Tag Archives: survey

J.D. Power’s 2013 Smartphone Satisfaction Survey

Apple easily won the survey, for the ninth time in a row. Last year, them and HTC were the only ones above the industry average; this year, Apple was alone in that regard. Nokia improved a lot, thanks to their Windows phone, and it, Samsung, Motorola and HTC were virtually tied for second place. Way down at the bottom, LG and Blackberry.

2013 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power


The survey asks people who have had their smartphone for less than a year to rate it based on performance, physical design, features, and ease of operation.

See also:

From J.D. Power, via iMore

We’re Drinking And Eating More, But At Least Smoking Less

Scientific American has a pretty interesting interactive graphic (there’s a non-interactive version below) that shows the trend, over the past 15 years, in five categories: heavy drinking, binge drinking, smoking, obesity and exercising. The top three causes of death are heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and too much eating, drinking, smoking and laziness are all causes of all of them, so this is important stuff.

However, it’s not easy to tell how much the figures changed using that graph. For example, binge drinkers went up from 14.1% of people to 15.1% and exercisers went up from 72.1% to 76%, which seems like a bigger deal, but in reality they both grew by about the same percentage. So instead of falling into the same trap, here, the stats are presented like stocks and ordered by the magnitude of the change, followed by the issues with the numbers:

  • Obesity: +74%
  • Heavy drinking: +69%
  • Tobacco use: -24%
  • Binge drinking: +7%
  • Exercise: +5%

So, obesity and drinking are way up, tobacco use is down a pretty healthy amount, and binge drinking and exercise are slightly up. Since exercise hasn’t changed that much, the giant increase in obesity can only be blamed on our diet, which makes sense given all the cheap food. That means we’re eating and drinking a lot more than we used to 15 years ago. And, thanks to the prolonged public education campaign, we’re smoking a good bit less.


And now, for the problems with the numbers

For binge drinking and exercising, the questions used are pretty ridiculous. We’ve talked about the binge drinking definition issue before: having five beers in five hours, five beers in one hour, and fifteen beers in five hours are all counted as binges. And the question asked about exercise is if you’ve done physical activity in the last month; if you helped someone move last week, that would count as exercise. Smoking is defined as “current smokers”, and there’s no category for the many people that are casual smokers and would not identify themselves as “current smokers”.

Heavy drinking is defined as having more than two drinks per man per day, but other researchers define it as more than three per day, including the study that showed conclusively that heavy drinkers live longer than teetotalers. Which brings us to the other problem: if drinking heavily is a habit important enough to our health to be tracked, then it seems like abstaining from alcohol should also be. The fact that it’s not, indicates that some morality factor is also present in the surveys.

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more. The BMI is a 200-year old measure with such severe problems that it actually says about 40% of obese people are not obese. Why? Because it only uses height and weight, which is great for easy research, but awful for figuring out how fat someone is: if you have a lot of muscle and no fat, it will say you’re overweight. If you’re nothing but fat and bones, it’ll say you’re normal weight. Ideally, obesity would be defined by body fat percentage, not BMI, but that would be impossible to figure out over the phone. Bottom line: the survey says 27% of Americans are obese, but that number is probably more like 45%.

See also:

Obama Would Probably Beat Romney In A Fist Fight

An Esquire/Yahoo! poll has Obama taking Romney in a fist fight by 58% to 22%, with another 20% having no opinion. The poll also asked who would win the election, and the numbers were similar: 57% for Obama, 30% for Romney, and 13% couldn’t be bothered to guess. It did not ask people if they were racist and simply thought that the black guy was always tougher than the Mormon. It also seems to have been the first time the question was formally polled, so there’s no way to tell if there’s a correlation between the winner of the fist fight and the winner of the election. However, if you think about the last 30 years:

  • Obama would’ve beat McCain bloody
  • W would’ve easily taken Kerry
  • W vs Gore is a hard one, because Gore is a softie, but he’s also a big guy who might have a temper
  • Clinton would’ve easily beat up old, one-armed Bob Dole
  • Clinton would’ve had trouble with the original Bush though, who had a sort of spit-and-nails quality about him.
  • The original Bush would’ve been all over Dukakis
  • Reagan would’ve probably lost to Mondale though, but of the two, Mondale would’ve probably been the one driven to tears — by Reagan’s wit
  • Reagan vs Carter is hard to call, because it’s hard to imagine either of them actually getting into a fight, but Carter had a big age advantage
  • Same with Carter vs Ford: they would most likely just work it out without ever resorting to fists. But if they absolutely had to fight, Carter probably had a little more ganas.
  • And of course, Nixon would take pretty much anyone except Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt.

