Thursday, June 4th, 2015


A Bull in China

As I type this, I'm sitting remarkably close to the epicenter of the Internet stock boom that once thrilled and then chilled the Nasdaq. But even after that experience (and the explosive upswings we've seen since then), those of us confined to the American markets have no frame of reference for what's happening in China. Consider that "of seventeen hundred stocks on the Shenzhen Exchange, only four have fallen this year, and more than a hundred have seen their shares rise more than five hundred percent." And all that's happening while China is suffering through difficult economic times. The New Yorker's James Surowiecki on Eastern Exchanges.

+ "A hotel group rebranded itself as a high-speed rail company, a fireworks maker as a peer-to-peer lender and a ceramics specialist as a clean-energy group. Their reinventions as high-tech companies appear to have less to do with the gradual rebalancing of China's economy than with the mania sweeping its stockmarket." There's even a pet food company trading at 221 times earnings. (Maybe the Pets dot com sock puppet should come out of retirement.) The Economist on the dangers of China's manic bull market.


Organic Compounds

To really have an environmental impact, organic food sales have to go big. Really big. Not local market big. Not Whole Foods big. Costco big. And that seems to be happening. Did you have any idea that Costco is now the largest organic grocer in the U.S.?


Game of Thrones

WaPo's Rama Lakshmi reports from the front lines of Narendra Modi's toilet revolution in India where millions of toilets are being built, but not that many of them are being used. "We assumed that if the toilets are built, people will automatically use it. But we have to diligently monitor the use over a period of time and reward them with cash incentives." (That's basically what it took to get my kids to adopt the same behavior.)


Shaken, Not Stirred

After a three year study on Fracking, the EPA is out with its draft of a study on the impact on drinking water: "We conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources ... [but] we did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."


Goodbye Cleveland

It's been 147 seasons since the city's last sports title. That puts Cleveland at the top of the Upshot's list of the most cursed sports cities in America.

+ So one more year isn't gonna hurt. Grantland on understanding the beauty of Steph Curry's jumper.

+ At least Cavs fans get to call Cleveland by its name. Bay Area residents have avoided the word Oakland for decades.


Women’s Lib

After twice rejecting the drug, the FDA is taking yet another look at flibanserin, the first drug that aims to boost a woman's libido. Interestingly, some groups have accused the FDA of being sexist by holding the drug to a higher standard than its counterparts -- which, for years, men have been swallowing by the bucket-load. (But wouldn't it be more sexist if the FDA had set aside concerns and approved the drug right away?)


Kicked to the Curb

"Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup." Ex-FIFA official Chuck Blazer spills the beans. (If you can't trust a guy named Chuck Blazer, who can you trust?) Meanwhile, Ex-FIFA VP Jack Warner promises to disclose an 'avalanche' of evidence. These guys might need a good talking to from Goodfella Jimmy Conway.

+ It turns out that Larry Ellison is spending a fortune to save American tennis. (Hey, I'm not saying these two stories are related. Come on now. That's all you. Wait, what...)


Dean Wormer’s List

Penn State's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity just got suspended for two months for posting photos of undressed women, "some of whom appeared to be unconscious, on a private Facebook page." That makes them eligible to be included in Bloomberg interactive guide to every time a frat or sorority got in trouble this year.



Here's Pacific Standard on the enormous scope of our national drinking problem: "Nearly three out of 10 Americans have shown evidence of a serious alcohol-related problem at some point in their lives, and only one-fifth of those have sought professional help."

+ Related: Taco Bell in Wicker Park will be the first in the U.S. to serve alcohol. (Which seems redundant since most of the customers are drunk or high when they get there.)


Bottom of the News

"They provide something we don't actually want, but that we need to get what we actually do want." Slate's Jim Saksa on why you hate Comcast.

+ It's not you. Claw machines are rigged.

+ The Atlantic helps answer the question: Should I eat my placenta? (Like they say, if you gotta ask...)