cheeseburger_day_2014The cheeseburger. Along with apple pie, it has, perhaps more than any other foodstuff, become synonymous with not just America, but what it means to be an American. With ‘National Cheeseburger Day’ upon us today, it is time to refresh our memories as to the journey taken by this patriotic platter.

Its origins are disputed (there are three towns across the US claiming to be the birthplace of this bovine delicacy) yet the symbolism was, initially, the same. It is a dish for the nation of plenty. It became a symbol of American virility, a testament to its enduring commitment to a meritocratic, no nonsense society. Read early British press reports on the opening of the first McDonald's and the responses were confused, even somewhat scandalised – indeed one diner, a veteran, is said to have remarked: ‘These Yanks never change – too large and no taste.’ That diner was my Grandfather.

However, in 2004, ‘Super Size Me’ was released. Suddenly, almost overnight, the humble cheeseburger went from being a cultural achievement to a byword for gluttony. No longer did it highlight America’s virtues, but rather came to symbolise its decadence and hedonism.   Europeans guffawed into their foie gras fondant at American indulgence.

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As one of the HR gals at Prosek, part of my job is to help establish an environment where everyone is productive. People often say they are too busy to take breaks, but I’m here to tell you that YOU’RE NOT! In addition to abiding by legal mandates (like one issued by the New York State Labor Department), it is to everyone’s benefit if they take breaks throughout the workday. Mainly, breaking up the work day allows people to “make up” valuable time because they are ultimately more efficient, focused and energized allowing tasks to be completed in a shorter period.

Why Break?

  • Thinking too hard is physically draining
    Fun fact: the brain uses a ton of energy (mostly in the form of glucose and oxygen) – so you’re burning energy when you maintain unbroken focus or are involved in intellectual endeavors for several hours. Long stints of intense concentration will physically make you feel like you just left the gym (assuming you do more than drink smoothies and take selfies in the mirror while you’re there).
  • Your body is in DANGER
    Okay, maybe not…but not taking a break can cause some pretty annoying aches and pains. Sitting for longer than 30 minutes can put stress on your spine, which can result in some muscle atrophy. Staring at a screen for a long period of time can also be harmful to your eyes and be the cause of frequent headaches. You’re also in the market for neck pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Not fun.
  • You’ll be more productive
    Yes, it’s hard to imagine that interrupting time at your desk will actually help you to accomplish more, but it will! As I just mentioned – long hours of concentration uses a lot of energy. By taking a break, you will be able to renew your energy and become more efficient (no…just pounding down more caffeine and sugar to keep going does not count!).

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zite_logo

Type:
News Aggregator

System:
Android and iOS

Cost:
Free

Hi. My name is Vu and I’m a news junkie. I think this addiction has something to do with my line of work, but deep down, I think it has a lot to do with #FOMO. But, I digress.

zite1Generally, Twitter is my go-to source for headlines, but these days it doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I have the Flipboard app on my mobile phone and tablet, as well as Google’s Play Newsstand (I’m an Android user). Still, I needed more. I realized that while these apps give me a lot of news content from many credible sources, often times they don’t feature the news that matters to me. So, I set out to search for a news aggregator app that will meet my specific needs. A month ago I came across Zite and decided to give it a test drive, and review it for our inaugural monthly review column that focuses on apps that help us be more productive at work and home.

Unlike Flipboard and other news aggregator apps currently available that display RSS feeds from various news sources in a clean magazine format, Zite learns what you like to read and feeds you similar content. In other words, Zite does to your news consumption what Pandora does for your music listening. This is a key differentiator and it is exactly what I was looking for to help satisfy my addiction.

To test its intelligence, I started using only Zite to get my news fix and grade articles either thumb up or down that I liked and didn’t like. One sure way to know whether or not Zite is feeding me the topics that I want, I went against what I truly enjoy by giving a thumb up to every Kardashians and Justin Bieber article. Within 24 hours, my “Top Stories” section, which is also the homepage, was dominated by the two topics I loathe most (see photo, above).

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2 comments Written on September 16th, 2014 by
Categories: Going App$#!t
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Media Navel Gaze The Week Unpeeled

An ISIS video over the weekend – following President Obama’s calls for a military campaign earlier in the week – showed the third beheading of a hostage, a British aid worker, severely increasing threat levels and talk of even more severe action in Syria against the militant group as well as discussions on how much should these videos be shown as part of any media coverage because of its pure evil and because of the potential consequences in dealing with the issue.

Elsewhere

  • Clean House: The NFL suspended Ray Rice after a video surfaced showing him beating his now wife and Vikings’ Adrian Peterson was indicted for child abuse;
  • Off to Big House: Former SAC manager Mathew Martoma was sentenced to nine years in prison;
  • Headlines focused on the vote this week on whether Scotland splits from the UK;
  • US stocks retreated a bit last week, with the Dow closing down 0.87 percent to end at 16,987;
  • GE sold its appliance business to Electrolux of Sweden;
  • Apple unveiled its new bigger sapphire-screen phone, a mobile payment system and a smartwatch (kinda a la Dick Tracy’s watch);
  • Nicki Minaj is denied appearance at her high school alma mater and Twitter revolts; and
  • Biggie Smalls’ “Ready to Die” turned 20 this weekend. Word! End of Story
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Ace GreenbergA little over a month ago, Wall Street lost a legend. Alan (Ace) Greenberg, who led Bear Stearns Cos. as CEO from 1978 to 1993 and served as chairman until 2001, passed away. Since his death there have been a multitude of tributes, all of them spelling out one nuance or another that made Greenberg so special. Together those tributes create a composite that illustrates Ace Greenberg’s unique brand. Now, as summer comes to an end, Bear Stearns alum Russell Sherman shares with Institutional Investor his thoughts on why that brand won’t fade any time soon.

I used to joke that Ace Greenberg probably saved five years’ worth of time over the course of his life because he never said hello or good-bye on a phone call. You would pick up and he would just start talking. And when he was done, there would be a click and silence. Unfortunately, on July 25 the proverbial phone went silent again. Ace died at the age of 86.

Despite his get-to-the-point demeanor, Ace was widely considered to be one of the most thoughtful and generous guys on the Street — and one of the most savvy.

These days CEOs and executives talk about the importance of building their brands. Who are they? What do they stand for? How can they share their thoughts with the world? But few executives had as good a brand as Ace Greenberg did, and he made it look easy.

Ace’s brand was multifaceted.

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No Comments » Written on September 10th, 2014 by
Categories: From the News
Tags: , , ,