Video games CAN be good for you

Hallelujah. It looks like all those naysayers who have been telling us for years that video games are bad for you and will rot your brain or turn you into a violent psychopath were wrong after all. A new Oxford University study suggests that children who play games for up to an hour a day…

Twitter is just a passing fad, claims research


Research from Nielsen Online suggests that Twitter might have problems with ‘stickiness’ – with retaining users that give it a try. Its statistics suggest that more than 60% of Twitter users fail to return a month of using it.

In fact for most of the past twelve months, Twitter has had difficulty keeping more than 30% of its users after a month, though the entry of Oprah Winfrey has helped. Facebook and MySpace, before their explosive growth periods, had nearly double the retention rates that Twitter currently faces.

What would be interesting to see would be how many people come back later on. It’s been my experience of the site that people sign up and bag their name, then ignore it until lots of their friends are using it, at which time they return.

Still, it’s worrying news for the site which needs to start crossing over sooner, rather than later. Intense media coverage in the UK has helped, but it’s still not obvious to many new Tweeters how the site works, or its Twittiquette.

(via Nielsen Wire)

Research claims violent video games are good for you


Research from US and Israeli scientists indicates that playing violent video games might be good for your eyes. The researchers asked two groups of non-gamers to play Call of Duty and The Sims, and then tested their vision.

Turns out that contrast sensitivity increased 43% in the group playing Call of Duty, whereas it only increased 11% in the people playing The Sims. The researchers think this may be because Call of Duty is a little more fast-moving than Maxis’ hit game.

As an avid gamer who had his first eye test over the weekend, I’m not convinced. As a gamer who gets occasionally nagged to play less ‘shooty-loud’ games, I’ve now got an excuse. Guess science is good for something.

(via Metro)

Microsoft studies 30bn instant messages and "proves" six degrees of separation theory


The theory that every human being is separated from anyone else by a maximum of six steps may have gained some ground thanks to a study of some thirty billion instant messages by Microsoft’s researchers.

Studying the addresses of messages sent during June 2006 (yes, two years ago — what, were they reading them as well?), the researchers found that any two people were linked by seven or fewer acquaintances — 6.6 steps to be precise, with over three-quarters of the pairs linkable in seven or fewer steps…