Why Netflix is Winning:
When Netflix announced their new DVD division, Qwikster, back in 2011, I thought it was the beginning of the end for Reed Hastings and his company. It wasn’t just the ill-conceived Qwikster, I saw a new landscape where established powers would collude, as in the case of Hulu, and squeeze dot com upstarts out of the business.
Boy was I wrong.
The charts above demonstrate Netflix’s incredible run in 2013. Here’s the New York Post reporting on the numbers:
In the third quarter, Netflix wooed 1.3 million new US subscribers and reported revenue of $1.1 billion, which was 22 percent above its third-quarter number last year. When those data were announced Oct. 21, Netflix stock soared 10 percent, to $393, after ours.
Janney Capital media analyst Tony Wible recently wrote in a report to investors that he is maintaining a “buy” rating on Netflix and sees a price of $450 as fair value. (Netflix closed on Friday at $368.97, up 4.1 percent on the week.
It’s more of the same: old industry stalwarts, too afraid to cut in on their sacred cow, in this case cable, allowing upstarts into the business. If computer companies thought this way, we wouldn’t have the Commodore 64 (Vic 20), the IBM PC (mainframe computers), the Macintosh (Apple II), Netflix streaming (DVDs), or the iPad (Macintosh) - for fear that adopting new technologies and approaches would cut too far into the margins of a company’s previous successes (in parenthesis).
It’s time for media to start thinking like technology companies. Netflix is, and they’re winning.
[Images: Charts via Quartz]
Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, the masterminds behind the brilliant web series High Maintenance, count down their own favorite masters of the art form from this year.
Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.
As South Sudan, the world’s newest country, veers dangerously close to ethnic civil war, we’re already getting a glimpse of the international crises that could greet us in the new year. Now the Center for Preventive Action, an affiliate of the Council on Foreign Relations, has presented a more comprehensive view, releasing its annual forecast of the conflicts that could pose the greatest threat to the United States in 2014.
The survey, which asked more than 1,200 U.S. government officials, academics, and experts to assess the impact and likelihood of 30 scenarios, divides the results into three tiers of risk. And some of the findings are alarming. Beyond the familiar flashpoints—military intervention in Syria’s civil war, strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities—the report raises concerns about overlooked threats ranging from turmoil in Jordan to civil war in Iraq to a border clash between China and India. The study is also notable for the risks it downplays, including armed confrontation between China and its neighbors over territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.
The most threatening and most likely conflicts (in red) include some you might expect: limited military intervention in Syria’s deteriorating civil war; a cyberattack on critical infrastructure in the U.S.; military strikes against Iran if nuclear talks fail or Tehran advances its nuclear program; a North Korean crisis sparked by military provocation or internal political instability; a major terrorist attack on the U.S. or an ally; and greater turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan as U.S. troops withdraw from the region and Afghanistan holds elections.
Read more. [Image: Center For Preventive Action/Council on Foreign Relations]
Source: The Atlantic
Photo Credit: “Trading Places”, 1983 Paramount Pictures.
I don’t know why this (ARTICLE) is bothering me so much today. I read a few days ago on Huff Post. I guess it because I love both cities. For anyone living in either city the report is nothing new, but if you take look at the census graph they put together looking at the wealth gap between 1990 to 2012 it’s a sobering visual.
Pressure bust pipes…
Saw this in the comments section from Dan K. (MrBadExample):
"The Economic Policy Institute did a study last year on what sort of income it takes to cover the rent, utilities, insurance and food for a New York family of four. Minimum was $93K (nothing for savings or vacations in that budget, btw). Housing is the main thing driving costs. Brooklyn isn’t all that far behind.
A large part of what’s driving up NYC’s housing costs (besides a creeping decontrol of rent-stabilized units) is the fact that many corporations and wealthy individuals feel they need to have a footprint in Manhattan or North Brooklyn. Thus many of those apartments are sitting empty much of the time. And because these aren’t ‘residences’ per se, the city isn’t getting income or sales taxes. This was all due to a policy the Bloomberg Administration has aggressively pushed to get luxury development going in NYC and Brooklyn. And it has implications for the city’s governance for the next 50 years.”
Tensions are flaring over San Francisco’s tech-driven gentrification. Monday morning, protesters calling for an end to the increasing number of evictions, blocked a Google bus from leaving the city and shuttling its workers to the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. One Google worker inside the bus named Alejandro Villarreal, captured the scene and shared it on Instagram (pictured above).
The privately-owned Google buses (and their counterparts at companies like Facebook and Apple) have long been symbols of the city’s gentrification (a hidden map of their routes was published last January). Earlier this year, San Francisco native Rebecca Solnit published a piece in the London Review of Books on the impact of the buses. Solnit wrote:
The Google Bus means so many things. It means that the minions of the non-petroleum company most bent on world domination can live in San Francisco but work in Silicon Valley without going through a hair-raising commute by car - I overheard someone note recently that the buses shortened her daily commute to 3.5 hours from 4.5. It means that unlike gigantic employers in other times and places, the corporations of Silicon Valley aren’t much interested in improving public transport, and in fact, the many corporations providing private transport are undermining the financial basis for the commuter train. It means that San Francisco, capital of the west from the Gold Rush to some point in the 20th century when Los Angeles overshadowed it, is now a bedroom community for the tech capital of the world at the other end of the peninsula.
