Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Man arrested at Large Hadron Collider claims he's from the future | CNET UK:

A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.

The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.

Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his 'time machine power unit', a device that resembled a kitchen blender.

Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."
Tonight's Sunset - The View to the South
An Awkward Moment With Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – Bwog:

About fifteen minutes ago, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was answering questions in former NYC Mayor/Columbia Professor David Dinkins’ SIPA class about urban public policy when a student pulled out a projector and began to screen images of police officers beating civilians on the wall behind Kelly. “We’d like to offer an alternative version,” one slide read.

People started shifting awkwardly in their chairs, then shifting much more awkwardly when the student turned the projector around so that the film was facing Kelly as he continued to speak. Kelly ignored the film, finished answering his question and called on another student, who was interrupted by a young man reading a textbook about military history.

Sunset Last Night
10 things the iPhone Siri will help you get instead of an abortion | The Raw Story:

Ask the Siri, the new iPhone 4 assistant, where to get an abortion, and, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., she won’t direct you to the Planned Parenthood on 16th St, NW. Instead, she’ll suggest you pay a visit to the 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Landsdowne, Virginia, or Human Life Services, a CPC in York, Pennsylvania. Ask Google the same question, and you’ll get ads for no less than 7 metro-area abortion clinics, 2 CPCs and a nationwide abortion referral service.

Ask in New York City, and Siri will tell you “I didn’t find any abortion clinics.”


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wonkbook: The GOP's dual-trigger nightmare - The Washington Post:

In August, Republicans scored what they thought was a big win by persuading Democrats to accept a trigger that consisted only of spending cuts. The price they paid was 1) concentrating the cuts on the Pentagon while exempting Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries, and 2) delaying the cuts until January 1, 2013. That was, they figured, a win, as it eschewed taxes. Grover Norquist's pledge remained unbroken.

But 12 years earlier, George W. Bush had set a trigger of his own. In order to pass his tax cuts using the 51-vote budget reconciliation process, he had agreed to let them sunset in 2010. A last-minute deal extended them until the end of 2012.

So now there are two triggers. One is an extremely progressive spending trigger worth $1.2 trillion that goes off on January 1, 2013. The other is an extremely progressive tax trigger worth $3.8 trillion that goes off on...January 1, 2013. If you count reduced interest payments, the two policies alone would reduce future deficits by about $6 trillion. That's far more than anything the supercommittee came close to discussing. It's distributed far more progressively than anything the Democrats have even considered proposing. And all that needs to happen for it to pass is, well, nothing.

Republicans can't stop these triggers on their own. They need Senate Democrats and President Obama to join them in passing an alternative, or they need House and Senate Democrats to join them in overturning President Obama's veto of their alternative. So the only way for Republicans to avoid this dual-trigger nightmare is to somehow convince Democrats to bail them out. And for that, they have two points of leverage.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Begins Dec. 2nd at 6pm
Meet at Times Square between 46th and 47th streets south of the red staircase
A 24 Hour Performance Occupation
This is Creative Resistance!

On Dec 2nd at 6pm, hundreds of performers and artists will occupy a privately owned public space near Times Square with 24 hours of non-stop free performances.

In recent weeks, we have seen a push to tramp on our rights to public assembly, public space and by extension democracy itself.

In response, we join a global struggle from Tahrir Square to Davis, California with occupation as a form of creative resistance. Rather than oppose something, we are using public space to create a more colorful image of what our streets could look like, with public performances, art, and music in once vacant corporate, bonus plazas. Through this movement, New York re-imagines itself as a work of art, rather than a retail shopping mall. With capitalism gone mad, foreclosures increasing, and bank crises consuming whole communities, we are signaling through the flames that there is another way of living. Join us.
Occupy public space. Reclaim democracy. Enjoy the show.

Get off the sidelines and break through the third wall.

How to be involved:
-be part of the carnival opening ceremony with Rude Mechanical Orchestra- jugglers, stilt-walkers, puppeteers, clowns, hoopers, and more! 6-7pm Friday.
-perform with your group in a 5 mins. to 1 hour time slot. Music acts before 10pm and after 6am. Confirm ASAP with a couple time suggestions that could work. If you are open, please say so.
-Show up and help us occupy with your body, enjoy the shows!
-Spread the word
-We need legal, food, art, sign-painting, media, MCs. Any and all help to make it a safe, creative, well-documented event

Read our entire manifesto and sign here.

