Curing Internet Addiction Via Good Old-Fashioned Electroshock Therapy

A pair of MIT doctoral candidates came up with a way to reduce excessive Internet usage by creating a keyboard accessory called, unsurprisingly, "Pavlov Poke."

What's the Latest Development?

MIT doctoral candidates Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff were having a hard time staying off Facebook. Together, they estimated they spent as much as 50 hours a week on the site. To curb their addiction, they decided to go old-school: They created a keyboard accessory that monitored their Internet usage and delivered an "unpleasant, but not dangerous" electric shock if they spent too much time on certain sites. In honor of the scientist who first developed this method of aversion therapy, they named their device "Pavlov Poke."

What's the Big Idea?

Although Pavlov Poke was never meant for commercial use, and they eventually disconnected it, Morris says on his Web site that he "noticed a significant reduction in my Facebook usage" because of it. He also states that social media sites "are addictive by design" and mentions a recent University of Michigan study linking Facebook addiction to lower levels of well-being. For what it's worth, the pair's other attempt to merge tech and therapy -- in which Amazon Mechanical Turk workers are paid to call people who spend too much time online -- is painless, at least in the physical sense.

Photo Credit:

Read it at FastCompany

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less