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June 4, 2010

Friday Recap: Caffeine Jolt Edition

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Howdy on this fine Friday! It’s almost time to get your weekend on, but first, get some light reading in, ‘kay?

We were introduced to a new dinosaur species this week, and isn’t he a handsome specimen? Beak-like face and a name that translates to “grinding-mouth, wrinkle-eye” — Jeyawati was a cutie!

I fear we’re all headed in the direction of the dinosaurs if they can’t clean up the Gulf Coast oil disaster and stop the flow of oil. There’s not much we can do about that mess at the moment, so go ahead and plant a tree. Mother Nature could use any boost she can get right now.

smiling coffee
CC BY SA 2.0

Did you have a cup of coffee or three this morning to give you a boost? A new study suggests that the stimulation felt from caffeine may be just an illusion. The researchers say that regular coffee drinkers that get their caffeine fix every morning may simply be alleviating the fatiguing effects of caffeine withdrawal, giving the effect of alertness while actually just bringing them back to normal. Susan and Jessica are highly skeptical. And admitted coffee addicts… Just saying. ;)

Here’s another interesting study. It seems that self-control may be an exhaustible resource, or something you can run out of if you’ve used all yours up. There’s a room with a bowl of cookies and a bowl of radishes. One group is asked to eat a cookie then left alone in the room. Another group is asked to eat a radish then left alone in the room. Then each group is asked to do a puzzle that they don’t know is unsolvable. The group that ate the cookies persisted on the puzzle longer than the group that ate the radish. The researchers suggest that those who had to control themselves to not sneak a cookie had less control to spend on the puzzle than those who weren’t tempted to eat a cookie because they’d already had one. If you just spent all your self-control trying to get through my version of the story, go have a cookie.

But don’t let a journalist see you enjoying yummy food. Or do, and if that journo faults you for it, write a song about it, and share the journo’s phone number with all your Twitter followers. That’s what hip-hop artist M.I.A did, in an incident that the media is calling Truffle-Gate. Journalists have officially lost the last word.

screen grab of Matt Cutts on YouTube

Matt Cutts has given the final word on the Mayday update, confirming the algorithm change that occurred at the end of April/beginning of May. Improving the quality of results for long-tail queries was the main target of the adjustment. Matt also clarified that Mayday was independent of the Caffeine infrastructure update.

Zuckerberg sweating under the heat of a journalist grilling? That was a change for the young Facebook CEO who has been staunchly unapologetic in light of privacy concerns about the social network. The last time someone was that uncomfortable was when I watched the bucket bomb nonsense on America’s Got Talent this week.

Another CEO, Apple’s Steve Jobs, will be on stage, willingly spilling the beans about the new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. Technology analysts are already predicting what new iPhone features will be announced at that time, so stay tuned to see if the iPhone 4G lives up to the hype generated by the Gizmodo reveal. [Hey, if you do have a pass to WWDC, throw Gizmodo a bone and let them know what’s going on. They’re emphatically not invited this year. Ah, schadenfreude. —Susan]

Certainly, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, as one kookaburra is learning. The bird is in bootcamp after eating so many tourist-provided sausages that she become too fat to fly. Maybe she’ll be more motivated to run laps if she has a sweet pair of kicks with a birdy on them. Twitter and Nike have teamed up to design a shoe that brings together old skool styling with a modern trend, and voila — the Twitter shoe was born!

Speaking of being born, the world population is projected to be 9.1 billion by 2050. The UN has released a report that addresses depleting resources in the face of the population surge. One finding of the report says that a vegan diet is vital to preventing hunger and climate change in the future. That’s tough news for a meat lover to swallow!

Finally, I want to thank all the people who submitted articles to our Small Biz Discovery Contest, which is open for voting now. The great advice shared by @Vanetcetera, @BrentRangen, @cmsbuffet_com, @ecmechanics and @fleetliner need your votes before the winner of a pass to to SES San Francisco can be decided!

Have a great weekend, everyone! And be sure to come back next week for liveblog coverage of SMX Advanced. Catch ya later!

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3 responses to “Friday Recap: Caffeine Jolt Edition”

  1. SEO Reseller writes:

    Another great recap Virginia! It’s nice to see that you’ve put the issue of self-control, caffeine and Zuckerberg in the mixed. They’re almost synonymous. If I were one of the cookie eaters, I won’t probably be able to concentrate that much like the radish eaters, because I’d definitely want more cookies.

  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    I like your “reality” — maybe better than real reality. :P With your take on the cookie/radish study, you’re now the second person who’s pointed out to me a flaw in the study where “persistence” maybe is being mistaken for “self-control.” Either way, good evidence for eating lots of cookies! Data can be skewed but if it’s done in the name of cookies, that’s okay by me.

  3. Stephanie S writes:

    Hi Virginia, your post was rich with observations! And, though they were all comment-worthy, I just wanted to respond to the study findings that caffeine stimulation may be just an “illusion.” Wouldn’t it be interesting if most things in life are illusions and that one day we could learn how to pick and choose which illusions last (like our caffeine fix) and which ones fade quickly away (like the Gulf Coast oil disaster)? And, as far as cookie eaters vs radish eaters goes, could it be that sugar supports “persistence,” but radishes…not so much?

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