Fatty, Fatty, Two-By-Four, Got a Job and Gained Some More

Bad news, everyone–it turns out that employment will make you fat. In what must surely be the most causally determinative and well-respected study of all time, researchers found that your job is responsible for that button-strain you now feel. According to the Boston Business Journal, “Around 44 percent of workers say they’ve put on pounds at their current job, with 26 percent saying they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, per the report.”

Naturally, some jobs are worse for you than others:

The jobs where people are most likely to gain weight include: travel agent; attorney; social worker; teacher; doctor and public relations professional. The job descriptions weren’t ranked, but were grouped by their potential for causing weight gain.

Seemingly, it’s the combination of sedentary work conditions and a high-stress environment that provide the conditions for eating Italian subs every day for lunch. Notably, the study does not comment on the deliciousness of Italian subs or your weak will; hopefully, further research is forthcoming.

In other news, I now want an Italian sub.

Advertisements

Much Like the Real “Boston Legal,” This Boston Legal is not Funny

Everyone knows the legal market sucks. Students pony up $150K with no guarantee–wait, fuck guarantee, prospect–that they’ll ever be able to pay it back, the ABA continues to accredit the educational equivalents of aborted fetuses, and even the lucky douchebags that get into HYS (that’s Harvard-Yale-Stanford, the perennial top 3 in the rankings) have difficulties landing those plum jobs that grant some measure of financial freedom.

Yet before now the market was more like a speedy subway frottage and less like an outright teabagging. Alas, some balls are coming your way:

The BBJ received an emailed tip this week from someone who says they’re an employed, Boston College Law School (BC Law) graduate. The tipster sent screen grabs of a job listing on BC Law’s career site. The post advertises a full-time associate position at a small Boston law firm, Gilbert & O’Bryan LLP, paying just $10,000 per year. (That’s $10K, it’s not a typo.)

Larry O’Bryan, one of the firm’s partners, said he’s received about 32 applications for the $10K per year job, since posting it one week ago. He said that while the pay is low, the lawyer who is eventually hired will gain valuable experience.

That’s right, a full-time associate’s position will yield you a whopping $10K per year. But cheer up! They offer a “clothing allowance,” which probably means that they’ll buy you some ties at Target (Penney’s if you were cum laude!). Also experience, which in this context constitutes the experience of a demoralization so great that your soul will literally fall dead from your ass while you’re arguing a third-rate tort claim before a judge who just wants to get back to his ham and mayonnaise dinner.

The tipster, a recent grad of BC Law employed outside the Massachusetts legal market, calculated the hourly rate at $4.81, which is well below the minimum wage in Massachusetts. As he also pointed out, the janitors that work at BC Law will make much more than this, and it’s pretty likely BC Law didn’t make them fork over a couple hundred grand for their training in toilet-scrubbing and floor-mopping.

To anyone reading this and still considering law school, I have these words of advice: you’re a dumbass, and will never practice the kind of law that will remunerate you for your investment. Because you’re a dumbass.

Robert: “Hi, Ned–I Sure Could Use Your Help Rebelling Against the Mad King. How About it?” Accept?

That’s right, folks–Game of Thrones is coming to Facebook. Game design firm Disruptor Beam recently announced it had a license to develop a game for Facebook based on A Game of Thrones:

In Game of Thrones Ascent players will lead the life of a noble during the time of upheaval as portrayed in the books and the series thus experiencing a new type of game that unites both story and strategy. Players will claim their birthright by choosing which of the great houses they’ll swear allegiance to, securing their holdings, developing their lands and personal reputation, and assigning sworn swords to quests–while forging alliances with new friends and much more!

Better still, Disruptor Beam is accepting registrations for the beta version! So get out there and bolster your stores, because winter is coming, and you can’t always rely on your stingy Facebook friends to gift you wheat.

Not Surprisingly, Textbook Publishers Don’t Want You to Have Free Textbooks

Sadly, it looks like the days of free textbooks might be over. In a move that shocks no one, at least two publishing giants are suing the small start-up Boundless Learning over the alleged “theft” of content. According to the suit, Boundless Learning “generates these ‘replacement textbooks’ by hiring individuals to copy and paraphrase from Plaintiffs’ textbooks.”

The suit also departs from the characteristic bland language of most lawsuits in a number of places — stating at points that “Defendant teaches only the age-old business model of theft” and that “Boundless gets an ‘F’ in originality.”

Well, if anyone is qualified to comment on theft as a business model, it’s the textbook publishing industry. Naturally, the CEO of Boundless Learning disagrees with the publishing giants:

The content comes from openly licensed educational content, created and posted online by faculty members over the past two decades, and curated by Boundless Learning’s domain experts, he said. Offerings so far are in biology, economics and psychology.

The publishers also contend that Boundless Learning’s products have “a corrosive effect on learning.” Personally, I believe that the runaway inflation of textbook prices is slightly more deleterious to education than what amounts to a more accurately sourced version of Wikipedia, but hey, what the fuck would I know? I couldn’t afford to buy textbooks when I was in school, so I didn’t learn shit.

Breaking News: Europeans Hate Shitty Coffee

Alas, poor Starbucks–I knew it, Horatio.

While many of us are desperately wishing for a melancholy Dane to ponder over the bleached skull of the most irritating corporate force in America, those mad geniuses behind your burned coffee are seeking to conquer that Dane’s homeland–think of them as Fortinbras with a Frappucino.

Starbucks is embarking on a multimillion-dollar campaign to win over more of Europe’s coffee aficionados — with a upscale makeover of hundreds of stores to cater to an ingrained cafe culture, and adjusting beverages and blends to suit fickle regional palates.

Yet despite the full-court press Elsinore is, for the moment, safe:

After eight years spent setting up 63 French Starbucks stores, the company has never turned a profit in France. And even in the parts of Europe where the company does make money, sales and profit growth lag far behind results in the Americas and Asia.

Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish economy are a factor. So are high European rents and labor costs, which impinge on profits more than in any other region in which Starbucks operates. But the biggest challenge may lie in tailoring the Starbucks experience to appeal to a variety of European tastes.

Ah, I see–young Europeans aren’t yet used to the idea of a soul-killing career for a company that does not pay a living wage. But there is hope for the ‘Bucks, and that hope lies within the simulacrum:

“In markets where there is an entrenched coffeehouse culture, like Paris or Vienna, I was expecting to hear more requests to be like them,” Ms. Gass said. “But I heard the opposite — people want the true Starbucks experience.”

Presumably this desire for “the true Starbucks experience” necessitates a surly barista, a urine-soaked homeless person, and some asshole with a clipboard whose resume lacked the civic activities required for admission to Harvard Law.

Ultimately, Starbucks will conquer Europe. McDonald’s, that other beacon of American food corporatism, eventually found traction and so will the ‘Bucks. Whether it’s Eurotrash hipsters desirous of lemon pound cake and a watery latte, or bloated American tourists too afraid to try a local cafe, people will make their way into the black and green empire of aestheticide that is Starbucks.

On the other hand, the British need Starbucks: shitty or not, it’s likely the only passable cup of coffee you’re likely to find on that entire miserable island.

The Time Has Come to Start Liking PCs Ironically

That’s right, trend-spotters: if you want to be in on the next big thing, it’s time to slap a pair of skinny jeans and Ray-Bans on your desktop computer. Because according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, with the rise of the tablet, your PC just became your most irony-worthy accessory. And he’s not alone:

His forecast has backing from a growing number of analysts and veteran technology industry executives, who contend that the torrid growth rates of the iPad, combined with tablet competition from the likes of Amazon.com and Microsoft, make a changing of the guard a question of when, not if.

This is especially relevant given that Apple’s holiday tablet sales accounted for 40% more revenue than their Mac sales. And as many of you already know, the next iteration of the iPad is nearly here; Apple has planned a press event for March 7, and they’re expected to announce the latest features and improvements.

