No, You’re Wrong; No, You’re Wrong; Wait – We’re Both Right

I think the title (and the accompanying graphic) accurately reflect the thoughts that were going through the mind of myself and a member of our dinner party tonight as the two of us were having a discussion.

The dinner was a gathering of the faculty who are teaching in this study abroad program in London; I was the only American at the table, the other three faculty were from the U.K.

At one point in the conversation, one of the other faculty told me that he had been teaching the students about the time value of money, and the rule of 70. I must have looked confused, because he asked me if I had ever heard of the rule of 70. I said I had not, but I had heard of something called the rule of 72, which he had never heard of.

I had written about the rule of 72 as part of a longer post, and here is how I explained it:

One final example related to compounding is something known as the Rule of 72. The way this rule works is that it allows you to get a rough idea of either how long it will take to double your money given a certain compounding rate, or alternatively, what compounding rate you would have to earn if you want to double your money in a certain number of years.

For example, if you want to double your money and believe that you can earn a 6% return, you divide 72 by 6 and you would get 12 years. If you would like to double your money in 8 years, you would divide 72 by 8, and the result would be a compounding rate of 9%. The rule of 72 gives remarkably close results to what you would get if you used Google or Excel.

As the faculty member started to explain the rule of 70 to me, it became obvious that he was describing what I had always referred to as the rule of 72. I thought perhaps he had just made a slip of the tongue and was saying 70 when he meant 72. I’m guessing he may have been thinking the same bout me.

So as soon as I got home from dinner, I looked up to see if there was such a thing as the rule of 70, and indeed there is.

I found a great article that compares the two approaches; here were some of the key takeaways:

  • the Rule Of 70 is more accurate up to 4%
  • you can use either at 5% (though the Rule Of 72 is slightly more accurate)
  • the Rule Of 72 is more accurate from 6% to 10%.
  • Overall, accuracy declines as the growth rate increases.
  • Assuming the growth rate to be negative, the Rule Of 70 is always more accurate than the Rule Of 72.

But the most revealing statement int he article, and almost creepy in how relevant was to the discussion i had at diner tonight was the following:

Often, adherents of one of these rules of thumb are to surprised to learn of the existence of the other. 

That would certainly be true of me; I’d never heard of the Rule of 70, and it seemed as if my fellow faculty member had never heard of the Rule of 72.

So hopefully this experience will help me to remember that just because I’ve done something the same way for over 40 years doesn’t necessarily make it the right way or the best way to do something and that it is possible for two people in a discussion to both be right.

The other takeaway is to start saving as much and as early as you can…

One More Time: Money & Happiness

The relationship between money and happiness is one that fascinates me, and I have written about it several times.

The most recent post was over six months ago, so I think it’s OK to share the latest research I read on money and happiness.

The thrust of this research was looking at the question, “If you had to pick a dollar amount where people are happy with their income, what would it be?”

I wouldn’t call this new research, but more updated research. This question was first looked at by Nobel Prize winners Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman.

Their research, which analyzed Gallup surveys of 450,000 Americans in 2008 and 2009, suggested that there were two forms of happiness: day-to-day contentment (emotional well-being) and overall “life assessment,” which means broader satisfaction with one’s place in the world. While a higher income didn’t have much impact on day-to-day contentment, it did boost people’s “life assessment.”

Deaton’s and Kahneman’s research indicated that a person’s day to day happiness (emotional well-being) increases as people earn more money, but only up to $75,000. After that level of income is reached, additional money  has no measurable increase in day-to-day contentment.

For people who earn that much or more, individual temperament and life circumstances have much more influence over their emotional well-being than money. However, more money does boost people’s life assessment. People who earned $200,000 a year, for instance, report more overall satisfaction than people earning $100,000.

“Giving people more income beyond $75,000 is not going to do much for their daily mood, but it is going to make them feel they have a better life. … As an economist I tend to think money is good for you, and am pleased to find some evidence for that,” Deaton stated back in 2010 when the research was published.

