1. Big Data’s Hiking The Rent
Those rent hikes hitting apartment dwellers are courtesy of Big Data. Landlords are increasingly using algorithmic pricing systems that analyze troves of information about the market and tell landlords how much to increase rent. It’s like Mr. Roper’s the landlord and Mrs. Roper is the pricing system, telling him how much to charge. But she sets rents for millions of Chrissys, Janets, and Jacks. Tenants in Tennessee and Washington are suing the two biggest Mrs. Ropers – RealPage and Yard Property. They say Mrs. Roper facilitates the exchange of confidential pricing information and pushes rents artificially high. The Justice Department is already investigating RealPage and may weigh in.
2. Solare Flare Up – Sharkninja Sued On Sun Temp Claim
A class action lawsuit is throwing shade at Sharkninja over claims its nonstick pans are manufactured at 30K degrees Fahrenheit – three times hotter than the Sun. Plaintiffs say the company’s blowing solar wind, because heating pans to that temperature is physically impossible given aluminum vaporizes at 4K degrees. But is it? A news article from 2002 may stick it to them. It reports on a new (then) technique for creating non-stick pans involving the fusion of titanium and ceramic particles into plasma at 30K degrees and spraying it on the surface of aluminum pans – kind of exactly what Sharkninja advertises.
3. Keep Mowing – Don’t Mind The Body
A groundskeeper in North Carolina gets points for staying focused on mowing the lawn and maybe less for being observant. Police suspect a 34-year-old man, wearing few clothes died of a drug overdose in the front yard of a suburban home. But two days went by before anyone reported it to law enforcement because nobody noticed the body – including the groundskeeper who mowed around him. He says he thought it was a dummy used for police exercises. Okaaay. It took a construction worker to notice what was most definitely not a dummy in the yard and call authorities.
4. Unlaced: Shoes Are Yours – If You Outrun Security
A Paris store leaned into le wave of shoplifting that has been plaguing retailers. It let customers steal shoes – if they could outrun the security guard. Before you get too excité mon chéri, the security guard was one of France’s fastest sprinters – Méba Mickael Zeze with a 100-meter dash time under 10-seconds. The running store chain hired Zeze for the day and marked items “Rob it to get it.” As customers ran out of the store with merch, he chased them down, over and over again. Seventy-six sole mates gave it a go, 74 failed, and Zeze, running on empty, got an ice bath and a massage.
5. In a Jam? Try Cruise Control
Researchers think they’ve found a simple fix for so-called phantom traffic jams and it doesn’t involve giving Honda Civics and Prius’ their own lanes to go slower than everyone. Phantom jams happen when there’s no reason for the congestion, such as an accident or lane closure. Some driver way in the front – you know who you are – slowed down. The car behind them slows down a little more, and so on. That ripple effect adds to a nonsensical backup, miles long. But having one car flip on automatic cruise control to an average, not Civic or Prius, traffic speed left congestion in the rearview mirror.