What I'm Reading (Mar. 28)

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Today's lineup promises a delightful array of topics, from ancient smartphones to outrageously priced sweaters. So grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and let's get reading

Science can bring us all together; witness this single astrolabe built and used by Muslims, Christians, and Jews. From the NY Times, This 1,000-Year-Old Smartphone Just Dialed In


Quiet luxury - costly, understated goods- provide a virtue signal to the wealthy. Consider a $9,000 sweater.

“In New York, Milan or London, the fashion house Loro Piana sells a vicuña sweater for about $9,000. Barrientos’ Indigenous community of Lucanas, whose only customer is Loro Piana, receives about $280 for an equivalent amount of fiber. That doesn’t leave enough to pay Barrientos, whose village expects her to work as a volunteer.”

Let’s say we toss in another $1,000 for production. Doesn’t $7,000 to maintain a brand seem a disproportionate share. Your call. From the bastion of capitalism, Bloomberg, The Vicuñas And The $9,000 Sweater


Dynamic pricing, where you pay what the market will bear based on lots of current data, made a lot of headlines when it was applied to fast food at Wendy's. But it has been around for some time, not just on ride-shares like Uber. Those prices on Amazon change not only based on who is browsing and what they are looking at but over time. The latest entry into dynamic pricing is for groceries in brick-and-mortar stores.

“Partap Sandhu is the head of pricing at a major Norwegian supermarket called REMA 1000. With a tap, he can change the price of any one of thousands of grocery items. REMA has been using dynamic pricing for more than a decade. At the moment, Partap is walking quickly towards the canned food aisle.”

From NPR, Dynamic pricing is coming to grocery stores


Finally, here is an update on the Gardner Museum robbery, one of the great unsolved art thefts.

“In the pre-dawn hours of March 18, 1990, following a festive St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, two men dressed as police officers walked into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and walked off with an estimated $500 million in art treasures. Despite efforts by the local police, federal agents, amateur sleuths and not a few journalists, no one has found any of the 13 works lost in the largest art theft in history, including a rare Vermeer and three precious Rembrandts.”

From the NY Times, Empty Frames and Other Oddities From the Unsolved Gardner Museum Heist