Friday, October 31, 2014

What is the greatest threat to the world?

It’s Halloween, so it is time to be terrified. The Pew Global Attitudes Project at the Pew Research Center conducted a very large survey in 44 countries, using a sample of about 1,000 people in each one. It was done from March 17, 2014 to June 5, 2014 and reported on October 16th in an article titled Middle Easterners See Religious and Ethnic Hatred as Top Global Threat that has a link to their Complete Report.

They asked the following multiple-choice question:

“Now, turning to the world situation, here is a list of five dangers in the world today. In your opinion, which one of these poses the greatest threat to the world?

AIDS and other infectious diseases

Growing gap between the rich and poor

Pollution and other environmental problems

Religious and ethnic hatred

Spread of nuclear weapons

(Don’t Know/Refused)”

A large table lists those five answers (but omits the Don’t Know/Refused category, which mostly ranged from just zero to five percent). 

Another shorter article titled What is the greatest threat to the world? Depends on where you live provides a summary, with the following five takeaway headlines:

1. Infectious disease, AIDS, top concerns in Sub-Saharan Africa

2. Religious and ethnic hatred is the top danger for those in the Middle East

3. Europeans worry about inequality

4. In the U.S., Republicans and Democrats see different threats

5. Japanese worry about nuclear weapons

The first, longer article noted that:

“In Japan, which remains to this day the only population to experience a nuclear attack, 49% say the spread of nuclear weapons is the world’s greatest threat, the highest rating for this issue across the 44 countries surveyed. Three-in-ten in Pakistan, which borders nuclear rival India, say the spread of those weapons is of paramount danger, garnering the highest spot.”

A bar chart (click to enlarge it) shows the results for Japan, Pakistan, and India. Note that nuclear weapons were considered a threat by 49% in Japan, 30% in Pakistan, and 19% in India (where they only came in third, behind religious & ethnic hatred and inequality). But, also note that Don’t Know was abnormally high at 18% in Pakistan and 10% in India. Perhaps the results from Pakistan should be ignored. 

Another bar chart shows results for the United States and Mexico. Our southern neighbor has a rather different ranking of fears than the U.S.

The image of a modern Sword of Damocles was modified from this 1903 Puck cartoon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top 40 fears of British women and men from a survey by OVO Energy

Halloween is tomorrow, so let's scare people by discussing lots of fears! Yesterday Ovo Energy issued a press release titled Top 40 bizarre British fears revealed. They had surveyed 2,000 people, and then reported separate Top 40 lists for women and men. 

Just five fears were ranked exactly the same by women and men:

Spiders (#1)
Going underwater (#2)
Ageing (#11)
Blood (#26)
Birds of prey (#37)

Here is the full Top 40 List for women (including the corresponding rankings for men):

Spiders (#1, #1)
Going underwater (#2, #2)
Being trapped in a lift (#3, #17)
Underground tunnels (#4, #12)
Being pulled up for karaoke (#4, not on list)
Heights (#6, #3)
Wasps (#7, #10)
Debt (#8, #9)
Being singled out during stand-up comedy (#9, #13)
The dentist (#10, #7)
Ageing (#11, #11)
Being lonely (#12, not on list)
Take-off/landing in a plane (#13, #15)
Basements (#14, #27)
Rough sea (#15, #18)
Energy bills/prices (#16, #14)
The dark (#17, #23)
Rollercoasters (#18, not on list)
Mice (#19, #29)
Moths (#20, #30)
Driving in a storm (#21, #25)
Dogs off the lead #22, not on list)
Vomit (#23, #20)
Motorways (#24, not on list)
The tube (#25, #21)
Blood (#26, #26)
People who stare (#27, not on list)
Thunder and lightning (#28, #34)
Masks (#29, not on list)
Breaking up with partner (#30, #19)
Multi-storey car parks (#31, not on list)
Public toilets (#32, #35)
Octopus (#34, not on list)
Psychics/mediums (#35, #39)
Flushing toilets on planes (#36, not on list)
Birds of prey (#37, #37)
Simulation rides (#38, not on list)
Old embarrassing photos of yourself (#39, not on list)
Attics (#40, not on list)

15 fears listed by both sexes were ranked higher by women than men. Also, there were 11 fears listed by women that were not listed by men in their Top 40. Conversely, men had the following 14 fears that the women didn’t even list in their Top 40:

Public speaking (#5)
Lifelong injury (#6)
Balding/receding (#8)
Bankruptcy (#16)
Crying in public (#22)
Being best man (#24)
Basements (#27)
Holding a baby (#28)
Clowns (#31)
Getting married (#32)
Daughter getting a boyfriend (#33)
Seeing an ex-girlfriend (#36)
Ghosts (#38)
The mother-in-law (#40)

Note that clowns were only listed by women, and ghosts were only listed by men. Curiously neither zombies nor daleks were listed by either sex. 

Why would a smaller energy firm do such a survey? They really were interesting in where Energy bills/prices (#16 for women, #14 for men) ranked. An article in the Sunday Express on November 13, 2013 discussed Switching on to smaller energy firms. Another article at This is MONEY on April 9, 2014 described An energy price war at last? Ovo is first firm to pledge (annual) bills below £1,000 as small firms throw down gauntlet to the Big Six.

Ovo Energy also reported the following list of Top 5 Scariest Situations:

1. Taking your driving test
2. Becoming a parent for the first time
3. Going on a first date
4. Asking the boss for a pay rise
5. Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time.

The Halloween Scene came from here at Openclipart.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chapman Survey on American Fears includes both zombies and ghosts

Halloween is coming up, so once again it’s time to talk about fears of ghosts and zombies, as shown above. Last Monday, October 20th, Chapman University issued a press release titled What Americans Fear Most - New Poll from Chapman University. It described results from the very interesting Chapman Survey on American Fears, and linked to another web page with a more detailed discussion and a link to the Complete Survey Results.

The survey covers fears, worries, and concerns. It is much broader than than typical surveys of 10 to 15 fears like the YouGov survey reported in March. The web survey was done between April 15th and 28th by GfK Group, and questioned a random sample of 1573 U. S. adults. It includes a section titled Phobias, which actually covers twelve things (specific and social fears) people really are just very afraid of.

Their general question was:

“How afraid are you of the following?”

with answers of:

Very Afraid
Somewhat Afraid
Not Afraid At All
Refused (which includes don’t know)

for the following specifics which I’ve summarized [with the original longer question in square brackets]:

Animals or insects [Bugs, snakes, dogs, or any other animal/insect]

Blood or needles [Blood and/or needles]


Drowning [Drowning, water]

Enclosed spaces [Small enclosed spaces, such as caves, tunnels, closets and elevators]



Heights [High places like balconies, bridges, or roofs]

Public speaking


The dark


Percentages for the highest level of fear, Very Afraid, are shown above in a bar chart. Let’s look first at the top five. Public speaking (8.8%) was first, Heights (8.4%) was a close second, Drowning (7.5% was third, Animals or Insects (7.3%) was fourth, and Blood or Needles (6.3%) was fifth. Zombies (3.6%) was eighth, Clowns (2.6%) was tenth, The dark (2.5%) was eleventh, and Ghosts (1.8%) was twelfth. The margin of error for a survey with a sample of 1573 people is about 2.5%, so 8.8% and 8.4% aren’t really different at all, and 1.8% might as well be zero.

Percentages for the second level of fear, Afraid, are shown above in a second bar chart. Public Speaking (16.5%) was first, Heights (16.3%) was a very close second, Animals or Insects (14.9%) was third, Blood or Needles (12.3%) was fourth, and Enclosed Spaces (12.1%) was fifth. Drowning (11.8%) dropped to sixth. Ghosts (1.8%) was tenth, Zombies (5.3%) was eleventh, and Clowns (5.0%) was twelfth.

