Dave Hartnett was surprised with an award this week for his services to tax avoidance. He was celebrating his retirement as head of the UK's tax and customs department, where he agreed "sweetheart" deals with Goldman Sachs and Vodafone, letting them off outstanding tax bills. Cue some pleasantly awkward confusion as the partygoers realise what is going on.
Urban knitting, guerilla knitting, textile street art, yarn bombing. Whatever you choose to call it, this artform takes everyday objects of the city — such as trees, lampposts, street signs, bike racks — and wraps them up in colorful knit cozies. You'll find these wonderful oddities all over the world, from Manhattan to Sydney to Edinburgh to Philadelphia to Oakland to Chicago to Bisbane and back to Manhattan again. People have written books about it. It has inspired an Irish cellphone commercial. Metafilter's own ErikaB made a tree sweater that was featured on Metafilter and on the front cover of Seattle's The Stranger. Magda Sayeg's blog Knitta Please is a showcase for some of her delightful projects, including a Smart car, coffee shop sign, and crutches. (Also, previously.) [more inside]
The Athens Affair. An IEEE Spectrum article on the Vodafone Greece phone-tapping case, quite possibly the most elaborate publicized cybercrime ever (previously).
Wal-Mart fails in South Korea. As a student of business and a resident of Asia, I am fascinated by the examples of "foreign" businesses who either succeed or fail in Asian markets. Recently, Vodafone failed in Japan but in a strange twist has signed a J-V with Softbank to keep their presence in Japan. eBay failed in Japan as did Memoirs of a Geisha. I'd love to have a discussion on the successes AND failures of non-Asian businesses in Asian markets and what, if any, lessons can be taken away for those of us who are in Asian markets or wish to enter Asian markets. (Yes, I realize that "Asia" is too broad of a region but I don't want to limit the discussion to just one nation.)
The Greek government has just admitted that unknown parties have been tapping the mobile phones of the Prime Minister, government ministers, military and police officials and others. Details are still a bit sketchy, but it looks like someone installed a stealth redirecting software in the routers of Vodafone Greece --which has admitted to discovering the taps in March of 05.
explore the future [note: flash]