The McRushmore

In case you ever wondered what would happen if you combined a McRib, Filet-O-Fish, Southern-Style Chicken Sandwich, and bacon and cheese Angus Deluxe, here's your answer: The McRushmore, four meats rolled into one monstrosity of a sandwich. Ernest Wilkins of RedEye Events and Kevin Pang of Chicago Tribune made and taste tested one so you don't have to. As for whether Ernest would ever eat another one, his answer: "Two words: Hell. and No."

MikeeeHo • 7 years ago

Infographic: The Power Structure of a Mexican Drug Cartel

This remarkable chart teaches volumes about how fear works, and why the notorious Michoacan drug family is so unstoppable. This is surely one of the most remarkable infographics we've ever posted. Created by social scientist Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, it documents the organizational structure and almost limitless influence of Mexico's Michoacan drug family. And it teaches you a great deal about why, exactly, the family is so hard to combat -- and why its power seems so pervasive. The infographic itself details various wings of the Michoacan cartel -- or La Familia as it's better known -- alongside various government agencies. (The short hand for the acronyms: Anything starting with "FUN" is a Michoacan drug cell; those starting with "NAR" are government drug agencies.) The arrows show links between each one, meaning they're sharing information. But what's most interesting is that the size of the bubbles shows how much information each cell of the organization is able to share: We're not quite sure how accurate the information is or how it was gathered, but what strikes you is that the group is far from centralized. Instead, it's extraordinarily diffuse, much like Al Qaeda, for example. And that in turn surely contributes to the fear the organization sows -- it's power must seem limitless in Mexico precisely because its influence, even when small, is always very close at hand, due to the prevalence of tiny, even autonomous cells everywhere you look. The diffuse nature of the organization, and its web of contacts, means that if you're a Mexican living near one of their power bases, there's literally no where you can turn without meeting La Familia's influence. Moreover, as documented before, each of the cells is independent enough that you never know if you're crossing the path of some new menace with every interaction. You can never be sure if by pleasing one branch, you're offending another. And that type of uncertainty is the very nature of fear itself. But perhaps the most sobering part of this chart is that it even exists. The fact that it's possible to know so much about the organization while simultaneously being totally unable to stop it speaks volumes about the nature of Mexico's drug problem. via @cliffkuang

MikeeeHo • 7 years ago

Starbucks Stores in New York Now Accepting Mobile Payments

Starbucks has seen sufficient success with its Starbucks Card Mobile payment pilot program in select San Francisco, Seattle and Target stores that its ready to extend the program to nearly 300 company-operated stores in New York City and Long Island. Starbucks Card Mobile for iPhone and BlackBerry lets users pay for their coffee by holding up the 2-D barcode on their smartphone to the scanner at the counter. The application allows customers to manage and reload their Starbucks Cards as well. Customers have responded positively to the mobile payment option, Starbucks reports. “We’re seeing more and more customers using their smartphones as their mobile wallets,” says Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Loyalty. “We’ve heard from our customers on My Starbucks Idea that they want a faster, more convenient way to pay.” The ultimate goal of the program is to get customers to trade in their physical Starbucks Cards for the digital variety — it’s a time saving exchange for the customer and a cost saving exchange for the company. Already, one in five of all in-store transactions are paid for via Starbucks Card (mobile or physical), and more than $1 billion will have been loaded on to cards by year’s end. The extension of the mobile payment pilot comes on the heels of the reveal of Starbucks Digital Network. Mobile is an increasingly important avenue for Starbucks. The company reports that more than 50% of all logons to its free in-store WiFi are made via mobile phone, and that of its smartphone-carrying customer base, 71% have an iPhone or BlackBerry device.

MikeeeHo • 7 years ago