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Friday, March 18, 2011

News-Related Post

Not quite news... but interesting stories nonetheless.
(Side note: 'nonetheless' is an awesome word. Spelled exactly how it sounds and way cooler than its brother 'nevertheless').


Diet Coke Unseats Pepsi As #2 Cola Brand
Wow. Good job Pepsi... It's like your not even trying anymore.
Which is fine with me. If we get rid of Pepsi completely, I don't have to worry about getting it, instead of Coke, when I order soda in a restaurant.

"Pepsi has spent decades throwing stones at Coke from its position in second place among the fizzy beverage brands. And now Pepsi will need to toss those stones even farther as the brand has given up its spot to Diet Coke and slipped to third on the list.

According to 2010 sales data published in Beverage Digest, Coke and Diet Coke maintained steady market shares of 17% and 9.9% respectively, but Pepsi's market share slipped .4% to 9.5%.

At last weekend's SXSW Interactive festival, where PepsiCo handed out free bottles of Pepsi Max, company execs kept going on about the success of its Pepsi Refresh program, which gave out $20 million in grants to various groups. But given the dip in sales, some question the company's decision to focus on that program over traditional advertising.

How Washington Ruined Your Washing Machine
Another reason to hate government in their micromanaging of people's lives...
Why not give people a choice whether or not they want to save money/water (and have dirtier clothes)?
And while saving energy and the environment are good things, how about doing some research before setting standards that result in inferior products?

Did you know Energy Star doesn't even fact-check energy-consumption claims by companies?

"It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it's ruined—and Americans have politics to thank.

In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."

How's that for progress?

The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren't as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates.

The federal government first issued energy standards for washers in the early 1990s. When the Department of Energy ratcheted them up a decade later, it was the beginning of the end for top-loaders. Their costlier and harder-to-use rivals—front-loading washing machines—were poised to dominate.

Front-loaders meet federal standards more easily than top-loaders. Because they don't fully immerse their laundry loads, they use less hot water and therefore less energy. But, as Americans are increasingly learning, front-loaders are expensive, often have mold problems, and don't let you toss in a wayward sock after they've started.

"In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days.

In 2007, only one conventional top-loader was rated "very good." Front-loaders did better, as did a new type of high-efficiency top-loader that lacks a central agitator. But even though these newer types of washers cost about twice as much as conventional top-loaders, overall they didn't clean as well as the 1996 models.

The situation got so bad that the Competitive Enterprise Institute started a YouTube protest campaign, "Send Your Underwear to the Undersecretary." With the click of a mouse, you could email your choice of virtual bloomers, boxers or Underoos to the Department of Energy. Several hundred Americans did so, but it wasn't enough to stop Congress from mandating even stronger standards a few months later.
(WSJ via Neatorama)

DWade does the Cabbage Patch:

And this is why everyone loves watching the Heat lose.
While it was an impressive dunk, how about you focus first on closing that 9 point deficit, then you can dance.
(via deadspin)

Asians Are Highly Desirable, And Other Secrets Of Online Dating Sites
(Although I'm pretty sure most of those messages are going to female Asians...)

"In a world without so many white people, where everyone has an equal choice, that first graph we saw—the average monthly messages people get—would look like this:"

"And, going for a little more detail, this is how it would break out by age."
Be sure to read the full article for the full story and more interesting stats:
(Business Insider)

And had to end with this:
How One Man Waged War Against Gravity
The story of Roger Babson, gravity's sworn enemy, and his Gravity Research Foundation
This man is crazy...
I had always wondered about that marker... Knew it wasn't just a 'hole' for frolf.

"Beside the path leading from the library to the academic quad at Tufts University is what appears to be a misplaced gravestone, pictured here.

As an undergraduate physics student at Tufts, needless to say, I found this monolith intriguing. Who was Roger W. Babson? What was the mysteriously austere Gravity Research Foundation? And above all, what blessings would come forth upon the discovery of a gravity semi-insulator – and what does that even mean?"

"Roger Babson was the quintessential rich and powerful American businessman. He was born in Gloucester, Mass., in 1875 the tenth-generation Babson born there. Soon after earning an engineering degree from MIT, he founded a financial analysis firm called the Babson Statistical Organization (later renamed Babson's Reports), which made him a millionaire within its first decade and stayed in business for almost a century.

"Despite his status as an extraordinarily successful businessman and Mr. American everyman, Babson was also—there's no other word for it—a crackpot. Throughout his life, he had major beef with, of all things, the force of gravity. In a 1948 essay entitled “Gravity – Our Enemy Number One,” he explained that the grudge traced back to his childhood, when his sister drowned in a swimming accident. “Yes, they say she was "drowned", but the fact is that ... she was unable to fight Gravity which came up and seized her like a dragon and brought her to the bottom. There she smothered and died from lack of oxygen.”"

"The year of that writing, Babson established the Gravity Research Foundation (GRF). It operated out of New Boston, N.H., 60 miles north of Boston, Mass., – “a safe distance ... in case [Boston] should be bombed in World War III,” Babson wrote. The GRF was intended as a sort of clearinghouse, which would collect and disseminate gravity-related information as well as fund promising research projects. In short, its goal was to expedite the discovery of a gravity shield."

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