In the News 17.11.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Thursday 17th November, 2016
To Understand Facebook, Study Capgras Syndrome
We start with the case of a woman who experienced unbearable tragedy. In 1899, this Parisian bride, Madame M., had her first child. Shockingly, the child was abducted and substituted with a different infant, who soon died. She then had twin girls. One grew into healthy adulthood, while the other, again, was abducted, once more replaced with a different, dying infant. She then had twin boys. One was abducted, while the other was fatally poisoned.
Madame M. searched for her abducted babies; apparently, she was not the only victim of this nightmarish trauma, as she often heard the cries of large groups of abducted children rising from the cellars of Paris.
As if all this pain was not enough, Madame M.’s sole surviving child was abducted and replaced with an imposter of identical appearance. And soon the same fate befell Madame M.’s husband. The poor woman spent days searching for her abducted loved ones, attempting to free groups of other abducted children from hiding places, and starting the paperwork to divorce the man who had replaced her husband.
Read the rest of this article at Nautilus
To Mars, Not A Moment Too Soon
Monday night was the début of “Mars,” a six-episode miniseries on the National Geographic network, produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and others. In it, humans travel to Mars and establish a home. It’s a tempting idea. All summer, when I needed a break from election anxiety, I watched documentaries about space, contemplating its vastness, its quiet, its relative lack of human folly. “Mars,” in a format that combines fact and fiction, is part documentary about the real-life preparatory efforts happening now, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture and the astronaut Scott Kelly’s yearlong stay at the International Space Station, and part narrative drama, set in 2033, about the first manned trip, with an international crew. Directed by Everardo Gout, it wears its unusual format lightly, making us comfortable with its strangeness and audacity; if nothing else, it helps you begin to visualize life on Mars.
“I think that the majority of people who go will go for years, not a lifetime,” Howard told me recently, in SoHo. “They’ll go and they’ll make money and send it home. And they’ll have a great experience that will differentiate them when they return to life, to Earth, for the rest of their lives.” He looked focussed, intent. “But there will be people who are born there who will become Martians.” Howard was in town for a special “Mars” screening, panel, and party. In person, he reminded me of many eras of himself: the homespun earnestness of Richie Cunningham; the wise tone of his narration on “Arrested Development”; some small hint of Winthrop, in “The Music Man.” (“I wound up singing ‘Wells Fargo Wagon’ on a talk show the other day,” he said.) Talking about colonizing Mars, Howard sounded quite reasonable.
Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker
You Are Helping Shape the Internet
For better or for worse, if you’re reading this, you’re participating in a vast sociological experiment. It’s easy to forget—or never realize in the first place—that the internet, or more accurately the web interface built on the internet infrastructure, is the world’s first true mass communication channel. Sure, television, radio, newspapers, and books played similar roles as tools to distribute media content from producers to audiences. But the pre-web media world’s relatively rigid relationships between producers and audiences gave broadcasters and print publishers far more top-down power to sway public opinion. The internet’s participatory design profoundly warped this old limitedfeedback model. With increased competition, audiences get more options. And with every click, stream, and purchase, they’ve begun to shape what’s clicked on, streamed, and purchased by others. They’ve even become producers themselves
Read the rest of this article at Slate
Business Beyond Brexit
The election of Donald Trump shocked many observers, but those of us watching from the United Kingdom had a distinct sense of déjà vu. In June, when U.K. residents voted to leave the European Union (the British exit, or “Brexit”), pollsters had mostly anticipated a victory for the “remain” side. Now business leaders have to figure out their way forward in a geopolitical landscape that barely resembles the one from a year ago. The primary lesson for major companies: You need to prepare yourself for several years of uncertainty. If yours is a global company, with operations in countries on both sides of the Atlantic, you may also need to rethink your approaches to managing people, expanding into new territories, maintaining your geographic footprint, and improving your company’s reputation.
Whereas the U.S. political transition will take a few months, the British government and the E.U. will spend the next several years negotiating a divorce that balances their economic, political, and social interests. Governments and businesses in other countries will be watching closely, if not intervening. The terms of exit and the trade deals that will follow will be unprecedented in their complexity, and there are no clear rules to follow.
Read the rest of this article at Strategy + Business
Nasty Gal: What Went Wrong?
The bankruptcy of the #Girlboss-fuelled retailer is a cautionary tale for both fashion startups and investors alike.
LOS ANGELES, United States — When news broke last week that Los Angeles-based apparel brand Nasty Gal was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the retail and tech communities were not particularly surprised. There had long been rumblings that, after raising $65 million in venture capital funding, Nasty Gal was on the block.
Chief architect Sophia Amoruso had already distanced herself from the company she founded as a vintage eBay shop in 2006, focusing instead on the #Girlboss media platform created in response to the success of her 2014 memoir of the same name, which is currently being adapted into a Netflix series set to premiere in 2017.
But Nasty Gal, which sells trendy wares with an edge to Gen Z and millennials, said in a release that filing for bankruptcy protection would not result in any immediate changes to the company’s day-to-day operations. “Our decision to initiate a court-supervised restructuring will enable us to address our immediate liquidity issues, restructure our balance sheet and correct structural issues including reducing our high occupancy costs and restoring compliance with our debt covenants,” said Sheree Waterson, Nasty Gal’s chief executive officer.
Many of Nasty Gal’s vendors were owed several thousands of dollars in back payments. Some were owed more than $100,000. Ashley Glasson, director of Los Angeles-based contemporary label LNA, which has sold its artfully draped t-shirts to the retailer for about a year, knew something was wrong when the orders Nasty Gal was placing were not being approved by factors, who provide invoice financing services.
“They were placing really large orders up front, and seemed to be really behind the brand, with a great team of people working on the buying side,” Glasson explains. “We were having great sell-throughs, then getting paid just turned into a non-existent process.”
As the bills stacked up — with a balance into the six figures — Glasson became reluctant to ship goods. A few weeks ago, LNA received a call saying that Nasty Gal was “holding off” on its latest order. “That’s when you can tell,” Glasson says. “Unfortunately this isn’t the first time this has happened to us.” The situation echoed that of Scoop NYC, the contemporary retail chain that was forced to close all 17 locations in May 2016.
Read the rest of this article at BOF