good set of stories today

Hi blog, it's been a while.  I am always on the lookout for interesting and entertaining stories and today I found quite a few.  I decided I should share.

These might not be the best stories I've seen.  I have to reserve a few for people I talk to in person.  But they're good.  Kinda like when I passed on some recipes yesterday but held one of my favorites back.  It's no fun to cook for people if they know all my secrets!

Ever pushed the close door button in the elevator and nothing happened?  Otis has confirmed that starting in the early 90s, that button is just for show in many of its elevators.  You've no doubt heard of the placebo effect. It turns out it's not just a medical phenomenon.

Another example?  In urban areas, the cross-this-street button that pedestrians push does nothing at all.  More?  The thermostat in your office probably does nothing but make you feel you're in control.  I know this one personally.  My boss has done this to former employees.

Many, but not all Buddhists are vegetarians.  One Buddhist explained to me that she believed eating meat gave her an aggressive energy that she'd rather avoid.  Eating meat aside, it turns out that looking at meat has a calming effect on people.  Yep, folks in a study acted much less aggressively when viewing images of meat.  For disclosure, not all Buddhists are vegetarians and I'm not going after those folks here.


The Swiss version of Richard Branson took off in his newly upgraded Iron Man suit about a week ago.  This time he performed loops in the air.  I have no snarky comments.  That is just cool.

Finally, Amazon has patented a gift interceptor system.  With it, you can make sure that your clueless relatives will never buy you a crap gift again.  If someone tries to buy me a large shirt I can have Amazon automatically send me a medium.  For those I don't trust, I can have their purchases automatically converted to items from my Wish List or a gift certificate.

Note: this is just a patent application, not a production product yet so don't go looking for it.  But now's the time to start getting your relatives in the habit of buying your gifts through...