The World’s Favourite Number Is 7

March 30, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Alex Bellos, a blogger for The Guardian, polled people on their preferred number:

  • People often pick numbers related to their birthdays or other key dates.
  • Odd numbers are more popular than even ones
  • Whole numbers are disliked. This might be because we round off to whole numbers and so we think they’re imprecise. If you want a favourite number it may as well be a number that stands for itself.
  • Prime numbers are popular – people like to be unique.
  • Eight is popular because in Chinese it sounds like “prosperity”. Four sounds like “death” and is disliked.
  • Three is well regarded. Religion is filled with that number, so are stories like the Three Musketeers, and sentences like this normally feel more complete if they follow the rule of three.
  • Seven is the most popular number. It is the only single digit number, other than one, that isn’t a multiple or a factor of any other. There are seven visible planets, seven days in a week, and seven deadly sins. Seven is luck in the casinos of Las Vegas.
  • 110 is the world’s least favourite number.

Read more on Nautilus.

“Made In Germany” Labels Were Meant To Encourage People To Buy Domestic. It Did The Opposite.

March 29, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Klaus Ulrich looked into the history of “Made in Germany”:

  • In 1887 the British passed the Merchandise Marks Act which required foreigners to label their products as having been made in a foreign country.
  • This was done because of a perception that Germany profited by selling cheap knock-offs of British wares.
  • The hope was that by labelling products as foreign, British consumers would buy local and boost local industry.
  • It backfired. The “Made in Germany” tag came to signify quality, and boosted demand for German manufacturing.
  • German cars and heavy machinery continue to benefit from an association between German engineering and quality to this day.

Read more on DW.

Via: Reddit

$100,000 For An Anti-Burnout Program

March 28, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Rebecca Greenfield wrote about J&J’s latest product offering:

  • About half of all senior business executives leave their new role within 18 months of getting promoted.
  • For someone like a CEO, turnover can cost $1.8 billion in shareholder value.
  • In that context J&J’s $100,000 a year program to help prevent burnout seems like a bargain.
  • It involves an initial in-depth medical assessment followed by frequent check ins with three coaches. J&J likens it to the pool of medical experts that surround astronauts after splashdown.
  • In the beginning J&J will take enrolled participants to the Mayo clinic for two and a half days for a examination that focuses on factors like metabolism and stamina.
  • After that the three coaches – a dietician, a psychologist, and an executive coach – will conduct frequent in-person check ins. Sometimes at home to make sure enrolees have access to healthy food.
  • They may also interview family and friends to identify potential future fracture points in the executive’s personal life.
  • All in all executive coaching is a $1 billion industry in the United States.

Read more on Bloomberg.

Sex Workers Earn More If They Have A College Degree

March 27, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Does going to college make you any smarter? Allison Schrager described a study which weighed in with some evidence:

  • Earning a college degree leads to a 13% boost in income for sex workers.
  • Screening clients to avoid risky encounters is a big part of the job. College educated sex workers have fewer, repeat clients, which allows them to cut down the amount of time spent screening.
  • Instead of offering just sex they provide a “girlfriend experience” where they’ll cuddle with their clients and perhaps even go on dates.
  • Such services command a premium because they require emotional engagement for extended periods of time.
  • The findings make sense. College educated women have brighter earnings prospects. It would require a higher starting earnings prospect to entice them into sex work.
  • Since sex workers aren’t the type to list tertiary education on their resumes, this suggests that going to college is more than just about signaling your worth as an employee. It seems to teach you useful skills.

Read Quartz’s report of the study. And find the study here.

Rising Inequality In The NFL

March 23, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Kevin Clark wrote that players in the NFL are increasingly divided into two categories:

  • On the face of it it’s a great time to be an NFL player. The salary cap in 2017 is $167 million. A $12 million increase from last year, and almost a $50 million increase since 2011.
  • But wealth is increasingly being concentrated in a few elite superstar players – at the expense of the average player.
  • The lack of negotiating power is partly due to larger training camps and practice squad rosters – increasing the supply of players while holding demand constant.
  • A rookie salary scale which reduced the income of newcomers – in an effort to direct money towards older players – had anchoring effects that changed how much money players expected to receive when they could freely negotiate pay.
  • Teams have started including “injury splits” in their contracts for non-elite players. Players don’t get paid if they’re injured. This is estimated to have cost players $28 million in 2015.
  • Per game bonuses are a different way to achieve the same goal.
  • If a team knows that they’ve made the playoffs, some have started keeping those earning per game bonuses on the bench to save money.

