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Making a statement by spending – or not

Wed, 2014-11-26 02:00
2.17

After the St. Louis County grand jury declined to charge a officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing teenage Michael Brown, two social media campaigns began to take shape: "Donate to Ferguson's Public Library" and #BoycottBlackFriday. Both have financial implications, but how much? If you look at multipliers, which measure how much money spent and invested stays local, giving money to local government (think: funding for the public library) leads to a sales multiplier of 2.17. Spending money at stores typically frequented on Black Friday (such as big department stores) has a lower sales multiplier of 1.97.

17

At least that many major Canadian newspapers put the grand jury decision in Ferguson and the protests that followed on their front page Thursday. Quartz has a roundup of reaction abroad to the protests, from heavy coverage in Britain and Canada to thinly veiled criticism in China and Russia.

109

That's how many children died during last flu season due to complications. Yet the Centers for Disease Controls estimates that fewer than half of Americans get a flu shot. The reason? Some say it's because we don't think of the flu as being all that scary.

$32.9 million

That's the amount of budget shortfall projected for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District over the next five years. One proposed solution involves a toll for pedestrians and bikers to cross the Golden Gate Bridge

7

The number of potential Twitter acquisitions identified by Re/Code after CFO accidentally tweeted a private message about buying another company. The most likely contender is Shots, a selfie-sharing app backed by Justin Bieber and used by many high-profile users of the Twitter-owned video app Vine.

$40 billion

That's where Uber's valuation could top out after a new round of funding, sources told Bloomberg. The ride-sharing app would not only double its current valuation, but exceed Twitter's capitalization, putting Uber in the same neighborhood as Delta and Kraft Foods. 

 

Making a statement through spending

Wed, 2014-11-26 02:00
2.17

After the Ferguson, MO grand jury decided not to indict a white cop for shooting and killing Michael Brown, a black teenager, two social media campaigns began to take shape: "Donate to Ferguson's Public Library" and #BoycottBlackFriday. Both have financial implications, but by how much? If you look at multipliers, which measure how much money spent and invested stays local, giving money to local government (think: funding for the public library) leads to a sales multiplier of 2.17. Spending money at stores typically frequented on Black Friday (i.e. Supercenters) has a lower sales multiplier of 1.97.

17

At least that many major Canadian newspapers put the grand jury decision in Ferguson and the protests that followed on their front page Thursday. Quartz has a roundup of reaction abroad to the protests, from heavy coverage in Britain and Canada to thinly veiled criticism in China and Russia.

109

That's how many children died during last flu season due to complications. Yet, the Centers for Disease Controls estimate that fewer than half of Americans get a flu shot. The reason? Some say it's because we don't think of the flu as being all that scary.

7

The number of potential Twitter acquisitions identified by Re/Code, after CFO accidentally tweeted a private message about buying another company. The most likely contender is Shots, a selfie-sharing app backed by Justin Bieber and used by many high-profile users of the Twitter-owned video app Vine.

$40 billion

That's where Uber's valuation could top out after a new round of funding, sources told Bloomberg. The ride-sharing app would not only double its current valuation, but exceed Twitter's capitalization, putting Uber in the same neighborhood as Delta and Kraft Foods. 

$32.9 million

That's the amount of budget shortfall projected for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District over the next five years. One proposed solution involves a toll for pedestrians and bikers to cross the Golden Gate Bridge

Forget Grandma's house. Hit a Thanksgiving restaurant.

Wed, 2014-11-26 02:00

It was a busy Wednesday morning on the week before Thanksgiving for Tom Meyer, president of Clyde’s Restaurant Group in Washington.  

He’s just had a Thanksgiving planning meeting, telling his chefs to be sure to order enough turkey.

“There’s nothing worse than to run out turkey on Thanksgiving,” he says.

That actually happened to Meyer one year. 

Clyde’s has been serving Thanksgiving dinner continuously since the 90s, getting busier every year.

“I would say it’s probably tripled. It’s gone from being not busy to packed,” Meyer says.

Why? We’re all time-strapped.

“We just haven’t been able to pull it together,” says Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at the food industry research and consulting firm Technomic., whose family, yes, is going out for Thanksgiving.  

But, she says, some consumers are splitting the difference — buying a prepared turkey but making the sides.

