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Participatory Social Systems for Well-Being

One of the big stories we highlighted in last year's Ecosystems of Well-Being Map centered around participatory health, and it stems from a set of broader trends we're seeing both in and out of health. In effect, this story highlights efforts to co-create the conditions that produce well-being--meaning crowdsourcing infrastructure development, using peer-to-peer tools to connect with each other and meet health needs. It's a world where our well-being comes not from what we can do as individuals, but from what we can do together.

Using Technology to Manage Our Addiction to Technology

File this under the category of things that probably shouldn't be medical problems: Computer Eyes. What are computer eyes? They're what happens when you spend so much time staring and working at digital screens that you strain your eyes. At least in Japan, this is apparently enough of a problem that the consumer electronics company Panasonic is releasing an eye rejuvenating system this September that is designed to treat eye strain related to computer use.

Data Exhaust and the Future of Peer Pressure

About a month ago, I received several negative comments through Twitter about a blog post on the idea that people are beginning to threaten themselves with embarrassment online as a strategy to improve health by, for example, installing a sensor enabled refrigerator that lets its owner's network know when he goes for a midnight snack. At the time, I wrote about the concept as an example of "smart pain," which is to say short-term, relatively harmless pain designed to help us achieve longer term goals.

Lie Detectors Everywhere

Want to know if your son ate his vegetables?

The Non-Ancient, Non-Secrets of Japanese Health

The Japanese people are longer-lived and healthier than Americans. Currently, that information does more to sell diet books than influence policy or infrastructure development. But research suggests public policy, income and healthcare equality, and the physical and social environment are a big part of what makes Japan healthy.

From “Civics As Applied Sociology” (1904) to “Toward A Public Social Science” (2011)

“The social sciences deal with humanity’s most pressing problems, but there are barriers between practitioners and the public. We must restructure these disciplines from the ground up. In times of economic and political distress, the social sciences must become more relevant and useful by devoting their attention to society’s major problems.” Thus opens a fascinating essay penned early in 2011 by Herbert Gans, one of America’s most renewed sociologists. (And author of The Urban Villagers, perhaps the best book ever written on the social impacts of slum clearance)

The Internet Immune System

Recent news around the Stuxnet computer virus and Kapersky Lab's discovery of the Flame spyware have heightened public conversations Internet security. 


What if the Internet were able to patch itself against threats and vulnerabilities? 


Recipe Networks and Combinatorial Cuisine

The field of network science continues to find new data sets for exploring technology, economics, biological systems, and social relationships. Two recent articles use recipe ingredients and foods from different cuisines to demonstrate how the lens of network science can create analytics to provide us with new insights into how we eat and what gets eaten.

Pushing the Web to the Periphery

We're spending a lot of time this year in the Institute for the Future's Technology Horizons research group thinking about how we will experience the Internet in 2020.

Diagnosing Malaria--and Closing Labor Gaps--Through Games

On the heels of our exploration of the ways that games can improve health earlier this week, I thought I'd pass along this great signal from researchers at UCLA, who developed a game that enables everyday people to diagnose malaria almost as accurately as trained professionals.

As iHealthBeat describes it:

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