It is Awards season again—no, not the Emmy’s or even the Country Music Awards or whatever—I’m talking about the always entertaining Ig Nobel Prize ceremony held last night at Harvard.

Every year, for the pasts 26 years, researchers in unique and obscure niches are awarded prizes celebrating their scientific achievements. Just like the real Nobel Prize, winning an Ig Nobel means cash, and lots of it. $10-trillion in fact.

Too bad the money is minted in hyper-inflated Zimbabwe making it almost worthless…

Associated Press has more:

Ahmed Shafik decided rats needed pants.

He dressed his rodents in polyester, cotton, wool and polyester-cotton blend pants to determine the different textiles’ effects on sex drive. The professor at Cairo University in Egypt, who died in 2007, found that rats that wore polyester or polyester blend pants displayed less sexual activity, perhaps because of the electrostatic charges created by polyester. He suggested that the results could be applied to humans.

The study did not explain how he measured a rat’s waist and inseam.

Zweig Group’s Christina Zweig Niehues just left the stage at the annual Hot Firms opening keynote at the iconic Arizona Biltmore hotel where she implored attendees to unlock the hidden data our collective firms hold. As head of research for Zweig—the nation’s leading management consulting firm for companies in the architecture, engineering and construction consulting industry—she has a bird’s eye view of how successful companies remain successful.  

Her research indicates that less than 0.5% of the data that most companies have ever gets analyzed and made use of. To help illustrate that point further, ENR’s Kaela Torres wrote a fantastic piece on Unlocking the Data Treasure Chest

Construction technology leaders and software developers are preparing for a massive storm of innovation as the industry moves its data and processes to the cloud. The trend is breaking down data silos and opening company operations to penetrating, real-time analysis of the rivers of data flowing from traditional software processes, as well as newer ones supported by an explosion of field-collected data and mobile devices. The data is revealing how construction actually works and how projects really get built.

“In the next five years, the industry is going to be transformed through data. It’s an unprecedented, perfect storm of cloud, mobility and an incredible amount of collectors and data science converging together,” says Pat Keaney, director of BIM 360 Enterprise Products at Autodesk. “It’s really going to move the needle in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of five years ago.”

The delivery of construction software and services via the internet, or software as a service (SaaS), exposes the industry’s vital signs. Developers say data patterns are emerging that can improve software, designs, project management, supply chains and safety. And the magic is only just getting started.

Learn more about the Zweig Group’s annual conference for A/E/C professionals at their website. 

Altimeter’s Brian Solis reports that when it comes to digital transformation within a company, the effort will most likely originate with the top marketing executive, rather than an I.T. executive or even the CEO. Of businesses surveyed for the report, Solis found that 55% reported “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” were driving the need for change.

Via TechRepublic:

On Tuesday, Altimeter analyst Brian Solis released his 2016 State of Digital Transformation report, which outlined why companies are pursuing digital transformation, how they’re doing it, and who is leading the charge.

On the business side of the equation, one of the more interesting points of the report is who exactly is spearheading digital transformation. According to the report, digital transformation is led primarily by the CMO, who is leading in 34% of organizations.

On the contrary, the CIO and CTO, who are the expected leaders, only led the effort in 19% of companies, while the CEO led in 27%. According to the report, this is to be expected, as researchers found “that digital transformation is now about people first and technology second.”

To download the full report, visit Altimeter’s website.

As someone who is responsible for overseeing both marketing and I.T., I can say with confidence that my I.T. decisions are absolutely informed by my understanding of the clients’ needs. When conflicts arise between what is better for the business (reduced expenses, increased profit, convenience, etc.) versus the client (customer experience, perception of value, fostering a longterm relationship), I’m always going to come down on the side of the client.

Some incredibly sad news from New York Daily News:

A dizzy spell may have caused the death of a New Jersey architect who fell off a midtown skyscraper, officials said Friday.

Bruno Travalja, 52, of Ridgewood, N.J., was wearing a safety harness but it wasn’t tied to anything when he plummeted from a deck on the 47th floor of the skyscraper at 153 W. 53rd St. near 7th Ave. Thursday afternoon, officials said.

He was taking measurements when he plummeted, landing on a second floor ledge at the rear of the building, police said.

Never judge a book by its cover, we are told from a very young age. (Marketers know better—consumers always judge a book, or anything else for that matter, by its cover.)

MIT’s Media Lab, in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a technology that will decipher text printed on the pages of a closed book. PBS has more:

This scanner exposes the contents of the concealed pages by relying on terahertz radiation. Terahertz waves mimic X-rays and soundwaves by being able to penetrate surfaces. Moveover, different chemicals — ink on paper for example — absorb terahertz radiation in different amounts. By beaming terahertz waves at a book, the MIT Media Lab device can skip through pages, but also tell the difference between blank and ink-filled parchment.

The gadget shoots these waves in short bursts, a portion of which bounce back whenever they encounter the small slivers of air between the pages. Meanwhile, computer scientists at Georgia Tech developed a sophisticated algorithm that deciphers these reflections when they return to the scanner.

