Tagged With research

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Who do you tell your deepest, darkest secrets to and why?

In high school, I only remember scrawling names of crushes on my pencil case and, as an adult, I feel like I'm pretty considered with the information I want to keep to myself - but I do know a few of my friends curliest tales. Now I know why - new research shows the kind of personality traits you need to get people to tell you their secrets.

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Every time I go on holiday, I'm surrounded by people taking phone pics. But I only recently realised that this holiday annoyance could be useful: Before you book a hotel, campground, restaurant table or museum tickets, look up the place on Instagram. Not the place's official account, but all the photos taken at that location. (Just run a search within Instagram and click the result with the map pin icon.)

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Wikipedia is great at laying out the cold, hard facts about things, but it often reads as if a computer wrote it. It can be hard to get the "vibe" of a subject. Instead, try TV Tropes. While this specialised wiki mostly focuses on entertainment like movies and TV shows and video games, it also collects "useful notes" about real-world people, places and phenomena.

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I have to admit to a little bit of self-interest in this story, as someone I love has Type 1 diabetes (it used to be called Juvenile Diabetes). The Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation (JDRF) and IBM have commenced a new collaboration to apply machine learning in order to identify the factors leading to the onset to this autoimmune disease.

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A year ago, the federal government seemingly gutted science and technology research in this country, to the great consternation of many. But from the ashes of NICTA and CSIRO's Digital Productivity group came Data61. The agency's purpose is to bring together federal and state government departments, industry, university partners and CSIRO-wide capability to foster an ecosystem of innovation and collaboration. And while that sounds like it comes from a marketing brochure, the agency has made great strides in a number of fields and engaged with the public in ways that were rarely seen just a year ago.

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Scarcely a day passes when I don't receive a report from some analyst or research organisation informing me of how a new product has saved a bunch of companies a massive sum of money, or how a product has been identified as a leader or innovator in their chosen market niche. But can we trust these reports?

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A study by researchers from Data61/CSIRO, UC Berkeley, UNSW Sydney and UCSI finds that several popular VPN services on Android open up a variety of security holes, including injecting JavaScript for ads and tracking services and traffic redirection to commerce sites.

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One of the key facets of any scientific study is that no matter what, its results are questioned and tested again. A number of popular psychological studies, like the idea that smiling makes you happier or that willpower is a limited resource, haven't held up to that scrutiny. They're not totally bogus, but they're not definitive either. Here's what's really going on.

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Mice are commonly used in diet- and disease-related research because they share a majority of their genes with us and are small and inexpensive. But there are plenty of subtle confounding factors in the mice themselves that, if not accounted and properly controlled for, can really muddy experimental results.

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One of the best parts of any holiday is finding that unsung local landmark. Perhaps it's a neighbourhood bar that blew you away, a cultural monument rarely mentioned in travel guides or an amazing burrito from a street cart. Over on the New York Times, Jenna Wortham points out that Instagram is a great tool to find these types of places.

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Doubt is essential to your health goals, says Mark Sisson. If you're too sure and get stuck on your beliefs, you end up ignoring the other possibilities that can lead to the real ah-ha moments that help you break through plateaus and reach your goals. So, have a little doubt.