In July, Netflix stock neared $300 per share. Then they announced a price hike, raising both their DVD-by-mail and Internet-based streaming movie service from about $10 per month to about $16 per month.
Their customers revolted, and the stock price went with them. On Monday afternoon, following the stock market close, Netflix reported their third quarter earnings along with a dismal forecast going forward. During the quarter, the company lost subscribers, down about 800,000 US subscribers in the past since June. Given that the price hike was announced in July, it is reasonable to assume most of that lost came in the past two months and is likely to continue. So far, the company has given no indication of backing off its price hike though they did give up on the idea of spinning the DVD-by-mail business off into a separate company (with the silly name “Qwikster”).
By the time you read this, Netflix stock will be trading below $80 per share, the first time the stock will trade in double digits since August, 2009 (more realistically since May, 2009 since the August price decline was just barely under $100 and very brief.)
The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings (who I predict will soon be unemployed, though not poor), said on Monday that his company “became a symbol of the evil, greedy corporation.” I wish he hadn’t played into that anti-business sentiment which we see in the smelly protesters around Wall Street.
Instead, he became a symbol of a bone-headed CEO who communicated arrogantly with investors and customers and raised prices by 60 percent during a very weak economy, and during a time when cable companies and Internet content-streaming companies are offering various “on demand” alternatives. It’s not that Netflix was evil, and it’s barely that they were greedy. It’s that they were stupid.
Read the article here.
Anti-racist-costume campaign spawns obligatory meme.
SSA: Popular Baby Names “For a list of the most popular names for a particular year of birth (any year after 1879), enter the year and the length of the popularity list.”
In 2009, the top most stressful jobs were a surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account executive, and real estate agent. The least stressful jobs were actuary, dietitian, astronomer, systems analyst, and software engineer. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” – Buddhist Proverb
Newborn, Mom, and Grandmother Pulled from Rubble in Turkey
The death toll from Sunday’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Turkey has risen to more than 400, but on Tuesday, rescuers felt a renewed sense of hope as they freed a two-week-old baby, her mother, and grandmother from the rubble of their apartment building and brought them to safety. More than 2,000 buildings were damaged in the quake, and rescuers have been working frantically and in near-freezing temperatures to locate and free survivors. Still, with each passing hour, the situation becomes increasingly desperate and the likelihood of finding survivors wanes. More …
A post on AA’s Facebook page announced the good news:
American Airlines is happy to announce that Jack the Cat has been found safe and well at JFK airport. American’s team of airport employees have been focused on the search effort since Jack escaped on August 25, 2011. Jack was found in the customs room and was immediately taken by team members to a local veterinarian. The vet has advised that Jack is doing well at present.
Karen Pascoe, Jack’s owner, was on her way to catch a flight to California, where she was informed that Jack was missing. American Airlines hired a pet detective to aid in the search.
A Facebook support page has racked up over 16,000 followers.
We think we know who the enemies are: banks, big business, lobbyists, the politicians who exist to appease them. But somehow the sector which stitches this system of hypercapitalism together gets overlooked. That seems strange when you consider how pervasive it is. In fact you can probably see it right now. It is everywhere, yet we see without seeing, without understanding the role that it plays in our lives.
I am talking about the industry whose output frames this column and pays for it: advertising. For obvious reasons, it is seldom confronted by either the newspapers or the broadcasters.
The problem was laid out by Rory Sutherland when president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. Marketing, he argued, is either ineffectual or it “raises enormous ethical questions every day”. With admirable if disturbing candour he concluded that “I would rather be thought of as evil than useless.” A new report by the Public Interest Research Centre and WWF opens up the discussion he appears to invite. Think of Me as Evil? asks the ethical questions that most of the media ignore.
Five years after the U.S. backed a disastrous Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, Washington is considering supporting another ill-conceived incursion into the war-torn East African nation — this one by neighboring Kenya. Meanwhile, the U.S. has escalated its drone campaign against Somali insurgents, apparently coordinating the aerial strikes to take advantage of the Kenyan advance.
