17 July 2009
02 July 2009
01 July 2009
To wit: A teenage girl was discovered dead this weekend, electrocuted after dropping her laptop in the bathtub.
Why did she need a computer in the tub? So she could update Twitter. About what she was tweeting remains unclear, but it was hopefully something more meaningful than the soap she was using.
Maria Barbu, 17, of Brasov, Romania, is said to have been plugging her laptop into wall current at the time, after "the battery died during a long session on social networking site Twitter as she took a soak."
Additional details are lacking, and are unlikely to be forthcoming anytime soon. And it's unclear whether the laptop slipped from her hands or if she was so wet that the water dripping off of her closed the circuit and caused the shock.
Either way, any technology user should know by now that computers and bathrooms simply don't mix. (If you aren't worried about electrocution, think of the germs, won't you?) While GFCI circuits were designed to prevent tragedies such as the all-too-common hair-dryer-in-the-tub accident, they aren't perfect, and they aren't universal, especially overseas.
And seriously, can't Twitter wait until you get out of the bathtub?
By Christopher Null
Leave it to God to spoil the party: The Catholic churches of Scotland are speaking out against Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking technologies, which are being decried by the Church as creating an "obsessive" reliance in their users.
A message from Bishop Tartaglia, president of a Bishops' Conference of Scotland communications group, has been sent to the 500 Catholic parishes of Scotland with instructions that it be read aloud at mass in every church.
Tartaglia writes that "we need to be wary of the inane chatter that can go on in the digital world which does nothing to promote growth in understanding and tolerance." In other words: Idle hands, when outfitted with a Twitter account, truly do perform the devil's work.
The letter goes on to complain that e-friendships are poor substitutes for those in the real world and that "we should avoid an obsessive need for virtual connectedness and develop primary human relationships, pursuing true friendship with real people."
As well, the letter naturally wonders about the safety of our children on social networking sites, worried that the minions of Satan may be on the other end of the virtual conversation.
This is hardly the first time the Catholic Church has dabbled in technological matters. In March, the faithful were urged to give up SMS messaging for Lent, and even the Pope has his own YouTube channel. A Catholic-centric social network, Xt3.com, also exists.
Which technologies are bad and which are good? That's a question only you -- with the help of your priest, perhaps -- can answer.