Well, America, That’s Embarrassing

I firmly believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, and part of what makes us great are the many innovations and breakthroughs we have made in the worlds of technology, science, and health care.

So I was shocked, angry, and sad when I read the news today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that for the first time in decades, life expectancy in the U.S. declined last year. That is considered an exceedingly rare event in a year that did not include a major disease outbreak. Other one-year declines occurred in 1993, when the nation was in the throes of the AIDS epidemic, and 1980, the result of an especially nasty flu season.

In 2015, rates for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death rose.

An American born in 2015 is expected to live 78 years and 9½ months, on average, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is about a month less than an American born in 2014.

Looking at the data more closely, average life expectancy declined for men, falling by more than two months, to 76 years and 3 ½ months in 2015. It fell by about one month for women, to 81 years and 2 ½ months, the CDC said.

Death rates increased for black men, white men, white women, and slightly for Hispanic men and women. But they did not change for black women.

But what is even more concerning to health experts is that the U.S. has made no improvements in life expectancy over the past four years.

The United States ranks below dozens of other high-income countries in life expectancy, according to the World Bank. It is highest in Hong Kong and Japan, at nearly 84 years.

Dozens?? How is that possible? Here is the ranking:

Hong Kong SAR, China 84 Greece 81
Japan 84 Ireland 81
Spain 83 Finland 81
Switzerland 83 United Kingdom 81
Italy 83 Germany 81
Singapore 83 Bermuda 81
France 82 Portugal 81
Liechtenstein 82 Channel Islands 81
Australia 82 Belgium 81
Luxembourg 82 Macao SAR, China 81
Korea, Rep. 82 Denmark 81
Israel 82 Slovenia 81
Iceland 82 Cyprus 80
Canada 82 Virgin Islands (U.S.) 80
Sweden 82 Costa Rica 79
Norway 82 Cuba 79
Malta 82 Puerto Rico 79
Faroe Islands 82 Lebanon 79
Chile 81 St. Martin (French part) 79
New Zealand 81 Guam 79
Austria 81 United States 79
Netherlands 81

I’ll save you the counting; the U.S. is ranked 43rd.

Now at the risk of sounding like an ugly American, and showing my lack of knowledge about the world at large, it just seems like there are some countries that we should be ranked higher than. I will show some restraint in naming specific countries, but really, ******* is ahead of us?

Anyway, the decrease in life expectancy was led by an upturn in the death rate from the nation’s leading killer, heart disease. Death rates also increased for chronic lower lung disease, accidental injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease and suicide.

The only clear drop was in cancer, the nation’s No. 2 killer.

As to why such death rates increased, S. Jay Olshansky, a University of Illinois-Chicago public health researcher, suspects obesity, an underlying factor in some of the largest causes of death, particularly heart disease.

For the most part, obesity is a lifestyle issue. In other words, it’s something we can control, but we are obviously not doing a very good job at it.

Other causes for the decrease in life expectancy could be the impact of rising drug overdoses and suicides, with drug overdose deaths increasing 11 percent.

While the new CDC report did not offer a geographic breakdown of 2015 deaths, or analysis of death based on education or income, other research has shown death rates are rising sharply for poorer people – particularly white people – in rural areas but not wealthier and more highly educated and people on the coasts.

“The troubling trends are most pronounced for the people who are the most disadvantaged,” said Jennifer Karas Montez, a Syracuse University researcher who studies adult death patterns.

Hmmmm…… sounds like that nasty ovarian lottery issue is rearing its ugly head once again, along with our lack of self-control.

Come on America, we’re better than this.

 

Back in the Day

Today in class we were talking about technology and its many uses in the world of business.

As part of the coverage, the textbook takes a brief look at the history of technology, at least from the 1970s onward. Since there was little need for me to review such basic material that the students could learn on their own, I tried to personalize it a bit by giving them a brief historical account of my own use of technology over the years.

I told them that I bought my first computer back in 1986, an AT&T computer with a color monitor, two floppy disk drives, and a 20 meg hard drive (that’s right, meg, not gig). To put it in perspective, I told them that 20 meg is the equivalent of about four or five 5 MP3 songs. That was it, but at the time, it was state of the art. As was having a color monitor, which were just starting to hit the market.

