Digital Infidelity: When Tech Makes Keeping Tabs on "Back-Burners" Easier

The rise of smartphones and social media has made it easier for people in committed relationships to maintain contact with old flames, have emotional affairs, and keep a spare close by in case things don't work out.

If you're worried that smartphones and social media are stealing too much of your significant other's time and attention, you're really not going to like this from The Washington Post's Caitlin Dewey:


"A new study by researchers at the University of Indiana found that Facebook users in relationships frequently use the site to keep in touch with “back-burners” — exes or platonic friends they know they could connect with romantically, should their current relationships go south." 

While the concept of a spare lover or back-up husband is nothing new (Chris Rock once called the latter a "d--- in a glass case"), Dewey's article focuses on how social media and text messages have allowed "digital infidelity" to thrive. 

"On average, respondents in relationships said they had romantic or sexual conversations with two people (!) besides their current partner."

Simply put, it's easier to stay in touch with an old flame or exchange flirty messages with someone whose life events pop up on your screen everyday. The nature of these interactions is also very personal, which lends itself to a sense of intimacy. Many folks in committed relationships maintain these lines of communication with their potential back-burners. The phenomenon is called "emotional affairs."

Take a look at Dewey's piece (linked again below) and tell us what you think.

Read more at The Washington Post

Photo credit: AntonioDiaz / Shutterstock

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less