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Interesting Reads – links from around the web
- Disney bought Lucasfilm six years ago today and has already recouped its $4 billion investment – The last four Star Wars films, which Lucasfilm produces, brought in $4.6B in revenue from only ticket sales. Keep in mind that this number doesn’t account for licensing deals and merchandise sales (apparel, toys, etc). Plus, let’s not forget the couple hundred million dollars Disney spent on marketing and promoting the films. We’ll likely see a big profit in the next year or two once the Star Wars Land theme parks open up in California and Florida next year, plus the release of the next Star Wars film in December 2019.
- Caselaw Access Project launches API and bulk data service – Harvard just opened up access to 360 years worth of American cases for free. I really hope medicine is next (á la Sci-hub).
- proposed new tag – IMG – Marc Andreessen proposed the img tag way back in 1993.
- Moral infrastructure – “Technology itself may be amoral, but what we do with technology is absolutely up for moral debate. But we should approach that conversation carefully.”
- The Girl Scouts are Suing the Boy Scouts Over the Boys’ “Damaging” Rebrand – It’s very interesting that by trying to be more ‘inclusive,’ Boy Scouts landed themselves in hot water with Girl Scouts over branding.
- The Problem Behind a Viral Video of a Persistent Baby Bear – Just leave nature alone, please.
- Michael K and the Disappearing Celebrity Blogger – I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the early blogger culture of the 2000s, but it seems one small section of it, celebrity blogs, has withered away.
- Every City Should Have a Toy Library – They were called Toyerys!
- YouTube outage drives 20% increase in traffic – I think this might be one of the more interesting statistics related to the consumer web I’ve seen recently.
- The Carbon Tax Is Dead, Long Live the Carbon Tax – “The American people apparently feel that government ought to be able to solve this problem without imposing a new tax burden on them.”
Shutter – photo of the week
You rarely find old photographs where the subjects are smiling. This photo, taken in 1904, depicts a Chinese man eating a cup of rice, dubbed ‘the happiest man in China’ (officially titled “Eating rice, China” and originally captioned “Chinaman eating rice”).
The photographer, famous sinologist Berthold Laufer, was sent to Asia for three years by the American Museum of Natural History, officially to understand the day-to-day Chinese life, and unofficially to scout for potential business opportunities with China. Laufer collected over 7,500 objects for the museum that he felt represented Chinese life, and but took very few photos because he didn’t even bring a camera with him to China.
So, why is the subject in the photo striking such a happy pose? Cameras were a rare commodity in China at the time, and unlike the western world, which established their own emotionless photography etiquette, the man in the photo likely didn’t know what to do. So, he picked up his chopsticks and bowl and smiled 🙂
You can read more about it here.