For more in the same vein, there’s a Reddit thread about a mass knife fight to the death between every president. And if you want to try your hand at presidential combat, there’s an iOS app for that, called Vote!!!.


From Esquire, via Politico and Tom

J.D. Power’s 2012 Smartphone Satisfaction Survey

They rated manufacturers, not devices, which makes it easy for Apple to win since they only make one phone, and it also happens to be pretty awesome. Consumers rated Apple significantly above the other manufacturers, and only it and HTC were rated above the industry average. The other big Android manufacturer, Samsung, was rated just slightly below average, followed closely by Motorola; LG rounded out the Android makers. The rest were all the other (non-iOS, non-Android), failed smartphone operating systems that are still drawing their last breaths: Blackberry ranked about the same as LG, followed by Nokia and, at the very bottom, the now-defunct HP/Palm webOS phones.


Next time your friends want to get an Android phone, point to the iPhone’s place at the top of the user satisfaction survey, their record sales numbers, and their crazy high 89% customer retention rate.

See also:

From JD Power, via iMore

Americans Can Tolerate 5$ Gallons Of Gas

Given that gas prices usually spike in late spring due to refineries shutting down for maintenance and that the West is in a prolonged game of chicken with Iran, everyone’s predicting that gas prices will hit 5$/gal this summer. So Gallup asked Americans at what point the price of gas will start causing problems; the answer was 5.30$, which is a surprisingly high number. Granted, a large minority of 40+% of people surveyed said their uncomfortable price was somewhere below 5$, but the clear majority will weather that cost just fine. And 10% of the people would be fine with even 7$ gas.


The survey also discovered that 90% of Republicans are either stupid, hypocrites, or both: when asked if government should try to stop the increase in gas prices, they said yes. Embarrassingly so, only 81% of regulation-happy Democrats agreed. Either the Republicans surveyed have no idea that they are against government involvement in the market, or when it comes down to brass tacks, they just care more about money than values; also, cheap gas is somehow completely and totally different than cheap healthcare.

Speaking of inconsistent policies when it comes to gas, Energy Secretary Steven Chu famously said in 2008 that he wished gas prices were as high here as they were in Europe, because it would help fight global warming and save the environment. But now that his wish is coming true and Obama is taking a hit in the polls because of it, he reversed his stance, saying gas prices should go down because it would help save the economy. Maybe since Geithner isn’t coming back for Obama’s second term, Chu has his eyes on the Treasury Secretary position.

From Gallup, via Marketplace

The 2012 Romance Survey

The romance book publisher Harlequin does a survey every year to get some insight into women’s views on romance. This year’s survey results just came out (PDF), so here are the highlights:

  • Turn-ons: good sense of humor and a killer smile (i.e., intelligence and kindness). For younger women, also an accent and being in a band (i.e., being cool).
  • Turn-offs: neediness (i.e., immaturity), smartphone addiction (being inattentive), being grammatically challenged (ignorance), having too many Facebook photos with exes (immaturity/promiscuity), and living with parents (poverty).
  • When talking about social relationships, 89% of single women believe their best days are ahead, while 40% of the rest say their best days are behind
  • But, 50% of single women say they’re “unsure and lonely”
  • 88% of women who are seriously dating say they experience romance; the majority of the rest, meaning those who are married or single, do not.
  • Most women describe their dating life as boring, a description that gets more frequent with age
  • Older women have pre-date communication almost exclusively on the phone, while younger ones tend to do so via text. But they all (85%) prefer phone calls.
  • Facebook: most women stalk guys on Facebook before a first date, looking for hobbies, interests and pictures. Younger women also have pre-date communication on Facebook.
  • Sexting: 43% of single women do it, and 57% of the rest; and 27% of single women have sent “explicit” pictures.
  • Online dating: 40% of single women have tried it, but that number is higher in older women
  • 58% of women said technology has made their romantic lives better


And here’s the common sense stuff:

  • Most women define romance as “thoughtfulness, appreciation and intimacy” — things that show personal investement
  • Remembering small details and being protective were the top most romantic gestures
  • Chivalry is still a thing: the majority of women believe men should ask them out, hold doors open, and pay for the first date.
  • 56% of single women feel pressured to be in a committed relationship, and that pressure generally comes from friends and family
  • Satisfaction with love life declines with age, but it’s never that high (36%) to begin with


The moral of the story seems to be that women are happiest if they’re always in a kind-of serious relationship with Jim Halpert, but never get married.