Thank you so much! I hope you can be involved in what promises to be a fantastic event.

Monica Hunken

Northern lights

Friday, November 25, 2011

day two hundred and seventeen
What on earth is China building in the desert? - The Washington Post:

“The Chinese have been building huge structures in the desert for a long time. Back in 2006, they built this 1:20 scale model of disputed border region between China and India. That’s a terrain model 0.7 kilometer wide by almost 1 kilometer tall. Uncanny. Why would they build such a model of a terrain? To play a 1:20 scale war with 1:20 scale tanks? Mind boggling.” — Gizmodo readers are poring through Google Maps and discovering some odd and gigantic structures that China’s been building in the desert. Experts have suggested they might be there to calibrate spy satellites.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Post: Zuccotti Eviction - And The Fog Of Protest: An Eyewitness Account | ZeroHedge:

At 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a massive contingent of NYPD officers converged on Zuccotti Park to forcibly evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been encamped there for many weeks.

Minutes after the police raid began the Twitter stream flowed with the news.

I arrived near Zuccotti Park just after 1:30 a.m. Civilians, including reporters with valid NYPD press passes, were being held back at a police perimeter several blocks away from the park itself. This meant that few reporters were able to witness or record the eviction of the protesters from the park. I was told by a police officer that a “frozen zone” had been put into effect for several blocks in each direction of Zuccotti Park.

Police Commissioner Kelly To NYPD: Stop Arresting Reporters For Doing Their Job: Gothamist:

After the police arrested numerous journalists covering the raid on Occupy Wall Street's Zuccotti Park encampment as well as subsequent protester actions, media outlets condemned the NYPD's actions which also included restricting access to witness events. Yesterday, representatives from the AP, the NY Times, the Daily News, the NY Post, and the National Press Photographers Association met with Police Commissioner Kelly and chief police spokesman Paul Browne to discuss the situation—resulting in Kelly issuing a memo to the department saying the press should be allowed to do its job.

caribbean blue   Explore # 9      23/11/2011
“There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.” Anaïs Nin
Senta Berger
How art killed our culture | Art and design |

No sphere of high culture is implicated in the fall of the affluent society in the same way art is. Yesterday I commented on the resistance to melancholy, the flight from reality, that enabled art in our time to promote the fantasy of an unlimited market. Some have called the system that has now fallen "offshore capitalism"; perhaps another description is "post-modern capitalism". In post-modern capitalism, secondary markets created a counter-reality that was unfettered by production. The economy was run like a theme park. It's obvious how deeply involved in that daydream was the art of the last 20 years, which so gleefully rejected anything that might tie it to the slow, patient, tedious stuff of real creativity.

Drama, the novel, even cinema have all kept a safer distance from the booming monster of modern capitalism than artists did. What I want to ask now is – why? What happened? How did art become the mirror of fraud? It is not a story that starts with Damien Hirst's diamond skull but one that goes back to the very origins of the consumer society.

Mistress J Kiss - 076

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Kick in the Face | Slog:

But imagine, if instead of unloading the pepper spray, the officer had instead casually kicked a student in the face? Or imagine that kick was aimed squarely at the face of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey? You think the officer would have been fired? You think he would've been sued, and likely prosecuted? Of course he would have.

Unlike a kick in the face, pepper spray tends not to leave any visible bruises or scars, but it's not like it hurts any less. Police are using it indiscriminately and without provocation against protesters because it appears more civil than boots, fists, and batons, yet inflicts at least as much pain. They are getting away with brutally assaulting civilians who pose no physical threat to the officers or others, simply because a spray of orange goo doesn't look particularly brutal.

