Fuel and Food Are Quick, but the Fealty Is Forever [Feb 2013]

Fuel and Food Are Quick, but the Fealty Is Forever [Feb 2013]

“In Pennsylvania, two convenience chains stir tribal loyalties, a commitment as deep as bonds with the Philadelphia Phillies or Pittsburgh Pirates.

Don Longo, the editor of Convenience Store News, said Sheetz and Wawa were among a handful of regional chains in the country that he called ‘best in class.’ They operate convenience stores that update the old formula known as ‘Coke and smokes’ by offering self-serve soda fountains and cappuccino bars, friendly service and, especially, fresh sandwiches ordered on a touch screen.

Sheetz is the slightly smaller chain, with 226 stores in Pennsylvania and a total of 435 in the region. Wawa has 216 in-state stores and 607 over all, as far south as Tampa, Fla., and north to Parsippany, N.J.

There are clear differences. Sheetz has neon colors, pumps loud country music and is overly fond of the alliterative use of its name in products. It sells Sheetz Shweetz, a CinnaShmonster and Shmuffins. Near its corporate headquarters in Altoona, it offers employees a Shwellness Center.

To Sheetz’s country mouse, Wawa is a more suburban creature. Its décor features muted browns and blonds, and a central island of healthy food includes diced mangoes and apple slices.”

This gem of an article was so amusing, I couldn’t help but share. A perfect metaphor for class and culture in the United States.

Global Parenting Habits That Haven’t Caught On In The U.S.

Global Parenting Habits That Haven’t Caught On In The U.S.

“If there’s one thing Tiger Mothers have in common with those bringing up Bébé, it’s that they both show us just how varied parenting styles can be. Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; and Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat. Some global parenting styles might make American parents cringe, but others sure could use a close study. Vietnamese mothers, for instance, get their kids out of diapers by 9 months.

Read on for a sampling of parenting lessons from around the world.”

Totally fascinating list, which really reiterates the point that there is not one right way or wrong way to parent. Something to remember the next time you get into a fight with someone over co-sleeping, cloth diapering, or whatever happens to be the latest trend in raising children.

 

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.

“I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up (48 hours was all I could stand) or what I’d learn (possibly nothing.)

See, Facebook uses algorithms to decide what shows up in your feed. It isn’t just a parade of sequential updates from your friends and the things you’ve expressed an interest in. In 2014 the News Feed is a highly-curated presentation, delivered to you by a complicated formula based on the actions you take on the site, and across the web. I wanted to see how my Facebook experience would change if I constantly rewarded the robots making these decisions for me, if I continually said, ‘good job, robot, I like this.’ I also decided I’d only do this on Facebook itself—trying to hit every Like button I came across on the open web would just be too daunting. But even when I kept the experiment to the site itself, the results were dramatic.”

This article really made me laugh, even as I was cringing. A fascinating, thought-provoking, and somewhat disturbing read.

Why do we have blood types?

Why do we have blood types?

“Why do 40 per cent of Caucasians have type A blood, while only 27 per cent of Asians do? Where do different blood types come from, and what do they do? To get some answers, I went to the experts – to haematologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, virologists and nutrition scientists.

In 1900 the Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in 1930. Since then scientists have developed ever more powerful tools for probing the biology of blood types. They’ve found some intriguing clues about them – tracing their deep ancestry, for example, and detecting influences of blood types on our health. And yet I found that in many ways blood types remain strangely mysterious. Scientists have yet to come up with a good explanation for their very existence.”

Super fascinating stuff. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!

9 To 5 Not For You? Try T. Rex Puppetry Or Aquatic Mail Delivery

9 To 5 Not For You? Try T. Rex Puppetry Or Aquatic Mail Delivery

“There are countless ways to make a living in America, and for many people, typing at a desk or working retail just isn’t the right fit. All summer, NPR has been meeting young people who have landed jobs with some wacky job descriptions.”

I got excited when I looked through this list and found a job that I’d actually done. I was a Standardized Patient for a short time, which was a pretty unusual experience. A lot of the other “patients” were trained actors; I was not, but I still enjoyed the process of getting into character. The hard part was staying in character after several “exams.”

A fun read, and a cool glimpse into the lives of others.

No Time to Think

No Time to Think

“When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter. And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device. So it’s worth noting a study published last month in the journal Science, which shows how far people will go to avoid introspection.

In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes.

Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.

It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.”

Mind-boggling. When’s the last time you took fifteen minutes to self-reflect, to slow down, to contemplate? I’m going to try to make more of a habit of doing this myself, especially since,

“Suppressing negative feelings only gives them more power, leading to intrusive thoughts, which makes people get even busier to keep them at bay. The constant cognitive strain of evading emotions underlies a range of psychological troubles such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and panic attacks, not to mention a range of addictions. It is also associated with various somatic problems like eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, inflammation, impaired immunity and headaches.”

Now that is something to think about.

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

“‘My new home state of New York has a special tax category for sandwiches. And because they have that, it means they then have to go and define what they think a sandwich is,’ Veltman says. ‘So they publish this memo that explains that a sandwich includes club sandwiches and BLTs, but they also include hot dogs and they include burritos and they include gyros. And then you have to sort of say, are burritos really a sandwich?’

New York says yes, the USDA says no, and it makes a difference come inspection time.

‘We do not inspect closed-faced sandwiches regardless of the amount of meat in them. We inspect burritos that have meat or poultry filling,’ Wheeler says.

The debate gets so heated that in 2006, a contract dispute over whether Qdoba Mexican Grill’s burritos qualify as sandwiches went far beyond lunch — it went to trial. Expert witnesses including a chef and food critic testified, much deliberation took place, and in the end, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke ruled burritos are not sandwiches.”

I love that this is a conversation that people are having. In court. Judges are ruling on sandwiches, y’all. This makes me want to get a law degree, just so I can fight for the rights of sandwiches, tacos, and gyros everywhere!