I then told them that a few years later, and a couple new computer systems later, as well as hard drive upgrades, it was time for the Borden family to take the big plunge and buy its first internal hard drive that was more than one gig. As it turned out, Compuserve was having a sale at the time for a 1.5 gig hard drive for the amazing price of $300. I drove out to Compuserve, bought the hard drive, came home, installed it, and thought I would never run out of storage space again.

Well we all know how that story ends.

At this point in my story I then reach into my pocket and take out my keychain which has a about a one inch thumb drive on it, and told the students that the thumb drive holds 64 gig worth of data, and cost about $15. That’s 40 times as much data as my old 1.5 gig hard drive, for 5% of the cost.

thumbdrive

I then told them that I had been to a computer store the other day (MicroCenter) and saw a two terabyte external hard drive for sale for $80. That’s 1,000 times more storage space than my thumb drive, for only about five times the cost.

(Fun fact: The first hard drive to have more than 1 GB in capacity was the IBM 3380 in 1980 (it could store 2.52 GB). It was the size of a refrigerator, weighed 550 pounds (250 kg), and the price when it was introduced ranged from $81,000 to $142,400.)

If you put all this on a cost per megabyte basis, here’s what we have:

  • 1.5 gig for $300 = $0.20 per meg
  • 64 gig for $15 = $0.00023 per meg
  • 2 terabyte for $80 =$0.00004 per meg

And I don’t see this trend ending at all.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, I then regaled them with stories about the early days of the Internet, and using a dial-up service known as Prodigy.

I told them how my first modem was 300 baud, then I upgraded to 1200 bps (bits per second), and eventually to 14,400 bps, and I thought that was as fast as Internet speeds would ever get. I would tell them what it was like if you wanted to look at a photo online; you would have to watch the photo come on to your monitor one line at a time. It was slow, but still incredibly exciting to be able to do things like that.

Today, we have FIOS Internet at 50 Mbps (megabits per second). If my math is right, and using the tables I found at this web site, that is over 200,000 times faster than my first 300 baud modem.

So even though I still get annoyed if things don’t download fast enough, I fully realize Internet speeds are exponentially faster than what they were just a relatively short time ago.

Once I give them that trip down memory lane, and hopefully help them appreciate the technology that they have, I share some fun facts about Big Data:

  • Facebook users send on average 31.25 million messages and view 2.77 million videos every minute.
  • Every minute up to 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
  • In 2015, a staggering 1 trillion photos were taken and billions of them were shared online
  • Google, on its own, processes more than 40 thousand search queries every second. This comes up to more than 3.5 billion in a single day.
  • Walmart controls more than 1 million customer transactions every hour

To me, it’s mind boggling stuff, and I find it endlessly fascinating, and excited to see what the future holds. And I hope my students one day have stories to tell about technology “back in the day”.

One Smoke Over the Line*

This post is somewhat of a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Michael Bloomberg’s $360 million initiative to reduce tobacco use around the world.

In that post I noted that similar initiatives, such as his attempts to reduce sugar consumption and gun violence, are based on research evidence, and not just his own personal opinion.

Well today there was new research reported that smoking even one cigarette a day can greatly increase your chances of an early death.

Here is an excerpt from Time’s coverage of the story:

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute compared the life expectancy of those who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day to those who never smoked in their lives. Those who smoked even at that low rate had a 64% higher risk of early death than those who never smoked at all. Those who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes every day over the course of their lifetimes had a 87% higher risk of dying early.

The new study, which was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, also examined the risk of lung cancer among those who smoked at low rates, or no more than one cigarette per day. They were still nine times more likely to die of lung cancer than those who never smoked at all, and the risk for those who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes per day was 12 times greater.

Maki Inoue-Choi of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and the study’s lead author, concluded,

“The results of this study support health warnings that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.”

I think such research just adds more value to Bloomberg’s decision to try and curb tobacco use around the world.

One smoke is over the line.

*with a tip of the hat to Brewer and Shipley’s One Toke Over the Line…

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

OK, let me state my biases right up front; I am a fan of Michael Bloomberg.

In fact, if he had been a candidate for President, it would have been quite an easy choice for me to vote for him.

We are in agreement on several key issues – gun control, sugary drinks, education, and smoking.

And it is the smoking issue that I want to take a look at.

The Wall Street Journal had a story today about Bloomberg’s decision to commit $360 million to be used between 2017 and 2022 to help raise tobacco taxes, implement smoke-free laws and pursue other strategies to curb tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries.

Curbing tobacco use is a signature cause for Mr. Bloomberg, whose New York City mayoral administration famously instituted smoking bans, graphic ad campaigns, sharp tax increases and other measures to get people in New York City to kick the habit—with effect, as smoking rates fell significantly during his tenure.

I would hope there are thousands of grateful people living in New York City who needed such a push to stop such an unhealthy habit, and thousands more nonsmokers grateful for the cleaner air.

So I was excited to see his plan to lower smoking rates around the world, but it seems I am in the minority with such a belief, at least judging by the comments left on the article in the WSJ.

There are 38 comments attached to the article, and only 2 or 3 seemed to be in favor of such a move; the remaining comments were decidedly against Bloomberg’s decision.

Some of the negative comments could be dismissed out of hand (at least n my opinion). Here are a few examples:

The fact that Bloomberg wants in on this effort to curb smoking almost makes me want to cheer on Big Tobacco…That said please pass the salt, and I want my Big Gulp and my gun too. 

Tobacco offers benefits in both the mental and physical realms.  It imparts a tranquility of mind while stimulating mental processes, and reduces perception of hunger, thirst, and pain or discomfort while simultaneously providing stimulus for increased blood circulation.

Bloomberg is worth 17 billion. Why didn’t he commit 16 billion to this project?

I’ve been smoking for 80 years and I’m not planning to quit.

Bloomberg is an animal who is all about consolidating power in his hands.

I guess such comments are just proof that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

I admire Bloomberg’s many initiatives. Here is an individual who has amassed a fortune, making him one of the wealthiest people in the world. There’s lots of things he could be doing with that money such as cruising around the world in a half-billion dollar yacht or buying a professional sports teams and hanging out in the locker room with multi-millionaire athletes.

But Bloomberg has opted to spend a good deal of his money on causes that he believes make the world a better place, such as education and health care. He is a well-known philanthropist and has signed the The Giving Pledge; a campaign to persuade billionaires to give at least half of their fortunes to charity.

So I find it incredible that so many people would criticize his desire to cut smoking around the world. From my perspective, I don’t see how this benefits Bloomberg at all, except perhaps for the initial publicity, which will soon fade away. To me, that’s the definition of altruism (from Google: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others).

Rather than criticize such actions, I think we should be encouraging more people to act in such a way.

One of the most common criticisms of such actions is “why does Bloomberg (or whomever) get to decide how people spend their money and live their lives?”

My response is that it’s not Bloomberg and other concerned individuals that decide such things just based on their own personal beliefs; from what I can tell, such decisions are backed by data.

There’s enormous amounts of data on the negative effects of smoking and too much sugar, and the dangers of gun ownership. At what point does the evidence become so overwhelming that it’s time to act on it?

I think that’s where we are now; it’s time to take action on such unhealthy behaviors (again, I’m not the one calling them unhealthy behaviors, it’s the data that says so).

And is such action requires government intervention, or the support of people like Bloomberg, that’s fine with me.

I don’t call that a nanny state, I call it a government that cares about the health and well-being of its citizens.

So bravo, Michael Bloomberg, and thank you for what you are doing to make a the world a better place.

Gottahava Wawa

I’ve mentioned Wawa in previous posts, but I think it deserves a post all its own.

Here is a brief description I gave of Wawa in one of those posts:

If you haven’t heard of Wawa, then just imagine what the ultimate convenience store would be like, and that’s Wawa. It’s better than 7-Eleven, Sheetz, or any regional convenience store chain you can think of. It’s a Philadelphia based chain, with stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. If you ever visit the Philly area, then Wawa has to be on your list of places to visit.

in 2014, Wawa celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first store opening; today it has more than 730 stores, with 500 of those also selling fuel.

Here are some fun facts, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • The chain’s name comes from the site of the company’s first milk plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa, Pennsylvania area. The name of the town Wawa is in turn derived from the Ojibwe word for the Canada goose. An image of a goose in flight serves as the Wawa corporate logo. It is said that the goose was chosen because the company employs the principles of teamwork, group consensus, and encouragement.
  • In 2015, Wawa ranked 34th on the Forbes magazine list of the largest private companies, with total revenues of $9.68 billion. As of 2016, Wawa employs over 22,000 people. (Wawa offers its employees the chance to participate in its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), so that they can benefit from the positive impact they have on Wawa’s growth. Approximately 10,000 Wawa associates participate in the ESOP and collectively have more than a 40% ownership stake in the company.)
  • Wawa was among the first convenience stores to implement self-serve computer touch-screen menus for food orders, in an attempt to improve order accuracy.
  • One of the services I use quite a bit is the surcharge-free ATMs located in all its stores, the result of a partnership with PNC Bank that began in 1985. Wawa implemented the program in stores in 1996. In 2010, Wawa surpassed 1 billion transactions under the PNC brand.
  • In some Jersey Shore towns, Wawa designs its stores to match the aesthetic, and changes operating procedures to adapt to shore culture. In Cape May City, Wawa has a Victorian-themed store. In Wildwood, it has a 1950s-themed store.
wawawild
Retro Wawa in Wildwood, NJ

Here is another blurb about Wawa from a post I wrote about our first big snowstorm of the year:

It seems like every TV reporter out in the field was based out of a Wawa parking lot. And it seemed like every Wawa was open, one of the few businesses that was.

And here is an excerpt from a different post in which I talked about door etiquette:

Wawa has actually measured how long the average customer holds the door for someone, and they noticed at Wawa it was significantly longer than how long people held the door for someone at other establishments. So apparently it is something that differentiates Wawa from other businesses.

What inspired this post about Wawa is that it is currently running a 12-day promotion for its Reward Members (a free smartphone app customer loyalty program. Every day, from December 1 to December 12, it is giving away something for free to the Rewards Members.

Here is what the giveaways have been so far:

  • December 1: any size fountain drink
  • December 2: a donut
  • December 3: Stride gum
  • December 4: 32 ounce Powerade
  • December 5: Nutella & Go (they announce the next day’s rewards in advance)

In November, it was giving away free coffee (any size) to its Reward Members every Friday.

You can be sure I will take, and have taken, full advantage of these freebies!

The other fun fact about Wawa is that its current CEO, Chris Gheysens, is a graduate of the Villanova School of Business (VSB). While I never had the opportunity to be his teacher, Chris was at VSB during my time at Nova.

As a result of this connection, we have been able to partner with Wawa for some events and programs at VSB. We chose a book about Wawa for our Read to Lead program two years ago and then Chris came as a guest speaker near the end of the semester.

We have also worked with Wawa as part of our Summer Business Institute program to offer students the opportunity to work on a real-world problem/opportunity that Wawa is currently facing. At the end of the program, the student teams present their solutions not only to their classmates and teachers, but Wawa executives as  well.

I could go on and on about the other great things about Wawa such as its commitment to its local communities and the value it places on its employees, but hopefully by now it’s clear

ilovewawa

And as their current slogan says,

Gottahava Wawa!

According to Stephen Hawking, the “Solution Is Simple”

Well maybe to someone as smart as Stephen Hawking.

After all, Hawking was the first to set forth a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. (I have no idea what that sentence means, but it sounds impressive.)

So what is this simple solution? Is it a way to speed up the Internet by a factor of 1,000? Is it a way to stop global warming?

After all, those seem like the types of problems that would attract someone like Hawking.

But no, nothing as dramatic as that, unless you consider taking on a problem in which millions of lives are in danger.

So what is this problem?

Obesity.

Hawking points out that, “Today, too many people die from complications related to overweight and obesity. We eat too much and move too little.”

So if that is how you think about obesity, then I’d agree, the solution to obesity is simple – eat less and exercise more.

However, according to Bruce Lee, director of  the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, unfortunately tackling obesity is not so simple. It it were, people would have figured out how to fix the problem.

After all, it is a big problem; Lee shares some statistics about obesity:

  • Obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
  • The global cost of obesity has risen to over $2 trillion annually.
  • In 2013, 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.

Those are some sobering statistics, and I agree with Lee that if there was a simple solution to this serious public health issue, someone would have thought of it. But it’s a difficult problem, since obesity has multiple causes, not all of them related to a poor diet or a lack of exercise.

There are many researchers working on the obesity problem, and hopefully they will come up with a solution, or set of solutions that will solve the obesity problem.

In the meantime, however, I’d listen to what Hawking has to say.

