Stealing White: How a corporate spy swiped plans for DuPont’s billion-dollar color formula By Del Quentin Wilber [Bloomberg Business]
“At first, you’re like: Why are they stealing the color white? I had to Google it to figure out what titanium dioxide even was,” says Dean Chappell, acting section chief of counterespionage for the FBI. “Then you realize there is a strategy to it.” You can’t even call it spying, adds John Carlin, the assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division. “This is theft. And this—stealing the color white—is a very good example of the problem. It’s not a national security secret. It’s about stealing something you can make a buck off of. It’s part of a strategy to profit off what American ingenuity creates.”
A painting commissioned for the firm’s hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, “Transport Through the Ages,” hung above the reception desk. Bouvier insists that he never used confidential information from his logistics business to buy and sell paintings. None of the thirty-five works that he sold Rybolovlev were in storage with Natural Le Coultre. “I have the information not because I am a shipper,” he said. “It is because I am clever.”The high-end of the art market is full of mystery, built on trust, reputation, and secrecy. What happens when someone starts turning all of that on its head? An art shipper, Russian oligarch, and a Rothko in The Bouvier Affair. (Sam Knight, for The New Yorker)
Netflix and Thrill - does the streaming TV company face a rocky future, or are its traditional competitors, desperatly trying to pin down its ratings, just suffering from jealously?
Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history - 2015 marks the first year that catalog albums, albums over 18 months old, outsold newer ones in the US.
The Last Days of Target: The untold tale of Target Canada’s difficult birth, tough life and brutal death. [more inside]
Quakers pioneered social enterprise. They were also the first to fail: How hard was it to opt out of the slave economy in the U.S. before the Civil War? Pretty hard, as the "free produce" movement discovered: In 1829... the members of [the Female Association for Promoting the Manufacture and Use of Free Cotton] reported their contractors had spun 2,515 pounds of cotton. Compared to the approximately 78 million pounds of cotton produced across the country in the year 1800 alone, it was a drop in the bucket. The economics of slavery previously.
For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions -"The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income." (via) [more inside]
By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. - A historic deal has been struck in Paris to reduce carbon emissions and reduce global warming, with a ceiling of 2 degrees centigrade and a goal of 1.5C. 2015 has been the hottest year on record.
Kanye gave a lecture at the Oxford Guild earlier this year, and it's now available on YouTube for everyone's viewing pleasure. [more inside]
Whichever cameras are used, it’s increasingly clear police will control the footage. In a recent survey of 25 departments with body camera programs, only two made the footage available to individuals filing complaints against the department, and only four had systems to prevent tampering or unauthorized access. - Who controls the cop cam?
The Rumpus is not of the same world as The Huffington Post, and therein lies the problem with this conversation: somewhere along the line, in an important and valuable attempt to be pay writers better, the issue of what any given publication could legitimately afford was thrown out the window. Paying writers = the right side of history, period. If you don’t have the financial backing of venture capital or a man with a lot of money, you shouldn’t even exist. Your continued dedication to existence is in fact offensive to the very writers you claim to nurture. [...] I’m sensitive to this issue as a website that was unable to pay most of its writers from our inception in 2009 until late 2013. We didn’t have the money to pay them, that’s just a fact. The money did not exist, we could not summon it from the sky; we’re lesbians, we inherently lack rich husbands. Maybe that means we should’ve given up, I’m not sure, but that makes me really frightened for the future of independent journalism by and for populations even more disenfranchised than our own. How can we advocate for both disenfranchised writers and disenfranchised publishers? Because the thing is… Not paying your writers SUCKS.- Autostraddle: The “Who Pays Writers” Conversation Needs a Little Nuance
By definition, any computing platform invented in the first half of the 1980s that has survived until 2015—and is an enormous business—has accomplished something remarkable. There's the Windows PC, which traces its heritage back to the original IBM PC announced in August 1981. There's the Mac, which famously debuted in January 1984.
And then there's the Bloomberg Terminal, which hit the market in December 1982. [more inside]
And then there's the Bloomberg Terminal, which hit the market in December 1982. [more inside]
The Future of (Post)Capitalism - "Paul Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy." (previously; via) [more inside]
With a clause in complex contracts that few people read, corporations have insulated themselves from lawsuits and locked Americans into a system where arbitrators overwhelmingly favor business. (SLNYT)
Six months after we first discussed Zappo's planned move to a Holocracy, how is it going? When the deadline arrived on the last day of April, 14 percent of the company, 210 people, took the [severance] offer. Twenty of them were managers, I was told, out of a total of 246. It was a difficult day. Tear-stained faces replaced the typical smiles on the Zappos campus. [more inside]
If you spend any amount of time thinking about the business world and how women work within it, you must listen to The Broad Experience podcast. There are currently 70 episodes, hosted by the very smart, inquisitive, and (perhaps most importantly?) British, Ashley Milne-Tyte. I feel like I have never heard these kinds of discussions between women that are as erudite, insightful and pull no punches like these conversations that she is hosting. [more inside]
Breaking the Tragedy of the Horizon – climate change and financial stability: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warns investors face 'huge' climate change losses - "The Financial Stability Board, an international body monitoring the global financial system that Mr Carney chairs, may recommend G20 countries make it easier for investors to compare the 'carbon intensity' of different assets." [more inside]
Everyone you know will be able to rate you on the terrifying ‘Yelp for people’ — whether you want them to or not
Steve Albini Shows That Punk Rock Ethics Are Good Business “If you start from the premise of refusing to be an asshole, then a lot of other decisions kind of make themselves.” - posted at Psychology Today, of all places.
