Archive for February 1st, 2007|Daily archive page

It’s In the (lack of) Marketing

Surrender Hippos…Hmmpf!

This is something I wanted to point out all week.

It seems it will be just a little bit healthier to go to McDonald’s in a couple of months. After the outright ban of trans-fat oils in New York City, McDonalds announced Monday that they have already decided which oil they would use and have started using it. According to the Washington Post on Monday,

McDonald’s Corp. has finally selected a new trans-fat-free oil for cooking its famous french fries after years of testing, the fast-food chain said Monday.

While it has developed a healthier new oil, the company is still not saying when it will be used in all 13,700 U.S. restaurants. It already trails competitors in committing to a zero-trans fat oil.

Spokesman Walt Riker said the oil is currently in more than 1,200 U.S. restaurants after extensive testing, but declined to provide details on timing or locations.

“We can confirm that we’ve got the right oil,” he said. “We’re phasing it in.” [my emphasis]

I find it really interesting that they refuse to tell people which restaurants are using the oil.

I suspect they are trying to avoid the New Coke Catch-22. Do something people would like. The only reason it gets refused is because it’s different not because it isn’t better.

Back when I first started following the tran-fat facts in NYC, I wrote the following,

One of the big defenders of trans-fats is McDonalds. They claim their French Fries will no longer taste the same. The problem is, after 6 months no one would know.

I seem to have gotten it right.

According to the article McDonalds has been testing various oils for the past seven years. Now they have found something but the taste of the fries is probably subtly different. Not enough that you would notice unless you had fries from two different restaurants and did taste testing. You might also need to engage in fry fondling to determine which is ‘crunchier’ but I won’t go there.

Thus, for about 10% of America the good old trans-fatty McD fry is history; gone the way of the Dodo, the Carrier Pigeon, the Fat Guy in The Meaning Of Life.

For once the marketing guys and the science guys got together to make Americas life marginally healthier instead of the other way around.

Now, if they can only start reducing the number of calories in the average McDonald’s hamburger bun, we’ll be on a roll – well – waddle.

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When Viral Marketing Goes Wrong

Oops.

What do you get when you mix a terrorist plagued country, viral marketing schemes and a cartoon featuring anthropomorphic fast-food? Chaos!

Turner Broadcasting acknowledged late this afternoon that the suspicious objects that ignited fears of bombs across Boston today were magnetic lights that were part of an outdoor marketing campaign for an adult cartoon.
[…]
Today’s chaos began at 8:05 a.m. when an MBTA passenger noticed what was described as an object with wires and tubes stuck on a steel support girder underneath Interstate 93 about 12 to 15 feet above the bus depot at Sullivan Square Station in Charlestown.

Transit police Lieutenant Salvatore Venturelli said this morning that the object had some components consistent with an improvised explosive device such as an electronic circuit board, but he made it clear it was not a bomb.

At about 1 p.m., Boston police received reports of similar devices throughout the metropolitan area at locations that included the Longfellow and BU bridges and New England Medical Center.

Now, we all know that Ted Turner used to be married to Jane Fonda. Jane Fonda was at the Peace march on Saturday and went to Vietnam. Iraq is today’s Vietnam. Iraq is the frontline in the global war on terror. Therefore this WAS a plot to terrorise America and destroy life as we know it.

FrylockI won’t go into the fact that real terrorists don’t build bombs with flashing lights. Especially bombs featuring the face of oddly anti-Semitically named French Freedom Fries. We won’t go into the fact that Lieutenant Venturelli publicly told the world how to build bombs with things like circuit boards. (Why don’t you just blow up America yourself and save the terrorists the trouble, Lieutenant Surrender Monkey? There should be a law about state secrits!)

I won’t go into any of that, but I do feel it is my duty to point out the sadly obvious.

This bombed viral marketing campaign … worked perfectly.

Not Just Rattling

Since I seem to be having an Iranian week, I thought I wander over to the stuff being presented yesterday by James Glanz and Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times

Investigators say they believe that attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable about the inquiry.

