Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
For the first time, the number of non-cash payments in the UK has exceeded those made with physical currency.
Cash still makes up 48% of all payments made by consumers and businesses in the UK, but the steady decline in the use of coins and banknotes accelerated last year—at the fastest pace in nearly 30 years, according to the UK Payments Council.
The trend underscores the massive, worldwide shift away from cash and toward online payments and debit cards.
Earlier this month, Denmark’s government floated a plan to allow retailers, restaurants, and gas stations to stop taking physical currency all together. The idea is that getting rid of cash will help choke off untaxed, underground markets, and remove “considerable administrative and financial burdens” from the Danish economy, according to Bjarne Corydon, Denmark’s finance minister.
In the US, companies like Google, PayPal, and MasterCard, among others, are locked in a battle to lure more customers away from cash and onto online and mobile platforms. But as in most places, many consumers still prefer physical currency for smaller purchases like a cup of coffee or a pack of gum.
Cash remains even more commonplace in the UK, where it is still used in more than half of all transactions, according to the Payments Council. That’s why 90% of Brits withdraw cash from an ATM at least once a month, and why the number of free-to-use cash machines in the UK keeps rising. According to the Payments Council, the number of cash machines grew 5% last year, pushing the total number above the 50,000 mark.
Read this next: What is the future of the ATM in a world of digital money?
If you’re looking for US growth, look to the Lone Star state.
Despite its cinematic reputation as a land of wide-open spaces—which it is—Texas’ cities are some of the fastest-growing large metropolitan areas in recent years, according to just released annual population data from the US Census.
Where is the growth coming from? Well, jobs. As the Economist recently noted, between 2009 and 2014, 20% of the jobs created in the US were created in Texas. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the sharp decline in oil prices over the last year will jolt the growth train off the rails.
It happened in the mid-1980s, when a sharp decline in oil prices sent the economy into a tailspin and revealed the state’s banking sector was dangerously over its skis. Texans have long argued that this time is different and the state is far less reliant on extractive industries. Maybe, but a sharp decline in jobs in March—25,000—suggests that contention could be put to the test over the coming months.
yo is it
'The government claims the group hid $5 million in profits made between 2006 and 2010 to avoid paying $1,500,000 in taxes.'
Scrabble, once the sport of kings and their grandmothers, has made increasing inroads toward trying to chillax about its word restrictions, to name just one garbage portmanteau it allowed to slither into its official dictionary. Last year, it invited players to vote on a word for inclusion, which the people squandered on “geocache”—a completely useless term that requires all the game’s “C” tiles, astronomical odds, and awareness of a pastime even nerdier than competitive Scrabble. At the same time, it added a host of neologisms such as “frenemy” and “selfie” that were clearly intended to draw hip millennials back to the fun of placing alphabetical tiles in a row, while simultaneously ruining this last, simple pleasure for anyone over the age of 50.
And now the floodgates are truly open. Around 6,500 new words have now joined the Scrabble ranks, many of them internet-derived slang like “emoji ...
9:30 a.m. Even to a newcomer, it quickly becomes obvious that the Palais, Cannes’ main theater complex, is either a microcosm of the festival, or was built in its image. Cannes is a culture of patronage, consecration, and iron rules, and the Palais itself resembles a late ’70s abstraction of a medieval city. It has towers, bridges, and a central marketplace, the Marché, located in the basement, full of stalls where sales agents and national film agencies hawk 3D animated films from China, Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal movies, and unproduced projects that are looking to pre-sell. This is the convention/trade show part of Cannes, with its own theaters and screenings, from which the press are usually barred.
The Palais itself is built on the water, like the merchant trading center that it is. Yachts the size of three-story houses are moored behind the Palais, floating offices ...
stupid fucking new yorkers
Manhattan shoppers, it seems, just can’t get enough cheap clothes. On May 20, the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M opened its largest store in the world, at 63,000 square feet, in the midtown shopping district of Herald Square—just steps away from two other large H&M stores.
