February 24, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
NPR wrote about an unlikely star:
- In the era of silent movies, Rin Tin Tin was a doggie movie star whose name would often headline films, beating out his other human co-stars.
- He was successful because it was natural for him not to speak in a silent movie. Audiences always felt a little strange watching human actors who said nothing.
- The hound was such a reliable star that whenever Warner Bros. had financial difficulties, they’d just make another Rin Tin Tin movie to get back into the black.
- At the very first Oscars, in 1929, the pooch came close to winning the award for Best Actor, although the Academy ultimately decided that handing it to him would lower their credibility.
- As talkies began to rise the canine’s star began to fade. Nevertheless, when he died in 1932, radio programs were interrupted to announce the news, and major newspapers published obituaries.
Read more on NPR.
February 23, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
In a way, protesting is the new brunch, wrote Jen Doll:
- Brunch was edgy (having breakfast food in the afternoon! With booz! Scandalous!) This probably helped explain why it became so much of a thing.
- Protesting has the same non-conformist edge – and the alcohol may come during a protest pre-game, or a post protest get together.
- Both brunch and protesting are inherently social, making them appealing to the young.
- Some are suggesting going to a protest as a first date activity – it instantly tells both parties a lot about the other’s beliefs and preferences.
- For some liberals the shift from brunch to protests is an admission of how in somewhat vapid pursuits they did not fully appreciate the previous administration.
Read more on The Week.
February 21, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
The Economist wrote about the app buying experience in Cuba:
- Sanctions mean that software companies aren’t allowed to offer most apps to those in Cuba.
- Entrepreneurs have figured out ways to hack the app stores so that they think the person downloading apps is in another country.
- App lovers then drop their phones off at a store, and for $10 can have 70 app installed on them. They delete the ones they don’t want.
- The selection of apps on offer is refreshed monthly.
Read more on The Economist.
February 20, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
There has been heightened scrutiny at the costs generated by Presidents working outside of the White house. Jane Smith and Frances Robles provided a rundown of Trump’s trips to Florida:
- Around 250 private flights are grounded for each day that the President is in Florida due to airspace restrictions.
- Because of this, one local airport reported $200,000 in lost fuel sales over the course of a single trip.
- One restaurant had 75 no shows – presumably as people were ensnared by traffic blockades.
- Those blockades cost money. Local law enforcement had to be paid $60,000 a day in overtime.
- On the bright side there’s increased interest in the area, and the additional foot traffic is offsetting some of the costs.
Read more on the New York Times.
February 15, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
Brian Resnick wrote about partisan courtship:
- Match.com normally sees an upsurge of activity in January as people resolve to find someone in the new year.
- But in 2017 there was a decrease in activity by those who call themselves liberal, and an increase from those who supported Trump.
- The effect is new – conservatives didn’t decrease their attempts to find a mate after Obama’s victory in 2012.
- Match also found that 60% of liberals, and 56% of conservatives, are unwilling to date someone from the other side of the aisle.
- According to one analyst Americans are now more likely to discriminate based on political views than race.
Read more on Vox.
February 14, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
Richard Davies went to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan and talked about the business acumen there:
- One successful store customizes bicycles by spray painting them and adding stripes. The bicycles are donated and originally all looked the same, which made refugees feel like they were losing their individual identity.
- The bicycle business is a good one since buyers become customers for life as they come to the same store for ongoing maintenance.
- Other businesses – such as carpentry – are less successful. Refugees take careful care of their belongings, meaning that there is little repeat business.
- Some respond to this by updating their product lines month after month to add features and make them look different – much like in the smartphone world today.
- Location matters. The most successful stores are on a road the locals call the Champs-Elysées. Nearby aid workers and new refugees all take that road giving the stores a broad customer base.
- Having established themselves selling basic products, some stores are now moving upmarket to sell luxuries like jeans.
- But refugee businesses must deal with unique problems. As a bloody peace begins to flicker in parts of Syria, some refugees are returning home – a problem for businesses looking to expand.
Read more on 1843.
February 13, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
Tiffany R. Jansen wrote:
- Those who live in nursing homes often feel cutoff from the rest of the world.
- Meanwhile students are having to take on increasing amounts of debt to go to college.
- Some nursing homes are putting two and two together, and are offering students free accommodation in nursing homes, if they spend time interacting with the home’s senior citizens.
- Just the students’ general presence seems to brighten up the lives of the elderly. Instead of talking about their aches and pains, they instead gossip about the love lives of their young housemates.
- This type of sustained contact is far more helpful for the elderly, than the one-off interactions that college communities sometimes organize.
Read more on City Lab.
February 10, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
Scott Tobias wrote about the difficulty of making horror movies today:
- Technology used to be great for horror movies. In an age before caller ID, mysterious strangers could taunt people, perhaps from inside the house – before lines were abruptly cut.
- Now though films must lamely note that cell service is down, or else help would be an Uber away.
- For a brief moment “found footage” films – like the Blair Witch Project – offered hope for movies recorded using handheld devices. But their novelty has dulled.
- The widespread use of drones could make the problem even worse. Being able to fly high above a haunted mansion or forest will provide too much tension sapping perspective.
Read more on The Guardian.
February 9, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
The Economist wrote about the life of Steve Boggs:
- Boggs enjoyed making reproductions of currencies, spending up to ten hours on each note, with subtle modifications that made clear that they weren’t real notes.
- He paid for goods with the currency. If a seller objected, he’d argue that the amount of time he spent on the reproduction justified the face value of the bill.
- Usually the currency was rejected anyway. But when it wasn’t he’d ask for a receipt, the change that he was owed, and write on the blank back of the bill the time and place of the transaction.
- He would give it 24 hours, call one of the collectors of his work, and sell them the receipt and the change for five times the face value of the original bill.
- The collectors would then try to track down the reproduction and pay thousands of dollars for the art.
- He paid for more than $1 million worth of goods this way.
- The Swiss were particularly willing to accept his art in lieu of real money.
Read more about his troubles with the legal system, including the judges who tried to figure out if his bills should be treated like pornography on The Economist.
February 7, 2017 in Daily Bulletin
Lady Gaga performed the half-time show at America’s Super Bowl LI. Keith Caulfield wrote about what this did for her bank account:
- On February 5th, the day of the Super Bowl, people bought 150,00 of Lady Gaga’s songs and albums in the United States.
- This was a 1,000% increase over the previous day, when she sold 15,000 songs and albums.
- The most popular purchase was “Million Reasons” a relatively new song that isn’t among her biggest hits, but was featured prominently during the show.
- Bad Romance, Born This Way, and Poker Face sales, were up 1,525%, 2,202%, and 1,217% respectively.
Read all the stats on Billboard.