Video below:

First Samsung was forced to issue a recall for all Galaxy Note 7 phones due to faulty batteries. Then the government issued warnings to the public telling anyone who would listen that they should not even turn their Galaxy Note 7 devices due to the life-safety risks posed.

But apparently the recall hasn’t gone far enough, as one unlucky construction worker from California discovered, according to Ars Technica:

On May 30, construction worker Daniel Ramirez was working at a site in Akron, Ohio, when he heard a strange noise coming from his pocket, which contained the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge he’d bought just two months earlier. “It was like a high-pitched whistling noise,” Ramirez’s attorney, Mike Morgan, said in an interview with Ars. “After that there was an explosion, like a loud bang.”

Ramirez tried to get the phone out of his pocket, but succeeded only in burning his fingertips. “It melted his clothes to his body, so he had to strip down,” Morgan said. “By that time, the damage had been done.”

Now, Ramirez has sued (PDF) Samsung in New Jersey, where the company’s North American branch is headquartered. The complaint, filed on September 8, includes photos of Ramirez’s husk of a phone, his charred pants, and gruesome pictures of the skin grafts and scars on his leg.

Me? I’ll stick with my iPhone.

New rules proposed by the California Energy Commission would require that both desktop and laptop computers use less energy than is required for current typical models, beginning as early as 2019.

According to Reuters, the biggest impact will be on desktops and in order to meet the new energy requirements, it will add an estimated $14 to the retail cost of desktops. However, this would translate to around $40 of energy savings over a 5-year usage period.

According to the NRDC, the total amount of power consumed by computers and monitors would be reduced by about a third once there is a complete turnover in existing stocks of devices.

The first phase of the rules would take effect in January 2019 for desktop and notebook computers. The standards would kick in for workstations and small-scale servers in January 2018 and for computer monitors – covering screens 17 inches and larger – in July 2019.

The standards for desktops, which use far more energy than notebooks, will add about $14 to the retail cost of computers but save consumers more than $40 in electric bills over five years, according to commission estimates.

Who will this really impact? Gamers and anyone doing anything with 3D and virtual reality (VR). In order to drive overclocked CPUs and super-powerful graphics cards, souped-up workstations use a ton of energy, produce a lot of heat that increases cooling requirements, which in turn uses more energy.

Moore’s Law could very well become intertwined with California state law.

Patagonia is a company I first learned about through my high school government teacher, who happened to have been a longtime friend of the founder of the company. The two had shared many adventures backpacking and hiking in remote locations over the years, and as my teacher at the time shared, the company’s image as granola-munching and tree-hugging hippies was quite authentic indeed.

Balancing altruistic and humanistic ideals with the need for business profitability is a dance Patagonia has performed well for decades, as Fast Company recently chronicled:

Sustainable business practices, corporate transparency, authentic brand marketing, family-friendly and flexible employee policies—flip through the business pages of any paper or magazine, or conference panel discussions, and you’ll find these are all de rigueur right now among progressive brands and companies looking for ways to connect with and retain both consumers and employees. They’re also all things Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrote extensively about more than a decade ago in his 2006 business memoir, Let My People Go Surfing.

The small iron works and climbing equipment shop Chouinard founded in 1957 has since expanded into a global brand, reaching more than $750 million in sales, and since current CEO Rose Marcario’s arrival in 2008 as CFO, a compound annual growth rate of 14%, and profits have tripled. Perhaps confounding to some, the company has done this while maintaining a strict commitment to sustainablility in its products and supply chain—whether its using 100% organic cotton and creating neoprene-free surfing wetsuits, to a marketing campaign encouraging people to buy less of its products. Though the company’s core philosophies remain the same, Chouinard has published a 10th anniversary update of his book to “share what we have done in the last decade and what we plan to do in the decade ahead to achieve our goals.”

Soap operas are so called because their genesis was branded content intended to sell consumer products to housewives at home watching TV in the early days of the medium.

As marketers realize more and more the importance of quality content creation as part of a balanced marketing mix, it opens up the opportunity for taking content beyond simple brand promotion and in turn, an opportunity for converting at least some marketing activities from the expense category to revenue generation.

Marketing Week has more:

This focus on revenue generation is an example of “strategic marketing evolving itself to keep pace with change”, says the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s CEO Chris Daly. He argues marketing is increasingly seen as a crucial component to delivering business strategies – rather than just communications – and that it should “be locked into all business revenue generating activities”.

“True marketing is the linchpin between the business strategy and the marcoms strategy,” he says. “We have always regarded marketing as a revenue generator, so for us it’s really exciting that businesses are recognising that and putting it into practice.”

By granting marketing this central, strategic role, Daly suggests businesses can identify revenue opportunities at greater speed. “We are seeing brands meeting the changing habits of their customers,” he says. “While there has been a rise in ad blocking among consumers, there has also been a huge uplift in social media activity and of people watching films and programmes [online].”