Looking At Cute Animals Can Boost Productivity

From the “you can’t make this stuff up department” over at LifeScience:

Previous studies have shown that humans slow down their speech when talking to babies, and the Japanese researchers speculated that viewing the cute images may have had a similar effect — slowing the behavior of the students who saw the cute baby animal images and improving their accuracy in the game. In addition, the researchers suspect the baby-animal group got a boost in nurturing feelings, something that would likely benefit performance in the care-related task that involved helping someone (even if that someone was an anthropomorphic game board).

So now you have an excuse to look at /r/aww. Here are some monkeys to help you work.

Wi-Fi Usage Worldwide

From telecompetitor:

Wi-Fi network use will nearly double in homes around the world come 2016, according to new Strategy Analytics research. Already used in some 439 million households worldwide, equivalent to 25% of all households, Wi-Fi home network penetration will expand to 42%, reaching nearly 800 million by 2016, according to the “Broadband and Wi-Fi Households Global Forecast 2012” report.

It also mentions that 61% of US households have Wi-Fi.

Having had Wi-Fi now for a decade (since late 2001), I can’t imagine life without it anymore. It’s liberating being able to put a laptop anywhere and get online at high-speed. Devices like the iPad just make it more so.

Wi-Fi is easy to take for granted. It’s becoming a utility like electricity and water. You just expect it to be there and work when you want it.

The Myth Of The “Internet Generation”

I’m glad to see more evidence dispelling the myth that there is a generation that is so tuned into the Internet they put others to shame. There’s no such thing as “digital natives” or an “Internet generation”. There were no “automotive natives”, “electric natives”, “movable type natives”, or any other “[insert technical revolution] natives” in human history.

I do suspect the results will be slightly different in the US where social and cultural differences tend to result in more online usage and less social interaction than in Europe, but that is still immaterial.

The idea that any skills can become almost innate is silly at best. Growing up with something doesn’t make you more functional with it. Human language is a very specialized skill. Equating language to using a search engine, managing files on your computer is hardly sensible. Language is so specialized science suggests there are parts of our brain that have evolved specifically for language. By contrast we don’t have a part of our brain for computer or internet skills.

From the article:

More surprising yet, these supposedly gifted netizens are not even particularly adept at getting the most out of the Internet. “They can play around,” says Rolf Schulmeister, an educational researcher from Hamburg who specializes in the use of digital media in the classroom. “They know how to start up programs, and they know where to get music and films. But only a minority is really good at using it.”

It’s not really surprising. People learn to do what the need and want to do. They also know how to shop in stores, and watch movies in theaters. That doesn’t mean they know how to produce products and movies. They don’t even become experts in products they buy or movies they watch. They became consumers over a new medium and nothing more. They couldn’t tell you what format the YouTube video they watched is in, and they likely don’t know what format it’s in at the theater either. They don’t know the technology behind their favorite websites, and they don’t know what goes into running a store. They just consume. That’s what consumers do.

A special segment with an interest in it will specialize in it and learn. Those people generally become Computer Science majors. Others will choose things like medicine, geology, marketing, economics and basket weaving to gain a thorough understanding of and eventually use for gainful employment. None of these fields had “natives” either despite having their own renaissance periods.

So lets stop with this “Internet Generation” stuff.

Monkey Cocaine Research

Buried in an article on stimulus spending:

Then there is the project listed at No. 28 by the senators — $71,623 to researchers at Wake Forest University to see how monkeys react to cocaine.

Titled “Effect of Cocaine Self-Administration on Metabotropic Glutamate Systems,” the project calls for monkeys to self-administer drugs while researchers monitor and study their glutamate levels, the report said.

Emphasis mine.

Maybe I’m alone here, but the government funding monkeys that can snort cocaine on their own is pretty impressive. I’ll be really impressed if they can get one to cook meth. Even more interesting is if they can get them to understand enough about commerce to buy and sell. This is the first step towards making Planet of the Apes a reality.

IDK My BFF…. zzzz

eMarketer on research from Oxygen Media Insights Group:

More than a third of female social media users ages 18 to 34 had fallen asleep with their PDA in their hands or reported regularly checking Facebook first thing in the morning.

I get that females especially that age group are the more social demographic, we’ve seen that demonstrated countless times… but this can’t be healthy. “more than a third” is actually 37% almost 2 in 5. I’d bet if you go skew the demographic younger, 15-23 for example you’d get an even higher percentage.

That might be why Telco’s can charge so much for text messaging despite it having an extremely low actual cost to provide the service (translation: it’s almost pure profit). Addicts will pay.