An updated study was conducted by researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia. Their results were published in the February issue of Nature Human Behavior. Here is the abstract:

Income is known to be associated with happiness, but debates persist about the exact nature of this relationship. Does happiness rise indefinitely with income, or is there a point at which higher incomes no longer lead to greater well-being? We examine this question using data from the Gallup World Poll, a representative sample of over 1.7 million individuals worldwide. Controlling for demographic factors, we use spline regression models to statistically identify points of “income satiation.” Globally, we find that satiation occurs at $95,000 for life evaluation and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being. However, there is substantial variation across world regions, with satiation occurring later in wealthier regions. We also find that in certain parts of the world, incomes beyond satiation are associated with lower life evaluations. These findings on income and happiness have practical and theoretical significance at the individual, institutional and national levels. They point to a degree of happiness adaptation and that money influences happiness through the fulfillment of both needs and increasing material desires. 

A few things stood out to me from reading the abstract (full disclosure – I did not have access to the complete paper).

First, there is no change from the first study in the level of income ($75,000) needed to achieve emotional well-being.

Second, the new research offers a specific value for the life satisfaction question – $95,000, which I do not believe was part of the first research on the topic. In fact, Deaton and Kahneman found that more money does boost people’s life assessment. People who earned $200,000 a year, for instance, report more overall satisfaction than people earning $100,000.

Third, the latest research suggests that in certain parts of the world, incomes beyond satiation are actually associated with lower life evaluations, which seems to be in direct contrast with the original study.

A reason for the potential decline in well-being or satiation is offered in one summary of the latest research, “after the optimal point of needs is met, people may be driven by desires such as pursuing more material gains and engaging in social comparisons, which could, ironically, lower well-being.”

My guess is that the U.S. is not one of the regions of the world where income beyond satiation is associated with lower life evaluations, but we are more in line with the original findings of more money, more satisfaction.

I plan to try and get my hands on the full research report to see if my guess is correct. I just think most Americans tend to think more money is better, and are thus more satisfied when they are earning more.

In the meantime, I think the key takeaway, from both reports, is that money does have an impact on emotional well-being and life satisfaction, but it is only one of many factors that impact our happiness.

This Is What Some of Our Best and Brightest Are Working On?

The Wall Street Journal had a front page story this past Friday about the latest arms race – cup holders in cars – and it’s embarrassing in a couple of ways.

First (and this is assuming cars need cup holders to start with, which could be debated; see below), how many cup holders does a car need?

Subaru’s Ascent SUV, which seats up to eight, sports 19 holders, about 2.4 per passenger. Volkswagen AG’s new Atlas midsize SUV, has 17 cup holders. The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country minivan had 13 holders. Apparently, the more the merrier.

Second, how big do the cup holders need to be? Apparently the guiding principle seems to be the bigger the better.

At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s design studios in Turin, Italy, a fake Big Gulp cup, sculpted by a 3-D printer, aims to show designers the importance of making cup holders for that beloved U.S.-convenience-store beverage size.

In Japan, Subaru Corp. engineers study extra-large coffee and soda cups a U.S. colleague collected at McDonald’s, Starbucks and 7-Eleven stores. The U.S. colleague noted that “the Big Gulp kind of freaked them (the engineers) out.”

The growing popularity of large thermoses and supersize tumblers such as the 30-ounce Yeti Rambler is prompting auto makers to introduce more-voluminous holders. Industry experts say the current rule of thumb is about 2 3/4 inches deep—70 millimeters—double the standard two decades ago.

As to why are there cup holders at all, it seems to be an American thing.

“For years, Mercedes was convinced we should teach Americans to drink their coffee at home,” says Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche. “Obviously, that didn’t work out so well.”

Even luxury cars are buckling to the pressure.

The new Urus SUV is the first Lamborghini to feature multiple cup holders, including a pair of carbon-fiber-swathed receptacles in the center console. “A cup holder means paying attention to customers,” says Stefano Domenicali, CEO of VW’s Lamborghini brand.

Apparently there’s a lot of engineering that goes into these cup holders, and not many people realize it (myself included), according to Terry Cooper, president of Fischer’s, a company that specializes in making cup holders.

Ford Motor Co. has filed a patent application for a gyroscopic cup holder to keep a drink upright while accelerating, braking or “while the vehicle travels upward at an incline (e.g., up a hill).”

Other high-tech holders employ LED lights, or warming and chilling functionality.

The cup holders do not just hold cups, but fries and phones also fit into such spaces. With the advent of self-driving cars there may be an even greater need for multi-purpose cup holders.

