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And in 'Other' Business News: Is Jealousy Causing Users to Leave Facebook?

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Plus, Warren Buffett's image to be featured on running shoes.

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Facebook Causes Enmity Towards Your "Friends"

Have you ever felt depressed and alone after scrolling through your Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) news feed? Don't worry, you're not alone. Two German universities have found the social website fosters feelings of envy and loneliness among many users of the platform.

Researchers from Berlin's Humboldt University and Darmstadt's Technical University say one-in-three people feel worse and dissatisfied with their lives after viewing their Facebook account. The research teams released a report yesterday called "Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users' Life Satisfaction," which documents the results of two tests conducted on 600 German individuals.

Vacation photos cause much of the envy and existential crises among users, followed by the number of birthday greetings and comments received on posts relative to peers.

What might this mean for Facebook?

"We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry. From our observations some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site," said researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin's Humboldt University.


Warren Buffett, the Professional Runner?

Source: TheShoeGame
When you think of professional runners, do you think of Warren Buffett?

A subsidiary of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B), Brooks Running Co., will produce a special sneaker for the a 5-kilometer race occurring as part of Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in May of this year. The sneaker will contain on the inside heel a caricature of Buffet triumphantly breaking the tape at the finish line.

Buffett, who regularly indulges in cheeseburgers and Cherry Coke, won't be participating in the 5-K. So investors in Berkshire shouldn't worry about accusations of his use of performance-enhancing drugs surfacing after the event.


Businesses Leverage Popular Peeing Statue in Brussels

Washington, DC, has the White House, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Brussels has an old drinking fountain in the form of a two-foot boy peeing. Since at least the seventeenth century, the Manneken Pis has been an important local icon in the Belgian capital.

Recently more businesses have capitalized on the prominence of the urinating boy. Tourist shops, for example, sell items such as a wine bottle opener that has a corkscrew in place of the fountain spout. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) even utilizes the icon. Art on Coke vending machines at Brussels Airport has the boy standing atop a glass bottle of the soda.

Martha Meeze, a spokeswoman for Visit Brussels, the city's tourist office, said, "We don't take ourselves too seriously."


Will You Be Receiving Mushrooms in Your Packages Soon?

Styrofoam could soon be a thing of the past.

Ecovative Design has produced a new type of foam formed from mushroom fibers. Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre came up with a unique method to develop the fungal foam. First, mushroom spores get inserted into corn stalks and vegetable husks. While in the husks, the fungus consumes the nutrients and grows a complex root network that fills the shape of the mold. Placing the foam in a hot oven stops the spores from growing and gives the foam the proper texture, hardness, and elasticity.

With this foam, Bayer and McIntyre hope to supplant plastics, particularly polystyrene, as the dominant material used in items such a packing material. The eco-friendly mushroom foam easily decomposes in nature compared to the minimum 500 years needed for Styrofoam cups and packing peanuts to disintegrate in landfills.

To build a better packaging unit, Ecovative Design has partnered with Sealed Air (NYSE:SEE), which will build the first of group of factories to produce Restore Mushroom Packaging by June of this year. Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) already use the foam as part of their shipping materials.


Google Removes Offensive "Make Me Asian" App

Asian-Americans activists successfully petitioned Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for the removal of the "Make Me Asian" smartphone app from the Google Play store. Several individuals were key to the removal of the offensive app. Peter Chin, a pastor in Washington, DC, started a petition on Change.org calling for its removal, and the Twitter group 18 Million Rising launched a Twitter campaign aimed at Google and Asian-American celebrities with the hashtag #makemeracist.

"Make Me Asian" allowed users to add features common to stereotypical Asian caricatures, such as Fu Manchu-style mustaches and rice paddy hats, to images of themselves or others.

The Google Play account of the developer of the app, KimberlyDeiss, no longer exists. Her other apps that followed the same theme, such as "Make Me Indian," "Make Me Russian," "Make Me Frankenstein," and "Make Me Fat," have also been deleted.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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