Whatever Happened To Skywriting?

Remember skywriting? When planes would trace out smoke-messages in the sky? Why did we stop doing th

The Football World Cup And Sex Workers

Every time a major international sporting event rolls around and happens to be hosted by a lower inc

Come Visit Westeros!

Westeros, the fictional realm from Game of Thrones, is known mostly for its beheadings, psychopaths,


Whatever Happened To Skywriting?

April 18, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Remember skywriting? When planes would trace out smoke-messages in the sky? Why did we stop doing that? Adrienne LaFrance took a look:

  • Skywriting used to be incredibly popular. In 1940 Pepsi wrote over 2,000 messages in the sky.
  • It was so popular that critics called it “celestial vandalism” and worried that high-rise residents would have to keep their windows closed to avoid the smoke flooding their apartments.
  • Engineers were working on a way to develop glow in the dark letters, and cloud slicing technology that would let skywriters work in bad weather.
  • But the dream of giant sky billboards with images of merchandise came to an end with the advent of television.
  • Television took the world by storm and advertizers realized that they could use that platform to reach customers – rather than hoping that the weather would be clear on the day and time they want to sell.
  • In 1961 a skywriter had to go up, fly a line of smoke through the error-ridden sky message, and write a new corrected one next to it. Executives realized that they wouldn’t have to contend with such issues in TV ads.
  • Today the service is seeing a resurgence. People immediately Facebook and Instagram the messages quickly amplifying the audience of the message.
  • Skywriters are pricey though. Depending on the message you could be paying as much as $15,000.

The full article is a good read and has many more details. Read about the plans for “extraordinary palettes of colored smoke”, some notable ads from days gone by, and what current skywriters think over here.

Source: The Atlantic

The Football World Cup And Sex Workers

April 17, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Every time a major international sporting event rolls around and happens to be hosted by a lower income country there’s an article about the resulting boom in the demand for prostitution. This year’s no different and Olga Khazan provided the details:

  • 500,000 tourists are expected to visit Brazil for the football world cup later this year.
  • Brazilian sex workers are gearing up for the surge in demand.
  • One town offers English classes where prostitutes can “learn how to work out financial deals and also use a specialized vocabulary with sensual words and fetishes”.
  • International governments though are on the watch out for the rampant child prostitution in Brazil. British Airways will be running ads warning against purchasing such services on flights to Brazil.
  • It might not matter anyway. According to one study during the 2010 World Cup South Africa did not see a surge in demand for sex workers.

Read more about the dreams of a Pretty Woman style romance, how one prostitute is preparing for the World Cup, and more over here.

Source: The Atlantic

Come Visit Westeros!

April 16, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Westeros, the fictional realm from Game of Thrones, is known mostly for its beheadings, psychopaths, and gruesome murders. For some reason tourists are eager to visit writes Samantha Shankman:

  • Parts of the show are filmed in Ireland and the country is looking to play up the connection.
  • Ireland’s tourism board is launching a social media campaign that shows visitors where Game of Thrones filming locations are in the real world.
  • A challenge for the country is that people may not realize that the places depicted in the show are real places that people can visit.
  • Ireland isn’t the first to have this idea. Travel agencies have long offered “Game of Thrones” tours to Ireland, Croatia, and other places where the show is filmed.
  • However this is the first time the government of Ireland is actively trying to promote its connection to the show.
  • It is perhaps being inspired by New Zealand where a record number of tourists visited in part because it is the home of The Hobbit movies.

Read more about the social media campaign, what it will aim to do, and more over here.

Source: Quartz

Viagra Champagne Ice Cream

April 15, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

One ice cream maker has released a new type of ice cream:

  • “The Arousal” is a scoop of ice cream with 25 mg of Viagra and tastes like champagne.
  • It was created in response to a special request from a top celebrity who required the maker to sign a confidentiality agreement.
  • The maker is allowed to say that those attending the party it was served at “were very happy with the end result”.
  • Other ice cream flavours from the same maker include roast beef and horseradish, and raspberry mojito dark port and stilton.

Read more over here.

Source: Fox

The Decline Of Malls

April 14, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Jonathan Glancey wrote that in the US, shopping malls seem to be in decline:

  • Economic decline and online shopping have hurt the mall.
  • Just as earlier generations had ghost-towns, the 21st century has ‘ghost malls’ – abandoned super-structures fit for horror movie storylines.
  • 2007 might have been the turning point. From a rate of 140 a year, it was the first year in over 50 years when no new malls were built in the US.
  • Malls may also have become unpopular because they became associated with youth who made adults feel uncomfortable shopping there.
  • Given that malls are essentially giant, enclosed boxes it’s not clear what we should do with the abandoned ones. Various suggestions include turning them into leisure centers or casinos.
  • Malls thrive in other parts of the world. China, Iran and even Bangladesh have malls bigger than those in the US.