So this is the kind of work our top engineers are working on – cup holders in cars.

Have we reached the point where there are no significant breakthroughs left to tackle, so we’ve resorted to such trivial matters?

How about putting these people to work on better devices for the disabled or the elderly? How about putting them to work on climate change, or world hunger, or diabetes, or safer cars, or something more meaningful than cup holders.

I’m not sure it was the size of the Big Gulp that freaked out the engineers at Subaru, or just the mere fact that this is the sort of problem American car company engineers are focused on.

Sounds Like I’d Fit Right in at Apple’s New Headquarters

Silicon Beat is reporting that there are some unintended consequences associated with Apple’s new $5 billion corporate headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

It seems like all that glass is the culprit.

Apple employees working at the company’s new spaceship campus are running smack dab into the new digs’ glass walls and doors.

Some employees have gone as far as to place Post-it notes on the panes as a low-tech warning, Bloomberg reports, but those sticky pieces of paper were taken down, because the notes allegedly distracted from the building’s design.

I can certainly empathize with those unfortunate Apple employees.

As some of you may know, I once walked into the glass door that leads into my classroom, and there’s even video evidence of it (sort of).

Since I have all of my classes videotaped, the episode was somewhat captured for everyone to enjoy. While you can’t actually see me walk into the door, that large sound at about seven seconds is yours truly walking full speed right into the glass door.

You can also hear one student say “He just walked into the door”, and another student ask me if I was OK. At the end of the video you can see me walk into the classroom trying to act as if nothing happened.

Fortunately, just like with the Apple employees, it was not a major injury, here is what I looked like after a couple of days.

So if you live in Cupertino and you start to see a few people walking around town with a bump like that on their forehead, it may be a safe bet to assume the person works at Apple.

I feel like I’m finally part of the Apple cult…

Traveling by Train – I’ll Be in Scotland Before Ye

Today we took the train from London to Edinburgh and it was absolutely delightful. It was by far the longest train trip I’ve ever taken (over five and a half hours, partly because of an hour long delay), and I just loved it.

It was nice just watching the world pass by our window.

One of our first sites was the Emirates stadium on our way out of London, which was then followed by the English countryside with farms, sheep, lakes, villages, and lighthouses along the way.

The three of us sat at a table for four the entire trip, giving us a place to put our laptops, our food, and our drinks. Such a setup made it much easier to talk with each other as well.

Here are some of the benefits of taking the train vs. flying:

  • no hour long train ride to the airport
  • no need to arrive at our departure point two hours early
  • no security check points and all the hassle associated with it
  • no luggage limits
  • no restrictions on walking around the coach
  • no 30 minute bus ride from the airport to the city center, basically, no stress.
  • The flight from London to Edinburgh is about ninety minutes. So if you add in all of the extra time associated with flying, there is little, if any difference between the two modes of transportation in terms of how long the journey will take.

Given that, the train seems like a clear winner.

Thanks once again to the Man in Seat 61 for his great web site, which convinced us to travel by train.

We are all looking forward to our next train journey.

P.S. In honor of the fact that there is a good chance a train could get you to Scotland faster than a plane, here is the lovely song “Loch Lomond”.

You’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland before ye

Even though the song was written in 1841, could the writer have foreseen the advantages of traveling by rails (low roads)  versus planes (high roads)?


Maybe You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

We’ve all heard the advice to follow our dream, to find a job we are passionate about.

In an ideal world, we would all find a job that we love, that pays well, that challenges us, and has great co-workers.

But unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way.

We may find a job that we really like, but it doesn’t pay well.

Or we may have a job that pays quite well, but we can’t stand going to work every day.

So what do you do?

The traditional advice typically seems to be to go with the job that you really like even if it doesn’t pay well, as opposed to sticking with a job you hate because it pays well.

Doing so, according to those who offer such advice, will make your work hours more enjoyable, and you will derive many psychic benefits from such a job. In the reverse scenario, you may end up being grouchy all day, and not just on the job.

And up until a few days ago, I used to feel the same way.

But all of the traveling we have been doing this past month made me rethink things a bit.

