Teenage attention span too short for Facebook

5 07 2010

An online gaming site has done a survey which reports that the main reason for teens leaving Facebook and other social networking sites is that it is not interesting enough for them. Obviously they need more ways to poke, bite, stab, tag, chat, and farm their friends.

While “It’s boring” ranked first amongst ‘lapsed facebook users’ (45%), not far behind was unsurprisingly “too many notifications” (27%), too hard to keep up with activity (21%), and too many ads (20%). Also coming up was the presence of parents and *shudder* other adults on Facebook. They do realise that it is meant for older people, right? (But not parents though, that is weird).

The gaming site obviously asked about social network gaming, and the economics related to it. I’m pretty happy that about two thirds of kids realise spending cash on virtual currency, clothes and power ups is a waste of money – but perhaps disheartened at the number of parents who have given children a special allowance to waste on virtual pitchforks and carrot seed. These parents should be really encouraging children to be online for at least tangible, if no less frivolous objects, such as crap on eBay, retail games (such as Steam or an MMORPG), or digital downlaodable content off iTunes. That would be the responsible thing, for sure.


My moustache brings all the girls from the yard

18 11 2009

The children at work have gotten over their initial amusement at the sudden burst of facial hair after my return from over a month of absence.

I have gotten two Facebook messages of approval amongst a tirade of uproar – the most vocal being my sister (“for the love of all that is good – go and shave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”) – but the worst comment was probably this video.

So I’ve tried a pulled out my natural charm for this weeks photo.

Mandatory shill: Contribute your donation to men’s health here.

More farming scams

16 11 2009

There has to be some sort of catch … surely …

Yo! Farmville is a scam

16 11 2009

While none of the students I personally taught mentioned Facebook in my presence (except when I asked “What do you read? Books? Magazines?”), I did get accosted by some random kids on the playground who kept insisting that I needed to add them to Facebook and help them farm on Farmville.

Luckily, despite them constantly checking my mandatory name badge for my full name, none of them had the attention span or retention to actually add me, so I do not have to deal with that can of worms. I am still left with sister insisting last week that I join her farm, clan, sorority and/or kitchen.

So I find it this video a bit funny showing the CEO of Zynga (the company behind  Farmville, Mafia, Vampires, YoVille and all that other crap), admitting that he basically took every low channel possible to build up his capital in the early days. This came to light is just after TechCrunch complimented Zynga on its devotion to “clean up facebook”. It’s not quite as noble if you helped create the mess in the first place.

Disclaimer: While I have ditched my vampire/zombie applications, and will not be joining any of Zynga’s other projects, I am pretty hooked on it’s Texas Hold ‘Em app … join and send me chips

For just one dollar a day

29 06 2009

No, I am not about  to con you into some religious sponsorship program.* Absolutely no African children for sale here.

It’s about SunSmart awareness and skin cancer prevention. The idea is that for $1 per day per person the Australian government could encourage people to regularly use sunscreen and prevent over 100,000 cancers and 20 deaths each year. This is based on some trials done in Queensland.

Now some of you might be trying to do the math. It is a little over 8 billion dollars annually for Australia’s 22 million inhabitants. But the authors make a compelling case by comparing it to the cost of public cosmetics expenditure, as well as government spending on vaccines (which cost $100s per dose).

Sunscreen is important for all Australians.

An exemplary example of framing science?

*Food for thought on religious-based missions here, here, and here

Rx-ky business

16 06 2009

Well, AFM called me up on the Insight post for painting my town¹ a little too apologetic for our phriends in Pharma (possibly due to some comments I made on this post of his, and these over at The Scientist, and also just today on Flickr…) .

So I guess I should make some self-apologetics, that my point has *not* been that Pharma is cute and cuddly and can always be trusted – c’mon they are industry – the wonderful Merck saga unfolds beyond just deceptive journals – this sort of awful ‘hit list’ language to “neutralise” and worse, “discredit”, critical doctors makes me cringe (and if you’re sick of hearing about Vioxx, you can get upset at Lilly’s innapropriate off-label Zyprexa marketing instead). There is nothing I can concoct to attempt to downplay the totally unethical nature of that sort of behaviour, to me it is indefensible. There are bad elements out there. Even if we rule the Vioxx shenanigans as an exceptional exception (which is the closest I can get to a defence) just take a look at the US statistics on Pharma fines and settlements made by over the last 9 years (and that just to the government, does not include private parties, class actions etc.)

Pharmaceutical companies are corporations. And yes, they are motivated by making money. And AFM is right, some guy in marketing will try to put that goal ahead of making quality medicines. But let’s remember that’s also what these companies are about making medicines. Medicines that help people. People do not get into this industry because they want to hurt people.

And that is where I start to get annoyed by anti-Pharma movements.

Read the rest of this entry »

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

1 06 2009

Last time I posted a peer review blog, I saw a significant spike in readership (partly in thanks to a digg stumbleupon).

I’m going to selfishly* capitalise on a similar expected spike by asking readers to consider visiting: THIS LINK and donating to my office’s fundraising for The Australian Cancer Council with the Biggest Morning Tea.

The Cancer Council is engaged on all levels of Cancer Support – whether sponsoring clinical trials, providing patients with information, or support services for friends and families. These days it’s pretty rare to find anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by cancer – even $5.00 can help one patient receive information and other resources.


If you live in Australia, you might even consider hosting your own morning tea event in the coming weeks. There’s always time for cake…

*It’s for charity

Image credit: Swamibu (Creative Commons)
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Thanks to everyone who donated. Our event raised $228.00$248.00. You can register your office, school, organisation or even your lonseome self as a host for 2010 on the biggest morning tea website.