When arcade game manufacturers produced cabinets in the '80s, they made them to be placed in all sorts of arcades, malls and other areas of young-skewing entertainment. Fast forward to 2015, and while arcades aren't as prevalent — or as popular — as they once were, they're still hanging around. And within these locations, new business models are developing. Many traditional arcades are changing their ways, moving away from the coin-based business model that has long been part of the arcade ecosystem. Meanwhile, combination arcade bars are springing up across the country, bringing their own methods of monetizing games with them, along with other changes to pull the machines in line with more adult — and modern — usage.
Barnett believes the Constitution exists to secure inalienable property and contract rights for individuals. This may sound like a bland and inconsequential opinion, but if widely adopted by our courts and political systems it would prohibit or call into question basic governmental protections—minimum wages, food-safety regulations, child-labor laws—that most of us take for granted. For nearly a century now, a legal counterculture has insisted that the whole New Deal project was a big, unconstitutional error, and Barnett is a big part of that movement today.
What happens in these deals is a matter of perspective. To industry advocates, the transactions get money to people who need it now. They keep desperate families off the streets, pay medical bills, put kids through school [...] But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. [more inside]
Mike Bulajewski on the war between labor and management in the software industry, as manifested in the rise (and possible fall) of the Agile development: From this subset of principles, it’s clear that although Agile positions itself as a software development methodology, a closer inspection reveals clues to a greater ambition: to protect the interests of software engineers at work. [...] With this agenda, it is possible to characterize the Agile movement as a labour union.
In a new study from researchers at Columbia University, of nearly 22,000 full-time workers (from a dataset from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions), they saw that 18 percent of supervisors and managers reported symptoms of depression. For blue-collar workers, that figure was 12 percent, and for owners and executives, it was only 11 percent.
These are all very different services. Several of them are cool and useful, but it’s hard to tell them apart. - Send In The Clones
Zoo Zajac is a 130,000 sq ft (120,77.4 sq m) pet store in a small town in Germany. The owner, Norbert Zajac, got his first pet, a golden hamster, when he was 4 years old. He started breeding and selling animals at 8 years old. Today his pet store is officially recognized as the largest in the world and has a selection of animals better than many zoos. They stock 250,000 individual animals of 3,000 different species.
Big Pot: the California Democratic party added marijuana legalisation to its party platform - "Earlier this year Founders Fund, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, led a $75m investment round into Privateer, a private equity group focused on cannabis. It is the biggest single investment in the US cannabis industry to date: 'What Privateer is doing is looking like a Procter & Gamble or a Coca-Cola approach. The real value in the market is going to be having the Coke-calibre brand...' Meanwhile, a distinctly California-style backlash is already growing [and] the US has become an exporter of illegal cannabis to Mexico, as cultivation in the US has increased." [more inside]
"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
The State of Comic Book Retail - David Harper's latest comics industry survey shows bricks and mortar comic stores to be in a surprising period of opportunity and change. But are there now too many comics?
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?
Writing at FiveThirtyEight.com, Sam Dean argues that until very recently, there has been no way to meaningfully measure web traffic. For advertisers and site owners, "just having a number that everyone can point to as an acceptable proxy of reality is more important than how accurate that number may be." [more inside]
As part of our special focus on innovation in Africa, we have developed a list of 40 remarkable African innovators. Actually, it’s more like 47 but we counted teams as one. Our decision to celebrate these idea creators and solution providers stems from our belief that the true wealth of Africa is not buried under its soil, but in the brains of its best minds. This list is a testament to that belief.
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
Here's literally every single thing that goes into one night of running a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon: One Night at Kachka
Sony's 2011 contract with Spotify has leaked. The Verge's calculations have Sony making a pretty sizable sum off the deal, without much of it trickling down to artists. Meanwhile, Sony has begun pulling all of its artists' music from Soundcloud. [more inside]
"But the problem runs much deeper, because Silicon Valley’s amorality problem arises from the implicit and explicit narrative of progress companies use for marketing and that people use to find meaning in their work. By accepting this narrative of progress uncritically, imagining that technological change equals historic human betterment, many in Silicon Valley excuse themselves from moral reflection. Put simply, the progress narrative short-circuits moral reflection on the consequences of new technologies."
Get ready to have your insides disrupted by SmartPipe, the Venmo of pipes! (adult swim, 11:01)
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
The Onion Is Not a Joke [The Atlantic] How a fake newspaper is turning into a real media empire.
"So what does this curious tale of a mediocre restaurant prove? It proves that in London’s modern restaurant business, the combination of furiously high costs, reputations and big egos can be explosive. Indeed only one thing is clear to me. Right now the people really making money out of Jinjuu are the lawyers." Guardian restaurant critic Jay Raynor reviews Jinjuu - and the ensuing legal storm he accidentally provoked.
Yesterday, Jay-Z's streaming music service Tidal was launched. The press event featured over a dozen celebrity musicians as signing "owners" of the service (each reportedly received 3% equity in exchange for exclusive content), and, by some accounts, was a bit awkward and content-free. At $19.99, the subscription plan is double the cost of competing services like Spotify, and no "freemium" plan is offered. The justification is two-fold: 1. Artists should be compensated fairly for streaming; and 2. The service's high-fidelity, lossless streaming is far superior to the current standard (320 kbps AAC, as Spotify and Rdio currently provide.) You can take an online blind test between 320 kbps AAC and Tidal's lossless streaming, to see if you have the "equipment and ears" for lossless music. Is there really a noticeable difference, or is this snake oil? Will the artist-forward approach change the conversation and ingrained habits of streaming music listeners? Is Tidal a sort of streaming for the 1% rather than for struggling independent musicians? Is it a walled garden for artists at the expense of fans? Or is this all simply a great vertical move for Jay-Z's Roc Nation label? So many questions.