Saturday, January 23, 2010

Burger King Selling Beer in the U.S.

NY Daily News:
Hoping to tap a whole new customer base, the fast food chain has unveiled plans to peddle beer alongside their famous burgers at something they are calling a Whopper Bar.

The first one is opening in Miami Beach and will target thirsty tourists hitting South Beach, Burger King confirmed.

The chain is also reportedly looking to open more Whopper Bars in other tourist meccas like Times Square, as well as Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Don't look for exotic brews - BK is starting out with domestic brands like Miller at Budweiser and will consider other beers down the road.

"You can have America's favorite beers with America's favorite burger," said Chuck Fallon, the chain's North America honcho.

Served in specially designed aluminum bottles, a BK beer will sell for $4.25 alone. And a Whopper combo with a beer will run $7.99, which is about $2 more than the same meal with a soda.

Burger King isn't the first fast food chain to embrace alcohol. Starbucks already sells beer and wine and some of its cafes. Also, Burger King diners in beer-loving Germany, Venezuela, and Japan can already buy suds with their Whoppers and fries.

But with the competition for America's fast food eaters getting fiercer by the day, Burger King needs novel ways to bring in more business, industry experts said.

Over the years, Burger King has launched some famous customer campaigns, including "Have it your way" which helped separate the chain from rivals like McDonald's.

There have been some duds like "Flame," a men's body spray the company introduced two years ago and described as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

Burger King also tried to make itself hipper by referring to itself with just its initials, the same kind of makeover Kentucky Fried Chicken attempted when it started calling itself KFC.

It's now known for its Burger King character, the latest incarnation of which is an actor wearing a grinning, over-sized mask that has caught on with the public despite being so creepy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Jersey Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The New Jersey Legislature approved a measure on Monday that would make the state the 14th in the nation, but one of the few on the East Coast, to legalize the use of marijuana to help patients with chronic illnesses.

The measure — which would allow patients diagnosed with severe illnesses like cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to have access to marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries — was passed by the General Assembly and State Senate on the final day of the legislative session.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would sign it into law before leaving office next Tuesday. Supporters said that within nine months, patients with a prescription for marijuana from their doctors should be able to obtain it at one of six locations.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat from Princeton who sponsored the legislation, said New Jersey’s would be the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the nation because it would permit doctors to prescribe it for only a set list of serious, chronic illnesses. The law would also forbid patients from growing their own marijuana and from using it in public, and it would regulate the drug under the strict conditions used to track the distribution of medically prescribed opiates like Oxycontin and morphine. Patients would be limited to two ounces of marijuana per month.

“I truly believe this will become a model for other states because it balances the compassionate use of medical marijuana while limiting the number of ailments that a physician can prescribe it for,” Mr. Gusciora said.
Under the bill, the state would help set the cost of the marijuana. The measure does not require insurance companies to pay for it.

Opponents often pointed to California’s experience as a cautionary tale, saying that medical marijuana is so loosely regulated there that its use has essentially been decriminalized. Under California law, residents can obtain legal marijuana for a list of maladies as common, and as vaguely defined, as anxiety or chronic pain.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sorry, Chinese Bro


More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses by 2020, says the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The gender imbalance among newborns is the most serious demographic problem for the country's population of 1.3 billion, says the academy. It cites sex-specific abortions as a major factor, due to China's traditional bias towards male children.

The academy says gender selection abortions are "extremely common." This is especially true in rural areas, and ultra-sound scans, first introduced in the late 1980s, have increased the practice.

The latest figures show that for every 100 girls born in China, 119 boys are born, the academy says in a new book. In some provinces, 130 boys are born for each 100 girls, the book says.

A reluctance among young urban Chinese to have a first or second child is exacerbating the problem. Academy sociologist Yan Hua said: "People's minds have changed a lot during the last 20 years. Young couples either don't want to have a second child, or would prefer to live a DINK (Double Income No Kid) life."

The growing imbalance means that forced prostitution and human trafficking has become "rampant" in some parts of the country, according to the researchers.

While analysts admit there is definitely a pronounced gender imbalance in China, they also say that exact information is difficult to obtain because some families are thought to avoid registering female babies in order to make it easier for them to have a second child.

Playoffs: Best Wild Card Matchup

Thanks to Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner, this Wild Card game totaled the Most Combined Points ever for a single game in NFL playoff history. Props to Arizona's D for making the turnovers to seal the victory.

Video: Cardinals-Packers Highlights
Video: Wild Card Remix

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Third & The Seventh

Alex Roman made this video, The Third & The Seventh, using 3dsmax, Vray, AfterEffects and Premiere. Every element of this short film is CGI.

Roman describes it as "A FULL-CG animated piece that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces. Sometimes in an abstract way. Sometimes surreal."

Friday, January 8, 2010

History of the Necktie

In his book, La Grande Histoire de la Cravate (Flamarion, Paris, 1994), Fran├žois Chaille tells us about the appearance of this article of clothing and how it became fashionable:

"... Around the year 1635, some six thousand soldiers and knights came to Paris to give their support to King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. Among them were a great number of Croatian mercenaries led by a ban, or Croatian viceroy.

The traditional outfit of these Croats aroused interest on account of the unusual and picturesque scarves distinctively tied about their necks. The scarves were made of various cloths, ranging from coarse material for common soldiers, to fine cotton and silk for officers. This elegant "Croatian style" immediately enamoured the French, who were delighted by the new article of clothing, which had been previously unknown in Europe.

For the gallant French officers in the thirty-year war, the advantage of the Croatian neck scarf was its enviable practicality. In contrast to the lace collar that had to be kept white and carefully starched, the scarf was simply and loosely tied around the neck without need for any additional care. Just as elegant as the stiff, high collars, the new scarves were less awkward, easier to wear and remained visible beneath the soldiers’ thick, long hair.

Around the year 1650, during the reign of Louis XIV, the Croatian scarf was accepted in France, above all in court, where military ornaments were much admired. The fashionable expression, ’a la croate’, soon evolved into a new French word, which still exists today: la cravate. This innovation symbolized the height of culture and elegance. On his return to England from exile, Charles II brought with him this new word in fashion. Over the next ten years, this fashion novelty spread across Europe, as well as across the colonies on the American continent..."

The new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe where both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. In the late seventeenth century, the men wore lace cravats that took a large amount of time and effort to arrange. These cravats were often tied in place by cravat strings, arranged neatly and tied in a bow. Some had adornments such as tussled strings, tufts and bows of ribbon, lace, embroidered linen.

So why have neckties lasted this long?

At many times throughout history, fashion historians and sociologists claimed the popularity of ties would die, as neckties provide absolutely no function unlike most other garments. But though there has been ebb and flow over time in their popularity, they have never died. Now, after a "business casual" work environment that hit an extreme in the 1990s, it seems they are again increasing in popularity with men.

The most prevalent theory on why ties just keep hanging around (couldn't resist the bad pun) is that, as long as the big-wigs keep wearing ties as a sign of their wealth and stature, so will the young hopefuls who follow them.

How to Tie a Double Windsor Knot
Where to Get the Best Styles

Scientific studies have demonstrated that the width of ties over the years corresponds almost identically with the length of women's skirts. It is unknown which may be the cause and which the effect.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Decade


2009 Year in Space beginSlide=1

Top 10 Science Stories of Decade

Decade in Sports

Remembering the Decade


Jonathon Glazer.