Uber For Fuel

February 8, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Uber fuel

Lauren Goode wrote about a service that aims to be the Uber for filling up your car’s tank:

  • Users of WeFuel use an app to point to the location of their car.
  • The service then dispatches a truck in 30 minutes to fill your car up with either regular or premium petrol.
  • As long as the car’s tank is unlocked users don’t have to be there for the delivery.
  • It costs $7.49 per refill in addition to the price of fuel which is calculated daily for specific zip codes.
  • Plans for a $19.99 monthly subscription which allows unlimited refuels are in the works.
  • Safety is paramount. The fuel is delivered in a hazmat truck. Your car will only be refueled if it’s in an uncovered space. And the person doing the refueling will take out a fire extinguisher before doing so.

Read more about the viability of the company, and why it launched in a state that accounts for 40% of all electric vehicle sales over here.

Source: The Verge

Price Fixing At Auschwitz

February 7, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

price fixing auschwitz

In the 1980s Israel started sending school children to Poland to see Nazi camps such as Auschwitz. These trips are now at the heart of a new scandal writes Adam Taylor:

  • The cost of the trips has long been a sore point for Israeli families. Poorer students can’t afford the US$1,300 usually required.
  • The Israeli government gave tenders to a number of tour operators to manage the trips. Having multiple ones was meant to bring down prices.
  • However Israeli authorities now believe that the companies were illegally coordinating with each other to fix prices and keep profits high.
  • There are also allegations that some of the companies paid bribes.

Read more here.

Source: The Washington Post

Via: Marginal Revolution

The Latest Craze In Thailand Is Haunted Dolls

February 5, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Thailand dollThe Economist had a fascinating article on a recent Thai economic trend:

  • The dolls – or “child angels” as they are known – are blessed with the spirit of a child and are thought to bring good luck.
  • Their owners go so far as to feed and water them, while dressing the US$110 toys in the finest clothing.
  • The dolls are so popular that one airline allows fliers to purchase an extra seat so that their doll can buckle in and travel in comfort.
  • At buffets the dolls can dine for the child price – although they’ll be expected to pay for any food on their plates that remains uneaten.
  • Even “Disney on Ice” will offer tickets for the dolls.
  • Smugglers have taken note of the trend and are using the toys to smuggle drugs.
  • And there’s a bit of a backlash – the dolls are, after all, meant to be haunted with spirits. Some people don’t want to purchase tickets that could seat them next to the dolls.

Read more about why Thailand’s political turmoil helped drive this craze, and why the Prime Minister isn’t too happy about them over here.

Source: The Economist

The Rise Of The Night Mayor

February 3, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Night Mayor

Feargus O’Sullivan wrote about the rise of the Night Mayor:

  • Cities usually view the night with suspicion – a time when well-meaning citizens are asleep and more illicit characters take to the streets.
  • In 2014 Amsterdam decided to instead see the night as an opportunity and appointed a night mayor.
  • One action taken by the night mayor was to modify the rule requiring nightclubs to close at 5am on weekends. By letting night clubs pick their own hours there wasn’t a one time rush of sound and interference when all night clubs simultaneously closed.
  • Another initiative was to have night walkers on patrol. They inform night birds in a friendly way if they’re being too loud, and could be more considerate.
  • The idea has been so successful that Paris, Toulouse, and Zurich have adopted their own night mayors. London and Berlin aren’t far behind.

Read more here.

Source: City Lab

Netflix For Flights

February 2, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Netflix for Flights

Justin Bachman wrote about a service that aims to be the Netflix for air travel:

  • For $2,950 a month OneGo will let you take an unlimited number of flights anywhere in the United States.
  • Travelers are required to  make bookings seven daysin advance – though for an additional $1,950 a month that requirement is dropped.
  • The company markets itself to business fliers who don’t want to have to worry about the hassle of making a last minute booking if a client asks for a meeting in Chicago the next day.
  • The startup’s fate rests on it getting enough customers for airlines to start offering it volume discounts.
  • Airlines have tried selling ‘all you can fly’ tickets before but this is the first year round offering not limited to a specific carrier.
Read more over here.
Source: Bloomberg