The officials said the sophistication of the attack astonished investigators, who doubt that Iraqis could have carried it out on their own — one reason a connection to Iran is being closely examined. Officials cautioned that no firm conclusions had been drawn and did not reveal any direct evidence of a connection.

A senior Iraqi official said the attackers had carried forged American identity cards and American-style M-4 rifles and had thrown stun grenades of a kind used only by American forces here.

The next sentence in the article also honestly explains why it was published.

Tying Iran to the deadly attack could be helpful to the Bush administration, which has been engaged in an escalating war of words with Iran.

Oh. Gee, I hadn’t noticed.

In other news, we find that the US is halting the sale of spare parts for F-14 fighters, the mainstay of the Iranian airforce. David Axe has a nice summary over at DefenseTech.

Mideast Parties Involved in the Iraqi Conflict

And finally, because I am admittedly stoopid attention deficited I am starting a new page. I usually need to see things drawn out with pictures and arrows and diagrams. That’s why I made this handy dandy graphic and a new page where I will occasionally post graphics about the Afghanistan conflicts, the Iraqi WMD-hunt/Saddam toppling/freedom bringing and the coming Iranian war.

The first image is my representation of all the parties on the ground in Iraq as described in disreputed the Iraqi Study Group final report.

130 Countries Hate America

Tomorrow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be releasing it’s 4th Assessment Report on, you guessed it, climate change.

This report will discuss the current level of knowledge about climate change; what observations have been made using atmospheric, oceanographic and geographic evidence; the advances and knowledge gained in the areas of paleoclimatology and what predictions can be made about changing conditions.

There is an excellent video from 2004 showing Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs with the Climate Institute, Michael MacCracken describing the IPCC. (Hat Tip: Scitizen)

This report has been written using a massive amount of work with over 2500 scientists, 800 contributors, 450 authors from 130 countries. This effort has been going on for the past 6 years and the results are expected to be a slap in the face of the global warming denialists (again).

Current indications aren’t good.

Indeed as bad as the expected results of the report are, for example a rise in levels between 5 and 23 inches (0.13-0.65m), some scientists are saying the report plays down the dangers. One study published in Science showed double the rise in sea levels and James Hansen, the almost-gagged-by-Bush-appointee climate expert at NASA, has estimated up to many times that amount. An article describing the ‘controversy’ can be found here.

Note: none of these people are saying nothing will happen? None of these people are saying climate change is a myth?

I think this is just a global plot. All the scientists in the world have gotten together to just make this shit up and make Michael Bachmann, James Inhofe, America look bad. Um. Right?

There is an excellent Op-Ed at the Washington Post about the report by  Naomi Oreskes. She points out just how long scientists have been talking about global warming.  Her conclusion is great.

[In 1979] the JASON scientists[, a group of top scientists, paid by the DOD to investigate just about everything,]  predicted that atmospheric carbon dioxide might double by 2035, resulting in mean global temperature increases of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius and polar warming of as much as 10 to 12 degrees. This report reached the Carter White House, where science adviser Frank Press asked the National Academy of Sciences for a second opinion. An academy committee, headed by MIT meteorologist Jule Charney, affirmed the JASON conclusion: “If carbon dioxide continues to increase, [we] find no reason to doubt that climate changes will result, and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible.”

It was these concerns that led to the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and, in 1992, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which called for immediate action to reverse the trend of mounting greenhouse gas emissions. One early signatory was President George H.W. Bush, who called on world leaders to translate the written document into “concrete action to protect the planet.” Three months later, the treaty was unanimously ratified by the Senate.

Since then, scientists around the world have worked assiduously to flesh out the details of this broadly affirmed picture. Many details have been adjusted, but the basic parameters have not changed. Well, one thing has. In 1965, the concern that greenhouse gases would lead to global warming was a prediction. Today, it is an established scientific fact. [my emphasis]

You can probably guess what I’ll be reading this weekend.

Lynching America

I’d just like to point out a site I found while reading a couple of posts over at Orcinus.

This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for the forgetful. It is a collection of postcards made of lynchings in and around the turn of the century in America.

Next time you hear someone talking about ‘getting rid of’ the terrorists, the illegal immigrants, the muslims… the liberals; you might point point them there.

This is Americana.