Category Archives: News

Black Friday

If shopping is our religion, then this is our Hajj:

NY Times: Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death

The throng of Wal-Mart shoppers had been building all night, filling sidewalks and stretching across a vast parking lot at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y. At 3:30 a.m., the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control, and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order.

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. Someone taped up a crude poster: “Blitz Line Starts Here.”

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

These two must have watched too many John Woo movies:

LA Times: 2 gunmen kill each other in shootout at Toys R Us in Palm Desert

Most shoppers headed to the Toys R Us in Palm Desert on Friday morning clutching their “door buster” ads and their shopping lists. At least two men walked into the busy store armed with their guns.

Instead of the usual frantic chaos on Black Friday, the year’s busiest shopping day, mayhem erupted in the electronics department about 11:30 a.m., leaving two men dead in a gunfight and crowds of shoppers ducking for cover.

Joan Barrick, 40, of Desert Hot Springs said she was buying a Barbie Jeep for her daughter when two women started brawling. As the women swung at each other, the men they were with also started arguing.

The younger of the two lifted up his shirt and flashed his handgun, pulling the grip from his baggy pants pocket. The other man yanked out his own handgun and started chasing him down the aisle and firing, witnesses said.

Barrick hid behind a stack of DVDs and recited the Lord’s Prayer. “If I’m going to die, I need to make peace,” she said. “A lot of people were crying. I was crying. We were all very, very scared.”

As the two men ran shooting through the aisles, shoppers dumped their purchases. LaToya Jenkins, 20, had already bought a remote-control bike. She dropped it and ran. Others left behind shopping carts full of the bargain-priced toys they had come in search of.

Several witnesses saw the gunmen clearly. Some cried out warnings: “He has a gun!” and “¡Pistola! ¡Pistola!” Barrick was so close she could see the smoking gun.

Riverside County sheriff’s officials declined to release the names of the dead men, whose bodies were found near the front of the store. Police retrieved handguns on the floor near both of them.

“These guys ran into each other, they squared off against each other, they killed each other,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Daniel Wilham. “It’s a miracle that these were the only two people killed, given it was a crowded toy store.”

It’s all so disgusting and funny at the same time.

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No bailout for the automotive industry

I could care less if the Big Three were to disappear overnight. For decades they’ve existed as marketing and financial bureaucracies–not car companies, putting out shitty products propped up by nostalgia, misguided patriotism, cheap fuel, and cheap money. In the meantime, their foreign competitors have innovated, diversified, and invested wisely, building their brands over years, if not decades. The American automotive industry seems to be institutionally incapable of learning anything; it’s time to stand back and watch those institutions implode. This doesn’t mean we won’t have an automotive industry; it just means that new companies will have a chance to grow and innovate without being overshadowed by these soulless monstrosities.

However, I’d be perfectly happy to have the Feds relieve them, and American businesses in general, of the twin clusterfucks we know as defined benefit retirement plans and employer-based health insurance.

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TechCrunch is reporting (spreading the rumor?) that: Facebook May Be Growing Too Fast. And Hitting The Capital Markets Again.

Some of the key items:

  • Revenues are not covering costs, and costs are growing faster than revenues
  • Half of Facebook’s users are from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, places where you can’t make too much money
  • Facebook’s CFO is reportedly in Dubai trying to get some oil money

Yahoo!’s $1b is probably looking pretty good right about now. Then again, Yahoo! probably would have fucked it up.

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SpaceX’s Falcon 1 flies into space

Good weekend for space: the Chinese conducted their first space walk, and now a private company has sent a rocket into space.

Wired: SpaceX Did It — Falcon 1 Made it to Space

SpaceX has made history. Its privately developed rocket has made it into space.

After three failed launches, the company founded by Elon Musk worked all of the bugs out of their Falcon 1 launch vehicles.

The entire spectacle was broadcast live from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. Cameras mounted on the spacecraft showed our planet shrinking in the distance and the empty first stage engine falling back to Earth.

As the rocket ascended, cheers rang out during every crucial step of the launch sequence, and at the final stage their headquarters in Hawthorne, California erupted in excitement. ( viewed the launch over the Internet on SpaceX’s live webcast.)

The tensest moment came just before stage separation. At that critical juncture, the third launch attempt had failed. This time, it worked out perfectly.

Eight minutes after leaving the ground, Falcon 1 reached a speed of 5200 meters per second and passed above the International Space Station.

Here’s the video of the flight: