Feb 29, 2012

One man's freedom fighter...

Steve Martin (no further description necessary)

Feb 28, 2012

One of my favorite clips - Loveline

Loveline is an ongoing radio show where callers can call in and ask questions about love, sex, relationships, etc.

This is from ~2000. Definitely worth the 6 minute listen.

Feb 27, 2012

Yeah, Greece is screwed

A friend and I met up at a new bookstore and café in the centre of town, which has only been open for a month. The establishment is in the center of an area filled with bars, and the owner decided the neighborhood could use a place for people to convene and talk without having to drink alcohol and listen to loud music. After we sat down, we asked the waitress for a coffee. She thanked us for our order and immediately turned and walked out the front door. My friend explained that the owner of the bookstore/café couldn’t get a license to provide coffee. She had tried to just buy a coffee machine and give the coffee away for free, thinking that lingering patrons would boost book sales. However, giving away coffee was illegal as well. Instead, the owner had to strike a deal with a bar across the street, whereby they make the coffee and the waitress spends all day shuttling between the bar and the bookstore/café. My friend also explained to me that books could not be purchased at the bookstore, as it was after 18h and it is illegal to sell books in Greece beyond that hour. I was in a bookstore/café that could neither sell books nor make coffee.
via Marginal Revolution.

Feb 22, 2012

Steven Tyler's creepy leer of the night

Probably better without sound (last 10 seconds)

Feb 17, 2012

Feb 16, 2012

How Target targets you

This is a loooong but great article on how Target, like many companies, uses analytics to sell more effectively to its customers.
[B]ut one of Pole’s colleagues noticed that women on the baby registry were buying larger quantities of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Another analyst noted that sometime in the first 20 weeks, pregnant women loaded up on supplements like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Many shoppers purchase soap and cotton balls, but when someone suddenly starts buying lots of scent-free soap and extra-big bags of cotton balls, in addition to hand sanitizers and washcloths, it signals they could be getting close to their delivery date.
And it worked. Target's sales increased significantly after the new ad campaign.

The predictive modeling is getting so good, guys should review Target's coupons sent to their girlfriends/wives to figure out what to get them for Christmas:
About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation..
“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”
The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.
On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

Feb 10, 2012

All value is perceived value

Very funny talk from an advertising executive.

Feb 9, 2012

Literally Unbelievable

Stories from The Onion, taken seriously.



Feb 8, 2012

Drinking: how matters

Why are some people able to "handle their booze" - drink without negative short term and long term consequences - while others completely fall apart?
The Camba [Bolivian tribe profiled in the article] had weekly benders with laboratory-proof alcohol, and, Dwight Heath said, "There was no social pathology—none. No arguments, no disputes, no sexual aggression, no verbal aggression. There was pleasant conversation or silence." On the Brown University campus, a few blocks away, beer—which is to Camba rum approximately what a peashooter is to a bazooka—was known to reduce the student population to a raging hormonal frenzy on Friday nights. "The drinking didn't interfere with work," Heath went on. "It didn't bring in the police. And there was no alcoholism, either."
It turns, large part of the answer may be cultural.
Sappio and Trotta do not drink for the same purpose as the Camba: alcohol has no larger social or emotional reward. It's food, consumed according to the same quotidian rhythms as pasta or cheese. But the content of the rules matters less than the fact of the rule, the existence of a drinking regimen that both encourages and constrains alcohol's use.
Full Gladwell article.

Feb 3, 2012

Tales of SNL

The better an actor the host was, the sicker Belushi would be. He would be hours late and at death’s door, and he would come in in a robe, unable to speak. He’d have doctors in his dressing room. And the host would be thinking, “Belushi isn’t even going to show up, he’s too sick even to work”—and then John would come out on the show and just blast them away. He would sucker-punch guys that didn’t see it coming. And the more actorish they were, the worse they got it.
More here.

Feb 1, 2012

Literally Throws Herself At Men

Lily McElroy is an artist who literally throws herself at men and photographs the action.

"There is McElroy, all five feet and there inches of her, leaping through the air, her skirt in a state of disarray, turning an idiom into reality. Other bar dwellers look stunned, annoyed, or amused as one of McElroy’s friends takes a picture. These are not photos made with a fancy camera. They are not elegantly composed. These are simply snapshots of nights on the prowl, full of flash and red-eyed glory."
More here.