July 29, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
It seems like it was just yesterday, but it’s been a full two years since ALS Ice Bucket Challenge mania swept the world. And we’re finally beginning to see some useful ALS research come out of it, writes Joseph Lovinger:
- Researchers found a gene that seems to have a role in causing ALS.
- Those responsible for the study were given about 1% of the $115 million that was directly raised as a result of the challenge.
- This is, of course, an election year, and Donald Trump took the ice bucket challenge while neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama did. Given how the election season has gone so far, don’t be surprised if this somehow turns into a talking point.
Read more about the actual study and what it found here.
Source: The Verge
July 28, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Jim Yardley wrote about the police officers from China who keep the peace over in Italy:
- Italy is a big destination for Chinese tourists, but reports about crime in the European country spread like wildfire on Chinese social media.
- Therefore, under a bilateral police cooperation agreement, China dispatched four police officers from its biggest police department to Rome for a couple weeks during the height of tourist season.
- The official mandate of the officers was to protect Chinese tourists.
- While the officers didn’t have powers of arrest, they were paired with Italian cops who did have that authority.
- For the Chinese government this helps bolster its domestic image by allowing it to talk about its commitment to safeguarding Chinese nationals overseas.
- Italy, for its part, earns several hundred million Euros a year from Chinese tourists and wants to see that grow. In addition to the police initiative it is also considering having some signs in Mandarin.
- This isn’t Italy’s first brush with international law enforcement. Officers from Spain, Poland, and the United States have all done patrols.
Read more here.
Source: The New York Times
Via: Marginal Revolution
July 27, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Ever seen a renowned celebrity with the paparazzi hanging onto their every word? Some wish they were the celebrity. Others decide to become the paparazzi. Malia Wollan wrote an article for the latter group:
- Joining the paparazzi is expensive. You’ll need $8,000 worth of equipment in cameras, lenses, extra batteries, and the like.
- This cost doesn’t include the weight training you may want to consider since all of the gear weighs around 50 pounds and is carried in a backpack.
- Nor does it include the self-defense classes you might need, given that it’s a dog eat dog world out there and other members of the paparazzi have been known to resort to violence in order to secure a prime photograph.
- Expect to spend some money building up a network of valets, restaurant servers, hotel staff, and airport employees, who will act as tipsters about the movements of your mark.
- You’ll also need an agent who will hawk your wares to top magazines.
- But becoming a successful member of the paparazzi requires more than just gear and a network. You need to have a creative bent. For a picture to be worth anything it must have narrative tension, and needs to tell a story.
Read more about what it takes over here.
Source: The New York Times
July 26, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Neil Connor wrote about the unfortunate experience of one custom license plate owner:
- “8” is considered a lucky number by many in China, and one motorist in the country shelled out £113,000 on a license plate with five 8s on it.
- He then put it on a truck that was worth £3,000 – thus the car was worth about 2% of its license plate number.
- But while the police are used to seeing custom license plates on high end cars, when they saw it on the truck they assumed it was a fake plate and started pulling the driver over.
- On the first day alone the truck-owner was pulled over eight times – he spent more time pulled over than he did driving.
- To compound the problem crowds would gather to take photos of the lucky license plate making it even more difficult for the truck to get back on the road.
Read more here.
Source: The Telegraph
July 25, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
J. Bennett had the opportunity to visit Taco Bell’s food development lab. In addition to an expanded waistline he got insights on Taco Bell’s menu development process:
- Taco Bell is now known for its more esoteric menu items like the Taco Shell made out of Doritos, or a quesadilla inside a burrito.
- Taco Bell sees itself as a food innovation company. Bringing creative items to the menu is key to remaining relevant by generating headlines in the news, and discussion on social media.
- Things begin with ideation sessions where as many as 600 ideas a year are considered.
- For the 30 that are selected for advanced consideration, the next step is to nail down the recipe – an iterative process that requires as many as 40 tries.
- Reactions are gauged in part through sensory rooms, where tasters are led into small cubicles equipped with cameras to record the reaction as they try the product.
- The product is then tried out in test markets, and various metrics are measured, such as the ratio of likes to dislikes (7:1 is considered good), percentage of customers who order it (12% is good, though with the Doritos Taco it was 33%), and if the product is generating new sales, or is merely redirecting money from existing products.
