Nicaragua / Photo by Aaron Escobar
The Baffler,  February 5, 2015

Daily Bafflements

Nicaragua / Photo by Aaron Escobar
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• Today in Billionaires: Some tycoons buy mansions, some buy yachts. Some build a Grand Inter-Oceanic Canal through Nicaragua. It’s “an audacious $50 billion plan by an obscure Chinese billionaire to cross Central America and challenge the Panama Canal for the world’s cargo traffic,” reports the Washington Post. “And some in Nicaragua are gearing up for the fight of their lives to stop it.”

• Today in Pay-to-Work: The “hottest growth area” in education today is international internships. The catch? They typically cost college students (or their parents) tens of thousands of dollars.

• The next method by which #brands will track their customers may be high-tech clothing, reports the New York Times. Pratt Institute’s Debera Johnson explains: “‘Say I’m a big brand. I’m going to implant technology into my garment to track where you are in time and space, and understand who you’re talking with and what they are wearing, so I can understand behaviors of my clients better. That is something the brands would love to do.’ In exchange for agreeing to this intrusion, she said, the customer might get a $10 discount.”

• From John Swansburg’s 2011 New York magazine feature “The Comic Stylings of Brian Williams”:

[E]ven Williams acknowledges that a swath of the American viewing public prefers Jon Stewart’s fake newsroom to NBC’s real one. In such a landscape, the anchor who can tell a joke—and take one—is the one who remains relevant. Though his career in comedy may have started by happenstance, Williams has managed to stay in the conversation because he can speak in the vernacular of his new competition.

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Further Reading

 November 6

As the old refrain goes, at Gothamist and DNAinfo the union made us strong---not Joe Ricketts, not his money, not his decisions and certainly not his “direction.”

 August 3

I was wandering in a smoldering landscape, knowing that nothing could be done. The decisions had been made.