Why teenagers indulge in risktaking behaviour

first_imgIf you find your teenage son indulging in alcohol or drugs, do not just blame his peers. A specific imbalance in the functioning of his brain may put him at risk-taking behaviour risk, a study has found.The study conducted on animals showed that the adolescent-specific behaviour may be driven by an imbalance in activity between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – an area of the brain involved in cognitive control and inhibition – and the nucleus accumbens (NAC) which plays a central role in reward-seeking and addiction.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfResearchers from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the US said that the low activity in PFC with concurrent high activity in NAC – an imbalance which appears to exist only during adolescence – is essentially at odds with each other. This imbalance is behind the tendency that could lead to potentially dangerous behaviour, including drug use, harmful drinking, addiction, unsafe sex and risky driving, which may result in unintended injuries, violence and/or even premature death. “Understanding how specific changes in brain function during development relate to behaviour is critically important for determining why some individuals engage in excessive risk-taking behaviour during adolescence,” said David J Bucci, professor at Dartmouth College.“Our hope is that these findings will inform new means to minimise the potential for engaging in drug use and other harmful behaviours during this important period of development,” Bucci added in the paper published in the journal Current Biology.last_img read more

Identify Yourself

first_imgNovember 1, 2006 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Compared to biometric identification methods, passwords are clunky, insecure dinosaurs. If the burgeoning biometrics industry has anything to say about it, your fingers, face, eyes and even behaviors will be the preferred ways of securely identifying yourself. It’s not just for James Bond movies anymore. This is the new reality. Crude fingerprint identification methods may have been around for 100 years, but what is new is the increasingly sophisticated technology applications and ever-improving accuracy of biometrics.Let’s take a look at a snapshot of biometrics today. Fingerprint swipers, the most recognized biometric devices, have found their way into laptops, desktops and doors. Entrepreneur Scott Moody uses a fingerprint reader on his laptop. The technology controls access to the computer and keeps data safe. Moody also happens to be the 49-year-old co-founder and CEO of AuthenTec, a leading fingerprint biometrics company that, as you might expect, uses fingerprint sensors to control access to its Melbourne, Florida, offices. In 1998, Moody launched the multimillion-dollar firm with co-founder Dale Setlak, 54.Fingerprints are a doorway into the wide world of biometrics. Forward-looking biometrics companies are involved in everything from hand geometry and iris scans to voice recognition and behavioral biometrics. Grant Evans, CEO of A4Vision, prefers to face up to biometrics. His Sunnyvale, California, company is pioneering 3-D facial imaging technology. “It started out as bleeding-edge technology, and now it’s cutting-edge, and it’s just entering into the mainstream,” says Evans.Biometrics may have started off as technology for governments and law enforcement, but it is working its way into growing businesses and even consumer applications. Turn your gaze to Japan for a moment, and you’ll see a proliferation of mobile devices with integrated fingerprint readers. It’s a sign of things to come in the U.S. Confirming your identity is even more important now that phones are storing sensitive business and personal data and are even acting as digital wallets.As Vali Ali, distinguished technologist with Hewlett-Packard, says, biometrics isn’t just about security; it’s about convenient security. Users don’t have to remember lengthy or weak passwords, and you always have your finger or iris with you. “The technologies that are going to win are the types of technologies that people want to use rather than have to use,” says Ali. That’s one reason fingerprint sensors are so popular. Swiping your finger- print is a simple, nonintrusive way to identify yourself.The future of biometrics is in- triguing and complex. Both AuthenTec and A4Vision are businesses thriving in the field. Evans is pragmatic about A4Vision’s prospects. “Someone will probably acquire this company because we’re a piece of the puzzle,” he says. Consolidation is underway in the biometrics industry, and that trend will likely continue for a while. Entrepreneurs interested in getting in on biometrics need to seriously consider the market realities. As Evans says, “Turning a concept into a viable company in this industry is very tough. It’s difficult to compete now unless you have a disruptive technology that is new [and] that no one [else] has.”Still, that doesn’t mean the pace of innovation will slow down. No technology is fail-safe, which is why multi-modal biometrics is a huge trend for the future. This approach involves combining more than one type of biometric technology. “It’s a very common theme to use multiple technologies to tighten the gap for any security leakage or failures in the system,” says Evans. Biometric devices are getting smaller, more accurate and more sophisticated. They’re also getting more user-friendly. That’s a key feature that will help spur adoption of more advanced biometrics. Says Ali, “You will see multimodal applications which are very pleasing, human-like and much more natural for interactions.”With biometrics, here’s what a typical day might look like: You stop at the store on the way to your business and purchase a muffin using your credit card-enabled cell phone after identifying yourself with a fingerprint. To get into your office building, you have your face scanned. You access your laptop by scanning your fingerprint and speaking to the computer so it can recognize your voice. While you’re out at lunch, you browse through a database on your smartphone using your fingerprint reader as an intuitive navigation device.The popularity of fingerprint readers in laptops is just a sign of the changing times. The majority of HP business laptops come with fingerprint sensors, as do laptops in Lenovo’s ThinkPad line. Most things we use passwords, tokens or keys for today can be replaced with biometrics. Your car, house, office, monetary transactions, computer and mobile devices can be made more secure by embedding these new technologies. “Our product is something that can be virtually ubiquitous in your life,” says Moody. “When we’re old and in rocking chairs, we can say we were part of making this happen.” Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 5 min read Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more

