January 30, 2014, 2:55 PM —
Photo by stuartpilbrow/Flickr.
Your web-connected gadgets have at least one thing in common with margarine, coffee, red wine, eggs, low-carb diets, gluten-free regimens, and microwave radiation: new studies are always in the news about them all, announcing their alternate powers to kill you quicker or extend your life.
I mention this because of a tweet I saw this morning, while I was lying in bed and pretending I did not have to get up. Amit Agarwal, founder and editor of the ruthlessly helpful Digital Inspiration blog, tossed out a link to a site that provides just what he wrote: "One-sentence summaries of journal articles related to productivity, sleep and more."
That site is Useful Science, and I'm addicted. There are many categories of actual science performed by real accredited people, and many links on each category page. You don't have time to go through all of them and find the links that apply to you, the one looking at a screen right now. That is, however, my stock in trade.
Here, then, are some of the more interesting and helpful gadget-related and nerd-culture studies you might note from Useful Science.
Heavy cellphone users are often dumb, anxious, unhappy: "Heavy" as in "frequent," and the exact degrees to which your phone makes you less happy is known to Kent State and your therapist. (Useful Science link)
Color-shifting your monitor at night helps you get to sleep: Because as the scientists put it, not all light is created equal. Your body sees cooler/bluer light as an indication that it's still daytime, so blasting said light into your eyes at night is confusing. So check out F.lux (or its Chrome-only counterpart, G.lux (Useful Science link)
Multitasking, as always, is not so hot a practice for most: Because it not only makes people perform less well on tests, but lowers the scores of those around them, and actually makes you less proficient at task-switching challenges. (Useful Science links: 1, 2)
Coffee: not that bad for you, also could kill you: It is hydrating when consumed in moderation (3-6 cups per day, for people used to that amount), but also linked to greater death risk for more than 28 cups per week. Everything in moderation, as they say. Or, as I say, everything is trying to kill you, always, so dress warmly.