December 6, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Don Weinland wrote about some of the more creative forms of insurance available in China:
- Think you might get too drunk at a football match? For just $1 you can buy an insurance policy that will pay up to $290 in hospital fees for any alcohol poisoning you get at the match.
- If you’re afraid you might lose track of your children, you can also buy insurance that’ll cover the cost of helping to find them.
- One insurance company will pay you while you’re still in the terminal if your flight gets delayed.
- Before tying the knot you can purchase divorce insurance to pay for the cost of divorce lawyers.
Read more about the types of insurance on offer at The Financial Times
Via: Marginal Revolution
December 5, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
The United States, Great Britain, and France attract the world’s international elite to their schools. Some of these individuals then return to become political leaders in their home countries. Axel Dreher and Shu Yu looked at what this meant for their former host countries:
- Those that go abroad usually do so because they already share some of the values of the country they’re going to.
- While there they further absorb it. This effect should mean that when they return to lead their own countries they’re more kindly disposed to their old host country.
- However, they also have to demonstrate that their allegiance is to their home country, and not to the country that helped educate them.
- The evidence indicates that what ultimately happens is leaders educated abroad are less friendly to the country that hosted them, but more friendly to countries that share similar values – as the optics of favouring those countries aren’t as bad.
Read the full discussion on VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal.
December 4, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
The 2016 Victoria’s Secret fashion show airs in the United States tomorrow. Kate Storey picked out notable events from the history of the show:
- It all started in 1994 when the CEO decided that because Victoria’s Secret was a fashion company it should have a fashion show. The 1995 event had just two cameras, little fanfare, but was received incredibly well with some calling it “the lingerie event of the century”.
- 1996 saw the reveal of the million-dollar diamond studded fantasy bra. The model had to be put in an armored truck and escorted by armed guards.
- In 1999 the show was streamed online for the first time. Steve Jobs called it one of the internet’s 10 most seminal events.
- In 2000 it streamed live from the Cannes film festival. The time difference meant that it aired during the middle of the day in the US. The Treasury Secretary estimated that this cost the country a billion dollars in lost productivity.
- Because of the fracas around the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction,” the 2004 edition of the show was never broadcast amid fears that it would draw backlash at a sensitive time.
- In 2009 the company dabbled in the craze for reality TV, hosting a “Victoria’s Secret Model Search” where the winner got the opportunity to be featured in that year’s show.
- In addition to being a fashion show, it is now arguably in the same league as Super Bowl, in being one of the top musical events of the year. Musicians lobby to be featured on the show, and tomorrow’s broadcast will feature Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and The Weeknd.
Read more on Elle.
December 2, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Cubans clown around, wrote The Economist:
- In the 1970s the late Fidel Castro rounded up some clowns from the Soviet Union and launched the National School of Circus.
- While it originally featured a full circus complete with animals, economic hardship meant that soon it was composed almost entirely of clowns. It is, the government reasoned, easier to feed a clown than a lion.
- The clowns are on the payroll of the ministry of culture, earning about $30 a month, and are meant to bring entertainment to the masses.
- A nascent economic liberalization means that private sector clowns are now able to compete with government ones. But liberalization has only gone so far – with no clown nose or floppy shoe imports, Cubans entrepreneurs have to ask friends to bring them from abroad.
- The government clowns feel their private sector counterparts are amateurs and aren’t happy about the competition.
Read more on The Economist
December 1, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Karen Kaplan wrote about koalas and daylight saving’s time:
- In Queensland, Australia, the population of Koalas has fallen by 80% in the past two decades.
- Part of the reason is commuters that drive around the time it becomes dark – which also happens to be when nocturnal koala bears are most active and likely to be hit.
- Assuming that people’s commuting hours didn’t change, playing around with the clocks through daylight’s savings time would mean that people would return from the office while it was light out.
- Researchers estimated that this would reduce koala deaths by 8% on weekdays, and as much as 11% on weekends.
Read about the study on Los Angeles Times.
Via: Marginal Revolution
November 30, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Japan is at the forefront of a challenge that most western countries are expected to face: rapidly ageing societies. Justin McCurry wrote about one of the problems this creates:
- The number of people over the age of 75 with driving licenses in Japan has doubled to 4.8 million in the last ten years.
- Those over the age of 75 are now responsible for 13% of all accidents – up from 7% a decade ago.
- One prefecture is offering ramen set meals for ¥500 (US$ 4.50) – a 15% discount – for drivers that are able to produce a certificate showing they’ve surrendered their license.
- About 12,000 former drivers have benefitted from the scheme since the beginning of the year.
- Other prefectures offer discounts on taxis and public transportation to ease the transition.
Read more on The Guardian.
November 28, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Cracked looked at some of the unintended consequences of donating to charities:
- After 20 children were killed during the Sandy Hook school shooting, over 67,000 teddy bear donations arrived for other children at the school.
- Similarly after the 2010 Haiti earthquake so many toys were donated that they took over valuable runway space, preventing planes from landing.
- Instead of helping, the thoughtful gesture requires manpower to clear, and ultimately dump, the donated toys. It’d be too expensive to donate them onto other charities.
- Another popular donation is eye-glasses. But after factoring in the cost of weeding out scratched lenses, and finding the right lens for the right child, it turns out it’d just be cheaper to buy poor children new glasses.
- Estimates indicate that 60%-90% of all physical donations are discarded. Charities would much prefer cash donations that they can deploy in the most impactful way.
- School shootings also tend to cause a surge in the number of people donating blood. But blood has a shelf-life of about six weeks, and a lot of it ultimately goes to waste.
- Donating after a national tragedy has the unfortunate consequence of convincing people that their civic duty is complete, causing a dangerous drop in the amount of blood donated in the weeks and months after a tragedy.
Read other unintended blind spots when it comes to donating to charity on Cracked.
November 27, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Will Buckley wrote about a (almost certainly spurious) quirk of American elections:
- In the 18 Presidential contests since World War 2, the better golfer has emerged victorious most times.
- Truman and Carter are the exceptions.
- The Bushes – which got two shots at the Presidency – were especially fond of the sport. Bush senior’s father was President of the United States Golf Association.
- Trump, for his part, has golf courses around the world and is an avid player of the sport. Clinton is said to be an inconsistent putter.
- Given that it’s going to be tough for democrats to find a better golfer than the current President-elect to run in 2020, if the relationship holds, we’re in for eight years of President Trump.
Read more on The Guardian.
November 26, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
Xian Xu and Jingbing Feng looked at the impact that earthquakes have on divorce:
- A doubling in the number of people lost in an earthquake, is associated with a 6% increase in divorce one year after the event.
- This more than offsets the 2% increase in marriages that is also triggered.
- The effects appear to persist. Two years after the event the divorce and marriage increases are even higher.
- In addition to humanitarian aid, the findings indicate that family counselling might also be required after a natural disaster.
Read the study and its methodology on Emerald Insight.
Via: Marginal Revolution
November 25, 2016 in Daily Bulletin
David K Gibson wrote about a surprisingly anachronistic practice in automobile design:
- Before car designs are approved they are first modelled with clay.
- Clay has the advantage of allowing iterations – the design can be added to, removed from, or changed around at will.
- It’s also collaborative. Multiple individuals can stand around and work on it.
- Each car company has its own proprietary blend of “clay” that it uses to make car designs.
- Ford, to take one example, goes through 100 tons of the material a year.
Read more about the process of car design, and find out what happens to the clay models on BBC.