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New Article Compares Big Tech to “Big Tobacco” of the ’70s

Like smoking in the 1970s — known to be dangerous yet poorly regulated — Big Tech is harming kids today yet is met with little intervention or pushback

In a new article from Deseret News, Brad Wilcox and Riley Peterson equate Big Tech to “Big Tobacco.” They argue that the online world has the same dangers and negative effects as other drugs, and go on to cite alarming mental health data to back up their claims. Similar to how smoking was found to be dangerous in the 1970s and yet poorly regulated by the government, Big Tech is harming kids today yet is met with little intervention or pushback.  They start with a powerful analogical anecdote, writing, Imagine if a man in a white panel van pulled up in your neighborhood and began enticing teens to look at pictures and videos featuring drug use, pornography and a range Read More ›

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Sample social media app interface on mobile phone showing shared video content

Girl Tragically Dies After Doing Horrific TikTok Challenge

The 12-year-old from Argentina isn't the only victim of the fatal TikTok "blackout challenge"

A 12-year-old girl from Argentina died after trying the dangerous “choke challenge” on TikTok, per the New York Post. The girl, Milagros Soto, was found in a closet hanging from a makeshift noose on January 13th. Soto’s family members think she was bullied and challenged to perform the horrible online fad while at school. Soto isn’t the only casualty of the TikTok challenge, which involves asphyxiating oneself until passing out. It’s also only one of many “fatal fads” circulating the TikTok sphere. Also known as the “blackout challenge,” Tiktok users chase virality and clout by forcing themselves to pass out. In light of the tragic death, people are begging parents to prohibit TikTok from their children. Several Twitter users spoke Read More ›

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Stethoscope with financial on the desk.

The Practice of Medicine and Ongoing Issues with Opioid Addiction

How does our brain chemistry affect addiction? How has artificial intelligence changed medicine? Anesthesiologist Dr. Richard Hurley discusses opioid addiction from a medical perspective with host Dr. Robert J. Marks. Then, an anonymous guest details their own experience with opioids. Finally, Dr. Hurley discusses how computer algorithms have both improved and stifled the proper practice of medicine. Additional Resources

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Good and Bad Algorithms in the Practice of Medicine

Computers and artificial intelligence are restricted to being algorithmic. If something is non-algorithmic, it is not computable. Creativity, nuance, and insight are human characteristics that are non-algorithmic. What happens if you remove those human characteristics from the practice of medicine? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Richard Hurley discuss how algorithms can help and harm the practice of medicine. Show Notes Read More ›

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A First-Hand Account of Kicking Fentanyl Addiction: Reversing Hebb’s Law

Donald Hebb, the father of neuropsychology, is known for Hebb’s Law which states “neurons that fire together wire together.” This means that as you repeatedly perform an action which gives you pleasure or relief, the neurons between the action and the pleasure simultaneously fire. Dr. Robert J. Marks interviews an anonymous man called Stretch who describes his experience with fentanyl Read More ›

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A prescription pill bottle spilling out an assortment of pills

Exercising Free Won’t in Fentanyl Addiction: Unless You Die First

In the 1960s, neurosurgeon Benjamin Libet noticed there was a signal in the brainthat occurred before you knew you were going to do something. On the surface, it looks like you don’t have free will. But Libet noticed that humans do have the ability to say no to these brain signals. He called this free won’t. Dr. Robert J. Marks Read More ›

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X-ray of the head and brain of a person

Bingecast: Michael Egnor on the Human Brain

In this Bingecast episode, Dr. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Michael Egnor explore the human brain and its relationship to the mind. Is the mind an emergent property of the brain? Is there neurological evidence for the soul? What have brain experiments taught us about free will and the human person? Can you still think in a coma? Show Notes Read More ›

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wooden toy model sitting on a bench

Sci-Fi Saturday: When Virtual Friends Are a Real Addiction

This animated short begins with the thirtieth birthday party of a rather glum young man

“Best Friend” at DUST by Nicholas Olivieri, Shen Yi, Juliana De Lucca, Varun Nair, David Feliu (Feb 16, 2021, 5:31) “In a near future, a lonely man is addicted to a product called Best Friend which offers him perfect virtual friends.” As is hinted in the title (so this is not a spoiler), we suddenly learn — via an effective plot maneuver — that all of the partying friends are virtual realities. I had already begun to wonder about the animated objects cheering along with the crowd but then maybe in the future our kitchenware will have enthusiasms … But no. It’s all in his head, as long as he keeps replenishing the supply of a chemical cocktail to a Read More ›

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Bingecast: Jonathan Sackier on Healing the Brain

The brain can also both adapt and heal itself. How can we facilitate this healing in patients with brain challenges? Can this healing be accelerated without brain surgery? Using stimulation to the tongue can result in incredible changes to brain functions. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Jonathan Sackier discuss brain trauma, healing and stimulation. Show Notes 01:11 | Introducing Dr. Read More ›

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Man holding game controller in the dark

Will we surrender our free will to screens?

We may be surrendering while we aren’t paying attention

If “the machines” ever do take over, it will be because we have stopped thinking, not because they have started to.

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Smartphone 10 Conversation 0

We need to be more honest about the addictive nature of the device, for some.
A guy on a date is not checking his phone three times in ten minutes because the world outside the restaurant is changing that fast. He is in the grip of an addiction. Read More ›