Writer and “perfumaniac” Barbara Herman’s Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume (Lyons Press, 2013) digs into the sexualized and gendered history behind perfume.


Herman shared some interesting insights with BuzzFeed about the inspirations and creation of classic fragrances.

1. The Dana company wanted its Tabu perfume to smell like prostitutes.


“Tabu’s (1932) perfumer Jean Carles was told by the Dana perfume company to ‘make a perfume a prostitute would wear.’” You can buy Dana’s classics here.

2. Jacques Guerlain, a classic perfumer, had a similar vision in having his scent smell like a mistress.


“Jacques Guerlain, maker of such classics as Shalimar (1925) said ‘Perfume should smell like the underside of my mistress.’”

3. Scents often used substances from animal anuses.

“One way perfumes like Shalimar were able to smell like sexual bodies was the inclusion of ‘overdoses’ of perfume ingredients like civet — sourced from the anal gland of the mongoose-like Civet animal. Which means your grandmother was slathering herself with anal cream.”


4. Bandit de Robert Piguet perfume was inspired by womens’ panties.

Robert Piguet / hprints.com

autena / etsy.com


“Bandit (1947) was created by lesbian perfumer and former model Germaine Cellier and it’s said that the scent was inspired by the smell of models changing their panties at a Robert Piguet fashion show. It’s a mossy leather scent that now would be made for men.”

5. Instead of smoking cigarettes in the 1920s, women could just spray cigarette smell on themselves.

Molinard / delcampe.net

Molinard / fragrantica.com


“Habanita (1925) perfume by Molinard once actually perfumed cigarettes. It was considered declassé and a little slutty for women to smoke, and Molinard just made it more decadent by creating a perfume to add to the cigs! It soon became a perfume that smelled like cigarettes, with tobacco notes.”

6. Sometimes perfumes aren’t explicitly made for human flesh.

“Zibeline perfume by Weil was made exclusively to scent furs.”

7. The contents of a whale’s stomach could be the key to a really great scent.

“Ambergris, a perfume ingredient more expensive than gold, is the product of a whale’s irritated stomach. It floats around and gets oxidized by the sun, and the longer it does this, and ages like a fine wine, the better it ends up smelling. The washed up remnants are what end up getting sold.”

8. Beavers produce a fruity-smelling chemical called castoreum.

Chanel / chanel.com

“Castoreum, an ingredient from a beaver’s abdominal gland that is used in leather-scented perfumes, may be part of the “natural flavoring” you find in raspberry and strawberry flavored sweets, including ice cream. It has a fruitiness to its animal hide smell.”

Chanel’s Cuir de Russie is down with the castoreum.

9. The Rolling Stones member Keith Richards might use woman’s perfume as deodorant.


“It’s rumored that Keith Richards wears Joy by Patou (1931), which marketed itself as ‘The most expensive perfume ever made,’ under his armpits.”

10. Animals enhance the human body’s natural and erotic smells.

“Animal ingredients in perfumes of the past were used to highlight the body’s natural odors, which were considered erotic and sexually alluring. This flies in the face of the theory that perfume was invented to hide the smells of people who didn’t bathe.”

Learn more about fragrance history on Herman’s wesbite, YesterdaysPerfume.com and follow her on Twitter @Parfumaniac!

Correction: The perfume Joy by Patou (1931) was marketed as “The most expensive perfume ever made.” An earlier version of this post stated that Joy by Patou (1931) was considered “The most expensive perfume ever made.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/chanelparks/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-perfume


If Francisco Aguilar and Dave Young get their way, police officers and firefighters will someday carry baseball-shaped, throwable cameras along with the rest of their equipment.

As the founders of Bounce Imaging, Aguilar and Young are developing spherical, camera-laden gadgets that can be tossed into dangerous places—such as the rubble of a building leveled by an earthquake—and then wirelessly relay 360-degree panoramic images of the scene back to a tablet or smartphone.

First responders and military personnel increasingly use technology to scout out places of interest without putting themselves in harm’s way. Often this means using robots capable of crawling into a building or toward a suspect vehicle. iRobot has even developed a compact, throwable reconnaissance robot called FirstLook.

Aguilar and Young, who met as graduate students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, believe that their device will be easier to operate and cheaper than existing devices. They hope to sell the device for less than $500 initially.

“The idea behind this is, we get it to a point where if you toss it into a room and it’s dangerous to go get it, the unit is essentially disposable,” Aguilar says.

Aguilar came up with the idea for Bounce Imaging’s ball-shaped device while working as a volunteer in Haiti after the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010. While there were some fiber-optic cameras that could be used to search through rubble for survivors, the equipment was expensive and required a skilled operator, he says.

Earlier this year, he started working on Bounce Imaging with Young. They’ve since won $60,000 in funding—$50,000 in prize money from a contest organized by startup accelerator MassChallenge and $10,000 in another contest, the VenCorps NYC Impact Challenge—and are working on a prototype of their first product, which they hope to start testing in January. Several police departments and SWAT units are interested in trying it out, Aguilar says, including MIT’s own police department.

Young, who previously served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks Bounce Imaging’s ball-sized device could be particularly useful for the military. It would be easier to lug around than some of the unwieldy equipment he had to carry while on duty, he says. And, since it’s much cheaper than other imaging tools, it could be abandoned, if necessary.

Others have demonstrated spherical camera systems. For example, researchers at the Technische Universität Berlin built a foam-covered ball with 36 cameras inside that is capable of taking complete panoramas when thrown into the air (see “Eye Ball“).

Bounce Imaging’s device is expected to a weigh half a pound to a pound with a battery inside. It includes six wide-angle cameras that are each surrounded by an infrared LED flash. An external casing protects the components from being crushed on impact and allows the device to bounce.

The cameras can snap pictures every second or half-second, depending on the device’s settings; six pictures will give a full 360-degree view of the scene. An accelerometer and gyroscope help orient images, which are sent wirelessly to an Android-running smartphone or tablet where software stitches the images together.

Young and Aguilar hope to incorporate different sensors into the device for different applications. A firefighter might use one that includes smoke, temperature, and oxygen sensors, for example.

One obvious problem that Bounce Imaging faces is retrieval of its balls—the gadget doesn’t currently include a mechanism to bounce or roll itself back to whomever threw it, so you’d either need to go in and get it or leave it behind. The company may add a tether to allow the user to pull it back, or a beacon that allows the device to be found later on. Aguilar suggests that at some point, the company could even add motion capabilities, like that offered by robotic ball maker Sphero.

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/bounce-imaging/

The world is full of unexplained events and discoveries. People are, naturally, intrigued by unknown occurrences and controversial subjects. The current rise in technological advancement and DNA testing has raised questions in the field of archeology and world history. In many cases, these discoveries have been documented, but information surrounding the artifacts or historical event is hidden behind a wall of mystery. This article will be examining ten historical, theoretical and scientific questions that will make you think. The answers to most of these questions are supported by some scientific research, theory and historical documentation, while others are largely rhetorical. This list is longer than the usual but, as you will see, it really benefits from the extra information.

Nugget  154 A Keseberg Donner Party Cannibal-1

The question: What did Louis Keseberg do?

On April 14, 1846, a group of pioneers known as the Donner Party began their voyage to relocate from the U.S. state of Illinois to California. The trip covered 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers) over the Great Plains, two mountain ranges and the deserts of the Great Basin. The voyage took between four and six months, but the Donner Party was slowed because they decided to follow a new route called Hastings Cutoff. The group was told that Hastings Cutoff was a shortcut, but, in fact, it was a longer and more treacherous path. Ultimately, 87 people made the journey through the cutoff, which crossed Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake Desert. In all, 37 of the pioneers were members of the Reed and Donner families, while German emigrants Louis and Philippine Keseberg were also traveling with the group.

During the voyage, many of the pioneers documented their daily activities. Louis Keseberg was frequently mentioned in these journals. The connotation surrounding his activates was almost always negative. Louis Keseberg was routinely confronted for abusing his wife and children. Keseberg’s behavior was suspicious to the other travelers and he was regularly accused of theft, malingering and murder. In fact, the Donner Party journals are full of animosity, violent events and war.

After intense snow storms struck the Donner Party, it soon became evident that the group was not going to make it over the mountains before winter. To fend off the cold, all of the families built shelters in the area surrounding Truckee Lake and Alder Creek. By December 13, there was 8 feet (2.4 m) of snow. By the middle of January, most of the group’s food was gone and all that remained was dead human bodies. To stay alive, certain members of the Donner Party began to eat each other. Human bodies were labeled with the names of the deceased and the area became a “Cannibal Camp.”

On February 18, a seven-man rescue party scaled Frémont Pass and reached the Donner camps, which by this time were completely buried in snow. “The first two members of the relief party to enter the camp saw Trudeau carrying a human leg. When they made their presence known, he threw it into a hole with other dismembered bodies.” Twenty-three people were chosen and taken by the rescuers, but the pioneers were weak and some died on the long voyage to California. Dozens of people remained at the Truckee Lake and Alder Creek camp sites. One of these individuals was Louis Keseberg. Little is known about what Keseberg did during this time, but claims have been made that he became a predator.

The final rescue party didn’t reach the camp until April 21, 1847. When they arrived, Louis Keseberg was the only survivor. He was surrounded by dismembered bodies, gallons of blood, and had a fresh pot of human flesh over the fire. The men also found George Donner’s pistols, jewelry and $250 in gold in Keseberg’s cabin. The rescue group threatened to lynch Louis Keseberg, but he was ultimately taken to California. Upon return, Keseberg sued Ned Coffeemeyer for slander and for allegedly spreading stories about his deeds at the Donner camps. Keseberg won his case, but was awarded only $1 in damages. This was evidently all the judicial system felt his reputation was worth. During his lifetime, Louis Keseberg saw over ten of his children die in a number of different ways.


The question: Why Should You Avoid Grapefruit Juice When Taking Certain Drugs?

Many people don’t realize that grapefruit and grapefruit juice has the potential to negatively interact with many drugs and prescribed medications. This happens because the organic compounds in the grapefruit interfere with the intestinal enzyme cytochrome P450 isoform CYP3A4. This causes either an increasing or decreasing bioavailability. The interaction can be witnessed in a number of therapeutic, medical and recreational drugs. Grapefruit juice does not influence injected drugs, only oral substances that undergo first-pass metabolism by the enzyme.

Some of the most common examples of these drugs are a number of sedatives, slow release drugs, ingested marijuana, Codeine, Valium, Norvasc, Pravachol, Cordarone, Viagra, Zoloft, Allegra, and Lipitor. People should not take large amounts of grapefruit while ingesting these medications. When a physician prescribes a specific dose of a drug to a patient, they are working under the assumption that the person will absorb the drug at a specific rate. This calculation is based on the individual’s body type and weight. This information will inform the physician on how much medication to prescribe.

Grapefruit juice has an influence on the enzymes in your gastrointestinal tract that bring food and oral medications into your body. For this reason, grapefruit juice seems to affect both the rate of the drug coming into your body and how quickly it is removed. The end result can be an overdose or an uneven dosage for your size. Grapefruit extends the half life of some drugs, interfering with the body’s ability to break down the substance. The interaction caused by grapefruit compounds lasts for up to 24 hours and the reaction is greatest when the juice is ingested with the drug.


The question: When will Humans Be Pushed into the Uncanny Valley?

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis regarding the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. The theory holds that when robots, human clones, or computers have characteristics that are similar in appearance to that of humans, it causes a feeling of revulsion and anger. The feeling can be so overwhelming that the person has a need to assault and damage the artificial intelligence. The term has been traced to Ernst Jentsch’s concept of the uncanny, which is a psychological instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange.

For example, if you owned a robot that was human like in appearance and intelligence, the simple fact that it was in your house, staring at you, would make you feel uneasy. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the person due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time.

This often leads to an outright rejection of the object. The uncanny valley theory states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached and we enter the uncanny valley, beyond which the response quickly becomes that of a strong revulsion. Take a look at the picture of this realistic looking robot and tell me what emotional response you feel.

In many people, it will elicit a strange feeling and reaction. It has been hypothesized that these feelings are due to a biological response that is innate to all humans. As we enter the age of 3D advancement, design studios routinely consider the idea of the uncanny valley. Animation companies follow a set of rules when developing characters, making sure that they do not make them to realistic.

100 Dollar Bill

The question: Who is Behind the Superdollar?

The superdollar, or superbill, refers to a very high quality counterfeit United States $100 bill that has been circulating around the world. After investigations by the United States, Great Britain, China and other world powers, certain crime syndicates and federal governments have been suspected and implemented in creating the notes. The U.S. Government believes that the counterfeit one hundred-dollar bills are most likely being produced in North Korea. However, other possible sources include Iran or criminal gangs operating out of China. Some have even suggested the possibility of an American CIA involvement.

It has been determined that high ranking government officials or organized crime organizations are responsible for the notes because they are extremely high quality and practically intractable. In fact, they are called superdollars because the technology used to create the counterfeit bills is more advanced and superior to the original. The notes are said to be made with the highest quality ink and paper. They are designed to recreate the various security features of United States currency, such as the red and blue security fibers, the security thread, and the watermark. The notes are printed using the intaglio and typographic printing processes.

The United States has based its accusations against North Korea on the accounts of North Korean defectors, who allegedly described the operation, and on South Korean intelligence sources. Certain witnesses have claimed that the factory where the notes are printed is located in the city of Pyongsong, North Korea, and is part of Division 39. The United States government has suggested that the superbills are being distributed by North Korean diplomats and international crime syndicates. In 2004, The U.S. prohibited Americans from banking with Banco Delta Asia. Since that time, the United States has regularly threatened North Korea with sanctions over its alleged involvement with the counterfeit operation.

On February 2, 2006, banks in Japan voluntarily enforced sanctions on Banco Delta Asia identical to those imposed by the U.S. Some have estimated that 1 in 10,000 US$100 bills are counterfeit. The American $100 bill is the most counterfeited currency in the world. To fight the abuse, the U.S. government has developed a new $100 bill that is more secure. The new design has a complex printing process and holds a new 3D blue security stripe. The bills were initially set to be released in early 2011, but the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve suffered a major setback when 1.1 billion new one hundred-dollar bills were printed with a flaw. The release of the new $100 bill has been pushed back until the printing problem can be fixed.

Homo Floresiensis-Wikimedia-Ryan-Somma

The question: Did Miniature Humans Populate Earth 12,000 Years Ago?

In 2003, a team of Australian-Indonesian archaeologists made a remarkable discovery in Liang Bua Cave, which is located on the Island of Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The group was searching for evidence of the original human migration when they discovered a collection of unusual hominoid bones and artifacts. Partial skeletons of nine individuals were unearthed, including one complete cranium. These remains have been the subject of intense research and debate as they appear to have human features, but are miniature in size.

This has caused some scientists to claim that the bones represent a species distinct from modern humans. The new species has been labeled Homo floresiensis (nicknamed Hobbit). The hominoid is noted for its small body and brain size and for its relatively recent survival. Recovered alongside the skeletal remains were stone tools from archaeological horizons ranging from 94,000 to 13,000 years ago. Some of the tools are sophisticated stone implements. The artifacts are all of the size considered appropriate for a 1-meter-tall human population.

Archaeologist Mike Morwood and his colleagues have proposed that a variety of features, both primitive and derived, identify these bones as belonging to a new species. A study of the bones and joints of the arm, shoulder and lower limbs concluded that H. floresiensis was more similar to early humans and apes than modern humans. Some less obvious features that might distinguish H. floresiensis from modern Homo sapiens is the form of the teeth, and the lesser angle in the head of the humerus (upper arm bone). Each of these distinguishing examples has been heavily scrutinized by certain members of the scientific community.

Aside from a smaller body size, the overall specimen seems to resemble Homo erectus. Additional features used to argue for the discovery of a new population of previously unidentified hominids include the absence of a chin, the relatively low twist of the arm bones, and the thickness of the creature’s leg bones. The feet of H. floresiensis are unusually flat in relation to the rest of the body. As a result, when walking, the creature would have to bend its knees further back than modern people do. For this reason, it was not able to move very fast.

The species toes have an unusual shape and the big toe is very short. Local geology suggests that a volcanic eruption on the Island of Flores approximately 12,000 years ago could have been responsible for the demise of H. floresiensis, along with other local fauna, including the elephant species Stegodon. In early December of 2004, paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob removed most of the Hobbit remains from their repository. The priceless artifacts were damaged upon return. The only pelvis was smashed, ultimately destroying details that reveal body shape, gait and evolutionary history.


The question: Why are Humans Creating and Releasing Genetically Modified Mosquitoes?

Operation Drop Kick was a 1956 U.S. entomological warfare field testing program that modified and deployed the yellow fever mosquito. The goal of the project was to use the mosquito to carry and release a biological warfare agent. The concept was simply to drop a large collection of diseased mosquitoes over a populated area. Operation Drop Kick included a 1956 test in Savannah, Georgia, where uninfected mosquitoes were released in a residential neighborhood, and another 1956 test in Avon Park, Florida, where 600,000 diseased mosquitoes were released on the city.

Between the years 1956-1957, several U.S. Army biological warfare experiments were conducted in the city of Avon Park. In the experiments, Army biological weapon researchers released millions of mosquitoes on the town in order to see if the insects would spread yellow fever and dengue fever. The residents of Avon Park were not notified of the deadly experiments. Hundreds of residents contracted a wide array of illnesses, including fevers, respiratory problems, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid. Army researchers pretended to be public health workers, so that they could photograph and perform medical tests on the victims. Several people died as a result of the program.

The experiments in Avon Park were concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, in areas that were predominantly black with newly constructed housing projects. In 1978, a Pentagon document titled, Biological Warfare: Secret Testing & Volunteers revealed that similar experiments were conducted in Key West, Florida. Many people have raised the question of why the U.S. government was playing around with the Dengue fever virus. Dengue fever is an infectious disease that causes a number of symptoms, including severe headaches, a petechial rash and muscle and joint pains. In a small proportion the disease progresses to life-threatening complications. Since the middle of the 1950s, the rates of Dengue fever infection have increased dramatically, with approximately 50-100 million people being infected yearly. The disease has become a global epidemic in more than 110 countries with 2.5 billion people living in areas where it is prevalent.

In 2009, the British biotechnology giant Oxitec announced that they had developed a genetically-modified (GM) mosquito (OX513A) that, apart from a specific chemical antibiotic, is unable to successfully repopulate. After intense media scrutiny, the company gave a statement which indicated that the GM mosquitoes may help fight the spread of dengue fever by reducing or eliminating the wild mosquito population. In 2009, Oxitec released millions of the OX513A test mosquitoes over the Cayman Islands. Many people have questioned the decision to fight the spread of Dengue fever by using more infected mosquitoes. Nobody knows for sure what will happen when the new GM mosquitoes interact with animals and human life, or how the mosquitoes altered genes will disrupt the environment.

20051218025923!Gods Whores-Ml560

The question: How did David Berg Convince Women that Flirty Fishing was Acceptable?

