markets in everything
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.
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.
“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.”
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’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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Theme-based restaurants and parks are passé. A theme-based crematorium is the latest talk of the hour, both online and offline. Antim Udan Moksha Airport in Gujarat, the first of its kind in India, puts the departing souls of the dead cremated here on international flights to the heaven for ultimate salvation or moksha: freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
Located in Gujarat’s Bardoli on the banks of Mindhola River, the crematorium is modeled on an airport and equipped with two giant replicas of aircraft. The airplane replicas at Antim Udan Moksha Airport in Gujarat are named Moksha (salvation) airlines and Swarga (heaven) airlines which seem to transport the souls from the earth to the heaven on cremation of dead bodies here.
What’s the most interesting about Antim Udan Moksha Airport in Gujarat is the airport-like announcement which is made to guide funeral parties on entry into the crematorium and instruct them where to keep the body, how to proceed for cremation, etc. There is very little difference between the announcement made at the crematorium and that at airports as well as in planes.
What makes the crematorium more like an airport is the typical noise that an aircraft makes while taking off. A similar noise is created when dead bodies are placed in furnace at Antim Udan Moksha Airport in Gujarat. The atmosphere of the airport-themed crematorium is intended to soothe the mourning family members under the impression that the dead depart for salvation in the heaven.
Here is more, via the excellent Samir Varma.
Now it is textbooks:
When primary school administrators in the U.K. choose study materials for the fall semester this year, they will have a new option: math textbooks imported from Shanghai, a city celebrated as a global math power.
In the books, the British pound will replace references to the Chinese yuan. But in just about every other way, the versions of Real Shanghai Maths available in London will be exactly like those used in China, the ideas, sequencing and methods kept intact.
It is a remarkable admission by British education authorities that their own methods have stumbled, and that Chinese educators – after years of racking up world firsts in math scores – have developed something admirable enough to import in whole cloth.
Here is the full article, via A.T., our A.T.
Mr. Ferretti, 36 years old, and Mr. Lopez, 44, had enjoyed themselves under the supervision of a doctor for what some are calling a brosectomy—a vasectomy with friends in a cushy setting of couches, snacks, big-screen TV, and in some clinics, top-shelf liquor.
Here is the WSJ story. And:
The University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City has run March Madness promotions for the past three years. It offers a vasectomy package that includes a Utah Jazz basketball ticket giveaway, goody bags and basketball-shaped ice packs. This year, its surgeons performed more than three times as many vasectomies in March compared with the average number done in the other months through May, according to the health center’s internal marketing data.
They promised us flying cars, and all we got was…
There is a restaurant in New Jersey called Tina Louise.
It’s serves “a taste of Asia.” We were thinking tropical island fare. According to the website, it is temporarily closed due to a fire. But if you someday find yourself in Carlstadt, New Jersey…
I thank an anonymous MR reader for the pointer.