August 22, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Hannah Nichols looked at how the calendar affects divorce rates:
- A study found that divorces peak during August and March.
- These are the months right after winter and summer school holidays.
- One explanation for this could be that struggling couples want to make it to the holidays to see if something like a Christmas vacation can save the relationship.
- But perhaps the disillusionment that comes with an unsuccessful vacation is what pushes couples over the edge.
- The peak in August might also be a result of couples wanting to sort out what a post-marriage family structure will look like before kids start a new school year.
- And there’s more sun in the August – something that leads to increased activity and motivations to act.
Read more here.
August 18, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
The American flag is flown at half-mast – a symbol of mourning – an awful lot. Ruth Graham looked at the intricacies behind the decision to lower the flag:
- Technically only the President and governors have the right to order that American flags be flown at half-mast.
- President Obama has used the power frequently. Over the course of his Presidency so far he has ordered the flag lowered almost 70 times. In contrast George W. Bush made the same order 58 times, and Bill Clinton did it 50 times.
- Once you include governors then flags were officially flying at half-mast somewhere in the United States 328 days in 2015.
- At times the decision to lower the flag can be controversial. John Kasich once bowed to public pressure and ordered that flags be flown at half-mast to commemorate the death of a police dog shot during a robbery.
- At other times the hands of officials are tied. The flag code requires that flags be flown at half-mast for 30 days after the death of a current or former President, and 10 for a Vice President, Supreme Court Chief Justice, or Speaker of the House.
- Of course most people don’t realize that only the Presidents and Governors have the authority to order that flags be lowered. Mayors frequently do it, and Donald Trump once ordered the flags on his properties lowered after a shooting in Chattanooga.
Read more here.
August 17, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Back in February Centives wrote about night mayors and Amsterdam’s pioneering role in creating them. Now it’s looking to lead the field again by appointing a bicycle mayor writes Feargus O’Sullivan:
- The bicycle mayor will be responsible for streamlining communications between cyclists and city officials.
- As with the night mayor, the bike mayor won’t have or share any real executive powers with Amsterdam’s actual mayor. The position though will give them influence and legitimacy as a representative for the city’s cyclists.
- Candidates for the post submit a short video explaining why they should be elected. There will then be an online vote, and a jury of experts – including the city’s mayor – will decide amongst the most popular candidates.
- Some think the post is a little redundant since Amsterdam is already one of the world’s best cities in terms of cycling infrastructure. But others feel that there is scope for an advocate to help change the perception of cyclists as a nuisance on the road.
Read more over here.
Source: City Lab
August 15, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
To this day, in the aisles of supermarkets around the world, you can see in Cheese Whiz and Reddi-Whip relics of a bygone golden era of food in spray cans. For this is what the future was meant to be like according to Nadia Berenstein:
Imagine a multi-course dinner materializing from a series of aerosol canisters. Elegant canapés crowned with gobbets of liverwurst and cheese-spread, sprayed from a can. A pair of self-heating cans deliver the main course: a cloud of fluffy mashed potatoes alongside a slurry of barbecued meat, finished off with a misting of hickory flavor “for a gourmet touch.” For dessert, how about a spray-on sundae? Ice cream, banana whip, chocolate sauce, maraschino topping—just push and go.
What happened? She explained:
- Inspired by the success, after World War 2, of whipped cream in a can, food manufacturers looked to push the boundaries of meals that could be aerosolized.
- Ideas that made it to market included: spray-on martini, spray-on barbeque sauce, spray-on coffee, and spray-on cake batter.
- Food engineers believed that such innovation would go as far as space, giving astronauts an easy way to consume a variety of foods.
- But while manufacturers loved the idea, families were less enthused about giving children food in cans that could be sprayed all over furniture.
- The marginal amount of convenience that food in spray-cans offered, also didn’t quite justify the added cost of buying gas-pressurized foods.
- And for many there was a lingering unappetizing link between aerosol cans and hygiene products like hair sprays and deodorants.
- The final nail in the coffin for spray-on meals though, was a shift in societal preferences for more natural, less proceed foods.
Read more about some of the early engineering challenges that spray-can food manufacturers overcame, and the possibility of a spray-on renaissance in the years ahead, over here.
Source: Lucky Peach
August 12, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Name your favourite philosopher. Hell, name a philosopher. Chances are you’re thinking of Plato, Aristotle, or Socrates. Think a little harder and you might arrive at more recent thinkers like Locke, Kant, and Descartes. But the fact remains that the philosophers considered to be the best, lived centuries – if not millennia – ago. Justin looked into why:
- During the time of Plato, the earth’s population was in the millions. Today it is in the billions. We would expect that there would be 60 times as many great philosophers today as there were in Plato’s time.
- Perhaps the dearth of philosophers is because back in Plato’s era there were limited things that smart people could do. Today budding philosophers might become journalists, television stars, professional chess players, or even military generals.
- There might also be a network effect. Just as a lot of technological innovation is happening in a short span of time in Silicon Valley, there might have been a spurt of philosophical innovation in Plato’s time.
- Or maybe it’s because the earliest discoveries are the easiest. After all, students start learning about calculus in grade school now – but Newton is still revered for initially figuring out the principles.
- A lot of it could also be “retroactive esteem”. To this day philosophers extend and expand upon “Aristotelian” ethics. This work goes way beyond anything Aristotle every contemplated or achieved. But the field is still considered to be Aristotelian.
