Archive for ‘Money’

April 1, 2019

Smart Contract

Nick Szabo

smart contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract. Smart contracts allow the performance of credible transactions without third parties. These transactions are trackable and irreversible.

Proponents of smart contracts claim that many kinds of contractual clauses may be made partially or fully self-executing, self-enforcing, or both. The aim of smart contracts is to provide security that is superior to traditional contract law and to reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting. Various cryptocurrencies have implemented types of smart contracts.

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January 28, 2019

Twin Films

A Bug's Life

Twin films are films with the same, or very similar, plot produced or released at the same time by two different film studios. The phenomenon can result from two or more production companies investing in similar scripts around the same time, resulting in a race to distribute the films to audiences.

Some attribute twin films to industrial espionage, the movement of staff between studios, or that the same screenplays are sent to several film studios before being accepted. Another possible explanation is if the films deal with topical issues, such as volcanic eruptions, reality television, terrorist attacks or significant anniversaries, resulting in multiple discovery of the concept.

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January 17, 2019

The Market for Lemons

lemon law

The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism is a well-known 1970 paper by American economist George Akerlof which examines how the quality of goods traded in a market can degrade in the presence of information asymmetry between buyers and sellers, leaving only ‘lemons’ behind (cars or other products that are found to be defective only after they have been bought).

Akerlof’s paper shows how prices can determine the quality of goods traded on the market. Low prices drive away sellers of high-quality goods, leaving only lemons behind. In 2001, Akerlof, along with Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz, jointly received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, for their research on issues related to asymmetric information.

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January 8, 2019

Impossible Foods

heme

Impossible Foods Inc. is a company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company aims to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without the negative health and environmental impacts associated with livestock products.

The company researches animal products at the molecular level, then selects specific proteins and nutrients from plants to recreate the experience of meats and dairy products. Its signature product, the Impossible Burger, was launched in 2016.

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December 30, 2018

The Negro Motorist Green Book

The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African-American roadtrippers. It was originated and published by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread.

Although pervasive racial discrimination and poverty limited black car ownership, the emerging African-American middle class bought automobiles as soon as they could, but faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences along the road, from refusal of food and lodging to arbitrary arrest. In response, Green wrote his guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans, eventually expanding its coverage from the New York area to much of North America, as well as founding a travel agency.

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December 18, 2018

Emotional Labor

Smile mask syndrome

Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers, and superiors.

This includes analysis and decision making in terms of the expression of emotion, whether actually felt or not, as well as its opposite: the suppression of emotions that are felt but not expressed. As nations move from manufacturing to service-based economies, more workers in a variety of occupational fields are expected to manage their emotions according to employer demands.

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December 12, 2018

Mole People

Mole people (also known as ‘tunnel people’ or ‘tunnel dwellers’) are homeless people living under large cities in abandoned subway, railroad, flood, sewage tunnels, and heating shafts. The term may also refer to the speculative fiction trope of an entirely subterranean society.

While it is generally accepted that some homeless people in large cities make use of abandoned underground structures for shelter, urban legends persist that make stronger assertions. These include claims that ‘mole people’ have formed small, ordered societies similar to tribes, with members numbering up to the hundreds, living underground year-round. It has also been suggested that they have developed their own cultural traits and even have electricity by illegal hook-up. The subject has attracted some attention from sociologists but is highly controversial due to a lack of evidence.

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November 7, 2018

Tube Man

Peter Minshall

tube man, also known as a ‘skydancer,’ ‘air dancer,’ and originally called the ‘Tall Boy,’ is an inflatable moving advertising product comprising a long fabric tube (with two or more outlets), which is attached to and powered by an electrical fan. As the electrical fan blows air through the fabric tube, this causes the tube to move about in a dynamic dancing or flailing motion.

The design of the tube man was invented by Peter Minshall, an artist from Trinidad and Tobago, along with a team that included Israeli artist Doron Gazit, for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Gazit eventually patented the concept of an inflatable, dancing human-shaped balloon and licensed the patent to various companies that manufacture and sell the devices.

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November 5, 2018

Dumb Starbucks

Nathan Fielder

Dumb Starbucks is the fifth episode of the second season of the American television docu-reality comedy series ‘Nathan for You,’ and the thirteenth overall episode of the series. Written by series co-creators Nathan Fielder and Michael Koman, as well as Dan Mintz, it first aired on Comedy Central in 2014.

In the series, Fielder plays an off-kilter version of himself, who tries to use his business background and experiences to help struggling companies and people, offering them strategies that no traditional business consultant would dare.

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September 22, 2018

Emeco 1006

Emeco

The Emeco [ehm-uh-coh1006 [ten-oh-six], also known as the ‘Navy chair,’ is an aluminum chair manufactured by Emeco, a furniture manufacturer based in Pennsylvania. Emeco founder Wilton C. Dinges developed the Emeco 1006 chair in 1944 in collaboration with the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA).

It was originally designed for the US Navy, which needed a chair for the deck of battleships that could survive sea air and a torpedo blast to the side of the ship. The chairs had eye bolts under the seat, so they could be attached to a ship-deck using cables. When competing for the Navy contract, Dinges is reported to have demonstrated the chair’s durability by throwing it out of an eighth floor window of a Chicago hotel where the Navy was examining submissions. It bounced, but didn’t bend or break.

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February 19, 2018

George Foreman Grill

Foreman Grill

The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, commonly known as the George Foreman Grill, is an indoor, electrically heated grill manufactured by Spectrum Brands. It is promoted by former boxing champion George Foreman. Since its introduction in 1994, over 100 million George Foreman grills have been sold worldwide.

The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, as it became known, was introduced in 1994 and promoted with distinctive infomercials which featured Foreman. A combination of his affable personality and the unique features of the product made it a huge success. Such was the popularity of these infomercials that Foreman’s famous tagline, ‘It’s so good I put my name on it!,’ is now part of popular culture. In Asia, the grill is endorsed and promoted by both George Foreman and Jackie Chan.

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February 10, 2018

Mafia State

oligarch

The term mafia state is a political buzzword to describe a system of government that is tied to organized crime, such as when government officials, police, and/or military take part in illicit enterprises. The term mafia is a reference to any organized crime groups strongly connected with the authorities.

According to US diplomats, a former officer of the Russian FSB secret service who specialized in organized crime, Alexander Litvinenko, coined the phrase ‘Mafia state.’ Both the Italian mafia and Japanese Yakuza have have, at times, established a close and friendly relationships with their respective governments.  Scholar of Law and Economics Edgardo Buscaglia describes the political system of Mexico as a ‘Mafiacracy.’ Buscaglia characterizes the condition between the state, the economy and organized crime in Mexico as a mutual interweaving.

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