The Newest Face of Diet Culture is the Instagram Butt

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Like the rest of diet culture, the Instagram Butt is a moralized attribute, gained only though, according to its purveyors, “hard work,” regimented diet (there’s a lot of overlap between #bootygails and the #IIFYM world), and “dedication,” whatever that means.

But that “hard work” isn’t just 20 minutes on a StairMaster. Flipping through the associated hashtags, there are also miracle cures and wondrous technology to get you there. There are #influencers with tips and tricks and appetite-suppressing candies. There are massive genetic barriers that may keep a person from achieving The Look — and there are cosmetic surgeries to help overcome them.

These are the trappings of the diet industry, a self-perpetuating mechanism that generates billions of dollars by perpetually over-promising and under-delivering. When the diet industry hits a bump in the road — like when people stopped being duped by Snackwells and started looking for “healthy” foods — the manufacturers of supplements, snacks, and sugary drinks pivot to meet consumer demand.

This new emphasis on building muscle and strength may appear, in many ways, to be a positive trend — and indeed, weight lifting is revolutionary for many people! — but the laser focus on a thick tush is not about health or wellness. It’s about buying stuff.

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The Men Who Wear Fitbits to Track Their Coke Benders

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…some drug users find wearable devices like the Apple Watch and the Fitbit helpful in managing their intake of stimulants, which tend to get your heart rate up. They reason that by keeping their heart below a certain threshold of beats per minute (bpm) while high, they can lessen the always-present risk of an acute cardiac event. And so, ever since the consumer technology to keep tabs on your pulse 24/7 first became available, they’ve been sharing health data from their binges in online drug forums like the r/cocaine subreddit…

Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll

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It seems like a common convenience in a digital age: a car that can be powered on and off with the push of a button, rather than the mechanical turning of a key. But it is a convenience that can have a deadly effect.

On a summer morning last year, Fred Schaub drove his Toyota RAV4 into the garage attached to his Florida home and went into the house with the wireless key fob, evidently believing the car was shut off. Twenty-nine hours later, he was found dead, overcome with carbon monoxide that flooded his home while he slept.

Contraceptive app hit with complaints after being blamed for 37 unwanted pregnancies

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Natural Cycles, a contraceptive app that became certified in the EU as a form of birth control, has been hit with a complaint after being blamed for causing 37 unwanted pregnancies, reports Swedish agency SVT. Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm reported the app to Swedish regulator MPA (the Medical Product Agency), after 37 women visited the hospital for an abortion after becoming pregnant while using Natural Cycles.

The app uses an algorithm and measures factors like temperature to determine the period when a woman may be fertile.

Cyber-flaw affects 745,000 pacemakers

Pacemaker

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A total of 745,000 pacemakers have been confirmed as having cyber-security issues that could let them be hacked.

The Food and Drug Administration revealed that 465,000 pacemakers in the US were affected, in an advisory note about a fix to the problem.

The pacemaker’s manufacturer, Abbott, told the BBC there were a further 280,000 devices elsewhere.

The flaws could theoretically be used to cause the devices to pace too quickly or run down their batteries.

However, Abbott said it was not aware of any cases of this happening, adding that it would require a “highly complex set of circumstances”.

Can an App Make You a Better Runner?

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Running is simple. But I, with the help of some demanding technology, have managed to complicate it. The last three months have been fueled by a small arsenal of apps, equipment, and playlists that have turned me into a pavement beater with a desperate compulsion to best myself. Their promise was that I would become a better, more efficient runner; I would have hard data that went far beyond the capabilities of a lowly stopwatch and a gut feeling of improvement. But somewhere along the line, technology went from complementary to supplementary in my training. The apps turned a solo leisure activity into an obsessive, not-always-healthy pursuit. Throughout my training, I couldn’t tell if I enjoyed the intensity or whether I’d allowed another set of technology tools to take over my life. But I do know it worked.

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

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New research demonstrates that it’s possible. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that, simply by analyzing the emotions behind tweets, they can predict outbreaks of flu about 14% to 35% of the time. Add in the actual content of those tweets (like “I just can’t get out of bed today!”), and researchers say that figure skyrockets to 95%.

This phenomenon has been described as a “digital heartbeat” by many researchers