Grand Theft Childhood – Harvard researchers say violent video games do NOT make violent kids

A pair of Harvard researchers are saying what everybody who’s grown up with a controller in their hand already knows, violent video games don’t turn children into killers. According to a newly published book, ‘Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do’, psychologists Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson dispel common myths about violent games. In their two-year study, they found that there was no data to support any causation between games and real-life violence.

Kutner and Olson studied 1200 middle-school children in a $1.5 million federally funded study. Instead of studying the children in the laboratory, like other studies, the pair actually sat down and talked to kids after long bouts of game playing – sometimes in excess of 15 hours a week. The lucky kids played a variety of games from the very non-violent The Sims to grandma shooting, pedestrian bashing Grand Theft Auto.

They discovered that children who played violent video games – those rated Mature or above – were just relieving stress. Some children did exhibit some playful fighting after playing games, but this was similar to what children have always done after watching action or Karate-type movies.

51% of male children who played 15 hours or more of violent games per week were involved in fights in the past year compared to 28% who played regular video games. For girls, 40% of the violent game players were in fights compared to 14% of the non-violent players. Despite the figures, Kutner and Olson say this is just a correlation and that the fighting was probably due to an underlying psychological problem that children had before playing the video game.

Perhaps the most startling finding (at least for people the likes of Jack Thompson) is that boys that don’t play any video games at all are now considered to be socially inept. A danger sign for boys is “not playing video games at all, because it looks like for this generation, video games are a measure of social competence,” says Kutner and Olsen.

I wonder if Kutner and Olsen will now do a follow-up study to find out if the children who play GTA4 will have increased carjacking skills?

You can get the book online from Amazon for about $16.

Worldometers – World Statistics updated in realtime

Worldometers is managed by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world.

It’s pretty interesting to see information on the number of books sold, cars sold, computers sold, water used versus people without viable drinking water, etc.Here’s a screenshot of a small portion of the stats they show (note that when you view it on the website below the statistics are being update in real-time.:

http://www.worldometers.info/

CNN Shirt: ABC News Fucked Up The Pennsylvania Debate Shirts

In a stroke of genius CNNShirt (yes, it’s actually affiliated with CNN) releases a new TShirt that proclaims “ABC News Fucked Up The Pennsylvania Debate. I just saw it on CNN!”.

The shirts come in three colors: white, black, and grey. They have sizes for men and women ranging from small to extra large.

If you watched the debate, saw clips on any other news program, read any blogs, watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report, or talked to anybody remotely interested in the debate process then you’ll know the ABC debate was a total joke and it’s hilarious that CNN jumped on the opportunity to point it out.

Arabs hate the US – no shit? I wonder why?

BBC News reports that eight out of 10 people in the Arab world have a negative view of the US. Wow… no shit ya think?

By extension, governments supported by the US are unpopular, found the survey, which was released in Washington. A recent BBC World Service survey found views of the US had started to improve by 4% globally, although they remained negative in the Arab world.

Only 6% of Arabs believe the US troop surge in Iraq has worked, according to the latest poll carried out by by the University of Maryland and Zogby International.

According to this poll, a majority of Arabs believe that if US troops withdraw from Iraq, Iraqis would be able to bridge their differences, the survey found.Which is odd and show how accurate polls can be… a ABC/BBC poll conducted in Iraq and released in March, appeared to show a 20% increase in the number of Iraqis who felt the surge was succeeding and described the security situation as good.

CERN GRID – 10,000 times faster than broadband

he European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) is working on a new super fast Internet infrastructure called Grid. CERN, the particle physics center based in Geneva that created the web, has built “the grid,” a replacement for the Internet is expected to be 10,000 times faster than the regular broadband speed.

The UK’s Times Online has published a story on how a new “grid” computing project, designed to capture data from CERN’s (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) new Large Hadron Collider or LHC, the world’s largest particle accelerator due to be switched on in the European summer – or in other words, soon. The Times Online article quotes David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a ‘leading figure in the grid project’, as saying that the grid technology being used to capture data from the LHC project “could revolutionise society”, saying specifically that: “With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine”.

It took almost 15 years and $8 billion to construct for CERN. The LHC is located in a 27-km circular tunnel 100 meters below ground level outside Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. It has already been used to help design new drugs against malaria by analyzing 140m compounds, an undertaking that would have taken 420 years on a standard internet-linked PC.

Given the fact that most countries are still struggling with ADSL2+, fibre rollouts, WiMAX networks and 3.5G HSPA upgrades to existing 2G and 3G networks, CERN’s superfast broadband grid project is certainly making plenty of waves on the international technology news circuit.

But the reality is that consumers will have to likely wait years before the technology is sufficiently advanced – and affordable enough – to be made available for consumers. Still… the prospect sounds cool, and more speed is always better!