GOOD

This Clever Vending Machine Will Punish You For Buying Junk Food

Would this machine deter your from picking the unhealthy snack?

Vending machines are rarely a person’s first choice for a meal—or even a snack—but those who live or work far from other options might find the automated dispensers to be a part of their daily lives, for better or worse.

From a nutrition standpoint, the offerings of vending machines are almost always “for worse.” Though the offerings are improving as vending machines carry semi-fresh offerings, for the most part, they’re still home to dozens of preservative-laden, sugary or salty snacks that remain both cheap and popular.


However, health psychologist Brad Appelhans has employed a sinister tactic in a tweaked vending machine that he hopes will condition people to pick the healthier options over the more familiar and more popular junk food offerings.

How?

By making them wait much longer for the junk food than for the more nutritious fare.

Appelhans noticed that people he worked with didn’t use the automatic door because, once the button is pressed, a three-second delay occurs before the door actually opens. Impatient as they are, people systematically chose to manually operate the door rather than wait for the convenience of having the door open automatically.

Inspired by what he saw, the psychologist implemented the Delay to Influence Snack Choice (DISC) vending machine, which forces people who choose an unhealthy selection to stand by for an interminable 25 seconds before their choice is dispensed. The logic being that vending machines, especially in schools and workplaces, are used by the same people repeatedly, so the conditioning would be more effective than if the users weren’t repeat customers.

It may not be “the vending machine of the future,” as this outlet puts it, but it does offer more insight into how people decide on food choices:

So far, the data shows that the delay doesn’t adversely affect total sales, but has seen a 3-5 percent increase in healthy snack selection since the DISC machines have been implemented throughout Chicago. Appelhans said that a 25 cent “tax” on unhealthy choices served as a more powerful deterrent, but at a greater cost, stating, "Unlike the discount, the delays didn't harm the overall revenues of the machine. Places want people to have more nutrition, but they don't want to lose revenue. So the time delay might be a nice way to have it both ways."

Though 3-5 percent may not seem like a sea change in eating habits, considering the only tweak here is making people wait, further changes in technology and additional healthy offerings could see that number continue to rise, demonstrating to the world that vending machines aren’t just home to sugary and salty junk foods.

Food
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics