staying up late to watch this year’s Winter Olympics from Russia on television are, at least sociologically, the descendants of those who engaged in such celebrations of other people’s achievements at the original games back in Ancient Greece.  Most of those watching the Olympics have absolutely no hope whatsoever of competing at an elite level in any of the sports on screen.  Yet as human beings they still feel inspired, at least on a subconscious level, by these athletes.  They continue watching and cheering, whether for reasons of health, patriotism, or in admiration of human ability and determination.  And perhaps for some of them, the positive examples of these men and women take hold, even if only in a small way.

The conclusions to be drawn from this research study are too many to treat in a single blog post, and I am certainly not qualified to even attempt to make them all.  Yet these results clearly do speak to a fundamental human need for heroism.  We want – need – to feel that we can achieve much more than others or perhaps we ourselves think we are capable of.  The Greeks learned this about themselves from Odysseus’ experiences, as that character came to understand himself, just as we also can do from Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, and Harry Potter, lo these thousands of years later.

heroes


Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks

Online job scammer convicted - July 7, 2013 by zeldalegacy

An Alberta man who operated an online oil and gas job opportunities scam was found guilty by a jury of two offences under the Competition Act: making misleading representations contrary to section 52, and breaching a consent agreement contrary to section 66, the Competition Bureau announced recently. Matthew Hovila’s website, www.oilcareer.com, promised job seekers employment [...]
The Litigator – Affleck Greene McMurtry, LLP

How To Make Money Online: A Beginners Guide - February 16, 2012 by zeldalegacy

So you had the great idea of Making Money Online, and now you just need to know how. There are thousands of people on a weekly basis who make this decision and yet only a handful of them who actually succeed in making any money online. This is largely due to the fact that they [...]
Money Market

Best New Way to Make Money Online at Home by WarpSpeedWealthVideos.com - January 29, 2012 by zeldalegacy

(PRWEB) June 30, 2011 WarpSpeedWealthVideos.com presents the formula to success that allows anyone to “automate your income” by putting a system in place to work hard for them so they don’t have to. This automated system allows them to make money anytime of day or night. This system is structured so that the generation of [...]
Money Market

Back Online - July 7, 2011 by zeldalegacy

After chasing nonexistent internet access for rural America for a week and then two failed attempts to purchase a used modem through Ebay, I bit the bullet and bought a brand new modem through my satellite internet provider and am officially back online. I plan to begin posting again by the end of the week after I get caught up on my emails. Thank you for your support.

Repeal the 17th Amendment

Online FOREX Trading ? To Be A Success Don’t Pay Attention To The News! - September 1, 2010 by zeldalegacy

Can studying the news help you make profits in online FOREX trading? The answer for most traders is a no.In fact, paying attention to the news in online FOREX Trading will lose money. Why? Read on and let?s find out.How and why prices moveIn online FOREX trading (and any financial market for that matter) prices move based upon the following equationSupply & demand fundamentals + Trader psychology = Market priceWhich is most important? In today?s markets definitely the latter ? Why?Quite simply, markets discount fundamentals quickly and with the internet its done in seconds.In all corners of the globe the internet delivers information quickly and it?s immediately discounted in the market price.This means traders make opinions on what will happen in the FUTURE and it is their psychology that is the key to future price direction.Sure, the papers and news wires are great at telling you why things DID happened and their normally wrong about WHAT will happen.Traders get deluded by the experts in online FOREX trading and fail to see their wrong most of the time.Will Rogers once said:?I only believe what I read in the papers?Now, he was joking, but most traders take news services as gospel.Reuters and Bloomberg stories agree with them, so they must be right, is the view of most online FOREX traders. Don?t think so, in fact we know so, based upon the facts and the so called experts past performance.It?s easy to be wise in hindsight, but looking into the future is much more difficult!They write stories for a living they DONT trade, traders that are interested in making profits should not be following news stories or media hype.It?s a fact: Most important market tops and bottoms and formed when the news is most bullish or bearish. When the trends change of course, news wires have an explanation but that does not help you trade!In the 1987 crash they were bullish in the tech stock boom they were bullish and these are just tow examples of media experts being wrong and there are many others.Understand the past and look to the futureThis is the key to successful online FOREX trading. Quite simply the fundamentals are digested in seconds and reflected in the price.Its trader psychology that?s important as they look at the future and how they determine the supply and demand situation is reflected in price changes.Human psychology has remained constant over time and thats why many price patterns are so reliable and point to important market tops and bottoms when the market is either very bullish or bearish.Of course, prices then go the other way! confounding the so called media experts.Technical analysis of marketsThe only way you can win in online FOREX Trading is to use a technical analysis system that focuses on price.Why use a technical system in online FOREX trading?There are two main reasons1. You will not be distracted by media stories and news hype and will keep your emotions in check.2. If you are involved in online FOREX trading you can look at charts and see long term trends that last for months or years and many of them (in fact most of them!) run against what the papers and the so called experts say!To be a success in online FOREX trading all you need to do is focus on these trends and forget the news and media, media experts don?t get paid to trade, they get paid to write stories.Focus on the reality of the price, not the media hype and you can make big profits in online Forex trading.More FREE infoIncluding tips and strategies on onliNE forex Trading includinga 100 page FREE Trader CD full of tips and strategies to make money visit our website http://www.wellingtoncr.com

Writen By : Sacha Tarkovsky

Best Financial Articles

Why the Online Identity & Data Ownership Debate Matters - May 13, 2010 by zeldalegacy
There has been quite a bit of media attention the past week around the news that iPhones and iPads are recording and storing location data in an unencrypted manner. Apple repliedthat it’s not tracking iPhone location, it’s maintaining a database of surrounding Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers so the iPhone can calculate its location when requested.Anyway, the little window of raised awareness and interest in data mining and privacy compelled me to want to write a bit about it.

