You Know Something Awful Has Happened When A Female Character Cuts Her Hair

May 23, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Alaina Leary delved into the “Important Haircut” trope:

  • In movies and television, a female character cutting her hair is typically a response to severe trauma and the point where the character is “reborn”.
  • It’s an easy trope as it allows the viewer to visualize internal trauma.
  • It also has some basis in truth. Psychologists say that survivors of trauma often find a haircut helps with healing. It is an aspect of one’s life that one has complete control over, and there are no detrimental effects.
  • There are downsides to the trope. People may think that only major external signs like a haircut are an indication that their friend may need help or support.
  • A character cutting her own hair is often shown to be in hysterics – possibly creating a stigma against what can be a healthy act.
  • And then there are women who just like to have short hair, and would rather people don’t think they have cancer or are traumatized.

Read more on Racked.

People Are Influenced More By Mobile Ads If They’re On A Crowded Train

May 22, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Anindya Ghose wrote about crowds and marketing:

  • A study found that those on subway trains are five times more likely to buy things after seeing mobile ads.
  • If the subway is crowded then the purchase rate goes up another 45%.
  • People dislike having their personal space violated. On trains, they respond to it by turning increasingly inward and focusing on their phones.
  • As the real world is tuned out people take in more of their mobile screen – including the ads.

Read more on Recode.

In E-sports Location Matters

May 19, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Adrianne Jeffries wrote about E-sports:

  • League of Legends is the most popular E-sports game, and the servers that power it are located in Chicago.
  • This means that it takes computers in Hawaii – 6,700 km away – 120 milliseconds longer for their actions to register.
  • This has hamstrung Hawaii’s e-sporting professionals who have struggled to make the big leagues.
  • The physicality of the internet helps explain why tournaments are hosted in big stadiums – keeping everyone on the same network in the same location evens the playing field.

Read more on The Outline.

Who Fact Checks The Fact Checkers?

May 18, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Chloe Lim analyzed two major fact checkers:

  • Lim found that there was only a 10% overlap in the statements that two fact checkers evaluated.
  • When there was overlap the two did not strongly agree – and sometimes flatly contradicted each other – in their assessment of a statements’ accuracy.
  • This may help explain why facts don’t seem to have had much of an effect in America’s primary and Presidential elections.
  • In the fact checkers’ defense – assessing the truth of political claims is hard. Politicians rarely offer much detail and usually ignore follow up requests for clarification.

Read the entire paper here.

Via: Marginal Revolution

Britain Is Torn About Using Paper Instead Of Parchment

May 17, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

British politics is about more than just Brexit wrote Jenny Gross:

  • The United Kingdom parliament has recorded its acts on parchment made of sheep or goat skin since medieval times.
  • Today this costs $45 a sheet – compared to $0.21 for archival paper.
  • The annual cost of using parchment is estimated to be $103,000.
  • Parchment does happen to be more durable than paper. But if paper is carefully stored then it should last a few centuries at least.
  • Switching to digital records entirely is out of the question – a solar flare could knock out the world’s computers.
  • The debate about costs is particularly sensitive as the UK is transferring 19,000 pieces of EU law into UK law (Editor’s note: Ok, maybe British politics is all Brexit after all)
  • Many are upset as one tradition after another disappears. Clerks in the House of Commons stopped wearing wigs this year. And the House Speaker had the audacity to show up in a suit and tie.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal.

You Can Pay Women To Play Video Games With You

May 16, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Cecilia D’Anastasio explored the market for female gaming companions:

  • Women looking to make a little extra cash doing what they already enjoy can charge up to $15 per session to play with internet strangers.
  • Some provide emotional support, in addition to the gaming kind – they’ll cheer when you do well and comfort you when you lose.
  • They’ll often be asked to play supporting characters – like healers – allowing the paying customer to focus on being the hero.
  • Which is a shame – they’re typically excellent gamers themselves and can provide useful coaching.

Read more on Kotaku.

The Makers Of WannaCry Haven’t Made Much Money

May 15, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

The WannaCry bug encrypts users’ files and demands a Bitcoin ransom in return for the unlock key. Only those that have disabled security updates are vulnerable to it. Rhett Jones looked into the earnings of the perpetrators:

  • One expert used publicly available Bitcoin data to estimate that WannaCry’s creators had made just $26,000.
  • There is evidence that some users may even have negotiated down the original asking ransom price of $300.
  • The bug threatens to double prices if users don’t immediately pay the ransom so it’s possible earnings will jump.
  • Analysis done in 2012 indicated that approximately 3% of people pay up when hit with ransomware attacks.

Read more on Gizmodo.

British Nannies Are Now Trained In Counter-Terrorism

May 11, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Move aside James Bond. The next action blockbuster could realistically center around a nanny as the protagonist. Ben Stansall wrote:

  • Norland College, in southwest England, has been training some of the world’s most renowned nannies for 125 years.
  • In addition to self-defense classes, the college recently added counter-terrorism courses like evasive driving and cyber security to its curriculum.
  • The lessons are taught by ex-intelligence officers.
  • Alumni of the school go on to care for the most elite clients. Britain’s Prince George is tended to by a graduate of the school.

Read more on MSN.

A Big Hunk o’ Market Economics

May 9, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Prices for Elvis memorabilia are cratering wrote Oobah Butler:

  • Once upon a time people built retirement nest eggs on valuable Elvis goods. You could get as much as £25,000 ($32,000) if you had five original Sun singles.
  • But prices have fallen. In 1998 a collector could hope to get £125 for the Take the Good Rockin’ Tonight EP. Today prices have fallen by an order of magnitude to about £13.50
  • Demand is waning as fans of Elvis enter their 70s and 80s.
  • Meanwhile supply is up as the goods of those hoping to cash in for retirement – or those who simply pass away – flood the market.
  • The era of Elvis Presley as an icon is coming to a gentle end.

Read more on The Guardian.

Capitalism – It’s Good For Growth!

May 8, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Capitalism makes people taller writes Ian Birrell:

  • A century ago South Korean men ranked 150 on the list of tallest on the planet.
  • Today they have risen 99 points to 51.
  • The average South Korean woman is 1.62 meters – 20.2 centimeters (8 inches) taller than her counterpart a hundred years ago.
  • Meanwhile a study of male North Korean defectors has found that they are up to 8 centimeters shorter than their southern brethren.
  • The defectors are typically from the communist regime’s elite – it’s likely that the average North Korean is a lot shorter.

Read more on the Foundation for Economic Education.