From Harlequin (Survey Results (PDF) and Infographic (PDF)), and xkcd

The CDC Thinks 5 Drinks = Binge Drinking

Definition of “binge“, from Merriam-Webster:

a: a drunken revel : spree b: an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence <a buying binge> c: an act of excessive or compulsive consumption (as of food)

A couple of weeks ago, the CDC released a supposedly alarming report saying that 17% of Americans went on at least one drinking binge in the month before. The report is based on a survey which took place in 2010 and measured three drinking parameters:

  • prevalence: the percent of people in a group that binge drink
  • frequency: the number of times a month they go on a binge
  • intensity: the number of drinks per binge

One of the main issues people have with the study is that binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in a sitting for a guy — four for a woman. That definition was clearly thought up by someone who has never consumed alcohol and is at least somewhat ridiculous, because five beers over the stretch of a football game won’t even get most people legally intoxicated, much less on par with “a drunken revel.” (The blood alcohol concentration for a 180lb man after drinking five beers in 3.5 hours is about 0.05%).  The main issue is the terms of the definition, which uses a vague “drinks per sitting” measure instead of the more precise “drinks per hour.” For example, five beers in a one-hour sitting is probably binge drinking; five beers in a five-hour sitting… not so much. And the survey treats both of those events as if they were the same.

Thanks to raw data though, the CDC’s poor definition is not quite as important: the actual number of drinks consumed are present, even if the length of the drinking sessions is missing.  The prevalence and frequency statistics, however, are just given in terms of binge drinking (e.g., percentage that binge drink), so due to the definition issues, for the purposes of the below, take the “binge” part with a grain of salt. Armed with that, here are the most interesting numbers:

  • Twice as many men as women binge drink: 23% vs 11%, and 9 drinks in a sitting vs 6
  • As people get older, fewer of them go on binges: from almost 30% for younger people to 3% for retirees
  • As people get older, their binges get less intense: from 9 drinks for younger people to 6 for older ones
  • The 3% of old people that do binge though, do it more often than any other age group: more than five times a month, vs four times a month for the rest, who probably binge every weekend
  • A higher percentage of whites and hispanics binge drink, but otherwise the races are pretty similar
  • A higher percentage of well-educated people binge drink, but they do so less often, and with less drinks per sitting: 7 drinks, 3 times a month for college grads vs 9 drinks, 5.5 times a month for high school dropouts. But only 14% of dropouts binge, as opposed to 18% of college grads.
  • Same story for rich people — although the number of drinks (around 8) per sitting is similar for all income ranges, more rich people binge, but less often: 20% of those making over 75k$/year binge 4 times a month, vs 16% of those making under 25k$/year, who binge 5 times a month
  • More of the population binges in the north, and less in the south; the rest of the country is mixed
  • Wisconsin has the highest population of bingers, at 25.6%; Nebraska and D.C. followed, with 22.3% and 21.9%, respectively.
  • Utah and West Virginia have the lowest population, at 10.9% each. Arkansas was next, with 11.8%
  • Bingers in Wisconsin also drink most: 9 drinks per sitting. Hawaii and West Virginia followed, with 8.7 each. So not many people drink in West Virginia, but those that do, are probably from Wisconsin.

