Allison Aubrey, reporting for NPR:
Fast-food giant McDonald’s has made a commitment to stop marketing sodas as a beverage option in kids’ Happy Meals.
Instead, the chain has committed to market and promote only milk, water and juice with the children’s meals.
This is a welcome move, however, the company (and more importantly parents) should be careful about how milk and juice are marketed to children in terms of health.
Here is a brief comparison of the respective nutritional values:
- Coca-Cola (child size): 100 calories, 28g carbs, 28g sugars
- Milk (1%): 100 calories, 12g carbs, 12g sugars
- Chocolate Milk (fat-free): 130 calories, 23g carbs, 22g sugars
- Apple Juice (box): 100 calories, 23g carbs, 22g sugars
Based on a single serving, cola isn’t substantially worse in terms of calories, carbs, and sugars when compared to most of the other options. Now, I presume one major benefit is that the cola alternatives are not refillable. That’s exactly why portion control and responsibility should be the larger message directed to children. For instance, if a child were to drink a large amount of juice because they believe it is inherently “healthy”, they can still gain weight. Conversely, if a child enjoys a rare single soda in the context of a well-rounded diet, they will be okay. I worry that rebranding juice and milk as “healthy” in the absence of portion control education will do little to curb our current childhood obesity issues. That said, I believe this is a great start from McDonald’s.
Gretchen Reynolds, writing for The New York Times:
For some time, psychologists and other researchers have been studying how personality traits affect health and health-related choices. Not surprisingly, they have found that people blessed with innate conscientiousness, meaning that they are organized and predictable, typically eat better and live longer than people who are disorderly. They also tend to have immaculate offices.
What has been less clear is whether neat environments can produce good habits even in those who aren’t necessarily innately conscientious.
I’ve never really thought about this. As my officemates can tell you, the state of my desk’s organization is rather manic. Following the results of this study, however, it seems my desk is an extension of what kind of focus I require on a particular day. In other words, on days that I need regimented focus, my desk must be clean. Conversely, on days when I need creative freedom to solve a problem, my desk goes to hell.
… because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
I, for one, applaud Popular Science’s decision. Comment sections are largely cesspools of anger and ignorance.
If you have a hard time avoiding the comments below an article, I suggest you follow this wonderful twitter feed for a bit of inspiration.
I don’t believe Apple added 64-bit support to iOS 7 and all their apps just to prepare for an eventual transition to 4GB+ memory capacities in future iPhones. I think this was to do with something more impending. Do we know any product category that Apple would be interested in, that would require the use of both iOS and an A-series chip that is 64-bit capable in order to address 4GB+ memory?
Apple TV (the one that is yet to come, not the one that exists).
C. D. Hermelin shares a touching story that illustrates the pain associated with becoming an internet meme:
Each time I went, I’d walk home, my typewriter case full of singles, my fingers ink-stained. Lots of people were worried about copycats—what if I saw someone “stealing” my idea? I tried to soothe them. If every subway guitarist had fights about who came up with the idea to play an acoustic cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the underground would be a violent place. More violent than it already is. Others, perhaps drawn by the sounds of the typewriter, would stop and just talk to me, watch me compose a story for someone else. Then they’d shake their head and tell me that the idea and the execution were “genius.”
Of course, the Internet could be counted on to take me down a peg.
Group-think, entitled internet anger, stereotypes, and an out-of-context photo changed Hermelin’s life for the worse. Perhaps we should all think twice before being a part of the internet hate machine.
Jon Negroni, blowing your mind:
Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why.
Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on Cracked.com that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call “The Pixar Theory,” a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme.
Morgan Housel, writing for The Motley Fool:
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) was once the poster child of what happens when excitement about a company detaches from reality. The headlines “Amazon founder named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year,” and “Analysts Fear Amazon Is Going Bankrupt” appeared within 14 months of each other around the year 2000. Short of fraud, there little precedent for this in business history.
But 13 years later, Amazon is thriving. It is dominating, in fact, including in lines of business having little to do with its original undertaking of selling books. Shares now trade for three times what they did at the peak of the dot-com bubble.
Thank Amazon’s quirky CEO, Jeff Bezos, for this success. He created a culture that’s not only different from, but often totally at odds with, how most business leaders think. He’s also quite quotable. Here are 20 smart things Bezos has said over the years.
Chris Higgins, Mental Floss:
I came across a slightly mysterious website — a collection of Polaroids, one per day, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. There’s no author listed, no contact info, and no other indication as to where these came from. So, naturally, I started looking through the photos. I was stunned by what I found.
The photos were taken by a guy named Jamie Livingston. The story is rather remarkable, check it out.
Dan Moren reviews iOS 7 for Macworld:
So, kick back and relax. Pump some jams from iTunes Radio, fiddle around with Control Center, browse through your photos and relive some memories. Because iOS 7’s greatest triumph is making the familiar feel a little unfamiliar to us, affording us anew that joy of discovery and wonder—and you rarely get a chance to experience something again for the first time.
I’ve been using iOS 7 for three months while redesigning my company’s app. It took some time to adjust, but it was similar enough that the learning curve was minimal. Installing iOS 7 is as Moren describes - experiencing something familiar yet new. I think you’ll like it very much.
Michaellen Doucleff, NPR:
A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man’s blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.
There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol that day.
This story gives whole new meaning to at-home brewing.
From the MIT Technology Review:
One well-known feature of social networks is that similar people tend to attract each other: birds of a feather flock together.
So an interesting question is whether these similarities cause people to behave in the same way online, whether it might lead to flocking or herding behaviour, for example.
