Taste the Feeling 12

Things You Can’t Talk About in a Coca-Cola Ad

A “Profanity API” for a user-generated marketing campaign censors vulgarity, Pepsi, belching, and murder—but also Bill Cosby, capitalism, the Book of Genesis, and tacos.

When Daniel Joseph, a York University doctoral student studying labor and technology, found out about Coca-Cola’s GIF the Feeling promotion, he knew exactly what he wanted to make with it: a Coke-branded critique of capitalism. An accessory for Coke’s newly launched “Taste the Feeling” global ad campaign, GIF the Feeling is a website that allows visitors to fashion Coke ads by combining… read more

Yurika Miki (R) and her mother Yoshiko take photos of raw beef liver sashimi before eating them at a restaurant in Tokyo June 28, 2012. While Japan has a reputation as the home of sushi and sashimi, one item is about to be taken off the menu as Japan's government looks to ban the popular dish of raw liver in sashimi style. The dish, which consists of raw beef liver sliced up into bite sized chunks and then served with onions and sauce had become a popular dish across the country. Picture taken June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD SOCIETY) - RTR34CQ5

Offloading Affective Labor to Customers

Companies once asked only their employees to feign heartfelt devotion to their products. Now their customers are expected to do so too.

Dining recently with friends, everything looked the way it always does. The menu boasted appealing but ordinary fare—antipasti and starters, wood-fired pizzas, freshly-made pastas, meaty mains. I noticed that a handful of the menu items were printed in red, and I asked the server why. “These are our signature dishes,” he explained. “They’re the ones that are most shared on… read more

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The Sublime Beauty of Powerball

Playing the lottery is foolish, but it affords the public a communal encounter with the weird majesty of mathematics.

As the Powerball jackpot rose late last week, so did the Powerball backlash. The contemporary citizen might revel in devotion to the latest comic-book film adaptation, but the lottery is still considered the lowest of low culture. No intelligent person, many opined in advance of Saturday’s (winnerless) drawing, would buy a Powerball ticket. The dismissal is part of a general… read more

A man dressed as Father Christmas and children look at a computer screen at a special Christmas post office in the village of Himmelpfort (Heaven's Gate), north of Berlin November 10, 2011. The post office in the village of Himmelpfort opened on Thursday with a special Christmas service, replying to mails addressed to Santa Claus that were sent by children from all over the world. Some 20,000 letters already arrived at the post office and organisers expect to receive some 280,000 letters and wish lists from children writing in 17 languages.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) - RTR2TTX2

Stop Rebranding Months as Causes

A “Devember” for coding is the latest and most ridiculous of commemorative months.

In his 1996 book Infinite Jest, the late American writer David Foster Wallace imagined a near future in which corporations could sponsor the calendar. Instead of counting up from the birth of Christ, the Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.) develops a “revenue enhancing subsidized time.” Year of the Whopper. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland. Year of the… read more

Children look at wrapped gifts on the ground as a man dressed as Santa Claus (not pictured) climbs a building to hang them during a ceremony in the northern Italian ski resort of Selva Di Val Gardena December 8, 2007.   REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi   (ITALY) - RTX4J9A

The Deeper Meaning of Black Friday

Giving a gift is an act of competition as much as generosity.

Get $100 off the iPad Air 2 at Best Buy. Save $50 on the Xbox One Gears of War Bundle plus get a $60 Target Gift Card. At Walmart, one can buy a Samsung Smart HDTV for under $200. Under $200! These are the marks of Black Friday, the annual bacchanal for consumer excess. And excess, it is normally thought,… read more

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The Problem With Ketchup Leather

It's not the taste.

I didn’t know that burgers were broken. This week I was startled to learn otherwise. “Ketchup leather,” declares a Tech Insider “Innovation” headline on the matter, “is the solution to soggy burgers we’ve been waiting for.” So many questions. Are soggy burgers really a problem? Do they require a solution? And is ketchup leather—which is just a square of spiced, dehydrated tomato paste… read more

Engineer inspecting air conditioning pipes

Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers

It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest.

I’m commiserating with a friend who recently left the technology industry to return to entertainment. “I’m not a programmer,” he begins, explaining some of the frustrations of his former workplace, before correcting himself, “—oh, engineer, in tech-bro speak. Though to me, engineers are people who build bridges and follow pretty rigid processes for a reason.” His indictment touches a nerve.… read more

A mascot dressed as a character from the mobile game "Candy Crush Saga" walks the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the IPO of Mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment Plc March 26, 2014.    REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES  - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENTERTAINMENT)   - RTR3IO03

The Logic Behind the Sky-High Candy Crush Deal

In its seemingly exorbitant purchase of the popular app’s creator, Activision Blizzard is just playing the game.

The fact that Activision Blizzard bought Candy Crush creator King Digital startled people less than the sheer size of the deal: $5.9 billion. As many noted, that’s almost $2 billion more than Disney paid for either Marvel or Lucasfilm. It’s more than twice the $2.5 billion Microsoft paid for Minecraft maker Mojang, a property that feels like it has more long-term staying power… read more

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The Hidden Depths of Sandra Boynton’s Board Books

The best children’s stories, whether they take the form of books, television shows, movies, or something else, are also loved by adults. They are not just tolerated or long-suffered but truly loved, and beyond the vicarious joy we might feel while reading them in the presence of children. Some stories accomplish this by aiming for adults and merely wearing children’s… read more

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Egg McNothin’

All-day breakfast undermines the true pleasure of the iconic sandwich: anticipating and then missing out on it.

The greatest luxury is the one we cannot have—or at least, the one we cannot have very often. This is the definition of luxury, really, and not just expensive, unreachable luxuries, but also cheaper, smaller ones. Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, a decadence limited to one day a year. And also, breakfast—real breakfast, with grains and eggs and meat and starch.… read more