Percentages for the third level of fear, Somewhat Afraid, are shown above in a third bar chart. Now Animals or Insects (38.2%) was first, Strangers (36.9%) was second, Public Speaking (36.6%) was an extremely close third, Heights (36.0%) was fourth, and Enclosed Spaces (28.9%) was fifth. Drowning (28.5%) again was sixth. Again Ghosts (16.1%) was tenth, Zombies (9.3%) was eleventh, and Clowns (8.3%) was twelfth.

We also can add the percentages for the first and second levels of fear, Very Afraid and Afraid, to produce larger results as shown above in a fourth bar chart. Public Speaking (25.3%) was first, Heights (24.7%) was a close second, Animals or Insects (22.2%) was third, Drowning (19.3%)  was fourth, and Blood or Needles (18.6%) was fifth. Enclosed Spaces (18.1%) was sixth. Zombies (8.9%) was ninth, Clowns (7.6%) was eleventh, and Ghosts (7.3%) was twelfth.

Finally, we can add the percentages for the first, second, and third levels of fear to  produce the impressively large Sum of Fears results shown above in a fifth bar chart. Public Speaking (61.9%) was first, Heights (60.7%) was a close second, Animals or Insects (60.3%) was an extremely close third, Strangers (47.9%) was fourth, and Drowning (47.7%) was an extremely close fifth. Down at the bottom Ghosts (23.4%) was tenth, Zombies (18.2%) was eleventh, and Clowns (15.9%) was twelfth.

Zombies aren’t very terrifying now, which explains the popularity of TV shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead. We’ve gotten used to that idea. It’s quite a change from way back in 1968 when Night of the Living Dead (the original black and white film) came out.

The scary image was derived from a 1937 WPA Federal Art Project poster.


UPDATE - October 30, 2014

On October 30th Christopher Ingraham’s Wonkblog at The Washington Post was about how (based on inside information not in the Complete Survey Results I discussed above) Clowns are twice as scary to Democrats as they are to Republicans.

But, he only showed six of the twelve categories. Also, when you look on page 14 of the Chapman survey for political preferences, there are 31.4% who said they were Independent along with the 37.0% Democrat and 28.5% Republican.

It also would be interesting to compare fears based on Conservative versus Moderate versus Liberal.

I commented on his blog post. 


UPDATE - October 31, 2014

Some time yesterday Mr. Ingraham wimped out and changed the headline for his post to America’s top fears: Public speaking, heights, and bugs. (Of course the link still contains his original title). That ranking matched his orange and black bar chart titled What are you so afraid of?, which really is for the sum of Very Afraid and Afraid, as shown above in my orange one.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What do the most Americans fear? The Chapman Survey on American Fears and the press release copying reflex

On October 20th Chapman University issued a press release titled What Americans Fear Most - New Poll from Chapman University. It described results from their very interesting Chapman Survey on American Fears, and linked to another web page with a more detailed discussion and a link to the Complete Survey Results.

The survey covers fears, worries, and concerns. It is much broader than than typical surveys of 10 to 15 fears (covering topics such as blood, clowns, darkness, heights, flying, and public speaking) like the YouGov survey reported in March. The web survey was done between April 15th and 28th by GfK Group, and questioned a random sample of 1573 U. S. adults.
That press release says:

“The survey shows that the top five things Americans fear the most are:

Walking alone at night
Becoming the victim of identity theft
Safety on the internet
Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
Public speaking”

I downloaded and reviewed the complete survey results, and realized the press release was completely wrong about what the survey had measured. Really it was what the most Americans fear, since the results are reported as percentages. Measuring what Americans fear most would instead have required asking them to rank each fear on a scale (say from zero to five), which is something psychologists have been doing for decades with what are called Fear Survey Schedules.          

It gets worse though. That top five list combines results for the top category from questions that were  asked two different ways. One was:

“How safe do you feel [walking alone at night?] or [On the Internet]

with answers of:

Not At All Safe (reported as 20.3% for walking alone, and 11.3% for on the internet)
Somewhat Safe
Very Safe
Refused (don’t know)

The other general question was:

“How afraid are you of the following?”

with answers of:

Very Afraid
Somewhat Afraid
Not Afraid At All
Refused (don’t know)

for the following specifics (and an answer of Very Afraid):

Identity theft/credit card fraud (19.6%)
Being the victim of a mass/random shooting (8.9%)
Public speaking (8.8%)

That's like comparing bananas with blueberries. 

How about the margin of error for a survey with a sample of 1573 people? It is about 2.5%, so 20.3% and 19.6%, or 8.9% and 8.8% aren’t really different at all.

It’s comical how many journalists didn’t think critically, and borrowed the title of the press release for their reporting about this survey. Perhaps that’s just a reflex, like when the doctor hits your knee with his little hammer.

On October 22nd, at the Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire used the title What americans fear most. At the Dallas Morning News Shannon Grigsby used New list of what Americans fear most doesn’t strike terror in my heart. CBS News used Fear factor: New study reveals what scares Americans most. At Yahoo Health Ryan Wallace went with The One Thing Americans Fear The Most, and then got fanciful about how that question was asked.

What has me excited is that in the Phobias section of the Chapman survey they not only included the usual fear of clowns, but also asked about both ghosts and zombies.  Watch this blog for more.

The Cry and Reflex images both were derived from those at Openclipart

Friday, October 24, 2014

What is a survery?

Presumably a survery is a survey that is stored electronically on a surver (like the rack mount one shown above. Actually it’s a humorous typo that shows up occasionally, like in a blog post on April 15th from the Eliot Management Group titled Crafting a Customer Survery. It also popped up on February 10th in a news article on the web site for the Independent (Ireland) which noted:

“In a worldwide survery of 9,417 internet users from France, Germany, India, Singapore, the US and the UK, around 14pc of users in India said they spent 12 hours a day or more on the internet.”

Servery is a real word that refers to a room or area from which meals are served. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary more specifically says it is either a butler's pantry or:

“a service alcove with counter or buffet between dining room and kitchen.” 

The related phony George Bush-ism, strategery, is shown in a brief YouTube video.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sombreros and proxemics

Today’s F Minus cartoon by Tony Carrillo shows a man sitting on the bench seat of a bus while wearing a sombrero with a very broad brim. Adjacent passengers are moving away, and the caption amusingly but incorrectly claims that:

“It’s called a sombrero. I believe that is Spanish for ‘personal space’.”

It made me chuckle, since I haven’t written about proxemics in a long time. Back on September 9, 2009 I blogged about Closeness, proxemics, and graphics. In that post I noted that there were four spaces or distances:

Public space - greater than 12 feet
Social space - 4 to 12 feet
Personal space - 1.5 to 4 feet
Intimate space - less than 1.5 feet

Perhaps Tony should have said intimate space.

The sombrero image was derived from this one at Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 Simple Rules for Better Figures

In the September 2014 issue of PLoS Computational Biology there is an excellent brief tutorial article titled Ten Simple Rules for Better Figures by Nicholas P. Rougier, Michael Droettboom, and Philip E. Bourne. You can read it here.

Their rules are:

1. Know Your Audience

2. Identify Your Message

3. Adapt the Figure to the Support Medium

4. Captions Are Not Optional

5. Do Not Trust The Defaults

6. Use Color Effectively

7. Do Not Mislead the Reader

8. Avoid “Chartjunk”

9. Message Trumps Beauty

10. Get the Right Tool

Their discussion on how to use color effectively references another article (Ref. 6) by Okabe and Ito titled Color Universal Design (CUD) - How to make figures and presentations that are friendly to colorblind people.

Before today I never had heard of PLoS Computational Biology. How did I find that article then? I went to the wonderful PubMed Central (PMC) full-text free magazine article database, and did a search on the key word storytelling. Then I changed the Display Settings to sort the results by Electronic Pub (publication) Date, and reveal the most recent articles. 

The image of a drawing class in 1916 came from the photo collection at the Library of Congress.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Top 10 things the average guy fears the most

Since Halloween is at the end of the month, magazines like to print scary articles in their October issues. In the back of Men’s Health (USA), on page 164, is one titled Sum of All Fears  - we scare up the terrifying truth about what makes men afraid, very afraid. The version posted on their web site is titled The Truth About Fear.

They include the following Top 10 Fears List

1. Heights
2. Being maimed
3. Snakes
4. Dental treatments
5. Injections
6. Spiders
7. Enclosed spaces
8. Flying
9. Sight of blood
10. Thunder

Curiously it does not list any percentages, and it doesn’t include fear of public speaking. (However, there is a paragraph titled Stave Off Stage Fright).

Elsewhere on the page there are the following eleven percentages:

46% say seeing their doctor is enough to scare them silly

37% worry their hairline will vanish faster than a camp counselor in Friday the 13th

27% of men survived a health scare

26% who as boys slept with the lights on

19% of men have been so startled they felt they were having a heart attack

18% of fathers said the birth of their child was the scariest day of their life

14% of men say they’re in constant fear of unemployment

11% of men think no villain would be scarier to face than Chucky

10% find life so starling they take antianxiety meds

10% are afraid their six-pack (abs) will disappear

3% still want the lights on, perhaps hoping for wicked-good sex 

There is no byline, and they don’t refer to where any of this stuff came from. I’d trust it only as far as I could throw that page (after tearing it out and folding it into a paper airplane).

For balance, elsewhere on the web site site is a web page with a list of 13 Things a Man Should Never Fear

1. Yoga
2. Having Her Drive
3. Black-and=White Movies
4. Superhero Cartoons

5. Small Dogs
6. Snuggling
7. French Cheese
8. Makeover Shows
9. Tea
10.Video Games
11. Country Music
12. Street-Cart Food
13. Staying Home Alone on a Saturday Night

The image was derived from this one on the Library of Congress web site.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A tenth presentation tip that will make you really stand out

On October 8, 2014 at her PPT POP web site Clemence Lepers posted an article titled 9 Actionable Presentation Tips That’ll Make You Stand Out. Gavin Meikle blogged about it containing Another Great Presentation Skills Infographic.   

Most of the Clemence’s article is an infographic that unfortunately makes a poor first impression since her title:


contains an extra word OF (or FOR).

My tenth tip (or commandment) is just to slow down. Set aside what you have done for a day. Go back and proofread it one last time. (Or ask someone else to look at it). Then send it out. When you don’t, you probably will miss that extra OF.

Clemence also quoted the statistic from a recent Prezi survey that:

 “...70% of employed Americans who give presentations say presentation skills are critical to their success at work.” 

I’d discussed that survey in a blog post where I noted that it was spun upward from less than 50% in the original press release headline which instead said:

“Presentations Are Critical to Success According to Nearly 1 in 2 of Employed Americans.”

On the other hand, 46% of employed Americans admitted doing something else rather than listening during presentations by a co-worker.

Back in 2009 I blogged about the popularity of top lists with various numbers of items and found that ten items would give you about 50 times more Google hits than nine items. 

The Ten Commandments image came from siervo on Openclipart.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The 2104 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, STED Microscopy, and the Donut of Darkness

This month I was a bit puzzled when comparing how journalists described this year’s winners of the Nobel prizes for physics and chemistry. They had an easy time with physics. For example CNET said Efficient, useful blue-light LED draws Nobel Prize in Physics. But, many fumbled on headlines for chemistry, like the Associated Press with 3 win chemistry Nobel for super-zoom microscopes, and the New York Times with Nobel Laureates Pushed Limits of Microscopes. At Wikipedia there is a jargon-laden article covering the broad topic of Super-resolution microscopy.   

