Items tagged with: was
Last weekend i was in Volta Mantovana for a special event called "Volta in Cosplay".
It's the first time for me but is the second edition of this meetup of cosplayer and photographers finely organized and studyed to grant the largest staisfaction of all participants. It was a moment of meet, speak, share and unleash immagination in a special type of photography... [End part one - to be continued]
Location: Bosco delle Querce, Volta Mantovana, Italy
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #Last #weekend #i #was #in #Volta #Mantovana #for #a #special #event #called #Volta #in #Cosplay
#Its #the #first #time #for #me #but #is #the #second #edition #of #this #meetup #of #cosplayer #and #photographers #finely #organized #and #studyed #to #grant #the #largest #staisfaction #of #all #participants #It #was #a #moment #of #meet #speak #share #and #unleash #immagination #in #a #special #type #of #photography #[End #part #one #- #to #be #continued] #BoscodelleQuerce #VoltaMantovana #Italy
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19891084
Posted by pfortuny (karma: 2350)
Post stats: Points: 114 - Comments: 130 - 2019-05-12T10:17:47Z
#HackerNews #appalachia #coding #fraud #jobs #now #promised #say #they #was #were
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19883714
Posted by ilamont (karma: 26343)
Post stats: Points: 112 - Comments: 33 - 2019-05-11T00:55:54Z
#HackerNews #act #cartridge #demos #depending #differently #made #pilotwings #the #was #when
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 85 - Loop: 77 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 71
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19858470
Posted by leavjenn (karma: 359)
Post stats: Points: 190 - Comments: 69 - 2019-05-08T13:10:01Z
#HackerNews #cbs #censors #censorship #chinese #fight #good #its #segment #topic #was
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I was walking to the station to catch a train home after a long day when I noticed that the sun, as it was setting, had perfectly singled out this one building across the river. Everything else around me had already entered into the blue haze of the early moments of the night except this one building. It stuck out to me as remarkably beautiful.
Location: Chicago, United States of America
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #I #was #walking #to #the #station #to #catch #a #train #home #after #a #long #day #when #I #noticed #that #the #sun #as #it #was #setting #had #perfectly #singled #out #this #one #building #across #the #river #Everything #else #around #me #had #already #entered #into #the #blue #haze #of #the #early #moments #of #the #night #except #this #one #building #It #stuck #out #to #me #as #remarkably #beautiful #Chicago #UnitedStatesofAmerica
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19835608
Posted by aaronbrethorst (karma: 50930)
Post stats: Points: 141 - Comments: 75 - 2019-05-05T22:56:56Z
#HackerNews #737 #believed #boeing #light #max #standard #warning #was
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 119 - Loop: 64 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 81
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19816263
Posted by jmsflknr (karma: 2572)
Post stats: Points: 116 - Comments: 98 - 2019-05-03T07:24:52Z
#HackerNews #deportations #documents #for #palantirs #show #software #used #was
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 110 - Loop: 162 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 94
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19792192
Posted by robertwiblin (karma: 1873)
Post stats: Points: 130 - Comments: 66 - 2019-04-30T21:34:53Z
#HackerNews #advice #been #career #given #was #when #wish #young
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It's one of the two shot of the two shots of the "meteor shower" project. And one of my first projects using the "funnel paint pour" technique. It was supposed to look pastel, delicate with smooth transitions. But the paint always does what it wants ;)
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #Its #one #of #the #two #shot #of #the #two #shots #of #the #meteor #shower #project #And #one #of #my #first #projects #using #the #funnel #paint #pour #technique #It #was #supposed #to #look #pastel #delicate #with #smooth #transitions #But #the #paint #always #does #what #it #wants #;
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19720962
Posted by sciurus (karma: 12922)
Post stats: Points: 133 - Comments: 53 - 2019-04-22T17:47:10Z
#HackerNews #http #mistake #turning #was #why
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 106 - Loop: 220 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 49
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19707426
Posted by wjSgoWPm5bWAhXB (karma: 370)
Post stats: Points: 117 - Comments: 98 - 2019-04-20T16:34:20Z
#HackerNews #before #civilization #earth #humans #there #was
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19704067
Posted by wallflower (karma: 43182)
Post stats: Points: 121 - Comments: 69 - 2019-04-20T00:18:03Z
#HackerNews #apple #best #but #good #privately #qualcomms #said #tech #the #was
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 103 - Loop: 176 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 68
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19668821
Posted by throwaway5752 (karma: 3766)
Post stats: Points: 142 - Comments: 53 - 2019-04-15T20:53:26Z
#HackerNews #considered #experiment #james #lebron #promise #school #showing #that #was
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How rich was the Dutch East India Company? This old Dutch company was the first ever to do business in a modern way and get filthy rich with it.
Article word count: 891
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19622046
Posted by sytelus (karma: 10728)
Post stats: Points: 129 - Comments: 76 - 2019-04-10T05:13:42Z
#HackerNews #2017 #apple #combined #dutch #east #facebook #google #india #richer #than #the #was
So how rich was the Dutch East India Company?
If you’re wondering what paid for all those nice canals and houses in Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht. Well, this image might explain it all a bit.
[IMG]Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist
Feel free to dive right into the things with us – it certainly wasn’t great for everyone!
The Dutch East-India Company – Apple Didn’t Have Nothing On It!
The “Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie” (VOC), better known as the Dutch East-India company was set up in 1602, head-quartered in the “Oost-Indisch Huis” (East-India House) in downtown Amsterdam – which still stands today. It was founded as a private merchant company that was granted a two decade long monopoly by the government for spice trading in Asia, in particular the Dutch East-Indies, known today as the Republic of Indonesia.
And if you think Amazon is thrifty with deliveries – the VOC sent over one million voyagers across Asia, which is more than the rest of Europe combined, in a time where a trip from Amsterdam to Batavia (Djakarta) would last no shorter than 8 to 10 months and many ships, or individual passengers, would never return. Many of the massive sailing ships perished in storms, fell prey to piracy or infectious disease. Traveling at the time came at a huge risk, but once on location and with the right knowledge and attitude there was a great chance of becoming wealthy and so many took the risk.
The company was also the first official company to issue stocks, which peaked during the Dutch “Tulip Mania”, a craze for tulip bulbs that is seen as the world’s first true financial bubble. The VOC’s stocks pushed the company’s worth to a massive 78 million Dutch guilders, which is a pretty solid business even today, but translates to a whopping $7,9 trillion dollar worth today… Yes, really, trillion. That’s 7,900 billion – or 79,000 million!
The Dutch are doing pretty good in modern times as well, different reasons why of course – Check out our youtube channel for more videos like this:
At it’speak the VOC was worth the equivalent of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, ExxonMobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Tencent, and Wells Fargo put together! This means that the world’s most valuable company, Apple, is worth about 11% of the peak value of the VOC. Eat that, Steve Jobs!
It was also worth, roughly, the same amount as the GDP’s of Japan and Germany of today added together. Can you dig it?
The company also employed 70,000(!) people across the globe, making it a textbook multinational by definition, and this was nearly four centuries ago!
Liking this article? Be sure to follow DutchReview on Facebook in order to not miss out on any other good stuff! (We’re on Instagram too!)
The Dutch East India Company was also pretty evil
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games with the Dutch East India Company – despite bringing the Netherlands prosperity and successfully connecting the world it also brought horrendous suffering for an endless number of people. For two centuries long the VOC did whatever it had to make sure its assets were protected and profit was high.
That included slave trading, colonial oppression and absurd mistreatment of employees – if you think your job is tough today, try being a deckhand on a year and a half VOC-round trip or, even much worse, a slave living in semi-dark in the belly of the ship!
The VOC is thought to have transported, or rather ‘displaced’, as many as 50,000 people from Africa to serve or trade as slaves in its colonies. It’s a staggering number, worse however is that many countries subjected even more people to slavery per individual nation than the Dutch and VOC ever managed to, creating a permanent “involuntary” change in demographics around the globe. The success of international trading companies like the VOC has forever put a stain on Europe’s colonial past.
Crazy rich – Source: Visual Capitalist
Regardless of its endless exploitation these trading companies, and colonies, have shaped the world and are at the foot of today’s ‘multiculturalism’ and the modern-day economy. Still many people are in denial about their country’s colonial past, Holland for one definitely gained its historic wealth and fortune over the heads of others, which is not to say that it’s the fault of the modern Dutchman – it’s hard to blame someone for something they never had a hand in. But denial or downplaying is flat out ignorant and inexcusable.
But it’s always wise to speak with some discretion to people of color, even in ‘multi-culti’ Holland, as the Indo- and Moluccan people are direct descendants of the VOC-days and black Surinam and Antillean-people are African slave descendants, their Hindu-counterparts having been ‘contract laborers’ from the Indian-subcontinent which was hardly better than being a slave.
Still, we hope you enjoyed this piece about the Dutch East India Company – and maybe sparked some curiosity about the Dutch trading spirit and their adventurous outset on becoming a world leader, but it would be irresponsible for us not to have mentioned the downsides that came with it. That much in the least is what every Dutchman owes the world, especially given that people of a colonial past are of such vital importance to modern Holland as we know it today.
* TAGS * Dutch East India Company
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That's my page. My other github pages are working fine, but that one redirects to a crazy screen with a lighting strike gif, an email address, and something about "muslim cybersecurity".
I changed the A records to put up a parking lot page and that worked, so I think it's something around github. As soon as I add the A records and CNAME records back to point to github, the hacked page goes back up.
How do I fix this?
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19566075
Posted by scottndecker (karma: 210)
Post stats: Points: 137 - Comments: 39 - 2019-04-03T18:49:48Z
#HackerNews #ask #github #hacked #was
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Techie says he was grilled for three hours after refusing to let agents search his devices
Article word count: 604
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19562920
Posted by vb6lives (karma: 189)
Post stats: Points: 158 - Comments: 62 - 2019-04-03T13:01:07Z
#HackerNews #airport #border #cops #cto #ex-mozilla #for #grilled #hours #three #was
Former Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal says he was interrogated for three hours by Americaʼs border cops after arriving at San Francisco airport – because he refused to unlock his work laptop and phone.
