Results for “markets in everything”
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Markets in everything

In the latest phase of the quest to turn everything into an NFT, crypto traders are now bidding to digitally own a 1,784-lb. cube of tungsten in Willowbrook, Illinois. According to the terms of the sale, which will have the receipt posted to the blockchain for posterity, the “owner” can have one supervised visit to the cube per year to touch or photograph it.

Over the past two weeks, a joke fired off by Coin Center’s Neeraj Agrawal about a nonexistent tungsten shortage thanks to crypto traders buying cubes of tungsten due to a meme actually caused one for Midwest Tungsten Service. The Illinois manufacturer actually creates small cubes of tungsten, and the tweet caused a 300 percent increase in sales that depleted the company’s stock on Amazon, Coindesk reported.

Last week, The Block reported that the company entered a partnership with crypto payment processor OpenNode to accept Bitcoin payments. One explanation as to why this is happening, which doesn’t really explain why this is happening, was offered to The Block by CMS Holdings’ Dan Matuszewski, who said “crypto just has a propensity for the density.” Tungsten is a very dense metal, comparable to uranium or gold, and its surprising weight is, apparently, pleasurable.

Midwest Tungsten told Coindesk that it primarily makes these cubes for industrial firms, and Sean Murray, the company’s director of e-commerce, suggested to Coindesk there would be a 14-inch cube next. The company offers cubes ranging from an 18-gram, 1-centimeter cube that costs $19.99 to a 41-pound, 4-inch cube that costs $2,999.99.

Well, the 14-inch cube is finally here. It weighs 1,784 poinds and is now listed on OpenSea as an NFT. Seemingly, it’s the biggest cube that Midwest Tungsten can create.

“Since we began selling the cube we have constantly asked ourselves, ‘What is the right size?’, and ‘Would anyone buy a bigger cube?’ Only recently has anyone asked us, or have we asked ourselves, ‘What is the biggest cube we can make?’

Here is the full story, via the excellent Samir Varma.  You know, circa 2010 I thought MR was about to run out of startling “Markets in Everything” examples — how wrong I was!

Now-defunct publicity markets in everything

The official Wizard of New Zealand, perhaps the only state-appointed wizard in the world, has been cast from the public payroll, spelling the end to a 23-year legacy.

The Wizard, whose real name is Ian Brackenbury Channell, 88, had been contracted to Christchurch city council for the past two decades to promote the city through “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services”, at a cost of $16,000 a year. He has been paid a total of $368,000.

Here is the full story, and for the pointer I thank P.  And speaking of marketing, here is vaccine markets in everything.

Covid markets in everything

A pastor is encouraging people to donate to his Tulsa church so they can become an online member and get his signature on a religious exemption from coronavirus vaccine mandates. The pastor, Jackson Lahmeyer, is a 29-year-old small-business owner running in the Republican primary challenge to Sen. James Lankford in 2022.

Lahmeyer, who leads Sheridan Church with his wife, Kendra, said Tuesday that in the past two days, about 30,000 people have downloaded the religious exemption form he created.

And:

Some institutions request a signature from a religious authority, but Charles Haynes, senior fellow for religious freedom at the Freedom Forum in Washington, said that those institutions could be on a shaky ground constitutionally. Haynes said that if a person states a sincere religious belief that they want to opt out of vaccination, that should be enough.

“He’s not really selling a religious exemption,” said Haynes, who compared Lahmeyer’s exemption offer to televangelists who sell things like prayer cloths. “He’s selling a bogus idea that you need one.”

Here is the full story, via Brett D.

Secret Danish markets in everything

Denmark has paid the UK an undisclosed sum to accept 23 Afghan refugees who worked as interpreters for the Danish state for eight years.

According to a report by Swedish broadsheet Svenska Dagbladet, the interpreters were granted a residence permit in the UK after twelve of them had their visa applications to Denmark rejected and eleven wanted to travel to the UK themselves.

Even though the interpreters were technically employed by the British military, they worked for the Danes, wearing Danish uniform and received a Danish salary.

The amount — paid for in secret by the Danish state — has been calculated according to what it would cost the British to evacuate the interpreters, integrate them into society and pay social costs for five years. The payment has been confirmed by the Danish Ministry of Defence to SvD.

Here is the full story.

Those new service sector jobs China markets in everything

At 40 years old, Zheng says she’s tired of searching for the perfect man. So she’s decided to hire one instead.

Whenever she feels like some male company, the divorcée heads to a café in central Shanghai named The Promised Land. There, she spends hours being pampered by a handsome young server, who fetches her drinks, watches movies with her, and listens attentively to her anecdotes.

The sessions cost over 400 yuan ($60) each time, but Zheng says they’re worth every cent.

“The butlers respect me and care about my feelings,” she tells Sixth Tone. “Even if you have a boyfriend, he might not be this sweet, right?”

…The outlets have found success by tapping into the frustrations of Chinese women, many of whom feel society remains far too patriarchal…

Wang Qian, a 24-year-old student, is a regular visitor to the café. She tells Sixth Tone she enjoys the feeling of empowerment she gets from spending time there.

According to Wang, many of the men she meets in normal life are pu xin nan — a term popularized by the female comedian Yang Li that roughly translates as “men who are so average, yet so confident.” The butlers, however, are considerate and never mansplain anything to her, she says…

The butler feels he has to be flawless to progress at The Promised Land. The café imposes a rigid hierarchy. Butlers are divided into three levels: entry, advanced, and celebrity — with each priced differently. To spur competition, the managers hang a board on the wall displaying the number of tips each server has received.

Here is the full story, interesting throughout.

Covid markets in everything, certified air ambulance regulatory arbitrage edition

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen … if they were going to separate us or put us in a hospital,” said McElroy. “I didn’t know if I was going to need a respirator.”

