Category : Blogging & the Internet

(AP) Pakistan asks Facebook and Twitter to help identify blasphemers

Pakistan said Thursday it has asked Facebook and Twitter to help it identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so that it can prosecute them or pursue their extradition.

Under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, anyone found to have insulted Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy has approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.

Read it all. Also, WWM has a look at Pakistan’s blasphemy laws there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens

Q. What makes you think that people have become addicted to digital devices and social media?

A. In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.

Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(NYT) Out of the Office: More People Are Working Remotely, Survey Finds

More American employees are working remotely, and they’re doing so for longer periods of time, according to a Gallup survey released on Wednesday.

Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.

That represents a 4 percentage point increase since 2012, a shift that meets the demands of many job seekers.

“Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the polling agency wrote in a report on those and other workplace findings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

To Follow the C of E Discussion of the Bishops Report on Marriage and Same Sex Reltnshps Today

You can find a daily time table here and the link for a live video feed is there. also, you can find the official synod twitter feed there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(AFP) How algorithms (secretly) run the world

When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome.

The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a “no fly” list.

Algorithms are being used — experimentally — to write news articles from raw data, while Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was helped by behavioral marketers who used an algorithm to locate the highest concentrations of “persuadable voters.”

But while such automated tools can inject a measure of objectivity into erstwhile subjective decisions, fears are rising over the lack of transparency algorithms can entail, with pressure growing to apply standards of ethics or “accountability.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology, Theology

WCBD-Dark side of Pinterest: Moms learn site can showcase suicide, role play, child pornography

For moms like Stefany Rodriguez-Neely, Marianne Touger and Zakeia Smith, a sinister secret was lurking beneath the surface of their favorite spot online ”“ a website so popular, that more than 100 million use it each day.

“I was clueless. I was like, really?!” Smith told 8 On Your Side. “’Cause I think, when I think Pinterest, or one of those other sites, I think it’s all about crafting and recipes.”

Touger had the same response.

“It never occurred to me, never occurred to me that it would be a problem with Pinterest,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pornography, Science & Technology, Theology

(NR) Group discusses Saint Augustine's City of God on Twitter


That should keep you busy,” an Amtrak conductor commented as he saw my already-worn copy of Saint Augustine’s City of God in front of me shortly after boarding in Baltimore for New York. Reading the 1,000-plus-page classic was not something I had planned for 2017, but something Twitter, of all things, drew me into.

Chad Pecknold, a professor of theology at my alma mater, the Catholic University of America, had the idea to conduct a 15-week seminar over Twitter on a book he was teaching this semester anyway. Of course, a classroom is one thing; social media, very much another. But sure enough, as I got myself to Twitter on that first Thursday night, a father announced he had put his kids to bed and was ready, a federal judge weighed in with his insights, and all sorts of people from varied backgrounds shared their favorite quotes from the first chapters of City of God, and made connections to politics and religion and culture today.

Now entering its fifth week, held from 8 to 10 (Eastern time) on Thursday nights, the discussion is led by Pecknold, who designates chapters and half-hour slots, all flagged by the hashtag #CivDei, which makes it easy for anyone who misses “class,” as I have already a week or two, to catch up at another hour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Church History, Education, Science & Technology, Theology

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Can the gospel reach digital natives?

Once upon a time, if you wanted to communicate with someone, you either spoke to them, sent them a letter (which could be delivered in either of the two postal deliveries every day!), or you phoned them. This could be from one of two places: either a phone box in the street, requiring loads of change, or the house phone in the hall””where everyone could hear you””and answered by the desired recipient’s parents, with whom you had to have an excruciatingly awkward conversation before being able to ask for the person you actually wanted to speak to. This probably sounds like the dark ages, but it was actually less than 35 years ago.’

So begins the latest Grove Youth booklet on Youth Ministry in a Digital Age by Liz Dumain, who works in the mission team in Birmingham Diocese. The booklet is a great exploration of the challenges and opportunities of reaching ”˜digital natives’, those who were born with the internet technology that many of us have been learning to adapt to. Liz begins by noting the growth of internet use, how it differs for those who have known nothing else, and why it matters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Christology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Not ”˜Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Is Guiding Terror Plots From Afar

Until just moments before the arrest of the Indian cell, here last June, the Islamic State’s cyberplanners kept in near-constant touch with the men, according to the interrogation records of three of the eight suspects obtained by The New York Times.

As officials around the world have faced a confusing barrage of attacks dedicated to the Islamic State, cases like Mr. [Mohammed Ibrahim] Yazdani’s offer troubling examples of what counterterrorism experts are calling enabled or remote-controlled attacks: violence conceived and guided by operatives in areas controlled by the Islamic State whose only connection to the would-be attacker is the internet.

In the most basic enabled attacks, Islamic State handlers acted as confidants and coaches, coaxing recruits to embrace violence. In the Hyderabad plot, among the most involved found so far, the terrorist group reached deep into a country with strict gun laws in order to arrange for pistols and ammunition to be left in a bag swinging from the branches of a tree.

For the most part, the operatives who are conceiving and guiding such attacks are doing so from behind a wall of anonymity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(BBC) Massive networks of fake accounts found on Twitter

Massive collections of fake accounts are lying dormant on Twitter, suggests research.
The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger.
UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.
Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Generation X More Addicted to Social Media Than Millennials, Report Finds

We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely.

But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than are some of their older peers.

Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes a week for their younger counterparts. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on social media, with an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week on the networks.

Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said that the finding had initially surprised him, because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

Ed Stetzer–Facts Are Our Friends: Why Sharing Fake News Makes Us Look Stupid and Harms Our Witness

Christians seem attracted to an alternative set of facts, but we don’t need them.
Even if the truth doesn’t seem favorable to us, we don’t have to go looking for an opposing story. We have a hope in something greater. We believe that Truth is personified in a Person””Jesus. When we dishonor the truth, we dishonor Jesus.
In 2012, I wrote, “I’m saddened that many Christians are being included in the groups that create their own facts.” Unfortunately, more and more people are noticing this to be the case.
Gullible or conspiracy-spreading Christians simply do not help these perceptions. Instead, they feed the impression that Evangelicals are simply unwilling to face truth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Quora via Forbes) Loneliness Might Be A Bigger Health Risk Than Smoking Or Obesity

In the last decade alone, physicians and researchers have begun looking deeply into the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health, well being, and mortality, and the data on the subject is overwhelming: a lonely person is significantly more likely to suffer an early death than a non-lonely one.

Most of this research is centered around geriatrics, as you might guess, where feelings of loneliness are powerfully predictive of mortality. A few years ago researchers at Brigham Young University conducted an influential meta-analysis of scientific literature on the subject, and found that social isolation increases your risk of death by an astounding ~30%, and some estimates have it as high as 60%!

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

We are Slowly making our way back into "normal" blogging after the 12 days of Christmas

Please bear with me/us.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

Blessed and Happy New Year of 2017 to All Blog Readers!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet