Thursday, July 25, 2013

What People Know (or, mostly, don't)

It's time for my occasional knowledge roundup, a look at breaking studies and stories about what people know (or don't know) about stuff. Some of these, well, you'll see ...
  • More than a third of Australians don't know how long it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun, says the Science Literacy of Australia report.  A third of respondents thought the Earth took a day to orbit the Sun.  Damn, that's fast.  Plenty of other goodies in this story if you like to make fun of our friends down under (and who doesn't?).  A different version, focusing on young respondents, here.
  • Women don't know nuthin about politics. I blogged this one recently (see it for more details than here), but the 10-nation study still has legs as can be seen by a new story focused on Norway, based on the same survey.  Let me point out that this study generated a lot of heat over the pond, and rightly so as it oversimplifies some key differences in how political knowledge surveys are done.
  • Okay, a weird one, meaning a Brit one. I can't do this justice, so let me just quote the first graph: One in 10 people have tasted “chicken trotters”, while 8% believe they have tried “pigs’ wings”, while others think pigs fly and chickens trot, a survey from the RSPCA has indicated.  Pigs wings. Priceless. Here's a different take on Brits and food knowledge, also kinda funny.  I did not know cheesecake originated in Greece.
  • The most likely avenue to attack computer users is through their lack of knowledge about computer security, says this survey of IT professionals.  It's true.  Even among my own colleagues, there are many who are clueless when it comes to safe computing or even how to turn on their printer.  And I work in a j-school.
And that's my roundup of the week.

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