But now imagine if a protester were to casually walk up to one of the officers and empty a can of pepper spray in his face. You think this pepper spraying protester wouldn't end up convicted and imprisoned on charges of assaulting a police officer? Of course he would. Because pepper spray is assault. And thus it should be reserved for use by police only when the use of such physical force is absolutely necessary... or so says one of the weapon's creators:
Your Paycheck Should Be Twice As Big | Slog:

Since the end of World War II, American workers have met the challenges of increasing international competition and complexity in the world by becoming ever better at their jobs. Americans steadily have produced more per person-hour each and every year; Americans remain the most productive people on the planet. The blue line in this graph traces this trend.

What we get paid for all this excellent work has not kept pace. Americans—in real dollars (adjusted for inflation)—have not had a pay raise since the mid 1970's.

Put it together: We work harder, and better, than ever before. In a time period where we've tripled the value of what we do in an hour, our hourly salary has only crept up by inches. This is the beginning and ending of our economic woes. Workers aren't paid enough to work—not paid what they're worth.

If workers—rather than executives and owners—reaped the benefits of their productivity gains, your salary would be twice what it is right now.

Grab your last paystub and double it.

Think about what that would mean for you—your household budget, your ability to enjoy life—if you were paid what you're worth. If you own a business, think about what it would mean for you if your customers were paid what they are worth.

The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events - Page 1 - Arts - Seattle - Seattle Weekly:

With two big new biographies just published on Charles Dickens, one wonders how ACT's annual holiday staple, A Christmas Carol, might be written in 2011 instead of 1843. Victorian England was a grim place, with the Industrial Revolution creating a grossly stratified society not so different from our economic inequality today. Marley's ghost, for instance, returns from the grave to warn against the mistreatment of workers being so cruelly exploited by nascent capitalism. In today's terms, this would be like receiving regretful e-mails from the late Steve Jobs, instructing Apple to raise the salaries and cut the hours at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen. (Maybe it would take Mike Daisey to write that particular update on the novel.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Police Evicted from Occupy UC Davis after Pepper Spraying Peaceful Protesters | Slog:

The remaining students, who far outnumber the contingent of police, slowly start to encircle the officers while chanting "Shame on you!" The chants get louder and more menacing as the crowd gets closer, herding the police into a defensive huddle. Officers raise their weapons toward the crowd, warning them to back off, but at this distance and in these numbers, their riot gear would offer them little protection should the crowd suddenly charge. Sensing their advantage, the students change their chant to the more defiant "Whose university? Our university!" Tensions rise. One twitchy trigger finger and anything could happen. Then a lone voice initiates the familiar call and response of the human mic:

Voice: "Mic check!"
Crowd: "Mic check!"

Voice: "We are willing..."
Crowd: "We are willing..."

Voice: "To give you a brief moment..."
Crowd: "To give you a brief moment..."

Voice: "Of peace..."
Crowd: "Of peace..."

Voice: "In order to take your weapons..."
Crowd: "In order to take your weapons..."

Voice: "And your friends..."
Crowd: "And your friends..."

Voice: "And go."
Crowd: "And go."

Voice: "Please do not return..."
Crowd: "Please do not return..."

Voice: "We are giving you a moment of peace."
Crowd: "We are giving you a moment of peace."

The crowd then starts chanting "You can go! You can go!", and after a few moments the police turn their backs to the crowd and do exactly that, wisely taking advantage of the offered truce, and eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd.

iPhone touchscreens tarnish the legacy of Steve Jobs - Slate Magazine:

When the iPhone arrived in 2007, it was a revelation, redefining the phone and the computer in one deft swipe. With its iconic, monolithic design and touch-sensitive interface, the iPhone was science fiction made real—the beginning of a new era of gadget lust and device convergence. It was ridiculously popular, as well, dwarfing the sales of any other Apple product, and selling as many as 100 million to date. But in the past four years, the iPhone has created its own, dubious legacy. Its touchscreen transformed the way we interact with technology, and created a new industry standard for gadget design. While the multitouch capacitive display was the perfect interface for a smartphone—folding the functions of a mouse, keyboard, and desktop into a phone, without cramping the display or adding rows of buttons—its broader influence throughout the world of consumer electronics has been a minor disaster.
Day 561/365 2/2
Friendship, Tarlabaşı - Istanbul

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi | UCDavis Bicycle Barricade:

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.
Bloody Crown

Friday, November 18, 2011

Writer/Actor Danny Hoch Talks Broadway, Gentrification, People With TVs In Their Heads: Gothamist:

Do you feel like it's more of a challenge to connect with the audience? It seems like when I go to a Broadway show, it's more like watching a movie than the theater I normally go to see downtown or in Brooklyn.

