Archive for June, 2011


In 2005 News Corp. acquired MySpace for $580 million. Now, six years later, after a long search for a buyer, News Corp. has finally sold it for $35 million. As is common with most companies, News Corp. doesn’t talk about the specific financial flows behind any one project and so it’s difficult to know how MySpace affected News Corp. Still, Arstechnica
attempted to make some inferences based on educated guesses. Arstechnica
estimates that MySpace was losing $8 million a year when it was acquired by News Corp. and that it lost $431 million in 2010, the year before it was able to offload it. You can read more about the analysis here.

Source: Arstechnica

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The original Cars film had a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the lowest rated Disney Pixar Film. Why then did Pixar choose to make a sequel for Cars instead of the other highly rated films that they’ve produced? It’s because of the merchandizing argue Chmielewski and Keegan at the Los Angeles Times.

While the movie won’t do as well in theaters, it will generate a lot of money in licensing fees from toys and cartoons for Pixar. Read more over here.

Source: LA Times

Time Magazine
reports that Greece, the country that has become the epicenter of the Eurozone austerity crisis, has seen a significant increase in the number of patients seeking psychiatric help. Greece has long prided itself on having the lowest suicide rate in Europe. This may well change with a rise in the number of suicides, mostly focused in Athens, the country’s business center. The article also notes that the stress might not just be due to financial problems brought on by austerity. The blow to the Greek national identity and an international media that has painted Greece as a country full of cheaters has also played a significant role. Read more over here.

Source: Time Magazine

Arstechnica reported on a publication called Journal of Virtual Worlds Research that is focused on understanding the sociology of digital worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life.

A few interesting things from Arstechnica’s report include:

  • Intimacy formations in real and virtual worlds have striking similarities.
  • The National Science Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant for further research in this field.
  • The distinction between online and offline socialization isn’t always clear. Instead of choosing to play alone at home players often go to play games at certain cyber cafes where they know there’ll be able to meet all their real world friends.
  • Certain cyber cafés in China offer foot massages while gamers continue with their quests.
  • World of Warcraft’s total population is twice as large as Scotland’s.

Read the full article to find out more about things such as a Second Life made for the blind and the link between President Obama and gaming ethics.

Source: Arstechnica

Economists have suggested that one way to solve the shortage in organs is to create an open market where buyers and sellers can come together and agree on a price for the organs. It seems that China is seriously considering this idea. While the ethics of such a market are hotly debated Slate notes that other, smaller countries have flirted with compensation – both monetary and otherwise – for organ donation. They include:

  • Singapore provides a health care subsidy for individuals who agree to donate their organs
  • Israel gives donors priority on the organ donation list if they ever need an organ
  • Iran pays cash for to kidney donors

Read more about the efforts of other countries and China’s experiment over here.

Source: Slate


The Economist reported on the strong correlation between the United States’ obesity rate and the distance that an average driver drives. They suggested (with caveats) that the increase in the amount that Americans drive might be causing high obesity rates. Justin Wolfers at Freakonomcis was unsatisfied with this argument and noted that his age was a better explanatory variable for the rise in obesity rates. He went on to argue that the correlation between miles driven and rates of obesity was incidental.

We should get a better sense of whose right in 2014 when America’s obesity rate is predicted to decline (due to a decrease in average miles driven), despite a (predicted) increase in Wolfer’s age.

Source: The Economist, Freakonomics

Focus produced an infographic on the current state of venture capital. Some of the highlights include:

  • Internet businesses receive 39% of all venture capital
  • Just before the tech bubble burst venture capital funding reached its peak in 2000
  • California accounts for 73% of the money invested in green energy solutions

Read more about the advantage that Massachusetts has because of the presence of MIT and Harvard and other interesting things about venture capital here.

Source: Focus


College News recently created a guide for students looking to build their credit score. You can read the entire guide over here. Some tips include:

  • Having a strong credit rating is important and the only way to build credit is to use credit.
  • Keep your credit balance under 30% of your total credit limit and pay it off on time each month.
  • If you know an adult with a good credit rating ask them to co-sign your loan, or get a supplementary credit card from their bank.
  • Get a credit card as soon as you turn 21. Banks are more likely to give you one because they assume your parents will rescue you if you are unable to repay your debts. After you graduate banks might be less confident about your prospects in case of a financial emergency.
  • Keep a number of different types of loans open.
  • Talk to the credit reporting company and have any mistakes fixed immediately.

There are a lot more tips at College News

Source: College News


College News recently created a guide for students looking to build their credit score. You can read the entire guide over here. Some tips include:

  • Having a strong credit rating is important and the only way to build credit is to use credit.
  • Keep your credit balance under 30% of your total credit limit and pay it off on time each month.
  • If you know an adult with a good credit rating ask them to co-sign your loan, or get a supplementary credit card from their bank.
  • Get a credit card as soon as you turn 21. Banks are more likely to give you one because they assume your parents will rescue you if you are unable to repay your debts. After you graduate banks might be less confident about your prospects in case of a financial emergency.
  • Keep a number of different types of loans open.
  • Talk to the credit reporting company and have any mistakes fixed immediately.

There are a lot more tips at College News

Source: College News

Economist’s make a distinction between normal goods and inferior goods. Normal goods are the type that you buy more of as you get richer (such as four course meals at the Ritz Carlton) and inferior goods are those that you buy less of as your income increases (think Ramen noodles). So, are kids normal goods or inferior goods? As people get richer do they choose to have more or fewer kids?

Freakonomics concludes that no matter how you look at it, whether by country, or by history, and controlling for factors such as the advent of contraceptives; it is clear that children are an inferior good. You can read their analysis over here.

Source: Freakonomics