A little less eating, and a little more moving, certainly can’t make the problem worse.

My Favorite Place to Read

No, it’s not in bed. It’s not in some comfy chair in our family room. It’s not at the local library or Barnes and Noble.

My favorite place to read is my car, a 2006 Toyota Matrix, in my driveway.

I know it’s kind of an odd place, but it’s got everything I need when I want to spend some quiet time just reading, with no distractions. I particularly like it in the summer; it’s comfortable, it’s warm, I’m outside (sort of), and I’m not tempted to get a snack every five minutes like I would be if I were inside.

My family still finds it a little weird when they go outside and see me sitting in the car in our driveway, just reading away. I’m also not sure what the neighbors think when they see me just sitting in my car for extended periods of time. At least my family knows what I’m doing; neighbors and other passerby have no idea.

If I’m feeling adventurous I might drive my car somewhere a bit more scenic and sit and read there; but that seems a little riskier (“Hey buddy, why are you just sitting in your car?”), plus it takes time away from reading.

I don’t use my car that much in the winter for reading, since it’s missing one of the things I like most about sitting in the car during the summer months – warmth.

So if you are looking for a quiet place to read, maybe you should give your car a try.

And to any neighbors who are reading this, now you know. When I sit in my car in the driveway, I’m not doing surveillance on your house or involved with TownWatch; I’m just reading the latest Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, or John Grisham…

By the way, that’s not me or my car in the photo above, it’s just a picture I found on the web. Apparently I’m not the only one who does this. And here’s a couple of pictures of guys who don’t quite get the idea of reading in the car.

carread3

readcar2

They don’t know what they are missing.

Anticipation, Part 2

A little over a month ago, I wrote the following post:

***********************************************************

Dan Ariely, one of my favorite behavioral economists (yes, I do have several to choose from), has an occasional column in the Wall Street Journal where he answers readers’ questions.

Here is one of the recent questions:

Dear Dan,
I hate waiting for anything. I get very impatient when I have to wait for food in a restaurant, for my new iPhone, for the next time I will meet a good friend, etc. Is there anything I can do to make it less painful to wait?
—Maya

And here was Dan’s response:

Sometimes anticipation can be a pleasurable part of the experience. Imagine, for example, that you could get a kiss from your favorite movie star. Would you rather get the kiss in the next 30 seconds or in a week? When faced with this question, most people prefer to wait because, in the end, a kiss is just a kiss, but waiting for a unique kiss can be wonderful. My advice is that you try to get into such a mind-set for other experiences as well, and instead of thinking about waiting as a delay, think about it as an opportunity for anticipation.

P.S. I got this question from you a few months ago, and I hope that you enjoyed anticipating my response.

First off, I love the P.S.

Second, well, you’re just going to have to wait for that.

************************************************************

Well, for all of you who have been anxiously anticipating my second point, today your wait is over. I hope, like Dan Ariely suggests, that you have enjoyed the wait.

My second point deals with Ariely’s example of getting a kiss from your favorite movie star.

Now of course nothing tops a kiss from my wife, but if I were forced at gunpoint to choose which movie star I would most want to get a kiss from, I think I’d have to go with Tea Leoni, currently the star of the TV show Madam Secretary.

I first became attracted to noticed Tea when she starred in Family Man, which also just so happens to be one of my favorite all time movies. I’m not sure if there is a connection there or not…

Anyway, since I know the odds of the kiss ever happening are less than one in a million (so you’re telling me there’s a chance), just think how wonderful (according to Ariely, that is) anticipating such a remote possibility will be.

And Tea, if you are reading this, I hope you get some enjoyment out of anticipating such an event as well.

What’s the Fastest Way to Move Data from Point A to Point B?

If I had been asked that question just a few moments ago, I would have responded by saying that high speed, dedicated telecommunications technologies would have been the fastest way to move data from one location to another.

As it turns out, if you are talking about moving massive amounts of data, then that would not have been the correct response.

The fastest way to move data from one location to another is by …

truck.

That’s right, the most widely used form of transporting goods from one place to another is also the most effective method for moving data.

