Apps have revolutionized the way we manage our lives. Thanks to these little smartphone tiles, we can now keep tabs on friends, find a good spot to eat, and play a few rounds of Scrabble, all from the comfort of our own toilets. There's hardly any aspect of our existence which doesn't have its own dedicated app. So maybe it shouldn't come as such a surprise that, with that much influence over what we do in our spare time, they are slowly starting to decide how we feel, how good our food tastes, and even how we're going to die.
5Mean Tweets Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease (For Everyone)
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People being mean on social media has become one of those natural phenomena we've gotten used to in the 21st Century. Tsunamis ruin coastlines, cows disappear in tornadoes, and people will shit-talk babies if they can do it from behind the safety of their computer screens. Harassment on sites like Twitter has negatively impacted countless lives, causing many to quit the site to preserve their sanity. But mean tweets are more than an annoyance for celebrities reading them out on Jimmy Kimmel -- sending them may in fact be slowly killing everyone within a 10-mile radius.
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"Good dig," says the assholes who'll live way longer than whoever did the digging.
A recent psychological study tracked close to 1,300 U.S. counties and about 280 million Americans, and compared rates of heart disease to the number of hostile tweets coming from those areas. The result was a staggeringly consistent relation between the volume and frequency of negative tweets and an increased risk of heart disease. How strong is the correlation? Strong enough that mean tweets are a significantly more accurate model for predicting cardiac complications than smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity combined -- and those used to be the gold standard for figuring out when people's hearts would explode.
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"Who needs voodoo dolls when you have hashtags?"
But it's not as simple as people who write negative tweets being more likely to die of heart disease. The more negative tweets that occur in a specific geographic region, the greater the rate of heart disease for the entire county. After all, digitally savvy hatemongers aren't the ones who are dying of cardiac failure in those places -- they're often too young for that. And heartless.
This has led the study's authors to believe that "if many of your neighbors are angry, you are more likely to die of heart disease." This would mean that hate and hostility infect people as fast as an actual airborne virus -- sometimes with the same lethal consequences. Tracking Twitter trolls could thus be the easiest way of monitoring these Patient Zeroes for the stress, negativity, and pure unpleasantness that causes other people's hearts to shut down.
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Otherwise, we'll be attending funerals for people who died after a brave battle with some dude two blocks down who hated women online.
So if your doctor tells you you're at a risk for heart disease and need to make some changes, sure, cutting out red meat and going for more walks is a good start. But if you really want to improve your health, track down every neighbor with an egg avatar and crush their hands with their own keyboards. You can even have a post-rampage cigarette on the way home.
4Pokemon Go Is Influencing Where People Eat, Shop, And Live
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Pokemon Go is the latest proof that you can make people interested in anything, even walking, as long as you stick Pikachu in there. The game has introduced the concept of augmented reality to the general public, encouraging players to go outside and visit their local museum, park, or megachurch three towns over in order to play.
"The Lord comMANDS that this Jigglypuff climb INTO the ball! And the Jigglypuff shall, for only one can truly catch them all, and that one is the LAWWWD."
Although Pokemon Go markets itself as a walking game, a lot of its players treat it more like going fishing. In the game, landmarks serve as stopping points for players to receive items or battle other players. Often, a dedicated player might simply set up shop near one of these "Pokestops" or "Gyms" instead of rushing between them. So now, coffee shops are filled with patient Pokemon trainers, not just people trying to make sure everyone knows they're writing a screenplay. Noticing these trainers lounging outside, small businesses started looking for ways to lure in these new potential customers -- sometimes quite literally. Some resorted to using in-game items to make Pokemon appear frequently by spending about a dollar an hour on "Pokemon Lures" (which attract more Pokemon to a location) to corral herds of players toward their businesses.
"Anyone who can't catch a legendary by closing time buys a round for the whole bar!"
Some restaurants even started making some of their products Pokemon-themed in order to cater to all those people eagerly waiting to jiggle a few more Pokeballs out of their nearest stop. And it seems to work. Businesses are citing profit increases up to 75 percent from owners "luring" in Pokemon Go trainers looking for somewhere to sit. Not only that, but some predict that these Pokemon Go trainers might become the most loyal customers these places have, because not only do they like their coffee shop for the great half-and-half, but it's also the place where they caught their first Eevee. It's their special place now.
Of course, if an app can influence where you go, eat, and shop, it might also be able to change your life in bigger ways. The Pokemon Go phenomenon has become so widespread that some homeowners are listing proximity to Pokestops when selling their property. So we might start seeing gentrification based on the number of Pikachu in an area. Even presidential nominee Hillary Clinton held a campaign event at a known Pokemon Gym at Madison Park in Ohio. Her campaign staff dropped a Lure Module at the park and met the subsequent rush of Pokemon Go players with clipboards to get them registered to vote. Although in fairness, we think Ohio would've been a Pokemon Blue state no matter what.