Wednesday Link-Off: Money and Politics

sarah-silverman-hfpagrants15-01I know that I usually have a lot of links about politics in these posts but I’m throwing a few economics links in for good measure. You’d be amazed how dependent economic confidence is on just who is in office. You’d think that what they do would be the key factor but who is in charge and what they might do seem to be the biggest driving forces of the market.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday and that was a terrible intro so I suppose I should placate you with some links. Let’s start with Sarah Silverman.

Stock markets around the world have gone for a nasty drop over the last few days. The problem is that there aren’t many options left for governments worldwide to make a quick course correction. (Daily Intelligencer)

The trouble with lobbyists is how frightening their influence can be. H&R Block and Intuit got US Congress to make filing taxes harder for the layperson. (Vox)

Canadian defense minister Jason Kenney is a pretty key player in the Conservative government. He might actually help the election campaign if he was capable of regularly telling the truth on a more regular basis. (Press Progress)

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The Economics of Star Wars (Infographic)

Star Wars is a tale of good vs. evil, the little man against the oppressive regime, and how self-belief begets shrewd negotiations that allowed the creator to retain the rights to sequels, merchandising and a significant portion of the box office gross.

Okay, Star Wars isn’t so much about the last point but that doesn’t mean that a little sci-fi movie that no studio really believed in didn’t become the poster child for the mega movie franchise. Star Wars (AKA Episode IV: A New Hope) was made for a tiny $14 million. It made over $775 million at the box office and nearly double that when adjusted for inflation. That’s just one of the cool facts about the dollars and cents of Star Wars we have for you in this handy infographic.

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Is Ubisoft Overcharging Canadian Steam Users?

ubisoft-cad-price-headerDuring Steam’s Monster Summer Sale, I noticed something during the Tom Clancy franchise sale. The price of the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege is $80 CAD. The US dollar price is $60. If you were to pay for the game in USD and have your credit card company convert it to CAD, a Canadian customer would spend $73. That’s an inexplicable loss of $7 as a sort of living in Canada tax (when no sales tax is charged by Steam in Canada) from a company whose biggest development studio is in Canada and receives subsidies from various levels of Canadian government.

It’s not just the Canadians who are losing out for not living in America. According to the Steam All Region Price Checker extension, British customers are being charged the equivalent of $80 USD and others in the EU will be paying the equivalent of $68 USD.

So why are certain countries paying more than other and who is at fault for the price discrepancies?

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Wednesday Link-Off: More Equal Than Others

miranda-kerr-wonderbra15-14Orwell once wrote, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” The frightening thing is how prophetic Orwell’s writing is today. I was actually just saying that Orwell’s 1984 is more relevant today than it was when it was published. The man was good and his books are just getting better with age.

And I realized something while putting this post together. I was supposed to do a Valentine’s themed picture to start the links. Let’s ignore that I forgot and just pretend I was on time with this photo of Miranda Kerr.

The fall and rise of American inequality. (NPR)

And your leading House Republicans aren’t rushing to change things. Paul Ryan thinks that the poor need to comply with the tax code more strongly. Of course. They’re the ones who can afford tax loophole finding accountants. (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, in Canada, the Quebec Education Minister says that strip searches of high schoolers is allowed if they’re “respectful.” If that isn’t among the most ridiculous things you ever heard, I don’t know what is. (Montreal Gazette)

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Wednesday Link-Off: The Story Behind the Story

anna-kendrick-britishfashionawards14-02We’re getting to that point in the year where posts are a little harder to come by. I try to plan posts a week or two ahead but that doesn’t mean that I’m always able to figure out all that I want to put on the blog ahead of time. For example, I know that there will be a video game review this week and one early next week. However, I’m missing a Thursday post in the mean time. I have to pull something together quickly.

Anyway, it’s time for the links. Let’s bring back old blog favourite Anna Kendrick.

Kathryn Borel talks about when the CBC ignored her when she told them about Jian Ghomeshi harassing her on the job. (The Guardian)

A little while back, we ran a link to a story about a rape and the rape culture at the University of Virginia. Here’s the story behind the story. (Washington Post)

A program in Tampa claims to help homeless people find jobs and get back into society, it looks like it’s all a front to make the program money. (Tampa Bay Times)

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Wednesday Link-Off: Dollars and Sense

samantha-hoopes-maxim14-04Sunday’s link-off was mostly about current events in Canada. Today, it’s the latest developments in Ukraine. You’d think that someone would try to be very apologetic about accidentally shooting down a civilian airplane but I guess that’s not how it works in Russia. It’s starting to look like things in Ukraine might once again get worse before it gets better.

First, let’s start this post with Samantha Hoopes.

The more Putin tightens his grip on Ukraine, it seems that more money is slipping through his fingers. Russian billionaires are worried about making money in an increasingly isolated Russia. (Bloomberg)

In other economic news, if the American economy is to grow, business have to start spending rather than saving. Apparently lowering taxes isn’t encouraging them to do so. (The Upshot)

The FCC wants to open up broadband to be available as a public-owned utility for municipalities to run themselves. It would be a great way to get around net neutrality by offering competition so no ISPs could hose customers. The Republicans are opposed to it, obviously. (Vox)

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How Steam is Striking Gold with the Summer Adventure

steam-summer-adventure-headerWhen Steam launched the 2014 edition of the Steam Summer Sale, it came with a new wrinkle that no one saw coming. No, I’m not talking about the four packs of Community Picks. This time out, Steam introduced the Summer Adventure to the sale. While it looks like a little competition between users for prizes, it’s actually another quiet way for Valve to make a few dollars more from Steam.

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