That’s why Amazon has introduced Snowmobile, a 45-foot shipping container that is hauled around by tractor trailer. Snowmobile holds 100 petabytes of data. A petabyte is about 1 million gigabytes. Transporting data from companies to cloud providers has become immensely time-consuming as corporate data storage has ballooned from terabytes to petabytes to exabytes, each step a factor of roughly 1,000 larger than the last. (To put an exabyte into perspective, it is the equivalent of 250 million DVDs or one trillion books of 400 pages each.)

Snowmobile is all part of Amazon’s cloud services, known as AWS or Amazon Web Services.

photo_aws_snowmobile_1024

Amazon plans to drive Snowmobiles to its customers’ offices, extract their data, then cruise to an Amazon facility where the information can be transferred to the cloud-computing network in far less time than it would for so much data to travel over the web.

The company, however, isn’t promising lightning speed. Ten Snowmobiles would reduce the time it takes to move an exabyte from on-premises storage to Amazon’s cloud to a little less than six months, from about 26 years using a high-speed internet connection, by the company’s calculations. That’s a serious improvement!

Last year Amazon introduced a suitcase-sized data-transfer service appliance known as Snowball. Amazon on Wednesday upgraded that gadget, doubling its capacity to 100 terabytes.

Snowmobile and Snowball are part of the retail giant’s bid to woo large corporate customers, who have invested heavily in their own data centers, to move to Amazon’s cloud.

These cloud technologies are just another example of why Amazon is one of my favorite companies. What started as a simple online bookseller is now on the leading edge of many technology advancements, such as cloud services and artificial intelligence. And unlike many other high-tech firms working on emerging technologies, Amazon has found a way to make money from such services. Its cloud service division brings in $12 billion per year of revenue, and I am sure that the Amazon Echo, a great example of applied artificial intelligence, will be a popular item under the Christmas tree this year.

Given how bright the future seems to be for Amazon, I’d love to buy some of its shares. But at a PE of 172, I have trouble justifying such an investment.

So while I won’t be sharing in the profits Amazon will be earning from such technologies, I’ll still benefit as a user of all the great products and services the company offers.

If you’d like to learn more about Snowmobile, here is a link to Amazon’s description of the service.

Boxes of Bullshit and Digging a Hole – Cards Against Humanity and Black Friday

Cards Against Humanity, whose slogan is “a party game for horrible people”, has taken a unique approach to Black Friday.

Two years ago, the company removed all of its regular products from its online store, and only sold boxes of bullshit for $6 a box. Some of the people who ordered the box were actually surprised when a box of poop arrived at their door.

Here’s a video of someone unboxing his package of bullshit:

The company sold out of all 30,000 boxes on the first day. The company claims that the box cost them $5.80 to produce and ship, and donated the $6,000 profit to charity.

Last year, the company once again removed all of its products from its online store on Black Friday, and this time, for $5, they sold nothing.

According to the company, 11,248 people gave them $5, and 1,199 people gave them more than $5 by filling out the form more than once. One enthusiastic fan gave them $100. In the end, they made a windfall profit of $71,145.

And what did they do with that profit? Well, they kept it all, and its employees were free to spend the proceeds on whatever they wanted. Here is the list of what the employees bought, from 760 pounds of cat litter to Dinner for Two at Schwa (for $450).

So what did the company do this year?

They dug a hole.

If you want to read about why they are digging a hole, you can learn more here.

Actually, you won’t learn anything, they are just digging a hole. For every dollar donated, the company added several seconds to the “dig clock.” When all was said and done, the company had raised over $100,000.

According to CNBC, the majority of folks appeared to have donated $5 to the campaign, but there were several people who spent more than $1,000 for the “cause.” It is unclear if all of the $100,573 raised went into the equipment rental and labor costs or if the company has any leftover funds for use as it sees fit. The company is slated to release an update about the event soon.

I love it when companies show a sense of humor.

I always look forward to Google’s April Fools’ Day prank, and Geico’s commercials usually bring at least a smile to my face, if not a chuckle.

So cheers to Cards Against Humanity for not taking everything so seriously. Of course, not everyone finds what they are doing funny, telling the company it should donate the money it receives from such stunts to charity. But the company was prepared for such questions.

In response to the question,

“Why aren’t you giving all this money to charity?“,

Cards Against Humanity had the perfect comeback:

Why aren’t YOU giving all this money to charity? It’s your money.

Well said.

Hopefully this becomes an annual tradition at CAH; I’m already looking forward to Black Friday, 2017.