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Today's Featured Article - Netflix

Mister Ed

Netflix is an Internet on-demand provider of viewable media, such as movies never shown in theaters; movies impossible to find on regular TV channels; and movies you wouldn't watch even if they were.

The profile of Netflix has been evolving constantly since its foundation in 1997. The company revolutionized the video market with the idea that undesired content could be recorded on DVD disks and sent to viewers by regular mail. After largely putting video stores out of business, it changed its emphasis to internet screaming and then to production of content, so as to even the score by putting itself out of business.

The seeds of the downfall of the traditional video store were planted during the U.S. Senate hearings on the elevation of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. When his opponents obtained records that he had rented How the West Was Won, but never Debbie Does Dallas, Bork acquired an unshakable reputation for being out-of-fashion and his nomination failed. Although Congress raced to extend privacy protection to rental records that would later be extended to medical records, the public began avoiding video stores as it would go on to avoid hospitals.

In 1997, the founders of Netflix — internet maven Reed "Net" Hastings and a companion named Flicka — saw a way that the average American could obviate the video store entirely. The customer could order movies from the privacy of home, after simply putting his complete bank information and credit score on the internet. Videos would be sent to him using the very private U.S. Postal Service. (more...)

Yesterday's Featured Article - Irish Potato Famine

MrPotatoFamine

Nutrition labels are statements of nutritional value and ingredients on food items. But that's not what I want to write about. I want to write about the Irish Potato Famine, a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration that occurred in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. A disease affecting potatoes known as "potato blight" was ultimately to blame, but most chose, and some still do to this day, to believe the famine was part of a greater conspiracy to further worsen living conditions in Ireland by the United States in order to force Irish workers to come build the transcontinental railroad.

The famine killed over one million people and nearly imploded the Irish economy due to the Irish currency being backed by potatoes. Some historians disagree with me on this point by falsely claiming that Ireland was governed by the United Kingdom at the time and that Ireland had no regional currency. I contest this on the basis that I am right and they are plainly wrong.

So there Ireland was, just an island in Northwestern Europe, a stone's throw away from Britain. It was looking idly at the ongoings of Europe, which was already dealing with the potato blight but couldn't care much about it. France was too busy raping Hajis in Algeria so that Albert Camus could pen The Stranger a century later, and Spain was too busy repeatedly declaring war on itself. Irish officials felt that their island was safe from the blight because they had just filled the Irish Sea with alligators to ward off the periodontitis-laden imperialists from the other island. Despite these efforts, several potatoes which had already got some sick made their way to the isle. Conspiracy theorists claim that the alligator infested Irish Sea would've made a point of entry from the east impossible, and thus the sickly index case potatoes must have come from America. (more...)

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