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1) Zero-sum ethics. People who feel good about their green purchases cut a few ethical corners later.

2) Starwood Hotels experiments with letting environmentally-minded guests opt out of room cleaning (plus get a small discount). Hat tip: Kare Anderson.

3) Split the check by bumping iPhones. Hat tip: Adam W.

4) NCAA selection bias. Playing in one of the six power conferences is worth an extra 1.75 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

5) Looking to get elementary school kids to be more active? Paint brightly colored castles, dragons, clock faces, mazes, snakes and ladders on the playground. Hat tip: Randy Scott.

Addendum: Calorie counts at chain restaurants are going to be harder to ignore, says AP.

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Assorted links

1) The behavioral economics explanation for why more poker hands played means less money won.

2) Waiters who compliment customers get three percent bigger tips, on average.

3) Why were adjustable-rate mortgage applications where so misleading during the housing bubble? Because lenders showed post-teaser interest rates that equaled the rates were at the date of the loan closing. In an era of cheap money, this disclosure made loans look really cheap.

4) A version of the Google Powermeter for your exercise and sleep schedule. Hat tip: Mary Zhu.

5) Are you a British Gas customer? Have you gotten EnergySmart yet? Hat tip: Lukasz Walasek.

6) Video of a U.K. panel on nudging.

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Roger Cohen says he was “mesmerized” by a Japanese treadmill.

At 35 calories (on the calorie count screen), there was a frothy cappuccino, and then at 75 two pieces of tuna sushi, to be followed at 126 by an ice cream cone, at 150 by a beer and at 204 by an elegant glass decanter of sake. The 300-calorie mark ushered in chocolate cake, which segued at 325 to cheesecake. At 450 calories I caught a sweat-drenched glimpse of an egg-topped sandwich suggestive of a Croque Madame. Whatever followed was lost in translation.

Although it’s not clear if the delicious imagery motivated Cohen to keep exercising.

But my sense is that the state I found myself in, of playful fixation on a screen, imagining the bite of the ice-cold beer and the unctuousness of the sushi, contained something peculiarly Japanese.

Hat tip: Sam Stuckey, a student in Ross Emmett’s Politics and Markets course

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Thanks to all the Nudge blog readers who pointed us to this terrific video from Sweden that asks: How can choice architects get people to use the stairs instead of the escalator?


For others curious about the background: The videos are part of something called the Fun Theory project (sponsored by Volkswagen it appears) that, according to its web site, is dedicated to coming up with fun ways to do things we otherwise wouldn’t, usually because of sheer laziness. Like throwing away the trash.


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So says MSN’s Health and Fitness section:

A visual nudge can help–but only if you notice it, says Paddy Ekkekakis, PhD, an exercise psychologist at Iowa State University. In one study, a sign urging people to use the stairs rather than the nearby escalator increased the number of people who climbed on foot by nearly 200%. Put your prompt near a decision point, Ekkekakis says–keep your pile of Pilates DVDs next to the TV; put a sticky note on your steering wheel to make sure you get to your after-work kickboxing class. Just remember: The boost you get from a reminder is usually short-term, so change the visuals often.

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