None of that happened. Within 72 hours, the couple was on a Learjet back to Arizona.

Before they left, Underwood purchased memberships with Covac Global, a medical evacuation company launched by the crisis response firm HRI in the spring of 2020. It meant the couple didn’t pay a dime for their repatriation, said McElroy.

Commercial airlines and private jets can’t fly travelers with Covid-19 home, but certified air ambulances staffed with medical teams can.

While some companies evacuate travelers who require hospitalization, Covac Global retrieves travelers who test positive for Covid-19 and have one self-reported symptom. About 85% of evacuees are returned home, while the rest need hospital attention, said CEO Ross Thompson.

When CNBC first spoke with the company in March, it was performing about two to three medical evacuations every month. Now, that number has climbed to about 12 to 20.

Here is the full story, via Shaffin Shariff.

Chess grandmaster markets in everything

But for some players, securing a prestigious title meant more than just playing well. It is an open secret in chess that many players cut side deals with tournament organizers and other top competitors that help them achieve norms they might have struggled to get legitimately.

This culture touched the Momot club. Many of its members acquired their grandmaster credentials in Crimea, at tournaments in places like Sudak and Alushta that were known as “norm factories” — where, for as little as $1,000, organizers would make sure players accumulated enough points for a norm.

But there were other, more subtle, ways to succeed, too. Far from prying eyes, secret agreements and cash exchanges to arrange results were not uncommon, according to interviews with chess players and FIDE officials. In a sport so wholly obsessed with status, title and rank, even selling a game could be accomplished for the right price.

Mikhail Zaitsev, who achieved the rank of International Master and is now a chess coach, estimated that of the world’s roughly 1,900 living grandmasters, at least 10 percent have cheated one way or another to acquire the title. Shohreh Bayat, one of the leading arbiters in chess, describes such arrangements in the plainest terms. “Match fixing,” she said, “is cheating.” Some hopefuls didn’t even have to play a game of chess to get the points they needed: Some tournaments, she said, took place only on paper.

Here is more from Ivan Nechepurenko and at the NYT.

Roger Scruton Hungarian coffee shop markets in everything

When the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton died last year Boris Johnson called him “the greatest modern conservative thinker”.

It seems that he had an even greater admirer in Viktor Orban, the right-wing prime minister of Hungary, whose allies have poured £1.5 million into a chain of coffee shops in Scruton’s memory. The first opened in November in Budapest and is filled with Scruton memorabilia donated by his widow, Sophie.

More cafés will follow, says John O’Sullivan, a former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher who now chairs a Hungarian think tank. The £1.5 million investment comes from the state-sponsored Batthyany foundation, which also paid for the historian Norman Stone to write a history of Hungary that praised Orban’s leadership.

Here is the full link from the London Times (gated).  For the pointer I thank Jason D.

Markets in everything Japanese melon pan mask edition

Melon pan is not only delicious, but one Japanese company also thinks it can make a good mask.

Osaka-based experimental think tank Goku no Kimochi The Labo has created “Mask Pan” or “Mask Bread” after college students from Fukuoka and Okinawa decided they want to sniff the smell of bread all the time. What better way to do that than wearing melon pan on your face?

FNN reports that Goku no Kimochi The Labo roped in famed melon pan specialty shop Melon de Melon to bake the bread. For each Mask Pan, the middle is carved out, making space for the wearer’s mouth and nose. As silly as this might seem (and goodness does it ever), the melon pan’s signature crunchy outside supposedly has a degree of effectiveness.

Here is the full story, via Shaffin Shariff.

Cheating markets in everything

  • This phone shaker device can achieve your weekly fitness goal without efforts, unlocking rewards at distances in Pokemon Go.
  • The phone walker is ideal for those people who are doing corporate steps challenges to get rewards with freebies for getting fit.
  • The step counter device features three kinds of working modes, running mode(fast speed), jogging mode(medium speed) and walking mode(low speed).
  • It can earn 9,500 steps(running mode) in an hour equivalent to 4 miles approx, cheating your way to 10,000 steps in a short time.
  • It is compatible with any IOS and Android’s smart phones whose width is less than 3.6”. If you have any questions, just feel free to click the contact seller button

Here is the Amazon listing, via Ben M.

NFT virtual horse markets in everything

Is it simply that we have made gambling too much fun and too intriguing?  Or should we upgrade our view of the welfare consequences of gambling?:

On Zed Run, a digital horse racing platform, several such events take place every hour, seven days a week. Owners pay modest entry fees — usually between $2 and $15 — to run their steeds against others for prize money.

The horses in these online races are NFTs, or “nonfungible tokens,” meaning they exist only as digital assets….

“A breathing NFT is one that has its own unique DNA,” said Roman Tirone, the head of partnerships at Virtually Human, the Australian studio that created Zed Run. “It can breed, has a bloodline, has a life of its own. It races, it has genes it passes on, and it lives on an algorithm so no two horses are the same.” (Yes, owners can breed their NFT horses in Zed Run’s “stud farm.”)

People — most of them crypto enthusiasts — are rushing to snap up the digital horses, which arrive on Zed Run’s site as limited-edition drops; some of them have fetched higher sums than living steeds. One player sold a stable full of digital racehorses for $252,000. Another got $125,000 for a single racehorse. So far, more than 11,000 digital horses have been sold on the platform.

Alex Taub, a tech start-up founder in Miami, has purchased 48 of them. “Most NFTs, you buy them and sell them, and that’s how you make money,” Mr. Taub, 33, said. “With Zed, you can earn money on your NFT by racing or breeding.”

One implication here is that automation is never going to destroy all of the jobs.  Here is the full NYT story.