Political Facebook Posts Don't Change Minds, Study Says

Getty Images
Getty Images

Been posting political rants all over Facebook this election season? They may not be doing much good, according to a recent study. WIRED reports that the social media marketing firm Rantic decided to research the way Facebook users react to the political messages their friends post, and the results were less than encouraging.

Rantic polled 10,000 Facebook users and found that, by and large, political posts were extremely unlikely to change anyone's views. However, they were likely to annoy people and even inspire them to unfriend posters.

Rantic found that 94 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats, and 85 percent of Independents said they'd never changed their view of an issue based on a Facebook post. About two-thirds of the study's participants also said that social media was not an appropriate place to discuss politics, while around half said they judged others based on their political opinions. A smaller, though not insignificant, number (12 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of Democrats, and 9 percent of Independents) said they’d unfriended someone because of a political post.

But that doesn't stop Facebook users from posting political messages of their own: Rantic also found that while the vast majority of Facebook users said they’ve remained steadfast in their political views after reading conflicting opinions on Facebook, 39 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of Democrats, and 26 percent of Independents had still posted political messages on their own Facebook pages.

[h/t WIRED]

J.K. Rowling Announces ‘Harry Potter at Home’ Site With Magical Crafts and Activities for Everyone Stuck Inside

J.K. Rowling in 2012.
J.K. Rowling in 2012.
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Growing up, Harry Potter was no stranger to self-isolation and social distancing—spending endless hours in the cupboard under the stairs and steering clear of the Dursleys whenever possible—and now, he’s here to help us all through it.

J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to announce the launch of “Harry Potter at Home,” a digital hub on WizardingWorld.com with crafts, quizzes, puzzles, and articles for new fans and long-time Potterheads alike. You can, for example, watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a cuddly little Niffler, find words like butterbeer and troll in an online word search, and check out a handy guide to reading the Harry Potter books for the first time.

As Variety reports, the project is mainly a joint venture between Rowling’s American publishing houses, Bloomsbury and Scholastic. And Audible is getting in on the magical action, too—the Amazon-owned audiobook company has made the audio edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, read by Stephen Fry, free to stream on its Audible Stories site. Library provider OverDrive is making the audiobook and the e-book versions of the first novel freely available through the end of April, and you can easily access them through the Libby app.

Rowling has even granted permission for teachers to record videos of themselves reading from any Harry Potter book and share it with their students, as long as it’s posted to a secure school network or other closed video platform.

In general, the primary goal of “Harry Potter at Home” is to help children stay occupied and intellectually stimulated while stuck inside during the coronavirus pandemic, but you definitely don’t have to be a student to appreciate the hub’s activities and resources. As the Wizarding World team said in the announcement, it’s “a place for you to feel the warmth of the fire in the Gryffindor common room or a much-needed hug from Mrs Weasley.”

[h/t Variety]

Astrophysicist Developing Face-Touching Warning Necklace for Coronavirus Gets Magnets Stuck Up His Nose

Nothing good can result from shoving things up your nose. One astrophysicist learned that the hard way.
Nothing good can result from shoving things up your nose. One astrophysicist learned that the hard way.
RusN/iStock via Getty Images

History is full of innovators who have suffered for their ingenuity. Thomas Midgley, Jr., for example, was struck with polio and developed a pulley system to help get himself out of bed. He was strangled by the contraption. Henry Smolinski thought he had a viable prototype for a flying car made from a Ford Pinto in 1973. A wing fell off and killed him.

All things considered, Daniel Reardon got off easy. He only had to have magnets professionally removed from his nose.

Reardon, an Australian astrophysicist, is one of many innovators attempting to assist in the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Guardian, Reardon was in the process of designing a necklace that could alert the wearer when they were in danger of touching their face, one of the primary methods of transmission for viral illness. His idea was to have magnets worn on wrists that would activate a circuit on the necklace.

But then Reardon realized the electronic field in the necklace only completed its circuit without a magnetic field, meaning it buzzed constantly. Having failed in his task and growing bored, Reardon decided to play with the powerful neodymium magnets, clipping them to his earlobes and then his nostrils. This, he said, is when things went “downhill.”

When Reardon removed one set of magnets from outside his nostril, the remaining magnets inside his nose were attracted to one another. Reardon then used more magnets to try and remove them, expecting the outside pull would negate their attraction on the inside of his nose. Unable to control them, he soon found himself with multiple magnets lodged in both nostrils.

After realizing pliers only made the problem worse—they were attracted to the magnets—and that he had failed to achieve his goal of not touching his face, Reardon went to the hospital, where all of them were removed. (One nearly fell down his throat, but he managed to cough it up.) Doctors made an informal diagnosis of self-inflicted injury due to isolation and boredom.

Neodymium magnets are typically sold with cautions, as they are strong enough to “leap” toward each other from several inches or even several feet apart. Though they do not often come with explicit warnings not to shove them inside your nose, it's best avoided.

[h/t The Guardian]

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