Frisk #185

Smokey Yunick, it’s Frisk #185! On June 12th 1979, a chap from Michigan by the name of Kevin St. Onge set a Guinness World Record by throwing a playing card 185 feet.
We’ve run this fact through the computer, and all the readings for usefulness are coming back negative.


Poundland, as anyone who’s been there will tell you, is completely brilliant. It’s not just a load of cheap, sub-standard crud – you can get brand-name dishwasher tablets and so on for just a quid. It’s ace.
There is, however, a reputational hurdle for some. The chain trades off its cheap-and-cheerful ethos, and branches can be a bit, er, chaotic. So another approach to this everything-costs-the-same idea comes from Brandless – this new US operation sells all manner of basic household items for the same blanket cost of $3. The twist here is that it’s not a way to buy named products you’ve heard of for cheap; instead, they’ve focused on crisp minimalist design to make the budget option desirable in its own right. Peanut butter, body lotion, tin openers, organic Fairtrade coffee, it’s all the same price, in the same cool Brandless packaging. This idea surely cannot fail.

Connecting rural America
Constant connectivity is something that it’s easy to take for granted. When you’re on the Tube and you enter a tunnel, or you’re sitting at home and your wifi router inexplicably goes on the blink, it’s easy to take it personally. Why me, why now? My Instagram feed won’t refresh, FFS. Totes FOMO.
But for millions of people in rural America, internet access is still some way behind the crap dial-up speeds we had in the nineties. The UN may have boldly stated that internet access is a basic human right, but for 23 million people in rural areas of the US, connection speeds are so poor they can’t even Ask Jeeves anything or see what’s happening on their MySpace page.
It’s all down to financial investment in infrastructure, of course. America is quite big. But thankfully, Microsoft (who aren’t short of a few bob) are ponying up the dough to get the States humming. Ingeniously, they’re planning to hijack ‘white spaces’ – that is, the crackling bits of static between TV channels – and repurpose them as broadband conduits. They reckon two million customers could receive high-speed broadband this way within five years, which is a strong start. TV just keeps on giving, doesn’t it?

Food traffic lights
Traffic light food labelling is a good idea. That’s obvious. You don’t have to have any knowledge of how much saturated fat you can ingest before keeling over, or what a carbohydrate is – you just look at the colours. Green – go nuts. Amber – sure, in moderation. Red – ALERT! ALERT!
However, it has been suggested that while this system works very well when you’re selecting your foodstuffs in the supermarket, it could all be knocked into a cocked hat if you buy a bunch of discounted cream cakes at the checkout. So researchers at Birmingham City University have mooted shifting the traffic lights from the packaging and onto the receipt – that way you can view a side-by-side summary of the nutritional value of the various things you’ve bought, and not inadvertently throw yourself into a sugarcoma by cooking an erroneous dinner.
All hinges on whether or not you actually ever keep or look at your receipts, of course. I don’t.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

19th July 2017