markets in everything

Thwarted markets in everything

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Wall Street billionaire, was prepared to cut a $25 million check to the high school he attended here in the 1960s, to help it pay for a huge renovation project.

He wanted only a few things in return.

For starters, the public school should be renamed in his honor. A portrait of him should be displayed prominently in the building. Spaces at the school should be named for his twin brothers. He should have the right to review the project’s contractors and to sign off on a new school logo.

The school district’s officials accepted the deal.

So it was that this Philadelphia bedroom community of 55,000, not normally a hotbed of civic unrest, exploded into a populist fury.

That is from Kate Kelly at the NYT.

Malthusian dog markets in everything

An effort that animal rescuers began more than a decade ago to buy dogs for $5 or $10 apiece from commercial breeders has become a nationwide shadow market that today sees some rescuers, fueled by Internet fundraising, paying breeders $5,000 or more for a single dog.

The result is a river of rescue donations flowing from avowed dog saviors to the breeders, two groups that have long disparaged each other. The rescuers call many breeders heartless operators of inhumane “puppy mills” and work to ban the sale of their dogs in brick-and-mortar pet stores. The breeders call “retail rescuers” hypocritical dilettantes who hide behind nonprofit status while doing business as unregulated, online pet stores.

But for years, they have come together at dog auctions where no cameras are allowed, with rescuers enriching breeders and some breeders saying more puppies are being bred for sale to the rescuers.

Here is more from Kim Kavin at WaPo, substantive throughout with photos and video.  In essence, somebody has solved for the equilibrium.

For the pointers I thank Tom Vansant and Alexander Lowery.

Owl markets in everything

A U.K. photographer said a newlywed couple has no regrets about choosing an owl to be their ring bearer, even though it flew at a member of the wedding party during their ceremony.

Mark Wood and Jeni Arrowsmith wed at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, England, on March 17.

Unbeknownst to their guests, the couple hired an owl named Bobby to bring the rings down the aisle.

Here is the CBC story, and for the pointer I thank Michelle Dawson.

China simulated death markets in everything

Beijing’s biggest funeral parlor held an open day last Thursday that featured a virtual reality simulation of death, reported The Beijing News — though it left some wondering why you would want to experience death prematurely.

Visitors could don VR glasses and earphones to experience having a seizure at work, a failed paramedic rescue, and entrance into the afterlife. Funeral parlor employee Dong Ziyi told The Beijing News that the immersive experience “enables people to better cherish the beauty of life.”

In addition to the death experience, visitors can use VR to explore funeral services with a five-minute session that goes through corpse delivery and storage, mortuary preparations, the memorial service, and cremation — a tour that would take an hour in real life.

Here is more by Liang Chenyu from Sixth Tone, one of my favorite media outlets.

Markets in everything

Rich People Will Soon Be Able To Buy Fake Meteor Showers On Demand.

In the latest scheme of the booming private space industry, a Japanese company proposes to light up the night with made-to-order shooting stars…

The fireworks will come courtesy of a satellite some 220 miles high, owned by the world’s first “aerospace entertainment” firm, Astro Live Experiences, or ALE.

The brainchild of University of Tokyo astronomer Lena Okajima, the spacecraft will circle the globe and kick out 15 to 20 small metallic pebbles on command.

Here is the story, and for the pointer I thank DL.

Markets in everything, probably more where this came from edition

Mr. Sarkozy, 63, was taken into custody in Nanterre, northwest of Paris, after answering a police summons, according to a French judicial official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, in line with department policy…

The suspicions behind this case first emerged in 2012, when the investigative news website Mediapart published a report suggesting that Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign had received up to 50 million euros, or nearly $62 million at current exchange rates, from the regime of Colonel Qaddafi, the longtime Libyan strongman who was killed in 2011. Such support would have violated France’s strict campaign finance laws, which cap spending and prohibit foreign funding.

Here is the NYT account.  Here is my earlier post on Gerhard Schröder.

The surprise vacation (markets in everything)

Companies like Magical Mystery Tours and the Vacation Hunt, both based in Washington, D.C., have made surprise vacations their specialty, while more traditionally oriented operations like Rustic Pathways, which focuses on teen travel, and London-based luxury outfitter Brown + Hudson have added mystery trips to their already robust lineups.

The company picks the destination and does all the work planning the trip:

So, how does a destination get chosen? Most American mystery travel companies, including Pack Up + Go, require clients to take a survey. When booking my trip, I was asked where I’d been recently, and where I’d be heading soon, so the company could avoid those places. I was also asked to select from a long checklist of interests and to write in additional comments. I didn’t request a warmer destination, though I easily could have.

Here is the full story from Matthew Kronsberg at the WSJ.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Samir Varma.

Markets in everything

“They do what they want,” she says. “After the earthquake you would see [foreign workers] asking to have sex in exchange for supplies. I never did it, but I saw some people who did.”

A UN report, published in May 2015, found that members of its peacekeeping mission in Haiti traded sex for aid with more than 225 women between 2008 and 2014.

That is from Joe Parkin Daniels at The Guardian.

India marriage markets in everything

India’s government has expanded a scheme offering payment incentives to Hindus who marry members of the country’s poorest and most oppressed caste, the Dalits.

A scheme introduced in 2013 offered 250,000 rupees (£2,900) to encourage Hindus from higher castes to marry members of the “untouchable” community, in the hope that it would help to remove the stigma of intercaste marriage and foster greater social cohesion.

To qualify, the annual income of the spouse from the high caste had to be less than 500,000 rupees (‎£5,800).

The government envisaged about 500 such marriages annually, but less than 100 have taken place each year.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced it would scrap the income ceiling, and said all couples in which one spouse is from the Dalit caste would receive the cash incentive.

Here is the article, via Eric D., also read the last few paragraphs.

Ray Bradbury markets in everything

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of a dystopian future where books have been outlawed and are destroyed by firemen who set them ablaze. But in an ironic twist, Super Terrain, a publisher in France, has created a new edition of Bradbury’s classic that actually requires extreme heat in order to be read.

Jo Frenken shared this video to Instagram showing a prototype copy of the book, which was developed by the Charles Nypels Lab at the Netherlands-based Jan van Eyck Academie—a research institute known for its experiments in materials and media. The pages of the book appear completely blacked-out—like a redacted CIA file—as you flip through them. But when heat is applied, using a flame from a lighter, in this case, the heat-activated ink disappears and the underlying text is revealed.

That is by Andrew Liszewski, via Ted Gioia.

Markets in everything Victorian novels starring Baron Trump edition

Here is one bit of description:

In these books, the young German protagonist, Wilhelm Heinrich Sebastian Von Troomp, better known as Baron Trump, travels around and under the globe with his dog Bulger, meeting residents of as-of-yet undiscovered lands before arriving back home at Castle Trump. Trump is precocious, restless, and prone to get in trouble, with a brain so big that his head has grown to twice the normal size—a fact that, as we have seen, he mentions often. No one tells Trump that his belief that he looks great in traditional Chinese garb—his uniform for both volumes—is unwarranted.

Lockwood’s books are spring break meets Carmen Sandiego meets Jabberwocky; at the start of each story, Trump sets out eager to find new civilizations—and manages to get distracted by more than one lady along the way. One of the first places he visits in Travels and Adventures is the land of the toothless and nearly weightless Wind Eaters, who inflate to beach-ball size after a meal. They are generous hosts until Trump starts a fire. The intrigued Wind Eaters draw near, and promptly explode after the air they have ingested expands thanks to the flames. As Captain Go-Whizz, “a sort of leader among them,” chases the murderer, the dog Bulger bites one of the Wind Eaters until he deflates like a punctured balloon. The pair eventually escape, leaving the briefly betrothed Princess Pouf-fah without a mate, and Chief Ztwish-Ztwish and Queen Phew-yoo with many a funeral to plan.

Here is the full story.

Luxury canine markets in everything

How is making clothing for animals different than for humans?

“There is a whole different physiology when you’re designing for a pet. The animal has to be able to go to the bathroom without removing the clothing. The design must be comfortable, because you don’t want the dog chewing at it or taking it off on the runway.”

What’s the price range of your designs?

“Anywhere from $300 to $15,000. The most expensive item I did was a pageant dress for a Maltese for the New York Pet Fashion Show. It had a crown, a faux fur wrap covered in Swarovski crystals, and the gown was convertible — the skirt part came apart and the dog was still wearing the harness.”

How do you choose the dog models?

“I have a who’s who of the famous dogs of Instagram (including Norbert and Henry from Bideawee, a New York pet welfare organization). I use my clients’ dogs, and I always do a rags-to-riches story and feature a rescue animal that can be adopted.”

What’s it like being a dog clothing designer in New York?

“There was time when people would look at it weird, in the beginning when I was doing it. Now you can’t go anywhere where the dog is not wearing something. I mean, my dogs even wear shades.”

That is an NYT chat with designer Anthony Rubio.

Eleanor Rigby auction markets in everything

Certificate of purchase and receipt for grave space to be sold with miniature bible belonging to woman whose name was immortalised by McCartney

They are expected to sell for between £2,000 and £4,000.

They will go under the hammer alongside the original handwritten score for the song, which is expected to fetch £20,000.

The jar by the door, however, is not up for sale.  Via Ted Gioia.

Markets in everything?

I cannot tell whether this tale should count as confirmed:

As awful as that may sound, a number of religious scholars are offering themselves up for one-night stands with divorced Muslim women trying to save their marriages under a disputable Islamic law, an India Today investigation has found.

They charge anywhere between Rs 20,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh to participate in nikah halala, a controversial practice that requires a woman to marry someone else, sleep with him and get a divorce again in order to be able to remarry her first husband under personal laws, the probe discovered.

India Today’s investigative team has blown the lid off the taboo tradition that has remained largely unnoticed amid intense debates over triple talaq on the media and in the country’s top court.

The probe found many Islamic scholars putting themselves up on sale for women desperate to restore their broken marriages.

Here is the full article, via Raj.  I am surprised that the equilibrium price is that high.

Restaurant matching markets in everything those new service sector jobs use my ethnic dining guide instead

This very nice article covers “…a line of people wrapped around the block outside a newly opened restaurant”:

…Surkus, an emerging app that allowed the restaurant to quickly manufacture its ideal crowd and pay the people to stand in place like extras on a movie set. They’ve even been hand-picked by a casting agent of sorts, an algorithmic one that selects each person according to age, location, style and Facebook “likes.”

They may look excited, but that could also be part of the production. Acting disengaged while they idle in line could tarnish their “reputation score,” an identifier that influences whether they’ll be “cast” again. Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid — their movements are being tracked with geolocation.

Here is the WaPo Peter Holley piece, interesting throughout.  Note that women are often paid more than men, and comedians are starting to use it to fill seats in the nightclub.