The Looming Olive Oil Apocalypse

Tom Philpott:

The world’s most celebrated olive oil comes from sun-drenched groves of Italy. But Italy is also a hotbed of olive oil subterfuge, counterfeit, and adulteration—and has been since Roman times, as Tom Muellar showed in an eye-opening 2007 New Yorker piece (which grew into a book called Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.) Next year, getting real olive oil from Italy is going to be even harder than usual. Here’s the LA Times’ Russ Parsons:
 
 As a result of what the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is calling “The Black Year of Italian Olive Oil,” the olive harvest through much of Italy has been devastated—down 35% from last year.
 
 The reason is a kind of perfect storm (so to speak) of rotten weather through the nation:

Alain Ducasse on naturality and connectedness of every participant to the final product.

Shobhit Gaur:

Today’s Worker Bee series follows Alain Ducasse, one of the two chefs in the world, holding 21 Michelin stars. In the video, he talks about his recently re-opened restaurant Plaza Athenee in Paris, which focuses on all things natural.
 
 “Everything is connected,
 The way we eat is important,
 Not only for us but also for the planet
 
 We have to change the way we consume
 
 It means less fat, sugar, salt and animal proteins
 
 Which is not only good for us but also for our planet.”
 
 He introduces a cuisine of naturality, which revolves around three elements: fish, cereals and vegetables. A healthier, more sustainable and environmentally conscious meal.

The future of Airbnb in cities

McKinsey:

Since its founding, in 2008, Airbnb has spearheaded growth of the sharing economy by allowing thousands of people around the world to rent their homes or spare rooms. Yet while as many as 425,000 people now stay in Airbnb-listed homes on a peak night, the company’s growth is shadowed by laws that clash with its ethos of allowing anyone, including renters, to sell access to their spaces. In this interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Airbnb cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky explores how the company’s relationships with cities can evolve. An edited transcript of Chesky’s comments follows.
 
 Interview transcript
 
 Starting a revolution
 It’s a currency of trust, and that used to live only with a business. Only businesses could be trusted, or people in your local community. Now, that trust has been democratized—any person can act like a brand.
 
 Airbnb is a way that you can, when you’re traveling, book a home anywhere around the world. And by anywhere, I mean 34,000 cities in 190 countries. That’s every country but North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Cuba.
 
 The reason we started was I was living with my roommate, Joe, in San Francisco, and I couldn’t afford to make rent. That weekend, the International Design Conference was coming to San Francisco. All the hotels were sold out. Joe had three air beds. We pulled the air beds out of the closet, we inflated them, and we called it the “Air Bed and Breakfast.”

A line in history: the east German punks behind the Berlin Wall’s most radical art stunt

Philip Oltermann:

On Monday 3 November 1986, a group of five masked men drew a white line on the Berlin wall. The line started at Mariannenplatz in the capital’s alternative Kreuzberg district, heading west via the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing in the city centre. At points, the line was so thick the paint dripped all the way to the bottom. Where police guarded the wall, it ran thinner, snaking down to the pavement and then back up.
 
 After around 5km (three miles), just south of the Brandenburg Gate, opposite the square that now hosts architect Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial, the line suddenly stopped. At 11:30 on Tuesday morning, border guards from the eastern side of the wall had ambushed the line-painters and put an end to their project.

Has Capitalism Reached A Turning Point?

Steve Denning:

In the early 16th Century, the movement objecting to the flagrant greed and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church, now known as the Protestant Reformation, got under way in earnest. In 1517 in Germany, Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses.” At about the same time in Switzerland, Huldrych Zwingli launched a reform movement with a remarkably similar set of “Sixty-Seven Conclusions.” The recently-introduced printing press helped spread these ideas rapidly from place to place, but unresolved differences kept the reform movements separate. At the time, the prospects of reform looked remote, as the Church, most governments, the ruling classes and civil society supported the continuance of the status quo.
 
 In 1529, the German Prince Philip of Hesse saw potential in creating an alliance between Luther and Zwingli, realizing the strength of a united Protestant front to fight the entrenched elite. He convened a meeting, now known as the infamous Colloquy of Marburg. At the gathering, Luther and Zwingli agreed on everything except one doctrinal issue: was Jesus Christ spiritually present at a mass? Zwingli asserted no, while Luther insisted yes. In the debate, Luther became so angry that he carved his rejection into a table in the meeting room. (Some critics suggest that egos also played a role: if the strong-minded protagonists had been able to resolve their differences about the spiritual presence of Christ, another issue would have emerged to preclude agreement.)
 

The calculus of contagion In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number

Ad Kucharski:

When Ronald Ross tipped over the water tank outside his bungalow in Bangalore, it began a lifelong battle against mosquitoes. It was 1883 and Ross, only two years out of medical school, was the British Army’s new garrison surgeon. Overall, he was happy with the posting – he considered the city, with its sun, gardens and villas, to be the best in southern India.
 
 He was less enthusiastic about the mosquitoes. Having arrived to find his room filled with the sound of buzzing wings, he decided to hunt down and destroy their breeding ground in pools of stagnant tank water. The ploy worked: as he drained the tanks, mosquito numbers fell

The Slow, Inevitable Death Of Cable TV

Adam Singer:

I have long predicted the demise of cable TV (the dumb pipe). With services like Netflix, Amazon Instant, Google Play and more there is absolutely no reason to view content on someone else’s timetable.
 
 It’s also arrogant of anyone to think their content is so important or special users should have to watch at a specific time on a specific device or screen. Timeshifting is the new default and content should be available on whatever device a user prefers. Not via some archaic set of arbitrary rules because someone “says so.” The technology exists so that control is in the hands of users.
 
 More than that, cable providers have long provided awful customer service, ignored / lied to the market, held people hostage and clung to dated technology and trends that support their (ever-weakening already lost) grasp on content.

Innovations in payment technologies and the emergence of digital currencies

Robleh Ali, Roger Clews & James Southgate:

Modern electronic payment systems rely on trusted, central third parties to process payments securely. Recent developments have seen the creation of digital currencies like Bitcoin, which combine new currencies with decentralised payment systems.

 
 Although the monetary aspects of digital currencies have attracted considerable attention, the distributed ledger underlying their payment systems is a significant innovation.
 
As with money held as bank deposits, most financial assets today exist as purely digital records. This opens up the possibility for distributed ledgers to transform the financial system more generally

Paris Time Lapse

via Eric Reagan:

Paul Richardson spent three weeks in Paris recently and tried to capture the city’s classic sights as well as the modern business side. While he captured some fantastic scenes, his editing really made this timelapse stand out.
 
 He spent three weeks shooting, followed by 5 weeks of editing the images and footage for a grand total of about 400 hours on this project. That is 2.5 hours for every second of this video, which was entirely self-funded an