Brian Banmiller's blog

A Tarnished State


The Golden State is getting a little tarnished these days, despite being one of the world's leading economies.

California has a well deserved reputation for its booming economy, great weather and breathtaking scenery. But according to census figures, it also has the highest poverty rate in the country. More than 20% of Californians, nearly 8 million people, struggle to make ends meet.  read more »

Best Job in the World


You might think you have the best job in the world; but according to experts you probably don't.

Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees can review companies and their management. According to them the best job in America right now is data scientist. Data Science Association founder and President Michael Walker says in the digital age the amount of information out there is only going to grow. And someone needs to take that information, organize it and set up systems to take advantage of what we're learning.  read more »

Urban Legends


Looking to drum up interest in your area, why not try scaring people into visiting.

Urban legends, every city has them. Whether for scaring people into staying away from a certain area, tricking children into behaving or just a tale for the campfire you can find one everywhere you go. In some cases they are used to stir up business and bring money into the local economy. For example you have haunted hotels people can stay in, tours of supposedly haunted sites and museums dedicated to the scary stories of an area. So as we enter the month of Halloween Thrillist has put together a list of the scariest urban legend from every state across the country.  read more »

Good Karma


They say kindness doesn't cost anything but for one Pennsylvania couple the opposite is true, and they still don't seem to mind.

For years a mystery couple has been picking up the tab for unsuspecting customers at an Applebee’s in Washington, Pennsylvania. Recently a local woman was at the restaurant celebrating her daughter's birthday when the waitress came over and said the entire bill, for 16 people had been taken care of.  read more »

Affordable Cities


Fresh out of college and hunting for your first paycheck? Head for Middle America.

For the average millennial the cost of living in areas such as New York or the San Francisco bay area is unaffordable. Rent for a studio apartment is close to three grand and buying a house in a decent area is next to impossible unless you're pushing half a million a year. So to help find your first place to call home Apartment List evaluated the housing and job market of popular metro areas to live and looked at the satisfaction level of residents.  read more »

United's New Campaign


Not in any hurry to get where you’re going? How about making some extra money for your airline seat?

As part of its positive PR campaign following video of a passenger being dragged from a plane, United is launching a program allowing passengers to bid on how much money it will take to give up their seat. As the numbers come in the airline can then decide which offer, usually the lowest, it will pay out.

The bidding program will be new to United but a similar one has been in effect for Delta for the past several years. The idea is to get people to voluntarily give up their seat as opposed to being asked by flight attendants. Testing will begin next month but United has declined to say where. In addition,  read more »

Silicon Valley


Silicon Valley is a well-recognized term to describe the part of the San Francisco bay area where ideas are made into reality. But how did it get its name?

According to the New York Times Silicon Valley was once known as “valley of the heart's delight” because of its open land and fruit orchards. But soon those orchards were replaced by three of the world's biggest tech companies; Apple, Facebook and Google's parent company, Alphabet and by the second half of the 20th century it became known as Silicon Valley.

According to the Times there remains a lot of debate over who exactly came up with the name but most people agree it was made popular in 1971 when journalist Don Hoefler used it as the title of a column.  read more »

Exploring the International Space Station


Ever dreamed of exploring space? Here's your chance.

By now you're familiar with Google Maps street view. The feature that lets you click around whatever address you put in to feel like you are actually standing in that spot. In its ten years of existence Google has now added 3D walk arounds for mountains, the ocean floor, popular buildings and now the International Space Station. That's right with free admission, zero training and a limited education you can know see what the astronauts see and find out what they're doing up there.  read more »

Walmart's New Grocery Service


Walmart is one of the most recognized retail names in the world, but are you willing to give it unlimited access to your home?

The retail giant is pairing up with a smart lock startup called August Home to test out a new service to customers in Silicon Valley. First a customer places their grocery order on Walmart’s website. Then a driver for the startup Deliv will pick up the order when it's ready and drive it to your home. Here's where the trust issues take over.  read more »

Hollywood Magic


Many people go to the movies to escape reality; but for some the movies is their reality.

“Captain Philips,” “Troy” and “Gladiator” are examples of movies shot in the Mediterranean island of Malta. One of the more popular movies filmed there is “Count of Monte Cristo” which has inspired boat captains to take tourists to some of the locations in the movie. When I was there I spoke with Frankie Magro, general manager of Barbarossa Excursions about the appeal of the island.  read more »