Big Business
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Wal-Mart Wants Customers To Deliver Other Customers' Wal-Mart Crap

"'I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced,' Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters. Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home, Anderson explained. Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers' shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added." —The world's biggest (and worst) retailer has a wonderful plan to get its poor customers to drive [...]

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Why Is the EPA Putting Poison in America's Water?

According to Senator James Inhofe, the EPA, at Barack Obama's bidding, has finally released a draft report on some wells in Wyoming that is obviously full of lies. For one thing, he stingingly calls the draft report "a draft." Oooh, burn! It's hard to believe the EPA has the chutzpah to disguise what is a clearly labeled draft report as a draft! It's also "political science," and, according to the local fracking companies, the EPA introduced chemicals into the local water that are the same chemicals that fracking utilizes. Do you see how sneaky the EPA is? They figure out what's in the secret fracking cocktail, and then [...]

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Is Dr. Drew Addicted to Addicts?

The upcoming season of 'Celebrity Rehab' features such TMZ listers as Sean Young and Lindsay Lohan's dad. If Drew's right, it seems like a contradiction at best and a cruel joke at worst to put these troubled people in front of cameras, which reinforces rather than challenges their narcissism. Drew's heard this criticism before. 'Here's the thing: These are unmotivated people who want to be on TV and make money. That's why they're there,' Drew insists. 'And in spite of that, they end up getting treatment, feeling good about it, being transformed by it.' According to his informal data—follow-up calls, e-mails, what you read on Perez Hilton—about 20 [...]

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Your Copy Editor Hates Your Book Adapted from Your Twitter

"I am currently copyediting my second Twitter-to-book manuscript in a month. It is a trend I find [Darth Vader voice] disturbing…. The one I’m wrestling with now is incredibly whatever-the-real-opposite-of-clever-is. I won’t give the Twitter feed's name here, since I don’t want to be an über-douche about it, but seriously, it’s not good…. Some guy who works in television as a writer on a popular sitcom keeps a Twitter feed where he and a few friends enjoy retweeting others’ posts that are at once self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating, in which it’s obvious that the main thrust is the self-aggrandizing part and therefore the tweeters are shown to be kind of [...]

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Meet Stanislaw Burzynski

If you haven't yet heard of him over the years, Stanislaw Burzynski operates a clinic in Houston where he runs pay-per-entry "clinical trials" for people with cancer for something called antineoplaston therapy. People spent thousands and thousands of dollars to enter these trials. And when the doctor is questioned in print about the efficacy of this treatment, a guy named Marc Stephens writes angry, harassing, legal-esque rants to the writer, as he did to this 17-year-old Welsh blogger and this writer at The Quackometer. It's funny, this Marc Stephens doesn't really act like a lawyer, because he does things like including Google Maps screenshots of the [...]

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The Awl To Merge With Any Magazine That'll Have Us!

David Cho: I love it when Tina Brown takes a metaphor too far. Choire Sicha: SO GOOD. David Cho: We should buy a magazine. Which ones are available? Choire Sicha: Alex and I have a short list. David Cho: A VERY SHORT LIST? Choire Sicha: Oh heh. Well, we were thinking… Barely Legawl? Choire Sicha: Or what about Detawls? David Cho: Hmm. Choire Sicha: Wawlpaper??? David Cho: I guess that would be appropriate. Cookieawl. Am I doing this right??? Choire Sicha: …. Choire Sicha: Well, I also really want Monocawl. David Cho: Tawlk. There's one for you. Choire Sicha: Ouch.

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'The Daily' Is 'On Target' to 'Break Even' in 'Five Years'

Here's today's fascinating and maybe really unlikely media assertion from the Times: "A $30 million tablet-only news publication… with 100,000 subscribers paying 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, and 250,000 unique readers each month, The Daily is on target to break even in five years."

Hooray! They made it! Just five short years to breaking even. Well, it… could be.

"News Corp. has spent $30 million on development (which has been 'written off') of The Daily and current costs are less than $500,000 per week," according to Folio, a year ago. Okay, so maybe if you attributed the original $30 million to News Corp. itself [...]

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How to Steal Money from Manhattan, with Columbia's Pro-Biz Think Tank

The Center for Urban Real Estate of the Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation sounds like such a refined academic institution! But apparently it's pretty much the Heritage Foundation of land use. The direct of the "Center" (funded in part by your developing friends at the Durst Organization!) is a former executive vice president at your friendly local developer the Related Companies, where he still consults. (Just to pick one: guess who's responsible for the disgusting Gwathmey building on Astor Place? Yes.) And so this oh-so-objective piece in the Times on the Center and, I paraphrase, "wouldn't it be hilarious if they connected Governors Island to [...]

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World to End with Multiple "Avatar" Sequels in 2014, 2015

I guess we're all betting against the end of the world happening in 2012. In Avatar 2, that LED tree gets some kind of venereal disease and Jake Sully has to go into space to get some antibiotics. Or something like that.