“They’re doing some from Grandma’s recipe and some from the Krogers,” Chapman says.

What about Christmas dinner? Nobody wants to cook then, either. But so far, Meyer has refused to open his restaurants on Christmas Day. This in spite of growing demand.  

 

 

 

 

 

Why don't more people get flu shots?

Wed, 2014-11-26 02:00

Ebola seems so scary, even when there's little to no chance of an American outbreak. But what about the flu? It kills children, puts thousands of adults in the hospital, and sickens 10 percent of us every year. Yet lots of Americans don’t get flu shots.

Rick Monier is standing right outside a grocery store; the kind of place where you can get a flu shot in two minutes for $28, even less if you have insurance.

And Monier is a senior citizen — a group for whom the flu can be fatal.

But Monier says he while he gets all the rest of his vaccinations, he does not get the flu shot.

““I don’t believe in it because we’re injecting something into our body that necessarily I don’t need," he says. "So I try to stay away from people that have it. Or if I get it, we’ll just go through the motions.”

Tina Dale makes sure her kids get the shots … but she doesn’t. “I got it once and got sick and now I will never get it again,” says Dale.

Fewer than half of all Americans actually get the flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s despite the fact that flu shot does not contain a live virus or anything else that can give you the flu.

Last flu season, 109 kids died from complications.

But let’s say you’re a healthy adult, you don’t have kids. Do you really need the flu shot?

"The more people that get shots, the safer the group will be," says Andrew Maynard, a professor and the director of the University of Michigan's Risk Science Center. He says even if you don’t care about getting sick, getting the flu shot protects others.

“Especially those kids that haven't got shots, they're the one who are really vulnerable," he says. "So this is really a social duty."

Maynard says our brains just aren't built to be smart about risk. We're way more scared of the unfamiliar, like Ebola. But something so common, like the flu? It’s tough to be scared of that.

"That doesn't make sense on an emotional level," he says. "So at the end of the day, we just have to make the plunge, and we just have to trust somebody that this is going to be good for us."

Still, public health experts agree that until flu shots are good for years, rather than something you have to get every 12 months, we’re just never going to get everybody to get that shot.

Would #BoycottBlackFriday help Ferguson, or Wal-Mart?

Wed, 2014-11-26 02:00

After the Ferguson, MO grand jury decided not to indict a white cop for shooting a black teenager, an idea for economic protest started circulating on Twitter: #BoycottBlackFriday. If lots of consumers decide to sit out what's traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, what might the economic impacts be? It depends. 

A Black Friday Boycott could hurt low-income consumers more than anyone. Surveys show this group represents a disproportionate number of Black Friday shoppers, looking for deals.

"If people boycott these sales, I think it’s probably good for the retailers," says Georgetown University economist Kurt Carlson, who runs a survey of how shoppers plan their Thanksgiving-weekend shopping.

Assuming those shoppers don't toss out their shopping lists, retailers could just sell the same stuff later, at higher prices. 

"No big deal," he says. "Unless people say, 'I am not spending this holiday season.'"

And that is something they might do if they pay attention to another protest suggestion circulating on social media: Donate to Ferguson’s Public Library.

To run the numbers on that scenario, I talked with Rob Sentz from Economic Modeling Specialists, a company that looks at how dollars spent in different sectors benefit a local economy; the "ripple effect."

At first, he doubted the library would compare favorably to Wal-Mart. "I'm sure the retail 'ripple effect' is higher, from a sales and jobs perspective," he said.

But he humored me, and l0oked up a key number called a "multiplier" — how much of the money spent on a given enterprise stays local.

First, he looked at the multiplier for big-box retail in the St. Louis area.

Then he looked at local government, like the library. The number popped: "Whoops!" he said. "There, you got a higher multiplier. So, all the money’s going to stay in the region."

He also looked at how much workers got paid, and how many jobs got created. Advantage: Ferguson library.  

"You've got a decent argument that it does have a better local impact," he said.

Data from Economic Modeling Specialists shows the \"multiplier\" effects of dollars spent at super-center stores like Wal-Mart.

Economic Modeling Specialists, 2014

EMSI data show higher mulitpliers for local government spending.