In 1968, a man named David Berg developed a new religious movement named the Children of God. The group devoted their time to spreading the message of Jesus’ love and salvation. With the enforcement of strict regulations, David Berg preached about the de-Christianization and decay of moral values in Western society. He viewed the trends towards a New World Order as setting the stage for the rise of the Antichrist. Remarkably, Berg lived in seclusion, communicating with his followers and the public via nearly 3,000 Mo Letters.

In the 1970s, the Children of God began to expand to all areas of the world. David Berg discussed a message of salvation, apocalypticism, and spiritual revolution against the outside world, which the members called the System. The group’s liberal stance on sexuality led to concerns and investigations regarding child abuse. However, the most publicized practice organized by David Berg and the Children of God was named Flirty Fishing. Flirty Fishing is a form of religious prostitution that was practiced by the Children of God from 1974-1987. The term refers to Matthew 4:19 from the New Testament, in which Jesus tells two fishermen that he will make them “fishers of men.”

Cult leader David Berg extrapolated from this that women in his movement should be flirty fishers, with the targeted men being called “fish.” The cult published several documents with instructions for young women. Flirty Fishing was defined as using sex appeal for proselytizing. If masturbation, oral, or penetrative sex ensued, this was termed as “loving sexually” and counted as more brownie points within the group. The Children of God claimed that the purpose of Flirty Fishing was for women to show God’s love to men, to win converts for the group, and to garner material and financial support.

The cult members regularly lived in communes, traveled around the world and spent their time proselytizing rather than earning a regular income. For this reason the financial aspect of Flirty Fishing soon became dominant. The cult used the practice to curry favors with local men of influence such as business men, politicians or police. Women who objected to being what the cult itself blatantly described as “God’s whores” or “hookers for Jesus” were admonished not to “let self and pride enter in.” They were continually reminded that their body didn’t really belong to them as according to 1 Corinthians 6:19–20. Many of the Flirty Fishers had boyfriends or were married, or had children.

In family publications, Flirty Fishers and Escort Services frequently reported that they found their work hard, dangerous and exhausting. The financial benefit of Flirty Fishing quickly led to a regular Escort Servicing (ESing) operation within the cult. The Children of God practiced Flirty Fishing and Escort Servicing from 1974 until 1987, when it was officially abandoned, partially because of the AIDS epidemic. During this time, the women were expected to keep an exact record of their “fruits.” A 1988 statistic showed that more than 223,000 men had been “fished.” The cult generally discouraged birth control and for this reason many of the ladies became pregnant. Among the Children of God organization (today’s Family International), the unwed children were labeled Jesus babies.


The question: Who Died at Skeleton Lake?

One of the greatest mysteries of the Himalayas is a small glacial lake named Roopkund. The lake is located in the Uttarakhand state of India, at an altitude of about 5,029 meters (16,499 feet). The area surrounding the lake is completely uninhabited and the water is a five day treacherous hike from civilization. In 1942, Roopkund gained the name Skeleton Lake when over five hundred human skulls, bones and artifacts were discovered surrounding and inside the ice. These human bones have baffled scientists for decades because historians don’t understand who these people were or what they were doing so high in the mountains. Roopkund was never a historically significant region and no traces of any trade routes to Tibet have been found.

The documentary Skeleton Lake, made by the National Geographic Channel, claimed that Roopkund was the venue for the Garhwali religious festival called Nanda Jaat yatra, which is held every 12 years, but facts supporting this claim are limited. It was originally believed by specialists that the people died from an epidemic, landslide or blizzard, but after an archaeological team examined the site in 2004, it was determined that the skulls contained severe head trauma. Based on this evidence it has been hypothesized that the people died from a sudden hailstorm. It has been suggested that the hailstones were as large as tennis balls, and with no shelter in the open Himalayas, all of the people perished in the storm.

Probably the most remarkable discovery came after scientists conducted DNA tests on the bones, which proved to have a rich source of DNA material. The bodies were dated to AD 850 with a possible mistake up to 30 years. This date was 600 years earlier than initially reported. Remarkably, the experts have found that the dead individuals belonged to two different teams. One team is marked by a shorter stature of the skeletons, while the other human bones are significantly taller. The recorded DNA genetic mutations have caught the attention of the scientific community. It remains unclear exactly who these people were? What they looked like or why they were traveling in this remote area of the Himalayas?

Lake Toba-1

The question: How many Humans were Left on Earth after the Toba Supereruption?

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. It is located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with a surface elevation of about 900 meters (2,953 ft). Lake Toba is the site of a supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000-77,000 years ago. The event was followed by a massive climate change on Earth. The eruption is believed to have had a VEI intensity of 8, and is thought to be the largest explosive eruption anywhere on Earth in the last 25 million years. The eruption took place in Indonesia, but it deposited an ash layer approximately 15 centimeters thick over the entirety of South Asia.

Since the discovery of the catastrophe, a wide range of theories have been studied and proposed hypothesizing on how large the explosion was and how it impacted the human population on Earth. The Toba catastrophe theory is an idea that was developed and has been supported by various anthropologists and archeologists. The theory suggests that the Lake Toba volcanic eruption had a massive global consequence on Earth, killing almost all humans and creating a population bottleneck in Central Eastern Africa and India. The theory holds that the Lake Toba supervolcanic event plunged the planet into a 6-to-10-year volcanic winter, which resulted in the world’s human population being reduced to 10,000 or even a mere 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a noticeable effect in human evolution.

It has been argued that the Toba eruption produced not only a catastrophic volcanic winter but also an additional 1,000 year cooling episode. The Toba event is the most closely studied supereruption in history. In 1993, science journalist Ann Gibbons first suggested a link between the eruption and a bottleneck in human evolution. According to the bottleneck theory, genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite an apparent variety, are descended from a very small population, perhaps between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs about 70,000 years ago. The theory suggests that the volcanic eruption isolated and eliminated entire groups of people, causing worldwide vegetation destruction and severe drought in the tropical rainforest belt.

The Lake Toba supereruption may have caused modern human races to differentiate abruptly only 70,000 years ago, rather than gradually over one million years. However, this theory is largely debated in the world of archeology. Modern research conducted by archaeologist Michael Petraglia and other scientists has cast major doubt on the Toba catastrophic theory. We do understand that a major human migration occurred during this time in history. Recent analyses of mitochondrial DNA have set the estimate for the migration from Africa at 60,000–70,000 years ago, which is in line with the dating of the Toba eruption. During the subsequent tens of thousands of years, the descendants of these migrants populated Australia, East Asia, Europe and, finally, the Americas.

Adolf Hitler

The question: How would your Life be Different if Adolf Hitler Died in 1936?

The Second World War changed the landscape of human life on Earth. In January of 1933, the ailing German leader Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany. Paul von Hindenburg passed various legislative acts that suspended German civil liberties and gave Hitler administrative control over the entire country. In 1933, the era of Nazi Germany began and Hitler laid out plans for world conquest. Adolf Hitler was a master of deception and media propaganda. In 1934, he began to display the message “One people, One Germany, One Führer.” Hitler made sure to trick foreign powers into thinking that Germany was a safe place to live. In fact, Adolf Hitler was named the U.S. Time Magazine person of the year in 1938.

During this time in German history, Adolf Hitler took control over the youth. He passed laws that forced German teachers to use Nazi propaganda. German children were taught to despise Jewish people and to show all loyalty to the Third Reich. He organized a program called Hitler’s Youth, which recruited all kids over the age of nine years. Between the years 1936-1938, over 8 million German children took part in Hitler’s Youth oath of allegiance. In 1935, Hitler passed the first laws against the Jewish population. He ordered that all Jewish people were no longer German citizens. Marriage and sexual intercourse between Germans and Jews was outlawed. At this time, Hitler pushed thousands of white Arian German women into pregnancy. He demanded that teenage girls attend Nuremberg rally camps, where they had sexual intercourse with boys and became pregnant. In 1936, nine hundred girls came home from the Nuremberg rally pregnant. Unwed mothers were knows as the Führer’s brides.

In 1938, Hitler annexed Austria under Nazi rule. This was accomplished because Mussolini’s Fascist Italy made an alliance with the Third Reich and no longer was protecting Austria. Many people welcomed Hitler into Austria, but within days of the move, 70,000 Austrians were sent to concentration camps. During the Second World War German armies occupied most of Europe. Nazi forces defeated France, took Norway, invaded Yugoslavia and Greece and occupied much of the European portion of the Soviet Union. Germany also forged alliances with Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and, later, Finland, and collaborated with individuals in several other nations.

Hitler’s decision to launch Operation Barbarossa and attack the Soviet Union turned the tide of war. Had Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin remained in alliance how would your life be different today? Would the United States nuclear technology have been used in the European Theatre of World War II? How much influence could one man, Adolf Hitler, really have on the rise of the Third Reich in Germany? All of these questions should be considered when examining your ancestry and this dark time in human history.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/10/10-questions-to-make-you-think/

We recently took a look (at a great distance) at some of the world’s very largest things of their kind. After all that mind-boggling immensity, we decided it’d be fun to go in the other direction and scale down . . . way, way down. All of the things on this list are man-made, and they are all functional, just like their regular-sized counterparts.

10 Gun


According to the company website, the Swiss MiniGun is “a double action revolver and has all the same features as are found on a real size gun.” As the name implies, the gun and its components are Swiss-made, which kind of makes sense—a country famous for the quality of its clocks and watches should have no trouble with a working pistol the size of a thumb drive.

The six-shot revolver fires 2.3-caliber, 1.97-grain bullets, which are made by the same company, and even produces a tiny little kick as it shoots these tiny little bullets at a muzzle velocity of around 400 feet per second—right around the same as your average child’s BB gun and capable of doing about the same amount of damage.

Of course, there are still those who are up in arms, so to speak, about the alleged weapon’s potential concealability, which we suppose is a valid argument. Even the slowest, smallest projectile can injure or kill if placed properly, and despite the fact that it looks almost exactly like a key chain, the Swiss MiniGun is, in fact, a gun—the smallest in the world.

9 Model Train Set


The little countryside diorama seen above is impressive enough in its incredibly small scale, but look closely— there’s a train track, and a five-car train runs around and around on it. It’s the world’s tiniest model train, and it was built by New Jersey model train enthusiast David Smith for about $12.

It’s part of a larger, very post-modern project—another large train set, which is an entire model village that contains . . . a model of a model shop, with smaller models inside. This little thing is powered by a five-centimeter (two inch) motor carved out of plastic. In fact, all of the parts were carved out of plastic by hand—the hand that is holding the finished work in the picture above, which just doesn’t seem possible.

Smith says that the entire larger project, which he calls “James River Branch,” will take him two and a half years to complete, and “is going to be very impressive once it is finished,” demonstrating a consistent gift for understatement. In terms of scale, the larger village is being built to 1:220. This little model train, the smallest anywhere, is built to 1:35,200 scale. Here is a video of it in action.

8 Car


First manufactured from 1962 to 1965, the Peel P50 Microcar gained renewed attention after 6’5″ Jeremy Clarkson took one for a drive on a 2008 episode of the popular British TV series Top Gear. The smallest production car ever was sold in Great Britain for about £200; its 49cc engine was mated to a three-speed manual transmission (no reverse), and it also had three wheels. Other than that, they had one of everything: one seat, one door, one windshield wiper, and one headlight.

In its original run, only about 50 were made. Thanks to renewed interest in minis (not to mention the exposure on Top Gear), the company has been revived after a slight hiatus of 50 years. The new Peels are almost exact replicas and come in gas or electric. The P50 now tops out at 72 kilometers per hour (45 mph), as opposed to about 56 kph (35 mph) for the original, with the slightly larger two-headlight Trident model managing about 69 kph (43 mph). The P50 is 137 centimeters (54 in) long—less than 1.6 meters (5.5 ft).

We know what you’re thinking: What kind of mileage do they get? The gas model P50 delivers better than 241 kilometers (150 mi) to the gallon, with the Trident getting a whopping 338 kpg (210 mpg)—which sounds great, until you consider that the gas tank must have roughly the capacity of your average lawnmower. Strangely, the company website doesn’t mention gas tank capacity.

7 Camera

Kameras aus dem Salzstreuer

In 2011, researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute introduced a new kind of disposable camera. While this in itself may not sound particularly impressive, its medical application—capturing images inside the body—is very valuable, and it can do this because of its freakish size. These easy-to-manufacture, inexpensive disposable cameras are one cubic millimeter, or about the size of a coarse grain of salt.

The cameras are meant to be disposed of after one medical procedure, and while their resolution doesn’t seem spectacular (0.06 megapixels—far less than even a cheap cell phone), it’s good enough for the job they were designed for. And their size makes them able to get to places within the body that, obviously, no other camera could. (Yes, that’s a syringe in the picture above.)

Also, they could be an effective replacement for standard endoscopes, which are expensive and costly to maintain. It seems a matter of time, as well, before we start hearing about the applications of such tiny image sensors in consumer products. It also seems likely, judging by the last decade or two of explosive technological leaps, that the resolution will improve dramatically, and soon.

6 Personal Computer


Speaking of which, Norway’s FXI technologies has brought to market a personal microcomputer, in the truest sense of the word. That machine in the image is not a USB drive; in fact, there is a micro USB port on that machine. It is the FXI Cotton Candy, and it’s a fully functional PC capable of running Android or Ubuntu operating systems.

Specifications? Absolutely: a 1.2 GHz dual core ARM main processor and a 1 GHz quad-core ARM graphics processor, with 1 GB of RAM memory and a micro SD card slot capable of supporting up to 64 GB of storage. FXI will load it for you with either operating system, and it also packs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and full 1080p HD video output.

A keyboard/mouse combo can easily be connected to its micro USB port, and it’s easy to connect to any standard HD display as shown in this video. The price? According to the company website, the price is $200. The video link shows one of these computers running Android and flawlessly playing a full HD video file. Since we literally have cheap, reasonably powerful personal computers smaller than our thumbs, we’re thinking it’s now safe to refer to the era in which we’re living as “the future.”

5 Ocean-Faring Vessel


Sven Yrvind of Sweden is a respected, master boat-builder, which is the only reason anyone believes the septuagenarian (74 as of 2013) when he tells them what his plan is. He’s building a boat in which he will sail around the world, but not just any boat—the smallest ocean-faring boat ever built, which is roughly the size of a large hot tub. In it, Sven plans to circumnavigate the globe, nonstop without docking, in about a year and a half.

Sven insists that the diminutive size of the boat doesn’t increase the danger of the mission, since larger boats have more mass with which to cause havoc when the ocean doesn’t cooperate. He says his craft is designed to be tossed about, pitched, and even capsized—only to bob back to the surface like a cork. It’s 1.5 tons of fiberglass cork smashed into just three meters (10 ft), but a cork nonetheless.

The boat is equipped with gel batteries and a foot crank for power, can also harness wind and solar energy, and can collect and purify rainwater. He’ll be bringing along just enough food—800 pounds of muesli and sardines—to complete the trip. Why sail around the world in such a tiny vessel? Sven said, “I want to show people that we can live in a small space and still be happy . . . We need to get back to nature. We need to hear and listen to our inner voice.” We wish him luck, and hope that he doesn’t get sick and tired of said inner voice on his trip.

4 Television Screen


In 2007, Guinness World Records recognized Scottish firm MicroEmissive’s ME1602 as the smallest television screen in existence. As of this writing—and despite the aforementioned tech explosions of recent years—it’s a record that still stands.

Sure, the resolution isn’t great. With a display of roughly 4×3 millimeters in surface area, there are only so many pixels you can cram in there (160×120—almost 30,000 pixels).

But the little displays are mainly used as components in viewfinders and other things that require, well, extremely tiny embedded displays. In August 2013, the company signed a pretty rich deal with an “unnamed Asian consumer-products manufacturer” to provide displays for them. Inquiries have also come in from the medical establishment and, of course, the military.

Since we know some of you are curious (we sure were), we did the math: Remember the largest video screen in the world from the previous list? You could fit 283,333,333 of the smallest screens in the world inside of it.

3 Jet Airplane


From the late 1960s to mid-1970s, the Bede Aircraft Corporation, a small company led by US plane designer Jim Bede, manufactured a kit for a small aircraft that sold over 5,000 units. This craft, the Bede BD-5J was, is, and is likely to remain the smallest jet-powered aircraft in the world, weighing just over 350 pounds.

Since the company discontinued due to its bankruptcy, only a few hundred of the kits were completed, but they are remarkably sound, fully functional jet planes capable of speeds up to 483 kilometers per hour (300 mph) on 225 pounds of thrust from its Sermel TRS 18 Microturbo jet engine. The planes were popular in the ’80s in airshows, and also turned up in beer commercials and the opening sequence of the James Bond film Octopussy.

Specs varied by model, but generally, the BD-5J has a four- to six-meter (14–20 ft) wingspan, can weigh no more than about 1,000 pounds on takeoff, has a range of about 483 kilometers (300 mi), and a maximum cruising altitude of 7,010 meters (23,000 ft)—fine for a jetliner, but (we imagine) abjectly terrifying in a craft no larger than your average sedan.

2 Drone


Yes, it is technically a drone, but the RoboBee is, well, exactly what the name implies: a very, very small drone that is directly inspired by insect biology. And it has many interesting potential applications beyond just spying.

For instance, it’s easy to imagine swarms of robot bees being very useful in hazardous environment assessments, say, in the aftermath of a nuclear plant accident or a natural disaster, or in search-and-rescue situations. Roboticists at Harvard, where the RoboBee was developed, also see them perhaps being used in weather and traffic monitoring, climate mapping, and other such already-entrenched technologies that the drones could further improve.

For that matter, you may have heard that actual honeybee colonies have been declining, potentially causing a host of problems for the rest of the planet’s creatures. This may not be so worrisome if we are able to deploy vast swarms of artificial bees, programmed to pollinate just like real ones, to compensate—another very realistic task for the RoboBee.

1 Artificial Heart


Finally, we have this little device, created by Dr. Robert Jarvik—the man many credit with the invention and perfection of the artificial heart. And that’s exactly what that battery-sized device is: the world’s smallest artificial heart, for the world’s smallest artificial heart patient.

The 16-month-old baby had dilated cardiomyopathy, a degenerative condition of the heart wall, and was awaiting a transplant. But with no donor immediately forthcoming, doctors were forced to improvise. Jarvik’s device, an implantable pump weighing all of 11 grams (an adult artificial heart weighs 900 grams), had only been tested on animals. (It is connected to tubes that must run outside the body, thus escalating the risk of infection.) But in May 2012, with nothing to lose, the doctors proceeded to remove the infant’s heart and replace it with the device in the image above, where it remained for 13 days.

This was, of course, how long it took for a transplant donor to be found, and while the device would not have kept the patient alive indefinitely, the doctors who participated say that this could definitely be on the horizon. We find this to likely be an understatement. At the rate technology continues to shrink, we can see an easily removable, shot glass–sized RoboHeart with a 300-year warranty on the shelf before we’re old enough to need one.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/08/18/10-smallest-things-of-their-kind-in-the-world/

Photo from where Remit stayed in Thailand

Photo from where Remit stayed in Thailand

We found this article by Remit Sethi and thought we would share a portion for all of you millionaires in the making . . . 

