“When Bitcoin Grows Up”
John Lanchester | London Review of Books
In time, even the US joined the system of state-backed money dispensed through a central bank. This is the system we still have everywhere in the developed world today. The reason a lot of people are excited about bitcoin and its associated technologies is that for the first time there is a genuine possibility of real change in this area. Money has evolved in jumps, from the invention of writing to the invention of the balance sheet and the bank to the creation of the central bank, with all of these changes being variations on the theme of money as a register of credits and debits. And we’re now at a point when another jump is possible.
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“This Is Your Brain on Uber”
Shankar Vedantam | Hidden Brain
Uber is built on the scourge of surge. When demand is high, the company charges two, three, even 9.9 times as much as normal for a ride. Riders hate it... but not so much that they stop riding. "Dynamic pricing" has helped the company to grow into one of the largest ride-booking services in the world. What's the psychology behind it?
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“A Guy Just Transcribed 30 years of For-Rent Ads”
Michael Andersen | Medium
I don’t know anything about Eric Fischer except that he’s a freaking hero.
Much like everyone else who has recently attempted to live in San Francisco, Fischer is very interested in housing costs. However, unlike every other such person, Fischer decided to contribute to this conversation by doubling the depth of modern historical data about them.
. . .
There are some ups and downs, but for the most part there is a very simple trend: 6.6 percent.
That’s the amount the rent has gone up every year, on average, since 1956.
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“A Renegade Muscles In on Mister Softee’s Turf”
Andy Newman and Emily S. Rueb | The New York Times
But behind those cheery facades simmer turf wars—long-running, occasionally bloody feuds between ice cream vendors for control of the city’s prime selling spots.
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“Understanding Peter Thiel’s Anti-Gawker Crusade”
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry | The Week
In 2007, the Gawker-owned Valleywag outed Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who founded PayPal and invested early in Facebook, as gay. Unrelatedly, Gawker later published a video of the wrestler Hulk Hogan having sex with a friend's wife (he was also married at the time). Hogan sued Gawker, and won a massive $140 million in damages. (Gawker is appealing.)
This week it came to light that Thiel has been funding Hogan's lawsuit, probably with the goal of bankrupting Gawker, and certainly with the avowed goal of "deterrence"—i.e. making sure media outlets think twice about engaging in the kind of outrageously salacious reporting Gawker is famous for.
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Bonus (and newly relevant) archival read:
“Should You Be Allowed to Invest in a Lawsuit?”