Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, October 16, 2021

So, Lola doesn’t get the appeal of the foot job. Since she’s been asked to administer one, she’s collating opinion.

What’s to get? Like any other fetish, it provides that unique sensation necessary for sexual satisfaction. I’m not sure you can make any sense out of it, any more than you can any other behavioral wrinkle.

This brings to mind a long-ago discussion I had with an acquaintance who went for this sort of thing. Typically, the fetish fixation involved specifics bordering on the ridiculous. Not just any female feet would do for this guy — they had to be the right shape (not too big, not too small, well-defined), right skin tone (tanned, but not too tanned), right toe structure (length of individual digits had to match up a certain way), and of course, the perfect nail polish (bubble-gum pink). It struck me that the quest for the ideal feet is as much the obsession for these types as is the (improbable) discovery.

Everyone’s got their preferences. For myself, I try to keep my crotch foot-free. Especially when it comes to the random kick.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/16/2006 11:55:55 PM
Category: Society
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It’s always amused me that, for all the trumpeting about how global the World Wide Web is, it’s always remained chiefly a U.S.-centric concern.

Not that there aren’t tons of online populations in other parts of the world. But the Net was an American invention, of course, and early adoption, development and maturation of the medium took place in the States. So from the start, the whole enterprise was driven largely by the culture in one country.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that one of the Web’s glamour niches — blogs — is dominated by Americans, at least as far as influence is concerned:

While rates of blog-reading are relatively comparable in major European countries and the United States — roughly one-quarter of the population looks at blogs at least once a week in America, Britain and France — blogs based in the United States remain more influential, according to [an Edelman-Technorati survey on global blog use].

The most-linked-to European blogger, the study shows, is Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian and self-styled crusader against corruption. While his site is popular in Italy and is translated into English, it is only the 28th most influential blog worldwide, according to the survey. Bloggers in the United States dominate the top of the rankings.

As with other things pertaining to the online world, the rest of the world’s bound to catch up in the blogging arena. But it’s another example of U.S. users setting the pace. Not exactly the dynamic that comes to mind when most think of the no-boundaries collaborative promise of the Web.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/16/2006 11:26:36 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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After a summer’s worth of scary spiraling, gas prices are now in retreat, all the way back to a comfortable price point:

Pump prices are now 50 cents lower than a year ago and have plummeted by more than 80 cents a gallon since the start of August. The previous 2006 low for gasoline was set in the first week of January, when pump prices averaged $2.238

Gasoline can be found for less than $2 a gallon in many parts of the country. Tom Kloza, an analyst at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J., said Missouri is on course to become the first state with average prices below that psychological level.

The question is, why are the prices dropping? Conspiracy theories abound, but the reality sounds pretty familiar:

By late summer, hedge funds and other investors had poured billions into long positions in oil, gasoline, natural gas and the rest of what traders call the “energy complex,” all betting on a replay of the severe 2005 hurricane season that sent prices soaring in the wake of Katrina and Rita. But one day after oil reached a monthly high of $76.98 a barrel on Aug. 7, government meteorologists downgraded their hurricane forecast and cautioned that a repeat of 2005 was “unlikely.”

That announcement, combined with the end of the summer driving season and a recalibration of the Goldman Sachs commodity index that reduced the weighting of gasoline, prompted speculators to head for the exits even faster than they’d piled in…

“Whatever you want to call it - speculators, fast money, hot money - a big part of the drop in crude that we’ve seen this year is because of selling by hedge funds,” says Merrill Lynch technical analyst Mary Ann Bartels.

So, instead of acute shortages and geopolitical strife, the chief reason for the jack-up in pump prices this year was market manipulation. Pretty much what Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Ben Dell theorized back in August. Dell’s ideas were controversial back then, but in short order, they’ve pretty much been validated.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/16/2006 11:00:40 PM
Category: Business, Politics
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