The surveillance business model goes to war against the FTC

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You may have noticed a surge of articles criticizing the Federal Trade Commission for its innovation-stifling, headline-chasing, out-of-control attacks on business. The timing of these articles, op-eds and jeremiads isn't an accident. Read the rest

Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings smash Wall Street expectations

Photo: Reuters

Social media giant Facebook today reported sales and earnings that well exceeded Wall Street's expectations, as both the number of users and mobile ad dollars rose from October to December.

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Vehicle surveillance company's "free" deal turns Texas cops into bill-collectors

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Vigilant Solutions is "one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology" and they've got a great deal for Texas police forces: install our license-readers and we'll alert you every time someone with an overdue fine drives through your town. You pull them over and offer them a trip to jail or immediate payment, using our credit-card machines, for which we charge a 25% "fee" which goes straight into our pockets. Read the rest

All your booze comes from a handful of titanic global corporations

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Mergers and acquisitions mania: not just for banks, oil companies, publishing, movie studios, airlines, cable, phone companies, retail chains and family restaurants anymore. For years, the booze industry has been quiety homogenizing, as hedge-fund-fueled megafauna gobbles up smaller firms and even huge rivals, leaving behind a landscape where your "Mexican" tequila, "Irish" whiskey, "Scotch," "Puerto Rican" rum, and other bar standbys are all owned by a "British" company that claims it makes all its profits in The Netherlands. Read the rest

You can't "boost" your immune system with "health food," nor would you want to

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Your immune system has two approaches: the first wave is a bunch of attacks that make your body less hospitable to germs, like a fever, mucous, and achy lethargy (which keeps you at home, away from opportunistic infectious agents); the second is a tailored antibody attack that kicks in about ten days later. Read the rest

Stop taking "probiotics"

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It's true that your gut biome is awesome, complicated, poorly understood and crucial to your body's normal functioning. Read the rest

Facebook values Whatsapp users' data at $1/year

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This week, Whatsapp -- an instant messaging company that was founded on the principle of charging $1/year and preserving your privacy in exchange, but which sold to Facebook in 2014 for $19B -- sent users a message that their accounts would be free forevermore -- at the same time as the app quietly introduced a tickbox (optional, for now) to share your data with Facebook "to improve your Facebook experience." Read the rest

Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

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Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Majority of UK booze-industry revenues come from problem drinkers

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69% of the alcohol sold in the UK is sold to "harmful," "hazardous" or "increasing risk" drinkers, accounting for more than 60% of the industry's revenues. The number of alcohol-related hospitalisations in the UK has doubled in the past ten years, to more than 1m/year. Read the rest

California assemblyman joins NY legislator in proposing ban on crypto for phones

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California assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-9th) has copy-pasted New York assemblyman Matthew Titone's (D-61st) insane, reality-denying bill that bans companies from selling smartphones with working crypto on them, introducing nearly identical measures in the California legislature. Read the rest

Independent economists: TPP will kill 450,000 US jobs; 75,000 Japanese jobs, 58,000 Canadian jobs

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Proponents of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership -- which lets companies force governments to get rid of their labor, environmental and safety rules in confidential tribunals -- say it's all worth it because it will deliver growth and jobs to the stagnant economies of the rich world. Read the rest

Spanish-language broadcasting titan Univision buys controlling interest in The Onion

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<insert ¡Ay, caramba! joke here> Read the rest

Old payphones becoming "masturbation stations" in NYC

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Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into "GuyFi" stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of "stress relief." Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named "Hot Octopus"…

The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day last week. Of course, public masturbation is illegal—and a rep from Hot Octopuss told Mashable, "We may be insinuating that these booths could be used in whichever way anyone would like to 'self soothe,' [but] the brand is not actively encouraging people to masturbate in public as that is an illegal offense." No word on how fast the Internet connection was, or whether there would be any efforts to help women "self soothe" at a rate equal to men in the workplace.

An armed society is a polite society: Snopes.

In NYC, pay phones become free Wi-Fi hotspots—and masturbation stations Read the rest

TV networks are pissed at Netflix for not disclosing data on what you're watching

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Photo: Reuters

At a Television Critics Association event this weekend, the tension between Netflix and traditional television networks ratcheted up a few notches. TV executives expressed the growing frustration they share over the fat that Netflix refuses to disclose ratings.

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Trump Casinos lost millions every single year that Donald Trump ran it (but he's still rich)

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When confronted with the fact of his four bankruptcies, Donald Trump argues that he was just being a shrewd businessman, restructuring his affairs to maximize profits. But when The Donald took one of his companies public, we got an unprecedented look into his fiscal incompetence. Read the rest

Flameouts of 7 promising startups

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This 8-minute video gives the rise-and-fall stories of powerful or promising online startups that went bust: Friendster (social network), AltaVista (search engine), Napster (file sharing), The Torquing Group (drone maker), boo.com (fashion shopping), Secret (social network app), and KaloBios (douchebro's pharmaceutical firm).

Here's what the front pages for these startups look like now:

Friendster (above)

AltaVista

Napster

The Torquing Group website (flyzano.com) doesn't load for me.

Boo.com

Secret

KaloBios

[via] Read the rest

Aaron Swartz's "Against School" - business leaders have been decrying education since 1845

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"Against School" is a previously unpublished Aaron Swartz essay about the centuries of word-perfect complaints about the US public school system, which have led to mass-scale, sneak privatization of the public system. Read the rest

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