Today, we get an interesting insight into this phenomena thanks to the work of Rui Fan and pals at Beihang University in China. These guys have compared the way that tweets labelled with specific emotions influence other people on the network.
And their conclusion is surprising. They say the results clearly show that anger is more influential than other emotions such as joy or sadness, a finding that could have significant implications for our understanding of the way information spreads through social networks.
I’ve written before about Oklahoma’s poor leadership and the implication for the state’s educational system. The trend continues.
Gene Perry, Oklahoma Policy Institute:
A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that Oklahoma has made the deepest cuts to school funding in the nation since the start of the recession. The report is a follow-up of last year’s study that showed Oklahoma’s per pupil spending cuts were third highest in the nation.
Per student funding of Oklahoma’s K-12 education formula is down by 22.8 percent since 2008, according to the report. The percentage cut in Oklahoma is the largest of any state. It works out to a decrease of $810 per student, adjusted for inflation.
Even though the state’s economy has emerged from the recession, per student funding continues to drop. In the most recent fiscal year, funding fell another 1.2 percent, or $33 per student. Though total state funding increased slightly for FY 2014, it was not even enough to cover rising enrollment and increased costs due to inflation.
In an already floundering educational system, Oklahoma has chosen to aggressively cut school funding. State leaders then feign outrage that our children do not perform well in subjects like math and science.
The only thing poorer than Oklahoma’s school system is the logic from its leadership. While Oklahoma students lack even basic funding, Gov. Mary Fallin saw fit to cut the state income tax - reducing tax revenue by $237 million when implemented.
Ironically, when sounding the call of victory for the cut, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon said:
By lowering the income tax rate, we are attracting skilled and educated workers to our state and making Oklahoma a leader in businesses and economic growth.
Despite the absurdity of claiming that an average annual savings of $88 will lead to economic growth, Shannon and state leaders are overseeing an educational system that is leading to anything but skilled workers. In essence, they are willing to rob from their children’s resources for a few bucks in reduced taxes. Meanwhile, I’m not sure how many top quality businesses would be willing to locate to a state with such poor educational priorities.
As angry as Oklahomans should be at their state’s leadership, they should be equally angry at themselves. As Andrew Rice tweeted:
Caltech has posted an extensive set of physics lectures from Richard Feynman. Best of all, they’re free.
Dr. Evelyn Lamb, writing for Scientific American:
On Monday, the Onion reported that the “Nation’s math teachers introduce 27 new trig functions.” It’s a funny read. The gamsin, negtan, and cosvnx from the Onion article are fictional, but the piece has a kernel of truth: there are 10 secret trig functions you’ve never heard of, and they have delightful names like “haversine” and “exsecant.”
I have actually used haversine in some mapping code written while in grad school. The others were new to me.
(via: Scholar and gentleman, Brian Bridges)
James Clear, Lifehacker:
Learning how to say no is one of the most useful skills you can develop, especially when it comes to living a more productive and healthy life. Saying no to unnecessary commitments can give you the time you need to recover and rejuvenate. Saying no to daily distractions can give you the space you need to focus on what is important to you. And saying no to temptation can help you stay on track and achieve your health goals.
Clear goes on to discuss recent research that shows the powerful difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t” when deciding to say no.
Yes, it’s plastic, but there’s nothing cheap about it. It has a far better fit and finish, and feels way better in your hand, than Apple’s previous foray into plastic iPhones, the 3G and 3GS. The 5C feels like a premium product.
This move is about establishing the iPhone as a two-sibling family, like how the MacBooks have both the Airs and the Pros. Think of the 5C as the Air, and the 5S as the Pro. Or iMac and Mac Pro. The iPhone is growing up as a product family.
Everyone got it wrong. The 5C wasn’t about releasing a super cheap iPhone, it was about releasing a superb phone for the middle of the iPhone lineup. Apple has never chased the low end of any market. In hindsight, it seems foolish that everyone (myself included) thought Apple would break from tradition.
Federico Viticci, MacStories:
At a keynote held today in Cupertino, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller officially introduced the iPhone 5s, the successor to last year’s iPhone 5 and the major new entry in the iPhone line-up. Schiller referred to it as the “most forward-thinking phone anyone has ever made”.
As widely expected, the iPhone 5s has the same industrial design of the iPhone 5, with an anodized aluminum back and diamond cut chamfered edges and glass inlays, 4-inch Retina display, and Lightning connector. However, the iPhone 5s comes with a visible change in the Home button: through a brand new system called Touch ID, a sensor available under the Home button will allow iOS to recognize a user’s fingerprint for authorization and security purposes.’
Cody Fink, MacStories:
During today’s media event at the Apple Campus in Cupertino, California, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, took the stage to announce the iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5c is Apple’s first plastic-bodied phone with a 4-inch screen, is shaped like the iPod touch, and is also Apple’s first iPhone that’s available in an array of bright colors. The 16 GB iPhone 5c starts at $99 on contract.
The New York Times has a really cool interactive page that shows the connections between film directors and their stars:
A long-running relationship between an actor and a director can indicate an artistic understanding, a functional routine or even a marketing strategy. Here, a selection of notable directors are shown with actors they cast in at least four films.
Adrienne Crezo, Mental Floss:
In 1978, a very nervous 23-year-old Steve Jobs (sporting some magnificent facial hair) was interviewed on KGO-TV San Francisco. Though footage of the interview itself has (probably) been lost, the prep from 30 minutes before still exists. This is billed as Steve’s first TV appearance, and it certainly seems that’s true.
Even geniuses get nervous.