It's hard to find something not impacted by our current financial crisis. Here are 12 examples of what the recession means for specific things, from Spam to sex addiction.
1.... READ ON
On October 29th, the Fed "slashed rates" again, reducing the key interest rate to a low 1%. Here's some information about what it all means.
What is the Fed?
The Fed is the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system in the US. Currently Ben Bernanke is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Fed. The Fed has a dual mandate: to promote stable inflation and maximum employment.
To do so, it controls the Federal Fund Rate. This is the interest rate at which banks lend money that they... READ ON
1. United... READ ON
There's so much talk of the markets crashing, the Dow dropping, then rising, then dropping again. Under 9,000 today, over 9,000 tomorrow. But what do these numbers even mean? What is this "˜Dow' on which investors and the media fixate themselves? And is it really comprised of only 30 stocks?
The Dow is a market index, which is a listing of stocks that share some similar characteristic; they could belong to the same industry or they could all have similar market cap (how much a company is... READ ON
Ever wonder about the stories behind the products you use daily? While baking recently, I noticed my chocolate was made in 1780. Not the chocolate itself, but the brand, Baker's Chocolate. Here are some of the oldest, most recognized names, their stories, and the reasons they've lasted so long.
1. Baker's Chocolate... READ ON
Ever order the second-cheapest wine on the menu while dining out? You don't want to spend very much, but you also don't want to look like a cheapskate ordering the cheapest bottle on the whole menu. Well, one in four diners do (in the UK, at least). In the marketing world, we can define this as a choice set effect with respect to reference pricing—using the cheapest bottle of wine as a standard of comparison against which the other wines are compared.
But did you know that the second-cheapest... READ ON
The Federal Reserve plans to spend $700 billion (adding to our current $10.6 trillion deficit) to buy up mortgage-related debt from our ailing banks so the banks will be able to lend again. Credit is, after all, what America runs on. As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke put it, this plan is "the last wrench in the toolbox" to fix our financial crisis. But how did we get here? Here's where the blame game leads... READ ON
Perhaps you've read about the ban on short selling. Many believe it is one of the main causes of the current financial crisis and the fall of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and AIG. But what exactly is "short selling"? How and when can you do it? And why is it so frowned... READ ON
First of all—what is AIG?
AIG is American International Group, the largest insurance company in the world. It's not just an insurance company, however; its business is divided into four divisions: general insurance, life insurance and retirement services, financial services, and asset management. It was started in 1919 in Shanghai.
How did it (almost)... READ ON
The big bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been big news this week. But what does it mean to you?
GSEs —> TSEs?
Well, the Government Sponsored Entities just became Taxpayer Sponsored Enterprises. The Treasury "bailed" them out, changed their leadership, and is putting Fan & Fred under the management of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It's the most radical regime change in global economic and financial affairs in decades, and as economist Nouriel Roubini states... READ ON
The ad world is all abuzz about the new Microsoft Windows commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. It's a bit hokey, rather long, and, well, it just doesn't make any sense. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Ad Age calls it "a classic Crispin Porter oddity"—Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the ad agency that created the commercial, and is known for its creativity and its ability to resurrect brands with such ads as the King character for Burger... READ ON
"In July 2006, women accounted for just under 17% of parliamentarians worldwide. A woman was the head of government in only seven countries." This could be due to short supply, higher cost of entry due to family, or to voter attitude, which previous research has found may be "distaste" for female leadership.
Researchers at the Center for International Development at Harvard (PDF here) have found that voters, men in particular, are prejudiced against female leaders. At least those in certain villages... READ ON
We've all heard that the United Arab Emirates has been hard at work constructing the world's tallest building. The Burj Dubai currently stands 159 stories tall, and will include 30,000 homes, 9 hotels, 19 residential towers, and the Dubai Mall. The entire project is estimated to cost $20B, but that's hardly the only thing the UAE likes supersized. Here are a few other records the tiny nation holds:
World's Largest Flag
On UAE National Day, a 50,000 square feet flag flew over Abu Dhabi, forming the... READ ON
1. Fewer Males are... READ ON
Phelps won 8 medals, Usain Bolt beat a few world records, and Nastia Liukin did some outrageous flips. But can they paint or sculpt? Back when the modern games resurfaced, a true Olympian wasn't just an expert swimmer,Â or the fastest runner. A true Olympian was also a watercolorist, a sculptor, or a musician.