Economic Modeling Specialists, 2014

 

Social networks head to the office

Tue, 2014-11-25 13:01

Facebook is said to be testing an alternate version of its social network called “Facebook at Work,” targeted to people at their jobs, complete with file sharing and company-specific instant messaging, according to a report by the Financial Times. Business Insider notes that Facebook has already been using the service for its own employees. 

The idea of providing business-friendly social networking and collaborative tools is not new, but it has gathered urgency as employees increasingly adapt their own mobile devices, apps and social networking habits into the workplace. “Workforces have become much more virtualized,” says David Seimer, a managing partner at the tech venture capital firm Wavemaker, who has investments in enterprise technologies. “Having just a network drive or whatnot, used to be considered kind of collaboration, and now you need a lot better tools.” 

With a lack of such tools, a lot of employees have been using consumer-oriented networks, such as texting apps and cloud-based shared drives. That brings security pitfalls in open online communications, says Kabrina Chang, who researches business law and ethics at Boston University. 

“People posting on Facebook or saying on some sort of social media platform things as seemingly innocuous as my boss is at a meeting in Switzerland … doesn’t seem very meaningful … but to competitors … that actually might be an indication of something cooking,” Chang says, adding that the SEC might pay extra scrutiny to such communications.

With the need to re-secure enterprise networks, there are hundreds of companies now seeing new opportunities -- from start-ups to Internet giants.

“Part of this is a big land-grab. These vendors are really struggling with each other to sort of capture your content,” says Trevor Hellebuyck, Chief Technology Officer at Metalogix Software, which helps companies with Microsoft cloud computing. Helleybuck says it is important to capture businesses initially, as they are transitioning to cloud-based systems, because switching between systems later would be onerous. 

He also says the number of players are actually few, when considering which companies have multiple tools in one platform and thus may be most attractive for enterprise customers. “Enterprise social, file sync and share, team-based collab … there’s really only a couple players that have that out there. And it's Microsoft. It’s Google. It’s potentially IBM,” says Hellebuyck.

In fact, IBM added another player to the competition this past summer, when it signed an enterprise deal with one of the biggest players of them all: Apple.

Encyclopaedia Britannica takes stock of a new strategy

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:54

As 2014 comes to a close, the almost 250-year-old Encyclopaedia Britannica is taking measure of a 2-year experiment that saw the end of its printed volumes of books and the three-fold audience growth of its Internet-based encyclopedia. 

 

Britannica announced the end of its books in 2012, after a 96 percent fall in the number of books sold from its publishing peak in 1990. The private company, which says it makes a vast majority of its income from educational products for K-12 schools, also began transitioning some of its online encyclopedia content outside of its paywall.

 

Britannica is aiming for its online encyclopedia to make up as much as 50 percent of its business within three to five years. 

 

"If you were to find Britannica in the past, you would actually click on the link of Britannica and you would find that... instead of giving you the answer, [the site] was asking you for a credit card number,” says Jorge Cauz, president of Britannica. 

 

Offering content for free has reduced that obstacle. As much as half of Britannica’s online encyclopedia content now rests outside its paywall, so that online users can find it more easily.

 

The result: Viewership has tripled. Britannica's site racked up 102 million visitors from January to November this year, compared to 33.5 million visitors for the same period in 2012, according to figures supplied by the company. 

 

In October, the company achieved a first – more than 1 million page views – and has since replicated that feat, according to Tom Panelas, Britannica's director of communications.The company has also seen an increase in the number of paid subscriptions, Cauz says.

 

The bigger audience means Britannica can generate more revenue from digital advertising, which is Cauz’s goal. 

 

"The capacity for advertising dollars of our database, it’s about $4.5 to $5.5 billion,” says Cauz, referring to the amount of ad revenue they have calculated that other websites are making with content similar to Britannica’s. 

 

Cauz says Britannica’s product – professionally written and edited – stands out in a marketplace where one of its main competitors is Wikipedia, the vast online encyclopedia that relies on user-generated and -edited content. 

 

But Britannica has been adapting some of its content for online audiences, too, with shorter articles, online quizzes and listicles.

 

John Cunningham, Britannica’s reader’s editor (a kind of ombudsman), says there’s been a cultural shift at the institution. They are paying more attention to what people are searching for online. He gives the example of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappearance last spring.

 

"We have a lot of coverage of the geography of the region, and people were coming and wanting to find out: OK, where is Malaysia, where is the Indian Ocean, where is that point that they’re talking about on the news?” Cunningham  says. 

