Friday Four

Friday, October 11, 2013

1. If you've ever wondered how popcorn became such an integral part of the filmgoing experience, Food & Think has the article for you. Not only has this not always been the case, but in their early days:

Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn, ... because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn't want popcorn being ground into it.
By the time the Great Depression hit, the stage was already set for popcorn to appear in theater concession stands. Its high profitability made selling it a no-brainer then.

2. Fans of Scott Berkun will be interested to learn that he has posted a list of links to articles by and about him. Seeing that he once interviewed Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani, I followed the link and found the following:
I agree with you that the value of technology and gadgets is how much they can provide me with uninterrupted time, but I don't think that's the popular viewpoint. I think most people see the value in gadgets and tech as things that keep them constantly connected and bathed in up-to-the-second information wherever they go, whatever they're doing -- which is only a good thing to a point.
I also agree with Trapani that, "Focus is underrated in too many work environments today".

3. Last week, I imparted the following bit of parental wisdom:
[P]arents get one chance to pick out their kids' Halloween costumes.
I guess I need to elaborate since I soon learned that my daughter has also decided that her little brother will be a cat, too: The above is a one-time, first-child deal!

4. I admit that I found the story appealing when I first heard it years ago, but honesty demands that I help debunk a bad example. In "The Myth of NASA's Expensive Space Pens", one learns the following:
Fantastic story, right? Except that's not what happened. NASA originally used pencils in space but pencils tend to give off things that float in zero-g (broken leads, graphite dust, shavings) and are flammable. So they looked for another solution. Independent of NASA, the Fisher Pen Company began development of a pen that could be used under extreme conditions. [link in original]
What really happened here was a small triumph of captalism rather than one of many failures of government bureaucracy. In a world full of big, negative stories, one can always use a positive example, however small.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

Another persistent myth that has been immortalized in gas station safety signs is the idea that cell phones cause fueling fires.

In this Mythbusters episode, they speak with the president of the Petroleum Equipment Institute on the topic.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


I have to confess not having encountered this before. (I also am answering your comment in a room with a sleeping four-month-old, so I skipped what looked to be a video loading. But I found this debunked at Snopes, which alludes to Mythbusters.)

Interesting. And now I can hit "reply" sooner when I inevitably get the email...