While you were sleeping, innovation was whisking its love away for a cruise on its private yacht, and then erecting a paywall around her so that no one could see her. Strange, that.
1. The Los Angeles Times has documented what life is like as a cleanup worker in Louisiana. The protective suit is so hot that the workers are forced to take regular breaks, making locals think that they’re lazy. Speaking of suits, the top brass at BP–which is selling off its South American assets to China in an attempt to raise $9 billion–are finding more and more ways to look as bad as they can. Latest is claims that chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg sailed off on his yacht with a married mother of three at the start of the crisis. And take a look at the firm’s troubleshooter on Capitol Hill. It’s BP’s Washington lobbyist, Tony Podesta, interviewed in the New York Times.
2. Today is Day 1 of the Great U.K. Paywall Experiment, Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to make his online operations pay. Analyst Robin Goad of Experian Hitwise told the BBC (who probably has a vested interest in Murdoch’s venture failing–not to mention a deep dislike of the wily old croc) that readership had dropped by 60% since both the Times and the Sunday Times made readers register. Another big media beast, WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, says that pay TV will eventually control the U.K. broadcasting scene, something which will make said W.O.C. think that maybe he’s not quite ready to donate his body to wife Wendy’s handbag habit just yet. Over the pond, Gannett is to test the paywall model on three local papers, in Tallahassee, South Carolina, and Utah, says Bill Mitchell on Poynter Online. This, of course, is the issue which made its CDO Christopher Saridakis quit three months ago.
3. Friends, Romans, Centenarians, lend me your ears–and your genes. A team of scientists from Boston has worked out how to predict whether a person will reach his or her 100th birthday. (Are health insurers quaking with fear, or rubbing their hands together gleefully? It’s too early for me to work out.) Expect a Web site later this month which will have the mathematical formula needed for people to work out whether they should be saving up for a walk-in bathtub or sticking to a booze-and-cigs diet.
4. Another product recall for Toyota, as seven of its Lexus models are found to be faulty. For the moment the faulty cars are in Japan, but the car giant said that 137,000 of the models–that’s almost half of the 270,000 total–of vehicle thought to have faulty engines are in the U.S. Studies show that consumers are getting sick of recalls–so sick that they don’t bother to return or destroy the faulty goods.
5. And finally, a short post on the Guardian‘s Bike Blog highlights the problem in the British capital of road accidents involving female cyclists and lorries. (I should know, I was almost scythed down by a White Van Man last night.) The mother of one of the victims bought shares in the company that owned the truck and lobbied successfully to have safety equipment fitted to all of their vehicles. It is not, however, mandatory. It should be.