Foursquares Dennis Crowley on Building a Massive Community

first_imgJuly 20, 2012 Enroll Now for Free min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. If you’ve “checked in” to an urban hotspot, say thank you to Dennis Crowley, the 36-year-old co-founder of location-based social tool Foursquare.Using Foursquare’s smartphone app, users can discover local businesses and places to go, and share their discoveries and whereabouts with friends — often while earning badges and saving money through special offers. Foursquare says it has 20 million registered users and works with more than 750,000 businesses, large and small.In 2010, about a year after launching Foursquare, Crowley turned down separate acquisition offers from tech giants Facebook and Yahoo!. Foursquare’s most recent round of financing — $50 million last year from Andreessen Horowitz, among other groups — reportedly valued the company at $600 million.We sat down with Crowley to discuss what makes a tech startup great. What follows is an edited version of our conversation:Related: HTC’s Cher Wang on Innovation and the ‘It’ ProductEntrepreneur: What sets apart successful startups that attract millions of consumers from those that never really get off the ground?Crowley: Whether it’s Google or Twitter or Facebook, they all add something to the way that I share content or solve problems in my everyday life.We built Foursquare literally for ourselves and for our group of 10 friends. And it turns out that when you build things that 10 of your friends like, their friends like them and their friends like them — and then you suddenly get to millions of users.Entrepreneur: How do you generate ideas and figure out which ones to pursue?Crowley: I’ve worked at companies where the ideas come from the top down, and you build what you’re told to build. That probably works for some companies.We’re different because we’ve hired so many rock stars. No one wants to be the guy that just sits there and is executing on someone else’s ideas. We have to think up these different ways of allowing people to get their ideas out there.Entrepreneur: How does an entrepreneur know when to sell? Did you make the right call by not selling to Facebook or Yahoo?Crowley: I got some advice a while ago that, if you can’t see where the ride is going to end, then you don’t want to get off of it. We have our own vision of what the finish line looks like and what the product looks like a year from now. That idea is different from what Google is chasing and different from what Facebook is chasing.That’s the thing that we can do better than anyone else: execute on our ideas. That’s the focus that we need to have to be successful.Related: From $200 Million to $500K: Lessons from Digg’s Slow DemiseEntrepreneur: What’s your advice for tech entrepreneurs who want to build something big?Crowley: For a long time, we had these ideas for things we wanted to build, and we listened to people tell us that the ideas were silly or stupid or weren’t going to work.You can’t listen to them, and you really have to build this stuff on your own. Prove to yourself that it’s either a good idea or it’s not. …You have to be totally fine with throwing things away and realizing you might have to throw away five before you find one good thing.last_img read more