Weekly Link Roundup

J. Crew recently added dozens of new styles to its sale section, including the Short-Sleeve Trench Dress in Italian Stretch Wool that was a new arrival mere weeks ago. You can sweeten the price by using the store-wide 30% off code, WKND. Some sale styles are final sale, so proceed with caution. More sale picks: Long-Sleeve Everyday Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, Tie-Waist Shirtdress in Stripe, Quilted Downtown Field Jacket, Double-Breasted Cardigan Coat in Supersoft Yarn, Tissue Turtleneck T-Shirt in Floral, and Pencil Skirt in Polka Dot Textured Tweed.

Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism?” (Vogue): “… values compete. And ethical values lose some of their charge when they’re thrown into contention with the elemental shopping values.”

Made for Next to Nothing. Worn by You? (The New York Times): “Home work — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory, often for a subcontractor who is then employed by a supplier for an established company or brand — has long been a cornerstone of the fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.”

Yelp Elite Are Becoming Obsolete (Eater): “During … Yelp’s cultural peak in 2011, one study showed that independent restaurants who see a one-star bump in their Yelp rating also see a significant jump in revenue … But over the past few years, a new, even-thirstier-for-attention internet archetype has emerged: the Instagram influencer … The power of said influencers is undeniable: Restaurants often partner directly with them to get more butts in seats, giving rise to the marketing strategy of simply ‘going viral’ … with stunt-y foods like birthday cake croissants and obnoxiously over-garnished milkshakes.”

‘Flesh and Blood Robots for Amazon’: They Raid Clearance Aisles and Resell It All Online for a Profit (The Washington Post): “While the idea to buy something cheap and sell it at a higher price is age-old, the concept of retail arbitrage has emerged in the digital age … The term seems to be having a moment. In December, according to Google Trends, searches for ‘retail arbitrage’ spiked on YouTube, where aficionados post videos of their shopping and reselling sprees.”

Wardrobe NYC’s Unusual Proposition: Luxury in Bulk (The Business of Fashion): “Wardrobe NYC operates on an unusual retail model: small collections are available to buy online only in packs of usually four and eight pieces, ranging in price from $500 to $3000.”

Crypto CEO Dies Holding Only Passwords That Can Unlock Millions in Customer Coins (Bloomberg): “As is often the case with crypto, the episode has raised speculation on Reddit’s online forums, where posters are wondering aloud if the business was a scam, calling for class-action lawsuits and even concocting conspiracy theories that call into question whether the CEO is even deceased. The latest online speculation suggests that Quadriga CX funds have been moving — even though the firm claims they can’t get access.”

‘Nobody Likes Valentine’s Day Anymore.’ Retailers, Florists Cash In on ‘Galentine’s Day,’ a Ladies-Only Spin (The Wall Street Journal): “Only 51% of Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, down from a high of 63% in 2007 … younger consumers associate Valentine’s with their parents … Galentine’s, by contrast, is ‘about celebrating friendships and each other,’ … Retailers are eager to tap into the trend.”

Electricity Does Not Change Poor Lives as Much as Was Thought (The Economist): “If electricity and light truly transformed people’s lives, it might make sense to offer large subsidies for solar systems and grid connections or even to give them away. It might bring benefits that people could not have imagined. Or they might know about the benefits but be unable to afford the upfront cost. But there is little evidence of this. Another study … found that Rwandans who were given solar lamps responded by lighting their households more brightly, for more hours each day. They burned less kerosene, and their children studied a little more, especially at night. But the adults’ working lives changed hardly at all. Solar lamps appear not to rescue people from poverty.”

Why Do Smart People Send Nudes? (The Atlantic): “According to researchers, the smart and powerful probably aren’t any less prone to sexting than the rest of us. Human history suggests that you can’t intellectualize your way out of being horny, no matter how much you’d like to.”

♥ An excellent AskReddit thread: Which Historical Figure Would Be the Most Obnoxious Instagram “Influencer”?

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America (The Atlantic): “The collapse of communism in the other post-Soviet states, along with China’s turn toward capitalism, only added to the kleptocratic fortunes that were hustled abroad for secret safekeeping. Officials around the world have always looted their countries’ coffers and accumulated bribes. But the globalization of banking made the export of their ill-gotten money far more convenient than it had been—which, of course, inspired more theft. By one estimate, more than $1 trillion now exits the world’s developing countries each year in the forms of laundered money and evaded taxes.”

Whose Facade Is It, Anyway? (Curbed): “The act of photography might feel like appreciation to some, but when it is done without true acknowledgment, consideration, or respect for the subject, it is just an act of collection.”

The World Might Actually Run Out of People (Wired): “… the UN forecasting model inputs three things: fertility rates, migration rates, and death rates. It doesn’t take into account the expansion of education for females or the speed of urbanization … The UN says they’re already baked into the numbers. But when I went and interviewed [the demographer] Wolfgang Lutz in Vienna … All he was doing was adding one new variable to the forecast: the level of improvement in female education. And he comes up with a much lower number for global population in 2100, somewhere between 8 billion and 9 billion … Lutz has this saying that the most important reproductive organ for human beings is your mind. That if you change how someone thinks about reproduction, you change everything. Based on his analysis, the single biggest effect on fertility is the education of women.”

“Do We Want to Be in Business?” The Strange, Never-Ending Saga of MoviePass (The Ringer): “What MoviePass was doing was a gift from the heavens, as far as users were concerned. But in the eyes of business analysts, it was downright offensive … Most subscription companies are founded on a breakage model, meaning their revenue comes from those who subscribe but never actually use the service. In 2018, MoviePass’s business plan, too, relied greatly on breakage, but Pachter says they were obviously never going to benefit from a lack of usage.”

Her Title: Cryptologic Technician. Her Occupation: Warrior. (The New York Times): “Since 2016, combat jobs have been open to female service members, and they have been permitted to try out for Special Operations units. More than a dozen have completed the Army’s Ranger school, one of the most challenging in the military. Some have graduated from infantry officer courses, and even command combat units. And in November, a woman completed the Army’s grueling Special Forces Assessment and Selection course, the initial step to becoming a Green Beret … [but] an unspoken truth … [is that] for many years women have been doing military jobs as dangerous, secretive and specialized as anything men do.”

♥ Recently purchased: Madewell High Waist Camo Cargo Pants, Ann Taylor Mila Scalloped Suede Pumps, LOFT Modern Trench Coat, and Endless Summer by Free People Ruffle Maxi Dress.

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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