The optical microscopes that won the Nobel prize were rather different from the brightfield transmitted light microscope (shown above) that you encountered in a school biology or science class. That type of microscope has a resolution of about half the wavelength of visible light. What’s different about the new ones?

First, these are fluorescence microscopes. The sample is illuminated using ultraviolet (black) light, which makes molecules glow (fluoresce) when observed.

Second, these are scanning microscopes. The sample is lit by moving a very narrow laser beam across the surface. The popular Nobel article titled How the optical microscope became a nanoscope described it as being like a nano flashlight.

One of the techniques that won the prize is Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy, which was developed by Stefan Hell. The depletion part of the acronym describes a very clever trick, which is the third difference. The sample is scanned by two coaxial beams: an inner ultraviolet one, and an outer depletion one that prevents fluorescence and thus creates a “Donut of Darkness” as shown above. I instantly thought of donuts when I saw Figure 2 from the Nobel article on the principle of STED microscopy. Apparently that wouldn’t have occurred to those Swedish authors, since donuts aren’t as common of a breakfast food there as in America. (Sweden just got Dunkin’ Donuts shops in May 2014).

You can watch a 39-minute YouTube video from the iBiology Microscopy Course in which Stefan Hell explains Super-Resolution: Overview and Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) Microscopy.

The image of an optical microscope came from the National Cancer Institute.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is it time for National Face Your Ears Day?

No, that’s just a typo. Yesterday (the second Tuesday in October) was National Face Your Fears Day (which I blogged about back in 2012). For that occasion at Sims Wyeth just had an article with 17 Inspiring Quotes to Help You Face Your Fears.

You’d need to use a mirror (or something similar, like a still pond) to face your ears, as shown above in Edward Burne-Jones’s 1875 painting The Mirror of Venus.

Where can you find out about all those obscure days & weeks? Just look in the reference section at your friendly local public library for the latest edition of Chase’s Calendar of Events, which calls itself:

 “the authoritative guide to special occurrences, holidays, anniversaries, celebrity birthdates, religious observances, sporting events, and more from around the world.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20 annoying buzzwords or phrases that nevermore should be used in the workplace

On September 4th Accountemps issued a press release about their survey of annoying buzzwords and phrases that should be used nevermore. They interviewed over 600 human-relations managers at companies both in the U.S. and Canada.

In alphabetical order their top twenty were:

At the end of the day * #
Circle back #
Crunch time
Deep dive
Employee engagement
I am overwhelmed
It’s above my pay grade
It’s not my job
Let me get back to you
Leverage #
Out of pocket
Pick my brain
Synergy * #
Think (thinking) outside the box * #
Value-added * (value add) #
When am I going to get a raise?
Win-win *

Five marked with an asterisk (*) also were in their 2004 survey titled Buzzwords Gone Bad  that listed 18, and are thus extremely stale.

Six marked with a pound sign (#) also were in their 2009 survey titled What’s the Buzz, that listed 17 and are somewhat stale.

Others from 2004 that are gone and will not be missed are:

Accountability management
Customer centric
Core competency
Generation X
Get on the same page
On the runway
Redeployed people
Take it offline

The others from 2009 that are gone and will not be missed are:

Cutting edge
Game changer
It is what it is
On the same page
Reach out

Back in 2012 I blogged about Tired old phrases to use nevermore (from a longer list published almost a century ago). 

The image with a raven was modified from one on Puck magazine cover published back on November 7, 1900.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Is that information fresh, or old and moldy?