Well, I've been doing a little analysis of the audiences in this show versus audiences in Off Broadway theaters and regional theaters around the country. I think the majority of the audience that comes in on most nights—not all nights, but most nights—actually thinks they're coming to see a movie. And some of the reactions are as if they're watching a movie!

Audiences are weird. I think sometimes there's this mythification that happens with any kind of celebrity, and I think automatically people say, "there's this celebrity" and "there's that celebrity" and all of a sudden, what they're seeing is on a movie screen. It's not real even if they stop them outside the theater to ask them for an autograph. I've seen it happen. You can't often have a conversation because people are...they have a TV screen in their head, and nothing is really real. But that's not all audiences. Some audiences are really, really intimately engaged in a very different way and we can tell as a cast which audiences are sort of smarter and more sophisticated and really connected, and which of the audiences are just watching a movie. Those are a dead giveaway, when the curtain comes up and people are laughing immediately. Like nervous laughter, it's like "Oh, that's the TV crowd."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comment: Whose Police? : The New Yorker:

The Occupy movement has become a worldwide phenomenon, but it began in New York, and is deeply rooted here; and, sadly, the ham-fisted practice of responding to it with excesses of police force are now also identified with New York. In particular, it was the white-shirted brass of the N.Y.P.D.—to whom the people of the city have extended extraordinary trust and sympathy and power in the decade since the September 11th attacks—who led the charge, punching, kicking, and batoning protesters with gusto in their early confrontations. At times, in September and October, it seemed as if the police violence was intended to provoke the protesters to respond in kind, and it was remarkable how few took the bait. At other times, it seemed as if the police must secretly be on the side of the protesters, because whenever cops would have at them public sympathy for O.W.S. flourished, the encampments grew, and the leaderless movement’s broad complaints—above all, America’s gross and growing economic inequality—got established more firmly as defining themes of our national debate.

Since O.W.S. took over Zuccotti Park in mid-September, there have been well over a thousand arrests of protesters. But only one police officer has been disciplined for the chronic misconduct (a mild world for thuggery) that we’ve seen in confrontation after confrontation: Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, who was caught on video blasting pepper-spray into the faces of captive women in September. From the start, many of the protesters have attempted to appeal to the cops as fellow members of the ninety-nine per cent, urging them to serve the public that employs them rather than the Bloomberg oligarchy that O.W.S. portrays (all too often convincingly) as a protection racket for the one-per-centers. But the overkill of this week’s crackdown left many protesters chanting “Fuck the police”—and it should be noted that on the level of verbal violence, too, police often struck first, charging into the park, yelling at everyone to “Move the fuck out.”



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleepless In Zuccotti: Occupiers Confront New Park Regulations: Gothamist:

Despite earlier signage indicating a 10 p.m. curfew in Zuccotti Park after yesterday's eviction and cleaning, the NYPD clarified that protesters will be allowed to stay in the park 24 hours a day. However, "lying down" remains prohibited, making it difficult for those who have made the park their home to sleep there. One man skirted the rule by sleeping in a semi-upright position. Another who identified himself as homeless curled up in the fetal position on a bench. Two NYPD officers approached him within minutes, and jabbed him in the ribs with their hands. "Sit up. You can't lie down. No sleeping."
The effects of the raid and new rules are apparent: this morning, there were roughly 100 people in the park total, with a ratio of press to protesters of 1:1. After one man passed out from exhaustion, he was surrounded by journalists before the police and sanitation minders in the park could even react. Roughly every 20 minutes, there is a dispute with the park's security over what constitutes a "small" bag, as those entering with the ambiguous larger-than-legal parcels are routinely denied entry.

MacNN | Apple meets with Chinese groups to talk supplier polllution:

EnviroFriends director Li Li says she was happy that Apple took time out for the meeting, but complains that the company is continuing to foist responsibility onto suppliers, and lacks a sincere attitude. The company is also said to have admitted that 15 out of 27 identified polluters were indeed Apple suppliers, but refused to say which names were right. "Apple said they had already spoken to 11 supply firms and asked them to reform, and they’re in the process of initiating communications with the other four," according to Li.

"We Are All Beautiful Losers And Artists And Creators And Puppeteers In Berlin":

Haha! I love New York, it's so insulated and strange now.

Me? I'm AMAZING. Thanks for asking. As you know, I have been in BERLIN for seven years now, just creating and living and being a fully realized artist, novelist, and lead singer. It's crazy I know. But I just have so much TIME there because unlike you (well not really YOU-you but people like you) I haven't had to scrounge around and take career-compromising odd pathetic assignments and gigs to pay for my overpriced life and instead I can really become a fully expressive ARTIST in BERLIN.

I mean I am not trying to really diss New York. It's just, well, over. And I know you agree with me. The luxury condos, the lack of dance clubs, the NYU robots, the Nanny-culture. In BERLIN, it's different. It's different in BERLIN. We don't ascribe to the narrowed, uptight, fitted, fashiony ideology that seems to have taken over this city. For instance, the other day I woke up in my apartment (I live in a huge former button factory on the Fingerstrasse for which I am charged about 60 dollars) and I decided I would just walk down the street with a teacup on my head! And no one even looked! Because we are all beautiful losers and artists and creators and puppeteers in BERLIN!


Back At Zuccotti: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Face New Security Checks, Tent-less Days And Nights: Gothamist:

When discussing the eviction, Mayor Bloomberg cited public safety and health issues, plus the fact that "no right is absolute". Tonight, OWS released a statement after its General Assembly meeting, "The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building, and making headway... We will push back against billionaire Michael Bloomberg and any politician who wantonly tramples on proud American freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition for change," with those gathered chanting via the people's mic, "They showed us their power. And we're showing them ours."

In this post-raid environment, food was being served outside of the park, by people carrying it around on makeshift trays. The library is back, but it's being protected by umbrellas after the police called a plastic covering a tarp. As for what protesters will do without sleeping bags and tents, some churches have to take in those needing shelter. It's unclear how strictly police will try to enforce a "no lying down" or "no sleeping upright" policy—some people are being confronted.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On artists making a living and artistic directors that could make a difference but don’t | Jumper:

I remember hearing Michael Halberstam at Writers’ Theater in Chicago speak at a TCG conference (at a brilliant session with Mike Daisey discussing his insightful and rather incendiary work How Theater Failed America) and learning that Writers’ Theater had long ago made a commitment to invest in actors (and local ones at that) and pay wages comparable to the wages paid by larger theaters. It sounded so right when I heard it, and it was clear that in this room filled with artistic and managing directors from around the country that Michael Halberstam was considered a radical for doing this.

Why is it an outlandish idea to pay as much as you can to the artists and to keep administrative or other production costs as low as possible in order to do so?
And why do we accept this strange idea that doing a play with more than 5 characters is going to bankrupt a theater with a $5- or $10- or $15 million operating budget?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy Seattle Disrupts Pro-Occupy Wall Street Forum, Drives Away Supporters | Slog:

Dodson, however, politely explained that labor unions are part and parcel with the Occupy movement's push for economic reform. "I like to consider myself a union activist, not a union bureaucrat," she said. "This is labor’s fight, this is our fight."

Whatever further insight the speakers planned for the 90-minute event was then cut short when the woman ran on stage. Activists had planned to interrupt the panel because, some said, they opposed the power dynamic created by speakers on stage talking into microphones. Although Occupy Wall Street uses the belabored people's mic—which involves one person speaking and the crowd repeating everything—to amplify the soft spoken and encourage free speech, last night it was used to silence the panel. The call and-response created an echoing cacophony. Despite pleas from several older audience members who couldn't hear well to let the panelists proceed, the Occupy activists demanded a vote to overtake the forum.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

West Breakwater
The Agony and Ecstasy—and 'Disgrace'—of Steve Jobs | The Nation:

