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things that just are

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hot Potatoes

From the WSJ Evening Wrap:
It has been fairly common in recent years to see protests against epithets and stereotypes that are harmful to various groups of people. But the world may be entering a new era of political correctness when such protests are made in the name of vegetables, which are presumably incapable of taking offense at much of anything. The British Potato Council may have ushered in that era by rallying at the U.K. Parliament against the use of the term "couch potato." Specifically, the group wants the term removed from the Oxford English Dictionary, where it's defined as "a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or video tapes." "The potato industry are fed up with the disservice that 'couch potato' does to our product when we have an inherently healthy product," Kathryn Race, head of marketing at the British Potato Council, told the AP.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Welcome to New Jersey

From the WSJ Evening Wrap:
As if travelers didn't already have enough reasons to be excited about venturing into New Jersey, drivers crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge into the Garden State will be greeted by a billboard reading, in red capital letters: "Welcome to New Jersey: A horrible place to do business." The billboard is the work of Mount Laurel-based developer William Juliano, embroiled in a long-running dispute with the state's Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Juliano owns the billboard and says it is costing him about $10,000 a month not to rent the billboard to other advertisers. He said he also plans to add two more signs along the New Jersey Turnpike. The state warned it may consider legal action, though it's not certain what it could do, exactly. Meanwhile, state business leaders aren't exactly rushing to Mr. Juliano's defense. An official with the state Chamber of Commerce told the Associated Press, "I would question how many actual CEOs or businesspeople would drive by, see that and say, 'That's it, I'm not going to come to New Jersey.'"

Inhale Deeply

From the WSJ Morning Brief:
A Swiss-led research team has produced a potion that, when sniffed, makes people more likely to give their cash to someone to look after, the scientific journal Nature reports. "The team tested their creation on volunteers playing an investment game for real money," Nature says. "When they inhaled the nasal spray, investors were more likely to hand over money to a trustee, knowing that, although they could make a hefty profit, they could also lose everything if the trustee decided not to give any of the money back." The potion's key ingredient is oxytocin, a chemical that is produced naturally in the brain. The theory is that people only decide to trust each other -- when forming a sexual or business relationship, for example -- when the brain's oxytocin production is boosted.

Oxytocin production is triggered by a range of stimuli, including sex and breastfeeding, and it is known to be important in the formation of social ties, such as mating pairs and parent-offspring bonds. Experts think that oxytocin exerts its range of effects by boosting some social behaviors -- it may encourage animals or people to overcome their natural wariness when faced with a risky situation.

15 Yards For UnSportsman-like Conduct

49ers' personal foul: Team's in-house training video includes lesbian porn, racial slurs, barbs at Newsom

From SFGate.com:
It was meant to be funny — but no one is laughing now in the San Francisco 49ers' front office over an in-house training film that featured off- color racial jokes, lesbian porn, a spoof of gay marriage and a trio of buxom, topless blondes frolicking with team public relations director Kirk Reynolds.

The 15-minute video (see it here), some of which was filmed in the City Hall office of Mayor Gavin Newsom — who comes in for a few unsubtle swipes — was intended as a primer on how players should handle the media in diverse San Francisco.

Instead, it's turned into a team embarrassment — with PR man Reynolds looking for another job. Continue the article...