Now and then when I visit Alltop Speaking, I look at Jeff Davidson’s Interruption Management. His latest article dated October 3rd is titled A Nation of Druggies and includes a startling statement that:

“Patrick Di Justo, writing in Wired magazine observed, ‘Antidepressants are the most commonly popped pills in the country, accounting for 227 million prescriptions filled last year alone...'.”

You might assume that last year logically would refer to 2013. But, glance at the web address for Mr. Davidson’s article, and you will see a 2007/12/ date (Jeff likes to reuse his stuff). What year was Mr. Di Justo really talking about?  His article, From Benzedrine to Abilify, Chronicling America’s Love of Psychiatric Drugs, was posted at back on September 25, 2007.

Since the U.S. population now is about 319 million, if those prescriptions were spread around evenly it would mean that roughly 71% of us had gotten one. Obviously that’s silly, so what percent of U.S. adults really are using antidepressants?

Over at National Institute of Mental Heath (NIMH) there is a post by Tom Insel from December 6, 2011 titled Director’s Blog: Antidepressants: A Complicated Picture which says that:

“As these new CDC data show, 11 percent of Americans aged 12 and older (3.7 percent of youth between 12 and 17) report taking antidepressants. Last year, antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed medications, right after drugs to lower cholesterol. About 254 million prescriptions were written for them, resulting in nearly $10 billion in costs.”

That is useful information, rather than just something to startle us. The image of moldy bread came from here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Public speaking fear for adolescents in Japanese high schools

This year the results of a very large survey about fear of public speaking was published in Asia-Pacific Psychiatry magazine. That article by T. A. Furukawa et al was titled Public speaking fears and their correlates among 17,615 Japanese adolescents and appeared in Volume 6 on pages 99 to 104. In 2008 and 2009 they surveyed a sample of adolescents both in junior (grades 7 to 9, ages 12 to 15) and senior (grades 10 to 12, ages 15 to 18) high schools. Students were in both in Kochi Prefecture and Mie Prefecture (in its capital, Tsu City). You can read the abstract here at PubMed, or download a pdf of the full text here.

Students were asked:

“Have you had trembling hands, quavering voice or lost voice due to tension and anxiety when speaking in front of other people in the past month?”

They could answer No, Probably No, Probably Yes, or Yes. Only the last Yes answers were taken as a positive result.

An overall average of 7.3% reported public speaking fear. Detailed results from their Table 1 are shown above by age in a bar chart. The percentages ranged from 5.7% to 9.1%, and tended to decrease with increasing age.

Results for both females and males by age are shown above in another bar chart. At all ages females reported higher percentages that feared public speaking than males did. 

These percentages are similar to the 6.8% of Swedish adolescents in junior high school that reported a marked fear of speaking in front of the class.

These percentages are much lower than those reported for American adolescents in the NCS-A by Green et al ( 35.8% for Performing for an audience, and 24.9% for Speaking in class), but are not really comparable since the NCS-A asked for lifetime prevalence (Have you ever?) rather than monthly prevalence. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The wrong address

On September 26th in her speech at the Value Voters Summit Sarah Palin warned that:

“Ignorance and deception, they are the enemies of democracy.”

A few minutes earlier she had criticized the president by claiming:

“Don’t retreat. You reload with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, anyway truth.”

The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. 1400 is two blocks to the east, where the Willard Intercontinental Hotel sits. ABC News gleefully reported that
Sarah Palin’s Confused About Where The White House Is. She referred to her written notes just after that mistake. Using the wrong address didn’t help her credibility. She could instead have directly referred to the White House.

Don’t use the wrong address in your address. Look it up first.

Monday, October 6, 2014

So long Paul Revere

On Saturday Paul Revere, age 76, died of brain cancer at his home in Garden Valley, Idaho. Paul was the leader of the 1960’s rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders, who began in Caldwell as the Deadbeats. 

Today the Idaho Statesman has an article Remembering Paul Revere, Idaho’s rock revolutionary. Back when I was in high school their 23 hit records like Kicks and Good Thing were all over AM radio.