Hearts on fire, Arsenalify and squeezing the last of the toothpaste from the tube
Planet Business: A good week for emojis, a bad week for vowels
(Stan) Kroenke out, Spotify in, at Arsenal? Photograph: John Walton/PA.
Image of the week: Kroenke call
Arsenal fans don’t have much love for Stan Kroenke, the club’s majority shareholder since 2011 through Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE). The billionaire’s involvement in hated proposals for a European Super League became the latest lightning rod for protests with a simple yet clear message to the American, aka “Silent Stan”. This being football, however, there’s another billionaire sitting on the subs’ bench waiting for a run down the left wing: Daniel Ek, the Swedish founder of audio streaming service Spotify and a lifelong supporter of the London club. Ek, after declaring his intentions on Twitter, has been busy preparing a bid – triggering speculation that squad members will henceforth be paid €0.005 every time they get played – but alas Kroenke doesn’t look like he wants to leave the pitch just yet.
In numbers: Disemvoweling
Age of the Standard Life brand, which was sold by Standard Life Aberdeen - the result of merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017 - to life insurer Phoenix Group in February.
Vowels dropped this week from the “Aberdeen” in Standard Life Aberdeen, which will now become Abrdn under a much-mocked rebrand. There’s a reason Flickr, Tumblr, etc, only dispensed with one vowel.
Months in the Standard Life Aberdeen top job for chief executive Stephen Bird before he “disemvoweled” the company in the belief that Abrdn - pronounced Aberdeen - is “modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging”.
Getting to know: Kripa Varanasi and Dave Smith
Kripa Varanasi, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his former doctoral student Dave Smith are the co-founders of a company called LiquiGlide and the kind of heroes the world needs. These experts in no-waste packaging are in the news because LiquiGlide has announced a $13.5 million funding round and partnership with Colgate, taking its total fundraising to $50 million and leaving toothpaste users on the cusp of resolving a long-in-the-tooth problem: how to get the very last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. The pair – specialists in eliminating the friction between solids and liquids – have already cracked ketchup and various cosmetic bottles, though the idea for the company originally came when Varanasi’s wife was trying to spoon out the last drop of honey from the honey jar: “You work on slippery things,” she said to her researcher husband. “Why can’t you make a slippery bottle?”
The list: New Apple emojis
News from the world of emojis is that the thumbs up and crying-with-laughter emojis are now deemed old hat, and as for the clap-hands and rolling-eyes emojis, they have always been for irredeemably sarcastic people only. Luckily, there are some new emojis in town, or on Apple’s latest iOS update to be precise.
1. Mending heart. A great big bandage signals that, yes, you can believe in life after broken-heart-emoji, crying-face emoji, as Cher almost sang.
2. Heart on fire. Possibly shorthand for “wow, my fave has dropped an incredible surprise album”, possibly a way of telling people you have an unfortunate medical problem.
3. Face exhaling. This one is either for relief or when it’s so cold out you can see your breath.
4. Face in clouds. What happens when you, or other people, exhale too much.
5. Face with spiral eyes. Combine this one with “face in clouds” and you’ve got a decent representation of brain fog.