Archive for ‘Money’

March 9, 2013

Czech Dream

cesky sen

Czech Dream‘ is a 2004 documentary film directed by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda, which recorded a large-scale hoax perpetrated by the filmmakers on the Czech public, culminating in the ‘opening event’ of a fake hypermarket (a supermarket and a department store in one). The film was their final project for film school. Remunda and Klusák invented the ‘Český sen’ (‘Czech Dream’) hypermarket and created a massive advertising campaign around it.

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March 7, 2013


wfmu by Danny Hellmanwfmu

WFMU is a listener-supported, independent community radio station headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, broadcasting at FM 91.1 (at 90.1 as WMFU, and at 91.9 as W219DQ), presenting a freeform radio format (in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests). It is the longest-running freeform radio station in the US, commencing broadcasting in 1958, licensed to Upsala College in East Orange. Although originally a student-staffed and faculty-administered college radio operation, by the 1980s most of the station’s staff had no affiliation with the college, and management, though hired by the college, had little involvement with the academic community. Shortly before Upsala’s bankruptcy filing and closure in 1995, a group of station executives, personnel, and supporters formed Auricle Communications and bought the license from the college, making it a fully independent radio station. In 1998 the station’s studios and offices were relocated to a Jersey City facility purchased with listener donations.

WFMU has a stated commitment to unstructured-format broadcasting. All programming is created by each individual air personality, and is not restricted by any type of station-wide playlist or rotation schedule. Experimentation, spontaneity and humor are among the station’s most frequently noted distinguishing traits. Unlike most commercial broadcasting and non-commercial educational radio stations, WFMU does not offer regularly scheduled news, weather, traffic, sports, or financial information. WFMU does not belong to any existing public radio network, and nearly 100% of its programming originates at the radio station.

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March 7, 2013

Freeform Radio

wfmu by Mark Zingarelli

Freeform radio, is a radio station programming format in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. Freeform radio stands in contrast to most commercial radio stations, in which DJs have little or no influence over programming structure or playlists. In the United States, freeform DJs are still bound by Federal Communications Commission regulations. Many shows lay claim to be the first freeform radio program; the earliest is ‘Nightsounds’ on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California, D.J.’d by John Leonard. Probably the best-remembered in the Midwest is ‘Beaker Street,’ which ran for almost 10 years on KAAY ‘The Mighty 1090’ in Little Rock, Arkansas, beginning in 1966, making it also probably the best-known such show on an AM station; its signal reached from Canada to Mexico and Cuba, blanketing the Midwest and Midsouth of the U.S.

WFMU is currently the longest-running freeform radio station in the United States. WNEW-FM 102.7 in NYC was the First commercial station in the US to introduce a freeform format. It stayed that way under the ownership of Metromedia Broadcasting till it was sold and the new owners were not interested. WNEW-FM was a leader in introducing new music and making household names of a good deal of the bands from the 1960s and ’70s that are now renown. Jim Ladd of KLOS in Los Angeles, California was one of the most notable freeform DJs. Tom Petty wrote a song about him called ‘The Last DJ.’ The only time Jim Ladd didn’t have complete control over what music is being played is when he turned control over to his faithful listeners commonly referred to as ‘The Tribe.’ As of 2012 Ladd is hosting a daily freeform show on Sirius XM’s ‘Deep Tracks.’

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March 7, 2013



Payola [pey-oh-luh], in the American music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. A radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a ‘regular airplay.’ The term has come to refer to any secret payment made to cast a product in a favorable light (such as obtaining positive reviews). Some radio stations report spins of the newest and most popular songs to industry publications. The number of times the songs are played can influence the perceived popularity of a song.

‘Payola, in one form or another, is as old as the music business.’ In earlier eras there was not much public scrutiny of the reasons songs became hits. The ad agencies which had labored for the NBC radio and TV show ‘Your Hit Parade’ for 20 years refused to reveal the specific methods that were used to determine top hits, only stating generally that they were based on ‘readings of radio requests, sheet music sales, dance-hall favorites and jukebox tabulations.’ Attempts to create a code to stop payola were met with lukewarm appreciation by publishers. However, in the 1950’s prosecution for payola arose as a reaction of the traditional music establishment against newcomers. Hit radio was a threat to the wages of song-pluggers. Radio hits also threatened old revenue streams; for example, by the middle of the 1940s, three-quarters of the records produced in the USA went into jukeboxes.

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March 6, 2013

Thomas Frank

one market under god

the wrecking crew

Thomas Frank (b. 1965) is an American author, journalist and columnist for ‘Harper’s Magazine.’ He is a former columnist for the ‘Wall Street Journal,’ authoring ‘The Tilting Yard’ from 2008 to 2010. Frank is a historian of culture and ideas and analyzes trends in American electoral politics and propaganda, advertising, popular culture, mainstream journalism and economics. With his writing, he explores the rhetoric and impact of the ‘Culture Wars’ in American political life, and the relationship between politics and culture in the United States. Frank started his political journey as a College Republican, but has come to be highly critical of conservatism, especially the presidency of George W. Bush. Frank summarized the thesis of his book ‘The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule’ as ‘Bad government is the natural product of rule by those who believe government is bad.’

Frank was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1965. He grew up in a local suburb, Mission Hills, Kansas. Frank graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School. He later attended the University of Kansas. He also attended the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago, where he received a Ph.D. in history in 1994. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Wendy, and their children.

March 6, 2013

Native American Gaming

native gaming

The impact of Native American Gaming varies by tribe and location. In the 1970s, various tribes took unprecedented action to initiate gaming enterprises. In doing so, they created not only a series of legal struggles between the federal, state, and tribal governments but also a groundbreaking way to revitalize the Native American economy.

Native American gaming has grown from bingo parlors to high stakes gaming and is surrounded by controversy on many different levels. There are disputes concerning tribal sovereignty, negative effects of gaming, and a loss of Native American culture. In the US the ‘Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’ (IGRA) was passed in 1988 in order to secure collaboration between the states and tribes and also in order for the federal government to oversee gaming operations.

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March 4, 2013

Robert Cialdini

Influence by winston noronha


Robert Cialdini is Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He is best known for his book on persuasion and marketing, ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.’ The book has been translated into 26 languages has also been published as a textbook under the title ‘Influence: Science and Practice.’ In writing the book, he spent three years going ‘undercover’ applying for jobs and training at used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, and telemarketing firms to observe real-life situations of persuasion. The book also reviews many of the most important theories and experiments in social psychology. Cialdini distills his theory down to six key principles: Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity.

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March 4, 2013

Charlie Munger

charlie munger by randy glass

Charlie Munger (b. 1924) is an American business magnate, lawyer, investor, and philanthropist. He is Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, the diversified investment corporation chaired by Warren Buffett; in that capacity, Buffett describes Munger as ‘my partner.’ Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011 (Wesco was approximately 80%-owned by Berkshire-Hathaway during that time). He is also the chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

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March 4, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway

warren buffett

charlie munger by Charlie Powell

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska that oversees and manages a number of partially and wholly owned subsidiary companies. The company owns Geico, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, NetJets, and Heinz and has significant minority holdings in American Express, M&T Bank, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Proctor & Gamble, and IBM. Berkshire Hathaway averaged an annual growth in book value of 20.3% to its shareholders for the last 44 years, while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.

Berkshire Hathaway stock produced a total return of 76% from 2000–2010 versus a negative 11.3% return for the S&P 500. Warren Buffett owns 32.4% aggregate voting power of Berkshire’s shares outstanding, and vice-chairman Charlie Munger holds a stake big enough to make him a billionaire (early investments in Berkshire by David Gottesman and Franklin Otis Booth, Jr. resulted in their becoming billionaires as well). Bill Gates’ Cascade Investments LLC is the second largest shareholder of Berkshire and owns more than 5% of class B shares.

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March 2, 2013

Eddie Huang

eddie the octopus

bao bao by Sophia Chang

Eddie Huang (b. 1982) is an Asian American restaurateur, food personality and former lawyer. He is the owner of Baohaus. Huang was born in Washington, D.C., to immigrant parents from Taiwan. He was raised in Orlando, where his father managed a successful group of steak and seafood restaurants. Huang identified with African-American culture, especially hip-hop, at a young age. He recieved a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, Rollins College and a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law. Not long after graduating from law school, Huang decided for a career change. After being laid off from a New York law firm, he worked as a stand-up comic and as a marijuana dealer. He was interested in food as he had grown up watching his mother cook at home and had learned many skills in the kitchen. He learned management from his father.

In 2009, he opened BaoHaus, a Taiwanese bun shop, on the Lower East Side of New York. His straightforward menu consists of steamed buns filled with a protein, cilantro, crushed peanuts and Taiwanese red bean paste, and sweet bao fries (julienned bun). In 2011, he relocated his first shop to the East Village with an expanded menu. Another restaurant, Xiao Ye, was less successful and closed after controversy over serving four loko. He created a blog called ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and later published a memoir by the same name in 2013. He hosted ‘Cheap Bites’ on the Cooking Channel at the end of 2011 and also appeared on several episodes of ‘Unique Eats’ before leaving the Cooking Channel for ‘Vice’ where he hosts a recurring segment, also called ‘Fresh Off the Boat.’

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February 27, 2013

The Sound Princess

Many Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought of being heard by others during urination. To cover the sound of bodily functions, many women used to flush public toilets continuously while using them, wasting a large amount of water in the process.

As education campaigns did not stop this practice, a device was introduced in the 1980s that, after activation, produces the sound of flushing water without the need for actual flushing. A Toto brand name commonly found is the ‘Otohime’ (literally ‘Sound Princess‘ also homophone with a legendary goddess Otohime). This device is now routinely placed in most new public women’s rooms, and many older public women’s rooms have been upgraded.

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February 25, 2013

Growth Fetish

conspicuous consumption

Growth Fetish is a 2003 book about economics and politics by the Australian liberal political theorist Clive Hamilton. The book argues that the policies of unfettered capitalism pursued by the west for the last 50 years has largely failed, since the underlying purpose of the creation of wealth is happiness, and Hamilton contends that people in general are no happier now than 50 years ago, despite the huge increase in personal wealth. In fact, he suggests that the reverse is true. He states that the pursuit of growth has become a fetish, in that it is seen as a universal magic cure for all of society’s ills.

Hamilton also proposes that the pursuit of growth has been at a tremendous cost in terms of the environment, erosion of democracy, and the values of society as a whole. One result is that we, as a society, have become obsessed with materialism and consumerism. Hamilton’s catchphrase ‘People buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like’ neatly sums up his philosophy on consumerism.

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