I’ve been exploring many angles over the past few years of how humanity and our technologies are co-evolving, – how social media tools are offering us new ways to collaborate, to see ourselves through different lenses, to intentionally evolve our consciousness, and to explore new forms of value exchange.

I was invited to participate in the Internet Identity Workshop in Silicon Valley next week, and the Privacy Identity Innovation conference later in May, so my new learning objective has been to get a grasp on online identity and personal data ownership.  It’s really quite fascinating, and there is a real sense of urgency for awareness to be raised around what’s happening and what it means.

The Big Picture

We’re aware that the data we generate is “owned” (or at least maintained) by someone else – the government issues us our identification, the doctor’s office has our health records, the credit agencies know our financial history. We assume our information is private and secure.

But now with so much activity happening online and increasingly on mobile devices, we’re generating a digital representation of ourselves that not only expresses our interests, desires, needs, purchasing behaviors, and the range of social connections and relationships, but also the contextual information of our location in physical space and time.

This is important because we’re generating a detailed profile of ourselves that reveals much more about us that we may realize.

What is Revealed: Macro Level

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, The Really Smart Phone, discusses research conducted by scientists, and the interesting patterns of human behavior they were able to abstract from data collected from smartphones. For example, by analyzing people’s movement records, they were able to predict someone’s future whereabouts with 93.6% accuracy. They’re able to notice symptoms of mental illness, predict stock market fluctuations, and even chart the spread of ideas throughout society, revealing a “god’s-eye view of human behavior.” With billions of people on the planet now carrying a mobile device, we’re able to access data about human complexity that was simply not possible before.

What is Revealed: Micro Level

In a New York Times piece from the other day, Show Us the Data. (It’s Ours, After All.), professor of economics and behavioral science Richard Thaler writes about the vast amount of personal data that is being aggregated about us and sold to third parties.

In terms of consumption, this data is useful for companies in order to target you with highly personalized recommendations, advertising and offers. On a personally empowering level, it could potentially offer us a wealth of information about ourselves to assist us with intelligent decision-making. For example, by looking at medical records and family history, we might receive tailored recommendations for exercise plans or food choices. The problem is – we often don’t have access to this data.

What’s at Stake

There’s a lot of talk about “privacy” on the web right now, and I’m still not completely sure I understand the extent of the argument. If by privacy we mean security, and wanting protection of sensitive data like financial records or social security numbers, I completely agree. But if privacy concerns are around the fear of someone finding out about that bizarre fetish we have or the flavor of porn we prefer, I wonder how much that matters. While that information may be taboo in some circles, it’s actually infinitely less interesting than the data we reveal about ourselves publicly that’s being mined and sold online every day.

(check out this tongue in cheek video by The Onion – “CIA’s Facebook Program Dramatically Cut Agency’s Costs)

Most of the activity done online, from browsing websites to chatting with friends, is being recorded by someone. Your “private” conversations in Facebook are mined, as are your shopping habits on Amazon, or your preferences or personal connections on any number of services.

The issue with these things, moreso than that they are happening, is that we don’t have access to that data that we generate. Challenging this unfortunate reality was the big thrust that led to the formation of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, a coalition of individuals and organizations who realize what’s at stake if we don’t reclaim the data that is ours.

Essentially, by third parties locking in our “digital self” into each of their services, we are losing massive collective intelligence opportunites for innovation, value creation, knowledge building, and citizen engagement as a global society.

We have multiple accounts and multiple levels of relationships within and across those social networks. When we click around on sites we are leaving a trail of ‘digital exhaust’, defining our habits, preferences, curiosities, and explorations. We don’t have control/access/ownership of this data, but 3rd parties do. Each of these pieces, and all the contextual information around it, is INCREDIBLY VALUABLE, but currently fragmented, fractured, and scattered. Shouldn’t we have access to it ALL, so we can connect the dots and make effecitve and meaningful choices?

Why can’t I just export my data, activity, and relationships from each service, and be in control of who gets to see it, which parts they get to access, and how they use it once I give them permission?

Why isn’t there an easy way for me to have an overview of everything about me, and be able to selectively share information about myself, my interests, my capacities, my needs, or my resources?

The Future We Deserve

At the moment, commercial entities know more about our preferences and behaviors online than we do. With all the services out there that facilitate social interaction, there is still no easy way to connect with people with whom we share affinities, and then to effectively exchange information with them or collaborate in a meaningful way.

Our online identity and data *should* be our right to control, so that we are empowered to make better decisions about our lives and well-being, find potential collaborators or kindred spirits, or generally create more meaningful and valuable relationships. It’s worth asking:

What would a people-centric web look like?

What if it felt more like walking through a town commons and less like walking through a shopping mall?

How could identity and trust be built into the architecture of the internet?

To contain the length here, I’ll flesh out some ideas about all this in an upcoming post -

“A Framework for Building Online Intelligence”

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts about identity and personal data ownership.

see also:

Personal leverage for personal data - doc searls
Databuse: Digital Privacy and the Mosaic


FreshlyPressed