Iowa Businesses Are Cashing In On The Attention

February 1, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Iowa Caucus

All eyes are on the Iowa caucuses today. Businesses have found ways to take advantage writes Jeremy Quittner:

  • Some places such as Pizza Ranch have become election year institutions with candidates always planning events.
  • They are usually divided between the Democrats and the Republicans. Pizza Ranch, for example, usually only hosts Republican candidates.
  • One diner launched a coffee bean caucus. Patrons were invited to drop a coffee bean into a jar to indicate which candidate they supported.
  • The jars have been a surprisingly good predictor of caucus results leading to a lot of media attention that boosts business.
  • Another business sells caucus theme merchandise known for being edgy – think of all the plays on the word ‘caucus’.
  • According to one company, the Iowa caucus leads to an additional $100,000 in revenue.

Read more over here.

Source: Slate

People Are Interested In Alternative Workouts At The Gym

January 31, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Gym Alternate

According to Charles Pulliam-Moore gyms are hotbeds for all kinds of workouts:

  • According to a survey 25% of people have considered having sex at their gym.
  • 70% of women have thought about having sex with their personal trainers.
  • 66% of people say that part of the reason they go to the gym is in the hopes of having sex there.
  • 10% of the gym bags you see have condoms in them…just in case.
  • This might be because workouts cause your serotonin and dopamine to spike, putting you in the mood.

Read more over here.

Source: Fusion

A City With Sleep Merchants

January 28, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Ellen Barry wrote about a shadowy city with ethereal sleep merchants:

  • New Delhi’s shelters can accommodate 18,000 people. Yet the homeless likely number more than 100,000.
  • Enter sleep merchants. These people chalk out parts of the sidewalks and offer safe spaces for people to bunk.
  • They pay off the police and street sweepers so that the sleepers aren’t disturbed. Pick pockets are also paid so that the only robberies abound are dreamt.
  • Some are compassionate, offer blankets, and play a Bollywood movie so that clients can slowly drift into slumber.
  • Others are more calculating and will more than quadruple nightly prices – to 50 Rupees ($0.73) – when a chill begins to settle in the dark.

Source: The New York Times

The Economics Of Cocktail Cherry Garnishes

January 27, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

According to Noah Rothbaum the best cocktail cherry garnish comes from a company called Luxardo. He looked into the company’s history:

  • Luxardo’s cherries actually date back to a farm in Croatia in the 1880s.
  • They were used in cocktails then too, but in the 1900s olives replaced cherries as the cocktail garnish of choice.
  • But Luxardo continued to churn out its cherries until World War II. Allied forces bombed the farm in 1943 and legend has it that the family scion escaped with nothing but a cook book and a cherry sapling.
  • He went to a part of Italy with acidic volcanic soil and planted the sapling there.
  • Not only was it good soil for cherries but it was far from cities ensuring that in any future wars the farm wouldn’t be bombed.
  • Fast forward to 2004 when Luxardo sent four jars of its candied cherries to a master New York bar tender.
  • The rest is history. Luxardo cherries became the iconic cocktail garnish, inspiring bars across New York to adopt them.

Read more over here.

Source: The Daily Beast

The Economics Of Elite Butlers

January 26, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Turns out its possible to get your own personal Alfred. Pádraig Belton wrote:

  • Super-elite butlers can earn $157,000 a year, and if they go to the Middle East the salaries are tax-free – and often include an additional bonus.
  • Many of them are English and either have military experience, due to cut backs in the armed forces, or have acted in the past.
  • Such butlers will often oversee multiple properties, and will do things like ensuring that family visas are up to date.
  • In order to become an elite butler, you need pristine references – preferably at least one from the Royal Family.
  • You’ll also benefit from going through a diploma course that offers training in fire control, first aid, wine tasting, and social etiquette.
  • It’s not just for men. According to one academy 40% of elite butlers are female – they’ll often wait on wealthy females in the Middle East where gender segregation is common.

Read more about the world of elite butlers here.

Source: BBC

Via: Marginal Revolution