alarm clocks

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Shape Up! 30 reps before it stops buzzing. Good news, the clock only weighs 1.5 pounds. Bad news, even at a pec-tearing pace, that’s 15-20 seconds of buzzing annoyance (that excludes the time needed to prepare for your reps).

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A) SnūzNLūz – the alarm clock that donates any amount you designate to a charity you despise if you don’t wake up.

B) The alarm clock that shreds any amount of money you designate right before your eyes if you don’t wake up. (ps. It’s not clear if this alarm clock is real.)

If you answered B), the Nudge blog thinks there’s something odd going on. In fact, it seems like a bonafide behavioral puzzle. You’re losing the money in either case. But in only one is that money going to someone or something you despise. If A) is more ruthless, it’s clearly the vividness of the shredding. But what makes that so painful?

Consider this thought experiment. If you could design a magic alarm clock that would cause a $20 bill to disappear from your wallet and reappear in the bank account of that co-worker you can’t stand every time you hit snooze, and one that would cause a $20 bill to disappear from your wallet zip off somewhere into the ether, here’s guessing that, relatively speaking, the more ruthless clock would be A).

Hat tip: David Glover

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1) Many readers pointed to a story on a study about the effect of posting calories in fast food restaurants. Customers noticed the signs and thought they influenced their orders. But they actually ordered food with more calories. Reader Paul Zurawski wonders if customers would have eaten healthier if they had been asked to sign a receipt acknowledging their choices and calorie counts.

2) The top ten annoying alarm clocks. Clocky is No. 1. Hat tip: Daniel Lee.

3) Google’s PowerMeter now works with a handheld device that starts at about $200. What this means is that you would not need a utility company to install a smart meter in your building. Hat tip: Christopher Daggett.

4) The San Francisco airport has begun selling carbon offsets at the electronic check-in kiosks. Philip Frankenfeld has many catchy slogans for this nudge including “Pay dime. Help clime” and “You are now free to roam around the carbon”.

Addendum 5) A vase that lets you know when your flower needs watering. As water evaporates, the vase tilts. Hat tip: John Gibbard.

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“If I didn’t achieve what I wanted to, a very large contribution would automatically come out of my credit card and go to a charity that I very much didn’t support,” Orszag says of his training strategy. “So that was a very strong motivation, as I was running through mile 15 or 16 or whatever it was, to remind myself that I really didn’t want to give the satisfaction to that charity for the contribution.”

He declines to name the charity.

Orzag on NPR. Hat tip: Economix, which also digs up a new favorite for our growing collection of alarm clocks. This one doesn’t turn off unless you feed it coins.

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