From The Archives
6

Moral Calculus Elucidated

Amazon, apparently no longer all that comfortable with the role that it has settled into during the course of its ongoing standoff with the publisher Hachette—unrepentant and unyielding monopoly monster—now wishes to explain itself: It's also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 [...]

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1

Habitat Unnatural

"The curtains are drawn. Some light comes through, casting a small glow on the top left of the air conditioner. It’s daytime. The wall is an undecorated slab of beige. That is the American room." —Paul Ford observes the species through the eyes of the machines, and it is fantastic.

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2

Gauntlet Thrown Directly into Toilet

"'This is one of those wonderful high-water marks in The Atlantic’s 157 year history,' Atlantic Media chairman David Bradley said in a press release. 'Our founders (Emerson, Holmes, Longfellow …) would welcome Fareed [Zakaria] enthusiastically—and then worry about raising their own game.'"

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1

Filtering Technology Advanced

Whisper's advanced technology to reduce the amount "meanness" floating around on its service, otherwise known as "libel," has a high cost: The company, based in this city’s Venice neighborhood, says it has built filters to reduce celebrity gossip and everyday name-calling. "We have a huge layer of technology that detects proper names and puts those posts in a different queue for evaluation by 130 full-time human moderators," Mr. Heyward said. "At least in the short term, these policies have been growth inhibitors for us."

What a terrible thing this at least passing interest in making people less savage hath wrought: an inhibition of growth, a startup's only [...]

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4

Symmetry Cruel

"We know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial."

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1

"Better and Worse Than You Thought It Was"

Awl pal Anne Helen Petersen on Harvey Levin's empire of slime:

[I]t’s clear that Bieber’s tape was not the only near-priceless piece of dirt in the proverbial TMZ vault. (TMZ did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) According to these ex-employees, the sealed testimonies from the Michael Jackson molestation trial hide there as does footage of various celebrities — Bieber, Lohan, Travolta — behaving badly. The vault isn’t a secret at TMZ — even the lowest on the staff ladder have heard whispers of its existence. As to what goes up on the site and what stays vaulted, that’s a finer, more esoteric calculus — and one [...]

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0

Noodles Manufactured

A thing that may disappoint you (or not, idk): Like your clothes, electronics, mass-produced groceries, culture, and cigarettes, while the variety appears to be infinite, the noodles at the vast majority of high-end ramen joints, from Momofuku to Ivan Ramen, all come from the same place.

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1

Balance of Power

Equilibrium in nature: The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, announced in February, has set off a wave of activity in the media industry, with AT&T Inc. announcing a $48.5 billion deal for DirecTV that would rival Comcast’s heft in the cable and satellite business. One rationale for the deals is that they would give the cable and satellite groups more leverage in negotiations with entertainment companies and help contain rising programming costs.

In turn, the $80 billion offer that 21st Century Fox made for Time Warner, which was disclosed last week, would restore some leverage to the entertainment groups.

Why worry about the endless series of mergers, consolidations, [...]

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3

Question Hrmm

An example of the insightful questions that some venture capitalists must ask before they decide to shower an app with money, so much money: Robyn Exton, the founder and chief executive of Dattch, a location-based dating app aimed at lesbians, once pitched her product to a venture capitalist who asked a colleague, ">Do you think if I invest, people will think I’m gay?"

Obviously, the answer is super.

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2

Words Helpful for Once

"But let’s stop here and register the proper cautions and caveats: There has been no investigation, no conclusive proof. (And there won’t necessarily be a proper and convincing investigation, either, considering the deliberately chaotic and militarized state of eastern Ukraine these days, and Russia’s clear interests.) We shouldn’t pretend to know for certain what we don’t." —Here is the moment at which you can tell that you're reading the right piece, or at least not the wrong piece, about Ukraine, today. (Since publishing, the incriminating tapes mentioned have appeared online.)

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2

The Pathos of Pageviews

"We are, absolutely, a page-view-driven site even though we don’t want to be," said Mr. Magnin of Thought Catalog. "Every writer wants to do well, and 'do well' means get more Twitter followers."

Imagine the day that the highly emotional new new internet completes its project to convert share metrics into the only acceptable form of currency. Go ahead, just revel in it. Renting this apartment requires forty thousand Twitter followers, with fewer than twenty-five percent of them being bots. The price for this dinner is a thousand Instagram followers and thirty-seven likes per photo. You can enter the Jeff Koons retrospective after sending Yos to six friends, three [...]

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1

Man Has Point

"I'm ashamed of you. You're what’s wrong with this country." — Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, not incorrectly, to executives from companies that manufacture or market e-cigarettes.

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11

Word Somewhat Powerful

"[REDACTED]: the new word that will make your life slightly simpler, forever." — Is it "death?" Maybe "money?" Or perhaps it's "Vitamix" or "delivery laundry," but that's two words, hmm. I've found that the word "no" is effective for making life simpler; but in rare cases, "yes" works too.

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1

Plant Sensational

Q: "Will Camu Camu Be The Next Amazonian 'It' Fruit?."

A: Eh.

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0

A Flood Flash

A flash flood warning has been issued for New York City and the surrounding areas: Now the flood was on the earth long enough to be annoying. The waters increased and lifted up the refuse piled along the curb, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the streets, and the garbage moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered, except in parts of Brooklyn, where the hills are higher still. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits or whatever upward, and the sidewalks were [...]

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5

Reasons to Weep

“You know what makes me want to cry? I think whoever the next Facebook is, why would you ever start that company here in the United States?” — Heather Bresch, the daughter of West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, and C.E.O. of the Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical giant Mylar, who is "reluctantly" acquiring Abbott Laboratories in order to re-incorporate in the Netherlands where it will pay an eventual tax rate in the "high teens," rather than the 25 percent it pays now.

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3

Dog Maligned

Tom Junod, noted potential fucker of hot forty-two-year-old women, on the American pit bull crisis: Every year, American shelters have to kill about 1.2 million dogs. But both pro- and anti-pit-bull organizations estimate that of these, anywhere from 800,000 to nearly 1 million are pit bulls. We kill anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pit bulls a day. They are rising simultaneously in popularity and disposability, becoming something truly American, a popular dog forever poised on the brink of extermination.

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1

The State of the Media is Strong or Maybe the Opposite of Strong

"Shares in the Times rose/fell tk to tk as of tk time on Friday."

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0

Twitter Perfect

#MIAMI #LEBRON #DECISION #FAIRWEATHERBOYS

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2

Electorate Well-Stressed

"The survey of more than 2,500 Americans found that about 1 in 4 said they had experienced a 'great deal' of stress in the previous month. And these stressed-out people said one of the biggest contributors to their day-to-day stress was watching, reading or listening to the news."

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