Maybe you have a job you just love, but it pays so little that you are unable to do some of the things you really would like to do. Things like traveling, going to plays and concerts, or going out for a nice meal may have to be sacrificed because you opted to be in a job you love, but does not pay much.

Now imagine the reverse situation. You are in a job that pays fairly well, but you really do not enjoy it. However, come five o’clock on weekdays and you might be going off to a play or out for a drink, or on Friday afternoon heading away for a weekend by the sea.

The second option gives you a chance to do things that you enjoy, whereas the first option did not.

Perhaps people should be more willing to think of a job as a means to an end, and that you don’t have to love it. But if it enables you to do things that you do love, that may be the best job for you.

So yes, in an ideal world, you may find a high-paying job you absolutely love, and you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor during your non-working hours.

However, in the more likely event that you have trouble finding such a job, rather than looking for a job that is a passion of yours, it may be worthwhile finding a high paying job that you can’t stand, since such a job may permit you to pursue the things you are passionate about.

So maybe that guy down the street who seems to have a dead-end job may be sticking with it because that job helped him buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood, help take his family on some nice vacations,  help pay for his kids to participate in some after school activities, and help him contribute to his favorite charities. So yea, he might not like his job, but he could be quite happy, partly because of his job.

Note that my thoughts on this topic are still in their formative stage, but I wanted to put them in writing as a way of trying to make sense of what I am thinking.

A Potpourri of News Stories from London

The picture on the front page should have told me what to expect inside, but I grabbed a copy of the Metro daily newspaper anyway (it was free).

Upon opening the paper I was greeted by a two page spread about Harry, Meghan, and a Krankie Pony. The sub-heading was “Mascot aims to nip prince’s fingers… it leaves bride-to-be horse with laughter”. Not too bad.

The brief story was accompanied by over half a dozen color photos of the event.

It was at this point I had to discover what kind of dail paper this was, and I was not disappointed.

Here is a sprinkling of some of the stories from today’s paper:

  • Indications many drivers are idiots: this story included several letters from readers telling what behavior they found most annoying in other driver. Among the top complaints were lack of using a turn signal (so it’s not just a problem in the U.S.) and the use of mobile phones.
  • Toothbrush from Amazon ‘coated in saliva and paste‘: a Dad opens up a box from Amazon assuming it would contain his brand new toothbrush, but found it seemingly already used.
  • Nice try! Late mum funds rugby trips: A mum’s deathbed wish has been gladly overtaken by her sons – who have spent their inheritance on beer and rugby. David E. and his brother Gareth, whose mother died in 2013 have travelled the world following the Wales team, and always take her Welsh dragon purse with them. “She pays for everything, it’s like we have our mum on trips with us. She would be happy knowing what we’ve spent the money on.” David and Gareth are 63 and 59, respectively.
  • GP ban after mum swears at driver: A mum has been banned for life from her GP surgery  after a receptionist overheard her swearing as her daughter called to book an appointment during a car trip. The woman admits shouting “f****** idiot” at a driver who forced her to brake. Days later, the surgery office wrote and accused her of swearing at the receptionist.
  • Drunk driver tried to throttle officer: no explanation needed.

There were more important stories throughout the paper, but for some reason these are the ones that left an impression.

But I’m not complaining; it’s nice to get  a break from reading stories about Brexit and football (soccer) all the time.

Plus, it’s free.

Success Is Not Final. Failure Is Not Fatal

The title is the beginning of one of Winston Churchill’s famous quotes; here is the full quote:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

The quote appears at the end of the movie “Darkest Hour“, which we saw today at the theater.

The movie focuses on the early days of World War II, when the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

If you look at Churchill’s history, it is apparent that he experienced many failures, but he came back stronger than ever each time, thus proving that failure is not fatal. On the other hand, Churchill had his share of great successes, particularly his handling of the second World War. Despite such success, he lost the election for Prime Minister just a year after the war had ended. So apparently success is not final.

Churchill, at least in the movie, exhibited a remarkable degree of courage and resolve. While he had much opposition to his decision during WWII to fight back against the Nazis vs. negotiating an end of the war with Hitler and Mussolini, Churchill stayed the course and opted to fight it out, to never surrender.

Here is a re-creation of one of his famous speeches where he makes this point crystal clear:

It was a good movie, a little slow at times, perhaps because we already knew the outcome. It was also fun recognizing many of the landmarks in the movie, and knowing the references to the London Underground.