Gal, now employed by Apple, today claimed he was detained and grilled on November 29 after landing in California following a trip to Europe.
He had attempted to pass through US customs via a Global Entry electronic kiosk. He wasnʼt expecting a problem, since the Hungarian-born techie is now an American citizen, but it was not to be.
"On this trip, the kiosk directed me to a Customs and Border Patrol agent who kept my passport and sent me to secondary inspection," Gal said. "There I quickly found myself surrounded by three armed agents wearing bullet proof vests. They started to question me aggressively regarding my trip, my current employment, and my past work for Mozilla, a non-profit organization dedicated to open technology and online privacy."
Gal said the g-men were rather interested in his time at Firefox-maker Mozilla, and of his recent trip to Canada. They also went through his wallet and luggage, and this led to a request by the agents for Gal to unlock his Apple-issued iPhone XS and MacBook Pro so they could search it, it is claimed.
Given the devices were emblazoned with big red stickers reading "PROPERTY OF APPLE. PROPRIETARY," and he had signed confidentially agreements with Cupertino, Gal said he asked for permission to call his bosses and/or a lawyer to see if he would get into trouble by handing over access. When this request was repeatedly refused, weʼre told, he clammed up, taking the Fifth, and citing constitutional rights against unwarranted searches.
Irked by Galʼs refusal, it is claimed, the border agents told him he had no constitutional nor any legal protections, and threatened him with criminal charges should he not concede to the search. He said he was eventually allowed to leave with his belongings, the devices still locked, and no charges were pressed. Gal said the agents did take away his Global Entry pass, which allows express entry through customs, as punishment for not complying with their demands.
Gal believes the ordeal was not a random search gone awry, but rather a targeted attempt by the government to send a message. Certainly more and more security researchers report being grilled by US border patrol, if they can even get a visa to enter the country, that is.
"My past work on encryption and online privacy is well documented, and so is my disapproval of the Trump administration and my history of significant campaign contributions to Democratic candidates," Gal noted. "I wonder whether these CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] programs led to me being targeted."
TSA gloves READ MORE
Now, Gal has enlisted the help of the ACLU to probe into the brouhaha, and determine whether his civil rights were violated. The civil-liberties watchdog has filed a complaint [PDF]with the Department of Homeland security to determine whether the search violated the US Constitution and demand an investigation of whether the CBPʼs entry policies are illegal.
"CBPʼs baseless detention and intrusive interrogation of Andreas Gal and the attempted search of his devices violated his Fourth Amendment rights," ACLU Northern California senior counsel William Freeman said of the complaint.
"Furthermore, CBP’s policies lack protections for First Amendment rights by allowing interrogation and device searches that may be based on a traveler’s political beliefs, activism, nation of origin, or identity."
A spokesperson for the border patrol told us: "As a matter of policy, CBP can’t comment on pending litigation." ®
Sponsored: Becoming a Pragmatic Security Leader
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It’s April 2013 in New York. Ensconced in a Chelsea studio bubbling with celebrities and champagne, an international man of mystery records his vanity music...
Article word count: 6498
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19519749
Posted by skilled (karma: 1659)
Post stats: Points: 117 - Comments: 47 - 2019-03-29T07:13:59Z
#HackerNews #also #film #real-life #scam #street #the #wall #was #wolf
It’s April 2013 in New York. Ensconced in a Chelsea studio bubbling with celebrities and champagne, an international man of mystery records his vanity music project. The ballad the 30-year-old sings is called “Void of a Legend.” The man calls himself Jho Low. At one point in his recording session, rapper Busta Rhymes and super-producer Pharrell Williams show up. Low shouts at Busta, “Yo! I own you! You’re my bitch!”
The Malaysian financial wunderkind is drunkenly referring to the fact that he now co-owns EMI Group Limited, a music publishing company, and thus, Busta’s rhymes. Nonetheless, it’s obviously a tense moment — a non-black man telling a black man that he owns him. Pharrell has to step in and calm the situation down. This is the beginning of the end, but no one knows it yet.
Five months later, halfway around the world in Thailand, a man named Xavier Justo plots revenge against his former business partners, men who are also partnered with Jho Low. A son of Spaniards who’d emigrated to Switzerland, Justo is a former Swiss banker, but more importantly, he’s a man with a world-shaking grudge. His ex-partners cut him out of a business that’s suddenly, mysteriously, worth more than a billion dollars. He wants the $2 million promised to him in his severance agreement that he never received, money he feels is rightfully his.
He decides to blackmail his former partners and emails them a threat: He has 90 gigabytes of incriminating emails and data on illegal investments and money transfers; unless he gets his two mill, he’ll leak it to the press. It’s a risky move. After all, his former partners have powerful friends — one of the co-founders of the company is a Saudi prince.
In that same summer of 2013, Leonardo DiCaprio has just finished shooting The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s one of his finest performances. The film details the rise and fall of a financial crimes mastermind, Jordan Belfort, based on his searingly-honest memoir. The great irony is that there’s a far greedier international money-laundering scheme secretly paying for the film. One day, it will probably inspire best-selling books and possibly a movie, too. Which raises the question: Who will play Leonardo DiCaprio?
Wolf Of Wall Street Laugh GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Because whoever it is, they’ll have a big part in the film — i.e., both Low and DiCaprio have starring roles in a 251-page Department of Justice indictment documenting the multibillion dollar criminal scheme. Low, the alleged mastermind of what Attorney General Loretta Lynch referred to as the greatest kleptocracy the world has ever seen, was DiCaprio’s friend. They’d partied together in Vegas and Cannes; they schemed together to beat the system in Hollywood. Most of all, though, he handed DiCaprio the money to make his dream project — The Wolf of Wall Street — that no one in Hollywood would bankroll.
Again, in a cosmic irony, DiCaprio desperately wanted to make a movie that deeply examined the sort of greed that rots the soul and ruins our natural world, yet this highly intelligent, sensitive actor never recognized this same greed when he partnered with it in reality. He somehow missed it when Low gave him a Basquiat painting worth $9.2 million and a Picasso worth $3.2 million. He also missed it when, in that same summer of 2013, two producers of the original Dumb and Dumber were excluded from the sequel and countersued Red Granite, the production company that was making both that movie and The Wolf of Wall Street. The veteran producers alleged in their lawsuit, later amended, that they’d been informed of a vast criminal conspiracy underwriting the company:
“Red Granite is funded with monies that include proceeds from offenses against a foreign nation that involve bribery of public officials, or misappropriation, theft or embezzlement of public funds by a public official. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that public officials in Asia and the Middle East have taken bribes and/or misappropriated, stolen or embezzled funds, and that those ill-gotten funds have then been invested in Red Granite.”
In the wake of this multibillion dollar legal scandal, DiCaprio said nothing, right until the U.S. government filed a criminal asset forfeiture and demanded he hand over his ill-gotten artwork and an Oscar he’d been given as a gift (to be clear, though, not the one he’d earned for his work in The Revenant). The feds also asked the actor to secretly testify before a grand jury. In a prepared statement from his reps, DiCaprio signaled his new willingness to learn about what justice will look like for the Malaysian people who were robbed by his former friend and partner, Jho Low: “Both Mr. DiCaprio and (the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation) continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter. Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this.”
Since they can’t get back the stolen millions used to bankroll DiCaprio’s dreams, part of accomplishing justice in this case means the U.S. government now owns the rights and royalties of The Wolf of Wall Street. As far as justice goes, it’s extremely poetic: a film about guys who believed they were above the law until they got caught by the feds was made by guys who believed they were above the law until they, too, got caught by the feds.
Art imitating life imitating art.
Low Taek Jho was born a Malaysian son of privilege in 1981, but he wasn’t from an ultra-wealthy Malaysian family. If anything, good with numbers and sharp-minded, his family placed their future in his hands. In particular, they sent him to Harrow, a private school in London founded by a charter from Elizabeth I back in 1572. His classmates were sons of kings and nephews of prime ministers. And in many ways, British private schools are a lot like prison — they’re a great place to learn to be a better criminal.
To that end, Low has said his private-school days absolutely shaped his future: “There were a few key relationships which I started to develop there. Harrow had lots of children of prominent European, Asian and Middle Eastern families. That’s when I met the former King of Jordan’s son, among others. … That’s when I felt that I built the core foundation of contacts for the future. That’s quite important, because that’s when you know them as friends, and you build the trust level for the future as opposed to meeting someone during the course of your business life.”
After Harrow, Low transferred to Wharton School of Business. He made a name for himself on campus with the nickname “the Asian Great Gatsby.” He was a schemer, a striver, an operator, and everyone knew it. He once invited his Wharton classmate Ivanka Trump on a gambling trip to Atlantic City that he organized. She declined his invite, or so he claimed. He told friends Ivanka said, “She’d never set foot in one of her father’s ‘skeevy casinos.’”
It seems the socially-awkward Low had a thing for rich, mildly attractive, blonde daughters of famous American families. Because while at Wharton, Low developed a well-known crush on Paris Hilton. His roommates say he watched House of Wax, her debut movie, at least a half-dozen times. Little did Low know that, one day, a drunken Paris Hilton would regularly party with him, and be photographed with his sweaty, alcohol-flushed face on her shoulder.
After Wharton, Low returned to Malaysia. He tried his hand at a few businesses, but none was very successful. According to the New York Times, Low did help “a Kuwaiti bank purchase a high-rise complex.” The Times reports that Low next “formed an investment group that included a Malaysian prince, a Kuwaiti sheikh and a friend from the United Arab Emirates who went on to become ambassador to the United States and Mexico.” After that, he partnered with Riza Aziz, a friend he’d met back when they both attended private school in London.
