Solutions in search of problems…

From The Three Hot Trends in Silicon Valley Horseshit, by Freddie DeBoer:

“The basic idea here is that 40 years of stagnant wages, the decline of unions, the death of middle class blue collar jobs, the demise of pensions, and a general slide of the American working world into a PTSD-inducing horror show of limitless vulnerability has been too easy on workers. I’m sorry, Doers, or whatever the fuck. The true beauty of these ads is that they are all predicated on mythologizing the very workers who their service is intended to immisserate. Sorry about your medical debt; here’s a photo of a model who we paid in “exposure” over ad copy written by an intern who we paid in college credit that cost $3,000 a credit hour. Enjoy.

The purpose of these companies is to take whatever tiny sense of social responsibility businesses might still feel to give people stable jobs and destroy it, replacing whatever remains of the permanent, salaried, benefit-enjoying workforce with an army of desperate freelancers who will never go to bed feeling secure in their financial future for their entire lives. These companies are for people who think temp agencies are too coddling and well remunerative.”

YES!!! Read the rest here.

Way Out

Did you know that Roald Dahl (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach fame) had his own creepy Twilight Zone style TV show in 1961 called Way Out? Did you know that show came about as a replacement for a game show called You’re In The Picture featuring Jackie Gleason (of The Honeymooners fame) that was apparently so bad that the second episode of the show consisted of nothing but a half hour long apology for the first episode from Gleason himself? Read all about it here:

What a way out title card.

The Fiery Curse of the Crying Boy Painting

“In the middle of the night in Thatcher-era England, a home in South Yorkshire succumbed to a fire. The lounge room was charred black, drapes and furniture reduced to ash. The owners of the home, Ron and May Hall, lost nearly everything to the blaze, except one item: a painting of a crying boy, his wide eyes looking out from the wreckage, not even blackened by smoke.

This wasn’t the first time a picture of a crying boy had been found amid the ashes of a torched home.

On September 4, 1985, British tabloid The Sun published “Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy Picture!” a story about a very unlucky painting that caused fires, supported the comments of a local fire station officer. These paintings, the firefighter said, turned up mysteriously unscathed in fires across the U.K., all of which started spontaneously. It was well-known; he would never think of owning this cursed painting himself. “The couple had laughed off warnings” that their painting was cursed, wrote The Sun. Let all other heed the warning, and get rid of their own giant paintings of crying children immediately.”

What in the hell?! I’d never heard of this! Read the rest here:

I was kind of wondering about that…

From Why is Iceland So Obsessed With Licorice? by Linni Kral

“Flowers and bees couldn’t flourish, so neither could honey. Trading ships had difficulty making it ashore in the icy Atlantic, so imports were unreliable. Licorice, on the other hand, did not need to flower to be viable—the edible portion is the root, which contains a compound 30–50 times sweeter than sucrose. In lieu of other sugar, this flavor began to predominate in the chilly climes of northern Europe, and Icelanders, too, came to rely on its strong flavor to satisfy their cravings.

But it also served functions beyond sugar fix. Considered a highly effective mucokinetic (a drug that clears mucus from the airways), licorice has been relied on by Icelandic pharmacists for centuries to combat the respiratory ailments frequently afflicting inhabitants of the subarctic, perpetually damp island. The pharmacists added it to their bespoke cough syrups and lozenges and served them to everyone from sick children to fishermen—a practice that lasted well into the 20th century, according to Icelandic food journalist Ragnar Egilsson.”

“The effects of the climate on public health (and the subsequent licorice cures) do not stop there. For centuries, local produce was practically nonexistent and as a result, the bowels of the Icelandic people were in need of some help. Luckily for them, licorice root doesn’t just thin nasal fluids. The plant, found in modern-day aperient teas, is known for its laxative properties, a trait that surely comes in handy in a country where fermented shark carcass and lamb hot dogs are the cuisine de rigueur.”

Read the rest here:

Birds do it, bees do it…

Apparently Topshop has come out with a pair of clear plastic “jeans” and the internet is freaking out about it.

Um, hello! Have you people never seen Tank Girl? These are clearly (no pun intended) designed for a flawless Jet Girl costume!

If only they had put out an orchid satin blazer and mirrored helmet to go with it! Now I’m feeling all nostalgic:

Also when ever I hear ‘Topshop” all I can think about is this:


Terms and Conditions may apply…

From Stop Using Unroll.Me, Right Now. It Sold Your Data to Uber, by Sam Biddle (italics mine):

Tucked away in a rollicking New York Times profile of amoral Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a tidbit about, a popular service that aims to rescue your email inbox from unwanted newsletters and promotional messages with an easy automated unsubscribe service. The problem is, it’s been selling you out to advertisers, and you should stop using it immediately.”

“This is a capability it’s safe to wager virtually none of’s users are aware of, let alone comfortable with. Indeed, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Jojo Hedaya, immediately penned a pro forma apology blog for the ages, in which he says he and his staff “weren’t explicit enough” about terms that allow, as’s privacy policy puts it, the company to “collect, use, transfer, sell, and disclose … transactional or relationship messages.” Hedaya joins a historic chorus of Silicon Valley executives who say what they always do when they’ve been found out: “We Can Do Better,” as the title of the CEO’s blog post declares:

I can’t stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only. To get a sense of what this data looks like and how it is used, check out the Slice Intelligence blog.

This is by all evidence false: If your privacy were important to Jojo Hedaya, the contents of your email, even if anonymized, would not be for sale. Were he ever serious about keeping your inbox private, an apology blog wouldn’t have been needed to begin with. (Hedaya and his co-founder could not be reached for comment.)”

Read the rest here:

Also relevant (italics mine):

“The CEO of has now published a blog post defending its business practices that were called out in the NY Times piece on Uber. Specifically, the post refers to the fact that sold anonymized data it gathered from people’s inboxes to Uber. The data consisted of receipts for Lyft rides, which Uber used to build competitive counter-models. This data is likely very valuable in the right context — akin to an app analytics service for people’s spending habits.

Selling anonymized data is not uncommon for free services like and its owner Slice — Slice even pitches its powerful data set publicly. But many appear to feel shocked that they were not more clearly informed that if you are not paying with money you still have to pay somehow. CEO Jojo Hedaya said that it was “heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service.”

He made no indications that it would alter this practice in the future.”

Read the rest here: