The cell phone addiction support group. The man who loved power ballads too much. And a fascinating study of teachers and incentives

To my Jewish readers, may I wish you all Happy Yom Kippur. Chances are, when you’re reading this, I’m hungry and dreaming of a seven layer chocolate cake or a pastrami on rye. Twenty-four hours of fasting… never easy.

You know how some people say that with 300 billion people in the world, there’s gotta be someone just like you out there?
Well, I think I’ve found my doppleganger. His name is Mark Sigston, and he’s a 31-year-old British guy who was arrested last week.
What’d he do? He refused to turn down his stereo when neighbors complained he was blasting power ballads too loud.

God I love me a good power ballad. I think I had several power ballad mix tapes in the 1980s. Sadly, though, it doesn’t appear that Mr. Sigston was grooving to the deep intensity of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Heaven,” or “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

He was listening, really loudly, to Robbie Williams and Celine Dion, and I guess you just can’t do that in England. The cops seized his stereo and that was pretty much that.

I would totally post Robbie’s bail if he needed it. Rock on, power ballads.

**I know people talk about cell phones becoming an addiction, but this seems to be too much.
From the L.A. Times last week comes a story saying researchers have determined that nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia, that’s really what it’s called) is a real thing, and that help is on the way.
According to the story, psychologist Elizabeth Waterman has started to address nomophobia in group therapy sessions she holds at the Morningside Recovery Center in California.  She teaches people to go 10 days without their phones to start “recovery” and tells them not to be scared when they don’t get cell reception.

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. People, it’s called human contact! Put the phone away every once in a while and talk to people around you.

Nomophobia. What a world we live in (and enable).

**Finally today, this struck me as a worthwhile study in education. A researcher in Chicago decided to try an experiment in one school district: He was wondering if giving teachers bonuses before instructing students led to higher test scores. But there was a catch: One group of teachers received a $4,000 bonus, but would have to give some or all of it back if their students scores didn’t improve.

The other 2 groups in the experiment were made up of teachers who got no bonus, and teachers who got a bonus only if the students did well.

The results?

“What we found is strong evidence in favor of loss aversion,” the man in charge of the study, John List, said. “Teachers who were paid in advance and [were] asked to give the money back if their students did not perform — their [students’] test scores were actually out of the roof: two to three times higher than the gains of the teachers in the traditional bonus group.”

Read the whole story here. Very interesting stuff, though I’m not sure this would hold up in a bigger study.

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