A Look at Google Trends

Foreign conflicts, local ripples

On September 14, 2019, two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were attacked by drones and missile strikes. Although Iran has denied involvement in the attacks, Saudi Arabia has claimed that the weapons used were Iranian, and has vowed to take necessary measures once investigations were completed. France, Germany, the UK, and the US have all agreed with Saudi Arabia as well.

As a result of the damage done to the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities, as much as 5% from the global supply was disabled. According to AAA Gas Prices, the national average rose about 10 cents, from $2.565 last week to the current average of $2.667.

What we see in Google Trends for the US is the interest in gas prices rising right up along with the search for Saudi Arabia.

Because much of the world’s gas supply comes from Saudi Arabia, many people will be interested to know what will happen to the prices they pay for their gas. When news of the attacks began to surface, there was a major increase in both the search terms for “Saudi Arabia” and “gas prices,” showing the concern people have for foreign conflicts and what they mean for us here in the states.

As the dust began to settle and reconstruction commenced on the oil facilities, Google Trends shows a sharp drop in both the search terms. Still, they remain higher in interest than they were before the attacks happened. As tensions grow between Saudi Arabia and Iran, we will probably continue to see an increased interest in the Saudi Arabia search term.

Are video games still causing violence? The debate rages on…

Since the early nineties when the likes of Mortal Kombat and Doom began to show up in arcades and computers across the world, the debate on whether video games is linked to violence has been raging on and on.

Google Trends documents the interest over time in both the search terms of “violence” and “video games,” showing an interesting correlation between the two.

Although the debates have had different levels of intensity throughout the years, as this Google Trends graphic shows, the search terms have largely remained in the public interest. What the trends tells us is that the two search terms often have similar peaks and valleys. In other words, as one search term trends, the other seems to follow in its footsteps.

Because mass shootings are unfortunately on the rise, video games have often been blamed as one of the sources of aggression and violence in the perpetrators. Politicians especially tend to put blame on video games, as many mass shooters have had and played video games. Some have even confessed to draw inspiration from violent games like Doom.

Despite what politicians say, the causal link between the two has been shown, time and time again by researchers, to be inconclusive and even non-existent. Despite the overwhelming evidence discouraging the link between the two, video games remain an easy target, while other factors like mental illness and gun laws remain difficult to negotiate and handle in our government.

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