July 4, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Ryan Healey wrote about how McDonald’s capitalized on China’s One-Child policy to become successful in the country:
- The one-child policy has led to the “little emperor” phenomenon where each child will have two parents and four grand-parents focusing all their attention solely on them.
- The burger restaurant realized that the parents and grand-parents would take the children wherever they wanted to go, and focused its advertizing on the kids.
- It also realized that the little emperors were lonely with no siblings to play with. So the restaurant had playgrounds in each of its restaurants where children could come to socialize and talk.
- McDonald’s would often hire actors to play “Uncle Ronald” and “Auntie McDonald” to oversee and co-ordinate their play.
- To ensure that parents felt comfortable sending their children to McDonald’s the restaurant chain promoted it as a place of education, running essay writing competitions and awarding scholarships.
- Executives also realized that as people stopped living in extended families, McDonald’s could be advertized as a place for family get-togethers, as the children played away in the distance.
Read more here.
Source: Lucky Peach
July 2, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
The Cleaver Quarterly took a look at how fruits, vegetables, and spices are referred to in Chinese:
- Several food items first arrived in China at a time when China believed it was the epitome of civilization and everything outside of China was an uncivilized wasteland.
- Therefore foods brought in from abroad were given names that signified their foreign, barbaric origins.
- While they may be widely used in Chinese cooking today, linguistically they are still referred to as alien foods.
Some foods with more interesting Chinese translations include:
- Tomato: Barbarian Eggplant
- Potato: Foreign-Devil Mercy Root-Tuber
- Sweet Potato: Barbarian Yam
- Walnut: Foreign Peach
- Carrot: Foreign Radish
- Black Pepper: Foreign Pepper
- Honeydew – Wallace Melon – this is because US Vice President Henry Wallace played a role in first making them popular in China in response to a drought.
See how these food items are now used in China, and read more of their individual histories over here.
Source: Lucky Peach
July 1, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Sonali Kohli wrote that adults increasingly like to spend time with colouring books:
- A colouring book is #9 on UK Amazon’s best-selling books, and has been in the top 100 for 113 days.
- There are Facebook groups for adult colouring book clubs, and Game of Thrones will soon be releasing one.
- Some think that colouring may help release stress or increase motivation, as well as recall happy childhood memories.
- Publishers have latched onto this, marketing colouring books for adults as therapeutic, to get away from any stigmas associated with adults indulging in what is usually a children’s activity.
Read more here.
June 30, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Back in 2011 Jenny Davis wrote about some of the more troubling aspects of automated mobile assistants such as Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana:
- Both voice assistants, despite being digital, are very clearly set up to be female.
- Since they’ve been personified they’ve also been sexualized. Both systems come with pre-programmed responses to the sexual questions that programmers knew would inevitably be asked of them.
- The systems are designed to play subservient roles. They’re meant to be there when you need them, and to disappear when you don’t, and they’re expected to anticipate and fulfil your desires.
- The sexism and misogyny this implies is concerning.
Read more here.
June 29, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
History is riddled with mistakes and wrong turns. This can sometimes lead to war, famine, and a tribal regression to hedonistic apathy. Other times it leads to bad taco emojis according to L.A. Taco:
- There has long been a campaign to get a taco emoji on smartphone keyboards.
- Supporters of the movement point out that there are five different types of sushi emoji, yet the popular Mexican dish is nowhere to be found.
- Last year the campaign got a big boost when Taco Bell, with its fat wallet, got behind the campaign to officially recognize the taco.
- The campaign was successful and what resulted from it (pictured) makes sense. The yellow shell, green lettuce, orange cheese, and red tomato is recognizable even when the taco is shrunk down to emoji-size.
- However, while this might be what a Taco Bell taco looks like, it’s nothing like an authentic taco. A proper Mexican taco has a whitish tortilla, and contains meat, onion and cilantro. It is not meant to have a florescent orange shell, and it’s certainly not meant to include cheddar, tomato or lettuce.
- More than anything the emoji that was recognized is an incredible win for Taco Bell. Now anytime a taco emoji is used, people will immediately associate it with the Bell’s own products.
- Given that emojis seem to be the new way that people communicate this would be as if Taco Bell was able to convince Webster’s dictionary to show its products when somebody looked up Mexican food.
