Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HIV and STD guessing games

I have two tidbits today:

The first is that in the UK you can now send in a picture of your STD symptoms using your cell phone or a digital camera and have a doctor look at them. In response you will receive advice, or if it's really obvious, a prescription via email. There's a fee...but if you're choosing this route over inaction it seems best to use a high res camera, rather than your cellphone camera!

Another new guessing game (with a much different purpose) is the mtvU project Pos or not. The site presents photos of people and a little information about them. Then you are supposed to guess whether or not the person is HIV+. After guessing you get see if you were right. After several guesses you are given a zip code search box so that you can find a testing site in your area. Perhaps not being able to guess others' status reminds us that we don't always know our own.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Supreme Court overturns Prop 22

"in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples"

Same-Sex Marriage in California

Thursday, May 8, 2008

United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation help expand the mobile revolution

Mobile Technology for Social Change

ISIS is proud to be included in the report produced by the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation titled Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use.

The forward authored by Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin, and United Nations Foundation Chairman Ted Turner, underlines the critical time we are in; a turning point for how technologies, particularly mobile networks, are connecting critical health systems and slashing away at digital divisions around the globe.

The report showcases 11 mobile projects from around the world and shares the results of a global survey about how NGOs are using mobile technologies.

So, put up your feet, grab a hot chocolate (or an iced tea depending on where you are) and learn about how mobile phones are helping to improve HIV/AIDS care, conserve the environment and wildlife, reach youth with sexual health information, prevent violence, connect clinics and rural health care workers, deliver food in war zones...and so much more.

Big smiles.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My avatar really thought your avatar was charming but...

Forgive me if I cast a skeptical eye towards Its a free dating service that allows members to browse profiles in the traditional way, but then here is the extra special hook, instead of trading emails or meeting in person you can ask people on a virtual date. Apparently, avatars can flirt, blow kisses and roll their eyes etc. Is it just me or is something weird about gussying up your avatar and sending them on a hot date with the avatar of your potential new love while your actual self is sitting in a dinner stained t-shirt and ill fitting sweat pants. I know, I know, I'm a little jaded but really I have a hard time seeing how 2 idealized versions of self meeting in some idealized realm can equal love in the plain old real world. It is the same reason The Bachelor never actually marries the final rose recipient(yes, I know except for Kristin and Ryan, but thats different.) For more info check out this article, it seems that people disagree with me.

Also, the feelings of intimacy (if there could be any) one might feel after allowing their avatars to pour out digitized versions of heart felt emotion probably won't translate to the real world and that reminded me about this video about texting and love.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Textual harassment in schools

The New York times reported today that over 35 percent of kids aged 11 to 18 have been sexually harassed. Boys and girls report similar levels but girls and sexual minorities suffer harsher consequences of this harassment. And it's not new to hear that besides verbal and physical abuse, young people are being sexually harassed on websites and by text message.

How have social networking sites and text messaging allowed bullies to get away with more? The schools are legally bound to protect their students from sexual harassment, but is the virtual nature of harassment sliding under the radar?

Regardless, how can young people protect themselves? Unlike a pinch in the hallway, news of a nasty Myspace comment can spread really fast. A devastating text message can come in during a class leaving us alone with our phones.

Some sites allow us to block or erase comments. We can take people off of our gchat list, we can defriend the person or erase their phone number from our vast collection. And we can tell someone and ask for support.

For more about the recent rise in cyber-bullying the New York Times also published this solid article. See also, this special edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health. Or the CDC's set of youth violence prevention resources.