April 05, 2007

White Person Vacations

I never really thought about the multiethnicity of junk mail until I flipped through some of the glossy vacation ads for East-Coast resorts. You know the places - ritzy expensive country hotels in the Carolinas or somewhere 100 miles west of the City where you can ride horses, play golf, or sail.

The thing about these ads - all the people in the pictures are totally pasty white! You might not notice except it's quite a contrast with people in the gym/hospital/restaurant ads in the same junk mail pile. I wonder why no hispanic, asian, or black people decide to vacation in front of the camera. They are certainly happy to be photographed at the gym.

The all-white-person vacation brochure I got today was from Mohonk Mountain Resort. So I decided to look at the Mohonk website for evidence of human biodiversity.

Success! I found one black guy on vacation on the website. Can you find him?

Update 5/5/07: more find-the-ethnic fun from another brochure I got today. Can you find evidence of any non-white person who likes to vacation at Grande Dunes in South Carolina? Certainly none in my brochure, but I wonder if there are any on the website. 30% of South Carolinians are black, but I guess that is not true at Grande Dunes.

Posted by David at 11:41 AM | Comments (6)

April 08, 2007

An Easter Discovery

This Easter some of our eggs revealed a secret message to us. Take a look at the picture on the right. That text wasn't visible before we dyed the eggs. But it certainly wasn't put there by the kids!

Apparently some eggs on the east coast are now getting a laser-etching treatment. Sometimes the etching is done in a visible way, but in our case, it was invisible - the text had been printed on the egg white-on-white. As you can see, the lettering shows up very clearly when we color the eggs.

According to the egg-marking company, the etching is "permanent, tamperproof, and traceable." I guess our eggs come from farm #B104.

But why stop at expiration dates? If you were an egg-etching technologist in 2007, what would do you do?

Continue reading "An Easter Discovery"
Posted by David at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2007

A Nintendo Blunder?

The Nintendo DS and Wii continue to dominate game system sales month after month.

The strange thing is that the numbers are great, and yet it is still incredibly difficult to find a Wii to actually buy (and in some places it's hard to find DS lites too). This is what economists call a market failure. So today, Stephen Dubner on the Freakonomics blog asserts that it is a huge Nintendo screw-up:

Nintendo clearly made a colossal blunder in setting up their manufacturing... their inability to ramp up production in 4 months is pretty unusual in this industry. Note that there are no known parts shortages.

Do you think Stephen is right? Is Nintendo making a "colossal blunder"?

I wonder if Dubner is just losing sight of the actual number of zeroes involved. I am no expert in manufacturing, but I find it possible believe that there are simply not enough factories available to churn out a million Nintendo game machines every month - in the United States alone, Nintendo is selling more than a quarter million Wiis and half a million DSs monthly. How many consumer electronics products are produced in larger numbers? I can just think of one - Apple's iPod sold 11 million units in the last quarter - and they needed to buy half of Samsung's flash chip output to secure this capacity.

Posted by David at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)