Canadian Family Lives Like It’s 1986
Talking Urinal Cakes Prevent Drunk Driving
During what they called the “Heat is On” Labor Day enforcement period, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported 1,342 DUI arrests. While even one drunk driver is one too many, CDOT said the numbers represent a reduction from last year — and a spokeswoman thinks one factor might be “interactive urinal communicators,” aka talking urinal cakes that remind bar patrons to not drink and drive.
At a tech conference yesterday Apple unveiled two new separate iPhone models: one a high end version and one a lower-end, colorful version. The 5S was the high end version and comes in a new gold color and has an upgraded camera as well as a fingerprint scanner, while the 5C was coated in plastic and comes in green, yellow, white and red. Additionally, the iPhone 5 has been discontinued, and the iPhone 4S will now be the free iPhone available with a two-year contract. Techcrunch reports the company has chosen to release the 5C to cut costs and replace the 5. (TechCrunch)
This December, NASA is embarking on its first attempt to farm fresh food in space to sustain astronauts. NASA plans to launch six romaine lettuce plants to the International Space Station, where they will be grown under pink LED lights and ready to harvest in 28 days.
Nearly Two-Thirds Admit to Non-Work-Related Internet Use On the Job
Time-wasting at work is nothing new, as employees have always done things like gossip at the watercooler and make personal phone calls. But the Internet has made it a lot easier to check out of work mode for a little bit, and Forbes reports that 64 percent of employees admit to visiting non-work-related websites each day. Breaking it out into the amount of time wasted, Forbes said: 29 percent wasted 1 to 2 hours per week; 21 percent wasted 2 to 5 hours; 8 percent wasted 6 to 10 hours; and 3 percent wasted 10 hours or more. Not all of the web surfing is safe-for-work either, with a Nielsen survey finding that 25 percent of workers admitted to looking at porn at the office. So why are employees wasting time at work, online or otherwise? A Salary.com survey of employees found:
- 34 percent said they aren’t challenged
- 34 percent said they work long hours
- 32 percent said there’s no incentive to work harder
- 30 percent are unsatisfied with work
- 23 percent are bored
- 18 percent say it’s because of low wages
Has the ‘Law and Order’ TV Franchise Influenced Real-Life Jurors?
Has the Law and Order TV franchise influenced real-life jurors, giving them a distorted view of the reliability of different types of evidence and of how investigations are conducted and the legal system works? The Wall Street Journal reports that that’s the suspicion of University of California doctoral student Adam B. Shniderman, who writes about it an upcoming paper in the Law and Psychology Review. The Journal cites a draft version of the paper in which Shniderman writes: “The police and prosecutors in this view are portrayed as the ‘good guys’ keeping the people safe from a dangerous world of criminals, and their tactics, regardless of how draconian and unconstitutional they may be, are necessary to get the job done effectively and expeditiously. On the other hand, defense lawyers, the occasional by-the-book ADA, and even the Constitution are portrayed as impediments to justice. They obfuscate and distract from the correct outcome — a guilty verdict. The show suggests that if a suspect isn’t guilty, he or she isn’t brought to trial. The cops end up with the right person.” Shniderman acknowledges that he doesn’t have evidence to back up his suspicions and believes that research is needed on the impact of Law and Order on society and potential jurors, saying it’s, quote, “greatly understudied.”
Doubts About Surveillance, Privacy Protection Up in Wake of NSA Leaks
Americans’ doubts about government surveillance and its protection of privacy rights are up in the wake of the ongoing disclosures from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, according to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. There were concerns even before the leaks, with the 2011 AP-NORC Center poll finding only 40 percent believed the government did a good job protecting their privacy. However, it’s now fallen to just 34 percent. Close to 60 percent in the new survey said they oppose the NSA’s collection of data on phone and Internet usage, with a similar percentage also against the legal process supervised by a secret federal court that oversees the government’s classified surveillance. At the same time, about 60 percent also believe it’s sometimes necessary to sacrifice rights to confront terrorism. Perhaps reflecting that, Americans seems to be a lot less concerned with physical privacy violations than they are about online ones: 62 percent now say that they favor random full-body scans or pat-downs of passengers at airports, which is actually up from 58 percent in 2011.