A New Zero Calorie 'Drink'
(NYSE:KO) and Pepsi
(NYSE:PEP) may have some new competition in China. The Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao has put his entrepreneurial spirit to work so that he can profit from helping people suffering from the recent hazardous smog conditions in Beijing and other parts of eastern China.
The World Health Organization recommends that levels of pollution measured in terms PM2.5 -- or particulate mater 2.5 micrometers in diameter -- should not exceed levels of 20. A level over 300 represents a serious health danger, yet Beijing often breaches 500. Recently, the city hit a record level of 755 on January 12.
What’s Guangbiao’s solution?
It’s canned air
. For just just 5 yuan, or $0.80, individuals can purchase green or orange cans of “Fresh Air.” Sounding like something out of Spaceballs
, the cans supposedly contain air from pristine regions of China, such as Xinjiang. Worth $740 million, Guangbiao knows how to self promote: The cans feature a caricature of the 44-year-old saying, "Chen Guangbiao is a good man.
As air conditions worsened, sales increased to 8 million cans sold in the past 10 days.
While he may sound like a swindler, Guangbiao launched the product as a comical way of raising environmental awareness. Plus, the noted philanthropist donates the profits to poor regions of the country and areas of historic revolutionary importance.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, or WTO, Antigua and Barbuda has successfully retaliated against the US for its restrictions on online gambling.
Beginning in 2003, Antigua and Barbuda complained to the WTO that US gambling regulations violated the US’s own fair trade rules and hurt the two island nations' online gambling industry. The WTO concurred.
At one point, the country’s Internet casinos employed 4,000 workers, or 10% of its total workforce. Restrictions placed on consumers caused the industry to shrink to only 500 citizens working in the business.
The US has refused to alter its policy. In fact, the US placed more stringent regulations on the industry by disallowing banks from transferring money to Internet casinos in 2007. In response, the WTO meeting in Geneva yesterday condoned Antigua and Barbuda’s selling and streaming of movies, music, TV shows, and software
with US copyrights without paying the owner of the rights. (Also read: 9 Bad Boys of Business: The Class of 2012
The US can do nothing to stop this piracy. However, Antigua and Barbuda may change its policy if the US removes the bans on Internet gambling, and some think that the government wants to use this piracy policy as a bargaining chip to remove the gambling ban.
No More Needles
Do you hate the needle when you receive a vaccination? Researchers may have developed a new way to administer the treatment: tattoos
These tattoos will allow doctors to utilize newly developed DNA vaccines. The vaccines differ from regular vaccines in that they cause individuals’ bodies to produce the molecules necessary to teach the immune system which threats to recognize. Scientists produce the current vaccines in use by gathering proteins from germs and injecting the molecules into the patient.
Unfortunately, these tattoos will still use needles -- but these needles will be microscopic at 250 microns wide and 650 microns high. The needles will contain a coat of biodegradable film that holds the vaccine. When applied, the patch of film instantly embeds onto the skin and released the vaccine.
The patch vaccines have only been tested on mice and macaque skin samples at this point.
How to Advertise for Free During the Super Bowl
Many people like the tattoos on San Francisco 49ers’ star quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and many wish to use his tattoo artist. Fortunately for Nes Andrion, the owner of Endless Ink in Reno, Nevada, his work on Kaepernick’s arms, back, and chest will get free publicity for two minutes during the Super Bowl broadcast
, according to Eric Wright of Joyce Julius & Associates.
Companies would normally need to pay $16 million for that amount of airtime. Anheuser-Busch InBev
(NYSE:BUD), Research In Motion
(NASDAQ:RIMM) (now BlackBerry), and Pepsi will pay up to $4 million for 30-second advertising spots during the game on February 3.
Andrion says that business has already picked up due to the work done on his former University of Nebraska classmate, and he now has a customer waiting list of four months.
It’s Now Easier to Find the Nearest Gulag in North Korea
(NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps users can now view streets and prison camps
in North Korea. The totalitarian government there has kept much about the country secret to outsiders, but through a crowdsourcing effort, individuals supplied information on known streets, buildings, and landmarks to Google’s development program, Map Maker. (View the map here
Curtis Melvin of North Korean Economy Watch
said that his crowdsourcing effort to map North Korea using Google Earth has already yielded more information (and more gulag locations) than what Google Maps currently displays, saying, “It's not even a fraction of what I've already published.”
No positions in stocks mentioned.