It's true! Between 1912 and 1948 art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting, and... READ ON
When you think of 7-Eleven, the Chrysler Building, and Budweiser, what country comes to mind? If you said Japan, Abu Dhabi, and Belgium, then no need to read on. But if such news comes as a shock, keep reading to learn about ten un-American Icons this country holds dear.
1. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
You've likely seen the Anheuser-Busch commercials that were shown during the Olympics. You know, the ones that are oozing with everything American "“ football, tailgating, the Statue of Liberty, riding... READ ON
Everyone knows Michael Phelps is going to be double-fisting endorsement deals for years to come. But who knew that his mom's getting a piece of the... READ ON
While romping about Nantucket's fields and beaches, I stumbled into a little history. Nantucket was originally inhabited by the Wampanoag tribe until the English settled down in the mid 1600s. Among the founding families of Nantucket were the Macy's of Macy's, the Folgers of Folgers Coffee, and the Starbuck's of "¦Starbucks? But the Starbuck's company factsheetÂ says it was named after the first mate in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. So, who's telling the truth? Well, perhaps... READ ON
For some reason every swim event in this Olympics is a record smasher. And it isn't just Michael Phelps who's seconds ahead of that daunting green world record line. Curious what's making this year's athletes so much faster? Here are 6 possible answers.
1. Tech Doping
The new Speedo LZR RACER suit, which was developed by scientists from NASA, "feels like a rocket coming off the wall," said Phelps in a team interview. "The water just runs off the suit." The suit has "ultrasonically welded" seams that... READ ON
"Potato-potato-potato!" Know what that sound is? Maybe you don't recognize the onomatopoeia, but you must certainly know the actual sound. It's the "Hog Call," the rev of a Harley Davidson, and it's one of the most recognized sounds of one of the most recognized brands in the US.
As for "potato-potato-potato," that's the sound that Harley tried to trademark back in the '90s. In 1994, Harley filed a registration for a trademark of its V-twin engine sound. It read "the mark consists of the exhaust sound... READ ON
Votes, that is. It's clear that a plug from the daytime diva can turn a book into a best seller (Anna Karenina & Love in the Time of Cholera increased 100% immediately after their selection into Oprah's Book Club). And she can turn any movie into a blockbuster. But academics are now asking if she can help decide the presidency?
This study of celebrity endorsements by two economists suggests yes. It claims that Oprah's plug was responsible for delivering approximately 1,000,000 additional votes to Obama,... READ ON
"We're not this young, beloved, entrepreneurial enterprise anymore"¦ We have to do business in a different way." "“ Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
And that's exactly what he's doing "“ business in a different way. And then in a different way. And then in a way that's different from that. In early January, Schultz reclaimed the CEO torch he passed on back in 2000 and has since been making some pretty drastic and rather disparate changes. So far we've seen:
1. The Mystery Concoction/Game... READ ON
A recent study shows that ads featuring thin models make women feel worse about themselves, but better about the brands featured. A sample of 194 college students, ages 18-24, expressed more negative feelings about themselves when shown thin models than when shown "regular-sized" models. However, the thin models give them a "higher evaluation of the brands," per Jeremy Kees, a professor and researcher at Villanova University.
As a researcher put it, "The really interesting result we're seeing across... READ ON
"I was taking a drink just now at Andy Parle's, when I overheard an individual denouncing you in the vilest manner. He said you loafed on your friends, borrowed money and never returned it, owed bills in every quarter of the city, and were the biggest beat he knew. I inquired who he was and he said his name was Tom Collins. He can be found at Parle's."And so began The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874, which begat The King of Cooling Drinks, the Tom Collins. The hoax kicked off with a prankster telling a... READ ON
Want a 100 billion dollar bill? Well it's yours for $199, $49.72, or as low as $25 if you act fast. The only problem "“ these Zimbabwean banknotes can't even buy a loaf of bread, and are only worth about $1 US dollar each.
