Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jessi's Reading 5/20

My puter has had far too many tabs open in Firefox as I tried to catch up on all my reading this weekend. Unfortunately, my crazy schedule has kept me away from some of my usuals, but here's what I've liked from my daily must-reads.

Things Younger Than McCain has grabbed my fancy since I found it earlier in the week. I especially loved the post on Scrabble, as I've never found someone who detests the game as much as I do, based on my super-competitive parents slaughtering of me at the game since a very early age. At least I'll always be competitive against Daddy Lauer in Trivial Pursuits.

After years of working in the sports industry and now in sports marketing, it seems that my life has been invaded by logos and branding. I resist logos and even designs on my clothes, which leads to a bit of a boring wardrobe, but it's better than a big logo on my chest. The folks at DebrandedHome.com have created labels to stick on bulk containers for your household products to keep the brands out of your private existence.

In the same current, AdWeek has a great article about brands that are foregoing advertising revenue, in favor of building a community of loyal followers, who appreciate the focus on what the consumers/users really want from the company. Lauded brands include Threadless, Craigslist, Etsy and Zappos.

A group on Usenet has been compiling years of Billboard data to construct an analysis of the top pop songs by BPM, length, label, songwriters and chart position. The Whitburn Project has not only compiled and analyzed all the data, but have also created a registry of digital copies of all the songs featured on the top charts.

I think that I just have a thing for Albert Einstein lately and there's only one person to blame for that. Well besides Albert and his fluffy hair and wild-eyed grin. A newly discovered letter from the scientist who was born Jewish and attended Catholic schools, describes his views on religion as a childish superstition. While he strayed from relgion, he often spoke of cosmic religious flourishes. I like to think that his thoughts on the matters would have paired him well with Vonnegut's thoughts on humanism.

I love Tim Harford, the Undercover Economist on Slate. This article discusses whether smokers actually enjoy a price increase or not, based on a recent study that correlated a national increase in cigarette taxes to an increase in national happiness.

After my month of making lots of money, it might be hard to return to living frugally, but this list of great cheap wines might make life easier. If only a 2002 Brunello were about 1/6 of its price, but I'll still keep drinking it.

The Art of Manliness brings forth the top 100 reads for the ultimate Man's Library.

Fortune tries to foresee the future for the powerhouse that is Google.

The Guardian examines why Iceland is the happiest place on earth. Take that cryogenicly-preserved Walt Disney.

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