Gary Ross Dahl, creator of the Pet Rock, dies at 78 – BBC News

Gary Ross Dahl, an American advertising executive who started a pop culture sensation when he created the Pet Rock in the 1970s, has died at 78.Packed in a cardboard box with “breathing” holes, the stones sold for $4 (£2.67) and came with an instruction pamphlet for “care and feeding”.By the time the fad ran its course, Mr Dahl estimated he had sold 1.5 million of them.Unlike cats and dogs, the Pet Rock required no commitment.Mr Dahl died on 23 March of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife Marguerite Dahl said on Tuesday.”I think the Pet Rock was just a good giggle. Everybody needed a good laugh and the media ate it up,” Mr Dahl told the Houston Chronicle in 1999.The idea started as a joke that Mr Dahl made while drinking at a bar with friends, the New York Times reported.Some regretsThe rocks made their debut in 1975 and soon were featured on the “Tonight Show” and in hundreds of newspaper articles. Newsweek called the rocks “one of the most ridiculously successful marketing schemes ever.””If, when you remove the rock from its box it appears to be excited, place it on some old newspapers,” the instructions stated. “The rock will know what the paper is for and will require no further instruction. It will remain on the paper until you remove it.”Mr Dahl said the rocks made him rich but without a trademark on the idea imitators quickly undercut his business.He never matched his initial success with his later projects. He said his pet rock fame occasional brought unwanted attention from would-be inventors.”Sometimes I look back and wonder if my life wouldn’t have been simpler if I hadn’t done it.”

Source: Gary Ross Dahl, creator of the Pet Rock, dies at 78 – BBC News

Egyptian Alexandria – Ancient underwater finds revealed the Pharaonic roots of the Ptolemaic City | Ancient Origins

Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean coast in Egypt, has seen many changes in its 2,300 year history. Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C., at its height it rivalled Rome in its wealth and size, and was the seat for the Ptolemaic dynasty. However, through history not all agreed on the how to regard the Hellenistic city with a royal Egyptian past. An underwater temple discovered by marine divers off the eastern coast shed light on the pharaonic nature of ancient Alexandria.

Source: Egyptian Alexandria – Ancient underwater finds revealed the Pharaonic roots of the Ptolemaic City | Ancient Origins

UK Scientists: Aliens May Have Sent Space Seeds To Create Life On Earth

Scientists in the U.K. have examined a tiny metal circular object, and are suggesting it might be a micro-organism deliberately sent by extraterrestrials to create life on Earth.Don’t be fooled by the size of the object in the microscopic image above. It may appear to look like a planet-sized globe, but in fact, it’s no bigger than the width of a human hair.The University of Buckingham reports that the minuscule metal globe was discovered by astrobiologist Milton Wainwright and a team of researchers who examined dust and minute matter gathered by a high-flying balloon in Earth’s stratosphere.”It is a ball about the width of a human hair, which has filamentous life on the outside and a gooey biological material oozing from its centre,” Wainwright said, according to”One theory is it was sent to Earth by some unknown civilization in order to continue seeding the planet with life,” Wainwright hypothesizes.That theory comes from a Nobel Prize winner.

Source: UK Scientists: Aliens May Have Sent Space Seeds To Create Life On Earth

Is email broken? – BBC News

For many people, email was their first experience of online communication, and seemed at first a magical new way of connecting at work and at home. Now, though, it looks old hat. Teenagers, we are told, are using everything from Snapchat to WhatsApp to communicate and are unlikely to respond if you email them – something I can confirm from personal experience.

Source: Is email broken? – BBC News

Widespread Drug-Resistant Malaria Cases Now Threatening India | Ready Nutrition

According to an article from the BBC, the effectiveness of artemisinin is weakening as resistance grows in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar (Burma), including a region that’s just 15 miles from India. In fact, experts said the development was “alarming” and an “enormous threat”. Why is this resistance occurring? It’s simply evolution. We can only control the disease for so long. Eventually, it will learn to adapt. Such is the case for artemisinin.The BBC notes that this when this type of crisis has happened before , it spread into other regions of the world: Chloroquine probably saved hundreds of millions of lives, but resistance was discovered in 1957 around the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Resistance spread around the world and reached Africa 17 years later. There is no evidence of artemisinin resistance in Africa yet, although there is concern that history is about to repeat itself with deadly consequences.