If Ethiopia’s experience in Somalia is any indicator, the Kenyan invasion could quickly backfire. A popular backlash against the Kenyans could set Somalia back by years, and undermine recent U.S. efforts to craft a strategy for Somalia that balances surgical counter-terrorism and strong support for the embryonic Somali government.
In 2006, Ethiopia invaded Somalia and occupied the country, Uganda and Burundi sent peacekeepers to Mogadishu in 2007 and since 2008 more than a dozen nations have deployed warships to patrol for Somali pirates. Through all this, Kenya played only a background role, allowing naval vessels to refuel and resupply in its harbors and playing host to a small contingent of U.S. Special Forces launching periodic raids on al-Shabab, the main Somali insurgent and terror group.
15 Most Evil Ways Mother Nature Can Kill
Verifiable proof that Mother Nature does not love you. In fact, she probably hates you… If the following examples are any indication, Mother Nature has every intention of wiping human nature from Her face like so many tears. Observe her handiwork:
Obama says U.S. troops are leaving Iraq, but the future of secret counterterrorism and intelligence programs inside the country is still being hashed out. Eli Lake reports on how big a footprint the CIA will leave behind.
by Eli Lake | October 25, 2011 12:48 AM EDT
As the U.S. military departs Iraq, the CIA is looking at how it can absorb and continue secret counterterrorism and intelligence programs run inside that country for years by the Joint Special Operations Command and other military organizations, officials tell The Daily Beast.
The programs involve everything from the deployment of remote sensors that scan the wireless spectrum of terrorist safe havens to stealth U.S.-Iraqi counterterrorism commando teams, and their status is uncertain as a U.S. diplomatic team negotiates with Iraqi leaders, according to officials, who made clear the CIA intends to keep a footprint inside the country even as troops leave by Dec. 31.
“There are of course parts of the counterterrorism mission that the intelligence community, including CIA, will be able to take on from other organizations—and there are parts of that mission that it won’t,” said one U.S. counterterrorism official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of secret negotiations with the Iraqis.
But the official added: “This idea that the U.S. military and CIA are somehow interchangeable is misinformed—they work together closely on some counterterrorism issues, but their missions, expertise, and authorities are fundamentally different. When the U.S. military leaves Iraq, some things just won’t happen anymore.”
When potato plants bloom, they send up five-lobed flowers that spangle fields like fat purple stars. By some accounts, Marie Antoinette liked the blossoms so much that she put them in her hair. Her husband, Louis XVI, put one in his buttonhole, inspiring a brief vogue in which the French aristocracy swanned around with potato plants on their clothes. The flowers were part of an attempt to persuade French farmers to plant and French diners to eat this strange new species.
Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus.
The pharmacology of zombies—By Wade Davis
The anthropological and popular literature on Haiti is replete with references to zombies. According to these accounts, zombies are the living dead: innocent victims raised from their graves in a comatose trance by malevolent voodoo priests (bocors) and forced to toil indefinitely as slaves. Most authors have rather uncritically assumed the phenomenon to be folklore. Nevertheless, virtually all writers acknowledge that the majority of the Haitian population believes in the physical reality of zombies.
Zora Hurston, a student of Franz Boas at Columbia University, suggested that there could be a material basis for the zombie phenomenon. Having visited what she believed to be a zombie in a hospital near Gonaive, in north-central Haiti, she concluded that “it is not a case of awakening the dead, but a matter of the semblance of death induced by some drug known to a few: some secret probably brought from Africa and handed down from generation to generation. The bocors know the effect of the drug and the antidote. It is evident that it destroys that part of the brain which governs speech and willpower. The victim can move and act but cannot formulate thought.”
Scientific interest in the zombie poison was rekindled recently by reported cases of zombies under the care of Haitian psychiatrist Lamarque Douyon.
And to be different, this is for my female readers: