The staggering on going count of NON-BIODEGRADABLE plastic bags at the above is the up to date indicator of the plastic bags given to the U.S. shoppers, beginning January 01, of this year across the United States. - Each year a shocking quantity of 916,981,973,789 plastic bags are trashed, in U.S. alone, polluting and poisoning Land-fields, the Air and our Waters.

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Scary Fake Videos Alter Our Perception of Reality

- By LiveScience Staff - September 15, 2009

Watching a fake video can change a person's perception of reality, a new study finds.

The results showed that almost half of the people who watched a doctored video of an event believed the video rather than their actual experience, and some were even convinced to testify as an eyewitness to the fictitious happenings.

"Our research shows that if fake footage is extremely compelling, it can induce people to testify about something they never witnessed," Kimberley Wade, a psychologist at the University of Warwick in the United Kingom, said in a statement.

The researchers filmed 60 subjects as they took part in a computerized gambling task, which involved answering a series of multiple-choice, general-knowledge questions. Although they didn't know it, each subject was sitting next to a researcher who was pretending to be just another participant.

The subjects had individual piles of money they used for gambling, and they all shared a pile of money that represented the bank. The subjects gambled on whether or not they would get an answer correct; before they answered a question, they typed in the amount of money they wanted to gamble on that question. The goal was to earn as much money as possible, and the participants were told that the person who made the most money would win a prize.

When subjects answered a question correctly, they saw a green tick on their screen; when they answered incorrectly, they saw a red cross. If subjects got a question wrong, they had to return the money to the bank.

When the task was completed, the video of the session was altered to make it look as though the member of the research team sitting next to the subject was cheating by not putting money back into the bank.

One-third of the subjects were told that the person sitting next to them was suspected of cheating. Another third were told the person had been caught on camera cheating, and the remaining group were actually shown the fake video footage. All subjects were then asked to sign a statement only if they had seen the cheating take place.

Nearly 40 percent of the participants who had seen the doctored video signed the statement. Another 10 percent signed when asked a second time by the researchers. Of those who were told the incident had been caught on film but were not shown the video, only 10 percent agreed to sign. And about 5 percent of the control group, who were just told about the cheating, signed the statement.

With today's technology, almost anyone could create fake, yet compelling, video footage, Wade said.

"Our research suggests that fabricated evidence need not enter the courtroom to interfere with justice. Rather, showing potential witnesses fabricated evidence — or perhaps even genuine evidence that is somehow misleading — might induce them to testify about entire experiences they have never actually had," the authors wrote.

The results were published on August 20 in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Fake Photos Alter Real Memories

By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

In 2003, Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski caused an uproar when it was discovered that his picture of a British soldier yelling at fleeing residents in Iraq, published prominently by many U.S. newspapers, had been altered.

Walski had combined two snapshots taken moments apart of the British soldier urging residents to take cover as Iraqi forces opened fire. This digital alteration is one of several in recent years to cast doubt on the old saying that the camera doesn't lie.

Some researchers are worried that digitally altered photos could alter our perceptions and memories of public events.

To test what effect doctored photos might have, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Padua in Italy showed 299 people aged 19 to 84 either an actual photo or an altered photo of two historical events, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and the 2003 anti-war protest in Rome.

The original Tiananmen Square image was altered to show a crowd watching at the sidelines as a lone man stands in front of a row of tanks. The Rome anti-war protest photograph was altered to show riot police and a menacing, masked protester among the crowd of demonstrators.

When answering questions about the events, the participants had differing recollections of what happened. Those who viewed the altered images of the Rome protest recalled the demonstration as violent and negative and recollected more physical confrontation and property damage than actually occurred.

Participants who viewed the doctored photos also said they were less inclined to take part in future protests, according to the study, detailed in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

"It’s potentially a form of human engineering that could be applied to us against our knowledge and against our wishes, and we ought to be vigilant about it," said UC Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, who designed the study. "With the addition of a few little upsetting and arousing elements in the Rome protest photo, people remembered this peaceful protest as being more violent than it was, and as a society we have to figure how we can regulate this."

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