40,000 Households in Kentucky Don't Have Internet Access

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A study of data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Census Bureau shows internet access across America. Kentucky is the worst state with 40,000 households without internet access. America’s Internet Divide The data is from 2017, which is the most recent information. Income and education both played a role in…

That Study Showing Kids Sprouting Horns is Probably Bogus

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Beth Mole reminds us that scientific studies are more nuanced than a sensationalized news story. The Washington Post wrote about a study showing kids sprouting horns because of bad posture, and phones were to blame. But it’s probably bogus.

Perhaps the most striking problems are that the study makes no mention of horns and does not include any data whatsoever on mobile devices usage by its participants who, according to the Post, are growing alleged horns. Also troubling is that the study authors don’t report much of the data, and some of the results blatantly conflict with each other.

iPhone Users 2x as Likely to Text and Drive

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In a new study (n=2,000) 51% of iPhone users said they text and drive, compared to 35% for Android users.

16% of iPhone users said they never get distracted while driving (vs. 23% of Android users and 38% of users of other mobile operating systems).

iPhone users are more than twice as likely than Android users to video-chat, use Instagram, stream shows on Netflix or Hulu, and take photos and videos while driving.

10% of iPhone users admitted watching videos on YouTube while driving, while 4% of Android users admitted to doing the same.

Which One is Better for the Environment: Physical or Digital Music?

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A study published yesterday found that streaming digital music led to “unintended” environmental and economic impacts. Despite a reduction in the use of plastics in physical music media, storing and transmitting digital music led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Researchers discovered that the amount of GHGs generated by the streaming and downloading of music online is actually much larger than the amount that was once generated by the production of plastic used to make vinyl records, cassettes and CDs in earlier decades.

The study seems focused on plastic use in physical media vs. storing and streaming digital music from servers. I’d like to see more data, such as how much electricity is used when billions of people play the average CD vs. a digital song.

 

Some Guidelines on how to Spot Bad Science

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Recently I wrote a PSA on Wi-Fi and cancer, and a lot of people disagree with me by sending me links to studies and other news that also disagree. That’s fine, but at the same time a lot more effort goes into scientific research than cherry picking Google results. I don’t claim to know better than these studies, but a scientific study needs to be taken into context of the field as a whole. John Oliver had a good segment on studies and how they can be misunderstood. Compound Interest has a rough guide to spotting bad science and red flags to watch out for. I’ve made use of this guide for some time, and I think it’s helpful.

This graphic looks at the different factors that can contribute towards ‘bad’ science – it was inspired by the research I carried out for the recent aluminium chlorohydrate graphic, where many articles linked the compound to causing breast cancer, referencing scientific research which drew questionable conclusions from their results.