Netflix is still struggling with this fundamental problem

Aaron Freeman:

Food for video thought.

Originally posted on Quartz:

A single trading session is all it has taken for all of Netflix’s share price gains in 2014 to be wiped out completely.

YTD-returns-Netflix-S-P-500_chartbuilder

Suffice to say, the reaction to last night’s quarterly earnings release has been absolutely savage, with the stock falling by more than 20%. Netflix added 3 million subscribers globally during the quarter, which sounds impressive, but was below its own forecast for the addition of 3.7 million new customers during the period.

This was the full first quarter since Netflix raised prices by $1 a month for new users in the US. (There also were hikes in other markets.) The rate of  subscriber growth is slowing, which is a concern for a company like Netflix, whose heroic valuation implies aggressive, unimpeded expansion.

But the real concern isn’t growth per se.  More worrisome is the fact that every time Netflix attempts to charge more for its service, it encounters difficulties…

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“UFO clouds” are a delightful (if somewhat ominous-looking) natural phenomenon

Aaron Freeman:

Oh sure they’re “natural”. Wake up, the aliens are obviously here. In fact I think I see one right outside my d-

Originally posted on Quartz:

There is a gorgeous photograph of a lenticular cloud over Mount Rainier circulating on Twitter today. The photo was taken on Oct 15 at sunset in Seattle, according to @earthskyscience, the account that first shared it.

EarthSky, a media group based in Austin, Texas, tweets images of natural phenomena and the sky, plus news and research related to planetary science. Click on the link in the @earthskyscience tweet, embedded above, to see 20 more photos of these clouds at earthsky.org.

For obvious reasons, lenticular clouds are sometimes called UFO clouds, saucer clouds, or cloud caps.

They’re not exactly rare. A well-known adage in the Seattle area is that when Mount Rainier “wears…

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The Struggle for Survival of the Roma People: Europe’s Most Hated – YouTube

This is probably too long (17 mins) for you to watch but I’m sure you know what a problem Roma immigration in Europe is.  The horrible thing is, in the case of the Roma my heart is with the right wingers.  I have HUGE anti-Roma prejudices.  I’ve watched their kids pick pockets outside the Louvre, seen their filthy neighborhoods in London and watched a lot of biased TV news.  I don’t justify my prejudice for a moment (intellectually) but if I lived in Europe they’d be #1 on my list of despised minorities.  Shame, shame, shame on me.  

Am I the only admitted antiRoma-ite you know?

The Struggle for Survival of the Roma People: Europe’s Most Hated – YouTube.

Israel’s True Colors (?)

In my version of heaven there are racists.  I am happy to live in a diverse world populated by people who think and believe every whichaway. Some of Israel’s racists are violent and IMHO should be dealt with as simple lawbreakers.  The others, the anti-miscegenation crowd should, I currently think be looked at as siblings going through a phase, like Alabama Gov. George Wallace, from which they will emerge wiser and kinder people.

Iran is the sex change capitol of the world?

We’ve been enjoying Amazon’s, “Transparent”. I’ve adored Alexandra Billings for years. A bit of trans-googling revealed this shocker.

The Ayatollah and the Transexual

That Maryam Khatoon Molkara can live a normal life is due to a compassionate decision by one man: the leader of the Islamic revolution himself. By Angus McDowall in Tehran and Stephen Khan
Thursday 25 November 2004
Maryam Khatoon Molkara is the first to admit that she has had a complicated life. A plump, good-looking, middle-aged woman with strong features, she is ladylike and not a little flirtatious. “Marry me,” she said. “Take me away and we’ll live in Italy.”
Keen not to complicate matters further, your correspondent declined the offer. Ms Molkara used to be called Fereydoon – Mr Fereydoon Molkara. And now she is a transsexual living in the Islamic Republic of Iran: someone who has volunteered to go under the veil. During the past 54 years, she has seen seismic shifts in both her body and her homeland.
Recently dozens of transsexuals – including a former Republican Guard – have been able to openly seek treatment to switch sexes. And it is largely thanks to Ms Molkara and a personal campaign that saw her twice appeal directly to the very man who charted Iran’s shift to theocracy – the Ayatollah Khomeini.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-ayatollah-and-the-transsexual-21867.html

A generation ago such things were but faint slivers of foolish imagination… Si se puede!

The Stunning Velocity Of The Marriage Equality Movement

The direction and pace of court decisions about same-sex couples’ marriages rights in the past 15 months brought the issue back to the Supreme Court with unanticipated speed. All that remains is the justices’ decision whether to hear a case this term.posted on Sept. 17, 2014, 

by Chris Geidner & BuzzFeed Staff

WASHINGTON — When a federal court ruled on Louisiana’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages earlier this month, something shocking happened: The judge upheld the ban.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman ruled the state’s marriage ban was constitutional — issuing the first federal court decision examining the question and finding such a ban to be constitutionally permissible in more than a year.

Even he realized this was an unusual decision. “It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue,” Feldman wrote in his opinion.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed the California Proposition 8 case on a technicality in June 2013, federal judges all across the country have thrown out bans on marriage for same-sex couples and bans on the recognition of marriages performed out of state, creating an avalanche of decisions rolling toward the Supreme Court. Judges from Texas to Michigan and from Oregon to Florida have ruled marriage bans unconstitutional. The nation’s top lawyers are jockeying for their cases to become The Case.

The direction and pace of the marriage decisions — their sheer velocity — is unlike any other debate in modern politics or law. In the space of a little more than a year, the timeline for any sort of legal resolution of the issue has completely shifted.

And now, on Sept. 29, the Supreme Court justices are due to consider whether to hear one or more of a handful of marriage cases that could produce the final blow. The marriage equality movement — work that began decades earlier and was full of setbacks, including DOMA itself, along the way — is on the precipice of becoming a reality.

Fifteen months ago, very few imagined this rapid a timeline. But the decisions that day, specifically what Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia wrote, ultimately opened the floodgates for what followed. Of DOMA, Kennedy declared the law unconstitutional because it “instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.” And in his dissent to that opinion, Scalia noted “how easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/the-stunning-velocity-of-the-marriage-equality-movement#11qb1x5