The Last Meal

September 23, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Before being executed, it is tradition to offer inmates whatever last meal they desire. Dashiell Bennett looked at a study that examined what exactly people ordered for their last meal:

  • The average last meal had 2,756 calories.
  • Over 80% requested meat. Over 60% requested something fried.
  • Fruits and vegetables were rarely ordered (obviously.) But pasta and pizza were also rare.
  • 20% didn’t order anything.
  • Branded foods were popular – probably because they didn’t want to be surprised or disappointed for their final meal.
  • This study has scientific value: it suggests that perhaps doctors shouldn’t tell patients they may die if they eat unhealthily. Knowing that one’s demise is imminent seems to make people eat more unhealthily – because they know it won’t matter.

See what one of these meals looked like, previous analysis of people’s last meal, and other details over here.

Source: The Atlantic

Hunting From The Comfort Of Your Own Home

September 22, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Jakob Schiller reported on an idea that made the tacocopter look tame in comparison:

  • In the future you could send out a drone aircraft to go hunting, shoot a wild animal, and then bring it back for dinner.
  • You could control it through a remote control that provides a video feed from a camera on the drone. Or with advanced enough AI, the drone could simply hunt without human direction.
  • While the inventor has no plans to actually manufacture the aircraft, a vibrant DIY drone community might be inspired by the idea and take things into their own hands.

Read more about what the idea tells us about society, and see a mockup of what the drone control interface might look like over here.

Source: Wired

Why Cupcakes?

September 21, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Cupcakes have seen a surge in popularity in recent years writes Deborah Reddihough. Why?

  • In an age of economic instability people might be finding solace in the delightful treats.
  • Food and fashion have always been at odds with one another. The cupcake with its creative design potential unites the two. Fashion magazines have thus embraced it as an accessory far more affordable than a designer handbag.
  • Cupcake makers are evolving. They’re beginning to focus on taste over style.
  • Cupcakes are also becoming more creative. Alcoholic cupcakes are the current rage.

Read more about why a cupcake is called a cupcake, how the British are trying to differentiate themselves from the Americans, and the role that Sex and the City played, over here.

Source: BBC

Our History Is Fading Away

September 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

MIT’s technology review reported on a study that showed that our history is slowly being lost to time:

  • Twitter has become an important chronology of our history. Events such as the Middle East revolution were in part driven by individuals posting and sharing links on the microblogging website.
  • But many of the links that were used are now dead – they lead to pages that no longer exist.
  • This is also true for other culturally significant events such as the spread of the H1N1 virus, and the death of Michael Jackson.
  • The material is lost at a rate of 0.02% a day. After two years 27% of pages that helped shaped our present are lost to time.

Read more about the methodology of the study and the people who conducted it over here.

Source: Technology Review

Batman For President…Of Brazil?

September 19, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

In Brazil you can go to your local election booth and vote for The Dark Knight. Confused? Simon Romero explained:

  • In Brazil candidates are allowed to go by their nicknames on the ballot.
  • This has led to a string of politicians attempting to capitalize on their looks. One candidate came to be known as wolverine due to his sideburns and big build. On the campaign trail he now wears metal talons and uses slogans such as “vote for the guy who has claws.”
  • There are five Batmans running, 16 Obamas, and a Ladi Gaga (sic) among others.
  • Others are more descriptive. One candidate runs as: “National Institute of Social Security’s Defender of the People.”
  • Candidates use these names to create memorable campaigns in the hopes of standing out on the ballot.

Read more about the other names that people have adopted, Brazil’s more relaxed approach to elections, and what campaign strategists have to say about the practice over here.

