The complicated history of how a cereal box closes
Did anyone notice that the way you close a cereal box has changed? One-Man Focus Group noticed, and found out the surprisingly complicated design history.
What JCPenney's Failed Imitation Says About Retail—and Identity
A leader out to revive JCPenney tried to make its stores look like Apple stores. It failed spectatularly—but not for the reasons you think.
The WSJ reports (online): “The U.K.’s top treasury official Sunday said the government is starting a process to rebuild the country’s banking system, likely pressing major divestments from institutions and trying to attract new retail banks to the market.” The British style is typically understated and policymakers always like to play down radical departures, but this is huge news. Pressure from the EU has apparently had major impact--worries about unfair competition through subsidizing “too big to fail” banks are very real within the European market place. Also, strong voices from within the
As if we needed more reminding, the country has a huge gap between costs required for transportation needs and the funding sources to pay for them.
On Wednesday, Dan Tarullo, a governor of the Federal Reserve and distinguished law school professor, dismissed breaking up big banks as “more a provocative idea than a proposal” and instead put almost all his eggs in the “creation by Congress of a special resolution procedure for systemically important financial firms.” He stressed: “We are hopeful that Congress will, in its legislative response to the crisis, include a resolution mechanism and an extension of regulation to all systemically important financial institutions” (full speech). This put him strikingly at odds with Mervyn King, gove
Continuing my look at b.s. stories aimed at provoking parents' angst, today's NYT "Thursday Styles" takes time off from obsessing about high-end retail to explore the disturbing trend in parental yelling. The piece suggests that, deprived of the outlet of spanking, frustrated parents are increasingly turning to yelling to discipline their kids. As one parenting expert is ominously quoted, "yelling is the new spanking." Afterwards, many mommies and daddies feel bad about all the shouting.
This Daily Mail story beggars belief: Here, on a sleepy stretch of shoreline at the far end of Asia, is surely the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history. Their numbers are equivalent to the entire British and American navies combined; their tonnage is far greater.
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, based on new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that unemployment rates continued to climb in July in metropolitan America. It’s probably true, based on BLS estimates that the nation overall shed another 247,000 jobs in July. But BLS’ metropolitan data don’t exactly show us what’s going on from month to month. That’s because they don’t take account of the natural fluctuations in employment levels that occur everywhere due to seasonal labor market changes. Or, in data-wonk terms, they’re not “seasonally adjusted.” Why does this matter f
Over at Earth2Tech, Katie Fehrenbacher passes along a new study showing that—surprise!—downloading music online tends to be more eco-friendly than buying physical CDs. At first glance, this looks like one of those so-obvious-why'd-they-bother papers, on par with that recent study discovering that toddlers get cranky when they miss naptime. But in fairness, this one does pile on a few twists: If the buyer walks to a retail outlet to buy a CD, instead of driving, it’s about the same energy and carbon emissions as buying an album online and then burning it to a CD.
Even some of our most sophisticated commentators doubt a link between consumer protection and any macroeconomic outcomes. Consumer protection, in this view, is microeconomics and quite different from macroeconomic issues (such as the speed and nature of our economic recovery). Officially measured interest rates are down from their height in the Great Panic of 2008-09 and the financial markets, broadly defined, continue to stabilize. But are retail credit conditions, i.e., the terms on which you can borrow, getting easier or tougher? On credit cards, there's no question: it's getting more expen