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Friday August 1, 2014

Contributors: Business - Commercial Confidential

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    Tuesday Jul 08, 2014 | 3:02 pm

    The potato salad bubble

    Over the holiday weekend, a Kickstarter campaign for “making potato salad” racked up thousands of dollars in contributions — far exceeding its initial $10 fundraising goal. This is basically a more absurdist version of the “million dollar homepage” from 2005: an internet investment opportunity that’s overtly and unapologetically pointless, and nevertheless making money hand over fist. As of Tuesday afternoon, it’s raised $51,627 in pledges — enough to fund stretch […]

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    Tuesday Jun 24, 2014 | 3:47 pm

    Is political partisanship linked to income inequality?

    We’ve heard a lot about America’s widening income gap in the past few years, and we’ve also heard a lot about partisan gridlock in Congress. If you look at the data, these problems are real, and getting worse — but a surprising investigation from the New York Federal Reserve Bank suggests that the problems also appear to be correlated. In a new post on the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s […]

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  • Wednesday May 21, 2014 | 5:03 pm

    ‘Right-to-work’ rhetoric merits a ‘meh’ at Maine business gathering

    Yesterday at the Maine Real Estate and Development Association’s spring conference in Portland, Alan Hall, a pro-business advocate from Utah offered his advice for Maine’s business leaders to improve the business climate here. Staff writer Jessica Hall included this quote in her report from the event: “Don’t fight each other. Go beyond politics. The time to make the changes is now. You probably need to take some drastic measures to […]

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  • Tuesday Apr 22, 2014 | 4:57 pm

    Earth Day post: the boom in bag bans

    Here’s a fascinating chart for Earth Day, by way of the environmental organization Earth Policy Institute. The takeaway: more than 12 million Americans now live in jurisdictions where plastic bags at grocery stores are either banned or taxed. Even more cities – including Portland, Maine – are looking into similar policies. The trend might have started in counterculture enclaves like San Francisco, but it’s quickly catching on in other big […]

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    Friday Apr 11, 2014 | 10:27 am

    How Heartbleed works: the comic version

    Randall Munroe, the artist behind the webcomic xkcd and former NASA roboticist, has given us the best explainer I’ve seen yet on Heartbleed: Most websites have patched the bug so that servers won’t spill out secret information any longer. To check the status of your online banking site, or webmail site, or any other website that you entrust with sensitive information, visit Then change your passwords.

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    Thursday Apr 10, 2014 | 2:43 pm

    Business news “from away”: Minnesota pioneers a new way to pay for solar energy

    Last week, Kennebec Journal reporter Paul Koenig covered a brewing debate between Central Maine Power and solar power advocates. CMP, which owns and maintains the lines that deliver electricity in southern and central Maine, wants to levy a new fee against customers who own solar panels. They also want to shift more of its charges to fixed monthly fees, and away from variable fees that are proportional to how much […]

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  • Tuesday Apr 08, 2014 | 2:39 pm

    Greater Portland’s expanding food scene brings more jobs, but not higher wages

    This week’s Maine Sunday Telegram delivered "Source," a new weekend section about eating and living sustainably in Maine. The debut issue included this in-depth piece on the history and growth of Maine’s farm-to-table movement. The growth in Maine farms and restaurants seems impressive from a consumer’s point of view, but what’s it like for the people working in the industry? Reporter Meredith Goad has written about the increasing difficulty (and […]

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  • Thursday Feb 20, 2014 | 11:42 am

    Map: the urban-rural divide of Maine’s economy

    Yesterday, I posted a map here (link) that offered a striking visualization of how much a small handful of metropolitan areas contribute to the nation’s economy. Maine’s commonly perceived as a rural state, but as it happens, a similar pattern holds up here. Here’s a view of Maine’s economy split in half: half of the state’s economic activity happens in the relatively small southern corner, colored orange, and the other […]

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  • Wednesday Feb 19, 2014 | 1:02 pm

    Map: the urban-rural divide of America’s economy

    This fairly amazing map has been making the rounds on Twitter today. Its creator seems to be the Reddit user atrubetskoy. I checked the data against figures in this report from the US Conference of Mayors, which confirms that this map is pretty accurate. Here’s a list of the metro areas depicted in orange in the map above, along with their estimated metropolitan gross domestic products in 2011: New York-Northern New […]

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