A-Holes Make $4,000 Per Day on Viagra Spam...Fungus-Treated Violin Sounds Better Than Stradivarius...Chinese iPhone Pricing: The Opposite of AT&T...Heating and Air Conditioning via Window Panes?
I learned a scary thing today: Pharmaceutical spam can generate over $4,000 per day, says Ars, calculated by the commission the referring spammers get from sales at online pharmacies. In fact, 12% of people who click on spam emails do it because they're actually interested in the deal. With odds like that, no wonder there are Russian companies dedicated to this fine art. Thanks a lot, spam-eaters. It's like you're Private Pyle, sitting there sucking your thumb while the rest of us do pushups. [Ars Technica]
The attempt to replicate the dulcet vibrations of Stradivarius violins has driven many luthiers to madness. What's going to send the rest of them to the looney bin? The fact that fungus is the only way to beat a Strad. Yes, by applying a "soft rot," scientists can reduce the density and recreate the lightness of wood harvested and used during the mini-ice age that was Antonio Stradivarius' hey day. The theory bore out at a recent German forestry competition, when a violin by Swiss maker Michael Rhonheimer—the fungus-treated Opus 58—beat a Stradivarius by a sizable margin in a very serious listening test. [ScienceDaily PopSci]
In China, the iPhone pricing model is basically the opposite of the US: They pay a lot for the phone up front, and then a pittance each month for service. The cheapest phone sold by China Unicom, the 8GB 3G, will cost around $300 (as opposed to $100 in the US). But the monthly rate can be as little as $18 or $19. Fortune's Phil Elmer-Dewitt calculates the total cost over two years as $746 for China Unicom customers, $1,779 for AT&T customers. Before you go applying for a Chinese visa, I'm willing to bet there's probably some sort of cost-of-living multiplier to apply to this equation. Better call The Economist. [Fortune]
In home improvement, windows are known as an insulation weak point: They leak AC in the summer, and they leak heat in the winter. Generally, windows are made up of two panes with a vacuum between them, no air or maybe some kind of inert gas. VentroVentilato ("ventilated window"?) of Italy proposes to fill the gaps with air, expelling it outward when it heats up too much in the summer, and pulling it into the home the sun warms it in the winter. Not a bad idea, but the scale seems off—we'll believe it when we see (feel?) it. [Core77]