Archive for January, 2007

Most Popular Candy Bars

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Most Popular Candy Bar

Everyone has their favorite candy bar, the one they still might occasionally grab while waiting in line at the convenience store.

The Snickers bar, created by Mars Inc. in 1930 is a chewy nougat center with peanuts and caramel on top, all covered in a layer of milk chocolate. It was named Snickers after one of the horses of the Mars family who invented the candy, but sold as the Marathon bar in the United Kingdom. It had global annual sales of over $2 billion last year, becoming the most popular candy bar in the world. However just a few years back, the Mars bar held the top spot among the most popular candy bars, for most of the 20th century.

The Mars bar was created by Mars Inc. as well, in 1936. The international version of the Mars bar has always been different than the United States version, as it does not contain almonds like the original formulation. Both versions are a chocolate malt nougat center with caramel on top and covered in a layer of milk chocolate.

The Mars bar has been renamed to Snickers Almond in 2000, which may have been a huge mistake on the part of Mars Inc. In 2000, annual sales of the Mars bar reached over $2 billion, but by 2002 they had dropped to $1.09 billion.

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Most Popular Cell Phones of 2006

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Cell phones are purchases that many people spend a lot of time researching and thinking about before shelling out the cash and having to use a phone for an extended period of time. The best phone for you may not be the best selling mobile. Wirefly which has a website for comparison shopping for mobile phones and cell phone wireless plans recently published a list of the most popular phones in highest demand. Many are not shocked that the best selling phones were Motorola’s RAZR designs.

Wirefly’s List of Most Popular Cell Phones of 2006:

  1. Cingular Wireless RAZR by Motorola (in various colors)
  2. T-Mobile RAZR (in various colors)
  3. Verizon Wireless RAZR (in various colors)
  4. Cingular Sony Ericsson z520a/z525a video phones
  5. T-Mobile Motorola v360
  6. Verizon Wireless Motorola v276
  7. Sprint Nextel Motorola i850
  8. Sprint Nextel Motorola i710
  9. Cingular Motorola v220
  10. T-Mobile Samsung T309

If you are are a hardcore gamer and have to play games on your cell phone, then the MobileRated Gamers choice list of most popular mobile phones may help you decide your next mobile purchase.

The MobileRated Gamers Choice Top 10 Most Popular Mobile Phones of 2006:

  1. SonyEricsson W810i (3.35%)
  2. RIM BlackBerry 8100 Pearl (2.72%)
  3. SonyEricsson K750i (2.60%)
  4. Nokia 6600 (2.59%)
  5. Motorola RAZR V3 (2.49%)
  6. SonyEricsson K800i (2.30%)
  7. Nokia N70 (2.19%)
  8. Nokia N73 (1.99%)
  9. SonyEricsson W300i (1.95%)
  10. Nokia 6620 (1.92%)

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Most Popular Ice Cream

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Not surprisingly, vanilla ice cream is still the most widely consumed flavor. It’s ability to remixed with any variety of toppings, and it’s generally complimentary taste have one it 29% of the market share. But ice cream’s history is much longer and outlandish then one might think. Tracing roots as an ice and fruit to Emperor Nero in the first century, a similar concoction was whipped from ice and milk by a King Tang in 7th century China. It’s seen a gradual development since then, emerging here and there in the form of Italian sorbets and French ice-milk dishes. The first parlor was opened in America in 1776, and it has been served as a luxury item ever since.

Time and technology have allowed for cheaper and much more efficient production. Modern refrigiration techniques dropped the price of ice cream drastically, as you no longer needed large amounts of ice and salt to keep the cream chilled. The continuous process refigerator was successfully introduced by Clarence Vogt in the 1920s, and ice cream cones first gave people a chance to carry it around and spill it on their pants at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. It’s been giving us “Good Humor” since Harry Burt’s team of uniformed drivers started delivering it in 1920.

