What airlines can learn from how casinos are run

So the latest Planet Money podcast consists of this absolutely fascinating interview with Harvard professor turned casino CEO Gary Loveman. The interview is fascinating on a number of levels, chief among them this detailed look into data-driven behavioral manipulations: Gary Loveman: Everybody who gambles knows that the house has an advantage. They are not unhappy that they loose any more that one is unhappy that they pay $40 to walk into the magic kingdom at disney. They recognize that there is…

Kabul tourist guide

The city of Kabul (and Afghanistan in general) is still pretty high on my list of places i want to visit. Unfortunately, the closest place to Kabul that i got to so far is Delhi. Fortunately, however, there is the fabulous internet where Safi Airways ‘the international airline of Afghanistan’ is publishing PDF versions of it’s fabulous in-flight magazine. Browsing through the three available issues only reinforces my desire to go and visit the place. As far as the standards of such publications…

Looking at the crisis from inside the belly of the beast

One of the more notorious/famous places in São Paulo is the boutique department store (Villa) Daslu. According to wikipedia ‘the boutique is known as the ‘fashion designers mecca’ of Brazil as it houses more than 60 labels plus 30 store-in-stores and is the place where Brazilian socialites, ranging from multi-millionaire soccer players to conglomerate bigwigs shop for the latest accessories and clothing’. Leged has it that Daslu is the only department store in the world where you can also buy he…

X-mas in Hong Kong

Dubai may be positively insane but then Hong Kong is absolutely shameless in its display of wealth and consumption, especially now that it is christmas time. Now x-mas is not only taken as an excuse for excess shopping but there are special x-mas themed stages all over the place. Passed by the one in central tonight where they had a chinese band playing covers of pop songs and while i passed there the (very attractive, young) lead-singer announced the next song (i am a survivor or i survive or s…

Terror soap...

Too sweet! wish i could buy this here in the Netherlands, but apparently this brand is available in costa rica only… Photo by skot via boing boing…

Queensday == beerdrinking madness

So officially queensday is to celebrate the birthday of the Queen of the netherlands, but in reality it is just an excuse to wear extremely silly orange hats, listen to bad cover bands in overcrowded streets, buy stuff that you would not buy on any other day and most importantly to get really really drunk in public and embarrass the shit out of yourself (of course if you are dutch you wont find any of this embarrassing). In order to get drunk queensday-style you must absolutely do so by drinking…

Living museum of youth cultures

I guess the bigger a city becomes the harder the kids are forced to develop some kind of group identity. São Paulo with it’s 18 million inhabitants seems to be a pretty good example. The kids seem to be much more devoted to individual youth cultures than in most European cities. This is pretty much obvious on the streets or on the subway but the prime spot to witness this is the rock-gallery in downtown. It is a multiple story shopping gallery from the 70ties (or so) that neatly sorts youth cult…

Creative interaction with online content must be punished

Just read trough the Final Conference Paper (warning: pdf) of the Creative Economy Conference that was held last week in London as part of the British EU presidency. It is a pretty troubling paper that seems to be build on two general assumptions: 1) DRM is good for humanity and 2) the more/longer/stronger Intellectual Property Rights the better. Both of these assumptions are obviously stupid but they seem to be what you get when you let corporations sponsor (and dominate) government conferences…