Top 10 List of Florida Man Superhero Losers

Lists are handy ways to track and assess things, events and people, including the jaw-droppingly weird Florida Man stories posted on Twitter by the Miami Herald. Reading the Florida Man Top 10 list of superhero losers will make you feel a lot better about yourself. Trust us.

Lists are handy ways to track and assess things, events and people, including the jaw-droppingly weird Florida Man stories posted on Twitter by the Miami Herald. Reading the Florida Man Top 10 list of superhero losers will make you feel a lot better about yourself. Trust us.

In South Florida, superhero is a sarcastic euphemism for loser. The Top 10 list of "Florida Man" superheroes proves the point.

For the unaware, @_FloridaMan is a popular Twitter feed that commemorates actions worthy of inclusion in its fictional “Department of Chaos.” The feed has 42,000 followers who chomp at the bit for the next account of stupefying weirdness, made even more bizarre by all occurring in the confines of South Florida.

Topping the Top 10 Florida Man list is Joshua James, who was jailed after throwing an illegally obtained Everglades alligator from his pickup truck through the drive-in window of a Wendy’s restaurant. No restaurant employees were reportedly injured and the alligator lived to snap another day. For his part, James was unable to explain why the alligator was in his vehicle or why he inexplicably chucked it through a drive-in window.

There isn’t yet a Top 10 Florida Woman list, but a leading candidate is a Dania Beach woman who pulled a knife on a man in a Dollar Store checkout line because he refused to stop farting. There could be a Top 10 Florida Animal list, too. A Pensacola puppy put his paw on the trigger of a pistol and shot a man who was using the gun to shoot a litter of seven puppies.

Reptiles play a prominent role in Florida Man incidents. A reptile store owner swung a bearded dragon overhead and hit an employee in the face. An unknown apartment dweller tied a 12-foot alligator to a tree with a parachute cord and then fed it neighborhood cats. He fled before being charged with animal cruelty.

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Fire and knives are another common obsession of Florida Man superheroes. Cannibal Corpse guitarist Patrick O’Brien broke into a neighbor’s house, pushed an occupant to the ground and brandished a knife. O’Brien was on fire after escaping his own house which was burning with the assistance of death metal flamethrowers.

A naked man in Cape Coral danced in a fire brandishing a knife to ward off firemen and police officers trying to rescue him.

A man dressed in a pirate costume fired muskets at cars on a bridge in the Florida Keys. His occupation at the time was wearing a pirate costume and carrying a musket.

An obviously hungry man gnawed the wrist of his girlfriend after they argued en route to a Taco Bell.

A teenager plucked a stuffed horse toy off a shelf in a Walmart, headed to the bedding department, proceeded to pleasure himself and then returned the impregnated horse to where he found it.

Those are just the top 10 Florida Man stories. Others include a Pensacola man who threatened his own family in a four-hour standoff with police over a slice of pizza. A Florida man was arrested for domestic battery after he threw a hard cookie that hit his girlfriend in the head. A homeless South Florida man was charged with stabbing a tourist with a scissors held by his feet. A man covered in ketchup was arrested after yelling profanities at passersby. A man called 911 after he was unable to take his cat into a strip club. A restaurant was forced to end its “bring your monkey night” promotion after an eight-year-old boy was bitten by, you guessed it, a hungry monkey.

The Florida Man story that Miami Herald reporter Howard Cohen likes the most involved a man in custody for auto theft. Upon his release, the suspect tried to heist a car in the police department parking lot. He failed to notice a police officer was in the car that he tried to steal.

Needless to say, Florida Man accounts aren't regularly shared by South Florida chambers of commerce. They just assume you know what you’re in for when you come there.

So, a word to the wise, watch out for flying gators, pizza slices, exploding flamethrowers and hard cookies.

Hidden Brains and Revealed Truths about Human Behavior

Shankar Vedantam does what public opinion pollsters can’t do – look inside the hidden brains of people to learn why they behave as they do. [Photo Credit: NPR]

Shankar Vedantam does what public opinion pollsters can’t do – look inside the hidden brains of people to learn why they behave as they do. [Photo Credit: NPR]

A central purpose of research is to find out what people think. Shankar Vedantam, the host of Hidden Brain, explores how people behave.

Vedantam is NPR’s social sciences correspondent who reports on human behavior, with a flair for fetching headlines. Some of his recent reports include:

  • “Close Enough: The Lure of Living Through Others”

  • “One Head, Two Brains: How the Brain’s Hemispheres Shape the World We See”

  • “Rewinding & Rewriting: The Alternate Universes in Our Heads”

  • “Why did So Many Americans Trust Russian Hackers’ Election Propaganda”

  • “The Best Medicine: Decoding the Hidden Meanings of Laughter”

  • “Why Consumers Systematically Give Inflated Grades for Poor Service”

His Hidden Brain podcasts do what public opinion polls don’t or can’t do. He looks at research from the likes of psychologists, neuroscientists and cultural anthropologists that examines what people actually do and tries to explain why.

