Does Amazon Create Or Destroy Jobs?

Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards looked at the workplace impacts of Amazon: By the end of 2017 Amazon

China’s Dating Schools

Sui-Lee Wee wrote about China’s dating schools: Many Chinese youth are struggling with a socie

Meghan Markle Will Receive Intense Military Training

In England it’s not just nannies that are trained in self-defense. It’s also princesses


Does Amazon Create Or Destroy Jobs?

December 5, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards looked at the workplace impacts of Amazon:

  • By the end of 2017 Amazon is expected to have increased its workforce by 147,000 employees – a remarkable 43% increase.
  • Yet overall employment in the areas of retail that Amazon competes in (think book stores instead of gas stations) will decline by 24,000.
  • This is likely because as Amazon grows its operations, people increasingly choose to buy from its stores, rather than brick and mortar ones.
  • The stock market reflects this. Amazon’s stock is up about 60% this year – while the S&P Retail Index has remained stable.
  • There is one category of worker that Amazon has done wonders for: robots. By the end of 2017 it is expected to have added 75,000 new robots to its workforce.

Read more on Quartz.

China’s Dating Schools

December 4, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Sui-Lee Wee wrote about China’s dating schools:

  • Many Chinese youth are struggling with a societal shift away from arranged marriages and towards ones based on mutual attraction.
  • They often haven’t built the skills necessary to successfully date. And traditional gender preferences combined with the one child policy have left an overabundance of boys.
  • Dating schools will charge boys anywhere between $45 for an online course to $3,000 for individualized coaching.
  • Courses start with the basics: how to dress. Narrow collars and fitted pants are important.
  • Next up: a haircut. The right style is key.
  • Professional photographers help the boys strike artistic poses to convey a sense of sophistication.
  • Then there’s field work. Enrollees are expected to approach random women in the mall and ask to add them on WeChat – a major Chinese social media platform.
  • The schools boast a 90% success rate in having their graduates find girlfriends.

Read more on The New York Times.

Via: Marginal Revolution.

Meghan Markle Will Receive Intense Military Training

December 1, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

In England it’s not just nannies that are trained in self-defense. It’s also princesses wrote Lucy Yang:

  • Once she’s a member of the Royal Family Meghan Markle will be trained for kidnap and hostage situations.
  • This will include both being able to defend herself, and knowing what to do in case the SAS – the British special forces – are storming a room she’s in.
  • Sadly she won’t be able to use her combat training for an action movie role. She’ll likely be expected to abandon her acting career.

Read more on MSN.

In Nigeria Fake GPS Readings Are Being Used To Boost Uber Fares

November 29, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Yemisi Adegoke wrote about Uber in Nigeria:

  • Uber drivers in Nigeria are using an app that feeds fake GPS data into Uber’s tracking system, making the trip seem longer than it was.
  • The abuse ranges from a few extra dollars per trip, to costs that are an order of magnitude higher than what the fare would have been.
  • Drivers in Nigeria say that it’s a reaction to Uber slashing its base fare by 40% in May.
  • Nigeria is emerging from a recession and continues to struggle with inflation driving up food prices, even as the country suffers from extreme poverty.
  • The drivers allege that Uber knows about their manipulation – but doesn’t have an incentive to stop them since it means more revenue for them. Uber denies this.
  • Uber’s competitors have figured out ways to block the use of GPS hackers.

Read more on Quartz.

There Are Baby Sleep Consultants

November 28, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Chitra Ramaswamy wrote about the UK’s sleep consultants:

  • Parents having trouble getting their babies to sleep have an entire industry of sleep consultants to choose from.
  • Prices start at £180 Skype consultations, £250 home visits, £390 overnight stays, and £620 for 24/7 support.
  • Demand is driven by professional couples who don’t have live-in families to support them – and who need their own sleep.
  • The industry is unregulated. Parents could visit the NHS for a consultation from an accredited professional – but there is often a waitlist.

Read more on The Guardian.

