Happy Friday! There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating ones I read this week.
NBC writes on a new study about consumer choices:
Being poor affects your ability to think, a new study shows. Those coping with severe financial stress don't have the mental bandwidth to deal with all of life's troubles, a team of researchers reported Thursday.
They've done a series of tests that show when people are flush with cash, they can stop worrying and make better decisions. But having financial woes takes up so much attention, they often make poor decisions.
About a year ago, I was visiting with an old friend of mine who lives in Portland now. He's helping to run a tech start-up, working 80-hour weeks, half that on the road, with barely enough time at home to maintain a relationship with his dog, much less a romance. The goal, he said, is to grow like crazy, get bought out by Google, and retire at 40. "It's the big chill, man!" (No, Boomers, not the movie.)
I shook my head and laughed. "I'll take the medium chill!"
New Zealand found a way to stop patent trolls, writes ZDNet:
New Zealand has finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents after five years of debate, delay, and intense lobbying from multinational software vendors.
Aptly named Commerce Minister Craig Foss welcomed the modernisation of the patents law, saying it marked a "significant step toward driving innovation in New Zealand."
CNBC viewership is plunging, writes The New York Post:
The business news cable network posted some of its worst ratings in 20 years this month -- attracting an average of just 37,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 over a 24-hour period, according to just-released ratings data.
That's down 35 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen, and the Comcast-owned network's worst performance in the key advertiser demo since April 1993.
CNBC hit a peak of 162,000 viewers an hour in the key demo in January 2002.
Particularly hard-hit programs were "Fast Money," "Mad Money" and "The Kudlow Report" -- each of which saw all-time lows in total viewers this month.
Amazon.com sells more online than its next 12 biggest competitors combined, including Staples and Wal-Mart, according to the trade publication Internet Retailer. Despite its greater online scale, Amazon continues to grow quickly and command a hefty share of new Internet sales. Its 30% increase in North American sales in the second quarter outstripped the overall e-commerce market and some competitors as well.
IHS iSuppli on Wednesday revealed that the Moto X costs between $3.50 and $4 more per phone to make than the Apple iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- both of which are assembled in China.
"In spite of its 'Made in the USA' label, overall costs are still competitive with similar smartphones," said Andrew Rassweiler, IHS' senior director of cost benchmarking services.
Q: Your biggest regret?
Ballmer: Oh, you know, I've actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable.
Derek Thompson discusses why the fast-food worker strikes will fail, using this chart showing the change in employment over the last 20 years:
Enjoy your weekend.