Source: Widespread Drug-Resistant Malaria Cases Now Threatening India | Ready Nutrition

How to Think Differently: A Proven Approach |

I want to present you with a proven approach to dealing with uncertainty in all forms, i.e. what you should do when you don’t know what to do.I know it works because it is the same approach that the people who are masters at dealing with uncertainty–serial entrepreneurs–use. (There is nothing more uncertain than starting a business, and serial entrepreneurs, people who have started two or more successful companies, are masters at it.)As you know, the cliched image of entrepreneurs coming up with an idea, laboring feverishly to perfect it, and delivering their creation to the market fully-formed is not what usually happens.But, you may not be as clear about what actually does occurs.Here’s the typical path that I have noticed after studying these folks for more than 30 years.The best entrepreneurs come up with an idea. They take a small step toward implementation to see if anyone is interested, and if it looks like some people are, they take another step forward.If they don’t get the reaction they want, they regroup and then take another step in a different direction.In other words, they:Act.Learn (from that action) andBuild (off that learning) andRepeat, i.e. they act again.That cycle continues until the entrepreneur succeeds, knows she is not going to, or decides there is another, more appealing opportunity to pursue.

Source: How to Think Differently: A Proven Approach |

Bill shock: customer charged $14,766,481,895,641,556.00

A Frenchwoman who received a telephone bill for an amount equivalent to nearly 6000 times the country’s annual economic output has had the real amount she owed waived – after finally convincing the company they must have made a mistake.Solenne San Jose, from Pessac in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France, could not believe her eyes when she opened the bill to discover she was being asked to pay €11,721,000,000,000,000 ($14,766,481,895,641,556.00) to close her account.

Source: Bill shock: customer charged $14,766,481,895,641,556.00

Paying more to get less: The cost of external hiring – The Globe and Mail

Many employees have been in the position of applying for an internal position, only to see the job go to someone from outside the company. But the latest research by a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania could add insult to injury.Matthew Bidwell has found that although outside hires receive a significantly lower performance evaluation in the first two years of their new job compared with internal workers who are promoted into similar jobs, they still earn considerably more, sometimes as much as 20 per cent more than internal hires in similar positions.

Source: Paying more to get less: The cost of external hiring – The Globe and Mail

Why it pays to have a Nervous Nelly on your staff – The Globe and Mail

The more secure a person feels, the less likely he or she is to detect wrongdoing, according to Tsachi Ein-Dor, a professor of social psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. “Secure people see the world as a safe place, a world in which nothing bad is going to happen. This mindset gives them a sense of well-being, along with lower levels of distress, which may allow them to miss important cues,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Anxious people, being more vigilant, might blow the whistle sooner.”

Source: Why it pays to have a Nervous Nelly on your staff – The Globe and Mail

Seth’s Blog: No one ever bought anything on an elevator

The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real.”I quit my job as an Emmy-winning actress to do this because…” or “Our company is profitable and has grown 10% per week, every week, since July,” or “The King of Spain called me last week about the new project we just launched.”

Source: Seth’s Blog: No one ever bought anything on an elevator

Developing Countries Are Revolutionizing Mobile Banking

Poor countries are jumping ahead of rich ones by building a 21st century infrastructure (because they have little legacy infrastructure to begin with). For example, India has leapfrogged from no land-line telephones to the latest in wireless telephony. That revolution, in turn, is causing India to leapfrog brick-and-mortar banking to wireless banking for the masses. We see similar patterns in other poor countries as well. Mobile money transfer in Africa, M-Pesa, is a case in point. Counterintuitive as it ma

Source: Developing Countries Are Revolutionizing Mobile Banking

Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning

The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. A friend of mine recently took a new job as the head of learning and development at a mid-sized investment bank. When she came to work her first day on the job she turned on her computer, logged in with the password they had given her, and found 385 messages already waiting for her.

Source: Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning