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Quick Bits No. 2

2010 January 27
by Richard N. Landers
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  1. The average amount of time teens spend online now exceeds the number of hours the average adult spends working (53 hours per week of online time for teens), although that includes 4.5 hours per day watching TV and only 38 minutes per day reading on the web.  It was taken from students voluntarily recording “media diaries,” however, so selection bias may be at play here.
  2. The uncanny valley – or the theoretical dip in attractiveness when robots are nearly human-like but not quite human enough – may not really exist.
  3. The master password for Facebook, which could be used to log into any Facebook account, was “Chuck Norris”.  Don’t worry – they don’t use it anymore.  And anyway, Chuck Norris doesn’t use Facebook, because if you ever read Chuck Norris’ status, it’d only say one of these various facts.
  4. Jorge Cham of PhD Comics gives a fantastic primer on statistics for news outlets:
  5. Rickets, a disease due to Vitamin D deficiency not really seen since the Victorian era, is on the rise.  The blame is going to video games, surprise surprise.  You can get enough Vitamin D to avoid rickets by going in the sun just a few minutes each day.  Based on the study I described in #1, the problem isn’t video games – it’s the Internet.  And parents who don’t encourage their kids to go outside for 5 minutes a day.
  6. An electromagnetic pulse gun is being developed that could be used by police in chases to knock out all of the electronics (like, for example, power steering) in a fleeing vehicle.
  7. SAS, the well-known developer of statistical software, has been named Fortune’s Best Company to Work For.
  8. A graduate student at the University of Manitoba failed comprehensive exams twice but was reinstated due to “test anxiety.”
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