One is a block away, and the other is basically across the street, just on the other side of Sixth Avenue.
The new store is a shiny, hulking testament to the juggernaut of H&M’s expanding global empire. It’s one of 400 stores the company plans to open in 2015, mostly in the US and China but also in some emerging markets such as India and South Africa. That number followed on H&M’s statement last June that it would open about 375 stores by the end of 2014.
And these stores seem to be getting bigger. Just reading about a new “world’s largest H&M” provokes déjà vu: The previous largest location—at 57,000 square feet and also in Manhattan—opened just last year.
What’s perhaps most amazing about this explosion of H&M stores is that the company isn’t just bringing in huge revenues, it’s also bringing in huge profits, even as it pours money back into its expansion. In 2014, profits rose 17% (pdf) over the previous year.
That success is evident in the huge lines that form for new store openings around the world.
— Jennifer Jupin (@jenniferjupin) November 19, 2014
— estebanrael (@estebanrael) November 13, 2014
As for Manhattan, where H&M is becoming like Starbucks—the gold standard of market saturation—H&M isn’t concerned that stores will cannibalize each other’s sales if they’re in close proximity. “We are gaining market share,” Daniel Kulle, H&M’s North American president, told MarketWatch. “[The stores] aren’t taking share from each other.”
The company has no plans to close any of its stores on 34th Street, a spokesperson for H&M tells Quartz.
The 34th Street Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to improving business in the district, isn’t complaining about its triplicate H&Ms. “The 34th Street Partnership is elated to have the H&M anchor store in its district,” a spokesperson tells Quartz. “It underscores the strength and vibrancy of the 34th Street retail corridor, whose pedestrian traffic remains unsurpassed.”
In addition to three H&Ms, that corridor also includes Zara, Uniqlo, Gap, Old Navy, and Forever 21.
this fucking guy
Aaron Hernandez has already commemorated his life sentence with a tattoo.
Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez appeared in a courtroom for the first time since being found guilty of first-degree murder in mid-April, and he showed up with a large, new neck tattoo that appears to read "LIFETIME." Ian Rapoport, however, claims that the entire tattoo -- the bottom is not visible -- reads "LIFETIME LOYALTY."
Here's a before-and-after view:
Lifetime is how long Hernandez will spend in prison -- his murder conviction came with a mandatory life sentence with no opportunity for parole.
Hernandez was in court for a witness intimidation trial after he allegedly shot a friend who made a remark about his involvement in a 2012 double homicide. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.
Hernandez has been busy in his month behind bars: He has reportedly received discipline for his role as a lookout in a prison fight. He also reportedly has a new tattoo on his hand.
|Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.|
A Crime of Fashion ~ Nov 15, 1938
On Nov. 9, 1938, Helen Hulick, 28, wore slacks during a court appearance to testify against two men. Her case was rescheduled and Hullick was asked by Judge Arthur S. Guerin to next time wear a dress.
Hulick was quoted in the Nov. 10, 1938, Los Angeles Times saying, “You tell the judge I will stand on my rights. If he orders me to change into a dress I won’t do it. I like slacks. They’re comfortable.”
After Hulick’s next court appearance, the Nov. 15, 1938, Los Angeles Times reported:
In a scathing denunciation of slacks – which he prosaically termed pants–as courtroom attire for women, Municipal Judge Arthur S. Guerin yesterday again forbade Helen Hulick, 28, kindergarten teacher, to testify as a witness while dressed in a green and orange leisure attire.
Miss Hulick, who Thursday was ordered to return to court in a dress, was called to testify by Dep. Dist. Atty. Russell Broker against two [men] accused of burglarizing her home.
After she was sworn in as a witness, Judge Guerin stopped the proceedings and declared:
“The last time you were in this court dressed as you are now and reclining on your neck on the back of your chair, you drew more attention from spectators, prisoners and court attaches than the legal business at hand. You were requested to return in garb acceptable to courtroom procedure.
“Today you come back dressed in pants and openly defying the court and its duties to conduct judicial proceedings in an orderly manner. It’s time a decision was reached on this matter and on the power the court has to maintain what it considers orderly conduct.
“The court hereby orders and directs you to return tomorrow in accepted dress. If you insist on wearing slacks again you will be prevented from testifying because that would hinder the administration of justice. But be prepared to be punished according to law for contempt of court.”
Slack-shrouded Miss Hulick was accompanied by Attorney William Katz, who carried four heavy volumes of citations to appear in whatever dress she chose.
“Listen,” said the young woman, “I’ve worn slacks since I was 15. I don’t own a dress except a formal. If he wants me to appear in a formal gown that’s okay with me.
“I’ll come back in slacks and if he puts me in jail I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism.”
The next day Hulick showed up in slacks. Judge Guerin held her in contempt. Given a five-day sentence, Hulick was sent to jail.
via <a href="http://latimes.com" rel="nofollow">latimes.com</a>
'This is similar to the collar communication system used by Inspector Gadget‘s niece Penny and her dog Brain'
The Connected Collar by DogTelligent is a smart collar for training, tracking, and communicating with dogs. It features wireless, Bluetooth, and cellular connections as well as GPS tracking in case an animal becomes lost. The collar pairs with a smartphone app that allows users to trigger ultrasonic frequencies, vibrations, and a simulated leash tug to cue dogs for training or bark prevention. Users can set a range from their phone, and if the dog walks beyond that distance the system alerts both the dog and its owner.
Another interesting feature is that the collar also allows for two-way communication. Dog owners can use the app on their phone to speak to their furry friend, and the collar features an onboard microphone in case the dog speaks back. This is similar to the collar communication system used by Inspector Gadget‘s niece Penny and her dog Brain, but that system also used cameras.
DogTelligent is currently raising funds to bring their collar to market with an Indiegogo campaign that has already well exceeded its initial goal. Backers who pre-order the device are expected to receive it in August 2015, and DogTelligent says the Connected Collar is just the first in a series of connected products for pet owners.
images via Indiegogo
These are their stories
iguanamouth is a national treasure beat
kept getting requests for gryphons so heres a bunch of them At Once
Just like those Germans a couple weeks ago, a crew of British journalists investigating the living and working conditions of the laborers tasked with constructing the (really cool! ) infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were arrested, had their property confiscated, and were forbidden from leaving the country. Since being released, one of them gave his account of the arrest.
Writing in the NYT, Corey Robin highlights the frightening trend in state GOP labor laws to deny unemployment benefits to workers who are fired for breaking the “behavioral norms” demanded by employers, from dating workers from rival companies to posting unhappy work-related remarks to the Internet. Conservative douchebag Ben Stein loves these rules, and wants high schools to help instill them by vigorously punishing “talking back” – if you’re subordinate, you need to learn not to be insubordinate. For more background, see the Economic Policy Institute’s 2013 report, The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012.
Catalyst Game Labs has announced the first expansion for their Shadowrun: Crossfire deck-building game. High-Caliber Ops is soon to be headed to print. This isn’t just a couple of cards, but a pretty large expansion that will definitely change the way you play the game.
This new set comes at you with two new character roles for you to try out. There’s also over a dozen Black Market cards, fifty new obstacles, and new Karma upgrades. To test all your new gear and options, there’s a set of five new missions for you to go on (and hopefully come back from). Mixing things up a little more visually, several basic cards get new art, so you can mix those in with your old versions for a bit more diversity on the tabletop.
The expansion is just an expansion, though. You’ll still need the basic Shadowrun: Crossfire game to play. Also, while the new cards are on their way to print soon, there’s no concrete details about a date for arrival at your gaming shops, or the exact price yet.