THINK BIG. If you tell me your dream is to stay at a Best Western in New Jersey, I am going to unsubscribe you from my email list.

When you’re brainstorming, think big. You can always cut down later. But for now, think big.

After you come up with something — “I want to go to Paris!”, get specific.

When I used to say, “Yeah! I want to travel,” I never did. There was no specificity, no urgency. It was a dream easily deferred.

Pick a date so you can start breaking it down. Notice how reluctant we are to set dates and specifics because, gasp, what if we fail? I would rather have you try and fail than never try at all.

How much will it cost? Really map it out. This doesn’t have to be exact, but you should know if you want a $4,000 trip to the beach or a $20,000 trip around the world.

Here’s an example.

BAD: “I want to go to Paris some day”

GOOD: “By December, I want to go Paris for a week with my significant other. I also need to find a significant other, but that’s another story”

Flight for 2: $1,600
Hotel: $2,000
Food: $1,400
Fun money: $1,000
(If you’re not sure where to find these numbers try here and here. Just approximate and add 20% if you’re not sure.)

Total: $6,000


Ok, this is where my training in breaking down big problems comes in handy. That’s a big number, but if you break it down, it’s absolutely achievable.

Let’s break it down even further and I’ll show you what I mean.

$6,000 = $500 x 12

One of the principles I realized when I earned my first dollar as a consultant was, if I can make $1, that means I can make $10…and if I can make $10, I can make $100. And on and on.

So — if you can earn $500 once, you can do it 12 times. And you’ve paid for your dream romantic getaway to Paris.

Let’s keep breaking it down.

How long would it take to earn $500? Let’s do the math.

You have a lot of options. You could:

Save all your change in a jar by the washing machine. At .50/day, it will only take you 2.7 years to earn $500. Which means your Paris trip is a mere 33 years away. Love you, frugalistas
Cut out your morning latte 5 days/week. If you remember to put that money aside, you’ll have $780/year and have a Paris getaway in a little less than 8 years. Except you won’t be reading my emails any more since you’ll have moved to a shanty town in South Dakota and ceased the usage of electricity. Nice knowing you.

Take $100 out of each of your paychecks. At biweekly pay, you’ll have enough in just over 2 years. This is reasonable and it adds up way faster than you think — especially when it’s automatic. (Btw, when people say, “I’ve already cut to the bone…there’s nothing more I can cut” these are the very same people who have never automated their savings. They don’t know what they’re talking about.)

We’re going to break it down further, because there’s another, even quicker option that doesn’t require cutting back. You can use the skills you already have to earn money on the side. And you don’t need that much time.

Look: To earn $500 you could…

Work 10 hours and charge $50/hr
Work 5 hours and charge $100/hr
In other words, with just 5-10 hours of work per month — that’s only 1½ – 2½ hours per week — you’ll have your Paris trip in a year or less.

You can also think about it in terms of clients.

$6,000 =

20 one-time clients paying a $300 project
Even better: 6 one-time clients for a $1,000 project
Best: 2 recurring clients for 6 months at $500/month

Notice how much easier this is. 6 clients? I can do that.
(Read the entire article on I Will Teach You To Be Rich)

Chad Dickerson spoke at length with BuzzFeed about Etsy allowing vendors to use outside production, why New York’s tech industry is alive and well, and why he loves HBO’s Silicon Valley.

View this image ›


Etsy has built a massive business in the trafficking of whimsy — growing into a $1 billion-plus business since 2005. The online marketplace is now home to a million sellers peddling a staggering array of items, from superhero capes for small children to Carolina Pine office tables to oversized Scrabble tiles for decorating your place with words like “HOME” (nine points).

The company’s headquarters in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn — at least until they move to a bigger spot nearby — is as charming as the website’s locally made merchandise. Dark green foliage lines the entryway, making the path to reception feel somewhat magical. The name tags include two spaces: one for your name, and another for something you love. Corgis roam free. And the conference rooms are labeled with food puns on musician names: A Tribe Called Queso, Modest Mousse, Jay Ziti, and Brieoncé, to name a few.

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson has overseen radical changes in the company since he took the job in mid-2011. The company generated $1.35 billion in transactions last year, up from $895 million the prior year. Its website now has 40 million members, from just shy of 10 million three years ago. It has raised $91 million in funding from investors including Accel Partners, Index Ventures, and Union Square Ventures.

Most importantly, Dickerson, 42, has been charged with maintaining Etsy’s integrity as a marketplace for handmade goods while working to grow the company and keep its most successful sellers on the site. Etsy’s decision to allow vendors to use outside manufacturers last fall was met with some confusion and anger in the DIY community, as was the introduction of Etsy Wholesale, which will be out of beta in August. Dickerson, who started his career at the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets before heading to Yahoo, discussed those changes and how they were represented in the media and shared his thoughts on e-commerce, New York City’s tech scene, and the show Silicon Valley.

Sapna Maheshwari/BuzzFeed

Sapna Maheshwari/BuzzFeed

Sapna Maheshwari/BuzzFeed


There have been some not-so-flattering stories about the addition of factory-made production. What are your thoughts on those?Chad Dickerson: People who really looked deep into it and have done the homework see the vision that we have for it. The kind of sensational view is, “Oh my god, Etsy has opened up to factories, this is not what Etsy is supposed to be,” but I think journalism is really about looking a level deeper. And when you look a level deeper, the story we were telling was there are many different ways people make things, and since the beginning of Etsy, we had something called partial production, where you could use outside production to partially produce something. That’s a very confusing concept if only because the way things are made in the world is very complicated. So most of the knitters on Etsy don’t make their own yarn, most of the woodworkers don’t mill their own wood — we really respect the ones that do — but having something be 100% handmade in the strictest definition of the word is really complicated.

Since the beginning of Etsy, you come to Etsy, you want to build a business, you want it to be successful, and then you get featured on Martha Stewart or you get featured on a blog and you get this — we heard this experience over and over again — the seller gets kind of a crushing amount of orders. … We had a wedding seller that said she started to dread wedding season because she was just really reaching her capacity. So the policies were really based on not supporting giant mega-businesses, but helping the types of people who come to Etsy, and become successful on Etsy, continue on the path of success. And wholesale’s the same way.

How so?

CD: Wholesale is something that’s been happening on Etsy since the beginning. … Our seller education team wrote their first blog post about how to be successful in wholesale, I believe, in 2006, 2007. … We really wanted to support that but also create a common context around that, so that’s when we updated our policies. They really centered around authorship, responsibility, transparency.

So in a non-nuanced way, it’s like Etsy is allowing factories, but the deeper story is you still have authorship, you still have to create what you’re selling, responsibility, you have to understand how it’s made from end to end, you can’t just sort of send it off and not know how it’s made, and the transparency is you have to actually say on your about page for sellers that “I’m using outside help, I’m using a manufacturer.”

So we really saw it as a step forward in a big way, and we’re starting to see the vision there, we’re starting to see this vision of more community-based small-scale manufacturing really take hold — and 80% of sellers on Etsy, if you look at the U.S., who are using outside production, are using outside production in their own state.

How does it actually work?CD: [Gesturing to his messenger bag] The person who made this bag, Tielor McBride, his shop is named TM1985, he’s based in Brooklyn. He was actually the first person we approved for outside manufacturing. He works with a small family-owned shop in New Jersey to make these.

He obviously designed the bag and conceived the bag, but when he works with this outside firm over in New Jersey, he goes over there, works with them, they talk about how it’s made, they look at the zippers. … It’s very far from the idea of sending it off somewhere where you totally lose touch. If you look at his shop page, he says, “I work with a manufacturer in New Jersey.”

Another one, and this really reinforces the idea of remaking the economy, is a woman, Allison Faunce, from Little Hero Capes. She makes superhero capes for kids that are really, really cute. … She started hitting the limits of her production so she went to a local factory in Fall River, Mass. It was a factory run by a gentleman who had a really thriving business in the ’80s, and gradually, his business really deflated as more and more work went offshore. So she went and talked to him and they’ve been working together to increase production on these capes. … He was surprised to have someone like Allison come to him and say, I’m making these capes, so he started hiring people again.

That was kind of the world we were envisioning. This is where I’m dissatisfied with some of the coverage — there was no smoky-room plotting of me pounding my fists on the table saying, “We must increase production!” It wasn’t like that at all. It was like, “Hey, it doesn’t make sense to us that these good people who started on Etsy are kind of hitting a wall on Etsy and we’re not allowing them to work with people in their own communities to continue it.” So the way we’re seeing it play out is it really plays into the whole idea that’s fundamental to Etsy about these human relationships. It’s just that the human relationship is between Allison and the factory owner, between Tielor and the manufacturer.

View this embed ›

Are there incentives then to work with people in the U.S.?CD: We don’t have particular incentives to work with someone in a particular place, but we do use the word “faceless,” and I think that’s really important, the responsibility and transparency piece of the authorship.

First of all, you have to apply to work with a manufacturer, and in that application, you have to demonstrate that you understand the process. If you say, “I work with a factory, and I don’t know anything about the factory at all, I don’t even know who owns the factory,” then that doesn’t pass the responsibility test and the transparency test. It’s all about disclosing. If you pass the responsibility test, you have to disclose that you’re working with someone and you have to disclose the location.

Can you sort by “Made in America”?CD: You can’t. We’re a global platform. If you’re a buyer, you can look or you can make that decision yourself.

You can search by sellers based in London or anywhere, but we think it’s really important that Etsy’s a global marketplace, and also this idea that you can start a business on Etsy doing something that you love to do, very creative work. … We want that to be universal. Whether you’re in the U.S, or the U.K., or Australia, China, India, we want anyone to be able to participate.

Have you hired more people to police outside manufacturing as you’ve opened up the platform?CD: We don’t really break it out publicly, but in all areas of the company, we’ve grown staffing as the needs have grown. So we’ve hired more engineers to work on the platform, we’ve hired more people on our Marketplace Integrity and Trust & Safety Team to work on that, so that group continues to grow and grow and grow. And we’ve hired people on those teams who focus purely on the manufacturing applications and that sort of thing.

That’s one area where there has been, I think, some unfair journalism. We’ve always acknowledged that we have our own version of spam in the marketplace because it is open, but it’s always a fraction of 1%, so we’re always sweeping it away. People don’t come to Etsy for that kind of stuff. It’s something we don’t want in the marketplace, it’s not something that’s good for our business, either.

I visualize a lot of knitting going on in an Etsy tribunal.

CD: The outfits would be all unique, without a doubt.

Is Pinterest a big driver of traffic for you?CD: Pinterest is one of our top sources of traffic. … But part of the reason that Pinterest drives traffic to Etsy is because Pinterest users love Etsy so much that they’re pinning things from Etsy all the time. … I think it’s in many ways a symbiotic relationship.

There was a study a year or so ago [that showed] Etsy was the most pinned domain other than Google Images — which, arguably, Google Images doesn’t count because they’re aggregating everyone else’s images. So Pinterest and Etsy are tightly linked in that way. I think the customers of both enjoy both of those.

Are there ways you can leverage that relationship with them and do more?CD: I think so. I mean, I talk to Ben [Silbermann] occasionally and so we’re always having conversations about that kind of thing but nothing specific. … One of their engineers over there used to work for me at Yahoo, so there’s lots of connections. We’re very friendly.

In a lot of the articles about Etsy in the past year, there’s always talk of an IPO. Is that the only way for the people who have funded you so far to cash out? What about a sale?CD: I’m going to talk academically, but I want to make sure this isn’t me suggesting what Etsy will do. An IPO’s obviously one way, as you noted. … Another way is you can sell, as you pointed out. I think the way we look at Etsy, selling the company to another company isn’t something we’re looking to do at all because I think the community is so special, and what Etsy is is so unique and special. It’s really important that Etsy remain a stand-alone company, so that’s kind of how we feel about that.

The academic part is — so you have an IPO and a sale. You can also continue to raise money. I think we’re in a really interesting time because people are raising money, like the Uber round and some of the Pinterest rounds and Dropbox. The amount of money that people are willing to invest in the venture world is way beyond what we’ve seen before.

There’s so much money kind of floating around, it’s hard to know what the future will look like, but theoretically, you could raise another round of funding and those people could buy out your existing investors. To me, I like our investors.

Union Square Ventures, Accel are invested in Etsy right now — if some other investor came in and bought their stakes, that would be really distracting, and so that’s not something that we’re really interested in either.

Some companies are raising money because they need the operational capital, but in that way, we’re a little unusual because we’re profitable. … Profit means you’re running the business responsibly, you’re making money to reinvest and that sort of thing. It’s a little unusual in this day and age.

What do you think of the New York tech scene right now, given what happened with Tumblr, FourSquare’s transition, and Fab, of course. What does it look like from when you started as CEO? Is it less hot?CD: It’s different. September will be six years here. When I came in 2008, I think Tumblr was just getting going and FourSquare was just getting going, there was no Facebook office, no Amazon or Twitter. I can’t think of a lot of the West Coast companies, other than Google, who was already out here — there was a tiny Yahoo office. A lot has happened in six years. Tumblr had their exit, which I think was really good for Tumblr and good for New York.

How was it good for New York?CD: It was a $1 billion deal, and this isn’t necessarily how I score things, but I think people look at how much value you’re creating. They look at sort of how much your company is worth, and there’s a lot of talk when you read in the media about the “billion-dollar club.” A $1 billion valuation doesn’t actually mean anything — it’s almost like saying, “My house is worth whatever,” but until you sell it, you don’t actually know what it’s worth. Tumblr had a legitimate $1 billion exit.

There are some really interesting companies out there that maybe aren’t getting as much press as some of the companies that had been getting press, so, like, 10gen is one example with MongoDB. … That’s a software infrastructure company based in New York. If you didn’t know it was in New York, it sounds like a Silicon Valley company. So I think that the scene is just different.

The way I would measure the intensity of the scene, I wouldn’t measure it in headlines, I would measure it in competition for engineers, which is as hot as ever.

And how is the competition for engineers?CD: As hot as ever. There are a lot of comparisons obviously between New York and Silicon Valley — there used to be a lot of comparisons between New York and Boston and I don’t really hear those anymore.

It’s not that the New York scene is degrading in any way. Because I came in 2008, I’m a little influenced by that, but I felt things really started taking off locally around that time, and I feel like these things take a long time.

Silicon Valley didn’t produce Facebook in 1968. It took Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel and that kind of ecosystem to develop, and Stanford and Berkeley to build engineering programs, and now it’s tech everywhere. In New York, it’s almost like we’re building the Fairchild Semiconductors and the Intels and that kind of stuff and the universities, the Cornell-Technion program on Roosevelt Island, right now.

To me, it’s almost like tracking the stock market. You could look at various things and say, maybe New York’s stock price isn’t as high as people want it to be right at this moment, but just like you invest in companies for the long-term, you invest in regions for the long-term. I think New York is putting everything in place to continue to be a key player. To say that we’re “trying” to be a key player, I think would be underrating New York. Again, looking at the New York–Boston comparison — I don’t hear anyone talking about that anymore. Sorry to the Boston people, there’s a lot of good stuff happening there. But people compare New York and Silicon Valley.


Why do you like being in New York?CD: New York is a great place to build tech companies because it’s so international, it’s so diverse. Not just racially, ethnically, but the jobs that people have.

My social experience in New York is so much different than it was when I lived in California, where if I went to a party, everyone was a product manager, an engineer, or a designer. Now I go to a party and there are actors, writers. I think building a tech company now that the internet and everything is mobile and everything is more mainstream in a place like this is a really good long-term bet.

Do you watch the show Silicon Valley?CD: I absolutely love it. It is terrifyingly good. I think it’s really right on. My wife is not really into tech and everything, so I think she doesn’t know why I’m laughing so hard and thank goodness for that. But I mean, such attention to detail. They recreated TechCrunch Disrupt, and had Kara Swisher in there and had Mike Arrington in there and the sort of weird computer science guys with the Vibram shoes, and the founder guy, Bachman — there are so many people like that. They really nailed it.

Hopefully that doesn’t exist so much in New York.CD: I was talking to a friend of mine, a late-night conversation sitting on the roof one night, and we were talking about how we were so glad to be in New York because you know, the way I think about it is that Silicon Valley has almost this Hollywood sort of thing going on, where the local CEOs and entrepreneurs are the stars.

I mean I live in Brooklyn. Jay Z is from Brooklyn. How cool can you be if you live where Jay Z is? Spike Lee works in our building. … The point being, New York is so diverse, and everyone here is really excited about tech and what we’re doing, but also in a weird way, it’s kind of grounding because you’re just one of many industries here. I think that’s actually a strength, not a weakness, because if there is anything you could really say the show Silicon Valley is about, it’s about hubris and it’s hard. It’s hard to sort of have hubris when you’re working in an environment of people who are so successful in so many different ways — like some of the top musicians, ballet, you’re just one of many. I think it’s more diverse and it keeps you grounded.

I’m curious about your thoughts on the e-commerce landscape now, looking at some once-hot companies like Fab and Gilt.CD: Etsy is very different from those traditional e-commerce outfits since we’re a network of a million sellers around the world. … We don’t have a really large merchandising team that’s deciding what to order and trying to predict what the trends are, because in many ways the marketplace kind of self-regulates with supply and demand.

Fundamentally, when I look at the larger e-commerce landscape, outside of fashion and the ones you mentioned, at some point, you’re competing with Amazon. In a world where you’re holding inventory, you’re trying to meet customer expectations of fast shipping, discounting and low prices, and all that kind of stuff, I think that it gets really, really tough because Amazon has kind of created an expectation with things like Prime and really fast shipping that you’re going to get things really quickly.

So I see a lot of these companies trying to out-Amazon Amazon, and I think that’s a tough road for those kinds of companies with the thin margins and logistics challenges and all that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t want to be in that business. … We’re competing in a different way than price and convenience.

View this image ›

So your volume of sales, that’s not so far from something like Lululemon, but obviously the money you’re making is nothing like what they’re making on expensive yoga pants.CD: We have multiple revenue streams. One mistake people make is they see the 3.5% take when something sells and they say, oh, Etsy’s revenue is $1.35 billion times 3.5%. But that’s only one part of it.

There’s the listing fees … of 20 cents per item listed, we have a payments processing platform as well, so when you use our payments platform, there’s a small fee associated with that. We provide shipping services, so if you’re a U.S. seller and you’re selling to someone in the U.S., you can print a U.S. postal service shipping label.

We also provide promotional services, sort of search ads, which is basically [like Google] AdWords for Etsy.com. You can buy paid placement in search and that’s a really good revenue stream for us, as well. The wholesale program is really nascent, we’re not charging fees right now, but we announced pricing, and will be starting to charge fees starting in August. So that number we can release: We have zero revenue on that right now.

Going into 2011, we only had two revenue streams, really, which were listing fees and the 3.5%. So all the ones that are not those, we’ve had since mid-2011.

Do you guys take bitcoin?CD: We do not.

Are you going to?CD: We don’t have any plans to do bitcoin. But the interesting thing is that there are some bitcoin sales because buyer and sellers can still negotiate between themselves. A very small percentage of people do this, but you can pay by check and money order and all that kind of stuff, so there are a small number of instances where buyers and sellers agree to transact via bitcoin. But it’s not going through Etsy.

But bitcoin is very fascinating.

Do you think it’s the way of the future?CD: I’m still learning. I actually own bitcoin.

How much?CD: One. Just out of curiosity. I was not a speculator, I just wanted to go through the process of buying.

I bought it I think at the absolute peak price of around $700. I haven’t looked at it recently — it might be $600, $500. I bought it before the whole Mt. Gox thing happened. I want to spend it to see what the spending experience is like but I just keep not doing it.

Etsy’s first TV commercial just aired in the U.K.

Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=p61dzgTFrMA.


View this image ›

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sapna/etsys-ceo-talks-new-policies-new-yorks-tech-scene-and-silico

While some people are handed everything on a silver platter, just because someone is at the top doesn’t mean it was always that way. In fact, many of the wealthiest people in the world started their journeys in slums and orphanages. Many of them even credit their hardship with giving them the motivation, understanding, and personality required to make it to the top. These are 25 inspirational rags to riches stories.

25. Andrew Carnegie

This Scottish-American industrialist started to work at a cotton mill for a 12-hour, 6-days a week job in America when he was only 13 years old after his father lost his jobs as a handweaver in Scotland. Hired later as a telegraph messenger at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he was able to climb the corporate ladder where he used his earnings to invest in ventures that led him to build an empire in the steel industry including his large-scale philanthropic legacy.

24. Oprah Winfrey

Born to unwed teenage parents in Mississippi, this media mogul wore dresses that her grandmother made out of potato sacks. After being molested, she ran away at the age of 13 and became a mother at 14, but her son died in infancy. Sent to live with his father, a barber in Tennessee, she got a full scholarship in college, won a beauty pageant and was discovered by a radio station. Her empire is now worth $2.7 billion which she shares with the world through her philanthropic works.

23. Maria Das Gracas Silva Foster

Born in the poverty-stricken shantytown of Morro do Adeus, Brazil to an alcoholic father, she earned extra money by collecting cans and paper to continue her studies. She broke the barriers of the corporate ladder when she was hired as an intern at Petrobras, an oil company, in 1978 and became the first female head of the department of engineering. She also became one of the world’s most influential people as the first female CEO of Petrobras.

22. Sam Walton

During the Great Depression, Sam Walton and his family lived on a farm in Oklahoma where he milked the family cow and delivered bottles to customers to make ends meet. He joined JC Penny three days after graduating from the University of Missouri with a BA Economics degree. After WW II, with capital of $25,000 that he borrowed from his father along with the $5,000 that he saved from the army, he bought a Ben Franklin variety store which he expanded into the retailer giant Walmart and the membership-only retailer warehouse Sam’s Club.

21. Chris Gardner

Born without knowing his real father, he was driven out of his home by his abusive stepfather. He enlisted in the Navy and later became a medical supplies salesman. Due to the slump in his job and with his own family to support, he became interested in stock broking after seeing a stockbroker with a Ferrari. His travails of sleeping in a subway station bathroom, being homeless, passing the licensing exam for stockbrokers, and becoming employed by Bear Sterns was documented in his memoirs, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” which became a hit movie as well.

20. Ingvar Kamprad

Living on a farm most of his growing up years, this Swedish business magnate had always been known for being enterprising even at a young age as he bought matches in bulk and sold them individually to his neighbors. This expanded to fish, pens and Christmas decorations. He also used the cash reward that his father gave him for good grades and used this to create a mail-order business that became the retail company IKEA. Furniture became the company’s biggest seller, which made him one of the richest men in the world today having a net worth of $3 billion.

19. J.K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling, a native of Yate, Gloucestershire in England moved to Porto, Portugal in 1990 when her mother died. While she was already writing the Harry Potter novel even before her mother’s death, the seven-year period that followed entailed a divorce from her husband in 1993, a move to Edinburgh, Scotland and a life with a daughter living on welfare while suffering from clinical depression until she finished the first book in her famous series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1997. She was able to finish it by writing on scraps of tissue paper from the numerous cafes they visited to let her daughter sleep. With over 400 million books and the worldwide success of the Harry Potter franchise JK Rowling’s net worth is $1 billion.

18. Jim Carrey

James Eugene Carrey was born in Ontario, Canada to a middle-income family where his musician father worked as an accountant. However, things got worse for his family when his father lost his job and they all had to move to Scarborough. He worked at the Titan Wheels Factory for eight hours a day while attending school, but never finished high school. While living in a camper van, he started doing stand-up routines and eventually landed a gig in the sitcom The Duck Factory. He first gained recognition in 1990 when he became one of the casts in the sketch comedy ‘In Living Colors.’ He later moved on to movies and became one of the highest paid comedians in America.

17. Sheldon Adelson

The son of a Lithuanian immigrant taxi driver, his mother ran a knitting store from their home. He grew up in a tenement where he shared a bedroom with his parents and three siblings, started selling newspapers at the age of 12, and started his candy-vending machine business at the age of 16. Though he tried his hand at various enterprises from packing hotel toiletries to mortgage brokering his biggest break came from developing a computer trade show. He purchased the Sands Hotel & Casino and later the mega-resort, The Venetian, from the profits of his ventures pegging his net worth today at $21.8 billion.

16. Kirk Kerkorian

The Armenian-born Kirk Kerkorian grew up at the time of the Great Depression, where he learned English on the street and dropped out of 8th grade to become an amateur boxer. He became a daredevil pilot for the Royal Air Force during WW II and delivered supplies over the Atlantic flying some of the most perilous routes. After quitting gambling in 1947, he bought some charter planes and also engaged in real estate in Las Vegas in 1962. He became the “father of the mega-resort” when he bought The Flamingo and built the stalwarts of the Las Vegas scene, The International and MGM Grand, which made him worth a few billion dollars.

15. John D. Rockefeller

One of six children born in Richford, New York, Rockefeller might have inherited his good business sense from his father, a traveling salesman who used all the tricks to get out of decent hard work and taught his son to always get the best deal in all things. His mom struggled to raise them and though they moved a number of times, he was able to finish school and get his first job as a bookkeeper where he earned $50 in three months. He decided to put up a firm and built an oil refinery with his friend Maurice B. Clark in 1859. He later bought out the Clark brothers’ refinery firm and renamed it Rockefeller & Andrews. He also founded the Standard Oil Company to become the world’s first billionaire and the richest person in history.

14. Leonardo Del Vecchio

Del Vecchio was sent to an orphanage when his widowed mother could not support all five of her children. He worked in a factory that made molds for auto parts and eyeglass frames where he lost part of his finger during an accident. He opened his first molding shop called Luxottica at the age of 23 which expanded to be the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses. Luxottica, the known maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley eyewear, also owns 6,000 Sunglass Hut and Lenscrafters retail shops. The second richest man in Italy is now worth $11.5 billion.

13. Li Ka-shing

Born to a family that fled mainland China for Hong Kong in 1940, his father died of tuberculosis which made him quit school at the age of 15 to support his family by working for 16 hours in a factory that made plastics and plastic flowers for US export. He founded Cheung Kong Industries in 1950, which manufactured plastics at first but later on ventured into real estate. The 9th richest person in the world has ownership in a number of multi-range companies from cellular phones, banking, satellite television, steel industries, and shipping.

12. Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz came from a poor family living in the Canarsie Bayview Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn, New York, which made him want to have a lifestyle beyond what his truck-driver father can provide. As he saw escape in sport, he became a football scholar at the University of North Michigan where he graduated with a degree in communication, the first in his family to do so. While working for Xerox, he discovered a small coffee shop called Starbucks and became captivated by it. He left Xerox and became the first CEO of Starbucks in 1987, which he expanded from its first 60 shops to over 16,000 outlets worldwide, giving him a net worth of $1.5 billion.

11. Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns grew up in a housing project in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a hub for gangs. She was raised by her Panamanian-immigrant single mother who ran a daycare center at her home and ironed shirts for a fee so that she could send Ursula to Cathedral High School. She earned her Mechanical Engineering degree at NYU and became an intern at Xerox. Ursula Burns became the first African-American woman to ever lead a Fortune 500 Company and the 14th most powerful woman in the world.

10. John Paul DeJoria

Before John Paul Mitchell Systems became a success, its founder, John Paul DeJoria had a rough life. After his parents divorced when he was just 2 years old, he sold newspapers and Christmas cards to help his family until the age of 10 when he was sent to live in a foster home. An LA gang member before he joined the military, he was also employed by Redken Laboratories. He loaned $700 and founded JPM Systems to sell his company’s shampoo door-to-door while living out of his car. Today JPM Systems’ annual profit is nearly $900 million.

9. Guy Laliberte

Before Cirque du Soleil came to life, its founder, Canadian-born Laliberte started his acts in circus as a fire-eater that walks on stilts. His venture paid off when he brought his successful troupe in 1987 from Quebec to the Los Angeles Arts Festival with no guarantee of a return fare for the cast. He now commands a total net worth of $2.5 billion.

