Calls diversity of network’s content “exciting.”
Yahoo might have just upped its cool quotient—or at least CEO Marissa Mayer did. Speaking to investors on Monday morning, Mayer indicated that X-rated content on Tumblr would not be scrapped in Yahoo’s $1.1 billion acquisition of the media network. She stressed that Yahoo wants to “let Tumblr be Tumblr,” even if that means Tumblr content is “not as brand safe as the rest of Yahoo,” and that the tech giant would focus on balancing user and advertiser interests. In other words, Yahoo will ensure that certain marketers’ brands won’t end up on accounts like “Red Hot Porn” and “Secretary Sex.” She also indicated that some of the NSFW content—or at least the network’s diversity of content—is “exciting” and will be a good thing for Yahoo because it allows the company to “reach a far wider audience.”
Social services struggle to adjust.
The old image of blighted inner cities and affluent suburbs has been inverted. According to a report by the Brookings Institution, more poor people now live in the suburbs than in urban areas. The number of poor people living in suburbs rose by 67 percent in the last decade, far more than it rose in cities. Some of this was movement from cities to suburbs, driven by urban gentrification and the lure of cheap new suburban housing. Some people living in suburbs also fell into poverty as manufacturing jobs left. Social services have struggled to adjust to the shift, as strategies of neighborhood revitalization work less well in the suburbs, where poor people are scattered.
After critical documentary.
What does $23 million in donations to public television get you? A lot more than a tote bag, according to The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. A New York public television outlet, WNET, went to great lengths to placate conservative industrialist David Koch as PBS aired an Alex Gibney documentary on income inequality that focused on the conservative billionaire. The president of WNET called Koch and offered to let him film a roundtable discussion that would air after the documentary, among other conciliatory gestures. The controversy reportedly also prompted PBS to back off another Koch-focused documentary in the pipeline. All the placation didn’t work: Koch resigned from his position on WNET’s board and reportedly canceled a large donation. Also, according to Koch’s doorman, Koch’s philanthropy doesn’t extend to tips. “We would never get a smile from Mr. Koch,” he says in the Gibney film. “Fifty-dollar check for Christmas, too—yeah, I mean, a check! At least you could give us cash.”
Site will remain independently operated.
Facebook has Instagram. Google has YouTube. And soon, Yahoo will have Tumblr. The Internet giant's board unanimously approved a $1.1 billion cash deal to buy the blogging site Sunday. It's a risk for Yahoo, since Tumblr doesn’t really make that much money, though it has been valued at $800 million. The move highlights a growing trend of monster tech companies buying startups to get an edge in the market. Now Yahoo, once considered a prehistoric company, has a thriving social network. Marissa Mayer announced on her own Tumblr page that Tumblr would continue to operate independently and “we promise not to screw it up.” Tumblr founder David Karp also issued a statement on Tumblr, promising its mission to “empower creators to make their best work and get in front of the audience they deserve” isn’t changing.
One dead, more than 20 injured.
A 79-year-old Oklahoma man was killed Sunday night when a tornado touched down on his mobile home in Shawnee, Okla.—one of a series of twisters to sweep through the Plains states as part of a severe weather system that stretched from Texas all the way north to Minnesota. At least 20 more were injured in Oklahoma alone. “It looks like there’s heavy equipment in there on a demolition tour,” said Oklahoma’s Pottawatomie County sheriff, Mike Booth. “It’s pretty bad. It’s pretty much wiped out.” A tornado touched down in Golden City, Mo., early Monday, but the extent of the damage—as well as the number of injuries—was not immediately clear. Another tornado touched down about 30 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa—the first to hit the state in nearly a year.
Prince Harry flew back from America on Virgin Atlantic, the airline owned by his pal Richard Branson, but no word yet on whether the young Prince was propositioned by other flyers via the new Virgin inflight chat system. While most airlines seem to make a habit of arresting passengers who get too fresh in the air, Branson has been encouraging customers to flirt using the new inflight chat system, in the way that this chat excerpt posted online demonstrates.
A sad story in the New York Times, which reports on the shocking decline of the High Plains Aquifer, the lifeblood of farmers from the South Dakota and Wyoming all the way down to west Texas. (I frequently refer to the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest in the High Plains system.) Two years of severe drought, coupled with the massive water demands for growing irrigated corn, have taken their toll on the source of the plains' Garden of Eden.
An Italian organization is bringing new meaning to the concept of rehabbing old materials. Barrique is turning used wine barrels into high-concept furniture—all for the benefit of a renowned substance abuse treatment facility.
Touring the downstairs gallery at SoHo’s Poltrona Frau last weekend, you’d notice two common themes: every piece of furniture is constructed from the slats of wine barrels, and each is accompanied by a photo of what looks like adult summer camp. Those adults, at work and at play, are patients at the San Patrignano rehab facility outside of Milan.Barrique: The Third Life of Wood is the brainchild of Letizia Moratti, the former Mayor of Milan and Italian Minister for Education.
But doesn't take as much as expected.
Star Trek Into Darkness boldly went to the top of the box office this weekend, though it didn't haul in the money that Paramount Pictures expected. The second installment in J.J. Abrams's franchise raked in $70.55 million in its debut weekend, short of the expected $84 million gross. Into Darkness was well-received by most critics, and also had a healthy bump in Saturday ticket sales, suggesting word of mouth was good for the film. Live long and prosper, Star Trek.
Can baseball continue to define an America that’s fending off decline rather than rocketing to the top? Yes, look beyond the major leagues to the lowest level of the minor leagues. First-time author Lucas Mann recounts the season he spent with the single-A Clinton LumberKings.
A Major League Baseball stadium, when populated with well-matched teams on the field and a capacity crowd in the stands, can be the height of America expressing itself. There's the tradition, the rivalry, the bloated paychecks, the sheer human achievement of the physically ideal players enjoying the fulfillment of their boyhood dreams. But depart this big-league scene and travel down through the minor-league farm system, down through AAA ball, past AA, wave to the “World’s Biggest Truck Stop” on I-80 and arrive finally at the stadium of the single-A Clinton LumberKings in rural Iowa, and the metaphors change drastically from ones of public triumph to private travail.
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After a University of Massachusetts student found significant errors in a study beloved by budget cutters world over by Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, Stephen Colbert does what he does best -- leaves them in the dust.
The unbanked may have a hard time buying insurance on the exchanges. Too bad we just created more of them.
May is Short Story Month. Here are Jane Ciabattari’s favorite new collections, from an ironic new voice to a posthumous release.