Rachael McKinnon rounds up the best the web has to offer

Changespotting: The benefits of social media

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Right now, you may think social networking is only good for checking whether that girl from work/university is single or adding to your Bejewelled score. But Rachel Botsman's TED talk on the collaborative consumption movement will add a few environmentally and economically beneficial reasons to develop an online presence for yourself. Botsman looks at how the evolution of online social networking has allowed us to return to a village-like system of sharing and collaboration.

Here's another scientific breakthrough that is as spooky as it is spectacular: an implant device that inhibits pain signals from reaching the brain. The benefits for chronic pain sufferers are immediately evident, but plenty of dangerous territory opens up with the inability to feel pain. And, then there's Ronald Niederman.

Finally, although you've probably reached Christmas saturation point, here are some tips for non-material gifts you might want to share with your family, friends and the world this festive season.

Even though it is just days away, you don't need to worry about wrapping gifts like these. You might not agree with all the gifts suggested, but with 21 ideas there is plenty of inspiration to be had.

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