Freemium games are becoming predatory

Chris Clark succinctly explaining what feels so wrong about the current “freemium” trend in mobile games:

So I have to hope this business of casual gaming will eventually be regulated the same way liquor and gambling are. When your products pull all the same psychological levers, and the unwitting abuse of your products leads to all the same social and financial consequences, you’re asking for trouble. It isn’t that casual games aren’t any fun, it’s that they’re starting to get predatory.

Real and practical iPhone battery life solutions

This article on iOS battery life is being linked to by everyone, and for good reason. iPhone battery life issues are frustrating, and this guy has taken a very common-sense approach to dealing with it, while also addressing the most commonly-held misguided beliefs about it.

Scotty Loveless:

This is not one of those “Turn off every useful feature of iOS” posts that grinds my gears. My goal is to deliver practical steps to truly solve your iOS battery woes.

Some great tips in here, but maybe the greatest is the first one. I started wondering a few weeks ago if the Facebook app is a problem battery-wise when I noticed that it would pop open instantaneously even if I hadn’t opened it in days. It shouldn’t be in memory ready to use if it hasn’t been used in a long time. I started trying to remember to manually kill it each time when I was done with it, but it looks like that’s both not an ideal way to handle the problem, and that there’s a more elegant solution:

Step 1: Disable Location and Background App Refresh for Facebook

This first step may seem extremely specific, but that’s because it is extremely common and extremely effective. It has also been well tested and confirmed on many devices.

Also:

Step 3: Stop Quitting Your Apps in Multitasking

By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM. While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.

This is great stuff, and only 2 of the 8 tips Loveless offers.

Guide to Reducing Life’s Risks – NYTimes.com

Jared Diamond:

I first became aware of the New Guineans’ attitude toward risk on a trip into a forest when I proposed pitching our tents under a tall and beautiful tree. To my surprise, my New Guinea friends absolutely refused. They explained that the tree was dead and might fall on us.

Yes, I had to agree, it was indeed dead. But I objected that it was so solid that it would be standing for many years. The New Guineans were unswayed, opting instead to sleep in the open without a tent.

I thought that their fears were greatly exaggerated, verging on paranoia. In the following years, though, I came to realize that every night that I camped in a New Guinea forest, I heard a tree falling. And when I did a frequency/risk calculation, I understood their point of view.

Link

Typing Karaoke

Try to keep up as the lyrics for popular songs go by. The only one I could do was Creep by Radiohead.

Link

You Can’t Do Your Job if You Don’t Sleep – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review

You always hear about the effects of diet and exercise on cardiovascular health, but why not sleep?

… sleeping less than 6 hours a night increases the risk of developing or dying from heart disease by an astonishing 48 percent.

and:

There is no single behavioral change we’ve seen in our work with thousands of executives that more quickly and powerfully influences mood, focus, and productivity than a full night’s sleep.
Link

Cool Down With A Hot Drink? It’s Not As Crazy As You Think : The Salt : NPR

I’ve been told this is why Indian food is so spicy. Looks like science can explain what a billion people figured out intuitively.

So when you eat or drink something hot, these receptors get that heat signal, and that tells the nerve to let the brain know what’s going on. When the brain gets the message “It’s hot in here,” it turns on the mechanism we have to cool ourselves off: sweating. Yes, the hot drink makes you hotter … but it does something else, too. “The hot drink somehow has an effect on your systemic cooling mechanisms, which exceeds its actual effect in terms of heating your body,” says McNaughton. One other interesting thing. These TRPV1 receptors respond to hot heat, but they also respond to chemicals in chili peppers, which is why chili peppers seem hot. “That’s probably why chili peppers are so popular in hot countries because they cause sweating and activate a whole raft of mechanisms which lower the temperature,” he says.
Link

Social power and morality

We’ve probably all heard the saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Well, there is a great deal of research concerning the link between social power and morality, and most of it suggests that absolute power is not required to change people’s morals; sadly it tends to show that more power leads to less care for others, and less moral behavior.