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Wet Newspaper: Early Humans

Wet Newspaper - March 2018 - 2

BUSINESS

Collecting expensive fish is a status symbol in many Asian cultures. Thus, the business of cosmetic surgery for fish was born.

Economists Ian Fillmore and Jonathan D. Hall extrapolate findings from the introduction of improved racquet technology in professional tennis to the job market at large. Their findings: the introduction of new racquet technology temporarily heled younger players at the expense of older players (in terms of player quality and exit rate). The trends take 2-4 ‘generations’ to reverse.

The complicated world of copyright law, music royalties, broadcasting, record labels, and a 1908 law regulating player piano manufacturers combine for the perfect legal shitstorm that is the run-up to Spotify’s IPO filing. $1.6B is on the line in Wixen v. Spotify, and that’s no small matter considering Spotify is reporting a $1.5B loss last year.

Some struggling restaurants are moving to areas where they have to pay *higher* rent because consumers are less price sensitive in those areas. ie. Moving from Queens to enables a restaurant to charge $1-2 dollars more per dish, enough to shift the economic viability of the business.

Why are theatre tickets so expensive? A break down of the economics.

61% of “entry-level” jobs require 3+ years of experience.

SCIENCE & NATURE

Genetic studies indicate Denisovans, the extinct subspecies of early humans, diverged from homo sapiens 600,000 years ago, diverged from Neanderthals 400,000 years ago, and re-mated with homo sapiens in the subsequent few hundred thousand years. The entire record of Denisovan fossils consists of a pinky, a toe, and two teeth.

When astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a 340-day voyage aboard the International Space Station (ISS) two years ago, he was 2 inches taller than he’d been when he left. His body mass had decreased, his gut bacteria were completely different, and — according to preliminary findings from NASA researchers — his gene expression changed significantly as well. (Interestingly, Scott Kelly has since shrunk back down to his initial pre-spaceflight height.)

I spent the last six weeks working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. When I travel, I try to pick up a book set in the area. In anticipation of spending a few weeks in Wyoming, I picked up Rising From the Plains by one of my favorite nonfiction writers, John McPhee. Rising from the Plains not only changed the way I look at the Wyoming landscape, but left with me a certainty that geological awareness is good for you.

ARTS

Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Less Traveled”, was written as a joke for a friend, and fellow poet, Edward Thomas. Frost read the poem to a group of students in jest. The students took the reading seriously and the poem took on a life from there.

James May’s short-lived BBC series, The Reassembler, makes for great slow TV. My only gripe is that at 30 minutes, and under a dozen episodes, it’s not slow enough.

SPORTS

Also in the world of Slow TV: The Masters has released the full video of every final round broadcast from 1968 to 2017.

Four blind athletes in the 2016 Rio Paralympics ran the 1500m faster than everyone competing in the regular 2016 Rio final.

POLITICS

‘Whistblower’ Christopher Wylie of Cambridge Analytica came forward to discuss his firm’s role in creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool”. (In the industry, we call them “advertisements”). Interestingly, Wylie adapted his PhD work originally geared towards fashion trend forecasting to target millions of US Facebook users with political ads. A few of my thoughts after the news broke.

HISTORY

The four Miles brothers of San Francisco were film pioneers. Compare their 12-minute film from the point of view of a moving Market Street cable car, filmed just days before the great 1906 earthquake and fire, to the post-disaster footage.

FOOD

Elite New York Times food critics in the 1970s criticized Tex-Mex for its ‘lack of authenticity’ and “helped popularize [an] anthropologically dogmatic version of Mexican cuisine.” Eater argues that Tex-Mex is the most important, least understood regional cuisine in America.

US

In 1910, just 5% of American babies named “Charlie” were girls. Over 100 years later, female Charlies now make up 51% of the share. There is a similar gender-fluidity trend for names like Casey, Blake, Skyler, Spencer and others.

City of Atlanta IT services were held under siege by a cyber attack allegedly perpetrated by The SamSam group. In such, ransomware attacks, hacker groups gain access to a victim’s system and then lock up files with encryption, giving victims a week to pay up before the files are made permanently inaccessible — usually demanding a relatively low sum of around $50,000. The SamSam Group is one of the more successful ransomware rings operating today and is believed to have extorted more than $1 million from some 30 target organizations in 2018 alone.

In New York City, about 4,000 people are arrested each year for the crime of carrying a common folding knife.

 


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