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Tag Archives: gambling

  • You Can Explain eBay’s $50 Billion Turnaround With Just This One Crazy Story
    A not-really-that-crazy story about how eBay’s homepage got revamped and what that means for the culture of eBay.

    Partly, the issue was obvious: eBay had gotten fat and happy. For 10 years it had been a huge success, riding a wave of Internet adoption. During the mid-2000s, eBay was notorious for meetings that always ended in applause — even when the news was bad.

  • Sochi or Bust
    A look at the economy of Russia that was written before the Sochi Olympics.

    Some analysts estimate that these state companies control about half of Russia’s economy. They are sheltered from competition, soak up resources and stoke inflation. State companies award contracts to nominally private companies owned by friends and relatives of their managers. The Sochi Olympics are a prime example: the biggest contracts were given to firms run by Mr Putin’s chums, including Arkady Rotenberg, his boyhood judo partner.

    This sort of thing creates a system of perverse incentives, fosters cynicism and cronyism and discourages those who want to use their initiative and skills. One man has worked for two companies owned by Mr Putin’s friends. His latest employer is a firm owned by a close relative of a powerful government official. “My salary is higher than I would get in an independent firm, but my responsibility is much less. I add almost no value. Connections decide everything,” he says.

  • Caltech: secrets of the world’s number one university
    How is Caltech so good when it’s so small? The answer is not too surprising, but the ability to bottle this lightning and reproduce it across the world is not so easy.

    “I have 77 faculty in engineering and applied science. MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] has 490. How can I compete with an excellent place like MIT? We have to have engineers interact with all of the sciences and vice versa – it is a matter of survival. We don’t have the breadth to do things in a big way unless they interact.”

  • The Man Who Built Catan
    A light article about the person who created Settlers of Catan and the popularity it is having across the US.
  • Think You Could Be A Professional Gambler? Here’s What It’s Actually Like
    A neat story about what it’s like to be a sports gambler (i.e., someone who bets on sporting events rather than just playing blackjack in the casinos). It’s pretty interesting, so much so that I would like a longer form of this (maybe even a book)

    “I was betting Christina Aguilera ‘under’ on the national anthem in the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl three years ago. I did all the research on YouTube — from when she was a little kid, singing at 8 years old right up to the night before the Super Bowl, when she sang the national anthem at a hockey game — knowing we had a good edge on ‘under’ two minutes and 33 seconds, or whatever it was. And it was. She finished at something like 2:17, and we win. Except the books say, ‘Oh you know what? She missed one of the words. No action.’ I’ll never bet that again.”


  • Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy
    One student in a fraternity at Dartmouth blows the whistle on the hazing activities that took place there, but the result is not exactly what he had hoped. In fact, the article throws into question whether he did it for other nefarious reasons.

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the conventional definition of a “binge” is five drinks in a two-hour period for men. Dartmouth frat boys pride themselves on being able to drink six cups of beer in less than 30 seconds – it’s called a “quick six,” and requires a person to literally open their gullet and pour the liquid down. There is a YouTube video in which a Dartmouth student does this in less than 10 seconds, but even this feat may not be a record.

  • Are Walmart’s Chinese Factories as Bad as Apple’s
    This article uses Apple in the headline to bring in the hits, but it’s really only about Walmart and their lackadasical approach to being green. Actually, they talk a lot about being green, but they’re not actually doing too much.

    Martin brought up a major Walmart supplier, a network of factories making name-brand products. (He asked that I not reveal the brand, but it’s a household name.) Like Mr. Ou once did, this supplier submitted scorecards on energy and water use to Walmart. The retailer’s response: silence. Martin said the supplier admitted to him that the data was “total crap,” but it never heard from Walmart one way or another. Martin summed up the supplier’s attitude toward Walmart scorecards like this: “Walmart sets a new target, everybody gets all excited, runs around for six months, and then everything kind of slows down and the wheels fall off.”

  • Antiviral Drugs Could Blast the Common Cold – Should We Use Them?
    This article talks about 3 new approaches to develop a counteragent to virus in general.
  • Just One More Game…
    This article on gaming has been making the rounds – it talks about how we’re spending more time playing stupid games (like Angry Birds etc). But I don’t really know how much more intelligent playing a game like Modern Warfare is. It’s like you’re trying to solve cancer.
  • The God of Gamblers
    Would it surprise you that Macau sees five times more money than Las Vegas? Well it does, and at least some of it may not be legal. That hasn’t stopped American companies from opening casinos there, all in the goal of making money while gambling in the US is slumping.

    While the junket industry has many law-abiding members, it has, for decades, been susceptible to the involvement of organized crime. Triads, which grew out of nineteenth-century Chinese political societies, had always been involved in loan-sharking and prostitution, and had made their presence felt on the edges of Macau’s casinos, but in recent years triads had become more business-oriented. Triad violence in Macau and Hong Kong has declined over the past decade, because triads have increasingly set aside squabbles over drugs and petty crime in order to pursue the range of new criminal opportunities associated with a more prosperous China, including money laundering, financial fraud, and gambling.


  • The Lost Party
    Talks a bit about the Republican nomination in advance of the Michigan primary (which Romney eventually won). Since I haven’t been paying attention, this was a good primer on the other candidates (Gingrich, Santorium) and the problems the Republican party has been having this go-around.
  • I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave
    Every time you order something online, your product is being picked and shipped from some warehouse; but what is it like to be one of those pickers?

    The gal conducting our training reminds us again that we cannot miss any days our first week. There are NO exceptions to this policy. She says to take Brian, for example, who’s here with us in training today. Brian already went through this training, but then during his first week his lady had a baby, so he missed a day and he had to be fired. Having to start the application process over could cost a brand-new dad like Brian a couple of weeks’ worth of work and pay. Okay? Everybody turn around and look at Brian. Welcome back, Brian. Don’t end up like Brian.

  • Those Fabulous Confabs
    The story of the TED conference and the general popularity of “Big Idea” conferences.
  • On The Market
    While the title is a bit ambiguous, this article is unintuitively about working at the Sotheby’s auction house in New York. Another great article looking in on a lifestyle and career that I’m not familiar with.

    These girls seemed immune to New York’s damning seasons, which always threaten to expose one’s tax bracket, especially if it is low. The summer sun didn’t melt their makeup, and the winter wind didn’t mar their manes. They were driven in cars and cabs that were kept at a constant 68 degrees. At night and on weekends, they attended galas, museum openings, and brunches in East Hampton. But during business hours, they went on client visits, consulted on prices, and tirelessly secured property. They were friendly on the phone, enthusiastic about the art, and harder working than people who look and talk like that usually need to be.

  • The Man Who Broke Atlantic City
    When you hear a gambling story with a title like this, you immediately think a con or the MIT card counting team. Not this one though, this is a story of a guy who strategically won over $10 million using his smarts and declining economic conditions for the casinos.

    But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. After all, one high roller who has a bad night can determine whether a casino’s table games finish a month in the red or in the black. Inside the casinos, this heightened the natural tension between the marketers, who are always pushing to sweeten the discounts, and the gaming managers, who want to maximize the house’s statistical edge. But month after month of declining revenues strengthened the marketers’ position. By late 2010, the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent.