Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton is arguably the most successful Broadway show of the century (deservedly so -- the soundtrack is practically all I've listened to for the past month) but good luck if you want to get a ticket. Read the rest
Uber terminated access to its API for Urbanhail, a startup that compared pricing and availability among ride-hailing apps and taxi companies, after chastising the company's founders for violating its terms of service, which forbid creating competitive uses. Read the rest
In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025.
If you hire Prestigious Pets of Dallas, TX to take care of your pets, you have to sign a sleazy nondisparagement contract through which you promise not to complain in public about the company's service. Read the rest
If you're an Amazon seller and you pay people to review your products on Amazon, the company may sue you. The online commerce giant sued three sellers today for using sockpuppet accounts to post glowing but phony product reviews.
When Marc Edwards was a young Virginia tech engineer, he landed a job with Cadmus Group, an EPA subcontractor who'd been hired to investigate problems with the DC water-supply, but when he discovered a lead contamination crisis and refused to stop talking about it, he was fired. Read the rest
Cold brew is the easiest, most foolproof way to make amazing coffee (seriously, all you need to do is fill a $6 cloth bag with coarse-ground coffee, put it in a pitcher of water overnight, squeeze it out in the morning and discard the grinds). Read the rest
The New York Times' feature about ice cream trucks in the city is packed with fantastic details and quotes from those who operate "bell-jingling fleets of pleasure craft festooned with pictures of perfectly swirled desserts and beaming children." It's brutal out there, and Mister Softee has just been muscled out of Midtown.
In 2012, a frozen yogurt vendor said that a Softee duo snapped his brakes with a crowbar, and the founder of the Van Leeuwen ice cream company said he had gotten death threats from Softee drivers. (A lawyer for Mister Softee, Jeffrey Zucker, said that while he had not heard about the 2012 allegations, “a franchisee could lose his or her Mister Softee franchise for engaging in that type of criminal activity.”)
“Let me tell you about this business,” Adam Vega, a thickly muscled, heavily tattooed Mister Softee man who works the upper reaches of the Upper East Side and East Harlem, said on Wednesday. “Every truck has a bat inside.”
The landlords at City Park Apartments stuck memos on their tenants' doors last week, outlining a "Facebook addendum" requiring tenants to Friend the building on Facebook or lose their lease. Read the rest
Ruth writes, "The link tax is back, but we have a chance to stop it. The Save the Link network are pushing back against proposals in the EU for a new hyperlinking fee (AKA 'ancillary copyright') that will affect us all. If lobbyists succeed copyright rules will be extended to hyperlinks - giving publishers the right to charge business fees for linking to content." Read the rest
Big telcos and cable operators demand the right to impose data caps that punish their most enthusiastic customers for using too much Internet (with exceptions to the caps made for services that have paid bribes for "preferred carriage" of course), and they say that it's simple economics: if you use up more of a service, you should pay more for it. Read the rest
In Millionaire Migration and the Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data, Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young builds on his substantial research on "millionaire migration," to show that only a small minority of millionaires move when local taxes go up -- far too few to represent a net loss to the tax coffers. Read the rest
Many years ago, EFF co-founder John Gilmore and I were discussing the prevalence of botnets, which are commonly used to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm websites with floods of traffic; John said that if the botnets were really on the rise at the reported rate, we should expect to see a massive crash in the price of DDoS services, following simple supply/demand logic. Read the rest
Anonymous Analytics describes itself as "a faction of Anonymous" that uses its "unique skills to expose fraud and corruption among public companies." Read the rest
When Purdue Pharma's patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they'd lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale. Read the rest