- Or maybe this all just means that society was greater back then, and this is further evidence of the slow decay of the modern world; emancipation of slaves and women be damned.
Read more musings, and what this all means for how people should be taught philosophy today, over here.
Source: Daily Nous
Via: Marginal Revolution
August 10, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Which companies will benefit from a Clinton win? A Trump win? Kiplinger put together an analysis:
- Trump wants to cut taxes on the rich so companies that market luxury products should see a boost.
- He is running on a law and order platform which should mean a boost in business for private prisons.
- The Republican candidate is also running on a platform of bringing manufacturing back to the United States. Companies that already manufacture in the country might have an edge.
- Clinton is looking to cut taxes for lower income households. That should be a boost for companies that cater to them such as Walmart.
- Democrats also typically support the continued use of government intervention in the housing market, which should keep demand high and real estate companies in the black.
- Companies that rely on low income foreign workers, such as those in the hospitality industry, could also benefit from the path to legalization that Clinton envisions.
Read who the corporate winners will be under a Clinton presidency here, and a Trump presidency here. For a contrarian viewpoint which holds that the identity of the President doesn’t matter – only the fundamentals of a company, read Chuck Jaffe’s take here.
Find our entire coverage of the 2016 American Presidential election here.
August 9, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Tim Struby wrote an article about alternates at The Olympics:
- Olympic alternates have a tough role. They have to be ready to step in at a moment’s notice, should any of their teammates fall ill, but the IOC doesn’t officially consider them to be Olympians.
- They have to stay in shape and get the right food, but it’s more difficult for them since they are denied residence at the official Olympics village, where Olympians have access to top facilities (and lots of condoms).
- They also won’t receive the swag bag – gifts from corporate sponsors that can include high end, and incredibly expensive, gear and jewelry.
- For people who are hyper-competitive, and are among the world’s best athletes, it is a humbling experience.
- The humbling isn’t limited to homo sapiens. In the Athens games, the horse that belonged to the equestrian alternate was housed in a temporary farm stable rather than the official Olympics stables.
- Possibly the worst part for alternates though, is when the world’s eyes are turned to the opening ceremonies and Olympians stand with their national flags, shoulder to shoulder with the world’s best athletes. The alternates watch the ceremony on TVs in their hotel rooms.
- There’s always a desperate hope. In 1964 boxer Joe Frazier, an alternate, had to replace Buster Mathis who had broken his thumb. Frazier would go on to win gold.
- In Sochi, a Canadian speed skating Olympian gave his spot to his alternate, believing the alternate to be the better athlete. The alternate won Silver.
- And some alternates make their names in…well…alternate ways. An East German tobogganing alternate opted to use the 1964 Austrian games to defect to West Germany.
Read the full story of the incredible effort, courage, and perseverance of Olympic alternates over here.
Read our coverage of the Olympics here.
Source: Victory Journal
August 8, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
There are some wild and wonderful sports around the world, and in the past some of them have even made it to The Olympics. Vanity Fair looked at some of the ones that won’t be making a re-appearance at Rio:
- Tandem Cycling (pictured) was played at multiple Olympic games between 1908 and 1972.
- Solo synchronized swimming. This sounds like an oxymoron, but the idea was that the lone swimmer was keeping synced with the music. It was tried in 1984 but was dropped by the 90s.
- Live pigeon shooting. The 1900 games were the first and last time animals were intentionally killed at The Olympics.
- Hot air ballooning also made an appearance in 1900. This and motorboat racing were removed from The Olympics once a ban on motorized sports was put into place.
Check out the full list here. Check out our previous coverage of The Olympics here.
Source: Vanity Fair
August 7, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
When an Emirates Airline flight crash landed in Dubai, video from passengers inside the plane showed that there was a rush to retrieve cabin baggage from overhead bins before exiting the flaming aircraft. In this instance all the passengers survived (although a firefighter did die fighting the blaze), but it remains an incredibly dangerous practice all the same. Justin Bachman looked at thinking around the scenario.
- One idea is to have a mechanism for the air crew to automatically lock the overhead bins in the event of an emergency to prevent passengers from trying to open them.
- However since the flight crew often stores important equipment that might be necessary in an emergency in those bins, the idea hasn’t caught on.
- Another idea is to impose large fines on those that go for their bags in the event of an emergency.
- But it’s unclear how well known such a fine would be, or how effective a deterrent it would be, given that the chances that anybody will ever be in an air emergency are infinitesimal.
- A study found that the top reasons that people go for their bags are money, wallets, credit cards, work materials, keys, and medication.
Read more here.
August 5, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Humanity has explored various strategies to save rhinos from extinction – anything from drone monitoring to straight up poisoning them. Karin Brulliard writes that soon Rhino refugees might arrive on the shores of Australia:
- Rhinos have long been transported from poacher-heavy South Africa to safer places in Botswana, and to global zoos.
- Now the governments of Australia and South Africa have come to an initial agreement, which would see the land down under host a colony of 80 rhinos.
- The person responsible for the initiative calls it an “insurance population” in case global anti-poaching efforts fail.
- Scientists seem to agree that Rhinos could thrive in Australia’s environment.
- The rhinos will be flown out on nonstop flights, and the entire initiative is expected to cost $70,000 a rhino.
Read more here.
Source: The Washington Post
Via: Marginal Revolution