The Economics Of Setting A Bounty On A Terrorist

May 22, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Kathy Gilsinan wrote about the $25 million prize that was available for catching Osama Bin Laden:

  • The United States now offers $25 million for Bin Laden’s successor.
  • The numbers are determined based on perceived threat and may change if, for example, a terrorist gets promoted or demoted in their organization.
  • Yet one economist notes that $25 million seems too low when compared to the trillion dollars spent on the Afghanistan invasion.
  • If instead the United States had offered $500 million or a billion everybody could potentially have been saved a lot of trouble, grief, and money.
  • Critics note that such a high offer could result in even more false leads that would result in wasted time.
  • But false leads are the cost of doing business – and the government seems willing to accept that costs given the tremendous amount of false leads that must be generated by the NSA’s bulk metadata collection.
  • Moreover there’s not much of an incentive to offer false leads – no money will change hands as a result of it.
  • Other critics note that the bounty may in fact be too high. $25 million may seem too abstract and potential informants may not appreciate just how much it is.

Read more musings about the subject here.

Source: Defense One

The Economics Of Height

May 21, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Joe Pinsker looked at the benefits of being tall:

  • Every inch of height is, on average, worth an extra $800 a year in earnings.
  • Compounded over a 30 year career, that’s several hundreds of thousands of dollars that people will enjoy just for being tall.
  • Some inches matter more than others. The sharpest jump in earnings is for those between the heights of 5’4″ and 5’6″.
  • By the time you reach the six footers, additional inches don’t mean much for earnings.
  • It’s not just about the money though – its status. Bishops tend to be taller than preachers.
  • Taller people are also more likely to be entrepreneurs, and are more satisfied with life.

Read more about why height may lead to extra dollars, how attractiveness affects earnings, and more over here.

Source: The Atlantic

Latte Art Changes The Taste Of Coffee

May 20, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

While latte artists are able to do some incredible things, baristahustler wrote about how for some it may detract from the coffee drinking experience:

  • Latte art normally has a sense of symmetry which usually leads to a ring of crema around the edge of the cup.
  • When people first take a sip of this they’ll get a strong taste of bitter coffee.
  • This will desensitize the palate, and make the rest of the drink seem bland.
  • In contrast if there’s no latte art and the crema is mixed in with the rest of the coffee, the flavor will be spread out and make the overall drink seem richer.
  • Of course having latte art may improve the coffee drinking experience overall due to the concoction’s visual appeal.

Read more here.

Source: The Barista Hustle

Why Rubio Is Running For President And Bush Isn’t

May 19, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are arguably the current frontrunners for the Republican nomination for President. Yet only Rubio has officially announced that he’s gunning for the Oval Office. Bush likes to say that he’s still considering it – even though for all intents and purposes he’s acting like a candidate for the top job. Josh Voorhees explained why:

  • Those running for Federal office have limits on the amount of cash they can raise.
  • As Federal Senators, candidates like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul, are always assumed to be running for office by law – therefore the spending caps have already been imposed on them.
  • These candidates have nothing to lose by declaring their intent to run for President, and can generate some buzz by being the only ones who are officially running.
  • Meanwhile candidates like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry are not Federal officers, and can raise unlimited amounts of money through Super PACs.
  • Therefore while the candidates are clearly running, officially they say that they aren’t.

Read more about what declared candidates for President can and can’t do, and why some non-Federal officers have already declared their intent to run over here.

Source: Slate

People Give Up If A Video Doesn’t Load In Two Seconds

May 18, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

We’ve previously looked at how every extra second waiting at a drive-thru leads to 4 cents less in revenue for a fast food chain. According to a study covered by CBS, people value their time when waiting for videos to load pretty highly as well:

  • People’s patience with a video that is loading lasts about two seconds.
  • After that, for every additional second a video takes to load, a video loses viewers at a rate of 5.8%.
  • After ten seconds half a video’s potential audience will have given up.
  • People viewing longer videos are more forgiving, and will give a website an extra couple seconds before losing hope.
  • Meanwhile those on the fastest internet connections seem to value their time the most and aren’t even always willing to give the two seconds that other more charitable users give.

Read more here.

Source: CBS

The Odder Segments Of The Japanese Hospitality Industry

May 17, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Soo Kim covered some of the odder hotels and cafes that are available in Japan:

  • One hotel offers a “crying room” with cashmere soft tissues and tear-jerking movies/manga comic books.
  • Cuddle cafes allow visitors to cuddle with a female partner in bed. No sexual relations are allowed although for additional charges patrons can stare into their partner’s eyes or even stroke their face.
  • Cat, bunny, and even owl cafes let visitors pet animals for a bit.
  • One bar only serves canned food. Plastic cutlery is provided and patrons are expected to eat directly from the tins.
  • Some dessert shops attract visitors by having servers dressed in maid outfits.
  • Yet another offers dancing robots, giant pandas, and humans dressed as dinosaurs.

Read some other fascinating other examples, and how much it costs to partake, over here.

Source: The Telegraph


Chili’s Is Gunning For The Burger Selfie Demographic

May 15, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Nick Turner and Lindsey Rupp wrote about the burger chain Chili’s efforts to appeal to social customers:

  • Chili’s is trying to change the presentation of its food to make it look more attractive on Instagram
  • The burgers now sit higher, and buns with more visual appeal are used.
  • French fires are served in a photo friendly container.
  • The chain has also installed digital terminals at all its tables so that customers can instantly request refills or pay bills.
  • It is also encouraging customers to do things such as pay through tablet devices.

Read more about Chili’s initiatives here.

Source: Bloomberg

A Surprisingly Effective Way To Rob Banks

May 14, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Moshe Cohen reported on a novel way to rob banks:

  • One man managed to “rob” at least eight banks by merely asking bank tellers to hand over cash.
  • He was careful about the teller he selected – it was usually a woman.
  • He then explained to them that he had no weapons, and had no intention or means of hurting anybody.
  • After sliding over a bag for them to fill he apologized for what he was doing and explained that he was facing difficult financial times.
  • The tellers would report the robbery only after the man made a safe getaway.
  • He is thought to have gotten away with about $28,000 through this technique.

Read what the police think and why this may not qualify as a robbery in the first place, here.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Via: Marginal Revolution

Rent A Foreigner In China

May 12, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

In a documentary David Borenstein looked at the foreigner renting industry in China:

  • China is in the midst of a construction boom that has left multiple properties in search of a buyer.
  • One way that realtors can boost demand is by renting foreigners.
  • Firms provide menus where customers can select skin colours and nationalities.
  • By having such faces present when interested buyers come around to visit, developers can make an area seem more globalized than it really is.
  • Some of the purchased foreigners will play the role of low level VIPs to further enhance property values.

Watch the full documentary here.

Source: The New York Times

Autoshow Models Protest Ban

May 11, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Proving that you can almost never please everybody wrote about an unexpectedly aggrieved interest group:

  • Sexy female “car babes” have been banned from the Shanghai International Automobile Industry exhibition.
  • This has led to models protesting the decision by dressing up as beggars.
  • The protesting models note that their efforts to get thin have been “in vain”.


Via: Marginal Revolution