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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres








"It’s hard to shake away the utterly depressing feeling that comes with news coverage these days. IDF and Hamas are at it again, a vicious cycle of violence, but this time it feels much more intense. While war rages on the ground in Gaza and across Israeli skies, there’s an all-out information war unraveling in social networked spaces. Not only is there much more media produced, but it is coming at us at a faster pace, from many more sources. As we construct our online profiles based on what we already know, what we’re interested in, and what we’re recommended, social networks are perfectly designed to reinforce our existing beliefs. Personalized spaces, optimized for engagement, prioritize content that is likely to generate more traffic; the more we click, share, like, the higher engagement tracked on the service. Content that makes us uncomfortable, is filtered out." (Medium)





"The tech giant is doing just fine, thank you very much. With $61.2 billion in cash and a market cap of $397.62 billion, it could blow 21st Century Fox out of the water if it were to enter what is currently an auction of one. But while all the speculation about such a scenario makes for great headlines, that prospect glosses over the fact that both companies are in fundamentally different businesses. The same goes for Amazon or Facebook or any of the other cash-rich Silicon Valley giants that might kick the tires of an entertainment conglom. Michael Nathanson, a media analyst with MoffettNathanson, described any such union as a 'complete culture clash,' and noted that he’s 'not sure why a tech company needs to buy a media company when they can simply license what they need.' Netflix has built up a pretty compelling suite of programming by renting content sourced from outside production companies, after all. Having shed its publishing and cable divisions, to say nothing of its former bunkmate, AOL, Time Warner is skinnier than it has been in decades. Despite its reduced waistline, it’s still less nimble than digital players. 'The typical overhead structure of traditional entertainment studios would likely not be tolerable for a digital media company,' said Mark Patricof, co-founder and CEO of Mesa Global, an investment bank focused on the media and tech sectors." (Variety)


 


"That part of New York life that NYSD covers is mainly sunning itself  hither (East End, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Maine) and yon (Aspen, Sun Valley, the Adirondacks) and even down by the riversides and on the rooftops of Manhattan, East Side and West. Otherwise, from this writer’s point of view, the city is quiet and calmer, despite the cacophony of construction vehicles often clogging the side streets, building more and taller. Barbra Streisand when she was appearing on Broadway in “Funny Girl” in 1964, and I was reminded of seeing her the second night (the night after the opening) of the show. She was already a famous recording star, an almost overnight sensation. Everything about her was compelling -- innovatively vintage, clever, witty, torchy, and even zany.

She was nineteen when she first got noticed playing a gay bar on West 9th Street called The Lion. Gay bars in those days existed but were unknown to the general population and not something that was written about in mainstream media. She’d been the hatcheck there for a couple of weeks and won an amateur night contest. The prize: a two week booking. Media didn't matter: word got around fast." (NYSD)






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"The Manhattan district attorney handed over five ancient coins to Greek officials Monday, after authorities seized the antiquities from a collector. Arnold-Peter Weiss was arrested on Jan. 3, 2012, while trying to sell three other coins—which he thought were stolen from Sicily and worth millions of dollars—during a collector's show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, prosecutors said. After Mr. Weiss's arrest, analysts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovered the three coins to be elaborate forgeries. Officials seized 23 coins in all from Mr. Weiss at the time of his arrest—the three forgeries, the five authentic coins returned to Greece on Monday, two coins on consignment from another owner, and 13 other Greek coins that will go to academic and cultural institutions for study, prosecutors said. Mr. Weiss, a 54-year-old Rhode Island hand surgeon, struck a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted criminal possession of stolen property for the three forgeries and was sentenced to 70 hours community service, a $3,000 fine and the forfeiture of the 23 coins. As part of the plea deal, Mr. Weiss was required to write an essay for the American Numismatic Society Magazine on the proliferation of forged coins and how their dissemination threatens the keeping of accurate archaeological records. In his essay, Mr. Weiss wrote, 'I was very active in the ancient coin marketplace and paid little attention to foreign cultural property laws, as if they really did not matter within the U.S. Well, they do.'" (WSJ)



A trader contemplates. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images


"Just take a look at the CNBC headlines. "Fears and unease.' 'Losses.' 'Struggles.' 'A disturbing message.' 'Worrisome catalyst lurking inside market.' Wall Street officially has the jitters. After a strong, long, steady five-year run, the stock market has entered something of an August slump.Predictions of a sell-off are cropping up, with Alan Greenspan talking about a 'significant correction' and Henry Blodget warning of the possibility of an outright crash. Such prophecies, of course, have a way of becoming self-fulfilling. Some guy decides to move his portfolio into cash, just in case. Stocks decline. Some gal sees the market slumping, fears the good times are over, and moves her investments into cash, too. Wash, rinse, repeat, and watch the lather go down the drain.
Far be it from me to predict what the market is going to do. But it is worth contemplating why the market has suddenly gone soft and bulls have suddenly turned into bears." (NYMag)

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