Together, Low and Aziz won the backing of Aziz’s stepfather, Najib Razak, a man who at the time was the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, but in a very short time was elected the country’s sixth Prime Minister. Together, the trio conspired to create a state-owned development investment program. The 2008 financial meltdown had nearly killed the capitalist monetary system, but Malaysia wanted in, and in a big way.
As such, when Low returned to the U.S. in 2009, he was suddenly insanely wealthy and eager to spend his newfound cash. He first showed-up in the gossip rags, though, not the business section. Page Six spotted him on the Manhattan nightclub scene in November 2009. In his very first news story, Low appeared the way he often would thereafter, sweaty-faced and champagne drunk — just another finance bro in Manhattan, down to treat women like objects and objects like people.
The second sentence ever written about him reads like the opening line of a fairy tale about a money launderer. As the New York Post reported: “‘A Jho Low comes around once in a lifetime,’ marveled one industry veteran.” In this instance, the industry wasn’t investment banking, it was New York nightclubs. In that same story, the Post noted, “Low just celebrated his 28th birthday in Las Vegas, a four-day affair that started out last Wednesday at Caesars Palace, where sources said the swimming pool was stocked with bikini-clad party girls and surrounded by caged lions and tigers.”
After that pool party, Low and his birthday entourage kept things pulsing at a nightclub in the casino where Paris Hilton and Usher danced and drank with Low. Jamie Foxx reportedly gave Low a sports car as a birthday present. At the end of the article, a friend of Low’s tried to dispel the mystery but instead only enlarged it: “He’s not an arms dealer,” said his friend. “And he doesn’t want all this publicity.”
Gawker smelled bullshit — and clicks. And so, it published its first story on Low six hours after the Post’s. “Megan Fox was flown out to Vegas to hang out with the birthday boy, who routinely surrounds himself with models,” it reported. The gossip site also said that Low “rents several apartments in the Park Imperial on West 57th Street in Midtown that house him and his staff — including several body guards. Famous neighbors include Daniel Craig and Sean Combs.” In Gawker’s second Low article, Ravi Somaiya correctly guessed that Low was a front for real foreign money. But he guessed incorrectly about who the source was. Or at least he picked the wrong arms dealer.
Probably for that reason, Low tried to regain control of the narrative by giving his first official interview. But not to Forbes, Bloomberg or the Wall Street Journal. No, he sat down for a Q&A with the Toronto Star. Most of what he said were banal attempts at shoving the genie back in the bottle. But one question stuck out. He was asked if he was the fall guy for his ultra-wealthy friends. Low responded, “I wouldn’t say I was the fall guy.”
In the meantime, Low grew even more flagrant. In July 2010, he traveled to South Africa to watch the World Cup and was spotted with a group of people that notably included DiCaprio and Paris Hilton. Later that same month, there were printed rumors that Low paid Hilton a million dollars to hang out and party with him in St. Tropez. She denied any rumors they were dating. According to the New York Post, her rep clarified and stated that “they are friends.” (Her friends, though, claimed that Low paid Hilton $100,000 each time he hung out with her.) While in St. Tropez, Low reportedly rented a yacht from billionaire Paul Allen, his mega-boat Tatoosh, a 303-foot stupid fancy yacht, the kind that has a movie theater and a parking spot for your helicopter.
According to the book Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, both Wall Street Journal reporters, Low was by Hilton’s side as she celebrated her 29th birthday. Their entourage partied in Vegas at the Palazzo. To make it memorable, Low gave his longtime crush a Cartier watch, and then, as the book reports, Low “handed her $250,000 in gambling chips and asked her to join him at the baccarat table.”
To give you a sense of what kind of cash Low was regularly dropping: “Between October 2009 and June 2010 — a period of only eight months — Low and his entourage spent $85 million on alcohol, gambling in Vegas, private jets, renting super yachts and to pay Playmates and Hollywood celebrities to hang out with them.”
Smooth. The people of Malaysia were paying a shit ton of money for Low to live his Paris Hilton dream.
If you stole a billion dollars, what would you do with it?
Would you make Dumb and Dumber To? That’s what happened. That’s why that movie exists –– because Jho Low looted his national treasury. It’s not the only reason, but his stolen money definitely paid for it. In fact, that movie was the first time people began to make concrete legal claims that not everything was as it appeared with Low. He’d made the mistake of going full Hollywood, a place where rumors are a form of currency — and so are lawsuits.
He made his movie business turn in 2010, with, of course, Aziz by his side. Neither had any experience in Hollywood. In a rare interview from around that time, Aziz was asked by the Hollywood Reporter about his lack of experience and where the money came from. His co-founder Joey McFarland said, “We do not talk about that.” But Aziz went ahead and answered anyway, “I will say that I have money invested in the company. It shows that I have skin in the game and am committed from a financial point of view. We also have a group of investors, mainly from the Middle East and Asia.”
Aziz had been a banker in London, but after the 2008 financial collapse, he decided to get out of banking. In 2009, his stepfather, the newly-elected Prime Minister Najib, formed 1MDB (1 Malaysian Development Berhard). It was the sovereign wealth fund that Low had conspired with Aziz and his stepfather to create to ostensibly “invest in green energy and tourism to create high-quality jobs for all Malaysians.” But it was mostly a piggy bank for lazy criminals to loot.
To achieve its stated aim, the Malaysian government partnered with a Saudi investment arm called PetroSaudi. Malaysia is an oil producing, conservative Muslim nation so it made perfect sense to partner with Saudi Arabia. Malaysia and PetroSaudi contributed $2.5 billion to the 1MDB fund, ostensibly, for new infrastructure and oil development projects. Instead, $700 million was directed into a shell company called Good Star, a company owned and controlled by Jho Low.
Over the course of the criminal conspiracy, $10 billion would be raised by 1MDB through a series of loans and bonds, and half of that sum would disappear. Evidence discovered by Malaysian investigators shows that $681 million was deposited in personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib. He claims it was a gift from Saudi Arabia. There were also the many bribes and payoffs to Malaysian officials necessary to grease the wheels of their conspiracy. And there were the exorbitant fees paid to international investment banks like Goldman Sachs.
Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, two of the bank’s top executives in Asia, helped make the 1MDB scheme pass compliance and beat the regulators’ watchful eye. Both men are currently under criminal investigation. Last week, in fact, the Federal Reserve banned both of them from ever working in the banking industry. Goldman Sachs maintains that the bank is innocent and money laundering crimes were conducted by employees who were “rogue operators.” As the Guardian reported, the DoJ is “investigating whether Goldman Sachs violated U.S. banking law in its handling of $6.5 billion in bond offerings that it carried out for 1MDB. The Wall Street behemoth earned $593 million in fees for the issue.”
Whether Goldman Sachs is innocent or not, it sure didn’t leave much money for green energy projects. In 2010, using his portion of the money illegally embezzled from 1MDB and disbursed through Low’s front company, Good Star, Aziz took a cut of the hundreds of millions and bought a production company. He named it Red Granite, and named himself co-founder and CEO. To make their name on the Hollywood film scene, Low did what he did best: threw an epic party.
At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Red Granite announced that they’d purchased the rights to The Wolf of Wall Street and intended to make it with DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. It was huge news. DiCaprio had finally found someone to pay for his dream project. Mired in development hell, it had theretofore been deemed too risky (with its hard R-rating) and too expensive (with its $100 million budget). To celebrate the occasion, Red Granite flew in Kanye West to perform. (Pharrell opened for him.) Bradley Cooper and DiCaprio danced in the crowd. Later, Jamie Foxx joined Kanye and together they performed “Golddigger.” The song about how some people are dangerously obsessed with money and materialism was a not-at-all subtle comment on this French party scene.
In a contemporaneous interview with Collider, Aziz answered some of the many questions about what an amateur like him was doing in Hollywood producing a movie with one of the greatest living directors and one of the world’s most famous leading men. Aziz called The Wolf of Wall Street a compelling story about “a guy who comes from nothing, gets everything overnight and becomes rich, and in that journey from nothing to everything, he gets sidetracked with all the drugs, the hookers and the alcohol. And once he gets to the top, he gets taken down by the government.”
He had to know he had just told his own story, too. Is that why they wanted to make the film –– to tell their story? Aziz promised, “When you see the film, it’s a good snapshot of what American capitalism is like.”
But that doesn’t address the question. How did they come out of nowhere and get Scorsese and DiCaprio to work with them? To answer that, Aziz pointed to the same power of persuasion that Low would credit: relationships. Aziz explained to Collider, “The reason we were able to get our hands on the film, in the first place, is because we have very close relationships with DiCaprio and his team. When we were talking about various things we wanted to do together, he said, ‘Well, we have a few things cooking, but the main project that we’re really wanting to get off the ground is The Wolf of Wall Street, which is in turn-around at Warner Bros.’ In 2007, they wanted to do the film, and Marty and Leo were on board, but there was some kind of tug-of-war between Paramount and Warner Bros, so they never got the movie made.”
Aziz finished his anecdote with a businessman’s efficiency, “We bought the script and the book rights from Warner Bros and signed Leo on, and then waited for Marty to finish with Hugo and signed him on. Once you get those two guys on board, it’s a fast-moving train, right after. It’s been a great ride, so far.”
All the while, Low went on a hardcore spending spree. Maybe the biggest purchase: Through a shell company, he bought himself a Manhattan penthouse in the Time Warner Center condominiums for $30.55 million. The skyscraping condo’s previous owners were Beyoncé and Jay Z.
In August 2012, cameras began rolling on The Wolf of Wall Street. In November, DiCaprio received a very personal birthday gift from Red Granite, something that had thus far evaded him: an Oscar statuette. It was the one that Marlon Brando won for On the Waterfront. It cost $600,000. For New Year’s Eve, Low and Aziz, Foxx, DiCaprio, and his co-star Jonah Hill, celebrated the New Year in Australia together, then hopped on a private jet and flew to Vegas where they celebrated the New Year a second time. If time is money, and you’re already cheating, why not cheat time, too?