Apple is a wonderful company for its customers and investors. So, too, Pixar. (NeXT, not so much…) But Apple is also an engine of misery for its subcontracted Chinese workers. That this story went largely unreported during Jobs’s life is a testament to how enthralled our media are by the myth of the man’s talismanic qualities, and how easily manipulated most reporters are by wealthy, successful entrepreneurs. But it is also a testament to how little the lives of laborers appear to count anymore. It fell to the monologist Mike Daisey, who created and stars in the brilliant one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, now at the Public Theater in New York City, to force this issue into public consciousness. Daisey traveled to the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, which employs 420,000 people to manufacture products for Apple and other electronics and computer companies, to talk with the workers (unlike the Wired magazine reporter who, Daisey scathingly notes, penned a 3,300-word cover story on the plant without speaking to a single worker). Daisey’s mission was risky—a photographer was recently beaten up by the company’s guards—but he was determined, having heard about abuses at Foxconn. There, thirty-four-hour shifts, beatings, child labor, an epidemic of suicides and a general prison-camp atmosphere prevailed, and even yawning could get your (meager) pay docked. He met one worker whose hand had been “permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads.” When Daisey showed the man his iPad, it was the first time he had ever seen one turned on. He thought it was “magic.”
MARISSA MAIER on the last thing that made her say ‘Wow!’:

As it happened, it had occurred just a few weeks ago at The Public Theatre on Lafayette, where I was seeing Mike Daisey’s new one-man show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” played at a heart-popping level as the audience shuffled into the small theater. As I made my way to my seat, I passed the small stage with its two props: a glass of water and a desk. Those two everyday items, in that context, were what prompted my “Wow.”

Those were the favored props my stepfather, Spalding Gray, used when he performed. When I was growing up, my family and I spent countless hours watching him rehearse, tech and perform his monologues, until what had seemed to us at the time to be trivial moments in a day were spun into a beautiful story of humor, heartbreak and love.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Fearful Apple Trains All New Retail Managers on 'Union Awareness': SFist:

In an effort to quiet union tinkering by Apple store employees, something that almost happened earlier this year, all new Apple store managers must take "union awareness" classes starting today. In a company document obtained by CNET, the Cupertino, California-based company posted curious information about a training course that reeks of anti-unionization. Behold:

"This course is intended to provide managers with a practical understanding of how unions affect the workplace, how and why employees organize, and the legal do's and don'ts of dealing with unions," the training description reads. "This is a mandatory class for all new managers, and is required biannually for all managers."

The posting adds that the course "is a great opportunity to meet our legal team and ask any questions you may have."

Apple store employees, like many retail workers, have complained of long hours and low pay. They're also beholden to unique sect-like rules. For example, "the constant threat of censure for something as trivial as saying 'unfortunately' too much."
Piano en el mar

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Love Minus Zero: From A to Z:

Speaking of that, if you live anywhere near New York you should make a trip to the Public to see The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Daisey's current monologue, which toggles back and forth among his personal history of semi-obsessive interaction with computers (especially Apple products), Steve Jobs' biography (which includes the rise-fall-and-rise of Apple, of course), and the progression of Apple's/America's involvement with electronics manufacturing in China, as viewed through the lense of Daisey's research visit to Shenzhen. It is amazing, alive, and astonishingly powerful. And it's been extended through December 4.

End Bonuses for Bankers -

Critics like the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators decry the bonus system for its lack of fairness and its contribution to widening inequality. But the greater problem is that it provides an incentive to take risks. The asymmetric nature of the bonus (an incentive for success without a corresponding disincentive for failure) causes hidden risks to accumulate in the financial system and become a catalyst for disaster. This violates the fundamental rules of capitalism; Adam Smith himself was wary of the effect of limiting liability, a bedrock principle of the modern corporation.