Source: The New York Times

Branded For Life

September 19, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

It’s one thing to be branded for life. It’s another thing to be branded for life by companies that no longer exist. Jack Stuef reported:

  • During the dotcom bubble in the late 90s and early 00s tech companies flush with cash would do anything to get media attention. One way was to tattoo advertizements directly onto the skin of people.
  • Established companies never engaged in such practices because of the backlash associated with buying space on people’s flesh. Only young and new companies – those most likely to fail – bought the ads. Fail they did, but their ads live on.
  • Some have continued the practice. One man who changed his name to Hostgator Dotcom now has 37 face tattoos. Because of the recession he has returned to selling ads on his body although there are fewer companies buying.

Read more about the stories of some of these people, why they did it, what happened to the websites, and what their plans are for the future over here.

Source: Buzz Feed

Why China Doesn’t Have A Wall Street

September 14, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Since 1992 China’s economy has grown by 1,700%, yet its stock market has declined by 40%. What gives? Carl Walter and Fraser Howie found out:

  • It’s because of the way the stock market is set up. Only state-run companies are allowed on the market, and the Chinese government must have at least 51% ownership of the company.
  • When a Chinese company first sells shares on the market, the Chinese government sets the share price, and then forces other state sponsored enterprises to buy shares at that price – guaranteeing a successful sale.
  • If Steve Jobs were to start a company in China its valuation would not be driven by how visionary his ideas were, rather, it would depend entirely on his relationship with the Chinese government.
  • While the Chinese government could change the way it does things, it won’t, because that would require the introduction of private property and the Communist Party of China would rather that everything just belong to them.

Read more about the largest IPO in history, the veneer of a modern economy, and more over here.

Source: Foreign Policy

What Happens To Apple If The iPhone Fails?

September 13, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Yesterday Apple previewed the latest model of the iPhone. The company has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, so even if the iPhone 5 ends up disappointing consumers it shouldn’t be too big a deal for Apple right? Not so argues Henry Blodget. Apple’s future depends on the iPhone doing well:

  • Apple’s legal battles with Samsung forced the company to release detailed financials. They showed that Apple depends on the iPhone for almost 66% of its profits.
  • The iPad generates about another 15% of the company’s profits.
  • Tim Cook talked up the post-pc era, but Apple better hope that this future isn’t driven by iPads. The cost of making the device is so high and its price is so low that if the iPad became Apple’s dominant product, its profit margins would be crushed.
  • All of this means that if the iPhone fails then Apple’s financials will take a steep dive. The company’s future is entirely dependent upon the success of this one product.

Read more about these estimates, what experts have to say, and a fascinating graph that visualizes the profits from Apple’s different products over here.

Source: Business Insider

Pet Funerals

September 12, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

We’ve seen restaurants with menus designed specifically for pets. It turns out that there are crematoriums and other such services that operate on largely the same principles. Eric Spitznagel wrote:

  • The pet after-care industry has grown tremendously – some report growth rates of hundreds and thousands of percent annually. In 2011 it was worth $52.87 billion.
  • Some of the services offered include $1,765 bronze grave markers and $1,135 velvet lined caskets. You can also get your pet freeze dried, embalmed, or have a diamond made of their remains.
  • According to one service provider, families are quite likely to complain about the cost of burying/cremating their human relatives. They never complain about the cost of after care services for their pets.
  • Some suggest it is because baby boomers find their only source of companionship in their pets after their children leave home or their spouses pass away. But young people are just as likely to use these services.

Read more including some of the other options offered, and why people from Ohio will bury their dogs in Pennsylvania, but not their relatives, over here.

Source: Business Week

Emma Watson: The Most Dangerous Celebrity On Earth

September 11, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

According to McAfee, Emma Watson is the most dangerous celebrity in the world:

  • If you search for Emma Watson on the internet there’s a 12.5% chance that you’ll end up on a site that could harm your computer.
  • If you append the words “nude pictures” to your search for “Emma Watson” you further increase your chances of landing on a site that could compromise your computer.
  • In general searching for women on the internet is more dangerous than searching for men.
  • The only male to make the top-20 list of most dangerous celebrity searches is Jimmy Kimmel.

Get the full list over here, and find out who Emma Watson displaced to take the top spot this year.

Source: Slate