In May 2013, DiCaprio held an art auction for an environmental charity. Low attended and snapped up two pieces to support his friend’s cause. (Earlier in March, Low made his first fine-art purchase, Jean Michel Basquiat’s collage painting Red man for $9.2 million.) Two days after DiCaprio’s art auction, Low decided he needed more art, so he bought another Basquiat, Dust Heads, which cost him $48.8 million, a record at the time for a work by Basquiat. That June, Low grabbed a Rothko that set him back $71.5 million. After that, he was hooked. He picked up work by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Lichtenstein, Warhol and even more Basquiat. He wasn’t buying them because he loved them; he purchased them as investments, which meant the artwork was crated-up and shipped to storage.
As Artsy reported on Low’s time spent tearing through the art world and the eager complicity of the auction houses to casually profit from his crimes, Low was the worst kind of art collector. That is, he was the collector who reduced buying art to a thrill of consumption, no different than eating a potato chip — only he ate famous paintings. That may be why he gave art to his best buddy, DiCaprio. To get some of that good feeling from buying it, and of course, to leverage the art to stoke their relationship.
By this time, Low had moved on from his crush on Paris Hilton. To start off 2014, he was dating Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr. They watched the Super Bowl together in a private box with Aziz and Red Granite co-founder Joey McFarland, who until then had mostly been known as Hilton’s party-planner. While they all watched the game, Katie Holmes stopped in to say “hi,” as did fellow model Kate Upton.
Days later, Low ordered a diamond necklace worth roughly $2 million be created and delivered to Kerr for Valentine’s Day. He used the same jeweler he often used to purchase expensive jewelry for Aziz’s mother, the First Lady of Malaysia. For Kerr’s birthday a short time later, Low put together a 1990s-themed night. To make it feel authentic, he paid Salt-N-Pepa and Vanilla Ice to perform. There was also that one time that Low gave Kerr an enormous see-thru, 100-percent translucent grand piano. The thing was so large contractors had to build new walls around it once it was in place. At the moment, in fact, the U.S. government has no idea how to seize the piano as part of its civil asset forfeiture claim. It’s likely then that Kerr will get to keep it.
The only person to truly see Low for the criminal he was? A fellow conman — the OG Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, who acted honorably when he crossed paths with Low. As Belfort recalled: “They flew me to Cannes four or five months after they bought the movie and they wanted to announce it in Cannes. It hadn’t even gone into production yet, and they threw a launch party. They must have spent $3 million on a launch party. They flew in Kayne West, and I said to Anne [his girlfriend], ‘This is a fucking scam, anybody who does this has stolen money.’ You wouldn’t spend money you worked for like that.”
Not only did he recognize the scam for what it was, he wouldn’t go along with it. At least, not anymore than he had to. At one point, he turned down half-a-million dollars of Low’s free money.
Why didn’t he take the easy money, like everyone else? Belfort knew better: “I’ve learned my lesson. They tried to offer me money and give me things, I never even spoke to these guys. I was like, ‘I don’t need these fucking people.’ I knew it, it was so obvious.”
Xavier Justo joined PetroSaudi because its co-founder was like a little brother to him. Tarek Obaid, a Saudi national who had the backing of a Saudi prince, and Justo were friends and business associates. They partied together in Geneva in the early aughts. At that time, Justo was the more successful one. According to the Guardian, Justo was “running a large financial services firm, Fininfor, and the owner of a Geneva nightspot named the Platinum Club.” In 2006, Justo loaned Obaid $30,000 and let him use a desk at Fininfor to start PetroSaudi. A co-founder of the company was Prince Turki bin Abdullah, one of the sons of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
In 2009, Obaid found himself on a 300-foot mega-yacht docked off the coast of Monaco. He was onboard for a meeting with Low, Prince Turki and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib. They wanted to discuss business investment opportunities, ways for both of the oil-rich nations to invest their petro-dollars into infrastructure and development. Low and Najib had created a wealth fund for the Malaysian government, which would soon be known as 1MDB. The prime minister was the chairman of its board; Low was an unofficial advisor.
Months later, Najib traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he signed one of his first major deals. The two nations announced a new joint venture worth $2.5 billion, claiming PetroSaudi and 1MDB would “make strategic investments in high-impact projects.” PetroSaudi pumped $1.5 billion into the partnership, while 1MDB added $1 billion of the Malaysian people’s money.
Guess what happened next?
According to the Department of Justice’s 251-page criminal complaint, documenting the money-laundering conspiracy, “Low and his associates caused $700 million of the $1 billion that was to be invested in the Joint Venture to be sent to an account at RBS Coutts Bank in Zurich held in the name of Good Star Limited.” Later, in 2011, “approximately $330 million in additional funds were wired at the direction of 1MDB officials to the Good Star Account.” It’s not easy to send that kind of money around. There are paper trails, and there are compliance officers at international banks, such as Goldman Sachs, who have to sign off on such large transfers of wealth.
But, according to the Justice Department, “1MDB officials represented, including to Deutsche Bank in Malaysia, that Good Star was a wholly-owned subsidiary of PetroSaudi. This was not true. According to banking records, Good Star was a company controlled by Low, and Low was also the Good Star Account’s beneficial owner and sole authorized signatory. At the time, Low was a 29-year-old with no official position with 1MDB or PetroSaudi.”
To get around bank regulators and compliance officers, Low had to rely on a network of business associates. When one of his associates tried to open a joint venture bank account, the proposed plan to distribute funds set-off alarm bells. The DoJ alleges:
“On or about September 22, 2009, the chief investment officer for PetroSaudi (“PETROSAUDI OFFICER”), a U.K. national, contacted BSI in Geneva to discuss the opening of a bank account for the Joint Venture. […] In an email dated September 28, 2009, a banker at BSI in Lugano wrote, ‘I don’t like the transaction at all! In particular the role and involvement of Mr Low Taek Jho ‘looks and feels’ very subspicious [sic]to me.’ The Joint Venture then approached J.P. Morgan (Suisse) about opening an account, without disclosing the same details about the structure of the investment. The Joint Venture opened an account at J.P. Morgan (Suisse) on or about September 30, 2009.”
For the next few years, Low and his associates relied on Saudi oil money and an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund to obscure the structure of the 1MDB-PetroSaudi venture and to confound auditors. At one point, late in the conspiracy, after people were asking pointed questions about missing funds and loan repayments, Najib posted a letter from Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, that claimed the alleged financial improprieties “should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption since this is against the practice of Islam and I personally do not encourage such practices in any manner whatsoever. This is merely a personal token of appreciation of Low’s good work in promoting the Middle East…” But the letter only mentioned $100 million, not nearly enough to settle the missing billions.
As for Justo’s role in all of this, he’d agreed to come work for Obaid at PetroSaudi back in 2009. And for a couple years, he watched as the Saudi national made millions upon millions for himself and his business partners with their PetroSaudi-1MDB money-laundering scheme. According to Justo, after that, Obaid’s behavior changed. He often erupted in rage. The two men began to fight. And by March 2011, Justo opted to step away from PetroSaudi. It took some negotiating, but PetroSaudi agreed to a severance package with Justo; the company would pay him $6.5 million Swiss francs. But then, days after they’d come to terms, PetroSaudi informed Justo he would only receive $4 million Swiss francs. They’d, however, made one big mistake: Justo still had access to the PetroSaudi servers.
Two years later, in September 2013, Justo decided to get the money that was owed to him. He sent an email to PetroSaudi and informed them that he had gigabytes of evidence of the criminal conspiracy to embezzle billions from 1MDB. An exchange of emails followed. At one point, a rep from PetroSaudi who had negotiated the severance package for Justo warned his former associate, “What troubles me so much is the way in which I see this situation ending — with the destruction of you.”
Clare Rewcastle Brown, the woman who exposed the rot at the center of the 1MDB embezzlement, is the kind of person DiCaprio would typically really like. She’s a retired British journalist who moved back to Malaysia, where she’d spent the early years of her life. When she returned, she found that there was an active campaign of deforestation underway. As a retired journalist, she decided she could call attention to the issue. She started a blog and reported on the causes of corruption and malfeasance — including the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
“It was kind of incremental. I was following a strand that concerned me about what was going on and how our global systems were being managed to the enormous disadvantage of people in the environment and what appeared to be very dodgy practice,” Rewcastle Brown recalled in an interview with Fraud Magazine. “Of course, what I found is every time I uncovered the corruption, I was just getting higher and higher. The reason why nothing was being done about any of these appalling actions was because the corruption went right to the top.”
She became known in Malaysia — and around the world — for her independent diligence. People began to leak info to her. One day, a contact offered her details of a massive criminal conspiracy involving PetroSaudi and 1MDB. She was offered Justo’s stolen cache of email and damning financial data. “A bomb went off in my head,” is how Rewcastle Brown described that moment. It took some wrangling to earn Justo’s trust — and $2 million he demanded for the emails and data (he was going to get his money one way or the other) — but once a promise to pay him was in place (via an Asian publisher), he handed Rewcastle Brown the biggest story of her life, which she titled “HEIST OF THE CENTURY!” and published on February 28, 2015.
Not surprisingly, 1MDB immediately denounced the story, claiming it was fraudulent. The investment venture reported it not only had recouped its initial investment, in full, but it also earned a reported profit of $488 million. None of that was true, though, no matter what their accounting indicated.
Meanwhile, the New York Times had already been asking questions about Low, Aziz and Red Granite. Earlier that month, the Times noted that Aziz had insisted to the paper that “There is no Malaysian money” being used to operate Red Granite or pay for its film production. This, too, was a lie. The Times had a solid sense of who Low was, and what his role was in the world. As the paper put it, “Mr. Low, 33, is a skillful, and more than occasionally flamboyant, iteration of the sort of operative essential to the economy of the global super rich. Just as many of the wealthy use shell companies to keep the movement of money opaque, they also use people like Mr. Low. Whether shopping for new business opportunities or real estate, he has often done so on behalf of investors or, as he likes to say, friends. Whether the money belongs to others or is his own, the lines are frequently blurry, the identity of the buyer elusive.”
Suddenly, everyone knew what DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx seemed to miss when they hung out with Low — he was a massive criminal, a fake and a fraud.
As part of the Department of Justice’s indictment of Low, it filed an asset forfeiture that included the artwork given to DiCaprio as gifts from Red Granite. The actor had to return his works by Picasso, Basquiat and Diane Arbus. He also had to hand over his Oscar that Brando won, a total of more than $13 million in gifts. The money that they’d spent gambling, the money that went for private jets and champagne — that couldn’t be returned.
But what the U.S. government did manage to seize was nearly as epic as the crimes that bought them. Case in point: Low had purchased a mega-yacht with the people of Malaysia’s money. He named it Equanimity. It cost a quarter of a billion dollars. It had a movie theater and a parking spot for a helicopter. It was so massive that when it was seized, the U.S. had to staff it with a full crew just to cruise it back to Malaysia from Bali.
Of course, there was also Miranda Kerr’s multi-million dollar see-thru piano. Peter Tol, the owner of Crystal Music Company who custom-made the extravagant piano, told the New York Times in December, that he feels duped. He said receiving that money that was “destined for the normal people of Malaysia” made him feel terrible. “I don’t like it. It is not my way of life.” Although she may get to keep the piano, Kerr did have to hand the feds a pair of 11-carat diamond earrings and an 11.7-carat heart-shaped diamond, both given to her by Low.
Meanwhile, Low, who was indicted by the Justice Department in absentia, is on the lam. He’s been evading justice by hiding out somewhere in Asia. All rumors and evidence suggest he’s in China, since they have no extradition agreement with Malaysia. His stolen billions still afford him some level of access to power and the means to avoid capture by the U.S.
Plus, as the Malaysian press has been reporting lately, it seems Low is being used as a bargaining chip by China. Najib, now the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, was arrested and is under investigation, pending trial for his part in the criminal enterprise. His assets were also seized. The new prime minister of Malaysia cancelled many of the questionable development deals his predecessor had entered into to hide his crimes, such as the East Coast Rail Link that Chinese state companies contracted to build. The evidence shows it was actually a way for China to “assume $4.7 billion of 1MDB debt.” Basically then, China may be willing to handover Low if Malaysia would enter back into an agreement to build that same multi-billion dollar railroad.
Meanwhile, Low can’t stop committing crimes, as he was recently indicted in a second Department of Justice complaint. This time the celebrity he dragged into it was Prakazrel “Pras” Michel from the Fugees. According to a DoJ criminal complaint filed in November, Pras was part of a criminal conspiracy to wire and distribute millions to lobby on behalf of Low’s ongoing DoJ criminal prosecution. Pras worked with Elliott Broidy, one of President Trump’s top campaign fundraisers, the kind who focused on big donors. Together, they established bank accounts to distribute funds to lobby the Trump administration to kill the DoJ investigation. At the moment, no charges have been filed against Pras. He insists he’s the “innocent owner” of the $37 million seized by the DoJ.
One day, Jho Low’s story will make a fine movie. Maybe it’ll even be a better film than The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s a far crazier story. It has the real Leonardo DiCaprio in it, who will presumably be played by someone else. And therein lies the rub: You can’t separate out DiCaprio from this story, as much as he’d like you to. Whether knowingly or not, DiCaprio casually abetted this massive fraud because he wanted his dream project. And so, this is his story, too.
It seems all the high-end realtors, art auction houses, international investment bankers, Hollywood people and DiCaprio and Paris Hilton saw Low as something of a sucker, a rich man throwing his money away. So, you know, why not take it? But some people had to know — or at least suspect. And those people ignored it, or dismissed that little voice because they wanted something, too. Sure, they didn’t directly screw the people of Malaysia, not the way Low did. They didn’t cheat the Malaysians out of their green infrastructure money. But Low’s greed certainly inspired greed in others. Like a ripple.
Maybe that’s the lesson that DiCaprio has learned. He did seem to be wrestling with what greed means to humanity as he did press junkets for The Wolf of Wall Street. Or as he said at the time, “Greed is a timeless virtue.” Jho Low’s story makes it seem like greed is a virus.
Maybe the cruelest irony, though, is that no rich person really needed what Low gave them. Meanwhile, there were people who clearly did: his people. It goes back to his first interview with the Toronto Star, when Low said, “Ultimately, I am Malaysian. I am one who does not forget my country and I think there is a lot we can do for Malaysia. But when you build the trust of investors, you need to deliver what you promised.”
As the Star wondered then, and as time has shown, Low did become the fall guy. And his highly cinematic collapse shows us all how our world operates in its most expensive shadows.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 93 - Loop: 192 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 27
Speed has always been as powerful as stealth.
Article word count: 703
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19502057
Posted by jrs235 (karma: 4246)
Post stats: Points: 111 - Comments: 98 - 2019-03-27T15:44:45Z
#HackerNews #every #fast #fired #missile #outran #plane #spy #sr-71 #the #was
Until Lockheed Martin finally builds the SR-72 Mach-6 spy plane it announced in November 2013 — and which reportedly appeared in plain view for the first time in July 2017 — the iconic SR-71 Blackbird, capable of flying three times the speed of sound, remains the fastest warplane ever flown operationally.
So fast that no missiles fired at it had a chance of hitting.
When the U-2 spy plane was built in the 1950s, its designer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson already knew that it would be vulnerable to enemy defenses.
So to gather intelligence in foreign skies, in 1964 U.S. president Lyndon Johnson announced that the Lockheed Advance Development Projects, also known as the Skunk Works, would build another strategic reconnaissance aircraft—one so fast that no other airplane could reach it.
The Blackbird’s flight characteristics were incredible. It was able to fly at more than three and a half times the speed of sound at 88,000 feet. To give you an idea of what that altitude means, the SR-71 took photos from three times the height of Mount Everest and its pilots dressed in full pressure suits like astronauts.
During its more than three-decade career, which ended on Oct. 9, 1999, no SR-71 was lost to hostile action. But not for a lack of trying on the part of America’s enemies. Neither enemy fighters nor surface-to-air missiles were ever able to shoot down or damage an SR-71.
High speed was one factor. But the Blackbird was also hard to detected by radar, being the first aircraft to feature stealth technology. A special paint was used on the SR-71’s wings, tail and fuselage. Containing iron ferrite, this paint absorbed radar energy instead of returning it to the sender.
With a Radar Cross Section equivalent to a small light aircraft, the SR-71 appeared on enemy radar screens too late for a missile computer to estimate its direction for a successful shoot-down. The Blackbird also masked its range and bearing by jamming enemy listening devices with sophisticated electronic countermeasures.
Not only were SAMs unable to catch the Blackbird, even the the fastest Soviet fighter jets lacked the necessary speed to intercept the SR-71. Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko, who defected to Japan in a MiG-25 on Dec. 6, 1976, confirmed this in his book MiG Pilot.
“American reconnaissance planes, SR-71s, were prowling off the coast, staying outside Soviet airspace by photographing terrain hundreds of miles inland with side-angle cameras,” Belenko wrote. “They taunted and toyed with the MiG-25s sent up to intercept them, scooting up to altitudes the Soviet planes could not reach, and circling leisurely above them or dashing off at speeds the Russians could not match.”
“[The Soviets] had a master plan to intercept an SR-71 by positioning a MiG-25 in front of it and one below it, and when the SR-71 passed they would fire missiles. But it never occurred. Soviet computers were very primitive, and there is no way that mission can be accomplished.
First of all, the SR-71 flies too high and too fast. The MiG-25 cannot reach it or catch it. Secondly … the missiles are useless above 27,000 meters [88,000 feet], and as you know, the SR-71 cruises much higher. But even if we could reach it, our missiles lack the velocity to overtake the SR-71 if they are fired in a tail chase. And if they are fired head-on, the guidance systems cannot adjust quickly enough to the high closing speed.”
Moreover, Belenko’s missiles would have not worked because “most air- to-air missiles are optimized to maneuver in the thicker air below around 30,000 feet in order to shoot down an enemy plane,” former Blackbird pilot Col. Richard Graham explained in his book SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird. “Firing at the SR-71, cruising at 75,000 feet, the air is so thin that any maneuvering capability of the missile is practically nonexistent.”
With the Mach-6 SR-72 a real possibility, “speed is the new stealth” is Lockheed Martin’s new slogan. But really, there’s nothing new about it. Speed has worked to protect spy planes for the last 60 years.
This article by Dario Leone and David Cenciotti originally appeared at War is Boring in 2017.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 106 - Loop: 344 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 25
This is my friend Maliek Jones. We recently went on a leisurely walk in the mission to capture some portraits for his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Among the shots we captured, this one was our favorite.
Location: Mission District, San Francisco, United States
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #This #is #my #friend #Maliek #Jones #We #recently #went #on #a #leisurely #walk #in #the #mission #to #capture #some #portraits #for #his #girlfriend #on #Valentines #Day #Among #the #shots #we #captured #this #one #was #our #favorite #MissionDistrict #SanFrancisco #UnitedStates
“At both Viaweb and YC, every minute I spent thinking about competitors was, in retrospect, a minute wasted.”
Article word count: 689
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19468090
Posted by aboutruby (karma: 920)
Post stats: Points: 152 - Comments: 45 - 2019-03-23T00:05:08Z
#HackerNews #about #competitors #every #minute #spent #thinking #was #wasted
 [IMG]Paul GrahamVerified account @paulg 6h6 hours ago
At both Viaweb and YC, every minute I spent thinking about competitors was, in retrospect, a minute wasted.
 [IMG]Jeff AtwoodVerified account @codinghorror 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
Only if you’re going to copy their great features, e.g. Snapchat Stories as implemented in Instagram Stories. Facebook are masters at this.
