Two years ago, a California aluminum executive commissioned a pilot to fly over the Mexican town of San José Iturbide, at the foot of the Sierra Gorda mountains, and snap aerial photos of a remote desert factory. He made a startling discovery. Nearly one million metric tons of aluminum sat neatly stacked behind a fortress of barbed-wire fences. The stockpile, worth some $2 billion and representing roughly 6% of the world’s total inventory—enough to churn out 2.2 million Ford F-150s or 77 billion beer cans—quickly became an obsession for the U.S. aluminum industry. Now it is a new source of tension in U.S.-Chinese trade relations. U.S. executives contend that the mysterious cache was part of a brazen scheme by one of China’s richest men to game the global trade system. The Wall Street Journal reports [more inside]
"Mr. Bertling, 56, said in an interview that he had not heard what he considered sexist remarks in his decades of practice. But after the fine, he asked a lawyer in his office if she had. She showed him inappropriate comments in deposition transcripts, but said she did not seek penalties for them because, like many female lawyers, she thought doing so was futile." As of this Monday, after months of debate, that may no longer be the case: Goodbye to 'Honeys' in Court, by Vote of American Bar Association. [more inside]
In the continued fallout of the Wall Street Journal's expose on Theranos' struggles to deliver accurate medical test (previously), it has now been reported that Theranos is throwing out all Edison results from 2014 and 2015 (WSJ [paywalled], Reuters). The company reported completing about 890,000 tests per year, and "...has told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that it has issued tens of thousands of corrected blood-test reports to doctors and patients, voiding some results and revising others, according to the person familiar with the matter." [more inside]
In 2003, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University and formed Theranos (Wikipedia), a biomedical startup with the goal of transforming the blood testing industry. By mid-2014, the startup had raised over $400 million in venture funding and was partnering with Walgreens, making its young CEO a billionaire. And now, federal regulators have proposed revoking the federal license for Theranos' California laboratory and banning the firm's top two executives from the blood-testing business for at least two years (WSJ [paywalled], LA Times). [more inside]
The year 2050 is right around the corner, and yet it is hard to imagine the sweeping changes the world will confront by then. In a multimedia series, The Wall Street Journal helps readers envision how we will work, how we will age and how we will live. [more inside]
Betting Big on Literary Newcomers [The Wallstreet Journal] The publishing industry’s hunt for the next blockbuster has given rise to an elite new club: the million-dollar literary debut.
The need to secure one of the few must-read books of the year has given rise to an elite new club: the million-dollar literary debut. At least four literary debut novels planned for 2016 earned advances reported at $1 million or more, a number agents say is striking in the world of highbrow fiction. At least three such debuts were published this year, and two in 2014. “City on Fire,” by first-time novelist Garth Risk Hallberg, came out last month amid a flurry of publicity after receiving a nearly $2 million advance from Alfred A. Knopf, one of the largest ever for a literary debut.[more inside]
WSJ Personal Tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler: We Need the Right to Repair our Gadgets. [more inside]
Since LeBron James has made his film debut, it is now possible to link every player in NBA history to nearly every actor in film history through him in an expanded version of the Kevin Bacon Game. Sure, Kareem and Shaq, among others, might have bridged this particular media gap already, but they didn't have a web app making it easy to figure out how Russell Westbrook connects to Clint Eastwood or Dolph Schayes to Dolph Lundgren. (previously: Erdős-Bacon numbers and Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath numbers) [more inside]
A previously unknown 3-page passage, cut from "A Wrinkle in Time", has been found by Madeline L'Engle's granddaughter, and published by the Wall Street Journal. It provides strong insight into the political thought regarding conformity and security in the book.
“I’ve come to the conclusion,” Mr. Murry said slowly, "that it’s the greatest evil there is. Suppose your great great grandmother, and all those like her, had worried about security? They’d never have gone across the land in flimsy covered wagons. Our country has been greatest when it has been most insecure. This sick longing for security is a dangerous thing, Meg, as insidious as the strontium 90 from our nuclear explosions . . .”
"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
What is Nina Totenberg wearing? The Wall Street Journal profiles some unusual style icons: the hosts and staff of National Public Radio.
Robot scientists! A Pretty cool video about research automation from the Wall Street Journal. [slyt]
So you see, I am not making a brief against reading the classics of Western literature. Far from it. I am against taking these startling epiphanies of the irrational, unspoken, unthought-of side of human life into the college classroom and turning them into the bland exercises in competition, hierarchy and information-accumulation that are these works' mortal enemies. An essay by Lee Siegel (SLWSJ)
Yahoo Inc.'s board has approved a deal to acquire blogging startup Tumblr, people familiar with the matter said Sunday. Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion in cash for the company, one of the people said. Tumblr would continue to operate largely as an independent business, the people said. Yahoo! acquired Ludicorp and Flickr in March 2005. The reported acquisition cost was $35 million. [more inside]
Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
The Wall Street Journal put together this helpful infographic showing how recent tax changes will affect the typical American tax payer.
Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
Your e-book is reading you. How publishers are using e-books to gain valuable information about consumers.
Con Artist Starred in Sting That Cost Google Millions - The government's case also contained potentially embarrassing allegations that top Google executives, including co-founder Larry Page, were told about legal problems with the drug ads. [more inside]
In a recent Op-Ed piece on the Wall Street Journal, author, journalist, public speaker and generally inquisitive fellow Robert Bryce offered up following analogy in his discussion of climate change science: "If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere. " And the internet took it from there, in the form of comics, the Twitter hashtag #WSJscience, and plenty of science-minded blogs and sites a-plenty.
That Used to Be Us Tom Friedman has long beaten the English Language like a mule. His new book, "That Used to Be Us" is no exception. [more inside]
"The argument is straightforward: When less legal work is available, more illegal 'work' takes place. ... But there have long been difficulties with the notion that unemployment causes crime. " Author James Q. Wilson on crime, law enforcement and the economy.
Dr. Fuchs’s Donald was no ordinary comic creation. He was a bird of arts and letters, and many Germans credit him with having initiated them into the language of the literary classics. The German comics are peppered with fancy quotations. In one story Donald’s nephews steal famous lines from Friedrich Schiller’s play “William Tell”; Donald garbles a classic Schiller poem, “The Bell,” in another. Other lines are straight out of Goethe, Hölderlin and even Wagner (whose words are put in the mouth of a singing cat). The great books later sounded like old friends when readers encountered them at school. As the German Donald points out, “Reading is educational! We learn so much from the works of our poets and thinkers.” [more inside]
"Among the Hagiographers": The Wall Street Journal's review of a new biography questions our supposed deification of Mohandas Gandhi.
WSJ bravely criticizes the "excessive power of collective bargaining." Robert M. Costrell of wsj.com explains how the governor's proposal to restrict collective bargaining...seems entirely reasonable. via twitter.com/ftrain
Scientists confirm what many New Yorkers already know. Sidewalk rage is real.
The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
"Psychologists refer to this as the paradox of power. The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude." Jonah Lehrer for The Wall Street Journal writes about recent findings on power, corruption, and authority and what can be done about it.
The Wall Street Journal investigates web snoops. The 50 sites installed a total of 3,180 tracking files on a test computer used to conduct the study. Only one site, the encyclopedia Wikipedia.org, installed none. Twelve sites, including IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Dictionary.com, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast.net and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com, installed more than 100 tracking tools apiece in the course of the Journal's test. [more inside]
The first episode of season four of Mad Men (so much previously [meta-previously]) aired tonight. Shortly after, the first "Mad Men"': A Conversation blog entry was posted on the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog. There will be a post for every episode. [more inside]
Some of the only known aerial photos, taken by a police helicopter, the only aircraft allowed in the Manhattan airspace during the attacks, of September the 11th have been released. [more inside]
With today's economy, DIY haircuts are gaining in popularity. Flowbees and electric clipper sales are up. Did you see the drummer's hair?*
"Some consider 20-year-old Fred Grzybowski the best pogo-stick rider in the world, able to leap over a minivan, among other feats. But his days on top may be numbered." Pogopalooza: The 6th Annual Extreme Pogo Competition.
The New American Dream: Renting
The Wall Street Journal goes into the history of homeownership in the US and discusses why it just may not be for everyone.
The Wall Street Journal goes into the history of homeownership in the US and discusses why it just may not be for everyone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, coffee shops in New York are starting to cut back on laptops -- by reducing WiFi privileges, removing outlets, or banning the machines outright. This article has spawned a vast number of spin-off pieces and conversations across the Web. [more inside]
"One must be very naïve or dishonest to imagine that men choose their pants independently of their situation."
Demon Denim. Feeding off a earlier column in the WSJ by Daniel Akst, who wrote, "no fabric has ever been so insidiously effective at undermining national discipline," conservative columnist George Will takes up the (denim-free) banner in the crusade to rid America of "the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche."
In a recent Wall Street Journal story asking if Obama is "too fit" to be president, the reporter uses a Yahoo! message board to find sources (Google cache of the post). (via DF)
Spread of Prosperity Brings Supply Woes: Slaking China's Thirst Malthusian catastrophe does appear to be at hand, as foreseen by the Club of Rome in 1972 publication of "The Limits of Growth"
Predicting the Future WSJ - "We look ahead 10 years, and imagine a whole different world." Plus, review of predictions from 1998 -
Remedial economics for the WSJ editorial board An April 26 Wall Street Journal editorial argued that "the overall tax burden grew more progressive" in the last 25 years because upper income taxpayers pay a larger share of total taxes than they did in 1979. But the Journal failed to explain why upper income taxpayers pay a larger share today: The wealthiest Americans earn a much larger share of total income than they did in 1979. [see, too: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_04/006194.php]
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