Fantasy accounting: how the biggest companies in America turn real losses into paper profits

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Lax enforcement from the SEC has allowed the biggest companies in America -- 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, led by the faltering energy sector -- to ignore the "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP) in presenting their financial information to investors, manufacturing nonexistent profits in quarters where they suffer punishing losses. Read the rest

The quest for the well-labeled inn

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I have a first-world problem: I stay in a lot of hotels.

VW offers to buy back 500K demon-haunted diesels

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Reuters reports that VW is about to tell the federal judge in San Francisco in charge of its case that it will offer to buy back nearly half a million of its diesel vehicles from owners who were deceived about the cars' emission standards and performance when the company engineered its cars so that they would act daemonically, performing differently based on whether they were being tested or not. Read the rest

Oh This Crazy VR Hype

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A few weeks back, I was at the annual Game Developers Conference. GDC kicked off this year with its first-ever VRDC, two days of all-VR, all the time. On top of that, there was VR programming sprinkled across the main event schedule, too: it’s launch year for the much-touted Big Headsets.

Corporate opposition to LGBTQ discrimination laws shows the GOP alliance has shattered

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Since the late 1970s, the American conservative movement has been an uneasy -- and unstoppable -- alliance of big-business-friendly finance boosters and poor, evangelical Christians whose major issues were things like gay marriage, abortion, and forcing women into "traditional" gender roles, not taxation and "small government." Read the rest

High profits mean capitalism is cooked

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From The Economist to the White House Council of Economic Advisers to Goldman Sachs itself, the staunchest supporters of capitalism are worried about the consistently high profit margins in key industries, especially finance. Read the rest

What is neoliberalism?

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As recently as a couple years ago, using the word "neoliberalism" here on Boing Boing would inevitably provoke an outraged comment from someone who wanted to know why we were "liberal-bashing." Though the term was a little more widely used in Europe than in the USA, it still pretty obscure there. That obscurity is the ideology's strength. Read the rest

High tech/high debt: the feudal future of technology makes us all into lesser lessors

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Sarah Jeong continues her excellent series of critical perspectives on technology with a piece on the way that technology is being used to let computers control their users, on behalf of the corporations who make and sell these tools. Read the rest

Southwest Air kicks Muslim woman off plane for switching seats

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A Southwest Air flight attendant ordered the removal of a woman of Somali descent in a headscarf from a Chicago-Seattle flight after the passenger asked her neighbor if she could switch seats with him. The flight attendant said she "did not feel comfortable" with the passenger onboard. Read the rest

Tiny South Pacific island to lose free/universal Internet lifeline

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The way most of the world knows about Niue, a 100 square mile island in the south Pacific with a population of about 1,100, is because of its country-code top-level domain (CCTLD), which is the ubiquitous .nu. Read the rest

Uber and Lyft don't cover their cost of capital and rely on desperate workers

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Uber and Lyft are only economically viable because they offload their cost of capital -- the investment and depreciation on cars and the cost of keeping a driver fed and healthy -- onto the drivers, who are only willing to accept such a bad deal because the labor market sucks. Read the rest

How the UK's biggest pharmacy chain went from family-run public service to debt-laden hedge-fund disaster

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Boots the Chemist started out as a family-run business whose Methodist founders believed in civic duty and public service, spreading across the country and providing front-line medical services to Britons, making 40% of their revenues from government compensation for NHS service. Read the rest

How to: apologize

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In An Exploration of the Structure of Effective Apologies , written by business school academics from Ohio State and Eastern Kentucky U and published in Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, the authors report on two studies that trace the reactions of 755 subjects to apologies based and report on the six factors most likely to assuage a wounded party. Read the rest

Piracy dooms motion picture industry to yet another record-breaking box-office year

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Once again the MPAA has released its box-office numbers for the year, and once again, this year has smashed all records (as has been the case throughout our young century) (really!). As always, the astronomical rise-and-rise of their fortunes is somehow used to launch a call for more publicly subsidized enforcement against "piracy." Read the rest

How corporate America's lobbying budget surpassed the combined Senate and Congress budget

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For more than a decade, corporate America's lobbying budget has exceeded the entire budget for the operation of both houses of Congress, and this year's lobbying spend ($2.6B) is the largest in history, with no end in sight. Read the rest

List of people barred from south London pub

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The staff of Half Moon pub in Herne Hill in south London maintain a pseudonymous list of customers who are permanently banned from the premises; their colorful descriptions are a thing of beauty. Read the rest

UL has a new, opaque certification process for cybersecurity

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The idea of a "Cyber-Underwriters Laboratories mark" is really in the air; in the past six months, I've had it proposed to me by spooks, regulators, activists, consumer protection advocates, and security experts. But the devil is in the details. Read the rest

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