 [IMG]Paul GrahamVerified account @paulg 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @codinghorror
It may be useful for some companies to think about competitors. Thatʼs why I didnʼt phrase it as a general rule. In particular it may be useful for more established companies to. If a startup has to, though, theyʼre probably doomed.
 [IMG]Jeff AtwoodVerified account @codinghorror 5h5 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
You can always borrow concepts and ideas from other startups, too. Itʼs good to look, and understand the competitive landscape in detail, but not to obsess over.
 [IMG]Alec @aleckretch 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
"The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time." - Henry Ford
 [IMG]maram @maramesque 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
“We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose...for Apple to win, it has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that’s great...and if we screw up...it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault” -Steve Jobs returning in 1997
 [IMG]Molson Hart @TheBigYogurt 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
Nah. To succeed you need to compete asymmetrically. To compete asymmetrically, you need to understand, from the customerʼs point of view what your value proposition is relative to alternatives.
 [IMG]Cheephack Oprah @CheephackOprah 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
Wait, what about: "Sometimes, in desperation, competitors would try to introduce features that we didnʼt have. But with Lisp our development cycle was so fast that we could sometimes duplicate a new feature within a day or two of a competitor announcing it in a press release."
 [IMG]Molson Hart @TheBigYogurt 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @CheephackOprah @paulg
lol - owned.
 [IMG]Cheephack Oprah @CheephackOprah 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @TheBigYogurt @paulg
Iʼm not trying to own here. It could well be heʼs saying, for example, that they really should have spent those days doing what they were already doing to make users happy.
 [IMG]Molson Hart @TheBigYogurt 5h5 hours ago
Replying to @CheephackOprah @paulg
Yeah I feel you.
 [IMG]Eric Jorgenson 🛠 📈 @EricJorgenson 5h5 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
 [IMG]Ayman @BrokerChange 4h4 hours ago
Replying to @EricJorgenson @paulg @readwiseio
This is a dope feature
 [IMG]Jeff "SuiJeneris" ChauVerified account @SJeneris 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
Tencent Ventures (not a YC competitor but still believe they have special insights and talent re: picking and investing in winners), from their Q4 2018 earnings call: Invested in 700 companies where 100+ valued over $1B 60+ IPOʼedpic.twitter.com/nbme424oSR
 [IMG]Lin @sendoh34 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @SJeneris @paulg
over 100 of them are publicly listed?!? I had no idea Tencent Ventures is such a power house
 [IMG]Ancil @ancil11 4h4 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
Hmm but isnʼt this critical for an early-early-stage startup before even creating the product? To see what solutions exist in the market and to see whether you can differentiate with yours?
 [IMG]Ben Goldhaber @BenGoldhaber 4h4 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
This is an interesting contrast with Andy Groveʼs famous mantra "Only the Paranoid Survive". Do you think this is largely the difference between startups vs. established companies?
 [IMG]POLAR - Doc Manager for PDF and Notes @getpolarized 2h2 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
I think a good startup is actually all about execution - not about an idea. If you have a horrible idea, execution will help you find a new idea. But if you have a BRILLIANT idea but canʼt execute, youʼre dead in the water. Just focus on execution...
 [IMG]Steven Schmatz @StevenSchmatz 4h4 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
doesnʼt this have an element of survivorship bias though?
 [IMG]Kevin Le-Nguyen @KevinLe89995620 6h6 hours ago
Replying to @paulg
every minute? Reviewing your competitorsʼ actions and their mistakes/successes didnʼt help you at all?
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When 8th grader Sonia Bokhari joined social media for the first time, she discovered that her mom and sister had been posting about her for her entire life.
Article word count: 1394
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19442514
Posted by laurex (karma: 6008)
Post stats: Points: 158 - Comments: 66 - 2019-03-20T14:25:17Z
#HackerNews #about #after #and #discovering #media #posted #quit #social #was #what
By Sonia Bokhari6 minute Read
This story is part of The Privacy Divide, a series that explores the fault lines and disparities—cultural, economic, philosophical—that have developed around digital privacy and its impact on society.
“Ha, that’s funny!” My 21-year old sister would comment when she saw my mother’s most recent Facebook update or her latest tweet. Social media has been significant to my sister’s social life since she was 13, and she has constantly posted on Twitter and Facebook for nearly a decade.
My parents had long ago made the rule that my siblings and I weren’t allowed to use social media until we turned 13, which was late, compared to many of my friends who started using Instagram, Wattpad, and Tumblr when we were 10 years old.
While I was sometimes curious what my sister was laughing at and commenting on, and what my friends liked about it, I didn’t really have much of an interest in social media, and since I didn’t have a smartphone and wasn’t allowed to join any sites at all until I was 13, it wasn’t much of an issue for me.
Then, several months ago, when I turned 13, my mom gave me the green light and I joined Twitter and Facebook. The first place I went, of course, was my mom’s profiles. That’s when I realized that while this might have been the first time I was allowed on social media, it was far from the first time my photos and stories had appeared online. When I saw the pictures that she had been posting on Facebook for years, I felt utterly embarrassed, and deeply betrayed.
There, for anyone to see on her public Facebook account, were all of the embarrassing moments from my childhood: The letter I wrote to the tooth fairy when I was five years old, pictures of me crying when I was a toddler, and even vacation pictures of me when I was 12 and 13 that I had no knowledge of. It seemed that my entire life was documented on her Facebook account, and for 13 years, I had no idea.
I could understand why my mother would post these things; to our extended family and her friends they were cute, funny moments. But to me they were mortifying. Scrolling through my sister’s tweets, I saw what my sister had been laughing about. She would frequently quote me and the random things I would say, it seemed anything I had ever said to her that she thought was funny was fair game. Things I had no idea she was posting online.
I had just turned 13, and I thought I was just beginning my public online life, when in fact there were hundreds of pictures and stories of me that, would live on the internet forever, whether I wanted it to be or not, and I didn’t have control over it. I was furious; I felt betrayed and lied to.
I gave myself time to calm down and simply told my mother and my older sister who had done this, “Don’t do this anymore without my permission,” and ever since then they haven’t posted about me online, without my permission. I confessed that I felt like my privacy was violated, because I felt like they had no right to take pictures of me or quote me on their Facebook and Twitter accounts without my permission.
They were surprised when they heard how I felt, genuinely surprised. They didn’t know I would get so upset over it, because their intentions weren’t to embarrass me, but to keep a log and document what their little sister/youngest daughter was doing in her early childhood and young teenage years.
Teens get a lot of warnings that we aren’t mature enough to understand that everything we post online is permanent, but parents should also reflect about their use of social media and how it could potentially impact their children’s lives as we become young adults.
In the months since I discovered my unauthorized social media presence, I became more active on Facebook and Twitter. But it wasn’t until I’d been on social media for around nine months that I thought seriously about my digital footprint.
Every October my school gave a series of presentations about our digital footprints and online safety. The presenters from an organization called OK2SAY, which educates and helps teenagers about being safe online, emphasized that we shouldn’t ever post anything negative about anyone or post unapproved inappropriate pictures, because it could very deeply affect our school lives and our future job opportunities. They also warned us about online predators, which was something that always stressed me out when I was online, because I could scroll through any profile of a person I don’t know and they could’ve been someone that wanted to do me harm. But since I hadn’t been contacting strangers or sharing very personal information online, I had the luxury of not having very much to worry about it.
While I hadn’t posted anything negative on my accounts, these conversations, along with what I had discovered posted about me online, motivated me to think more seriously about how my behavior online now could affect my future.
Despite everything that had happened with my mom and sister, I had made one of the most common mistakes; all of my social media accounts were public. So I immediately made my accounts private. I removed anything that included my location in it. Then I deleted all of my posts. I realized that being 13 and using social media wasn’t a fantastic idea, even though I wasn’t obsessed with it and was using it appropriately. My accounts now remain dormant and deactivated. I do plan to use my social media accounts sometime in the future, possibly not until after I graduate high school.
It may be a dramatic move to be 13 and choose to completely opt out of social media, but my experiences with my family and the warnings and horror stories I heard at school were enough to convince me that I’d rather stay sheltered from this part of the internet for now. I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on certain parts of my social life, because I feel like I’m being spared from what could potentially be dangerous for me at such a young age.
I also have a lot more opportunities to be social outside of the digital world, especially in middle school and entering high school now that there are more extracurriculars and clubs available for students to meet and socialize through. My friends consider me to be a goody-two-shoes and somewhat lame for not using social media, but they still treat me just the same and my practice of being safe has influenced them to also try to remain as safe as they can be online.
My friends are active social media users, but I think they are more cautious than they were before. They don’t share their locations or post their full names online, and they keep their accounts private. I think in general my generation has to be more mature and more responsible than our parents, or even teens and young adults in high school and college.
For instance, Instagram is the most popular platform for everyone in my school, but even those who post constantly are more aware than people just a few years ago about how much information the internet is absorbing about us. We are more cautious than people have been before.
We are also the next generation of engineers and innovators, and we’re well aware of how much worse data mining and privacy could get if people continue to be apathetic.
For my generation, being anonymous is no longer an option. For many of us, the decisions about our online presence are made before we can even speak. I’m glad that I discovered early on what posting online really means. And even though I was mortified at what I found that my mom and sister had posted about me online, it opened up a conversation with them, one that I think all parents need to have with their kids. And probably most importantly, it made me more aware of how I want to use social media now and in the future.
Sonia Bokhari is an 8th grader and a persuasive and narrative writer. She is also the leader of her middle school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and a member of the school’s Environmental Club.
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‘Sharing’ was supposed to save us. Instead, it became a Trojan horse for a precarious economic future.
Article word count: 3225
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19334781
Posted by mathattack (karma: 14356)
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Illustrations by Dave Arcade
Go to the profile of Susie Cagle
Founded in 2014, Omni is a startup that offers users the ability to store and rent their lesser-used stuff in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. Backed by roughly $40 million in venture capital, Omni proclaims on its website that they “believe in experiences over things, access over ownership, and living lighter rather than being weighed down by our possessions.”
