Lessons From Grain Merchants

Grain merchants met in the new office of W.L. Whiting in March of 1848, where they discussed how to better manage the sale of agricultural products. This was the first meeting of the Chicago Board of Trade, the world's first exchange for options and futures. The city, incorporated only…

Antares Explosion Poised to Impact Private Space Transport Industry

An unmanned cargo ship bound for the International Space Station (ISS) was destroyed Tuesday evening in northeastern Virginia when the Antares rocket carrying the vehicle exploded on the launch pad. The spacecraft was owned by the Dulles-based Orbital Services Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of two private companies contracted by NASA…

Red Light Camera Use Declines Amid Vendor Problems

Traffic infraction detectors, commonly known for their specific application as “red light cameras,” have gained popularity with local governments over the last couple decades. Promoted as tools for improving public safety, RLC devices have been equally compelling to municipalities for their financial benefits, bringing in additional revenue from citations while…

Substance Is Critical

The evolution of communication technologies fundamentally affects the public's understanding and expectations for digital privacy. But in applying decades-old wiretapping law, federal judges are missing this point entirely. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced their filing yesterday of a reply brief in Smith v. Obama, one of six legal challenges…

A Brief Note on the Economic Data News Cycle

Many financial journalists keep a daybook of economic data releases, a calendar of routine publications that can be relied upon for easy content. Even on the slowest news days, chunks from these regularly scheduled statistical announcements can be tossed in a lukewarm Word document with a few topical quotations and…

FBI Fear-Mongering About Mobile Encryption is Misplaced

Earlier this month, pressure from customers and civil liberties groups prompted Apple to issue a detailed statement on its data privacy policies, specifically those relating to their cooperation with government information requests. In the wake of the Snowden Affair and other revelations of digital surveillance by law enforcement, consumer technology…

Unlike Smartphones, Smartwatches Lack Enterprise Ancestors

Over at Fast Company's Co.Labs blog, Tyler Hayes has reviews of existing smartwatch offerings in advance of Apple's anticipated announcement of a similar product tomorrow afternoon. He's thorough, highlighting major deficits in the available options. His overarching concern is perhaps the most salient observation, however: if Apple botches the…

Jazz Is Not Dead, Nor Is It Phish

Justin Moyer had a bit last month at The Washington Post where he splayed his dislike for jazz music across a pretty careless listicle, one that John Halle at Jacobin was right to malign as "pretty shoddy work." But in his non-defense, Halle argues that the loss of counter-cultural cache…

The August Jobs Report Was Weak, But Not That Weak

Results of the monthly survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were released this morning, announcing the estimation that a net total of 142,000 jobs were added to the US economy in August. This was a weak report by most accounts, since consensus expectations had been closer to 180…

Travis Kalanick Is Not Jordan Belfort

What is Uber? Salon’s Andrew Leonard lays out two possible answers: the service is either “a paragon of free-market efficiency” or “living proof” for the necesssity of commercial regulation. That is, of course, almost as absurdly hyperbolic as the Belfort/Gekko photo mashup that leads the piece. While it…

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