November 30, 2012
Why a bottle of Coke cost 5 cents for 70 years
Excerpts from a Cool Culinaria story follow.
One of the ways Cool Culinaria dates a vintage menu is by looking at the prices of the food and drink on offer and comparing them to other years. We could never work out why the cost of a Coke remained at five cents through several decades until we heard a fascinating piece on NPR by David Kestenbaum. He reported that the price remained at a nickel throughout three wars, the Great Depression and against the onslaught of competitors because two lawyers bought the bottling rights in 1889. Two Emory University Economists, Daniel Levy and Andrew Young, investigated the fascinating story of the price of Coke in their paper: "The Real Thing:" Nominal Price Rigidity of the Nickel Coke, 1886–1959" after a visit to the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta alerted them to this strange price anomaly.
This is what they discovered. In 1899, when the drink was only being sold in soda fountains, the two lawyers went to the President of Coca Cola and pitched the idea of it being sold in glass bottles. The then-boss of Coke didn't believe this new-fangled idea would catch on and he agreed to sell the lawyers the syrup to do it — at a fixed price. The professors noted that he probably just wanted to get the pair of persistent lawyers out of his office so he signed the paper without thinking through the consequences.
Bottled drinks took off, of course, and Coca Cola found itself in a sticky situation. If the bottlers raised the price of bottled Coke they would get all the increased profit and the Coca Cola Corporation wouldn't get a penny. The company got around the problem by blitzing the country with advertising signs promoting Coke at five cents a bottle and were thus able to stifle any price rises.
Another complication in raising the price arose when Coke began to be sold in vending machines that could only accept nickels. The company thought about changing them to accept dimes but quickly realized that doubling the price would be hugely unpopular. In desperation its executives asked the US Treasury Dept and President Eisenhower if they would consider issuing a 7.5 cent coin. The idea was nixed. Not even the world's favorite soft drink has that kind of pull. The contract was eventually renegotiated and the price of Coke began to rise after 1959.
Speak-it Say-it — Live Message Sticky Notes
sticky note sheets.
59 years after Watson-Crick, DNA double helix photographed directly
Excerpts from today's Yahoo article follow.
Fifty-nine years after James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientist has captured the first direct photograph of the twisted ladder that props up life.
Enzo Di Fabrizio, a physics professor at the Magna Graecia University in Catanzaro, Italy, snapped the picture using an electron microscope.
Previously, scientists had only seen DNA's structure indirectly. The double-corkscrew form was first discovered using a technique called X-ray crystallography, in which a material's shape is reconstructed based on X-rays bounce after they collide with it.
Di Fabrizio and his colleagues... built a nanoscopic landscape of extremely water-repellant silicon pillars. When they added a solution that contained strands of DNA, the water quickly evaporated and left behind cords of bare DNA stretched like tightropes.
They then shone beams of electrons through holes in the silicon bed, and captured high-resolution images of the illuminated molecules.
Di Fabrizio's images actually show a thread of several interwoven DNA molecules, as opposed to just two coupled strands. This is because the energy of the electrons used would be enough to destroy an isolated double helix.
But with the use of more sensitive equipment and lower energy electrons, Di Fabrizio thinks that snapshots of individual double helices will soon be possible, reports New Scientist.
Molecules of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, store the genetic instructions that govern all living organisms' growth and function.
Di Fabrizio's innovation will allow scientists to vividly observe interactions between DNA and some of life's other essential ingredients, such as RNA (ribonucleic acid). The results of Di Fabrizio's work were published in the journal Nano Letters.
[via Joe Peach]
Spink: Push • Suck • Stay — "Never spill another drink"
Tell us more.
From the website:
Why do you always seem to spill drinks at the worst possible time?
You've got important papers on your desk and then someone or something knocks over your drink and creates a giant mess when you least have time to deal with it.
But who doesn't love having a coffee on their desk while they work?
Or want to have a water bottle handy?
Whether it's your favorite takeaway coffee or a glass of juice, Spink simply sticks to your table and holds your drink so it can't be knocked over.
Made with a shock-resistant shell and a lever-powered suction cup to lock your drink in place, Spink was also designed to be as unique as you.
Slip your favorite photo inside it, draw on it with markers, make it yours.
Don't give up what you love — have it next to you and Spink will make sure you never spill another drop.
Details and Features
• Fits all sizes of drinks from a can of Coke to your favorite takeaway coffee cup or mug
• Handle and finger grooves let you easily grab your mug or cup
White $19.99, Red $25, both here.
Visitors spend an average of 3 minutes — PER MONTH — on Google+
Do the math: that's 6 seconds/day.
Not much happens there during that 6 seconds, I suspect.
Contrast that with Facebook, still atop the social world by a huge margin even with all the missteps.
The graphic up top comes from an article I read somewhere online yesterday but can't for the life of me find.
Anyone with the link, put in a comment or email it to me and I'll add it to this post instanter.
Of interest to me is the relatively weak performance of Twitter in terms of time spent: 21 minutes/month = 42 seconds/day.
I find the time I spend on Twitter, though far less than that on Facebook, is much more interesting and rewarding.
Note added at 7:46 p.m. tonight: Charles E. Flynn provided crowdsourcing at its best, with a comment posted less than eight minutes after the post went up providing this missing link.
Wrist Cell Phone Holder
Worth taking a flyer, I thought, so I bought one (I opted for pink).
It arrived today and I haven't yet had a chance to try it out.
Looks pretty cool, though, and it's not a killer price even if turns out to be a flop.
Stay tuned for more on that.
FunFact: The item itself, according to its packaging, is called the Phubby Phone Cubby.
Meanwhile, from the website:
Keep Your Cell Phone at Your Fingertips!
Slip this comfortable, stretchy band onto your wrist and insert your phone.
See-through mesh fabric lets you operate your phone without taking it out.
Lycra/spandex; machine wash.
One size fits most wrists.
Pink or Black: $12.99.
Norwegian fox steals smartphone, then sends text
Videre est credere.
Back story here.
[via Fruzsina Eördögh]