- If the product is received well it rolls out nationally. The entire process takes about six to nine months.
- Most items that result from this process don’t stay on the menu for too long. Once the buzz has died down and the headlines stop coming, the items are quietly removed.
- Some of the products that Taco Bell is experimenting with include a burger burrito, a maple-butter flavoured cone filled with crispy chicken, a mac & cheese quesadilla, and multiple variations of food on an edible tortilla stick.
Read more about what it’s like in the labs over here.
July 22, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Conventional wisdom states that sex sells. But, according to Mark Duffy, that’s no longer true:
- Internet porn has meant that sex has lost its edge somewhat.
- Death, however, is still exciting, and draws attention.
- Therefore, brands are increasingly using the concept of death to get their message across.
- The example above is from Superette, a boutique that instead of using a model’s sex appeal to drive sales, displayed her impaled body and encouraged people to “be caught dead in it”.
- And people still appreciate a good laugh. So often you’ll see someone’s death played for comic effect, which is weird if you think about it.
The full article is full of fascinating examples. Read it here.
July 20, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Manon Blackman wrote about a moving food truck:
- Instead of using cash to purchase food from the moving food truck in Portugal, you pay through physical exercise.
- A cheese burger requires you to run along with the food truck for 4.2 kilometers. Want ketchup on the burger? That will be another 500 meters.
- The truck is the brain child of an anti-obesity group in Portugal that wants to raise awareness about the amount of exercise needed to burn off calories from common meals.
- The group wants to point out the oddity of the rise of food that moves across cities – so that people can move even less.
- In one day the truck “sold” 20 cheeseburgers, 32 pizza slices, and 50 cups of soda. Hungry patrons ran 406 kilometers and burned 23,000 calories to earn their food.
Read more here.
Source: Runner’s World
Via: Mental Floss
July 19, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Mark Wilson writes that our computers aren’t always being completely…honest:
- Facebook has a system which will do a security check of your account. While engaging in the check it shows a loading animation that lasts about ten seconds.
- The thing is…it doesn’t actually take the system ten seconds to do the check. It’s done much faster. But Facebook is afraid that if it didn’t show the loading animation for as long, users may think that nothing serious is being done to check an account’s security.
- The lost time can add up. If half of all Facebook users were to do the security check, and it showed the loading animation or five seconds longer than it had to, that’s 29,000 days’ worth of wasted time.
- “Wasted” is somewhat debatable of course. After all users get value out of the imposed wait. One study found that users preferred it if dating websites pretended to take extra time to find matches for them.
- The unease with instantaneous results is similar to the discomfort that a dining patron might feel, for example, if an expensive restaurant were to serve food mere seconds after it had been ordered.
- Many other companies engage in the practice. Wells Fargo had to slow down its security retinal scans to build confidence in the strength of the system.
Read more, and find out about the limits of the loading screen over here.
Source: Fast Company
July 18, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
The Republican Party Convention kicks off this week, followed by the democratic convention next week. Strip clubs are preparing for a lot of business:
- Just like the hotel and restaurant industries, strip clubs see surges in demand during big events like NFL games or political conventions.
- And they make sure to decorate and dress for the occasion. Strip clubs will be sporting the red, white, and blue of the American flag that many convention goers will be waving.
- It’s not just political officials who may be asking for discrete services. Media figures, and convention delegates make up part of the flood.
- Local officials understand the financial importance of events like this and at least in the case of Cleveland, Ohio, strip clubs have been given permission to stay open to 4am – later than the normal 2:30am.
Read more here.
July 16, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Miquel Ros wrote about floating airports:
- The problem with airports is that they’re most useful in areas that are the least likely to have space for them – densely populated urban cities.
- But many of the world’s top cities are also located close to large bodies of open water.
- Some people have long been trying to put two and two together and build floating airports.
- The technology is there – after all, we figured out aircraft carriers.
- And while a floating airport would have to be a lot larger because commercial airliners need a lot more runway, they should be easier to build since they can be stationary and don’thave to be able to conquer territory.
- Since such an airport would be built on the water it could power itself using the entirely environmentally friendly power of the waves.
- You’d have to connect the airport to the land of course, but that could be done through underwater tunnels.
- As with most exciting ideas the number one problem is finding an affordable way to make it.
Read more here.