The rich want memories
"More and more of the world's wealthy," says The Huffington Post, "have switched from buying fancy things to buying luxury experiences, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group cited by The Atlantic. Neurologically speaking, they're on the right track: Research shows that good experiences tend to make us happy. More than half of all luxury spending worldwide now goes toward luxury experiences – $770-billion (U.S.) out of a $1.4-trillion total luxury spending market, according to the BCG report."
Good news, bad news
"A new mobile phone app," reports BBC News, "will prepare users for receiving good or bad news on their phones, say researchers. Made by a team from the University of Portsmouth's School of Computing, the app distinguishes good messages from bad and neutral ones, and colour codes them accordingly. Users may choose not to open negative messages if they are already having a stressful day. But some experts think that ignoring such messages may also be stressful. … 'The application works by learning from past messages how the user perceives the content as being positive, negative or objective,' lead researcher Dr. Mohamed Gaber told BBC News."
"In late May, the province of Central Java, Indonesia, passed a law requiring residents to use the regional tongue, Javanese, once a week," reports Pacific Standard magazine. "The law is symbolic and probably unenforceable … but addresses what a local councillor called 'a tendency for many Javanese people not to use Javanese in their daily lives.' " The language has 75 million speakers and a vast digital footprint. "[T]he councillor advocating the bill argues that the threat to Javanese isn't the nation's more widely spoken tongue, Indonesian, but English. … English is the language of the future to young Javanese. Javanese feels like the past: the language grandma uses to write recipes your Facebook friends abroad would find iffy. So claim the law's advocates."
Music while you eat
"Until recently, many restaurants were content to turn on the radio or let the manager fire up his iPod," writes Michele Kayal for The Associated Press. "But for a growing number of foodies and restaurateurs, what's on the playlist is almost as important as what's on the menu. Custom playlists that pair tunes to tastes – created by restaurateurs themselves or by companies devoted to the task – are becoming de rigueur in the food industry as more chefs and their customers seek dining experiences that are harmonious and hip at every turn." Michael Smith, chief executive officer of The Playlist Generation, a Los Angeles-based creator of custom playlists "cites studies showing that slow tempo music during dinner increases bar sales by more than 40 per cent, and that faster music increases lunch hour sales. Such concepts are gospel for playlist creators …"
Want to wash a patrol car?
A British police force has advertised for members of the public to wash and valet its patrol cars free in an attempt to cut costs, says The Daily Telegraph. "Staffordshire Police is hoping to save 5,500 police hours a year by getting volunteers from the community to regularly clean its fleet of vehicles. The idea is the latest cost-cutting idea from cash-strapped forces, which are also seeking people to work for free completing tasks such as gardening and translating. However, it has raised concern among police officers and staff, who fear volunteers could pose a security risk. … The job advert posted by the [Staffordshire] force seeks car washing volunteers who would also be required to check equipment in cars and replace faulty items such as traffic cones and flashing lights."
Eat at your own risk
"Unionized cafeteria workers in one western Pennsylvania school district have won the right to eat expired food for free – at their own risk," Associated Press reports. "The Herald of Sharon, Pa., reports Monday that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a grievance against the Sharpsville Area School District last year after school officials 'violated established past practice' by no longer allowing workers to eat the expired food for free. … Under the agreement, food items that are past their expiration date or reheated in a way that they can no longer be served to students may still be eaten for free by the cafeteria workers."
THOUGHT DU JOUR
"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know."
– Ambrose Bierce (1842-circa 1913), American journalist