A Creative Application of Incentives …

Actually, two examples in today’s New York Times*, and in the Arts section of all places.

1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt solve a big problem — the illicit distribution of photos of their new baby — by distributing the pictures themselves and donating the proceeds to charity, thereby thwarting the paparazzi free market and potentially setting a new model for future celebrity photo ops.

2. City officials in Sydney, Australia have found a way to clear out the hooligans who gather at night in parking lots and discourage solid citizens from frequenting restaurants: they’re going to play Barry Manilow music, really loud. This may attract an undue collection of “Fanilows,” the worldwide guild of women who love Barry, but they are presumably better customers than the existing hooligans.

Also in today’s Times, the most entertaining lead paragraph I’ve read in years, by Nicholas Wade: The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered. He is Thomas R. Robinson, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

*Both of these stories were first reported yesterday by Reuters.

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  1. Niebylski says:

    While its certainly encouraging to see something of a ‘trend’ in celebrity altruism…I think that the message that Jolie and Pitt’s act of kindness sends is disturbingly clear:
    Consumers across the globe are much more easily compelled to spend vast sums of money on finding out what an infant child (baby Shiloh -sp?) looks like, than to make sure that other infants have better odds in the face of extreme poverty.

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  2. Niebylski says:

    While its certainly encouraging to see something of a ‘trend’ in celebrity altruism…I think that the message that Jolie and Pitt’s act of kindness sends is disturbingly clear:
    Consumers across the globe are much more easily compelled to spend vast sums of money on finding out what an infant child (baby Shiloh -sp?) looks like, than to make sure that other infants have better odds in the face of extreme poverty.

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  3. china sword says:

    “The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered. ”it’s so funny .the awareness of patent right in china is not so strong.
    may be we can imagine that Thomas R.Robinson has burns which is as some as the famous hero .

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  4. china sword says:

    “The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered. “it’s so funny .the awareness of patent right in china is not so strong.
    may be we can imagine that Thomas R.Robinson has burns which is as some as the famous hero .

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  5. mikeKP says:

    Re: “the most entertaining lead paragraph” concerning descendents of Genghis Khan

    Compare the identification of a single American descendent of Ghenghis Khan to this comment discussing the application of probability theory. The blog at Truck and Barter notes a column by John Allen Paulos which concludes that if Jesus has any living descendents (a plot element in The Da Vinci Code), it is likely that he has many millions of descendents.

    http://truckandbarter.com/mt/archives/2006/06/jesus_descendan.html

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  6. mikeKP says:

    Re: “the most entertaining lead paragraph” concerning descendents of Genghis Khan

    Compare the identification of a single American descendent of Ghenghis Khan to this comment discussing the application of probability theory. The blog at Truck and Barter notes a column by John Allen Paulos which concludes that if Jesus has any living descendents (a plot element in The Da Vinci Code), it is likely that he has many millions of descendents.

    http://truckandbarter.com/mt/archives/2006/06/jesus_descendan.html

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  7. tonyskyday says:

    When I was in high school (about 10 years ago), the local Taco Bell had a problem with young people sitting around long after their food was eaten, so they started playing classical music. While I happen to like classical music, and also think it’s easy enough to ignore it if you don’t like it, apparently it was “un-cool” enough that it drove away the teens. Well, it drove them into the neighboring parking lot, anyway, where they gathered to show off their sound systems.

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  8. tonyskyday says:

    When I was in high school (about 10 years ago), the local Taco Bell had a problem with young people sitting around long after their food was eaten, so they started playing classical music. While I happen to like classical music, and also think it’s easy enough to ignore it if you don’t like it, apparently it was “un-cool” enough that it drove away the teens. Well, it drove them into the neighboring parking lot, anyway, where they gathered to show off their sound systems.

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