 

The goal is to become a destination for popular Internet search topics by offering relevant, curated content. 

 

Britannica wants to build its audience up, because of the tough economics of digital advertising. An online display ad costs an average of just $10.87 for every thousand times it is viewed, according to eMarketer.

 

That means Britannica still has a long way to go to reach Cauz’s goal of capturing some of the billions in ad revenue from reference-related searches.

A new high-tech shopping helper: Dressing room mirrors

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:07

You can learn a lot by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. But here's a question: What can a mirror learn about you? If it's the right mirror, the answer is quite a bit.

Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer, is opening a new “connected” boutique in San Francisco. It has big mirror touch screens customers can use to browse products and request a dressing room. If you enter your phone number, the system can communicate with you via text messages. It can tell you when your dressing room is ready, or help you download the store's app.

When you walk back into the dressing room, what looks like an average mirror suddenly lights up with text and pictures. It knows what items you brought in because a hidden antenna scanned the tags when you came into the room. 

Tracking what you try on is a valuable data point retailers have traditionally failed to capture, says Healey Cypher, head of retail innovation at eBay, which developed the mirror. The mirror can tell stores about your preferences and buying habits.

He says  there is more data to collect through brick-and-mortar shopping than there is online. “Where online is a very binary kind of black and white,” he says “the physical world is all the beautiful shades of gray that are truly useful information.”

It becomes even more beautiful for retailers if they can connect what a customer looks at online with what they buy and try on in a store – which is what happens if you download and use the Rebecca Minkoff app. The data helps the company advertise, display items in its stores and make customized recommendations.

There's a major push in retail to connect online activity to offline activity. Companies like Macy's and American Eagle are tracking your smartphone as you move through their stores, so they can see where you go and what you look at. Sinan Aral, a professor at MIT, says the touchscreens and apps of a “connected store” are currently expensive, but he expects that to change soon.

“In the near future,” he says, stores “are going to get quite smart quite fast.”

For now, most dressing room mirrors don't know who you are or what you might like to wear. They will only show you what you look like. 

That mirror in the dressing room knows a lot about you

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:07

You can learn a lot by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. But here's a question: What can a mirror learn about you? If it's the right mirror, the answer is quite a bit.

Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer, is opening a new “connected” boutique in San Francisco. It has big mirror touch screens customers can use to browse products and request a dressing room. If you enter your phone number, the system can communicate with you via text messages. It can tell you when your dressing room is ready, or help you download the store's app.

When you walk back into the dressing room, what looks like a normal mirror suddenly lights up with text and pictures. It knows what items you brought in because a hidden antenna scanned the tags when you came into the room. 

Healey Cypher is the head of retail innovation at eBay, which developed the mirror.  He says tracking what you try on is a valuable data point retailers have traditionally failed to capture. It can tell stores about your preferences and buying habits.

He says  there is more data to collect in the real life than there is online. “Where online is a very binary kind of black and white,” he says “the physical world is all the beautiful shades of gray that are truly useful information.”

It gets even more beautiful for retailers if they can connect what a customer looks at online with what they buy and try on in a store—which is what happens if you download and use the Rebecca Minkoff app. It makes a rich profile of everything you've tried on in the store and browsed online.  The data helps the company advertise, display items in its stores, and make personally tailored recommendations.

There's a major push now in retail to connect online activity to offline activity. Companies like Macy's and American Eagle are tracking your smartphone as you move through their stores, so they can see where you go and what you look at. Sinan Aral, a professor at MIT, says the touch screens and apps of a “connected store” are currently expensive, but he expects that to change soon.

“In the near future,” he says, stores “are going to get quite smart quite fast.”

For now, most dressing room mirrors don't know who you are or what you might like to wear. They will only show you what you look like. 

How restaurants calculate calorie counts

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:01

When you go into a convenience store, you might find hot dogs spinning on a roller grill or an egg salad sandwich in a cold case. Just how many calories do those items have?

For some of us, ignorance is bliss, but not the Food and Drug Administration. It's out with new rules today on posting calorie counts. It’ll affect anything from chain restaurants and vending machines with more than 20 locations to prepared foods at the grocery store. Some places, like Starbucks and New York City are already posting this information. But for everyone else, how do you actually count a calorie?

