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”.

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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

Why ‘Radical Body Love’ Is Thriving on Instagram

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Ms. Holliday is not only unapologetic about her size-22 body, she is proud of it, with a confidence  has catapulted her to mainstream fame. In 2015, she landed a modeling contract with Milk Management and a People magazine cover, and has become a leader in an online movement called BoPo, short for “body positive.”

The movement has become a growing force on Instagram in particular, acting as a counterweight to the millions of posts of tiny tummies and thigh gaps propagated by the thousands of traditional models who dominate social media.

Instagram allows us “to cultivate our own experiences,” Ms. Holliday said, who has a new book, “The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl.”

“Prior to Instagram, you just saw whatever online. Now you can follow people that are into body positivity, feminism, radical body love, artists. People that inspire me,” she said.

“It’s really important to surround yourself with people that uplift you and support you, and so you really have a community of that.”

The Internet Thinks I’m Still Pregnant

Illustration by Brian Rea

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I hadn’t realized, however, that when I had entered my information into the pregnancy app, the company would then share it with marketing groups targeting new mothers. Although I logged my miscarriage into the app and stopped using it, that change in status apparently wasn’t passed along.

Seven months after my miscarriage, mere weeks before my due date, I came home from work to find a package on my welcome mat. It was a box of baby formula bearing the note: “We may all do it differently, but the joy of parenthood is something we all share.”

I took the box inside and read the congratulatory card that gently urged soon-to-be mothers toward formula feeding. I pulled out the various types of formula and wondered about the nutritional quality of a product that could sit in the sun for hours before being consumed by a brand new life-form.

After packing the formula back into the box, I snapped a picture and texted it to my best friend. “Well, the internet still thinks I’m pregnant,” I wrote. “Maybe the mailman now, too.”

 

 

Using the Web or an App Instead of Seeing a Doctor? Caution Is Advised

Illustration by Tobias Gutmann

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A few years ago, doctors from the Mayo Clinic tested the wisdom of online health advice. Their conclusion: It’s risky. According to their study, going online for health advice is more likely to result in getting no advice or incomplete advice than the right advice.

The doctors assessed the quality of advice on the top sites returned from Google, Yahoo and Bing for searches on common health complaints — like “chest pain” or “headache.”

No site they examined listed all the necessary symptoms so that a user could obtain an accurate triage — whether to rush to the emergency room, call the doctor or treat the condition at home. A third of the sites did not list any of the key symptoms. Among sites that checked any critical symptoms, four in 10 provided no triage advice.