If you’re in the Bay Area, you can currently rent a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo from “Lan” for the low price of $1 per day; “charles” is renting a small framed lithograph for $10 a day; and “Tom” is renting a copy of the film Friends With Benefits (68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) on Blu-ray for just $2 a day. Those prices don’t include delivery and return fees for the Omni trucks traversing the city, which start at $1.99 each way.
In 2016, Omni’s CEO and co-founder Tom McLeod said that “lending enables Omni members to put their ‘dormant’ belongings to good use in their community.” That same year, Fortune said Omni “could create a true ‘sharing economy.’” For a while, the tenets of the sharing economy were front and center in Omni’s model: It promised to activate underutilitized assets in order to sustain a healthier world and build community trust. In 2017, McLeod said, “We want to change behavior around ownership on the planet.”
Just three years later, those promises seem second to the pursuit of profit. In 2019, the Omni pitch can be summed up by the ads emblazoned on its delivery trucks: “Rent things from your neighbors, earn money when they rent from you!”
For years, the sharing economy was pitched as an altruistic form of capitalism — an answer to consumption run amok. Why own your own car or power tools or copies of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up if each sat idle for most of its life? The sharing economy would let strangers around the world maximize the utility of every possession to the benefit of all.
Sharing was supposed to transform our world for the better.
In a 2010 TED Talk, sharing economy champion and author Rachel Botsman argued that the tech-enabled sharing economy could “mimic the ties that used to happen face to face but on a scale and in a way that has never been possible before.” Botsman quoted a New York Times piece in saying, “Sharing is to ownership what the iPod is to the eight track, what solar power is to the coal mine.” In 2013, Thomas Friedman proclaimed that Airbnb’s true innovation wasn’t its platform or its distributed business model: “It’s ‘trust.’” At a 2014 conference, Uber investor Shervin Pishevar said sharing was going to bring us back to a mythical bygone era of low-impact, communal village living.
More than 10 years since the dawn of the sharing economy, these promises sound painfully out of date. Why rent a DVD from your neighbor, or own a DVD at all, when you can stream your movies online? Why use Airbnb for a single room in your home when you can sublease an entire apartment and run a lucrative off-the-books hotel operation? Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb — startups that banked on the promises of the sharing economy — are now worth tens of billions, with plans go public. (Lyft filed for an IPO on March 1.) These companies and the pundits who hyped them have all but abandoned the sharing argument that gave this industry life and allowed it to skirt government regulations for years. Sharing was supposed to transform our world for the better. Instead, the only thing we’re sharing is the mess it left behind.
The first glimpses of the sharing economy emerged years before the term came into popular use. In 1995, Craigslist mainstreamed the direct donation, renting, and sale of everything from pets and furniture to apartments and homes. Starting in 2000, Zipcar let members rent cars for everyday errands and short trips with the express goal of taking more cars off the road. And CouchSurfing, launched as a nonprofit in 2004, suddenly turned every living room into a hostel. This first wave of sharing was eclectic and sometimes even profitable, but before the mass adoption of the smartphone, it failed to capture the public’s imagination.
Though its origin is vague, many credit the introduction of the term “sharing economy” into the broader tech lexicon to Lawrence Lessig, who wrote about sharing in his 2008 book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The Great Recession was just setting in, and the sharing economy was touted as a new DIY social safety net/business model hybrid. The contours of the term were never particularly clear. It was used loosely to describe peer-to-peer projects and tech-enabled rental markets but also included old barter, co-op, and casual carpooling models. The sharing economy was a broad, eclectic movement with ambitious if utopian goals. The online magazine Shareable launched in 2009 to document this “movement of movements.”
Sharing would be the instrument by which we’d be able to know one another again, a counterbalance to the alienation of a burgeoning tech dystopia.
Sharing would help reduce overconsumption and our impact on the environment. Venture capitalist and tech trend spotter Mary Meeker said Americans were moving from an “asset-heavy lifestyle to an asset-light existence” with the sharing economy leading the charge. Environment and politics researcher Harald Heinrichs suggested the sharing economy was a “potential new pathway to sustainability.” Greenpeace’s Annie Leonard framed sharing in opposition to consuming: The sharing economy, she wrote, would “conserve resources, give people access to stuff they otherwise couldn’t afford, and build community.”
Sharing also promised social benefits. It would be the instrument by which we’d be able to know one another again, a counterbalance to the alienation of a burgeoning tech dystopia. Sharing economy expert April Rinne said sharing would recreate the social fabric of tight-knit communities. “Engaging in collaborative consumption — and getting used to it — lowers the trust barrier over time,” she wrote at Shareable. New startups like TrustCloud would gather all of our disparate platform ratings and social trails from across the web and compile them into a new kind of social credit score that would enable trust and accountability in the sharing economy.
The new opportunities to earn money by freelancing part-time as a handyman, innkeeper, or taxi driver would bridge the wealth gap and ameliorate global inequality. In 2013, CNN contributor Van Jones said that sharing could lead us to “a more sustainable, prosperous future.”
Adam Werbach was president of the Sierra Club and a corporate sustainability consultant before he co-founded the used goods sharing marketplace Yerdle in 2012. A sort of proto-Omni, Yerdle’s original tagline was, “Stop buying. Start sharing.” The site incentivized renters to rent their own things by rewarding them with credits and keeping used goods recycling in the Yerdle community.
“There was a mix of venture-backed companies, social-benefit companies, and nonprofits all in the space, all fighting for it. And all of the companies were small, and all the founders hung out — it was a community,” Werbach says of those heady early times. “I had hoped this would be the taming of capitalism.”
Janelle Orsi, attorney, co-founder, and executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, used to call herself a sharing lawyer, which, she says now, “a lot of people thought was a joke.” Orsi helped set up small workers cooperatives and worked on cottage food legislation to make it possible for people in California to sell food they cooked at home on a small scale both on and off digital platforms.
For Orsi, the sharing pitch had some value in selling an idea that was uncomfortable at the time. “It took a certain kind of community-oriented person willing to take a risk and book an Airbnb or get in an Uber early on,” says Orsi. For her, and likely for many of the early sharing adopters, truly cleaner, lighter living through platform technology was seductive and incredibly promising. But that innocence was short-lived.
“I had a very grassroots community-based vision of it,” she says. “And then all of a sudden, here comes the big tech companies. It was totally hijacked.”
Perhaps no company is as emblematic of the sharing economy sector and its rapid evolution as Lyft. Zimride, Lyft’s original parent company, was a service that focused on college campuses and long-distance rides in areas with few other transit options. Co-founder Logan Green told reporters he was inspired by the slow grind of Los Angeles traffic, thick with single-occupant cars. If he could find a way to entice more people to carpool, Green reasoned, there would be less traffic on the road.
In 2012, Zimride launched Lyft to service shorter rides in cities. Lyft advertised “friendly rides,” encouraging passengers to sit up front alongside the driver and pay a suggested donation if they felt like it. The company argued that because the platform only acted to connect riders and drivers, with payment optional, it couldn’t be regulated as a taxi service provider. But just a year after it was spun out, Lyft instituted set ride fares and had already raised $83 million in financing. It was a sharing economy success story: In 2015, Lyft was recognized by the Circulars economy awards at Davos for “helping to decongest roads.”
Seemingly everything was a part of this new economy.
Over the first half of the 2010s, the so-called sharing economy evolved into a powerful new multibillion-dollar economic model. At about the same time, the definition of “sharing” began to shift. Sharing still referred to the peer-to-peer model of leveraging underutilized assets — sharing our goods with each other — but it was also increasingly applied to more traditional centralized rental models.
Seemingly everything was a part of this new economy: bike-sharing sponsored by multinational banks, apps that allowed people to rent parking spaces on public streets, and platforms that allowed for the peer-to-peer sale of used clothes. Sharing was the donor-funded nonprofit Wikipedia, and it was the massive unicorn WeWork. When the Avis Budget Group bought short-term car-rental service ZipCar in 2013, investor Steve Case said it was an indicator of the sharing economy’s growing potential. “Sharing is not a passing fad,” he wrote in the Washington Post. “Fasten your seatbelts: It’s just the beginning.”
Even though the term “sharing” was quickly being drained of any meaning, industry insiders still touted its social benefits. In 2014, Airbnb global head of community Douglas Atkin told a sharing economy conference, “The sharing economy deserves to succeed. There’s a decentralization of wealth and control and power. That’s why this economy is a better economy.”
By the mid-2010s, the narrative around the innovative, cure-all sharing economy had started to sour. As platforms banking on “collaborative consumption” edged toward multibillion-dollar valuations, sharing began to feel naive.
“I sort of observed the shift happening beginning in 2016,” says labor attorney Veena Dubal, who was working with freelance taxi drivers in San Francisco before sharing hit the road. “There was a moment of novelty but then a realization that these were the same things. Just much cheaper and unregulated.”
Three years ago, in a piece co-authored with entrepreneur and model Lily Cole, Adam Werbach also suggested that corporations had hijacked sharing. “Whilst modern rental platforms offer enormous value… they do not reflect the sentiment of sharing that has defined communities as communities for thousands of years.” They offered another word instead: rent.
What came next wasn’t sharing. Power and control wasn’t decentralized — it was even more concentrated in the hands of large and valuable platforms.
In some instances, the sharing economy appeared to inflame the very problems it purported to solve. The supposed activation of underutilized resources actually led to more, if slightly different, patterns of resource consumption. A number of studies have shown that the ease and subsidized low cost of Uber and Lyft rides are increasing traffic in cities and apparently pulls passengers away from an actual form of sharing: public transportation. Students at UCLA are reportedly taking roughly 11,000 rides each week that never even leave campus. In putting more cars on the road, ride-hail companies have encouraged would-be drivers to consume more by buying cars with subprime loans or renting directly from the platforms themselves.
