Virtual world tidbits

A few choice items related to virtual worlds...


  • Dr. Edward Castronova, author of the fabulous book, Synthetic Worlds, is finding that gender bias may also occur in virtual worlds. For example, female EverQuest avatars fetch 10 percent less in the market, even when they have the same powers and skills as male avatars. Check out some of his other work too.
  • Virtual Congress, anyone? (I wonder if it will include scandals...)
  • Finally, check out this funny real-world simulation of Second Life (brought to you by Blackboard).
  • LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

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

    Getty Images
    Sponsored
    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.

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    Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

    Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

    Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
    Mind & Brain

    MIT News

    The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

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    34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

    A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

    Politics & Current Affairs
    • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
    • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
    • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
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    How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

    When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.

    Politics & Current Affairs
    • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
    • When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
    • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.