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November 27, 2019

Long weekend reads: The cost of 2019's most expensive Thanksgiving dinner? More than $180K.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    How this man's duvet nearly killed him. In a case study recently published in BMJ, Martin Taylor, 43, writes how he developed increasingly severe symptoms over a two-month period, suffering initially from difficulty breathing and dizziness—and eventually resulting in Taylor being "unable to stand or walk more than a few minutes at a time without feeling like [he] was going to pass out." After four doctors' appointments, Taylor was no closer to a diagnosis, until he visited Owen John Dempsey, a consultant chest physician at BMI Albyn Hospital in Scotland. After a lot of digging, Dempsey discovered that Taylor and his wife had recently purchased a feather duvet and feather pillows, replacing their synthetic bedding—a discovery that ultimately led to Dempsey's diagnosis of "Feather Duvet Lung disease," a rare subset of "bird facier's asthma" that involves an allergic reaction to new feather duvets or pillows and that, if left untreated, can cause permanent lung scarring and even death. Luckily, after Taylor removed the feather bedding from his house and completed a round of steroids, he experienced a full recovery.  

    Air pollution could be bad for your brain. Long-term exposure to air pollution could have an effect on your brain health, according to a recent study published in Brain. For the study, researchers looked at 998 women ages 73 to 87 who were all free of dementia and periodically gave them learning and memory tests. The researchers also used magnetic resonance imaging to detect any brain atrophy and scored the brain's deterioration based on how similar it was to the brain atrophy characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. They found that the greater a participant's exposure to air pollution, the lower their scores on cognitive tests. They also found that greater exposure to air pollution was associated with increased brain atrophy, even before symptoms of dementia appeared.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    This year, the most expensive Thanksgiving dinner costs more than $180K. Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York City is hosting the world's most expensive Thanksgiving dinner this year, with a total cost of $181,000. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the dinner package is about 3,700 times more expensive than the average Thanksgiving dinner in the United States. To create the dinner, the culinary staff "develops the menu and from there…seek out the most expensive ingredients in the world," according to Old Homestead owner March Sherry. This year's dinner includes $1,200 per pound Spanish bacon and gravy that is infused with a $3,650 bottle of Louis XIII cognac. The seafood stuffing features bread that costs $125 per loaf and caviar that costs more than $1,600 per ounce. "I'm not sure that the Pilgrims had $1,600-an-ounce caviar back in the day, but for $181,000 we're giving to it you," Sherry said.

    Is Black Friday 'losing its thunder?' Black Friday doesn't pack the punch it did in the 1990s, Lauren Thomas writes for CNBC. Previously, stores would release major deals on items in a short time window the Friday after Thanksgiving—but now that consumers are more interested in online shopping, retailers are starting to release Black Friday deals online weeks before the actual date. "Black Friday no longer represents a narrow window of opportunity in which shoppers have to wait in the cold and sprint into stores to get unmissable deals," according to Coresight Research CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig. "Holiday shopping now occupies much of November and has warmups much earlier in the year." Almost two million fewer consumers said they would shop during Black Friday this year, according to the National Retail Federation, especially when better deals are showing up on Cyber Monday. While this is bad news for the department stores that may rely on Black Friday for a profit, it's good news for consumers who get more deals more often. "Competition has reduced the relevance of [Black Friday]," according to Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst for Forrester Research. "And the customer benefits from all of this."


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