Read all the details on The Ringer.

Via: Marginal Revolution

Hospitals Save More Lives When The Boss Is Watching

March 22, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

According to a study reported on by Beth Mole, Doctors – they’re just like us!

  • The study found that mortality rates at hospitals decreased by 1.5% during weeks that inspectors that accredit hospitals conducted routine inspections.
  • At major teaching hospitals – that have more of a reputation at stake – it was a much starker 5.9% decrease.
  • If the gains at elite hospitals could be annualized for an entire year, that’d mean 3,600 fewer dead patients.
  • There’s no one single reason for the decrease. It seems like people are just more careful and do a better job overall when someone is watching.

Read ArsTechnica’s full report on the study here. Find the study here.

South Sudan Is Making It Difficult For Foreign Aid Workers To Help Fight Famine

March 21, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

South Sudan joins Venezuela in struggling with inflation wrote The Economist:

  • Last year hyperinflation in South Sudan peaked at more than 50% a month.
  • Oil used to produce 99.8% of the world’s newest country’s export revenue – and after prices collapsed the government printed money to pay its debts.
  • Food is mostly imported from neighboring countries, and prices have massively jumped contributing to a “near-famine situation”.
  • Despite its citizens needing all the help they can get, the government’s latest revenue measure is to raise the cost of work permits for foreign aid workers from $100 per person to $10,000.

Read more on The Economist.

Life Imitates Art: Heinz Turns To Mad Men For Its Next Ad Campaign

March 20, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

TV writers could do well in the ad industry writes Jessica Wohl:

  • In a 2013 episode of the hit show Mad Men, the lead is responsible for creating a marketing campaign for Heinz ketchup.
  • Instead of showing the iconic bottle or logo, the fictional character depicted food like French fries and burgers with the tag “pass the Heinz”.
  • 2017 is the tenth anniversary of the premiere of the show, and executives thought the idea was worth bringing to life.
  • Billboards with photos like the ones above will go up around Times Square, and will be shown in magazines like the New York Post.
  • While Heinz wasn’t involved in the making of the show, it got permission from Lionsgate before running the campaign.

Read more on Ad Age.

Soon Airports Might Use Automatic Facial Recognition Rather Than Human Agents To Recognize You

March 17, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Automated facial recognition is used to tag our social media posts. It could soon make everyday life for international travelers easier, wrote The Economist:

  • Currently travelers can be held up in queues waiting to show their passports in five spots: check-in, security, outbound immigration, boarding, and inbound immigration.
  • Japan is looking to use facial recognition technology to automatically waive people through in its airports by the time it hosts The Olympics in 2020.
  • After France introduced new security measures due to terrorist attacks, airport queues doubled. The country is looking for ways to ease the congestion as well.
  • There’s still some ways to go. In 2012 Japan found that the technology failed to identify passengers correctly almost 20% of the time. Though algorithms has made massive strides since then.
  • The bigger challenge could be passengers objecting on privacy grounds. But that hasn’t stopped other security measures.

Read more on The Economist.

The Economics Of American Visas

March 16, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Tkasang and Rodionos delved into publicly available data on American visas between 1997 and 2015:

  • The data reflects the international landscape as the US sees it. 82% of Cuban visas were rejected in 2015, while all visa applications from Lictenstein, Monaco, and San Marino were approved.
  • It also reflects trends over time. Visa rejections from traditional US allies like Canada and Norway have shot up as the world has become more closed.
  • On the other hand Poland’s visa rejection rate decreased by 21% – likely because it joined the European Union.
  • In 2015 the United States received a total of 13.5 million visa applications and approved 81% of them.
  • The country still earned money from application fees on the visas it rejected. In 2015 this totalled $411 million.
  • Mexico and India were responsible for a significant chunk of the rejected visa revenue, bringing in $60 million and $48 million respectively.

Read more on GitHub.