Monthly Archives: June 2011

As family budgets tighten, grands pick up the tab

by Cree McCree WHAT’S HAPPENING Junior needs a new laptop. Sis wants a wardrobe upgrade. And Brother’s tuition is due. Who they gonna call? The grands! As Americans struggle to make ends meet, grandparents are increasingly stepping in to fill the gaps. Between 2004 and 2009, two-thirds of U.S. grandparents shelled out to help their […]

2theloo’s toilet shops advance the public restroom experience

by Nissa Hanna WHAT’S HAPPENING Shiny tile floors; artsy in-stall murals; a kid-friendly atmosphere: Dutch company 2theloo is offering an alternative to traditional communal commodes with their clean and modern restroom shops. Since February 2011, the company has opened locations in shopping districts and train and gas stations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland. A […]

Now available, grocery shopping on Facebook

by Guarav De WHAT’S HAPPENING Grocery shopping while social networking is now possible with (literally translates to ‘relaxed shopping’). Through their Facebook page, this web-based service has enabled shoppers to utilise social media to do their grocery shopping (, 16 June 2011). The Facebook application, currently in early testing stages, allows shoppers to order […]


by Gwyneth Holland It seems that the fast-fashion frenzy, fed by European brands such as H&M, Zara and Primark, is now on the wane, as rising fabric costs, ethical concerns, reprioritized values and even tighter belts affect the high street. The past decade saw key trends hit stores at super-low prices, with daily drops of […]

The Divorcée Sale: Bargain prices for pre-breakup wardrobes

by Nissa Hanna WHAT’S HAPPENING Retail therapy usually comes in the form of acquiring new apparel, but The Divorcée Sale is giving recently single women an alternative catharsis: selling their pre-breakup clothing. With the first event held at the L.A. Mondrian Hotel in May 2011, The Divorcée Sale asked well-heeled single women to put a […]

Ernakulam schoolgirls to get self-cleaning etoilets

by Anindita Sengupta WHAT’S HAPPENING A government girls’ school in Ernakulam, Kerala, will soon have the country’s first e-toilet. This is part of the suchi@school project, which will construct e-toilets at various schools in the district to ensure better hygiene. The toilets will have automatic doors and the system will self-clean after each use. Where water is scarce, […]

Pleasure spurs food innovation in Europe

by Lindsay Paterson WHAT’S HAPPENING Research from the Confederation of Food and Drink Industries shows that pleasure is the main motivator driving food and drink innovation in Europe (, 3 June 2011). Much of the innovation in relation to pleasure is around “the search for greater sophistication and new flavours”. Health continues to be a […]


by Rebecca Sun The US Food and Drug Administration recently announced that new standards for sunscreen claims will go into effect in 2012. Around the same time, the media ran articles saying that while tanning causes skin cancer, sunscreens also contain carcinogens. Good grief. What’s a person to do? Just as some tools are extensions […]

“Daycare” centres provide activities for elderly Russians

by Anna Coppola WHAT’S HAPPENING State-funded “daycare for seniors” facilities are emerging in Moscow. These are daytime social clubs offering free meals, sleep, leisure activities and healthcare for elderly Russians. “Eat less, sleep more, wear clothes for the young, don’t lose creativity, get surprised every day” reads the slogan on the wall of one such […]

Immigrants fatten up to fit in

by Abelardo de la Pena Jr. WHAT’S HAPPENING We’ve told you about how some recent immigrants to the U.S. start eating unhealthy food, gain weight and become susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. Now, a University of Washington Department of Psychology study shows that some immigrants choose high-calorie American dishes to prove their American-ness. Asian […]

Baby formula gets the Nespresso touch in Switzerland

by Lindsay Paterson WHAT’S HAPPENING Swiss mums have a new labour-saving device to add to their armoury with the advent of Baby Nes — the equivalent of the cult Nespresso coffee machine, but for baby formula (, 25 May 2011). In addition to the specially designed machine, retailing at around €200 ($287), Nestlé sells capsules […]


by Robert van Alstyne My favorite time of the sports-spectator year is spring. With the epic drama of March Madness leading into the NBA playoffs, it’s easy to catch top-flight hoops on TV every evening for three months straight — much to the chagrin of the non-basketball-obsessed in my home. While battles over the remote […]

ABC sitcoms go bicultural, ads and all

by Abelardo de la Pena Jr. WHAT’S HAPPENING Two must-watch ABC sitcoms in a SoCal bicultural midlifer household took on a bicultural turn themselves, commercials and all (Iconoculture observation, 11 May 2011). In Modern Family, Gloria, played by Sofia Vergara, gets her husband Jay to hear a business pitch from her friend Guillermo. Jay berates […]

Revolutionising Eurozone bank transfers

by Kimberly Ochs WHAT’S HAPPENING TransferWise, founded by early employees of Skype, is a new service offering better currency exchange rates by connecting consumers. With its aim to become the Skype of currency exchange, the service makes it possible for European consumers to make pound-euro exchanges without paying the service fee to banks, usually around […]

Strolling consumers shift Blue Brain’s sound

by Robert van Alstyne WHAT’S HAPPENING Washington, D.C.-based electronic pop duo Blue Brain are giving visitors to the National Mall a different kind of audio guide — the world’s first location-aware album. Aptly titled The National Mall, the mobile application/album hybrid tracks its users via GPS, with the soundtrack shifting automatically based on the listener’s […]


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