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye run has yet to end (the final issue will be released in July), but readers aching for more archer superhero action have a strong replacement in All-New Hawkeye by writer Jeff Lemire, artist Ramón Pérez, and colorist Ian Herring. The book has a much different feel than the previous run, but the most important thing about Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye is that it represents the unique perspective of its creators, and that’s what the new series does. Lemire made his career telling intimate stories in a rural setting with his Essex County graphic novels, and he brings that element to All-New Hawkeye by incorporating flashbacks to Clint’s childhood as the two Hawkeyes engage in exhilarating superhero action in the present.
Distinctions between past and present are beautifully reflected in the artwork, which uses flowing layouts and heightened colors to give ...
TW: misogyny in Bitter & Twisted
I love the trends of:
1. Bars producing elaborate, creative cocktail menus.
2. Especially when they are offered as purchasable souvenirs.
3. And extra-specially when bartenders mail them to me for keeping!
Here are a few that have come into my hands lately. Sorry about my lousy photography skills. I guess you'll have to fly around the world and see these in person...
Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London
Chris Moore of Beaufort Bar mailed me their incredible pop-up menu, which was made in a limited edition of 1000 copies.
Black Pearl, Melbourne, Australia
Their drink menu is a baseball card album, and I believe they said you get to keep the card for the drink you order. Here are some of the cards.
And if that's not a good enough souvenir for you, Black Pearl also offers a naked bartender calendar.
Last week in New York for the (cancelled) Manhattan Cocktail Classic I ran into one of the owners of Nightjar, who handed me their latest card deck. They are several editions into doing this.
My pal Geoffrey Canilao handed me the menu for his new bar Balderdash when we were together at the Reykjavik Bar Summit a couple of months ago. The menu is on a fold-out subway map with cocktails on either side.
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour sent me their latest menu, which is a comic book comprising of a lot of parts. There is a chart with how exotic/safe/refreshing/boozy the drinks are (similar to what Pouring Ribbons has done with their menu), some fun illustrations, and cocktails listed with upsell prices (economy, business, and first classes) depending on the base spirit used.
Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, New York, New York, USA
The Dead Rabbit fellas recently released the third edition of their cocktail menu; this one with some fold-out illustrated pages to make it even more impressive than the last two. The menu costs $50 at the bar to take home, but if you have the patience they're also releasing a full cocktail book (including the recipes not just the menu) this fall.
Game developer and tech diversity advocate Brianna Wu has been complaining about the lack of action by a prosecuting attorney in response to a death threat voicemail she said she received. On Tuesday, she posted a copy of the voicemail.
Wu's op-ed article at feminist pop-culture site The Mary Sue raised new questions about whether local or national law enforcement agencies were adequately responding to a wave of anonymous threats she and other women in the game industry have recently faced. The article included a recording of a voicemail left on Wu's personal phone that called her a "little fucking whore" and threatened to "slit [her] throat."
Ars was sent a copy of the voicemail with its originating Columbus, Ohio phone number attached, along with call records indicating that the threat was left on Wu's voicemail on May 12. Wu said that she received more threatening calls from the same number on Wednesday. She has not called the offending number back as per advice from her legal counsel.
You may have heard tales of the highwaymen who, long ago, roved the old British highways in search of gold and silver coins to steal. But, it turns out, that there was also another treasure they sought: wigs.
all carriers suck forever
Comcast has signed an interconnection agreement with Internet backbone operator Level 3 with just a few weeks to go until the Federal Communications Commission starts taking complaints under its new net neutrality regime.
Comcast and Level 3 fought as early as 2010 over the amount of Netflix traffic that Level 3 was sending into Comcast's network. Level 3 agreed to pay Comcast for network interconnection at the time "under protest." Level 3 and Comcast announced another agreement in 2013 in a brief press release containing no details, but there was apparently still some tension between the companies.
Netflix traffic isn't a problem for Level 3 and Comcast anymore since Netflix last year began paying Comcast for a direct network connection to improve video quality. But network operators like Level 3 and Cogent have threatened to complain to the FCC about Internet service providers demanding money for upgrades needed to ensure good quality for other Internet services.