The CDC’s recommendations all revolve around reducing the supply of alcohol by making it more expensive and less available: raising prices via sin taxes and selling it in less places and during fewer hours. The reason given for these recommendation is that binge drinking causes around 40,000 deaths a year. To add perspective to that figure, according to another CDC report:

  • about the same number of people kill themselves
  • twice as many die from Alzheimers
  • three times as many die from accidents (118,043)
  • 14 times as many die from cancer
  • 15 times as many die from heart disease (595,444)

In that report, binge drinking itself is not considered a cause of death, because it’s secondary: it may lead to accidents, but is not the immediate reason someone dies. From CDC, via NPR

The Best Non-Sexual Sensation

Someone on reddit asked “What’s the best non-sexual sensation ever?” If you’re looking for ways to cheer yourself or someone else up, here are the best responses:

  • lying in bed listening to heavy rain on the roof
  • Sitting down after being on your feet all day
  • when you finally get rid of that thing stuck in your teeth
  • Inserting a usb device the right way, the first time.
  • When you’re congested as fuck and then suddenly your nostrils open up
  • Getting into my bed after I’ve washed my sheets and made it.
  • Getting goosebumps from music.
  • Taking off your snowboard/ski boots after a day of riding.

Photo by neoroma


  • The feeling when you first wake up but don’t have to get out of bed yet.
  • Having my hair played with/petted.
  • Getting my head scratched/massaged by someone else.
  • Getting my hair shampooed at a salon.
  • Dipping your hand into a deep bag of uncooked rice.
  • the smell of a brand new book opened for the first time.
  • Taking my bra off when I get home from work
  • Twirling a q-tip in your ear right after a shower.
  • Riding a bike down a super steep hill
  • Crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me, and hearing the lamentations of their women.


Via reddit

The Happiest Jobs

The Christian Science Monitor has a list of the 10 happiest jobs, as of 2011, starting with the most happiest:

  1. Clergy
  2. Firemen
  3. Physical therapists
  4. Authors
  5. Special ed. teachers
  6. Teachers
  7. Artists
  8. Psychologists
  9. Financial services sales agents
  10. Operating engineers (i.e., technicians that operate giant construction machines)

The list was compiled using data from the General Society Survey, which is conducted at least every other year since 1972. It measures all kinds of things, including what people do for a living and how happy they are. The data is publicly available, so anyone can come up with interesting correlations, like this one.

Depicting Clergy Fail


With the exception of physical therapists, psychologists and financial advisors, it’s clear that salary has nothing to do with job satisfaction. The top 10 most hated jobs, on the other hand, is mostly made up of high-paying jobs like directors, managers and techies.

Money magazine goes a step further and compiles a list every year of the best jobs, based on not only personal satisfaction, but also benefit to society, level of stress and flexibility. But they don’t take into account jobs that don’t have many positions open, or require going to grad school for more than 3 years, or  pay less than 50k$ — so that cuts out almost everyone from the CS Monitor’s list and leaves a lot of engineering and business jobs:

  1. Software Developer
  2. Physical Therapist
  3. Financial Adviser
  4. Civil Engineer
  5. Marketing Specialist
  6. Management Consultant
  7. Information Technology Consultant
  8. Database Administrator
  9. Financial Analyst
  10. Environmental Engineer

I’ll take the rapists for 200$, Alex.


From Christian Science Monitor, Money and CNBC, via Forbes

The Anglosphere Is Very Charitable

Besides being #1 at jailing people, the US is also number one at charity: the Charities Aid Foundation did a survey (PDF) in which they asked people if they donated money or time, or helped a stranger in the prior month. While America won the prize, the interesting thing is the top ten list:

  1. USA
  2. Ireland
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. UK
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Thailand
  10. Laos

Besides the Dutch, who pretty much universally speak English, the top seven countries are all the English-speaking former colonies of the British Empire, collectively known as the Anglosphere. Given their histories, if members of the Anglosphere are cultural brothers, the Netherlands is a close cousin.

Also, how charitable a country is has nothing to do with how wealthy it is: only 5 of the 20 richest countries made it into the top 20 most charitable. Here are the top ten global economies, along with their charitableness ranking:

  1. USA: 1
  2. China: 140
  3. Japan: 105
  4. India: 91
  5. Germany: 26
  6. Russia: 130
  7. UK: 5
  8. Brazil: 85
  9. France: 80
  10. Italy: 104

Looking at their economies per capita, countries with richer individuals tend to give more to charity, but it still doesn’t explain why countries with very low per-capita income like Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos are very charitable, while ones with richer citizens, like France, Italy and Japan, are not. Religion doesn’t seem to play a role in it either.

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog. (Jack London)

From The Charities Aid Foundation (PDF) and NPR