iphones R 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An interactive municipal alert system that informs residents about dangers and
simultaneously receives reports from the field has been developed by local
company. Called City Alert, the device was developed by the startup company
eVigilo. It is aimed at protecting human life and efficiently and speedily
putting emergency preparations into effect using cellular and regular phones,
computers, social networks, email, street signs and more.
be sent in real time to residents according to their geographical location,
according to eVigilo. This is aimed at minimizing panic in the
Residents are able to receive reports individually and
directly from the municipal information center, thus helping them to follow
instructions and cooperate with the authorities.
Guy Weiss, the company’s
CEO, said recently that the system, which will be presented at this week’s ISDEF
security technology fair in Tel Aviv, increases the public’s feeling of
security. Each family can receive a push-button device to be used if they are in
danger or have been affected by the emergency. Dozens of delegations from around
the world are due to be present at the fair at the Tel Aviv Exhibition
The company, described as the most advanced in the world in
developing warning solutions and information dissemination in emergencies, has
been chosen by the Home Front Command to develop a national alert system that
integrates the radio, TV, cellular phones, sirens and Internet. It includes the
use of a wide variety of sensors as well.
OPTIMISM VS. REALITY
people, the glass is always half full. Even when one’s sports team has lost ten
matches in a row, one might still be convinced it can turn things around. So
why, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, do some people remain so
optimistic about the future? In a study published recently in Nature
Neuroscience, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at
University College London show that people who are very optimistic about the
outcome of events tend to learn only from information that reinforces their
rosetinted view of the world. This is related to “faulty” functioning of their
People’s predictions of the future are often
unrealistically optimistic. A problem that has puzzled scientists for decades is
why human optimism is so pervasive, when reality continuously confronts us with
information that challenges these biased beliefs.
“Seeing the glass as
half full rather than half empty can be a positive thing – it can lower stress
and anxiety and be good for our health and well-being,” explains Dr.
Sharot of the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging. “But it can also mean that
we are less likely to take precautionary action, such as practicing safe sex or
saving for retirement. So why don’t we learn from cautionary information?” In
this new study, Sharot and colleagues have shown that our failure to alter
optimistic predictions when presented with conflicting information is due to
errors in how we process the information. Nineteen volunteers were presented
with a series of negative life events, such as car theft or Parkinson’s disease,
while lying in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, which
measures activity in the brain. They were asked to estimate the probability that
this event would happen to them in the future.
After a short pause, the
volunteers, who saw a total of 80 such events, were told the actual average
probability of this event to occur. After the scanning sessions, the
participants were asked once again to estimate the probability of each event
occurring to them. They were also asked to fill in a questionnaire measuring
their level of optimism.
The researchers found that people did, in fact,
update their estimates based on the information given – but only if the
information was better than expected.
For example if they had predicted
that their likelihood of suffering from cancer was 40 percent, but the average
likelihood was 30%, they might adjust their estimate to 32%. If the information
was worse than expected – for example, if they had estimated 10% – then they
tended to adjust their estimate much less, as if ignoring the data.
results of the brain scans suggested why this might be the case. All
participants showed increased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain when
the information given was better than expected.
This activity consists of
the active processing of the information to recalculate an estimate. However,
when the information was worse than estimated, the more optimistic a participant
was, the less efficiently activity in these frontal regions coded for it,
suggesting they were disregarding the evidence presented to
Commenting on the study, Wellcome Trust neuroscientist Dr. John
Williams said: “Being optimistic must clearly have some benefits, but is it
always helpful? And why do some people have a less rosy outlook on life?
Understanding how some people always manage to remain optimistic could provide
useful insights into happens when our brains do not function properly.”