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Adding News to the Shopping Cart; Jeff Bezos’s expertise in harnessing customer feedback could be a boon to the newspaper industry

August 11, 2013, 6:10 p.m. ET

Adding News to the Shopping Cart

Jeff Bezos’s expertise in harnessing customer feedback could be a boon to the newspaper industry.

L. GORDON CROVITZ

Journalists these days relish gallows humor, like Andy Borowitz’s satire in the New Yorker, “Amazon Founder Says He Clicked on Washington Post WPO -0.85% by Mistake.” It’s a reminder of how anxious journalists remain about their industry—a good reason to welcome Mr. Bezos as a new kind of owner. His expertise at Amazon in focusing on consumers and using data to make them happier is just what the news industry needs. Read more of this post

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The boom in corn prices that helped propel the U.S. farm economy is fading amid expectations for a record-high harvest

August 11, 2013, 8:11 p.m. ET

A Corn Boom Starts to Wilt

Expectations for a Record Harvest Sends Prices Tumbling

MARK PETERS And JESSE NEWMAN

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OAKLEY, Ill.—The boom in corn prices that helped propel the U.S. farm economy is fading amid expectations for a record-high harvest. Prices are down more than 40% from last year’s all-time highs, to their lowest point in nearly three years. The decline is bringing relief to meat producers and other food companies hurt by steep costs for animal feed and other ingredients made from corn. Lower corn prices also could curb supermarket prices for beef. But the slide is bad news for farmers who saw their incomes surge to the highest levels since the early 1970s, adjusted for inflation, while farmland values ballooned so much that some analysts worried about a bubble. Lower corn prices will squeeze profit margins, farmers who rent land for their crops might struggle to make money, and sales of tractors and other farm supplies likely will suffer. Read more of this post

Reserving a Spot in the Shifting Oil World; For oil companies, resource data are too big to ignore. They carry vital clues about what today’s oil majors will look like tomorrow

August 11, 2013, 8:00 p.m. ET

Reserving a Spot in the Shifting Oil World

For oil companies, resource data are too big to ignore. They carry vital clues about what today’s oil majors will look like tomorrow.

LIAM DENNING

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Anyone who watched “Dallas” knows it can be hard to trust oil barons. Yet investors do that every day, particularly on the question of how much oil a baron actually has. While many investors are familiar with proven reserves—which listed U.S. oil companies show in annual reports—executives are also keen to talk up the less-certain barrels beyond these. Despite their more nebulous nature, resource data are too big to ignore. They carry vital clues about what today’s oil majors will look like tomorrow. While there is no agreed definition of resources, energy consultancy Rystad Energy calculates its own estimates. Looking at a sample of 11 of the world’s biggest listed oil companies, there are clear tiers. Royal Dutch Shell,RDSB.LN +1.00% Russia’s Rosneft,PetroChina601857.SH +1.50% Exxon Mobil XOM -0.47% and Petróleo BrasileiroPETR4.BR +2.58% are at the top, each holding roughly between 50 billion and 60 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, under Rystad’s definition. Read more of this post

Law-School Professors Face Less Job Security; Changes Promise to Make It Easier to Pare Faculty as Enrollment Declines

August 11, 2013, 7:18 p.m. ET

Law-School Professors Face Less Job Security

Changes Promise to Make It Easier to Pare Faculty as Enrollment Declines

JENNIFER SMITH

SAN FRANCISCO—The main body that accredits U.S. law schools is moving to reduce job protections for law professors, who have long enjoyed the security of academic tenure. The shift comes at a time of plunging student enrollment, and could make it easier for law schools to trim the ranks of full-time faculty, whose salaries consume a considerable share of tuition dollars. Some law schools that are struggling to balance their budgets have dismissed administrative staff in recent months. Others are offering buyouts to reduce the number of tenured professors or are leaving empty posts unfilled. Read more of this post

9 Surprising Things Legendary Trader Jesse Livermore Said About Timing

9 Surprising Things Legendary Trader Jesse Livermore Said About Timing

JOSHUA BROWNTHE REFORMED BROKER AUG. 11, 2013, 1:11 PM 5,001 7

There are those who would convince you that it is somehow smart or in your best interest to be manically switching your investments around, back and forth, long and short, on a daily basis. To pay attention to this kind of overstimulation is the height of madness, even for professional traders. The most storied and important trader who ever lived, Jesse Livermore, would be tuning these daily buy and sell calls out were he alive and operating today. Because while he was a trader, he was not of the mindset that there was always some kind of action to be taking. Jesse Livermore’s legacy is a bit of a double-edged sword… On the one hand, he was the first to codify the ancient language of supply and demand that is every bit as relevant 100 years later as it was when he first relayed it to biographer Edwin Lefèvre. Livermore himself sums it up thusly: “I learned early that there is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again. I’ve never forgotten that.” Read more of this post

It Pays To Be With DC: Co-Creators of Wolverine Say Marvel Gave Them Just $350

It Pays To Be With DC: Co-Creators of Wolverine Say Marvel Gave Them Just $350

TIM MOLLOYTHE WRAP AUG. 11, 2013, 10:11 AM 1,879 2

Marvel doesn’t pay the co-creators of Wolverine for movies where the character’s name isn’t the title — even “X Men Origins: Wolverine” doesn’t make the cut.

Wolverine creator Len Wein

What does it pay to create a superhero like Wolverine or the Punisher? Initially, about $350. After that, it kind of depends on whether you’re working with DC (more generous to artists) or Marvel (less so). In interviews with TheWrap on Wednesday, Wolverine co-creator Len Wein and Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway said they only received $15 to $20 for each page they wrote of the comic books that debuted their iconic characters. For years, that was it. Wein said he also recently received a “not unreasonable” check for the new film “The Wolverine.” Conway hasn’t gotten anything for “The Punisher” films, but Marvel has tried over the years to repay him, he said. The “X Men” franchise, anchored by Wolverine, has earned more than $1 billion — about $280 million of which came from the Wolverine films. The two Punisher films earned more than $40 million. Read more of this post

Harry Houdini, Lock Picking, And Entrepreneurship; Developing Expertise Through Focus

Harry Houdini, Lock Picking, And Entrepreneurship

SEMIL SHAH

posted 12 hours ago

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

It’s summer here in Silicon Valley, and for my column this month, I’ll try to finally polish and publish some of the old posts that have been collecting dust in my “drafts” folder. Usually, I try to make the column timely, but not this time. Almost two years ago now, my wife and I visited a museum in San Francisco to an exhibit called “Art of Magic,” honoring Harry Houdini. I dragged my wife to the museum to see this because I had been watching “Pawn Stars” (favorite show!) on the History Channel and was obsessed with the program. In one episode, a customer came in with original handcuffs and a straightjacket used by Houdini. The show’s characters all marveled at the legend of Houdini, the nostalgia, the myths. While all this information is available onWikipedia, the art exhibit highlighted an interesting theme: Houdini’s masterful command of new mediums and platforms to manipulate and leverage his audience’s deepest hopes and fears. Read more of this post

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