Alongside making it easy to rent out spare rooms, vacation rental platforms encouraged speculative real estate investment. Whole homes and apartment buildings are taken off the rental market to act as hotels, further squeezing housing markets in already unaffordable cities.
Early sharing champions were ultimately correct about technology enabling a shift away from an ownership society, but what came next wasn’t sharing. The rise of streaming services, subscription systems, and short-term rentals eclipsed the promise of nonmonetary resource sharing. The power and control wasn’t decentralized; it was even more concentrated in the hands of large and valuable platforms.
Why go through the trouble of swapping your own DVDs for a copy of Friends With Benefits, after all, when you can stream it through Amazon Prime Video for $2.99? The idea of paying for temporary access to albums rather than outright owning them may have been galling at first, but we’re increasingly comfortable with renting all our music, along with our software, and our books. Downloading and sharing the materials that live on these streamed resources is impossible, illegal, or both.
The new trust never materialized. Government regulation typically plays an important role in mediating consumer relationships with corporate firms and for good reason. Peer-to-peer platforms can make discrimination easier, and they often claimed limited or zero liability when things went wrong. New social media reputation tools couldn’t prevent inevitable problems, especially when sharing companies did not institute background checks for their freelance workers or inspect homes and vehicles for safety.
Sharing didn’t deliver broad financial stability either. The jobs eventually created by the sharing economy were poorly regulated and hastened the broader growth of contract labor, pushing down already low wages for freelancers and employees alike. A few frequently quoted studies have claimed that soon, most of us will be freelancers. But most of that freelance work appears to be extremely part-time and merely supplemental income, and ride-hail driver turnover in particular is high.
Sharing doesn’t have the positive market power it wielded 10 years ago. Since 2016, tech entrepreneurs and their promoters in the press seem to have largely ditched the language of sharing. It’s now about “platforms,” “on-demand services,” or, most recently, “the gig economy.”
Labor attorney Dubal is not thrilled with the new “gig” language either. The term may seem honest — it places the precarious nature of the contract labor front and center — but it doesn’t assuage broader structural concerns. “Even people who’ve stopped using the ‘sharing economy’ haven’t necessarily seen the light in terms of what kinds of work the company has propagated more broadly,” Dubal says. “They’ve normalized unregulated business.”
Some of sharing’s earliest, most outspoken champions have distanced themselves from the term. Originally launched in 2013 as “a grassroots organization to support the sharing economy movement,” the nonprofit Peers purported to “grow, mainstream, and protect the sharing economy,” essentially acting as a corporate lobby firm for sharing, on-demand, and gig startups. Peers’ partners included Lyft, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Getaround, and dozens of other mostly for-profit companies. The organization said the bulk of its funding came from “mission-aligned independent donors” and foundations, but it also had investment from Airbnb.
By 2016, Peers had pivoted to portable benefits — an infrastructure to sustain gig workers as they labored without an employment safety net. Peers became “an organization for people working in new ways,” and it merged with the newly created Indy Worker Guild. Peers co-founder Natalie Foster went on to co-found the Economic Security Project, which lobbies for a new solution to help struggling gig workers and job-havers alike: universal basic income.
It’s now about “platforms,” “on-demand services,” or, most recently, “the gig economy.”
In 2018, April Rinne, who previously pushed the sharing economy’s promise of a “tighter social fabric,” acknowledged “the dark side” of the sharing economy but wrote that “the challenges faced by the sharing economy today are largely a result of its success.” Rachel Botsman, who argued that sharing would allow us to trust one another again, now writes about how technology and the concentration of power on large centralized platforms has led to “an erosion of trust.”
The demand for Botsman’s mythical community-shared power drill never seemed to materialize. Neighborly goods-sharing platforms Crowd Rent, ThingLoop, and SnapGoods are all many years dead, and meal-sharing Josephine ended long ago. CouchSurfing has gone for-profit, with venture capital investment.
It turns out sharing “is not really a mass-market idea, which is sort of depressing,” says Werbach, who’s pivoted Yerdle into a logistics firm for large brands interested in re-selling their used goods. “Kindergarten teachers are interested in that, but consumers are really interested in what’s in it for them.”
Some of the early, true sharing believers have decamped for the growing platform cooperative movement. “Now there’s a whole consortium of platform cooperatives,” says Orsi of the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
And these companies don’t bank on sharing. Organizations like Loconomics, Fairbnb, and Stocksy see their efforts at cooperative consumption and production less as altruism and more as collectively owning the means of production.
Sharing tapped into economic anxiety, isolation, and frustration with contemporary U.S. middle-class life in a unique and ultimately profitable way. It was another iteration of Silicon Valley’s excruciating trope of changing the world by way of disruption, wrapped in a soft packaging of eco-friendly, feel-good liberalism. We were encouraged to give companies like Lyft and Airbnb a chance, to nurture them and help them along for the greater good. If we didn’t believe in sharing, we weren’t just cynics but enemies of progress.
Many of the corporations and the pundits who sold us on the promises of sharing stopped using the term because consumers no longer found it believable or attractive. But it was consumers who really did sharing in. A true sharing economy is full of friction and discomfort, and the margins — if there are any to speak of — are paper thin. Real sharing is time-consuming and not particularly profitable for anyone.
“Now it’s just a transaction. It doesn’t need to be dressed up in any language about changing the world or whatever.”
In order to make money, especially the kind of money that tech investors expect, venture-backed companies couldn’t just activate underutilized resources — they had to make more. For-profit businesses demand growth, and platforms demand scale. More than a decade into the sharing experiment, we’ve been able to fully assess the costs. Capitalism wasn’t tamed, as Werbach had hoped — it was stoked.
“Now it’s just a transaction,” Werbach says. “It doesn’t need to be dressed up in any language about changing the world or whatever.”
And though sharing is largely dead, other tech-driven models have taken its place: VC-backed enterprises that still skate on the promise of solving inequality, promoting justice, fixing broken systems, and doing what regulators and big, old businesses have failed to do for decades.
These days, it’s not a shared drill that’s redefining trust and supplanting institutional intermediaries; it’s the blockchain. Botsman now says that the blockchain is the next step in shifting trust from institutions to strangers. “Even though most people barely know what the blockchain is, a decade or so from now, it will be like the internet,” she writes. “We’ll wonder how society ever functioned without it.”
The ambitious promises all sound very familiar.
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Millions of dollars were missing after a crypto CEO died without sharing the passwords to his accounts. Investigators cracked his laptop only to find the m...
Article word count: 271
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19321291
Posted by turtlegrids (karma: 173)
Post stats: Points: 284 - Comments: 165 - 2019-03-06T18:32:18Z
#HackerNews #137m #but #ceo #cracked #crypto #died #experts #gone #laptop #money #the #was #who #with
Mission Impossible (DC)Jacob T. Swinney/Vimeo
Millions of dollars were missing when the CEO of a crypto exchange died without sharing the passwords to his accounts. Investigators recently cracked his laptop — only to find the money was gone.
Gerald Cotten, the founder of QuadrigaCX, was thought to have had sole access to the funds and coins exchanged on it. After his death in December, his colleagues said that about $137 million in cryptocurrency belonging to about 115,000 customers was held offline in "cold storage" and inaccessible.
The case has sparked numerous theories, including that Cotten faked his own death and ran off with the cash. A court-appointed auditor, Ernst & Young, was able to crack Cottenʼs laptop and found that the accounts were emptied in April, eight months before his death, it said in a report last week.
"In April 2018, the remaining bitcoin in the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets was transferred out bringing the balances down to nil," the report said.
The investigators said they found other issues too, such as that Quadriga kept "limited books and records" and never reported its financials.
Ernst & Young also said it found 14 user accounts linked to Cotten that traded on Quadrigaʼs exchange and withdrew cryptocurrency to addresses not tied to Quadriga.
Burdened with $190 million in debt and unable to find or access the money, Quadriga filed for creditor protection in late January. A Nova Scotia court threw the company a lifeline this week, granting it a 45-day extension that prevents creditors from filing lawsuits against it until mid-April.
Kraken, another crypto exchange, is offering $100,000 for information on where Quadrigaʼs cash has gone.
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What made this particular codebase stand out above others? What did the original authors of the code do well?
Perhaps nothing about the code itself, but rather the surrounding environment?
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19294236
Posted by _randyr (karma: 30)
Post stats: Points: 116 - Comments: 51 - 2019-03-03T12:59:35Z
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On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider it had made an "error."
Article word count: 344
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19205457
Posted by temp1928384 (karma: 115)
Post stats: Points: 117 - Comments: 37 - 2019-02-20T04:11:31Z
#HackerNews #built-in #google #listed #meant #mic #nests #not #says #secret #specs #was
In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update — users could now enable its virtual assistant technology, Google Assistant.
The problem: Nest users didnʼt know a microphone even existed on their security device to begin with.
The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard (which is the alarm, keypad, and motion sensor component in the Nest Secure offering) was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device.
On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an "error."
"The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part," the spokesperson said.
Nest Guard Nest
Google says that "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option."
Read more: Google is reabsorbing Nest, the smart home company it bought for $3.2 billion in 2014
It also said the microphone was originally included in the Nest Guard for the possibility of adding new security features down the line, like the ability to detect broken glass.
Still, even if Google included the microphone in its Nest Guard device for future updates — like its Assistant integration — the news comes as consumers have grown increasingly wary of major tech companies and their commitment to consumer privacy.
For Google, the revelation is particularly problematic and brings to mind previous privacy controversies, such as the 2010 incident in which the company admitted that its fleet of Street View cars "accidentally" collected personal data transmitted over consumersʼ unsecured WiFi networks, including emails.
Google bought Nest — which was initially known for its smart thermostat device — back in 2014 for $3.2 billion. It became a standalone company in 2015 when Google reorganized as Alphabet, but in February 2018, it was brought back into Google under the leadership of head hardware exec Rick Osterloh.
Today, Nest offers a variety of IoT products including smoke detectors, video doorbells, and security cameras.
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