Read more about malls, and see some eerie photographs of abandoned ones over here.

Source: BBC

Future Airline Seat

April 13, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Some tech designers have come up with a prototype luxury airline seat. Marisa Garcia took a look at what makes it special:

  • The seat is able to connect directly with your electronic devices and use big data to figure out what movies you’ll likely want to watch, and what your preferred inflight meal would be.
  • It comes with an active video display side panel which changes colours based on what you’re doing and the mood you’re in.
  • It is, of course, able to give full massages.
  • It tracks your eyes so that if you look away to pay attention to a flight attendant, for example, it’ll pause whatever you’re watching.
  • The eye-tracking technology can even do things like figure out how strong or weak your vision is and recommend glasses.

Read about the seat’s surround-sound system and when the super-rich might be able to enjoy such seats over here. And read more about the economics of business class over here.

Source: Quartz

The Economics Of Golf Courses

April 12, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Nadja Brandt and Michael Buteau wrote about the recovering market for golf courses:

  • In 2012 the market for golf courses hit a low with the average course selling for $2.7 million.
  • This year the average price has risen 57% with the average golf course selling for $4.25 million. This includes one property that was sold for $75 million.
  • All in all though the market is still below its pre-recession peak of $7.33 million.
  • The price has been driven up by a decrease in supply – in 2013 about 144 more courses closed than had opened.
  • There was an over-supply of golf courses because people were purchasing them as if they were houses – and were buying them for their potential future values.
  • These days they are treated as businesses and valuations depend on metrics such as membership numbers, operations, and net profits.

Read more about the golf course industry, how banks are changing how they evaluate golf course acquisitions, and how Donald Trump’s golf courses have fared over here.

Source: Bloomberg

A Delayed Construction Project Becomes A Tourist Attraction In Germany

April 11, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Germany is so well-known for its efficiency and cost effectiveness that when a project falls behind schedule it straight up becomes a tourist attraction writes Chris Cottrell:

  • Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport was meant to open in 2011 but that date has been pushed back ‘indefinitely’.
  • It’s now possible to get vacation packages to see the construction site just to see what a behind-schedule German project looks like.
  • While there tourists can buy souvenirs with the airport’s logo.
  • Despite the fact that the airport has yet to receive a flight it requires more electricity than the functional Tagel airport.
  • Several empty subway trains are run through the airport every day to prevent rust from building up on the tracks.
  • Taxpayers are also on the hook for the $200,000 a month cleaning cost to keep the main terminal looking pretty.
  • Housekeeping still goes through every room in the hotel opposite the airport to run the faucets and let fresh air in to prepare for guests that may not come for several more years.

Read more about the airport, its cost overruns and delays, and also find out about other major projects in Germany that have fallen behind over here.

Source: The New York Times

Time To Get Rid Of Rear View Mirrors?

April 9, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Elon Musk and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers want to replace side and rearview mirrors with cameras writes Ariel Bogle:

  • Having cameras instead of mirrors would increase the efficiency of cars as side view mirrors currently create a lot of drag.
  • Image processing features such as infrared and thermal imaging sensors could also be added to improve safety.
  • It seems the best place to put the image from the cameras would be on the steering wheel – keeping the image in the driver’s field of view.
  • This could be expensive. Adding cameras in the back to help those reversing their cars costs at least $45 per vehicle.
  • Regulators may feel that it creates more safety risks than it fixes – after all, what if the camera breaks?

You can read more about the pros and cons of the move, as well as the role that state regulations might play, and why ultimately none of this will probably matter over here.

Source: Slate

The Economics Of Searching For Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

April 8, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

How much does it cost to find a missing jetliner? CBS News took a look:

  • An exact figure is hard to come by since a lot of the costs – such as the cost of maintaining a ship or paying troops – would have to be paid anyway.
  • The search effort has also been valuable training for those responsible for search and rescue operations.
  • The US Department of Defense has allocated about $7.6 million to help with the search. So far it has spent $3.3 million.
  • Australia is spending half a million dollars a day on one of its search ships alone. To say nothing of general administration and depreciation costs.
  • Japan has an $8.8 million budgeted for emergency relief and it is believed that its costs are covered by this budget.
  • Malaysia refuses to provide a figure.

Read more about some of the other costs that should be accounted for, how defense cooperation agreements affect costs, and more over here. The Times of India says that $44 million has been spent on the search.

Source: CBS News

Via: Slate