In a perfect example of a big media company looking to capitalize on current events, The Walt Disney Company has trademarked “Seal Team 6,” which also happens to be the name of the elite special forces team that killed Osama Bin Laden. The trademark applications came on May 3rd, two days after the operation that killed Bin Laden… and two days after “Seal Team 6″ was included in thousands of news articles and TV programs focusing on the operation. Disney’s trademark applications for “Seal Team 6″ cover clothing, footwear, headwear, toys, games and “entertainment and education services,” among other things.
Tag Archives | Business
The tin-foil-hatted nuts at BusinessWeek explain how and why Facebook will become the largest bank in the United States. (Perhaps most disturbing is the thought of a universal currency called ‘the zuckerberg’.)
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Becoming a financial powerhouse would help Facebook avoid the fate of many once-popular networks. AOL, Friendster, Second Life, and MySpace all dreamed of growing forever, too. To survive, Facebook must become more than glorified e-mail. Sharing photos and gossip with friends might make Facebook hard to leave. But upload your checking account and Facebook may just be forever.
Nongamers may have missed Facebook’s clever foray into the world of “virtual currency,” where Facebook Credits cost 10 cents each and can be exchanged for game points or cartoony gifts. Those dimes are adding up—the U.S. market for virtual goods will reach $2.1 billion in 2011.
For better business, Samoa decides to switch time zones. BBC reports:
The South Pacific island nation of Samoa is to jump forward in time by one day in order to boost its economy.
Samoa will do this by switching to the west side of the international date line, which it says will make it easier for it to do business with Australia and New Zealand.
At present, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney. From 29 December it will be three hours ahead.
The change comes 119 years after Samoa moved in the opposite direction.
Then, it transferred to the east side of the international date line in an effort to aid trade with the US and Europe.
However, Australia and New Zealand have increasingly become Samoa’s biggest trading partners.
[Continues at BBC News]
Kevin Zeese is an attorney and former candidate for U.S. Senate with a law degree from George Washington University. He contributes to a website attacking the agenda of the national Chamber of Commerce (StopTheChamber.com) and ran for office within the Green Party.
Zeese is concerned that malevolent business interests will have undue influence on elections, due to those interests’ expanding ability to influence elections anonymously. On the phone, he took great pains to differentiate the national hub from your local, garden variety chamber of commerce, which Zeese insists can very well represent the interests of local businesses. The local chambers, he said, had attempted to distance themselves from the national hub, the distinction for him lying in his instinct that the national was undermining decentralization of interests.
I asked him, “So I guess I’d just like to start off by asking you to describe in your own words why you think the Chamber of Commerce apparently has a problem with you or doesn’t want you to speak your mind?”
With this, Zeese laughed with glee, and, catching his breath, said, “Well, that’s a good way of putting it.”
If the hundreds of uses for cannabis doesn’t plead the case for its legalization, the money made from its medical industry just might do it. The Washington Independent reports:
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The American Independent has previously reported on the growing corporatization of the incipient medical marijuana industry at a time when medical marijuana dispensaries scrabble to hold on to their businesses in the face of a multi-pronged federal crackdown. But there are signs afoot that it just may become ever more corporate if a Big Pharma push to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recognize a cannabis-derived drug is successful.
Last week, British prescription drug manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals announced a licensing agreement with drug giant Novartis, maker of Ritalin and Excedrin, to begin selling GW’s drug Sativex in markets across Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East. The medication is already available in Britain, where it’s produced and marketed by Bayer, and in Canada and Spain.
In Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota, laws are in the works to criminalize the documenting of animal cruelty and health violations in factory farming. With activists nosing around, “people are scared to death that they might be found in a compromising position,” [says the] president of the Iowa Farm Bureau — it’s about “making producers feel more comfortable.” The New York Times reports:
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Undercover videos showing grainy, sometimes shocking images of sick or injured livestock have become a favorite tool of animal rights organizations to expose what they consider illegal or inhumane treatment of animals.
Made by animal rights advocates posing as farm workers, such videos have prompted meat recalls, slaughterhouse closings, criminal convictions of employees and apologies from corporate executives assuring that the offending images are an aberration.
Minneapolis’s City Paper delves into a dark corner of the education system: the ever-growing test-scoring industry. Every day, armies of underpaid, disenchanted, hungover slacker-temps slave away in private essay-grading mills, slapping on arbitrary scores which determine whether schools across the country will receive funding and whether students will graduate:
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Eventually, DiMaggio got used to not asking questions. He got used to skimming the essays as fast as possible, glancing over the responses for about two minutes apiece before clicking a score.
Every so often, though, his thoughts would drift to the school in Arkansas or Ohio or Pennsylvania. If they only knew what was going on behind the scenes. “The legitimacy of testing is being taken for granted,” he says. “It’s a farce.”
DiMaggio had good reason to worry. His score could determine whether the school was deemed adequate or failing—whether it received government funding or got shut down.
Though the efficacy of standardized testing has been hotly debated for decades, one thing has become crystal clear: It’s big business.
A new lunar gold rush? Via Phenomenonica:
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A Silicon Valley start-up, founded by an Indian-American entrepreneur, plans to mine the moon and is in the process of building robotic rovers that will search the lunar surface for precious metals and rare metallic elements.
Moon Express Inc or MoonEx, co-founded by Naveen Jain, is building the robotic rovers alongside scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Centre near San Jose, a report in the Los Angeles Times said. “MoonEx should be ready to land on the lunar surface by 2013,” Jain said.
While there is no guarantee that the moon is “flush” with these materials, MoonEx thinks it “may be a gold mine of so-called rare earth elements.”
“From an entrepreneur’s perspective, the moon has never truly been explored,” the report quoted Jain, chairman and company co-founder, as saying. “We think it could hold resources that benefit Earth and all humanity.”
MoonEx’s machines are designed to look for materials that are scarce on Earth but found in everything from a Toyota Prius car battery to guidance systems on cruise missiles, the report added.
What would Willy Wonka think? Tom Mulier reports in Bloomberg:
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The recipe for chocolate bars is fairly standard: cocoa, cocoa butter or other oils, sweeteners, and perhaps some nuts or a fruity filling. Now, with prices for cocoa, sugar, and other commodities soaring, candy makers are finding a simple ingredient — air — can help pump up profits.
Nestlé is making a big push for its aerated chocolate brand, Aero, Barry Callebaut is adding more air to fillings, and Cadbury last year launched a new version of its aerated Wispa bars after reintroducing the brand in 2007.
In the past four years, cocoa prices have more than doubled amid poor harvests and growing demand. On Feb. 22, cocoa hit $3,608 a metric ton, a level it hadn’t reached in three decades. The price of sugar, the additive candy makers have often looked to when cocoa prices soar, is also on the rise as bad weather has damaged crops in Brazil.