Viral spambot actually art project.
It’s a dark day on the Internet. The beloved Twitter account @Horse_ebooks, whose absurdist excerpts from obscure digital books gained a cult following in 2011, has been revealed to be an art project by BuzzFeed employee Jacob Bakkila. There was once a time when @horse_ebooks was a real spambot, but in September Bakkila contacted the owner and took it over. “The idea was to perform as a machine,” Bakkila told The New York Times.
While defending AIG payouts.
Talk about false equivalence. In a wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal, AIG CEO Robert Benmosche compared the public anger and government targeting of bonuses paid by AIG in 2008 and 2009 after the insurer was bailed out to the horrific racial violence suffered by African-Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. Criticism over the insurer’s practice of paying large bonuses—even though AIG needed an infusion of $182 billion in public funds to stay alive—“was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that—sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”
Nasdaq punished for Facebook debacle.
And the red rose goes to the New York Stock Exchange. Hoping to avoid a repeat of NASDAQ’s bungling of the Facebook IPO, Twitter has announced its share will be listed on the venerable NYSE. The IPO is expected to take place sometime in the next several months. Twitter will reportedly sell 50 million to 55 million shares at a valuation of $28 to $30 a share, meaning that the company would be valued at $15 billion to 16 billion. The loss is another black eye for NASDAQ, which has generally dominated the listings for rapidly growing technology companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Despite being up against Emmys, Sunday night football.
There’s just one episode left of Breaking Bad—and no one can wait for their DVRs anymore. The AMC show had record ratings for its penultimate episode Sunday night, despite fierce competition from the Emmys and Sunday night football. Breaking Bad had 6.6 million viewers, up from its previous record of 6.3 million, including 4.3 million in the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic. The show’s final batch of episodes, which premiered last month, has already received record ratings ahead of the much-anticipated finale. In other words, don’t make any plans for this Sunday night.
Due to fear of nuclear-weapon use.
North Korea received a slap on the wrist over its budding weapons program from longtime ally China, which banned certain exports to Pyongyang over fears that the materials could be used for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. China published a 236-page list of prohibited exports just days after new satellite images from North Korea indicated that the country may be resuming its production of plutonium at a complex Pyongyang had pledged to shut down six years ago. A Chinese expert on North Korea put it bluntly: “China is increasingly unsatisfied with North Korea’s actions.” The list also comes just days after Beijing invited North Korea and other countries, including the U.S., to talks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear capabilities.
Just as Janet Yellen looks like she has the Fed chairmanship in the bag comes talk of Roger Ferguson. The TIAA-CREF chief is a member of the Wall Street club—and Yellen’s not, says Daniel Gross.
All signs still point to Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. The White House has been rounding up senators to vouch for her. She canceled a speech scheduled for next week in New York. (The tea-leaves readers suggest she did so because her nomination is imminent.) The Wall Street Journal ran a big feature Monday about her management style (tough but fair).And yet, even in the wake of Larry Summers’s withdrawal, other names surface.
After a decade of research on two continents, BK is rolling out new crinkle-cut fries. Was it all worth it? Daniel Gross tests the goods.
Last week, I was invited to the penthouse suite of the Morgan, a chi-chi boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan. The place was done up with flowers and bright colors, and a gaggle of staffers from Allison Brod Public Relations and style bloggers sat on mod couches. This wasn’t a launch for Tory Burch or BMW. We had been summoned to a product reveal for...Burger King?Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer for Burger King, North America (sweater, glasses, New York digital media look), started a brief PowerPoint.
Number of shares and price are undetermined.
Chrysler Group might be returning to the public arena for the first time since 1998. On Monday the auto company filed with the government for an initial public offering of stock. Details of the number of shares and price range haven't been set, but those on offer would be from the 41.5 percent stake held by a United Auto Workers trust (the rest of the company is owned by Fiat), which wants cash to pay for the health benefits of the 60,000 it covers. The approval and sale could take several months.
To Canadian insurer.
The advent of the smartphone has not been kind to BlackBerry, the Canada-based device maker whose products once dominated the C-suite and the trading floor. In survival mode, the company has been slashing costs and laying off thousands of employees. On Monday, Fairfax Financial, a Canadian insurance company, threw its compatriot a lifeline. Fairfax agreed to acquire BlackBerry for $9 a share, or about $4.7 billion, and BlackBerry has agreed to the deal in principle. The price, while still significant, marks a huge markdown from BlackBerry’s peak value; the share traded at about $148 in the summer of 2008.
Will add 50,000 temps and upgrade 35,000 from part-time to full-time.
In a rare dose of holiday cheer from the employment sector, on Monday Walmart announced it will hire 55,000 temporary staff for the holiday season. That’s up 10 percent from the year before. But the bigger news may be that Walmart will upgrade 35,000 temporary employees to part-time, and is upgrading 35,000 part-timers to full-time posts. Employees at Walmart, the largest private-sector employer in the U.S., have long been agitating for the creation of more full-time posts, which bring greater access to benefits and more certainty about scheduling.
With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.
Shock greets William and Kate's decision to jet off on long-haul holiday without their baby