The Rise Of Food Fraud

You may not always be eating what you think you’re eating. Natalie Whittle wrote about food fr

Teaching Children About Organ Donations

Scott Wilson wrote about a charming initiative: A lack of organ donors is a problem around the world

UN Votes For Cash

The Economist took a look at how votes at the UN can be converted into cold hard currency: One analy


The Rise Of Food Fraud

May 25, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

You may not always be eating what you think you’re eating. Natalie Whittle wrote about food fraud and how things came to be this way:

  • The story of a fish “freshly caught off the coast of Scotland” illustrates why food fraud is so difficult to catch. The fish is captured by a Russian ship, sent to China to be fileted, then sent to Korea to be stored, and sold on to other intermediaries from there.
  • Organized crime has been getting into this business because it’s so easy to infiltrate and because it requires things that they normally have – like haulage, storage, and money laundering capabilities.
  • It’s innocuous items that are targets for fraud. The apple juice you’re drinking may not be what you think it is. Margins may be low but a lot more apple juice is drunk than champagne.
  • Similarly testing indicates that 25% of dried oregano is cut with things like olives, and hazelnut leaves.
  • The industry is hitting back. A lab in Belfast uses a £500,000 machine that has been repurposed to detect chemical traces of foreign food instead of cancer.

Read more here.

Source: Financial Times

Via: Marginal Revolution

Teaching Children About Organ Donations

May 24, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Scott Wilson wrote about a charming initiative:

  • A lack of organ donors is a problem around the world.
  • To instill in young children early the benefits of organ donation, one organization, Second Life Toys, is taking broken toys from children and fixing them with an organ transplant from donated old toys.
  • Those who donate their old toys will receive a letter once their toy has been recycled to fix another child’s toy.
  • In the example above a squirrel’s tail has been used to heal an elephant’s broken trunk.

See other examples here.

Source: Rocket News 24

Via: Mental Floss

UN Votes For Cash

May 23, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist took a look at how votes at the UN can be converted into cold hard currency:

  • One analysis indicated that African countries that vote along with China at the UN see a boost in the amount of aid that they receive from the Middle Kingdom.
  • Every 10% increase in the amount of votes alongside China’s, leads approximately to an 86% boost in aid.
  • If Rwanda, for example, were to increase the number of votes it cast with China from 67% to 93% it could, perhaps, see a 289% boost in Chinese cash.
  • The practice isn’t limited to China. The United States also awards more aid projects to countries that vote along with it.
  • However, America’s record is more mixed. It, for example, provides billions to Afghanistan, but Afghanistan enjoys voting contrary to American preferences.
  • What seems wasteful is that diplomats from several countries – such as Burundi and Swaziland – don’t show up for a large proportion of the most important votes. They may be leaving money on the table.

Read more here.

Source: The Economist

What It’s Like To Work At Hogwarts

May 20, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Rae Votta spoke to Hogwarts employees…more specifically employees of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood – a theme park:

  • Before being hired park attendants are asked basic trivia questions such as the four Harry Potter houses.
  • If they pass the initial screening they get put into a week of intensive classroom training where they learn the ins and outs of Harry Potter trivia, since engaged fans are going to expect them to know it all.
  • All attendants have to play characters but for the most part they’re all non-Hogwarts students. They want park guests to feel special and unique about being the ones who get to go to Hogwarts.
  • Attendants also aren’t allowed to claim that they know any of the main characters personally. They are, after all, not part of the story.
  • And if someone asks about Voldemort? Attendants must look terrified and refer to him as “You Know Who”.
  • The theme park itself is set in between the third and fourth books – there are posters about Sirius black escaping and the upcoming Triwizard tournament.
  • It is also perpetually winter, which explains why visitors are unlikely to bump into even side characters like Cedric or Cho Chang, who are presumably at home for the holidays.

Read more about what it’s like to work at the park over here.

Source: Mel Magazine

Solitary Confinement Isn’t Really Solitary

May 19, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

You get sent to solitary confinement you have to wile your days away alone. Or so you’d think. The reality is much worse, wrote Christie Thompson and Joe Shapiro:

  • 80% of federal prisoners in solitary confinement have a cell-mate.
  • This is largely because of prison over-crowding requiring wardens to get creative.
  • This sounds great – human contact – but in reality the cells built for solitary can really only fit one person. In many if two people are in the cell then only one person has room to stand.
  • Since you’re in solitary you also then spend every minute of every day in the presence of this person whose every breath you can hear.
  • As the cells were desined for individual prisoners there’s no way to tell a prison guard if your cell-mate is attacking you.
  • And that happens surprisingly often. If you’re in solitary confinement, then your moral compass is already probably a little off. And if you’re tired of your roommate you can get rid of them by killing them.
  • Given the number of prisoners serving out life sentences it’s not like there’s too much of a consequence – beyond being deemed mentally unfit and getting your own cell.

Read the stories of prisoners who were killed by their “solitary” cellmates, the effects it had on their families, and see photos here.

Source: The Marshall Project

Via: Marginal Revolution

That Time The Marine Corps Used The Video Game Doom As A Training Tool

May 18, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Matthew Gault wrote about a video game inspired by the marine corps, which went onto provide training for the marine corps:

  • In the 90s the corps were facing a bit of a budget shortfall and weren’t sure they could afford all the training exercises they deemed necessary.
  • Two exceptionally lucky employees were then asked to play video games as their job, to find one that could perhaps supplement training.
  • The two (presumably after repeated missed deadlines and requests for just one more turn) settled upon Doom – the game is about marines fighting off evil and it had multiplayer options.
  • The game was heavily modded – the demon enemies were replaced with models that America was more likely to face on the battlefield. The weapons were made to look more similar to standard issue marine corps ones.
  • It was, of course, a game, and it couldn’t take the place of real training. But it encouraged recruits to practice teamwork and fast thinking skills.

Read more about the history of the game, and find out how you can play it over here.

Source: War is Boring

Marvel Wouldn’t Let The Main Villain In Iron Man 3 Be Female Because Of Action Figure Sales

May 17, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Mike Ryan interviewed Shane Black, the director of Iron Man 3:

Read the full interview that’s focused on Black’s latest cinematic project, The Nice Guys, here.

Source: Uproxx

What Amish Businesses Do Differently

May 16, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The Amish are a group of traditionalists that avoid modern technology, and end their formal education after the eighth grade. They’re also business geniuses, writes Tim Stuhldreher:

  • More than 65% of American businesses fail, but less than 10% of Amish ones do.
  • Contrary to their reputation as an insular community, these businesses cater to mainstream consumers and have wide appeal.
  • The lack of formal education seems to help. The brightest students don’t go on to study to be lawyers, doctors, or accountants. Instead they can really only either farm or start a small business – and many opt for the latter.
  • Given that the Amish are disdainful of technology like air conditioning or decadent offices, their companies have low operating costs.
  • In fact avoiding technology in general forces the community to be inventive and creative in everyday living.
  • It is also easier to build a shared vision. Businesses know that their employees will share values and cultures, allowing for lower friction work environments.

Read some of the other factors that lead to their success over here.

Source: Lancaster Online

Via: Marginal Revolution

Make Art While You Run

May 15, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Timothy W. Martin wrote about the rise of GPS art runs:

  • An increasing number of exercise enthusiasts are mapping out their trails with the aim of having their route create an image or phrase.
  • You can get a sense of where the art was made by the GPS “brush-strokes”. American cities are usually laid out in a grid so the art tends to be blocky.
  • Meanwhile European cities tend to have longer, more flowing lines.
  • The image created by runners is usually very different from that created by bikers.
  • Some then frame the print outs of their route and depict them at galleries.
  • Running crazed couples have planned runs where the end result spells out a proposal.
  • Casual runners say that it helps break up the monotony of running and encourages them to get out more.
  • Things like cloudy weather, low batteries, and signal blocking skyscrapers can have the unfortunate effect of ruining a meticulously planned piece art run.

Read more here.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Fat Cats On A Plane

May 12, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

041314_1546_FutureAirli1.jpgThe Economist wrote about how the presence of a First Class section on an airplane affects passengers:

  • According to a study passengers are 3.8 times more likely to have incidents of “air-rage” if they’re on a flight with a first-class section.
  • That proportion doubles if they have to walk through the first class section to find their seat.
  • This is broadly in line with other findings that show that seeing your own income increase doesn’t make you happy – unless other people’s income decreases.
  • What this means for broader society and economic policy as a whole – that wealth satisfaction isn’t about needs but, instead, about comparative position – remains an open question.

Read more here.

Source: The Economist