Today, ice cream is widely available in traditional flavors at any retail food merchant, and in niche-market packages from parlors such as Ben and Jerry’s and Baskin Robbin’s, or the more recent Coldstone Creamery. More healthy renditions have become available in frozen yogurt and other fat free varieties, as some of us have a waistline to watch. Make mine mint-chocolate chip any day.

ice cream cones

Based on ice cream consumption figures, the top five individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States are:

  1. vanilla (26%),
  2. chocolate (12.9%)
  3. neapolitan (4.8%)
  4. strawberry (4.3%)
  5. cookies n’ cream (4.0%)

Source: The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends Services

In 2003, about 86% of packaged ice cream retail sales happened in supermarkets. Convenience store sales were second at 11.4%, drug stores were third at nearly 2%, with 0.6% occurring at other locations. Source: Mintel

Based on supermarket statistics in 2001*, ice cream volume sales by quality segment were: superpremium (3.5%), premium (51.5%) and regular (45%). Source: IRI

Nearly 80% of supermarket ice cream sales are packaged in half-gallon containers. Source: IRI, 2001

Mexico is the single largest market for U.S. frozen dessert exports, with an estimated value of almost $17 million. Canada was the number two destination for U.S. frozen dessert exports, valued at $6.6 million. Japan ($3.6 million), United Kingdom ($3.4 million), and Hong Kong ($3.1 million) are third, fourth and fifth respectively. Source: USDA/International Ice Cream Association

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Most Popular Plastic Surgery

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

You should really consider doing something about that extra weight you’re carrying around. Maybe make those a little bigger. While you’re at it, do something about that whole face area.

Modern plastic surgery has fostered a mentality that we are not good enough, and that high-cost surgeries are the best way to ensure our long-term happiness and physical self satisfaction. Originally developed as a way to help wound victims deal with scarring, cosmetic surgery has blossomed into an industry for the mega-rich to lift, shrink, enlarge, and tuck their bodies in ways they can not or have not through exercise or a balanced lifestyle alone. Rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery and face lifts were the most popular plastic surgery procedures of 2002.

Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery is a popular way to generally shrink or lift, smooth or reshape your nose into a new you. It is designed to remove large bumps, correct the general shape, and even improve airflow through the nose for those who have obstructed passages.

Breast augmentation, generally carried out through implants, is designed to give women (and sometimes men) a little more up front. Also quite common are breast reduction and breast lift surgeries. These popular plastic surgery procedures are most often carried out by people who have experienced dramatic weight gain or loss, pregnancy or back problems, and are not exclusively cosmetic.

Liposuction involves removing excess fat from the abdomen, and has become a common practice for those in need of immediate or permanent weight loss. Other techniques such as the tummy-tuck or stomach stapling involve forcibly limiting the amount of food our bodies can consume or hold. Still other techniques include regular exercise, altering of diet and even supplements that increase the metabolism.

Eyelid surgery is used to tighten up the areas around your eyes that have a tendency to sag or droop with age, or carry wrinkles that show more years then you might like. Portions of excess skin around your eyes can be cut away, and wrinkles on the skin itself can be smoothed with laser and chemical resurfacing techniques.

Facelifts involve pulling the skin across your face a bit tighter to eliminate some of the wrinkles that age can bring. Most effective for shoring up the lower portion of your face, when combined with other surgeries such as the lipectomy, it can help eliminate a double chin, or with a bit of collagen injection allow you to have tighter skin and large, puffy lips. Similar to eyelid surgical techniques, chemical or laser resurfacing is necessary to change the actual surface of your skin’s texture.

There are risks as well as benefits involved in most plastic surgery. While it may make you look younger, many surgical techniques do not age as well as even our own fragile bodies. Cosmetic surgery can leave scars or telltale signs that you didn’t arrive here with those enhancements in place. While it has great benefits and can improve skin conditions, posture, remove scars, and probably most often help those with self-image issues, one must be aware of the physical and psychological repercussions of going under the knife. Choose wisely.