Read Solnit’s essay in full over at the London Review of Books. As well-paid tech workers have moved into the city, many working class residents have been forced out as both rents and evictions have increased in recent years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The protest was organized in part by a group called Heart of the City, which wrote on its website that “the city needs to declare a state of emergency, stop all no-fault evictions, and prevent tech companies from running buses in residential neighborhoods, which is driving up rents (up to 20% along their route)”
1. The Federal prison population has grown to 219,000 people, an increase of 27% over the last decade.
Since 1980, the Federal prison population has exploded by 790 percent. Almost 50% of these prisoners are there for drug offenses. According to a new report (PDF) by the Urban Institute, Federal prison overcrowding will worsen if policy changes aren’t implemented. Federal prisons that are now 35 to 40 percent over capacity could reach 55 percent over capacity by 2023. The Justice Department’s budget for the federal prison system has increased from $5 billion in 2008 to $6.9 billion today.
The Government Accountability Office released a report this month about the Bureau of Prisons. In the report, the GAO attributes the increase of the Federal prison population to several factors including mandatory minimum sentences. In an attempt to address overcrowding, this summer, Attorney General Eric Holder gave “new instructions to federal prosecutors on how they should write their criminal complaints when charging low-level drug offenders, to avoid triggering the mandatory minimum sentences.”
[The Sentencing Project published an excellent fact sheet (PDF) outlining trends in U.S. corrections for those who want to learn more the scope of incarceration. Rosa Brooks’s essay in Foreign Policy provides a good overview about theincarceration nation.]
2. We were still sterilizing women in U.S. prisons as late as 2010.
This summer, the Center on Investigative Reporting broke the story that:
Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.
From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.
The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men’s prison.
Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future
The state of California held hearings this fall to collect more information.
3. Prisons are still sites of violence and abuse.
In April 2013, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had launched an investigation of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. I had written about the allegations of abuse and violence last year. The DOJ announcement came several months after a scathing report about conditions and abuses at the prison was released by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
Tutwiler Prison was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of America’s 10 Worst Prisons earlier this year.
4. Children are still not exempt from the torture of solitary confinement.
The ACLU launched an online campaign to end the solitary confinement of children. From its petition:
Every day across the country, kids as young as 13 are held in solitary confinement with almost no human contact for days or months at a time. Solitary can amount to torture, and the consequences can be devastating for children because they are still developing—that’s why we must stop this cruelty now.
Earlier this year, we joined with 40 advocacy groups and launched a campaign to pressure Attorney General Eric Holder to ban solitary confinement for youth in federal custody—which would set an important precedent for states to follow suit. We received an initial response from decision-makers at the Department of Justice that signaled interest, but they still have not committed to a ban.
So we’re helping to shine a spotlight on this cruelty with this video—and then next week, we’ll deliver the signatures of the tens of thousands of people calling for an end to this practice. Sign the petition to add your voice to the call for justice now and help us get to 50,000 signatures—to make sure that Holder can’t ignore this issue any longer.
5. People still love TV shows and films about prison.
The show was a instant sensation and generated countless discussions and articles. In fact, In These Times Magazine ran an interesting three-part discussion. You can find it here.
10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For
Some items are in high demand at the food bank and you may not realize it. Because they aren’t essentials, the staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. A survey asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.
Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.
2. Feminine Products.
Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.
People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.
5. Canned meats and jerky.
This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.
6. Crackers and tortillas.
They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.
7. Baby toiletries.
Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.
8. Soup packets.
Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.
From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”
10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.
Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.
And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!
As a sometimes food pantry user myself and with friends who rely on them to varying degrees - I want to specifically stress some of these:
- non-food items like tp and feminine products and baby needs are SO incredibly important because 1) they are rarely donated, 2) people who have food stamps can often afford their food staples but might still need help with toiletries and cleaning items, and 3) folks who are homeless especially need that kinda stuff!
- treats! Like, yes of course, if I am in need I am appreciative of canned goods and rice and pasta and stuff. That’s great for putting together healthy meals. But everyone needs a treat once in awhile - so when there is candy or chips or a nice expensive brand of organic something or other available at the pantry - it is just so incredibly exciting.
It can be a humiliating experience to visit a pantry, and it can make you feel very much less than. So to get a treat of some sort just really really makes a difference. And believe me - there are enough loaves of bread, cans of fruit, and dried beans to go around at these places. You won’t be starving someone by donating some microwave popcorn or chocolate chips now and again. I promise!
I volunteer at a pantry and this is so accurate
Lou Reed and his wife, experimental musician Laurie Anderson in 1995 captured at Coney Island by Annie Leibovitz
Bill Bentley, Lou Reed’s former publicist and longtime friend speaks to Fresh Air about Lou’s personal demons he fought through his art:
I think there [were] a lot of questions in [Lou’s] mind of how do you become a good person? How do you fight off the demons and the devils that take you down the other road, and that was his lifelong struggle, but I think that’s also what made him such a great artist because he never backed down from it. He acknowledged it. He wrote songs about it, like what is that line between good and bad in a person? And where does it take you?
Hear the interview with Bentley, which features clips from interviews with some of Reed’s fellow musicians and collaborators HERE