Planet Business

This week: Robert Shiller, ‘Shutdownfreude’ and the restaurant that only hires twins

 

Image of the week: Nobel pride
Robert Shiller had a lot to be proud of before any committee for the Nobel economics prize got involved, but still he looks properly happy here as he sits with his wife, Dr Virginia Shiller, at a press conference in New Haven, Connecticut, on Monday.

Shiller, along with fellow Americans Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen, shared the award set up by a bank “in memory” of old Alfred. Shiller won, the committee said, for research that has improved the forecasting of asset prices in the long term. The Yale professor is the author of the 2000 book Irrational Exuberance who predicted both the dotcom crash and the subprime housing collapse, and he has questioned the idea that the markets are always efficient. Curiously, one of the main economists to propagate the efficient-markets hypothesis in the 1960s and 1970s was fellow Nobel winner Fama.

Photograph: Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters


In numbers: Sporting inflation
8
Percentage fall in profits at BSkyB in the three months to the end of September, after investment in new services and the cost of its Premier League tussle with BT made their impact.
£760m
The sum that the satellite broadcaster now pays the Premier League every year, up £220 million since the last three-year-deal.
20
Percentage climb in the television viewership of the first 23 live Premier League games on Sky this season compared to last year, excluding viewing on mobile devices, according to the company.


Getting to know: Twin Stars Diner, Moscow
This week’s “crazy genius” award goes to the proprietor of the Twin Stars Diner in Moscow, one Alexei Khodorkovsky, who hires only identically dressed identical twins to be servers and bartenders at his restaurant.

His inspiration for the novelty restaurant is a 1964 Soviet-era fantasy film called Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors, in which a schoolgirl called Olya crosses into an alternative world and befriends Yalo, her reflection in a mirror. This was his favourite film from his childhood, he told the BBC. But what if every restaurateur set up novelty establishments based on their childhood viewing? The possibilities are endless.


The lexicon: Shutdownfreude
The deal on the US shutdown and debt ceiling is – at the time of writing – almost done and dusted, which will put a stop to all that “Shutdownfreude” that’s been swilling round Europe.

According to Wall Street Journal journalist Gabrielle Steinhauser, European officials have been only too delighted in recent weeks that, for once, it isn’t them being lectured about their debt troubles. The term, Steinhauser wrote, was coined by Oliver Grimm, US correspondent for Austria’s Die Presse, and it is defined as the “elation felt by Europeans watching the US government being pummelled by the bond markets”.

The list: Viral viruses
Rule number one of cyber-attacks – if you want to get coverage of your creation, be sure to give your malware a media-friendly name. South Africa has been hit by a payment systems fraud, and judging from the pictures used to illustrate the story, it’s all the fault of US actor Michael C Hall. That’s because the malware used is known as Dexter, in reference to the serial killer TV drama starring Hall. So what other catchily-titled viruses have wreaked tech havoc?
1 ILOVEYOU: This 2000 virus travelled by emails that flattered victims by telling them the message was a love letter from a secret admirer.
2 Anna Kournikova: The 2001 worm by Dutch programmer Jan de Wit tricked users with an email purporting to contain pictures of the former tennis star. This virus was so of its time it made it all the way into an episode of Friends.
3 Kama Sutra: Again, it’s no surprise to learn that it was the promise of pictures that was the undoing of its victims.
4 Back Orifice: This late 1990s Trojan horse was a word play on Microsoft BackOffice Server software and was designed to expose Microsoft’s security shortcomings.
5 Lily Collins: The actress hasn’t had any malware named after her, as such, but she’s the most “dangerous” celebrity to search for online, posing the biggest risk of landing on a malicious site, according to security firm McAfee.

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