♥ It got really cold really quickly this month in the Northeast. For those of you who are now shopping for winter coats, Everything You Need to Know About Winter Jacket Tech from Popular Science is a must-read.
♥ WeWork Is Getting Into Workplace Fashion With Rent the Runway (Bloomberg): “Rent the Runway Inc. is opening a network of clothing drop-off boxes in 15 WeWork locations across the U.S. They will be placed in the lobbies of the co-working spaces … Normally, there’s a delay due to shipping times, but if you return it to a box, it immediately reopens a slot in your subscription and you can select something new right away. The deal marks a significant expansion for Rent the Runway’s physical presence.”
♥ Inside the $2.6 Billion Subscription Box Wars (Fast Company): “New subscription boxes are popping up every day. There are now 3,500, an increase of 40% from a year before. And a full 47% of subscription boxes launched in the past 12 months … So what’s the playbook for creating a successful subscription startup? It’s complicated, but it seems like it hinges on a business model that goes beyond making money on the box itself, and investing in content that makes the unboxing experience exciting every single time.”
♥ The Case for Abolishing the Supreme Court (Vox): “… the Court is now a blunt political instrument, used repeatedly to undermine outcomes of democratic governance — often on behalf of corporate interests … There are two components of the case for getting rid of judicial review. One is that … the people ought to be able to consider policies and then vote on them without having the courts step in and say ‘no.’ So from a democratic point of view, it’s hard to justify allowing the courts to single-handedly overrule popular will whenever they choose. The second component is that judicial review may actually impair the public’s ability to engage in serious thinking about what the Constitution means, and what we want to do in light of what we think our Constitution says. In a way, the Supreme Court simply takes on this conversation for itself, and leaves the citizenry as bystanders.”
♥ The Price of Rage (Slate): “We like stories where people get mad and teach others a lesson. But there are so many caveats: For instance, we really only celebrate anger when the angry person gets away with it. Men get away with it a lot. White men get away with it the most … As a culture, we tend to admire outbursts of temper as long as they don’t get disciplined. That’s key. When they do get disciplined—most frequently when women or people of color show anger—the culture says they had it coming. What did they expect? … The tricky thing about anger is that once it’s fully activated, it will not disperse. There are varietals of anger, of course … the kind blossoming right now in response to systemic injustice and needless cruelty—is a slow, slow burn. It does not go away. It does not dissipate. And I grieve its rising tide in this country more than I celebrate it, because it testifies to the harm that has made it bloom.”
♥ Revealing the Dark Side of Wind Power (Bloomberg): “… power available from wind is much more limited than many experts thought, and that deployment on a larger scale could significantly raise temperatures over the Earth’s surface, as turbines alter atmospheric flows. The research highlights a painful but not altogether surprising reality: Even the cleanest renewable technologies come with environmental costs … the mean power density for 411 onshore wind-power plants was 0.50 watts per square meter.”
♥ Inside Europe’s Quest to Build an Unhackable Quantum Internet (MIT Technology Review): “… data still travels over cables in the form of classical bits—a stream of electrical or optical pulses representing 1s and 0s. A hacker who manages to tap into the cables can read and copy those bits in transit … When you try to observe a qubit, its state ‘collapses’ to either 1 or 0. This … means that if a hacker taps into a stream of qubits, the intruder both destroys the quantum information in that stream and leaves a clear signal that it’s been tampered with … QuTech aim[s] to overcome these limitations … The approach they’re using is called quantum teleportation … creating a pair of qubits … in a single quantum state, so that even if they travel off in opposite directions, they retain a quantum connection. Changing the state of one photon will instantaneously change the state of the other one in a predictable way, no matter how far apart they are … Getting this to scale, however, is a massive scientific and engineering challenge … Back in 2015 … researchers managed to entangle qubits 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) apart, but the connection could be established only once an hour and lasted for a fraction of a second. In June of this year, the researchers announced they had entangled two electrons a couple of meters apart 40 times per second.”
♥ How Genetic Sleuthing Helped a Kidnapped Girl Recover Her Identity (The New York Times): “In 2015, there were about one million people on Ancestry.com. Now there are around nine million. Other sites like GEDmatch and 23andMe have grown at similar rates, which makes it much easier to use DNA to find an unknown relative — or to identify a suspect.”
♥ How to Win Florida (Politico Magazine): “Florida is the ultimate swing state, the land of the political cliffhanger. Donald Trump also won it by 1 percent over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Barack Obama won it by 1 percent over Mitt Romney in 2012. George W. Bush famously … won it by just 537 votes over Al Gore in 2000. If you add up the 50 million votes Floridians have cast in the past seven presidential elections, a mere 20,000 votes separate the two parties—about 0.04 percent … Mostly, though, Florida politics is about managing margins. More than 50 of Florida’s 67 counties are safely Republican, but the nine safely Democratic counties include the five largest: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough and Orange.”
♥ Ferragamo Shares Jump as Widow’s Death Sparks Takeover Talk (Bloomberg): “Salvatore Ferragamo SpA shares gained the most in two years as the death of the founder’s widow prompted speculation that her heirs may eventually sell their stakes in the Italian luxury shoemaker … Wanda Ferragamo died Friday at the age of 96, nearly six decades after she took over running the Florentine shoemaker … Her death ‘opens up potentially interesting scenarios’ for mergers and acquisitions … It’s one of the few remaining independent luxury companies with a historic brand that a buyer could try to rejuvenate. There are plenty of possible purchasers too: U.S. companies Michael Kors and Tapestry are trying to build fashion conglomerates, while France’s luxury behemoths are sitting on big cash piles and Chinese companies increasingly have been looking to snap up European brands.”
♥ The Future of Technology is Code (TechCrunch): “Cameras can’t get too much better than they are right now, or at least not without some rather extreme shifts in how they work … camera sensors hit physical limits much earlier … Lenses have arrived at a level of sophistication and perfection that is hard to improve on, especially at small scale … Despite experimentation here and there and the occasional outlier, smartphone cameras are pretty much the same … it is absurd to worry about the limits of computational capability at all. There are limits to how well an optical phenomenon can be replicated if you are taking shortcuts like Gaussian blurring. There are no limits to how well it can be replicated if you simulate it at the level of the photon.”
♥ Luxury Takes $160 Billion Hit Amid Fear of China Slowdown (Bloomberg): “With the global luxury sector reliant on Chinese demand for over a third of sales, marquee brands across Europe and Asia have been slumping as consumer confidence in the world’s second-largest economy wanes. Besides the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, sentiment in China is being depressed by rising business costs and food prices as well as employment contraction.”
♥ Morgan Stanley Banker Is Also an Uber Driver (The Wall Street Journal): “Mr. Grimes, Morgan Stanley’s top technology banker, has moonlighted for years as a driver for the ride-hailing service … Some bankers have been known to go to extreme lengths to stand out from the competition. Most start with a mastery of the numbers and fluency with entrepreneurs’ vision, but some like Mr. Grimes have gone further–he rented an apartment close to one company and studied his daughter’s internet habits to get familiar with another.”
♥ Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination (The New York Times): “Pregnancy discrimination is widespread in corporate America. Some employers deny expecting mothers promotions or pay raises; others fire them before they can take maternity leave. But for women who work in physically demanding jobs, pregnancy discrimination often can come with even higher stakes … refusing to accommodate pregnant women is often completely legal. Under federal law, companies don’t necessarily have to adjust pregnant women’s jobs, even when lighter work is available and their doctors send letters urging a reprieve.”
♥ When Asian Women Are Harassed for Marrying Non-Asian Men (The Cut): “The men harassing Asian women about their interracial relationships may not all know each other, but they are linked by a common ideology: a belief that Asian women shouldn’t date outside their race — and that as Asian men, they have the right to voice this opinion through toxic harassment.”
♥ Report: North Korea Bought $640 Million in Luxury Goods From China in 2017 (Reuters): “China does not provide breakdowns of its customs figures. Yoon compiled data based on a list of banned items crafted by Seoul in line with a 2009 U.N. resolution … The luxury items accounted for 17.8 percent of North Korea’s entire imports from China last year which totaled $3.7 billion.”
♥ Don’t Just Look at the Odds: The Math Says You Should Buy a Mega Millions Ticket (Slate): “The value of a ticket … can be found by multiplying the probability of getting a certain prize by the value of the prize itself, repeating for all potential prizes, and then adding your results. If we consider just the jackpot, we multiply the incredibly large prize ($1.6 billion) by the incredibly small odds of winning (1 in 302 million) and get an expected value of $5.29—definitely a lot more than the $2 cost of a ticket.”
♥ Why Burberry Suddenly Seems Obsessed With the Number 17 (Bloomberg): “Burberry’s first runway show by designer Riccardo Tisci started Sept. 17 at the 17th hour of the day … 17 is Tisci’s lucky number, and Burberry Group Plc is getting on board. The U.K. fashion brand says it’s releasing limited-edition capsule collections on the 17th of every month.”
♥ The Problem With Probiotics (The New York Times): “Probiotics have the potential to improve health, including by displacing potentially harmful bugs. The trouble is that the proven benefits involve a very small number of conditions, and probiotics are regulated less tightly than drugs … Certain strains were found useful in preventing diarrhea among children being prescribed antibiotics. A 2013 review showed that after antibiotic use, probiotics help prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. A review focused on acute infectious diarrhea found a benefit, again for certain strains of bacteria at controlled doses. There’s also evidence that they may help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis and death in preterm infants … Those somewhat promising results — for very specific uses of very specific strains of bacteria in very specific instances — are just about all the ‘positive’ results you can find.”
♥ Why Kodak Died and Fujifilm Thrived: A Tale of Two Film Companies (PetaPixel): “The critical element in Fujifilm’s success is diversification … the company was able to predict the boom of LCD screens and invested heavily in this market … Today, FUJITAC owns 70% of the market for protective LCD polarizer films … The company also targeted unexpected markets like cosmetics. The rationale behind cosmetics comes from the 70 years of experience in gelatin, the chief ingredient of photo film which is derived from collagen … Fujifilm also possessed deep knowhow in oxidation, a process connected both to the aging of human skin and to the fading of photos over time. Thus, Fujifilm launched a makeup line in 2007 called Astalift … Based on technological synergies, it acquired Toyoma Chemical in 2008 to enter the drug business … Whereas in 2000, 60% of its sales and two-thirds of the profit came from the film ecosystem, in 2010 the Imaging division accounted for less than 16% of the revenue … While Fujifilm invested heavily in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector to reduce its exposure to the challenging photo industry, Kodak sold its highly profitable Healthcare Imaging branch in 2007 to put more resources into its losing consumer camera division.”
♥ Recently purchased: Madewell Bubble-Sleeve Cableknit Cardigan Sweater, BP. Reversible Houndstooth & Grid Scarf, and Lou & Grey Frida Faux Fur Hooded Jacket.
♥ Sales of note: Hundreds of new styles have been added to Shopbop‘s sale section; also worth browsing is Nordstrom‘s sale section which has been stocked with new markdowns.