Lyle Beckwith, with the National Association of Convenience Stores, isn’t yet sure how to answer that question.

“We’ve not been in this business before,” he says. “I’m assuming there are labs that we’ll have to send various products out for testing. The cost and time to be determined."

In fact, there are private companies that do this work. James McKnight works at one of them, QC Laboratories in Pennsylvania.

“All they have to do is pretty much send us a sample, you know, via UPS, FedEx, give us a serving size and off we go,” says McKnight.

The FDA estimates these new rules will cost the restaurant industry $85 million over 20 years. QC Laboratories charges $700 per sample for full nutritional information or $150-$200 if it's simply using a database of ingredients to calculate the tally.

Most companies do use the database method, says Jim Painter, a professor at Eastern Illinois University.

For a slice of pizza, Painter says “you’d have the flour, you have a little bit of sugar, you have the salt, tomato sauce. You have whatever ingredients you put on the top and you’d add up all those, you’d divide it by what a portion would be, and then that is the calories for that slice of pizza.”

It’s generally pretty easy, according to Painter, unless the items change frequently or involve a great deal of customization.

However, he notes that because the databases are built on averages, they’re not entirely accurate.

“But at least it gives you a comparison when you’re looking at one food compared to the other,” he says.

That way customers can compare that slice of pizza to a hot dog, or the egg salad. Or maybe opt for an apple instead.

Flight school: JetBlue to offer educational videos

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

Flight school: Jet Blue to offer educational videos

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

On-the-ground coverage from protests in Ferguson

Tue, 2014-11-25 10:54

Marketplace's Adam Allington is in Ferguson, Missouri reporting on the grand jury decision Monday not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown. Here is his live coverage of the protests that followed.

[<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/on-the-ground-coverage-in-ferguson" target="_blank">View the story "On-the-ground coverage in Ferguson" on Storify</a>]

China's smoking ban distracts from a larger issue

Tue, 2014-11-25 10:45

There are approximately 300 million smokers in China, roughly the population of the United States. Smoking also kills about a million Chinese each year. Now Beijing is considering a ban on smoking in public places and tobacco advertising. 

On the face of it, the ban is an effort by the government to control healthcare costs. But Stanford University anthropologist Matthew Kohrman, who has written extensively about smoking in China, sees the ban as a distraction from a bigger issue.

"It's a sideshow," Kohrman says.

This ban would target consumers, like advocacy efforts by other governments and the World Health Organization do. Kohrman is more concerned about the supply and production of tobacco. 

"Most people would think that cigarette production has gone down worldwide over the last two or three decades. In fact, cigarette production has tripled since the 1960s," he says. "China has become the world's cigarette superpower." 

The places a Westerner might be surprised to find smoking today? Taxis, schools and even hospitals. Even so, consumer habits are changing. Public buses and high-end department stores are smoke-free. Airplanes, too, for the most part. 

"For years now I've been flying on Chinese airlines," Kohrman says. "Shortly after the flight takes off, I've almost on every flight smelled cigarette smoke. I always figured someone in the back has a fierce nicotine habit."

Turns out, the passengers obeyed the signs and flight attendants' instructions. The smoke was coming from the cockpit. 

 

Making it a meatless Thanksgiving with Tofurky

Tue, 2014-11-25 08:48

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so throw on your stretchy pants.It’s time for mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, ham and of course a giant turkey right in the middle of the table. Many will deep-fry their turkey, others will stick it in the oven and baste it. But there are those who will eat tofu, or Tofurky to be exact.

"Tofurky is a meat alternative that is the original and number one selling meat alternative turkey in America," says Seth Tibbott, founder and president of the Tofurky Company.

Soybean-rich Tofurky has been a reliable vegan and vegetarian go-to at Thanksgiving gatherings for the past 20 years.

"We first sold 500 tofurky roasts in Portland, Oregon, in 1995," Tibbott says.

The company remains a family-owned and independent enterprise.

"We never sold equity to any outside investors or venture capitalists," says Tibbott. "I wish I had Kickstarter around when I started it."

Quiz: How to start college with good habits

Tue, 2014-11-25 03:45

Students who meet with their advisors are more likely to enjoy college, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement.

