Stanford Alumni Magazine

You’re in the Loop…   View In Browser    
from Stanford Alumni Association and STANFORD magazine  
January 28, 2020
You’re in the Loop

Seriously, what private time.
Feeling overwhelmed by the mere idea of protecting your digital privacy?

You’re not alone. No, really, you’re not alone—your apps are tracking you. Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, has tips for taking some basic steps to protect your privacy (Rule No. 1: Turn off location tracking), as well as reasons you should even bother trying to fight a beast you can’t beat.

Your face is vulnerable, too, every time you go outside, upload a photo to Facebook, or make it onto the Maples dance cam.
The New York Times reports that a start-up nobody’s ever heard of called Clearview AI has made a facial recognition app that’s currently in use by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. It identifies people by way of a database of billions of images scraped from millions of websites. “It’s creepy what they’re doing, but there will be many more of these companies. There is no monopoly on math,” Al Gidari, a lecturer at Stanford Law School and consulting director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society, told the Times. “Absent a very strong federal privacy law, we’re all screwed.”
Go ahead, collide your worlds.   Networking isn’t just an important professional skill, it’s an important life skill. You never know when your former colleague’s boyfriend’s SoulCycle instructor will know the hiring manager at a company you’re interested in working for. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is to bifurcate their personal and professional relationships. Our relationships are our relationships. They actually help us live longer, so they’re important not just to our careers but to our health,” says Rebecca Zucker, MBA ’94, a partner at the leadership development consultancy

Next Step Partners.
She shares 8 tips for making and maintaining a network of mutually beneficial connections, including this advice: Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you’ve been out of touch with for a while. “Put something like ‘Blast from the past’ or ‘Reconnecting’ in the email subject line. Acknowledge the absence of contact. They most likely haven’t reached out either and may be pleased to hear from you.”    
The afterglow of Full Moon on the Quad.  
January 10 marked Stanford’s 128th Full Moon on the Quad.
Among the new additions to the festivities: assembling hygiene packages for the local homeless community and a colored glow stick necklace system to indicate whether attendees were open to being kissed, hugged, or neither.  

Photo credit: Ryan Fong Jae, ’19
      Technology doesn’t alienate people. People alienate people.
Smartphones are a popular scapegoat for some of our current social ills, but Gabriella Harari, assistant professor of communication, says technology is just a channel for whatever behaviors your personality is inclined toward. In other words, it’s not your phone, it’s you.

Harari and her research group at the Stanford Media and Personality Lab looked at how digital media use reveals and affects personality. “If we consider what people are actually doing on their smartphones—communicating with others, seeking information or entertainment, for example—these behaviors are driven by who people are and the kinds of activities they like to engage in,” she told Stanford News Service. For example, in one study, the researchers found that extroverted, sociable people tend to call and text more, as well as talk more in person.

Until recently, research has focused on how much time people spend using their devices rather than on what they’re using them for. That’s about to change. Modern digital behaviors are so varied and complex, researchers say, that screen time by itself is no longer a useful measure. The Humam Screenome Project will record and analyze everything participants see and do on their screens; researchers say this multidimensional map of people’s digital lives is needed in order to test widely held assumptions about digital media’s relationship to—and role in solving—many of our most pressing health and social problems.

Finally, below average is the new perfect.

It’s a doozy of a cold and flu season, so if you’re keeping an eye on your temperature, know that “normal” isn’t what you think it is. “What everybody grew up learning, which is that our normal temperature is 98.6, is wrong,” says Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine and of health research and policy. Parsonnet led a study that explored body temperature trends, and it turns out that human body temperature has dropped since the mid-19th century, when that 98.6 number was first published. The researchers hypothesize that this is due to people having a lower metabolic rate, possibly because improvements in public health have led to reduced inflammation.  

But wait, there’s more.
BJ Fogg, director of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab, started doing two push-ups after every trip to the bathroom, an odd little habit that kick-started dozens of other small, beneficial changes to his daily routine, eventually leading him to lose 20 pounds and develop the “tiny habit” method.

Millions in China are under lockdown due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Karen Eggleston, director of Stanford’s Asia Health Policy Program, explains how worried the rest of the world should be.

Something new for the Band: Effective January 1, they’re officially housed under Stanford Athletics, not the Office of Student Affairs.

As more grandparents take on childcare duties, Stanford Health Care’s Grandparents Seminar helps them brush up on their skills and covers the latest developments in infant care.

“We have about 300 graves that contain female skeletons who were buried with quivers full of arrows, battle axes, spears and horse gear and even sacrificed horses. So we know that genuine warrior women really existed at this time and in the places that were reported by the ancient Greeks to be the heartland of the Amazons.” Classics scholar Adrienne Mayor talks with NPR about evidence that the Amazon warriors of myth were real.

San Francisco 49ers and former Stanford football players Richard Sherman, ’10, Solomon Thomas, ’18, and Levine Toilolo, ’13, are going to the Super Bowl. The team’s success might be due in part to a strategy their general manager, John Lynch, ’93, learned in a Stanford management class.
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