November 27, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
If it makes you feel any better about your food today, it turns out that turkeys granted a Presidential pardon don’t have that great a life, as Zachary Crockett wrote:
- The National Turkey Federation (seriously) is responsible for breeding and presenting candidates for a Presidential pardon.
- 80 hatchlings are selected as potentials and are fed a high calorie diet to make them as fat as possible for the cameras.
- Of those only 20 of the largest and best-behaved make the cut.
- They then go through an intensive regime where they are trained to handle the spotlight so that they don’t panic amidst the flash photography and noisy crowds.
- Only about two make it to the next round where they are pampered. This year’s candidates got $350 a night hotel rooms covered in wood shavings.
- After being pardoned they are sent to a farm to live out the rest of their years in peace.
- It turns out though they don’t live very long. The high calorie diet means that they die early, obesity related deaths.
- Of the past eight turkeys that have been pardoned, seven died less than a year after they earned a pardon.
Read about how contrary to popular belief, the history of the Presidential Turkey pardon only goes back to the late 80s, how myths around the tradition got started, a list of the names of each of the turkeys pardoned, and more over here.
November 26, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Oliver Roeder delved into the world of art:
- The most expensive work of art by a man is Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” which sold for $142.4 million at auction.
- This meant that up until last week, the most expensive work by a woman was worth just 8% of the most expensive work by a man.
- But recently Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1″ (pictured) sold for $44.4 million, almost quadrupling the previous record for a woman’s (artistic) touch.
- Now the “record gender pay gap” is at 31 cents for women, compared to the dollar that a male record holder earns.
- In contrast in America the standard business gender pay gap is about 84 cents to the dollar.
Read about the difficulty of tracking the data, an excellent visualization, and more over here.
Via: Marginal Revolution
November 25, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Tom Heyden took a look at billboards:
- In the world of billboard marketing, those in areas with a lot of foot traffic are highly valued as pedestrians are more likely to gaze at the lights.
- Those on foot are also likely to take photos which end up on social media and spread an advertizer’s message to broad audiences.
- Marketers like places with lots of traffic jams and delayed flights since frustrated travelers will take in more ads.
- New York’s Times Square will soon hold the record for the world’s biggest digital billboard, with one stretching 100 meters.
- Advertizing space on the billboard is expected to cost $2.5 million a month.
- Size isn’t the only way companies are trying to draw attention. In 2010 the world’s first scented billboard produced pepper and charcoal smells to sell beef.
Read about the history of billboards, the best location for one in the world, and other ways that advertizers are trying to push the envelope over here.
November 24, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
With French economic policy in disarray, local leaders are doing what they can writes Jason Karaian:
- In an annual tradition, the mayor of Paris lights the city’s Christmas lights to signal the start of the holiday season.
- This year the lights are being lit earlier than usual in the hopes that it will put shoppers in a high spending festive mood, thus providing an economic boost.
- In an indication of just how desperate times are in France, the last time that the lights were turned on this early was during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.
- The mayor’s office, for its part, suggests that the lights are being turned on earlier than usual merely due to other scheduling conflicts.
Read more here.
November 23, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Rason is a Special Economic Zone in North Korea that is experimenting with free market reforms. Rudiger Frank had a chance to visit it:
- Clothes made in Rason will have “made in China” stamped on them so that they can be sold in South Korea.
- While in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, the quoted exchange rate for each Euro is 132 won, in Rason it is the more realistic 10,476 won.
- Not that it matters; transactions take place in Chinese Renminbi rather than North Korean won due to the greater stability of China’s currency.
Read about other ways that life is different, what North Koreans really think, and what this says about what an open North Korea would be like over here.
Source: Foreign Policy
November 22, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
While oil prices are at remarkably low levels around the world, they’ve actually gone up in Iran. The BBC wrote about some of the odder changes in lifestyle this has led to:
- Due in part to pressure from international sanctions Iran has had to cut fuel subsidies to right its budget, causing prices to go up by 75% overnight.
- This has led to farmers giving up the use of vehicles and using donkeys for transportation instead, at times in the city.
- A high oil price is great news for the donkeys; they’d often be abandoned during the winter as farmers couldn’t afford to keep them fed.
Read more here.
November 21, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
GrubHub is an online food delivery service that links up with local restaurants. James McWilliams wrote about what the company has found in an analysis of orders and gender:
- Women are more likely to order food at work and eat it at their desk. Men are more likely to go out for lunch.
- Men are often night owls, with their rates of ordering being substantially higher than women between 10pm and 2am.
- Women are more likely to order juices, and frozen yogurt, while men prefer sodas and milkshakes.
- Women like edamame, avocado rolls and plantains. Men like poutine, and Sriacha hot sauce.
- In terms of ethnic food women prefer Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean. Men prefer Greek, Turkish, and Mediterranean.
- When they do agree on a type of food their menu choices differ. Women will go for vegetable kormas and ensaladas, while men opt for meat samosas and chorizo sausage tacos.
Read many more details here.
Source: The Pacific Standard
November 20, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Put down the razor and join the revolution. Beards are back writes Vanessa Gera:
- The norm for being clean-shaven is largely a result of ethos learnt during World War Two where soldiers were expected to shave.
- Counter-cultural groups such as hippies and hipsters have thus always been proud of the beards they sport.
- However after the financial crisis beards became more mainstream as people looked to get a fresh start on life by reinventing themselves.
- Actors, athletes, and the fashion elite of Paris are leading the way with the facial hair they’re sprouting.
- The general public is also encouraged to put down their razors through events like “Movember” where men grow beards and moustaches to raise awareness for men’s issues.
- They are this generation’s tattoos; if enough people adopt them, then society will likely go back to its razors and wait for the next big thing.
Read more here. And see our earlier coverage on how stubble is bankrupting the shaving industry here.
November 19, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Bottled beers were long associated with class and sophistication while cans were best left to the lower masses. This is no longer true writes Svati Kirsten Narula:
- Consumption of canned beers first rose during the depths of the financial panic as incomes dropped.
- Since then however craft brewers have driven the popularity of canned beers. Brewers like them because cans don’t let any light in or oxygen out, preserving the concoction.
- There used to be concerns about a metallic taste back when cans were made of tin and lead. Modern aluminum cans with water based polymer linings no longer have that issue.
- Cans are also more convenient: they are more often recycled, can be taken to venues such as sporting events where glass is banned, and are easier to manufacture.
Read about the beer that started it all, the role that marketing plays, and more over here.
November 18, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Mini-bars: the epitome of everything that is wrong with the travel experience? Or the model that should really define it? Scott Mayerowitz writes that hotels seem to have concluded it is the latter:
- Hotels are now charging for things such as guaranteeing that you get a King sized bed (or two Queen sized ones), or for early check in.
- Receiving a package can add fees as can storing luggage in the lobby.
- Hotels make $2.25 billion in such fees, just 2% of revenue, but it’s basically pure profit.
- Resorts have even found a way to make minibars worse. In addition to charging you $5 for a coke, they may charge you a 20% “administrative fee” for using the service.
- Being smart and buying your own snacks to store in the fridge? You may well be charged for that as well.
- And overpriced snacks are no longer limited to a hidden cupboard. They’ll be strewn about the desks and drawers to tempt you.
Read other fees you may end up paying, how staff are becoming better at negotiations, and more over here.