8. Do Won Chang

Do Won Chang had to work three jobs as a janitor, gas station employee, and coffee shop attendant to support his family when they moved from Korea to America in 1981. After three years of thrift-spending, he was able to open his first retail store Fashion 21, which grew to be the retail clothing giant Forever 21, a pioneer in fast fashion. The multinational clothing empire with over 480 outlets worldwide generates an annual income of $3 billion.

7. George Soros

After surviving the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1947, George Soros escaped the country to stay with his relatives in London. He supported his studies by working as a waiter and railway porter and then sold goods at a souvenir shop after graduating. He also wrote every merchant bank in England until he gained an entry-level job at Singer & Friedlander. He became “the man who broke the bank of England” due to his famous bet against the British pound in 1992, where he earned more than a billion dollars in profit in one plunge in the Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

6. Zdenek Bakala

With just a $50 bill wrapped in plastic and hidden in a sandwich, Zdenek Bakala fled communist Czechoslovakia in 1980 when he was 19 years old and made it to Lake Tahoe. He worked as a dishwasher at Harrah’s Casino while studying for his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Dartmouth. He later on ventured in banking, opened his first company Credit Suisse First Boston in Prague after the fall of the Berlin Wall and presided over a coal company that has a $2.52 billion market.

5. Harold Simmons

Harold Simmons grew up in a shack in the poor rural town of Golden, Texas with no plumbing or electricity. He still managed, however, to graduate with a B.A. and masters in Economics from the University of Texas. His first venture was a series of drugstores which were almost entirely funded with a loan. This became a 100-store chain which he sold to Eckerd for $50 million. He became famous as a master of the corporate buyout and currently owns 6 companies that trade on the NYSE including the world’s largest producer of titanium, Titanium Metals Corporation.

4. Richard Desmond

Richard Desmond was raised by a single mother living on top of a garage. He quit school at the age of 14 to focus on being a drummer while working as a coat-checker to help pay bills. Though he never became famous for his musical abilities, he later opened his own record store and published his first magazine, “International Musician and Recording World” and expanded the Desmond magazine empire with publications such as the British version of Penthouse and OK!. He now owns a number of publications around the world and was listed on the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of £950 million.

3. Harry Wayne Huizenga

Harry Wayne Huizenga was born in Chicago, Illinois to an abusive father. His family moved to Florida to save his parents marriage but his father never changed. He moved back to Chicago to go to college but soon dropped out and then signed up to be a reserve in the Army. He went back to Florida after his training and bought his first dump truck to start a trash disposal business. This venture became highly profitable so he purchased more garbage trucks and later built his company, the Waste Management Inc, which became well-known all over the US. He also purchased Blockbuster stores, which later merged with Viacom. He is credited for founding three Fortune 500 companies.

2. Richard Branson

Born to a family of lawyers in Blackheath, London, he had poor academic performance due to his dyslexia. Therefore, he focused more on his business which included growing Christmas trees and raising parakeets. He later started his own record mail-order business at the age of 16. In 1972, he established the record store Virgin Records, which prospered in the 1980s with a number of outlets. He also created Virgin Atlantic Airwaves, which expanded Virgin Records into a music label, making him the 245th richest person in the world today.

1. Roman Abramovich

An orphan at the age of four, this Russian business tycoon was raised by his uncle and grandmother. He got his first break from an expensive wedding gift given by his in-laws. He dropped out of college to pursue his business, which included selling imported plastic ducks from his Moscow apartment. He then ventured into managing the oil giant Sibneft after taking it over in 1995. He continued to flip his investments with profitable ventures such as Russian Aluminum and the steelmaker Evraz Group. He is now the 5th richest person in Russia and owns the $1.5 billion yacht ‘Eclipse,’ the largest private yacht docked in New York City and the Chelsea Football Club, among others.

Read more: http://list25.com/25-inspirational-rags-riches-stories/

Stephen Lam / Reuters

Apple shares are getting hammered today, as Wall Street expresses its disappointment with Apple for ignoring its wishes for the company to release a cheaper iPhone targeted at lower-end consumers in emerging markets.

The stock is now trading well below $500, down more than 5% on the day so far, and has given back almost all of the roughly $15 billion gain it made following billionaire hedge fund manager Carl Icahn’s disclosure that he had a $1 billion stake in the company. Instead of unveiling an iPhone that would appeal to consumers on a tighter budget, Apple released a new iPhone that was about in-line with its existing pricing models, roughly $550 without a two-year contract.

The phone is even more expensive relatively speaking in China, which is considered one of Apple’s most important emerging markets. The high price of the iPhone has opened the door to lower-cost phone producers like Xiaomi to make smartphones that are much cheaper and powered by Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

The conventional wisdom going into Tuesday’s event was that Apple would introduce a cheaper smartphone in a bid at grabbing share in emerging markets. Wall Street even seemed poised to forgive Apple for compressing its beloved margins in exchange for growth in market share and investing in future growth opportunities. But today, Apple is in about the same position as it was prior to the fervor around a cheaper iPhone. And that’s not exactly a good one.

A cheaper iPhone wasn’t necessarily Apple’s plan, but it’s still disappointing.

“The pricing on the iPhone 5C is simply not low enough to adequately address the significant global growth opportunity that we believe exists with unsubsidized prepaid customers that have not yet bought a smartphone,” Walter Piecyk, analyst at BTIG research, wrote in a note today. “To be clear, Apple never indicated that it was their intention to attack this market with the iPhone 5C and the global opportunity is still in its early stages. However, we believe Apple is foregoing a valuable and relatively easy way to return to earnings growth. The real question is whether Apple plans to ever go after these markets or rather just remain a high-end phone maker.”

Jason Lee / Reuters

$450 was already too expensive for China — and the iPhone 5C costs even more.

“At this level, we do not expect the iPhone 5C to meaningfully penetrate emerging markets without substantial subsidy, noting that phones priced above $300 account for just 13.7% of the global handset market and the average price of a premium phone in China is 23% below the US,” Glen Young and Walter Pritchard of Citi wrote. “Moreover, we estimate that ~60% of China Mobile’s 3G phones were priced below $150 in 1Q13.”

It’s not a cheap phone — it’s just a mid-range iPhone.

“In light of this pricing, the 5C appears to be a mid-range product that cannot significantly expand the available market for the iPhone line to lower-income buyers,” Francis Sideco, director for consumer electronics and communications technologies at IHS, wrote in a note. “As a result, the arrival of the 5C will not spur a major increase in iPhone sales in the second half of 2013 compared to previous expectations.”

Stephen Lam / Reuters

Apple’s status quo — including valuation and cash pile — are still there, but the near term doesn’t look as bright.

“The biggest surprise/disappointment was the lack of a true “lower end” iPhone,” said BofA Merrill Lynch, which cut its rating to neutral from buy, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. “Key positives for the Apple story remain, including valuation and capital allocation (buyback, dividend yield), although sentiment near-term should take a pause after a run-up and positive EPS revisions may not occur, given aforementioned issues.”

Apple is, still, a premium smartphone vendor.

“So much for the low end,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote to clients on Wednesday, while downgrading the stock to neutral from outperform, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. “We remain disappointed with Apple’s decision to remain a premium priced smartphone vendor, and this continues to competitively expose the company.”

There’s still the iPhone 5S — but now, once again, there are questions about Apple’s ability to innovate and find new growth opportunities.

Stephen Lam / Reuters

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mattlynley/wall-street-is-pretty-upset-with-apple

It never fails. Every time there’s a high-profile acquisition, there’s the same creeping sense of envy. With all that Instagram money floating around, surely a super savvy nerd like me could have gotten his hands on some of it. Right? That super-yacht isn’t going to build itself.

The promise of crowd-funding is just that: With a few thousand dollars, you could buy 0.2 percent of a company that could be worth a billion dollars in a few years time (or less). For years, sites like Second Market have been trading pre-IPO shares behind the scenes, but as long as private companies are legally prohibited from soliciting funding, there’s no way to know about a chance to buy unless you’re plugged into the VC gossip circuit. There’s also a hard limit of 35 unaccredited investors for each firm, so unless you’ve been through the paperwork (and dropped a million dollars in an escrow account), there’s a good chance you’ll be boxed out completely.

Once it gets through the SEC (slated for January), the JOBS act will raise that number to 500, and let firms actively seek pre-IPO funding. In theory, there’ll be nothing stopping you from finding an early-stage firm online and sending a Paypal check within the hour. Already, sites like Hedgeable and CircleUp have popped up promising Kickstarter-style investing: small companies, small investments, and a noticeable absence of drama.

But if you’re planning on using one of those sites to staunch your FOMO, we’ve got bad news: there’s also just about zero chance of a payoff.

And it’s not a secret. The CEO of Hedgeable, Mike Kane, told us almost exactly that on a call this week: “If you want to build a billion dollar company, you’d better have Ron Conway and Andreessen Horowitz and guys like that investing, just because of the clout that they have behind them.” In other words, it takes more than just a well-timed investment. You need reputation and connections (ahem) to set up an acquisition deal or IPO, and those don’t come on Kickstarter. Everyone else is just raising money.

That’s why these sites tend to focus on the warm feeling of helping someone out — more charity than investment. As Kane puts it, “It’s more of a Kickstarter approach. People are going to be doing it because they want to invest in the future of America. They want to encourage job growth.” That is, not because they want to own a Greek island. It’s not all that different from buying shares in the Green Bay Packers. Without the connections for an IPO or an acquisition deal, the only way to recoup your money is to reach out to other individual person and ask them politely to buy your shares. (This is what financial experts refer to as a “weak bargaining stance.”)

The cliquishness of the VC system is exactly what makes it work. If you take that away, you’re just left with a bunch of people throwing stock at each other.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/tommywilhelm/you-will-not-get-rich-off-the-next-instagram