Ever since Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook profile picture to a tricolor shade to show support to the Digital India campaign by the Modi government, we Indians have been following suit. Our timelines are flooded with tricolor profile pictures created from fb.com/supportdigitalindia. Now like everybody, you may think this is a gesture to support digital India. But it is not.
Changing Your Profile Picture Means You Have Automatically Voted Against Net Neutrality
For every profile picture that is changed, a vote goes in support of internet.org. Yes, it means you’ve automatically voted against net neutrality.
Now it may sound like a great philanthropic idea, one that would help digitalize even remote villages, it actually is a blow to internet freedom and net neutrality. Facebook is piggyback riding the digital India movement (which is a great ) to position itself as a benefactor that will provide free internet in India. Fact is that internet.org, if implemented, will do everything except benefit a developing country like India. Here’s why:
The free internet service will be available only to Reliance users, since the partnership is with Reliance. And the “free access” that is being much talked about will only be to Facebook and its 50 partner sites, which is nothing but manipulating internet users with a carrot-stick tactic. Everyone loves free internet, which is why users will limit their internet usage to sites that are free. Now this is giving unprecedented monoply to Facebook and its 50 partner sites to manipulate what we see on the internet.
Death Of Startups
And this will mean the death of startups, a culture that is booming in India. No small company or website can possibly compete with a biggie like Facebook that is providing free internet. The mushrooming of a zillion new businesses, especially indigenous, will simply be impossible. Imagine what would have happened if the British had priced English goods at dirt-cheap rates; yes, death of indigenous business. Clasicc case of big fish eliminating small fish.
Some time back, when the country had risen in support of net neutrality signing petitions to save it, big players like The Times of India and NDTV had pulled out of internet.org citing the violation of net neutrality.
So, if you think that by changing your profile picture you are supporting the cause of a digitalized India, don’t. You are unconsciously helping Facebook kill net neutrality. This Facebook post sums it all too well.
Photo: © Facebook (Main Image)
Show your support in spreading a word by sharing this message.
Could e-cigarettes be a gateway drug toward smoking traditional cigarettes? For teens and young adults, the answer may be yes, according to a new paper published by JAMA Pediatrics.
The study, which tracked the habits of nearly 700 young people over a year, revealed that young nonsmokers who showed no interest in smoking were more likely to take up the habit if they had used electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes heat a liquid filled with nicotine and other (often flavored) chemicals that can be inhaled as a vapor. It’s generally considered to be less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, whose smoke generated by burning tobacco-based products is filled with cancer-causing chemicals.
As e-cigarette use, or vaping, has grown, experts have hotly debated whether it offers a net benefit or net harm to consumers, and whether e-cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products are. Some have pointed to a potential to help wean smokers off traditional cigarettes. Others have said that the devices, often marketed with child-friendly flavors, could introduce more young people to nicotine addiction that could later develop into a full-blown tobacco smoking habit.
To see whether there was a link, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Dartmouth University and the University of Oregon surveyed young people from around the U.S. who had never smoked traditional cigarettes and who were not susceptible to smoking at the time.
A person’s susceptibility to smoking was evaluated by two questions: “If one of your friends offered you a cigarette, would you try it?” And, “Do you think you will smoke a cigarette sometime in the next year?”
Those surveyed could choose “definitely yes,” “probably yes,” “probably no” or “definitely no” – but if they chose anything other than “definitely no,” they were not included in the study. This left the researchers with 694 nonsmoking participants with no stated desire to smoke traditional cigarettes.
A small number of these participants who had expressed zero interest in smoking cigarettes (16, to be exact) had previously used electronic cigarettes. The scientists then followed up with the participants a year later, to see whether they had progressed toward smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes. This meant one of two things: Either they no longer said “definitely no” to either of the above questions, indicating that their resolve against cigarettes had faded; or they had actually ended up smoking traditional cigarettes.
The researchers also controlled for a number of factors, including sex, age, race/ethnicity and mother’s level of education.
The researchers found that 11 out of 16 of the e-cigarette users, or nearly 69%, had progressed toward smoking. Five had changed their answers from “definitely no,” and six had actually smoked cigarettes – despite their previous lack of interest. Among the 678 participants who had not previously smoked e-cigarettes, 128 (or just under 19%) had progressed toward smoking, 63 no longer said “definitely no” to future cigarette smoking, and 65 had actually ended up smoking.
“These results raise concerns that the many adolescents and young adults who initiate nicotine use through e-cigarettes are at substantially increased risk for later use of cigarettes, even if they do not intend to smoke cigarettes in the future,” the study authors wrote. “Thus, while e-cigarettes may potentially represent a product that can reduce harm for established cigarette smokers, they may simultaneously contribute to the development of a new population of cigarette smokers.”
The researchers did, however, note that their sample of the teens and young adults who had used e-cigarettes was quite low, just 2.3% of the overall sample.
“It could be interpreted that this small number may not translate into substantial risk,” they wrote. “However, data published in 2015 suggest that large numbers of youth are initiating e-cigarette use and that as many as half of these individuals do not smoke traditional combustible cigarettes.”
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that rates of e-cigarette use among high schoolers jumped from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014 – tripling the rate in just one year.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in the process of considering whether to impose regulations on e-cigarettes.
“At a time when many claim to be uncertain about the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes and argue for more studies, these data provide strong longitudinal evidence that e-cigarette use leads to smoking, most likely owing to nicotine addiction,” Jonathan D. Klein, associate executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, wrote in an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics accompanying the study. “We do not need more research on this question…. What we still need is the political will to act on the evidence and protect our youth.”
Follow @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news.
Source. LA Times.