Drivers Playing Pokémon Go Caused Up To $7.8 Billion In Damages From Car Crashes

November 27, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

The Pokémon Go craze peaked a little over a year ago. Economists have since had time to crunch some numbers:

  • A review of accident reports in an Indiana county found that 148 days after the game was released there were $5 – $26 million in damages from car crashes, likely as a result of people playing the game while driving.
  • This includes two lost lives. Scale that across the United States and you get damages as high as $7.3 billion.
  • Crashes were particularly high around Pokéstops – places where people could go to stock up on virtual supplies.
  • The game did take some steps to prevent this. Players who were moving too fast were blocked from battling in gyms.

Read more on The Verge.

Why Price Gouging During Natural Disasters Might Be A Good Thing

November 20, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Tyler Cowen talked about the lighter side of price gouging:

  • After natural disasters companies that raise the prices of essentials like water suffer massive social media blowback.
  • But if shops don’t do it, the people will simply buy it up and price gouge their neighbors.
  • This then contributes to photos of empty shelves – which can make a crisis seem worse than it is, and drive activities like looting.
  • If companies were able to charge higher prices they would have more of an incentive to increase inventories in the lead up to a disaster in the first place.
  • Supplies of essentials would also increase as neighboring entrepreneurs would migrate to the disaster area with supplies for sale, knowing they can get a good price.
  • The best alternative to price gouging isn’t forcing stores to sell at artificially low prices. It’s rationing, to make sure that people only get what they need in an emergency.

Read more of the argument here.

How Tinder Made The NBA Better

November 17, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Tom Haberstroh wrote about the “Tinderization” of the NBA:

  • In the 80s home teams won 70% of games. Today they win just 57%.
  • Tinder is a big reason why. NBA players on the road now get a lot more sleep as they don’t need to stay up all night drinking at clubs to pick up dates.
  • Instead by texting their date and leaving a key at the front desk, they can have someone in their room waiting for them the moment they return to their hotel.
  • The rise of chartered jets – where coaches can control diet and alcohol intake – has also boosted sleep levels.
  • Social media in general now allows the world to see if players are up late before a game, or in a drunken brawl. To protect their brands and corporate sponsorships players have decided it’s better to just stay in.

Read more on ESPN.

Via: Cracked

Parents Save More To Send Their Boys To College Than Their Girls

November 16, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

It’s been a particularly uncomfortable few weeks when it comes to stark revelations on how society treats women. Abigail Hess added another demerit:

  • Women hold two thirds of America’s student debt, while making up a little more than half of all college students.
  • The primary reason is that just 35% of households with girls save money for college (compared to 50% of households with boys).
  • Parents may be saving this money for a wedding instead.
  • Institutional biases contribute to the problem – the average merit based grant for boys is greater than that for girls – even though girls often outperform boys in school.
  • And then there’s the persistent gender wage gap which makes it more difficult for women to pay back their loans.

Read more on CNBC.

How Mapmakers Dealt With The Discovery Of Vast Oceans

November 15, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Genevieve Carlton wrote about maps:

  • Voyagers like Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci found distant continents – and in the process forced European mapmakers to deal with the vastness of the oceans.
  • Often they would shrink the size of the Atlantic ocean – making the new world seem much closer than it really was.
  • Some were outraged by the scarcity of land in the southern hemisphere – and reasoned that there must be an undiscovered continent in the south, which they called “Terra Australis Nondum Cognita” – southern land not yet known (see image above)
  • When Europeans ran into Australia they assumed that this was the fabled southern mega-continent, thus explaining how Australia got its name.
  • The oceans could be used for branding purposes. Mapmaker André Thévet, for example, names a series of non-existent islands after himself in the ocean.
  • One Venetian nationalist littered the vast oceans with Venetian galleys – entirely unsuited for trans-oceanic travel, but propagating what was, by that point, the myth of Venice’s pre-eminence.

Read more and see the visual evolution of maps on Atlas Obscura here.