One recommendation I would make is that you see Darkest Hour before Dunkirk. We saw Dunkirk last year, and I have to admit I did not know what was going on most of the time.

However, Darkest Hour helps to put the Dunkirk experience into perspective, and helps you realize its importance. I did not think the Dunkirk movie provided any such perspective as to the importance of the operation there and why it was critical to the overall war effort.

So now I feel like watching Dunkirk again, I think I will appreciate it so much more than the first time I watched it.

So Churchill walked his talk. He embodied every aspect of this quote:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Such words are not just relevant when fighting a war, they could be applied to all aspects of life. It’s no wonder that Churchill won the Nobel Prize, not for Peace, but for Literature.

He was also voted the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll.

Such honors are a testament to his courage to continue.


Profiles in Passion – The Man in Seat 61

Three years ago I wrote a post about DC Rainmaker. DC was an IT consultant who also happened to be incredibly passionate about triathlons, technology, and travel, and he managed to create an unbelievably informative and entertaining web site that blended all of these passions together. Today he focuses on his blog full-time, still providing the best reviews of sports-related technologies to be found anywhere.

Well this week I came across a kindred spirit of DC – Mark Smith, also known as The Man in Seat 61.

Here are several excerpts from the bio on Mark’s web site:

I’m a career railwayman who ran away from Oxford to join the circus – or as we called it in those days, British Rail – as soon as he could.  Starting out in delightful rural Kent on what was then BR’s Southern Region, I was the Station Manager for Charing Cross, London Bridge & Cannon Street railway stations in London in the early to mid 1990s.  After a spell as the Customer Relations Manager for two major UK train companies, I worked for the Office of the Rail Regulator and later the Strategic Rail Authority, ending up at the Department for Transport in charge of the team regulating fares & ticketing on the British rail network.  Since 2007 I have run this site full-time, as (a) updating it has indeed become a full-time job and (b) it’s much more fun than real work.

Mark even created a mission statement of sorts for his site:

…first, the site aims to INSPIRE people to do something more rewarding with their travel opportunities than schlepping to an airport, getting on a soulless airliner and missing all the world has to offer.  Second, it sets out to ENABLE people to take train or ferry by giving the the confidence and know-how to book their trip themselves, or call the right people to book it for them at affordable prices.

As to why he does this:

Travelling by train from London to mainland Europe is a far more practical option than most people imagine.  But finding out about it has become frustratingly difficult.  The train operators themselves are little help, often not working together.  I thought I could post basic ‘how to’ information online for train journeys from the UK to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Russia and every other country in Europe.  And how about reaching Morocco, Tunisia, Ibiza, Corsica, Crete or Malta by combining train & ferry?

And how he got started:

…one day in 2001 I found myself at London’s Marylebone station looking for something to read on my train home from work.  I wandered into W H Smiths and spotted a ‘teach yourself HTML’ book for £2.95.  I had bought a PC and my internet provider offered free webspace.  I read the book, tried a test webpage, it worked, and here I am.  There’s a lot of work involved in keeping the site even remotely up to date, but people seem to find the site useful, and this keeps me going. 

And the web site is how he now supports himself and his family, and his love of traveling: is a personal website, started purely as a hobby.  It’s grown and grown, and became my full time occupation in September 2007.  Which is just as well, as keeping it updated has indeed become a full-time job.  However, I’m not a company or a travel agency, just an individual with knowledge that others might find useful.  All the information on the site is provided free of charge to users, with the aim of providing sound practical advice to help people make journeys by train or ship instead of flying, affordably, comfortably and safely.  The site generates income through Google adverts and affiliate schemes (as well as books, t-shirts, and mugs) and this supports the site, helps fund my travel habit (…er, I mean research, of course) and buys me a beer or two and now even the odd bottle of my favourite Chateau Musar…

The site has won multiple awards over the years, and once you spend a few minutes on the site, you will see why. We were looking for the best travel options from London to Edinburgh, Scotland, and came across the seat61 web site, and it was his web site that really convinced us to take a train instead of flying.

Here’s the page that describes taking the train from London to Edinburgh, and it is quite impressive. The page includes links to where to buy tickets, pictures of the stations, the train, and scenery along the way. Again, well done.

