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‘Just basic memory functions and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that as you know encodes that neurotransmitter that codes memories into the hippocampus and so the trauma-related experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.’ –Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

30 years ago, Spy magazine sent “refund” checks for $1.11 to 58 rich people.

The 26 who cashed those got another check, for $.64.

The 13 who cashed those each got a check for $.13.

Two people cashed the $.13 checks—Donald Trump and Jamal Khashoggi’s arms-dealer uncle Annan.

{ Kurt Andersen | Spy, July, 1990 p. 84 + full issue }

Bene ascolta chi la nota

Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, asks his editor (Hunter S. Thompson) if he could submit a novella instead of a “thinkpiece” to Rolling Stone. Hunter S. Thompson replies:

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And the coiffed brunette curls over Maybelline eyes, wearing Prince Machiavelli, Estee Lauder

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Objective
To explore the basis for patient complaints about the oldness of most magazines in practice waiting rooms.

[…]

Conclusions
General practice waiting rooms contain mainly old magazines. This phenomenon relates to the disappearance of the magazines rather than to the supply of old ones. Gossipy magazines were more likely to disappear than non-gossipy ones.

[…]

If we extrapolate our findings of 41 magazines each month at an average cost of £3.20 ($5.00; €4.00) per magazine over the 8000 practices in the United Kingdom, this equates to £12.6m disappearing from general practices, resources that could be better used for healthcare. Practices should consider using old copies of the Economist and Time magazine as a first step towards saving costs.

{ British Medical Journal | Continue reading }

image { Esquire, February 1956 }

‘If you need a friend, get a dog.’ –Gordon Gekko

Several weeks ago, Vidra communicated the new vision to the staff in what I am told was an uncomfortable stream of business clichés ungrounded in any apparent strategy other than saying things like “let’s break shit” and “we’re a tech company now.”

{ NY mag | Continue reading | Daily Beast }

Better where she is down there: away. Occupy her. Wanted a dog to pass the time. Might take a trip down there.

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Journalists consider the importance of events and the audience’s interest in them when deciding on which events to report. Events most likely to be reported are those that are both important and can capture the audience’s interest. In turn, the public is most likely to become aware of important news when some aspect of the story piques their interest.

We suggest an efficacious means of drawing public attention to important news stories: dogs. Examining the national news agenda of 10 regional newspapers relative to that of the New York Times, we evaluated the effect of having a dog in a news event on the likelihood that the event is reported in regional newspapers.

The “dog effect” is approximately equivalent to the effect of whether a story warrants front- or back-page national news coverage in the New York Times. Thus, we conclude that dogs are an important factor in news decisions.

{ Cambridge University Press | PDF }

The biggest bias of all is thinking you’re unbiased

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{ Why Women Buy Magazines that Promote Impossible Body Images }

photo { Guy Sargent }

‘It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.’ —Nietzsche

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New study finds Internet not responsible for dying newspapers

Gentzkow notes that the first fallacy is that online advertising revenues are naturally lower than print revenues, so traditional media must adopt a less profitable business model that cannot support paying real reporters. The second is that the web has made the advertising market more competitive, which has driven down rates and, in turn, revenues. The third misconception is that the Internet is responsible for the demise of the newspaper industry.

{ Chicago Booth | Continue reading }

‘Good questions outrank easy answers.’ –Paul Samuelson

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This paper documents a close connection between the timing of corporate news disclosures and CEOs’ absences from headquarters. I identify CEO absences by merging publicly available flight histories of corporate jets with real estate records of CEOs’ property ownership near leisure destinations. I find that CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work. Mandatory Form 8-K disclosures of material company news are more likely to be filed late if news occurs while CEOs are at their vacation homes. […]

The paper’s results seem consistent with an agency cost hypothesis, under which CEOs might slow down their firms’ news disclosures for personal convenience on the days that they requisition company aircraft for golf or ski trips. However, the observed associations between news disclosures and vacation schedules may well be endogenous, if CEOs plan to be away from the office when the company expects to have little news to announce. To understand more clearly the direction of causation between disclosures and CEO absences, I conduct a variety of tests, examining how company news announcements change when CEOs return to headquarters at unexpected times. I also estimate a bivariate probit model of news days and vacation days, in which weather at the CEO’s vacation site is used as an instrumental variable that should be associated with trips to the vacation home but not be connected to company news developments. Much of the analysis from these tests supports the agency interpretation, with news releases appearing to occurr less frequently simply because the CEO is absent from the office. However, it is difficult to test causation in the other direction, which would require an instrumental variable associated with news at headquarters but uncorrelated with the CEO’s decision to take time off.

{ David Yermack/NYU School of Law | PDF }

‘God created war so that Americans would learn geography.’ —Mark Twain

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Behind the scenes of the NY redesign

That includes using Github instead of SVN for version control, Vagrant environments, Puppet deployment, using requireJS so five different versions of jQuery don’t get loaded, proper build/test frameworks, command-line tools for generating sprites, the use of LESS with a huge set of mixins, a custom grid framework, etc.

{ Source | Continue reading }

It was a very fancy hotel. They even made you wear a tie in the shower.

{ Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hotel experiences }

The colossal project, which cost more than $50 billion – more than all previous Winter Olympics combined – was expected to turn Sochi into a sporting paradise, packed with arenas and a new airport. Instead, corruption and construction accidents have plagued preparations, with hotels still unfinished just days before the opening ceremony.

{ Zero Hedge | Continue reading }

‘Education costs money. But then so does ignorance.’ –Sir Claus Moser

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“News is what somebody does not want you to print. All the rest is advertising,” […]

In 2014, the fastest-growing form of online “content” is an epidemic of heartwarming videos (“One Mother Did Something Illegal To Help Her Kids, And This Cop Was Totally, Unexpectedly Cool”), funny lists (“33 Reasons Miley Cyrus Was Actually The Best Thing To Happen To 2013”) and click-bait headlines from sites such as BuzzFeed, Upworthy and ViralNova.

Rather than being found on news sites or through search engines, they flourish on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While reporters pride themselves on digging out bad news and awkward facts, these stories often appeal to positive emotions – affection, admiration and awe. They are packaged to make people share content with friends, and to spread like a virus.

Some of this is advertising – BuzzFeed designs viral campaigns for companies that are difficult to tell apart from its other output. Much of it has an advertising-like aspect. […]

One study of 7,000 New York Times articles by two professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that sad stories were the least shared because sadness is a low-arousal, negative state.

{ FT | Continue reading }

(In a dark guttural chant as they cast dead sea fruit upon him, no flowers.)

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“I don’t have a cellphone or a Facebook account. I’ve never sent a text message. I don’t use Twitter,” he said. “I’m not a journalist. I’m not an academic. I’m not a professional writer. I’m not a professional editor. What I am is otherwise unemployed. Superfluous. That’s what I am.”

It’s a résumé that would disqualify Summers from working at most magazines. But most magazines aren’t The Baffler, which could be described as the country’s foremost journal of superfluous opinion. […]

…and The Atlantic, which writer Maureen Tkacik described as “a turgid mouthpiece for the plutocracy, a repository of shallow, lazy spin, and regular host of discussion forums during which nothing is discussed. It is, in every formal trait, a CIA front.”

{ Columbia Journalism Review | Continue reading }