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Grand juries usually decide to pursue charges

Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00
11 in 162,000

The number of cases in which federal grand juries declined to issue an indictment in 2010, FiveThirtyEight reported. The federal investigation into Michael Brown's death is ongoing, but it's clear the county grand jury's decision not to pursue charges is very rare. The site's research showed one exception to the trend: when the cases involve law enforcement.

8 years

After eight years of sponsorship, Sony Corp announced it would not renew its contract with FIFA, the organization behind world soccer. As Reuters reports, Sony says the move is the result of a restructuring of divisions and a concerted effort to grow its electronic devices division.

80 percent

The portion of cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 nationwide that have SWAT teams at their disposal, up from 13 percent since the early 1980s. In light of this summer's protests in Ferguson the New York Times' Retro Report looked back at the proliferation of SWAT teams in the U.S. The squads have their roots in late 1960s shootouts with the Black Panthers but are now commonly implemented in drug raids.

30 percent

Americans spend about half their food dollars outside the home and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out their calorie consumption doubles. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and the prepared food sections of grocery stores. It's significant, especially when you consider that a study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent in Starbucks with calorie signage.

28

The number of cabinet members President Barack Obama has had so far, Quartz reported. Even with four secretaries of defense, including Chuck Hagel's successor, the Obama administration is in the middle of the pack. Cabinets are rife with turnover. George W. Bush and Harry S. Truman each had 35 cabinet members.

PODCAST: Counting calories

Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00

First up: the government's calculation of economic growth July through September. It was revised upward beyond what most forecasters were expecting. Couple that to new signs of strength in the housing market. More on that. And the Food and Drug Administration will come out with new rules requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations to list the calories of the food that's on the menu. So how will this change what we see? Plus, a famous venture capitalist who says monopoly, not competition is the way to go. Peter Thiel was a co-founder of the electronic payments system Paypal and was the first outsider to put money into a little social networking site called the Facebook. As part of our ongoing discussions on this program about the innovation economy, Thiel's advice to entrepreneurs is to find a niche and dominate the heck out it. Actually, he put it more strongly than that.

The decision not to pursue charges is a rare one

Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00
11 in 162,000

The number of cases in which federal grand juries declined to issue an indictment in 2010, FiveThirtyEight reported. The federal investigation into Michael Brown's death is ongoing, but it's clear the county grand juries decision not to pursue charges is very rare. The site's research showed there was one exception to the trend: when those cases involve law enforcement.

8 years

After 8 years of sponsorship, Sony Corp announced it would not renew its contract with FIFA, the organization behind world soccer. As Reuters reports, Sony says the move is the result of a restructuring of divisions, and a concerted effort to grow its electronic devices division.

80 percent

The portion of cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 nationwide that have SWAT teams at their disposal, up from 13 percent since the early 1980s. In light of this summer's protests in Ferguson the New York Times' Retro Report looked back at the proliferation of SWAT teams in the U.S. The squads have their roots in late 1960s shootouts with the Black Panthers, but are now commonly implemented in drug raids.

30 percent

Americans spend about half their food dollars outside the home, and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out, their calorie consumption doubles. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and grocery store prepared food sections. It's significant, especially when you consider that a study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent in Starbucks with calorie signage.

28

The number of cabinet members President Barack Obama has had so far, Quartz reported. Even with four secretaries of defense, including Chuck Hagel's successor, the Obama administration is in the middle of the pack. Cabinets are rife with turnover; George W. Bush and Harry Truman each at 35 cabinet members.

Does caloric transparency really change behavior?

Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration releases rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and grocery store prepared food sections.

Today, Americans spend half their food dollars outside the home, and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out, their calorie consumption doubles.

Does transparency change behavior? One of the largest studies on this followed Starbucks users, at stores with calorie signs and without.

“People were systematically underestimating their calories in food items,” says study co-author Bryan Bollinger, who teaches marketing at Duke University. “So when they saw the information on the board, they were surprised and then reacted accordingly. Consumers can and will use this information if it’s useful to them.”

Listen here for more from Bollinger's interview:

The study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent, and that changes in behavior stuck with Starbucks consumers, even when they visited outlets without calorie signage.

There’s also evidence that merchants required to post calorie counts start to offer more low-fat choices.

These finalized FDA arise from the Affordable Care Act and are scheduled to take effect in one year.

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