Bonuses are particularly dangerous because they invite bankers to game the system by hiding the risks of rare and hard-to-predict but consequential blow-ups, which I have called “black swan” events. The meltdown in the United States subprime mortgage market, which set off the global financial crisis, is only the latest example of such disasters.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011


The ongoing debate about the continued need for a Mac Pro is really about the changing nature of Apple's identity as a company. The removal of "Computer" from the company name, and the changes to the Mac OS to make it more iOS-like, and the withdrawal from the rack-mounted server market are all indications that Apple has chosen to focus more on the low cost, large volume consumer market and less on the high cost, small volume creative professional market of scientists, engineers, architects, graphic designers, and professional video and audio producers. As long as Apple can continue to appeal to both groups, it will. But, if forced to choose, I think we all see how that's going to turn out.
curve (Explored)
Atomic Sunset
Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0 | Feature | Oakland, Berkeley & Bay Area News & Arts Coverage:

The phone calls came almost daily. It started to get creepy.

"Hi, this is Mike from Yelp," the voice would say. "You've had three hundred visitors to your site this month. You've had a really good response. But you have a few bad ones at the top. I could do something about those."

This wasn't your average sales pitch. At least, not the kind that John, an East Bay restaurateur, was used to. He was familiar with, the popular San Francisco-based web site in which any person can write a review about nearly any business. John's restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: "We can move them. Well, for $299 a month." John couldn't believe what the guy was offering. It seemed wrong.

In fact, something seemed shady about the state of his restaurant's negative reviews. "When you do get a call from Yelp, and you go to the site, it looks like they have been moved," John said. "You don't know if they happen to be at the top legitimately or if the rep moved them to the top. You don't even know if this is someone who legitimately doesn't like your restaurant. ... Almost all the time when they call you, the bad ones will be at the top."

Usually, John said, he would politely decline to advertise. "Well, thanks," he'd say. "I'll talk to my partner about it." Or, "It's not really in my budget right now." But inevitably, in another week or so, he'd get another phone call. Occasionally, the voice on the other end of the phone would change, but the calls continued. These days, John chooses to not answer his phone when it's from a number with a 415 area code.

I have had my own run-ins with the Yelpsters--they can be absolutely horrid.

"...and then he called me a hipster piss-ant" | Line Out:

Zack tells me about an incident at Porchlight last Tuesday where a customer started calling when he opened at 7 am to complain about an employee who was allegedly too disinterested in his questions the day before. Zack tried to hear him out and apologize at first, saying that maybe the girl working had been having a bad day, until the man offhandedly mentioned that he calls places often to complain. Since the shop was in a morning rush and too busy for the extended phone conversation the man wanted to have, he agreed somewhat aggressively to call back later. But after calling back three times in ten minute intervals, more aggravated with each attempt, he barked that he could "hear the smirking over the phone" and proceeded to call Zack a "hipster piss-ant," demanding he should give him free coffee to "make things right." Zack responded that he was finished talking to the man and that his patronage was no longer welcome. The man responded that "You don't even know what I look like," and threatened to come in with a bat. Feeling like he should report the incident due to the escalating hostility, Zack called the non-emergency SPD line and an officer was dispatched.

After listening to the story, the officer retrieved the number from the caller ID and proceeded to tell the man he was the Porchlight regional manager, and to come to the store and they'd settle everything. "I think the guy thought he was getting free stuff," said Zack. When the average looking 30-something man with a fluffy white dog came down and identified himself, several officers stopped him and gave him a harsh warning never to come back and to stop harassing business owners. So it leaves the question: where do you draw the line between addressing reasonable customer complaints vs. crazy people with too much time on their hands and a warped sense of entitlement?

Apple's aesthetic dichotomy | Made by Many:

When one talks about Apple's design, one immediately thinks of Jony Ive's modernist, rational industrial designs for computers, peripherals, and of course the iPad and iPhone.

These devices have become increasingly simple and pared down, even as the power contained in them has increased. There is very little, if anything, extraneous on the Magic Trackpad or the MacBook Air. And of course the iPhones 4 and 4S are radically simple, yet well-constructed masterpieces of industrial design.

But there's something I've puzzled about for a long time in Apple's aesthetic. Inside these unsentimental, rational, economic designs, Apple has delivered an increasingly sacchirine series of

Julian Assange would agree with that—I wonder how many people agree with the sentiment above, but would condemn Wikileaks.