Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, November 30, 2021

In “Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America”, a 19th-Century version of network sabotage is illustrated thusly:

But in the fall of 1872, almost all these power units, better known as horses, came down with the flu, and America faced an energy crisis. In what became known as the Great Epizootic, horse influenza spread from Ontario down the East Coast of the United States, across the South and into the West, eventually reaching as far as California and Nicaragua. Forty-eight hours after it hit Boston, seven out of every eight of the city’s horses were feverish and coughing. In “Horses at Work,” Ann Norton Greene describes Philadelphia at a standstill: “Streetcar companies suspended service; undelivered freight accumulated at wharves and railroad depots; consumers lacked milk, ice and groceries; saloons lacked beer; work halted at construction sites, brickyards and factories; and city governments curtailed fire protection and garbage collection.” The disaster prompted an appreciation of the work done by horses, which had been somewhat overshadowed by the more voguish pursuit of steam power…

I also know that this all-natural horsepower reliance persisted into the mid-20th Century, with even the U.S. Army maintaining horse cargo-hauling services throughout World War II. I assume the equine flu was kept under control by then.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/30/2008 09:08:10 PM
Category: History
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pixels and pigskins
I’ve noticed a distinct uptick in commercials for videogame releases on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” this season.

I can’t find any industry reportage on increased Sunday morning ad buys by Electronic Arts or any other gaming studio. This is strictly my own observations, and from what I’m seeing, it seems like every other commercial break includes at least one promo spot for a high-profile game title. And it’s not even sports titles being featured, as you might expect given the context; it’s usually war or adventure games.

What accounts for this? “Countdown” visibly aligned itself closer to the gaming medium this year by incorporating EA Sports’ technology for the in-studio Virtual Playbook segments. The intent there was to capture gamers’ eyeballs, so I guess its succeeded to the point where the show is attracting more advertising during this two-hour bloc.

I’m guessing that a contributing factor is a pullback elsewhere. Again, anecdotally, I detect noticeably fewer Viagra and similar penis-pill/erectile dysfunction ads in this same “Countdown” airtime. Which, if it’s really the case, points to a demographic shift too — more younger men tuning in as the older guys tune out. Fair tradeoff all around, really.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/30/2008 02:34:11 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Sports, TV, Videogames
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