But hyper-inflated bills aren't even the most outrageous banknotes in history. The Economist lists the highest-denomination national banknotes since 1900. They are:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Hungary Pengo, 1946
100,000,000,000,000 Germany Papiermark, 1923
500,000,000,000... READ ON
Are they really right for you? Don't leave it to your heart to decide... let the math do the judging! Here are three mathematical theories to help determine if your marriage will last (or if it should happen at all).
1. The Mathematics of Marriage
In their book, The Mathematics of Marriage, mathematician James D. Murray and psychologist John Gottman describe their use of calculus to study interactions between couples. Using a model Gottman developed in 1979, the pair surveyed 700 newly married couples in... READ ON
Commodities are up, oil is extremely volatile, and you want in. Who doesn't? Well, perhaps you should get in, but only if you follow one rule "“ no change.
According to a working paper entitled "What Do We Learn From the Price of Crude Oil Futures?", the most accurate way to forecast future oil prices is to use today's oil price.
The authors, Ron Alquist and Lutz Kilian, economists at Michigan, explored the various different ways of forecasting oil prices: oil futures (an agreement for the seller... READ ON
Last week I went to go see The Dark Knight. As if the eleven dollar ticket fee wasn't bad enough, the concession stand made my stomach drop. Six dollars for popcorn? Five dollars for a soda? While taking out a loan or making a pre-theater pawn shop run may seem like the only way to get past those high prices "“ the strange truth is that those pricey snacks are the only reason there are still movies to experience. Here's... READ ON
Torn between wines from Napa and Bordeaux? Well, if Dr. Tyler Colman had his way, you wouldn't be selecting your alcohol solely based on your palette anymore. Instead, he'd have you refer to the "Green Line," or the Mason Dixon Line for Wine, wine's national carbon footprint line that runs through Ohio all the way down to... READ ON
Did you put on perfume or cologne this morning? Well if you did, you might not be attracting Mr. or Ms. Right. In fact, you may actually be attracting the wrong person. That's because attraction has scientifically been linked to smell. In fact, our response to olfactory cues actually helps us narrow down our choices of potential partners.
MHC (the major histocompatibility complex), a set of genes that controls the immune system and influences tissue rejection is especially critical. You are most... READ ON
Believe it or not, a new study of "novelty-related decision making" in adults shows that our brains are actually hard-wired to prefer novelty and adventure. It's true! In fact, research on the ventral striatum (the part of the brain associated with rewarding behavior) seems to indicate that sating our sense of adventure provides us the same sort of satisfaction we get from sex and food.
The subjects of the University College London study were shown 4 cards and were asked to choose one while their brains... READ ON
1. A Spoonful of Sugar made the Crude Oil go... READ ON
Remember when your mother used to scold you for opening your mouth to the deadly sky as it was pouring? "It's acid rain," she'd say. Envisioning raindrops burning through my gums, jaw, and skin, I always followed my mother's advice. But the last I ever heard about acid rain was in the "˜90s. So where did it go? And what was acid rain, anyway?
Technically speaking, acid rain is rain with, well, acid! Anything with a pH level of below 7 is considered acidic. While even "clean" rain has a pH of 5.5... READ ON
Talk about an old idea. The first electric cars hit the scene way back in the early 1830s, 30 years before the Civil War (for the record, they're also older than the Eiffel Tower, Joan Rivers and sliced bread). In fact, the electric car was actually the first popularized car. In the year 1900, of the 4,192 cars produced in the United States, 28% of them were electric. And in 1903 electric cars outsold gasoline powered cars, representing about 1/3 of the cars found on the road in New York City,... READ ON
Was it the automobile? Was it lead from paint? Was it poor water conditions? No — it was horse pollution.... READ ON
Visit a waterfall at dusk and you may see moonbows—nighttime rainbows.