Most Popular Artist

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

by Dave Klemencic

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” has long been considered the most recognizable painted image to emerge from the art world. Van Gogh, who lived mainly in France, Belgium and Holland, past in 1890 after a final period of great productivity. Van Gogh’s work is a great mixture of expressionism, naturalistic observation, and not surprisingly a draftsmanship he learned in studying the works of other artists such as Millet. His work is passionate and bold, and highly contrasting color patterns are often laid down to create a real sense of movement. “Starry Night” is also said to be the most often reproduced of any painting, and vendors such as OverStockArt claim it is their most popular print.

Van Gogh's Starry Night
Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Claude Monet, oft regarded as the founder of the impressionists is also among the most popular artists. His work is much less direct even then Van Gogh’s at times, and is more about color harmony and the sensations of memory then observation. He created many legendary works throughout his career, including a series of painting of the Rouen Cathedral in the lightings of a variety of different times of day. He is said to have set up a dozen canvases and worked on each for 7 or 8 minutes each day, before switching to the next as the light changed. There is likely some embellishment to that fable, as the paintings were probably greatly reworked in the studio after the fact. His “Garden at Giverny” and “Poppy Field at Argenteuil” are probably his most recognizable, and the atmospheric quality that runs through the majority of his oils makes them easily identifiable.

While Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky are also among the most popular, we must look at a variety of factors that have led to this. Van Gogh in particular was not successful in his lifetime. His work, though frequently reproduced now did not sell, he was virtually unknown to the Europe as a whole, and considered a bit of an outcast to his peers and those around him. The other artists mentioned existed as painting reached a pinnacle at the turn of the 20th Century, and generally as technology and the advent of photography changed the needs and demands for painting. Today, paintings are easily and cheaply reproduced, and enjoyed in a way the artists likely never would have imagined. Modern artists are able to spread their work around with greater ease thanks to the internet and mainstream publishing, and it is conceivable that the public may learn of an artist in their lifetime. Such noted painters as Jack Vettriano, while scorned by the art establishment for his populist, almost commercial approach, are fast competing for the most recognizable images. More art is now likely purchased at Target or Costco then from artists themselves, or even commercial galleries. The images considered most popular or recognizable have been beaten into our subconsciousness via calendars, mugs t-shirts and other bizarre licensing, and it is a wonder they haven’t lost some of their edge.

Most Popular Video Game Franchise

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Today’s video game market is bigger and more competitive than ever. With the recent launch of game systems like Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and the Xbox 360, gamers are able to enjoy their favorite games on a variety of different mediums. With so many different systems to choose from, one might think that it would be hard to dominate the market with just one game. But since it’s release in August of 2006, Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 07 Football” has surpassed the competition as 2006’s most popular video game for the major systems.

Madden NFL circa 1990
Madden NFL 90

Based on internal company data, Electronic Arts’ EA Tiburon office in Maitland, California reported selling over 2 million copies of the most popular video game during its first week of retail sales and over 5 million copies of the game since its release. 2006 is the 17th year of production for the Madden NFL Football videogame, which also holds the title of the most popular video game franchise of all time. A recent Orlando Business Journal article reports that the game has had more than $2 billion in retail sales since its first release.

Madden NFL 07 brings back practically every feature that was in Madden 06, but over the years, the game has undergone obvious changes with advances in technology. Some of the changes from the 2006 edition include a new menu presentation, easier to learn moves and excellent new player models, stadiums, and the like that make the game more attractive overall.

Madden NFL 07
Madden NFL 07

One particularly note-able feature of the most popular video game franchise is that you can play “franchise mode” yourself, and create and personalize your NFL team to your liking as you try to achieve the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl victory.

Most Popular Stamps

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Since 1993, no other postage stamp can hold a candle to the most popular stamp that bares the image of the “King” himself, Elvis Presley. With over 124 million Elvis stamps collected, US Postmaster General John E. Potter said, “Stamp collecting continues as one of the world’s most popular educational hobbies that the entire family can enjoy.”

The majority of the most popular postage stamps are commemorative of Elvis’s anniversaries, and are highly colorful and attractive. Many are artist portraits depicting Elvis in the different stages of his life and on complete stamp sheets this is particularly effective. A timeline of sorts, we see Elvis as the youthful performer of the 1950’s, through his film career to his black leather-clad comeback in 1968 to the more mature concert artist in the 1970’s. Full stamp sheets usually contain up to four identical or totally different stamps, often on a decorative background. Miniature sheets, usually containing one or two stamps, tend to be more stylized with highly imaginative renderings of Elvis plus objects connected with his life.

The French father and son artists Jean-Louis and Paul Puvilland are the designers of the most interesting Elvis stamps and sheets for many different countries. Artist Isabelle Tanner has also produced several beautiful commemorative sheets themed with backgrounds and quotes. Other Elvis stamps use well-known photographs to make up sheets and single stamps, such as the 1996 sheet of nine stamps from Tanzania bearing the Official Elvis Presley Estate logo. Other Elvis stamps are included in tribute or commemorative sets for cinema, rock, jazz, boxing and even football. Details are given in the following pages.

popular 1993 Elvis stamp

With the universal appeal of Elvis, it is no surprise that his image is on the most popular stamp, and if collection statistics remain consistent, you may be spotting Elvis more than you think in the future.

Top 25 Most Popular Stamps and the estimated number collected:
1) Elvis 1993 124.1 million
2) Wonders of America 2006 87.5 million
3) Wildflowers 1992 76.1 million
4) Rock & Roll/Rhythm & Blues 1993 75.9 million
5) DC Comics Super Heroes 2006 73.0 million
6) Greetings From America 2002 71.4 million
7) Insects and Spiders 1999 61.0 million
8) Art of Disney: Romance 2006 57.2 million
9) Legends of Baseball 2000 53.9 million
10) Art of Disney: Celebration 2005 52.8 milion
11) Baseball Playing Fields 2001 49.0 million
12) Art of Disney: Friendship 2004 47.7 million
13) Civil War 1995 46.6 million
14) Legends of the West 1994 46.4 million
15) Marilyn Monroe 1995 46.4 million
16) Advances in Aviation 2005 45.8 million
17) Bugs Bunny 1997 44.1 million
18) Lunar New Year SS 2005 42.7 million
19) Comic Strip Classics 1995 40.8 million
20) Jim Henson: Muppets 2005 40.6 million
21) Cloudscapes 2004 40.1 million
22) Stars and Stripes 2000 40.0 million
23) Baseball Sluggers 2006 39.5 million
24) Summer Olympics 1992 39.5 million
25) Lucille Ball 2001 38.7 million

Most Popular Majors

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

by, Hunter Davis

Business Administration and Management is the most popular college major. In a yearly study conducted by the “Princeton Review”, colleges are asked to give data regarding their academic offerings. Each college polled is asked which three majors have the highest undergraduate enrollment. With today’s fast-paced economy, it is no surprise that Business Administration is the number one choice and most popular major amongst hundreds of possible college majors.

Business majors usually find success in the field of their choice by working their way up the corporate ladder to become managers, executives, and vice-presidents of their companies. A business major receives focused training and education in accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, economics, and decision-making.

Since Business Administration and Management is the most popular major, chances are you know someone who is majoring in business. Growing up, they probably saved their weekly allowance instead of blowing it, or maybe they started their own lawn mowing business in grade school. Regardless, a business major is naturally good with money and finances and can always be counted on for advice regarding monetary issues.

“Princeton Review’s” top ten Majors of 2006:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Elementary Education
  4. Biology
  5. Nursing
  6. Education
  7. English
  8. Communication
  9. Computer Science
  10. Political Science

* note that the popularity of these popular majors has nothing to do with the current job markets’ need for positions in their related fields.

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