Vedantam doesn’t have the usual credentials for exploring human behavior. His undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering and his master’s degree is in journalism. Early-career fellowships dealing with mental health, public health, science and religion helped to steer his award-winning career in the direction of trying to understand why people do what they do.

For example, Vedantam reported that people shy away from giving extremely negative ratings for service because they don’t want people to lose their jobs. The business school professor who informed his conclusion compared it why teachers tend to inflate grades for their students. “Nobody complains,” he said, “when they get an ‘A’.”

The style of his reporting is more light than heavy. But it isn’t frivolous fluff. Vedantam authored a book based on his reporting titled, “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives.”

Frustration with polling often centers on its accuracy in predicting how people will vote. Vedantam’s reporting bypasses that frustration by digging into the mindset of voters, consumers, students and people in general that causes certain behavior. It tells us something about ourselves that we might not realize or choose to ignore. It is a form of radio talk therapy.

The social sciences are playing a larger role in shaping business decisions from how to market a product, respond to complaints and design people-friendly features. Social sciences research offers clues to group behavior, organizational effectiveness and game theory. Companies are hiring cultural anthropologists. Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank’s brutally blunt investor, majored in psychology and environmental studies. 

Vedantam offers a gentler approach to the truth than O’Leary that can be valuable in helping listeners take stock of why they and other people think and behave the way we do. He makes uncomfortable reality easy to hear and consider.

 

The Secrets of Irresistibility

We love irresistible people, but they weren’t born that way. They developed the habits of irresistibility. You can, too.

We love irresistible people, but they weren’t born that way. They developed the habits of irresistibility. You can, too.

Some people are simply irresistible. But why? Travis Bradberry, who regularly reports on emotional intelligence, sniffed around and discovered 11 secrets of irresistibility. His methodology may not exactly be traditional research, but it sure is interesting.

Sharing his “findings” in a 2015 Forbes article, Bradberry writes, “Irresistible people aren’t constantly searching for validation. They are confident enough to find it in themselves. Their sense of self-worth comes from within.” This healthy perspective, he says, allows irresistible people to exercise more curiosity about others.

Bradberry posits that irresistibility isn’t the byproduct of dumb luck; it is a matter of personal habits. He suggests anyone can emulate the “secrets” of irresistibility. Here is a synopsis of those secrets: 

  1. Treat everyone with respect and act like you are no better than anyone else.

  2. Follow the Platinum Rule by treating others as they would like to be treated.

  3. Ditch small talk to engage in real conversation and form an emotional connection.

  4. Focus on people more than your smartphone.

  5. Avoid trying too hard to impress others.

  6. Recognize the difference between fact and opinion.

  7. Be authentic – be yourself.

  8. Exhibit integrity by walking your talk.

  9. Smile.

  10. Look presentable to reflect your self-respect.

  11. Find reasons to love life.

“Irresistible people did not have fairy godmothers hovering over their cribs. They’ve simply perfected certain appealing qualities and habits that anyone can adopt as their own.,” Bradberry says. “They think about other people more than they think about themselves, and they make other people feel liked, respected, understood and seen. Just remember: the more you focus on others, the more irresistible you’ll be.”

 

 

Older Adults Are the Unnoticed Addicted Population

We don’t typically think of older adults as part of the addicted population in America, but that would be a mistake. Eleven percent of adults over 65 years old are addicted to drugs or alcohol, which could complicate diminished immune systems, failing memories and loss of balance, not to mention dangerous interactions with other medications.

We don’t typically think of older adults as part of the addicted population in America, but that would be a mistake. Eleven percent of adults over 65 years old are addicted to drugs or alcohol, which could complicate diminished immune systems, failing memories and loss of balance, not to mention dangerous interactions with other medications.

When we think of the opioid epidemic, we don’t usually think of it afflicting older adults. That’s a mistake. Older adults are as susceptible to opioid and subsequent illicit drug addiction as younger people.

The nonprofit National Council on Seniors Drug and Alcohol Rehab says 25 percent of all prescription drugs sold in the United States go to older adults and 11 percent of the older adult population suffers from some form of prescription drug abuse. With people living longer and the over-65 US population expected to reach 85 million by 2050, the Council believes it is time to bring the issue of older adult drug and alcohol addiction out of the shadows.

Older adults fall prey to the same addictive pathways as younger people – narcotic painkillers and anti-anxiety sedatives. They also endure triggering events common to aging – social isolation, unplanned retirement, death of friends, memory loss and money problems.

Slower metabolism leaves older adults more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse and dangerous interactions with other prescription drugs for chronic illnesses. Doctors may not be as perceptive to the risks for older adults who have diminished immune systems, mental anxiety and greater likelihood of falls.

The result is older adult addiction often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed. When painkillers are prescribed, doctors may authorize oversupplies because of older adult difficulties in getting to doctor’s offices.