There is good news, however: PCs still outsell tablets by a wide margin, so you have time to fashion your clever PoMo stance toward that bulky porn-viewing device on your desk. But don’t take too long, because the competition brewing in the tablet market is sure to drive the Curve right to your doorstep.

And when the Curve arrives, if your computer is being used for anything other than some ironic spreadsheet viewing, you’re going to find it very hard indeed to get a table at that gin cooperative down the street.

Google Would Also Like a Peek at Your Sex Videos

Recent reports indicate that your cat videos, sex pics, and that video you took of that hot hipster on the subway are not safe on your phone if you authorize certain application features. Seemingly, it was only a problem for iPhones and iPads. False! Google’s Android apps are also quite invasive; more so, in fact, than Apple’s:

It turns out that Google, maker of the Android mobile operating system, takes it one step further. Android apps do not need permission to get a user’s photos, and as long as an app has the right to go to the Internet, it can copy those photos to a remote server without any notice, according to developers and mobile security experts. It is not clear whether any apps that are available for Android devices are actually doing this.

“We can confirm that there is no special permission required for an app to read pictures,” said Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of Lookout, a company that makes Android security software. “This is based on Lookout’s findings on all devices we’ve tested.”

So, whether you’re a British secret agent or an amateur pornographer, look out: your phone is no longer a safe place to store pictures that might horrify your grandmother. Or you, if it happens to be your grandmother’s phone. Yikes.

According to Google, the problem has to do with the ways in which the apps were configured to store data; originally, the apps functioned to make transferring data from removable memory much easier.

“We originally designed the Android photos file system similar to those of other computing platforms like Windows and Mac OS,” the spokesman said in an e-mail message. “At the time, images were stored on a SD card, making it easy for someone to remove the SD card from a phone and put it in a computer to view or transfer those images. As phones and tablets have evolved to rely more on built-in, nonremovable memory, we’re taking another look at this and considering adding a permission for apps to access images. We’ve always had policies in place to remove any apps on Android Market that improperly access your data.”

It’s apparently quite easy to configure an application to automatically take your most recent photos and submit them to a photo-sharing website; best of all, the app need mention nothing at all about photos!

Google’s app policy requires that applications be incapable of malicious data theft, but since anyone can publish an app, it’s entirely possible to get one past the goalie.

So, for the love of God, don’t download any apps called “Super Fun Time Love Joy App for Ray of Sunshine,” and make sure you warn your friends and family. Because the last thing you need to see is grandma’s…ahem!…duckface.

Obama Will Not Be Happy Until Gasoline Prices Reach $10,000,000 Per Gallon

He is, however, more than willing to start with $5 a gallon. That’s right, Emperor Muslimtine wants your family to pay $5 a gallon so that he can finance his dreams of turning America into a theocracy. Oh, wait–that’s this guy. Sorry, I got confused.

In any event, gas prices seem poised to rise even further, which will prompt morons to demand that Obama personally alleviate the hardship caused by their poor decision to buy a used Range Rover. Moreover, because the price of oil is linked to the volatility in the Middle East, the price surge could force some rather blustery rhetoric from neocon chickenhawks:

“If we get some kind of explosion — like an Israeli attack or some local Iranian revolutionary guard decides to take matters in his own hands and attacks a tanker — than we’d see oil prices push up 20 to 25 percent higher and another 50 cents a gallon at the pump,” said Michael C. Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research.

For the typical driver who pumps 60 gallons a month of regular unleaded gasoline, a 50-cent increase in price means an extra expense of $30 a month.

I can hear the rich guys now:

“I say, Yarmouth, let’s rile the plebes with this business. An extra $30 per month ought to do it; those poor bastards love to put people in harm’s way for the price of a dinner at Chili’s.”

Oil prices have steadily increased in part because of the tensions with Iran, though demand from China also plays its part. Yet interestingly, demand seems to be but one part of the problem: the other part, speculation:

“The bankers are speculating, protecting themselves from higher prices by committing obligations to buy now, and that starts the ball rolling toward higher prices,” said Sadad Ibrahim al-Husseini, former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, the state oil company.

He added that the escalating civil turmoil in Syria, a crucial ally of Iran, “is bound to increase price volatility and that will drive future speculation.”

So, what we have here is the classic set-up for American politics: the Republitards will blame Obama for rising gas prices, citing his energy policy, and use those prices to rile the idiot base. They will also appeal to the violent, nationalistic instinct present in the American populace and demand military action in the name of patriotism; failure to act, they will claim, proves that Obama sympathizes with Muslims and hates America. Meanwhile, banks with billions of dollars in holdings will speculate on the price of oil, driving the prices ever-higher, which will create record profits for the oil companies that do business with the banks.

And worst of all, because of rising gas prices, you won’t even be able to afford a consolatory dinner at Chili’s. Well, maybe a dinner. But you’ll only be able to get one appetizer. And it’s just so hard to choose.

Damn Obama!

It Turns Out that it’s Pretty Easy to Steal that Sex Video You Made on Your iPhone

Oh, but of course you never made a sex video on your iPhone. And you definitely didn’t take any pictures of you dressed as sexy Queen Victoria with duckface, either. It’s just cat photos and pictures of flowers on your iPhone and iPad, isn’t it? Well, then, this won’t disturb you at all!

Developers of applications for Apple’s mobile devices, along with Apple itself, came under scrutiny this month after reports that some apps were taking people’s address book information without their knowledge.

As it turns out, address books are not the only things up for grabs. Photos are also vulnerable. After a user allows an application on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to have access to location information, the app can copy the user’s entire photo library, without any further notification or warning, according to app developers.

And you thought having an Imam in your address book was bad! Allow David Chen, an app developer and co-founder of Curio, to outline the Orwellian implications for you:

“Conceivably, an app with access to location data could put together a history of where the user has been based on photo location…”

“…The location history, as well as your photos and videos, could be uploaded to a server. Once the data is off of the iOS device, Apple has virtually no ability to monitor or limit its use.”

Yes, it would seem that after a relatively benign message about using your “location data” an app would gain access to your entire photo library.

I’ll give you a few moments to delete all those “cat photos” from your phone, perv.

You’ll Be Happy to Know that Wall Street Bonuses Saw Only a Small Decline

Yes, as you struggle to pay rent, and those student loan payments from a state university (ha! loser!) prevent you from ever qualifying for a mortgage, you’ll find some cause for optimisim that the world is not a terrible place when I tell you that Wall Street bonus packages saw only a small decline this year:

Total payouts to finance industry employees in New York are forecast to drop only 14 percent during this bonus season, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli. By comparison, profits plunged, falling 51 percent.

Interesting that while profits saw a sharp decline, bonuses did not; presumably, it’s all that “top talent” that the firms are always talking about–we wouldn’t want to fire anybody responsible for a 50% decline in profits, now would we? That guy knows what he’s doing!

Sadly, that 14% drop translates into real hardship:

The average bonus was $121,150, down just 13 percent from the previous year as the headcount shrunk. In 2006, the year before the financial crisis, the average investment bank employee took home a bonus of $191,360.

But the comptroller’s estimates, which do not include noncash compensation, may not give the full picture of this year’s bonus season.

But it seems as though there’s good news after all! Noncash compensation such as stock options were not tallied in the report! Increasingly, banks are offering stock as an alternative to cash bonuses. This move could work out well if the company performs admirably in the long-term, which is ostensibly the reason for offering the option at all (the other reason is that Morgan Stanley caps their bonuses at $125,000).

So, America, the next time you seethe with populist rage, just remember that Wall Street is making sacrifices, too. It’s hard to to get away with killing homeless prostitutes when your bonus declines by 14%.

Blog at WordPress.com.