Monday, January 7, 2019

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Youth use of e-cigarettes has soared over the past year  $(Link)

"Youth use of e-cigarettes has soared over the past year, thanks largely to Juul, whose sales have skyrocketed since mid-2017. One out of every five high school students—more than three million teens—reported using e-cigarettes recently, according to a federal survey conducted this past spring. Some, like Mr. Kinard, have become addicted to the powerful doses of nicotine that Juuls and similar e-cigarettes pack."

How much of the internet is fake? Turns out, a lot of it, actually (Link)

"Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures. In October, small advertisers filed suit against the social-media giant, accusing it of covering up, for a year, its significant overstatements of the time users spent watching videos on the platform (by 60 to 80 percent, Facebook says; by 150 to 900 percent, the plaintiffs say)."

Addiction to a language-learning app $(Link)

"Von Ahn set out with his developers to make the app as addictive as Candy Crush and other popular games—in a good way. Good or bad, Duolingo’s addiction rate is way up. Next-day retention is 55 percent, up from 13 percent in 2012. And with about 300 million users, Duolingo is the largest language-teaching company in the world, by user base. The company has tapped into the latest research from behavioral scientists such as Angela Duckworth, an expert on self-control, and cadged ideas from game makers, who, von Ahn says, “have nailed down behavioral addiction really well.” One copied technique, “appointment mechanics,” encourages users to keep returning by rewarding streaks of uninterrupted daily practice with jewels that can be traded for in-game rewards."