The Marketing Seminar: an online masterclass in marketing from Seth Godin

From the wonderful, refreshingly bullshit-free marketing guy Seth Godin (Seth Godin, a new online course on marketing, called (simply enough), "The Marketing Seminar." Read the rest

Insulin prices spike by 1123%, sending parents to the black market to keep their kids alive

Gabriella Corley is a 9 year old with Type I diabetes who's allergic to the insulin covered by her low-income parents' healthcare; to live, she must take Sanofi's proprietary Apidra brand insulin, which has increased in price by 1,123% since 1996, and which is only covered to 25% by her insurer's Pharmacy Benefit Manager, CVS. Read the rest

"One price to all" has been the default since 1840, but online retail is sneakily killing it off

Since the earliest days of ecommerce, analysts have predicted that retailers would use their estimations of their customers' willingness to pay to invisibly, instantaneously reprice their goods, offering different prices to each customer. Read the rest

Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws

The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA's specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no one is sure whether it broke the law). Read the rest

In 1982, Mattel fielded a teen-pregnancy Barbie toy

Midge is a semi-disavowed character in the Barbieverse, created in 1963 to counter claims that Barbie was oversexualized; weirdly, in 1982, Mattel made the decision to release a version of the doll, who appeared to be a young teen, as a pregnant lady, with a detachable bump containing an articulated foetus. Read the rest

New museum all about failure to open in Sweden

What do "Bic for Her" pens, electric facial rejuvenation mask, and Trump: The Game have in common? They were all bizarre and ridiculous commercial products that tanked in the marketplace. This summer, the Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden to celebrate such bumbles and fumbles, along with other products that were bested by competition or simply too ahead of the times for their own good. The curator is Samuel West, a psychologist who studies the science of creativity. From Smithsonian:

"I got tired of all of this glorifying of success, especially within the domain of innovation where 80 to 90 percent of all projects fail," he tells Smithsonian.com. Perhaps as a way to counter the trumpets of success, he started collecting products that represented failure. He says he had no purpose at first, but thought that it was a fun hobby...

Technological gadgets that failed are a big category at the museum. "I could open a whole museum with only smartphones," West says. But other industries are good at making duds as well. Colgate tried to sell beef lasagna. Harley Davidson marketed a perfume.

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Creepy, sketchy stalkerware vendor get hacked, announced bug-bounty program

Flexispy (previously) is the creepy, sketchy stalkerware company that makes tools that allow jealous, abusive spouses track their partners, and then hides their profits in offshore money-laundries. Read the rest

United's CEO just lost out on the Chairmanship of United's board

When United CEO Oscar Munoz lied about Dr David Dao, slandering the passenger that was beaten unconscious as a direct result of his employees enacting the policies he put in place, he was acting in the knowledge that he would shortly be elevated to the Chairmanship of United's board of directors. Read the rest

A look inside the shady world of Flexispy, makers of "stalkerware" for jealous spouses

Motherboard's Joseph Cox continues his excellent reporting on Flexispy, a company that make "stalkerware" marketed to jealous spouses through a network of shady affiliates who feature dudes beating up their "cheating girlfriends" after catching them by sneaking spyware onto their devices. Read the rest

Canada upholds net neutrality, bans zero-rating

In Canada's hyper-concentrated and vertically integrated telcoms sector, data caps are a normal part of life; and where there are data-caps, there is cable company fuckery in the form of ""zero rating" -- when your telcom sells you to online service providers, taking bribes not to count their service against your cap. Read the rest

Your squeezing hands outperform this $400 IoT juicer

Juicero is a self-parodying high-tech juicing machine that raised millions in venture capital on the promise of delivering a highly calibrated squeeze to a pack of mulch sold in expensive, DRM-locked pouches, for a mere $400. Read the rest

Europeans: tell the EU Parliament to make a modern copyright, fit for the internet age

Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "The purpose of copyright is to empower -- not frustrate! -- creativity and knowledge production. Nowhere is a balanced copyright more important than in education. But 15-year-old EU copyright laws don't take into account modern digital and online teaching methods, tools, and resources." Read the rest

David Dao's injuries: concussion, two front teeth knocked out, broken nose

Dr David Dao's lawyers have revealed the extent of his injuries as part of his pending lawsuit: "a broken nose and concussion and lost two front teeth." Read the rest

California's charter schools: hundreds of millions of tax dollars for wasteful, redundant, low-quality education

In Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning in California Charter School Funding, Gordon Lafer -- a University of Oregon prof who also works for Oakland's The Public Interest -- finds "hundreds of millions of dollars ... spent each year without any meaningful strategy... on schools built in neighborhoods that have no need for additional classroom space, and which offer no improvement over the quality of education already available in nearby public schools. In the worst cases, public facilities funding has gone to schools that were found to have discriminatory enrollment policies and others that have engaged in unethical or corrupt practices." Read the rest

United's passenger-beatings are a feature of its business, not a bug

In a world where the airlines record-smashing profits comes from a small number of increasingly luxurious first-class seats, the entire focus of the industry is on figuring out how to convince just a few marginal customers to spend more for one of those profit-centers instead of deadheading in coach. Read the rest

After ratting out users to China, Yahoo created (and then blew) a $17m "dissidents' fund"

It's been a decade since Yahoo got raked over the coals by Congress for helping the Chinese government spy on journalists and dissidents, some of whom were then arrested and tortured. Read the rest

Betsy DeVos ends ban on crooked loan-collectors in the student debt biz

Education secretary (and Ponzi-scheme billionaire heiress, anti-public-education crusader, and sister of notorious war criminal Eric Prince) Betsy DeVos just killed the recent Department of Education/Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidelines that banned dirty bill-collectors from going after people with delinquent student bans.

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