See what an alternate, more authentic design would look like, and read about the need for an enchilada emoji here.
Source: First We Feast
June 28, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Sarah Laskow wrote about trees that have achieved some degree of fame:
- The most famous trees have specific heritages and families, and live in posh districts such as Central Park or Riverdale in New York.
- Trees might become famous if they’re really big, have a really long history, commemorate a soldier or battlefield, be planted by someone special such as a head of state, or even if they are shaped weird.
- But most famous trees aren’t just idle celebrities coasting of off their fame. Since they’re usually large and old they have different types of branches and riddled barks that provide a multitude of habitats for ecosystems to thrive.
- They’re often hard to find. Those who compile lists of the most famous trees don’t always put exact locations in order to protect them against over-zealous fans.
Read more about these trees and see some incredible photos here.
Source: Atlas Obscura
June 26, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
The Economist took a look at the rise of “sugar babies”:
- Today three quarters of all American graduates leave college in debt.
- This is up from the roughly half of all graduates that left with debt in 1995 – and the amount of debt carried these days is a lot higher than before.
- In contrast two thirds of those who sign up to be sugar babies – typically women who trade companionship and sex for money – leave college without debt.
- The monthly “rate” for a sugar baby is around $3,000, although some of the wealthier men pay much more.
- Websites such as SeekingArragement help facilitate the transaction. They got a big boost during the most recent recession, and have continued to grow rapidly, with one almost doubling in membership size in the past two years.
- In fact SeekingArrangement has done so well that it no longer needs to advertize, though back in the day its adverts would pop up if anybody searched for terms such as “student loan”.
- Those in the industry argue that this is not prostitution. Since the participants establish a relationship that usually lasts for at least a few weeks, it is labelled as “compensation for companionship”.
- Any attempts to ban this could inadvertently ban marriage.
Read more here.
Source: The Economist
June 25, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
From seat bels to crumple zones, cars have included an increasing number of safety features over time. But the arc of history is never a single, unbroken line, and Aaron Brown decided to take a look at some safety ideas that didn’t go anywhere:
- Pedestrian airbags (pictured). The idea was that a driver could hit a passerby and then go their merry way without losing too much sleep.
- Rocket brakes. These were jet rockets built into the hood of the car. If a vehicle had to brake in an emergency the rockets could be activated to generate reverse thrust.
- Headlight wipers. While popular in Europe they never caught on in the United States.
- Heartbeat sensor. This feature, announced by Volvo in 2007, would let a driver know before they got into the car, if somebody was already in there. The idea seemed to be that it would be a check against hidden axe murderers.
- Safety windshields. These were for those who weren’t wearing seatbelts and could possibly be ejected from the car. Instead of shattering the front windshield was designed to pop out.
The full list of ten is fascinating, and includes pictures and Youtube links so you can judge the abandoned safety features for yourself. Find it here.
June 24, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Matt Slater took a look at the steps that the NFL is taking to reduce head injuries in American football:
- Kick-offs have been moved further up the field and helmet-first tackles have been banned.
- These and other measures have reduced the rate of concussions by 36%, but there are still multiple concerns about brain injuries resulting from play.
- One idea is to ban helmets which give a false sense of security to players.
- While paradoxical, the hope is that by doing so players would be more careful in the kinds of risks they took.
- It would, for example, require the end of the three-point stance where the player’s feet and a hand are on the ground, with the crown of their head pointed towards the opposition.
- Players would instead likely stand upright, and there would be fewer crunches that are trademarks of the game.
Read more about what the NFL is doing, and how helmets came about in the first place over here.
June 23, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
The historians of Reddit discussed why French fries became such a common pairing with burgers:
- White Castle was the first fast food chain to serve french fries next to burgers in 1921.
- They may have gotten idea from WW1 soldiers returning from Europe who had gotten a taste for fried potatoes in Belgium.
- Fries had the advantage of being cheap to make, were not frequently made at home (since few deep fried), and had a taste that was neutral and complimented meat.
- Moreover they were both fast and cheap to make, and didn’t require cutlery to eat.
- By the time the MacDonalds brothers opened their first restaurant, getting a side of fries with a burger was expected by patrons.
Read more about the history of fast food and French fries over here.