- Chuck Taylor All Stars, or Converse All Stars, also referred to as “Converses,” “Chuck Taylors,” “All Stars,” “Chucks,” or “Cons,” are canvas and rubber shoes produced by Converse. They were first produced in 1917 as the “All Star,” Converse’s attempt to capture the basketball shoe market. Chuck Taylor, a basketball player and shoe salesman for Converse, improved the shoe’s design and became the product’s spokesperson in the 1920s.
- In the 1920s, white linen sheets were de rigueur. That all changed when Madeleine Porthault convinced her husband, Daniel, to offer a home couture collection through his small Parisian lingerie boutique. Their business thrived and many others followed suit, but the D. Porthault name still carries weight among the wealthy, and their bath towels are the most expensive towels in the world.
- In economics and business, a network effect is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other people. When the network effect is present, the value of a product or service is dependent on the number of others using it. The classic example is the telephone. The more people who own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase a telephone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case. Online social networks work in the same way, with sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ becoming more useful as more users join.
- Mario Draghi (b. September 3, 1947) is an Italian banker and economist who succeeded Jean-Claude Trichet as the President of the European Central Bank on November 1, 2011. He was previously the governor of the Bank of Italy from January 2006 until October 2011. In 2013, Forbes nominated Draghi as the ninth most powerful person in the world.
- Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin (b. August 21, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google, one of the most profitable Internet companies.
- Jeffrey Preston “Jeff” Bezos, (b. January 12, 1964) is an American business magnate and investor. He is a technology entrepreneur who has played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, an online merchant of books and later of a wide variety of products. Under his guidance, Amazon.com became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and a top model for Internet sales. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post newspaper.
- In the United States in 2002, the McDonald’s Corporation agreed to donate ten million dollars to Hindu and other groups to settle lawsuits filed against the chain for mislabeling French fries and hash browns as vegetarian because their French fries and hash browns were found to contain beef extract added during production.
- Hickey Freeman is a manufacturer of suits for men and boys, based in Rochester, New York, and founded in 1899.
- “Pink slime” is an epithet for a product the meat industry calls “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), “finely textured beef,” and “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT). It has also derided as “soylent pink.” In 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the product for limited human consumption, and it was used as a food additive to ground beef and beef-based processed meats as a filler, at a ratio of usually no more than twenty-five percent of any product. The production process uses heat in centrifuges to separate the fat from the meat in beef trimmings. The resulting product is exposed to ammonia gas or citric acid to kill bacteria. A series of reports in March 2012 from ABC News created controversy, brought widespread public attention to and raised consumer concerns about the product. It was reported at that time that seventy percent of ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contained the additive, and that the USDA considered it as meat. A 2008 Washington Post article stated that in ground beef containing the filler, the amount can be up to twenty-five percent, but usually does not exceed this percentage. The product has been described as “essentially scrap meat pieces compressed together and treated with an antibacterial agent. In the U.S., beef that contains up to fifteen percent of the product can be labeled as “100% ground beef.”
- In June 2012, Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison purchased Castle & Cooke’s ninety-eight percent share of the island of Lanai. The state of Hawaii owns the remaining two percent. The sale price was not revealed, but the Maui News previously reported the asking price was between $500 million and $600 million. Ellison reportedly plans to invest as much as another $500 million to improve the island’s infrastructure and to create an environmentally friendly agricultural industry.
- Before Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, Twinkies were reduced in size. They now contain 135 calories and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 calories and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of forty-five days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the twenty-six days of the original Twinkies. A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life, and can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production.
Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. On January 11, 2012, parent company Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Twinkie sales for the year ended December 25, 2011, were thirty-six million packages, down almost twenty percent from a year earlier. Hostess said customers have migrated to healthier foods. On November 16, 2012 at 7:00 am (EST), Hostess officially announced that it “will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations were suspended at all plants. On March 12, 2013, it was reported that Twinkies would return to store shelves in May of that year. Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million. Twinkies returned to US shelves on July 15, 2013.
- Martha’s reference to Wichita is a reference to Koch Industries, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, is one of the largest private companies in the US. Koch’s operations are diverse, including refining and chemicals, process and pollution control equipment, and technologies; fibers and polymers; commodity and financial trading; and forest and consumer products (led by Georgia-Pacific). Its Flint Hills Resources subsidiary owns three refineries that together process more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Koch operates crude gathering systems and pipelines across North America as well as cattle ranches in three states with 11,000 head of cattle. Brothers Charles and David Koch control the company.
- Lloyd Craig Blankfein (born September 20, 1954) is an American business executive. He is the CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs. He assumed this position upon the May 2006 nomination of former CEO Henry Paulson to United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 2009, the Financial Times named Blankfein its “2009 Person of the Year,” stating, “His bank has stuck to its strengths, unashamedly taken advantage of the low interest rates and diminished competition resulting from the crisis to make big trading profits.” Critics of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street have taken issue with those practices. Taking a different view, Forbes listed Blankfein as one of “The Most Outrageous CEOs of 2009.”
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