Increasing numbers of addicted older adults has led to more treatment centers dedicated to that population. Because of the effects of aging and typically a mix of health issues, going cold turkey isn’t an option. Group counseling can be very useful for an adult population that often feels the stress of social isolation. The Council urges older adults and their families to review Medicare and supplemental insurance policies to see what kind of treatment and recovery programs are available and covered.

“According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), older adults may be the population we should be looking out for the most, considering they are more likely to take more medications for longer rates, or take multiple long-term medications that are known for possible addiction.”

Technology Will Push Market Researchers into New Depths

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

You don’t typically associate artificial intelligence, blockchains and search engine optimization with research. But you should, based on predictions for market research trends in 2019.

Focus Pointe Global shared five market research trends it perceives in 2019.

  1. Artificial intelligence combined with automation makes it possible to learn from all customers, not just a select sample. AI advocates say this will enable brands to have a deeper, more authentic understanding of their customers – and potentially gain a competitive advantage.

  2.  Online searches for content, special offers, reviews and pricing is an important tool for consumers – and a critical channel for brands. Google Home and Amazon Echo are extending consumer reach with voice search. Not far behind is visual search in platforms such as Pinterest, Bing and Google Lens. These new avenues will require website optimization and close attention to see how, or if, voice and visual searches differ from online searches the “old-fashioned” way on computers and tablets.

  3.  Researchers won’t have to ask consumers to describe their daily lives, they will be able to capture them on video in their daily lives. Brand managers can see for themselves how consumers engage with a product display or interact with a sales representative. This video evidence can be combined with geo-location technology to trace quite literally the consumer journey. This trend on steroids would extend to virtual reality that allow consumers to experience products.

  4.  All these techniques that can be quite intimate with consumers also must contend with existing and more stringent future privacy protection regulations. The European Union has adopted privacy protections and California has adopted legislation embracing similar protections. Other states are likely to follow, maybe even as soon as this year when most state legislatures convene.

  5.  New avenues for research will require closer partnerships between brand managers and market researchers. The expanding possibilities will demand hand-in-hand working relationships as research techniques become more fully embedded into the consumer purchasing process. Partnerships also will be necessary to interpret accurately and fairly increasing amounts of emotional intelligence about products and the people who buy them.

Writing for Forbes, small business contributor Lilach Bullock offered her predictions for market research trends in 2019. She agrees voice search is on the rise, predicting 50 percent of all searches will be via voice by 2020.

Bullock notes 35.6 Americans use a voice-activated device at least once a month and one in six Americans own a smart speaker – all of which point to new optimization strategies based on how consumers ask questions and search engines respond.

Other trends pointed out by Bullock include steps to speed up searches. Mobile-first indexing and faster-loading websites will be essential to improve the consumer experience, which market researchers will be tasked to monitor. Blockchain technology to create secure, trustworthy transactions also can be used to verify a consumer or brand is who they say they are. Bullock indicates security will become a new imperative alongside privacy.

“It might not be clear what the future will bring exactly,” Bullock concludes, “but it’s clear that emerging and older technologies are starting to have a huge impact on search engine optimization – if it’s not already happening, then at the very least it’s bound to happen soon.”

 

Striking Findings from Pew, CFM Research During 2018

Among the most striking research findings during 2018 is that a majority of US teens fear a mass shooting at the school they attend.

Among the most striking research findings during 2018 is that a majority of US teens fear a mass shooting at the school they attend.

The year is almost over and it’s time for retrospectives. Pew Research Center has shared “18 striking findings.” We have a few of our own to share.

 Here are a few of the striking findings by Pew during 2018:

  • The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined from its peak of 12.2 million in 2007.

  • The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more in 2017 than the rest of the world.

  • Younger Americans are better than their elders at separating fact from opinion.

  • A declining share of US Catholics say Pope Francis is doing a good job.

  • A majority of US teens fear a mass shooting at their school.

  • Almost 70 percent of Americans indicate they are worn out by the news. More Republicans say they are fatigued than Democrats.

  • Income inequality in America is greatest among Asians.

  • Bots on Twitter may be responsible for more link-sharing than human tweeters.

  • Almost 60 percent of women in the United States say they have been sexually harassed.

CFM has also been busy conducting research in 2018. Here are some of the findings we are able to share:

  • People in the Pacific Northwest are more optimistic about the way things are going than the rest of the country. Republicans are more pessimistic than Democrats.

  • Republicans and Democrats have significantly different opinions about key issues such as education and transportation. Opinions among Independents are closer to Republicans than Democrats.

  • People expect it will be decades before transportation issues are addressed adequately.

  • The share of people who rely on newspapers for information has declined by 50 percent during the past 10 years. Old-fashioned word of mouth and digital news outlets are now preferred sources.

  • Next to traffic congestion, one of the most commonly mentioned civic challenges is homelessness.

Hold onto your hat because 2019 appears like another storm approaching, with loads of opportunities to take the temperature of Americans around the country and in the Pacific Northwest.