The site offers details on how to travel by train around Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia & the Americas. Mark also lists some of favorite trips, what he call epic journeys:

  • Trans-Siberian Railway:  Using the Trans-Siberian Railway, you can travel overland from London to Beijing or Tokyo or even Singapore.  Seat61 will help you plan and book it the inexpensive independent way, with route guide, timetable, fares, photos and how to arrange tickets and visas.
  • Coast to coast USA or coast to coast Canada:  An epic, scenic and surprisingly affordable journey, a mind-blowing alternative to a mind-numbing flight.  Seat61 will recommend the routes, times, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  3,000 miles of scenery from New York to Los Angeles for as little as $278 (£191)!
  • Singapore to Bangkok:  For around $60 (£40) you can travel 1,233 miles from Singapore to Bangkok, on comfortable modern trains with your own sleeping-berth with fresh clean bedding for both overnight sections.  It’s not surprising this page is one of the most popular pages on the site…
  • London to Marrakech:  You can do this over the weekend, in just 48 hours, and it doesn’t cost a fortune, either.  Probably the most exotic location most easily reached from the UK by rail.  Ideal for a plane-free holiday to Africa..
  • The train to Tibet:  The new railway to Lhasa, featured on the China page.

Mark also lists some of he considers the most scenic journeys:

  • The Glacier Express & Bernina Express:  The two most scenic train journeys in Switzerland, or indeed Europe.  And no, I can’t tell you which has the edge, I can’t decide myself, you’ll just have to try both.  These pages show you the train and the scenery and will help you buy tickets.
  • The Northern Explorer & The Tranz-Alpine:  two great scenic trains journeys across New Zealand, NZ’s contribution to world rail travel.  And Wellington to Auckland costs from NZ$158 (£83) for an all-day experience, a bargain and one of my own favourite trips…
  • Venice Simplon Orient Express:  Luxury as well as scenery, on this classic train from London & Paris to Venice.  You’ll find a run-down on the real Orient Express on the Orient Express page.

This post can’t do justice to the amazing web site Mark has created, and you owe it to yourself to see what the result is when someone finds their passion and is willing and able to share that passion with others.

I know we will be using Mark’s site when we plan our trip to Paris, since we are not quite sure what the best way will be to get from London to Paris.

So the next time you are thinking about traveling somewhere, give Mark’s web site a look. He may well convince you to take a train.

Finally, a big thank you to Mark for the incredibly helpful web site you have created, we look forward to using it for years to come.

All aboard!

P.S. And I wish everyone can find their passion and pursue it the way DC and Mark have been. Such passion makes for a great customer experience.



How a Bad Year for the Flu Can Be Good

By all accounts, it seems to be a pretty bad year for the flu, America’s worst in a decade. It has taken the U.S. by surprise, pitting a weak flu vaccine against particularly virulent strains.

But for one industry, a bad year for the flu can be good – the orange juice industry.

Orange juice sales rose 0.9% to 38.66 million gallons in the four weeks ended Jan. 20. That uptick marked the first year-over-year increase in nearly five years, according to Nielsen, though analysts don’t expect this trend to last much beyond flu season.

This is not the first time this has happened. In 2009, an outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, better known as swine flu, helped to boost orange juice sales by 8%.

Since then, consumption has been dwindling over the past decade as a result of greater public awareness of orange juice’s high sugar content and increased competition from drinks such as flavored water, smoothies, and energy drinks. In addition,  Florida, the largest producer of oranges for juice in the U.S., had to deal with a direct hit from Hurricane Irma last year and a crop-destroying disease called “citrus greening”, which have pushed up the price of the fruit, making it less competitive from a pricing perspective.

The reason for the increased sales during flu outbreaks is the belief among many orange juice drinkers is that the Vitamin C will help prevent the flu

Scientific research, however, suggests only a tenuous connection between orange juice consumption and flu prevention. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is currently no strong evidence that any natural product is useful against the flu. The best protection, the NIH says, is a flu vaccine.

So the moral of the story is clear.

If it looks like it is going to be a bad flu season, buy some stock in an orange juice company. That way, even if you get the flu, at least you’ll be able to afford the medications, and the orange juice.