1.) Christmas is now just 13 days away, and you still can’t figure out what to buy that one person who has everything … until now. The Gift of Nothing could be your lifesaver. The gag gift is a transparent plastic sphere filled with nothing but air. Its packaging reads: "Nothing is precious. Nothing is simple. Nothing is sacred. Open the pack and be enthralled when nothing happens. Allow nothing to flow through your mind and calm your soul. Savour the moment. Soon you’ll discover that nothing really is so much better than something." The Gift of Nothing is available now for just $6 on Amazon.com.
2.) Next year, there’ll be no plastic water bottles on the campus of Harvard University. At least that’s the hope of students, 64% of whom voted to ban the bottles from their campus on the grounds that they represent an environmental hazard. The referendum was to end the sale and distribution of plastic non-reusable water bottles on campus. The final decision on the ban now rests with school administrators, who will be lobbied by the student government to comply with the vote.
3.) What place in the United States had the most Facebook check-ins over the past 12 months? It was Disneyland & Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California. According to statistics released yesterday by Facebook, the 2nd most check-ins were from Time Square in New York City, followed by Epcot and Walt Disney World in Orlando. Sports stadiums rounded out the top 5 Facebook check-in locations for 2013, with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles 4th and AT&T Park in San Francisco 5th.
1.) The Happiest Place on Earth is also one of the happiest places to work, but not the happiest. That’s according to the annual rankings from the job site CareerBliss. They evaluated thousands of employee-submitted reviews across hundreds of companies where workers were asked to rate their employers on several happiness factors, including work-life balance, company culture, compensation, and growth opportunities. The company with the happiest employees in America is Pfizer. It’s the second year the pharmaceutical giant was voted the happiest company in America by its own workers. Kaiser Permanente ranked second while Texas Instruments was third. Disney was ranked 15th, with Apple at number 14, Google 21st while General Electric come in 8th.
2.) Christmas seems to be a time of excess as we waste money on sometimes unnecessary ornaments. There’s a new example of this listed on the website VeryFirstTo.com. It’s the world’s most expensive Christmas Wreath. A 24 inch wreath made up of some of the most luxurious flowers and leaves, adorned with 16 rubies and 32 diamonds totaling more than 138 carats. The wreath was created by Royal Flower Designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter and sells for $4.6 million dollars.
3.) We’ve all gotten used to emptying our pockets into those gray and white bins at airport security. What we need to get better at is picking up everything we put in those bins. In 2012, the Transportation Security Administration collected $531,395.22 in change left behind at checkpoints. Federal law requires the TSA to report the amount of unclaimed money they keep every year to Congress. Their just released report shows passengers entering Miami International Airport left behind the most change, just over $39,600, with people exiting Las Vegas next on the list, leaving just under $27,000 at the airport.
1.) Next time you’re playing a game on your mobile phone, your nose could be rewarded. Pop Secret has partnered with a marketing company to create a mobile phone attachment for the game Poptopia, the Pop Dongle. It looks like a cartoon popped kernel and when you swipe butter character within the game it produces a spritz of popcorn scent. The more you play the game, which requires you to pop as many popcorn kernels as you can, the more Pop Dongle emits the delicious smell of freshly popped popcorn.
2.) While we’re still not certain of the health benefits of organic food, the same cannot be said of organic milk. New research of almost 400 samples of both kinds of milk found that the organic stuff, from cows grazed in grassy pastures, was richer in heart-healthy fatty acids than milk from corn-fed cows. The lead researcher with the study says "All milk is healthy and good for people," but organic milk has a better balance of omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6, which has been linked to heart disease when it is too high in the balance. The study was largely funded by an organic dairy cooperative but experts say the data appears credible, according to the New York Times.
3.) Only one band in history has played a concert on all seven continents. This past Sunday, Metallica played an hour long 10 song set for an audience of about 120 scientists and contest winners inside a protective dome on Antarctica. Because of the "fragile environment", the music couldn't be amplified in the traditional sense. Instead, amplifiers were enclosed in isolation cabinets, and the crowd had to listen though headphones. The group Fall Out Boy had attempted to be the first act to perform in Antarctica back in 2006, but they had to cancel it because of "uncooperative weather."
1.) Have you been naughty or nice this year? Social Santa knows! A social media agency has created a web app that analyzes your swearing on Twitter. The “Social Santa” checks your tweets and the number of times you’ve said various bad words to identify if you’ve been bad or good this year.
2.) The Winter Olympics return in February in Russia. If you’re attending the games, organizers have come up with a list of banned items, most involving safety. There will be no firearms, poisonous substances or highly flammable liquids allowed. But the exhaustive list also includes obscure and strange prohibitions including anti-freeze and brake fluid, televisions, thermoses, bicycles, large flags or any item that comes with a sponsor logo. So leave your Nike hat, Addias jacket and Gatorade water bottle at home.
3.) He’s done it with hot dogs and wings, now Joey Chestnut has set a shrimp record. Over the weekend in Indianapolis, Chestnut shattered the Major League Eating record for shrimp cocktail, downing 9 pounds, 4 ounces of shrimp in just 8 minutes. The previous record was 4 pounds, 15 ounces, eaten in 12 minutes.
1.) If you have a bacon lover on your Christmas list, your prayers have been answered. “Bacons of the World” provides all the bacon our great nation has to offer, and some bonuses. Much like the Fruit of the Month club, each quarter, you’ll receive a shipment of five pounds of bacon, half American bacon, the other half a second type, like English bacon or unsmoked Italian pig cheek. You can order the “Bacons of the World” now for $299 dollars.
2.) Soon, parents may no longer be able to say “don’t eat that candy, it’ll rot your teeth.” A Berlin-based company has developed a candy that contains a bacteria which has been found to reduce cavities in lab rats. Scientists with the company tested the candy out on two groups: one given candy with the bacteria and a control group given a placebo candy without it. When the experiment ended, the subjects in the first group were found to have reduced cavity-causing bacteria, presumably reducing their chances of tooth decay.
3.) If you’re graduating college either this month, or this spring, you may very well be a part of the most indebted graduating class in history. According to the annual report from the Institute for College Access and Success, graduates from the class of 2011 had an average debt of $26,600. That average debt load for the class of 2012 jumped to $29,400 and is expected to be higher for the class of 2013. Student debt tended to be highest in Eastern states, with Delaware grads the most indebted at an average of $34,000 each. The average debt for South Carolina college students in 2012 was $27,600.