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A common COVID-19 symptom is ruining scented candle reviews on Amazon.
Scented candle companies may be falling victim to an unintended consequence of COVID-19: An influx of bad reviews from people who report they can’t smell the fragrance, a common side effect of the coronavirus. Kate Petrova, a research assistant in the psychology department at Bryn Mawr College, compiled the Amazon reviews for scented and unscented candles over the past few years, then posted the data visualization on Twitter. What she found was relatively stable reviews from January 2017 to January 2020, followed by a sharp increase in negative reviews between January and November of 2020. Reviews for unscented candles during the same periods showed no such increase. London-based PhD student Moritz Wagner found a similar trend in the UK Amazon reviews for perfumes. Twitter user @TerriDrawsStuff summed up the trend perfectly: “There are angry ladies all over Yankee Candle’s site reporting that none of the candles they just got had any smell at all. I wonder if they’re feeling a little hot and nothing has much taste for the last couple days too.”
In San Francisco, parklets are saving restaurants and creating more vibrant urban space.
Parklets have been quickly taking over parking spots all over San Francisco, and most are the result of design professionals offering discounted or pro bono services. During the pandemic, architects, designers, artists, and contractors have been volunteering their time to not only help local restaurants, but also generate ideas about what public space could look like in the future. One Bay Area landscape architect, Alec Hawley of Fauvescraper Studio, estimated that the work he spent on three parklets, pamphlets about zoning, and other advocacy labor adds up to nearly $20,000. The Oakland Indie Alliance, an advocacy group for small business owners, asked if any of its members couldn’t afford to build parklets and 30 responded right away. Three parklets were built as a result, with two more underway.