As of July 18, the company had received some 91,000 removal requests from European users. Google approved about half of them, denied about 30 percent and requested more information on the remainder. But it’s a complicated, largely manual process. Of those 91,000 requests, Google has already confronted a range of cases, many of which are quite sensitive to people’s lives.
“An example,” they write, “would be a request to remove an old article about a person being convicted of a number of crimes in their teenage years, which omits that the old article has its relevance renewed due to a recent article about that person being convicted for similar crimes as an adult.”
The law—which is called the “right the be forgotten”—was inspired by a Spanish resident who claimed he couldn’t find a job because every time an employer googled his name, an article about the repossession of his home from 1998 was the top result. Naturally, he wanted Google to unindex that link because it was no longer relevant. He won the case, and it established the basis for the law.
But even the average Joe could see that there would inevitably be disputes about what constitutes a legitimate takedown request. All Google offered at the time was that the content must be “irrelevant, outdated or otherwise objectionable.” But that’s pretty subjective. Could politicians ask Google to scrub slam pieces about them? Could teenagers get drunken YouTube clips taken down? Could I ask Google to remove that horrible photo that comes up of me from my college days?
To be sure, Google isn’t technically asking publishers to actually delete the content. All they’re doing is pushing those search results out of their engine.
If you’re looking to get Google to scrub some links (and you’re a resident of the EU), the first thing to do is fill out this submission form. There, you’ll need to verify your identity, submit the links you wish to be removed and provide a clear explanation of why the content should be “forgotten.” That submission will then be passed along to Google’s Advisory Council on the Right to Be Forgotten.
The fact is, Google—famous for its algorithms—hasn’t come up with the perfect equation to figure out which links to remove and which to keep. “For each of these requests, we’re required to weigh, on a case-by-case basis, an individual’s right to be forgotten with the public’s right to know,” they note.
Authored by Eric Markowitz via vocativ.com.
Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter had been working at the network since 2011, sporadically doing feature stories on people or organizations doing public-spirited work. Politico magazine reported earlier this year that NBC was paying her $600,000 a year.
"I loved watching the "Making a Difference" stories about remarkable people and organizations making a profound difference in our country and our world," Clinton said in a statement posted on her Facebook page. "I am grateful NBC gave me the opportunity to continue this important legacy."
She was initially hired to do stories for Brian Williams' "Rock Center" newsmagazine, but that program was canceled. Her work occasionally appeared on NBC's "Nightly News."
Two Clinton stories that aired in January were on education programs targeting the underprivileged. She's done stories on a school program for jailed teenagers named after Maya Angelou, an Arkansas tutoring program and a restaurant chain that donates leftover food to the needy. Her last story appeared on Aug. 1.
"Chelsea's storytelling inspired people across the country and showcased the real power we have as individuals to make a difference in our communities," said Alex Wallace, senior vice president at NBC News.
Her exit removes some potential awkwardness for the network if her mother runs for president in 2016. NBC made certain to keep Clinton off the air around the time her mother was making media appearances to promote a book, to avoid any appearance of conflict. NBC also received some criticism when stories about her salary appeared; the network didn't comment on the reports.
Both Wallace and Clinton left open the possibility that Clinton could someday return to NBC. "While my role with NBC News may be coming to an end, I look forward to working with the NBC family well into the future," Clinton said on Facebook.
Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, announced this spring that she is pregnant with her first child.
Authored by David Bauderap via msn.com.
Most people give a fair amount of thought to buying an appliance or an electronic device. But a warranty for them gets barely any consideration.
If you do buy one, it will probably be out of emotion, fear or because the salesperson wore you down. And you’ll probably be wasting your money. But warranties aren’t hard to understand, and with a little grade school math, you can figure out the rare instances when it makes sense to get one.
A warranty is, after all, a bet, like any form of insurance. For a small price you are betting that something bad will happen that would cost you a lot of money. The other side of the bet is counting on the long life of your product. The company selling the warranty has the information on failure rates. You don’t. So all you need to know are the odds that your product will fail.
That’s not easy to find out. Companies aren’t in the habit of telling you that their products fail 4 percent or 12 percent of the time. Failure rates are usually low. Warranty companies know that. And they know, too, that consumers tend to think the failure rate is higher and that many of those consumers, being risk-averse, will buy the warranty.
The best, although not perfect, source of reliability data is Consumer Reports magazine. Ideally, you’d want data on every product over three or four years. The magazine has the information for brands in about a dozen product categories. And it gets that information by asking people to recall if the product failed during the period they owned it.
Imperfect though the data may be, it will correct for the human tendency to exaggerate the risk of failure. One hitch in all this? A subscription to Consumer Reports costs $30 a year, $7 for one month. I suppose you could go to the public library, but the information is not available free online.
In addition to access to information, the warranty company has another advantage. It knows you will probably do the math wrong. You are going to be calculating the repair cost of the product — $400 to repair a TV or $700 for a replacement tablet — and comparing that with the price of the warranty. SquareTrade, a reputable online warranty company, offers a $110, three-year warranty on a $1,000 TV.
Mark 57 minutes ago Although 2-4% of TV may fail, this illustrates the beauty of the internet. The HDMI ports failed on my Samsung TV. I watched on-line how...
Mike Ashe 1 hour ago I made a decision many years ago to become "self insured" when it comes to these warranties. Always say no. Then take the money you save...
It sounds like a good deal. But let’s do the math the right way. Consumer Reports’s survey of TV owners determined that 2 percent to 4 percent of major brand TVs need repairs. Let’s say you want to buy a $1,000 TV. Assuming the magazine’s survey accurately captured repair rates, you should be willing to bet $40 that the TV will break. Say it is a brand in the upper range of failure rates, like a Samsung, Toshiba or Vizio, that fails 4 out of 100 times, which can also be expressed as .04. Multiply that rate times the price (.04 x $1,000) and the result is $40.
You’d be willing to pay $40 for three years of protection. (Given inflation and the time value of money, close calls should go the way of not buying the warranty.)
There is one other advantage the warranty company has: your emotions. You are more willing to pay to protect a device you love — a cellphone, a tablet or a TV — than something boring like a washing machine or a dryer. So the warranties on the loved products are going to be higher. The companies are playing with your emotions. Don’t let them.
Need proof? Refrigerators have about a 15 percent chance of failing. So on a $3,000 appliance you could expect to bet $450 that it will need a repair in three years. Any warranty for less than that is probably a pretty good deal. And sure enough, warranties are less than that.
Authored by Damon Darlin via nytimes.com.
Apple has confirmed that it is holding a press event on Sept. 9, most likely to unveil new products. The company is widely expected to debut a new version of the iPhone, and the company will reportedly offer at least one model with a larger 5.5-inch screen.
Reports also indicate that Apple may show off the long-awaited iWatch, a wearable device that would likely run on iOS.
The event will take place in the company’s hometown of Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
His firm, IMC Chicago LLC, just finished its takeover of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s NYSE unit, giving it rights to manage buying and selling of dozens of stocks including prominent ones like International Business Machines Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. and Visa Inc.
IMC joins rival automated trading firms Virtu Financial Inc. and KCG Holdings Inc. (KCG) facilitating transactions at the NYSE in lower Manhattan, a role once filled solely by humans. While these high-frequency traders, so named because of the speed with which their computers trade, are often reviled by the people they’ve displaced, they’re becoming more dominant.
“This illustrates how market makers from the traditional liquidity suppliers of banks and broker-dealers have been unable to compete in the decentralized, fully electronically traded market,” Terrence Hendershott, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s business school, said in an e-mail.
The ascent of automated market makers on the NYSE floor represents the latest leg of an evolution that began about a decade ago, when investment banks such as Goldman Sachs began to supplant smaller specialist firms. As advances in technology and rule changes narrowed profits and transformed stock trading into a volume business, computers took over.
‘Best Suited’ “Given IMC’s specialized focus on market making and already extensive exchange-based trading operations, we believe IMC is best suited to drive” the NYSE floor operation, Todd Hohman, managing director and global head of the quantitative trading business at Goldman Sachs, said in a May 22 statement. IMC hired the investment bank’s team of 15 floor traders, two technologists and an issuer relations manager.
Goldman Sachs was seeking as much as $30 million for the business, a person familiar with the discussions said in April. The investment bank, which joined the NYSE in 1896, bought the operations in 2000 as part of a $5.4 billion purchase of Spear Leeds & Kellogg.
With Goldman Sachs’s exit, the only bank at the NYSE floor is Barclays Plc. (BARC)
Knudsen, managing director and head of trading at IMC in Chicago, said the firm’s move to the NYSE floor was a natural extension of its business.
‘Can’t Ignore’ “We are and have been in the process over the past couple of years of building up our equity market-making business, so NYSE is an exchange we can’t ignore,” Knudsen said in a phone interview.
IMC was founded in Amsterdam in 1989, and operates both a trading unit and an asset-management division. The firm conducts transactions on 100 markets around the world, according to its website.
At a time when high-speed traders face unprecedented regulatory and legal scrutiny, IMC, KCG Holdings and Virtu are now three of the largest traders at the NYSE, whose listed companies are worth more than any other exchange’s. They thrived amid years of modernization and efforts to break the grip of NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market on trading.
The average size of trades on NYSE Group’s exchanges in the first seven months of the year was about 240 shares, compared with 1,187 in 2000. In 1988, the average was 2,303 shares per trade. Along with that reduction, minimum trading increments have fallen from an eighth of a dollar to one cent. In other words, market making isn’t as lucrative as it once was.
‘Building Scale’ “It’s all about building scale to deal with the narrow spreads,” Chris Concannon, president of Virtu, which has eight traders on the NYSE floor, said in an interview. “If you’re a small company with excellent technology, it becomes profitable over time.”
Designated market makers like IMC are required to offer trades at the national best price at least 15 percent of the time in the stocks for which they’re registered, and are compensated with better trading fees by the exchange.
While electronic trading firms have taken over at the NYSE, their role at the Big Board also sees them employ human traders who man the posts at 11 Wall Street, the only stock trading floor in the U.S. Knudsen said it’s a model that’s liked by the corporations listed on the exchange.
“We do recognize in talking to some of these issuers the real advantages in having people on the floor to help out with the IPO process and during any sort of market disruptions that come about, and that’s just something we wanted to be a part of,” Knudsen said.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE), based in Atlanta, pledged to preserve the trading floor when it agreed to buy the exchange in 2012. ICE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Sprecher completed the takeover of NYSE in November.
“We did have a conversation with Jeff before we committed to this acquisition, making sure that he was committed to the NYSE as well,” Knudsen said. “We gained a lot of confidence from him that they are committed to this model. It is a big distinguishing factor, if you compare it to the different equity markets.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Sam Mamudi in New York at email@example.com; John Detrixhe in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Baker at email@example.com Jeff Sutherland
A number of United States banks, including JPMorgan Chase and at least four others, were struck by hackers in a series of coordinated attacks this month, according to four people briefed on a continuing investigation into the crimes.
The hackers infiltrated the networks of the banks, siphoning off gigabytes of data, including checking and savings account information, in what security experts described as a sophisticated cyberattack.
The motivation and origin of the attacks are not yet clear, according to investigators. The F.B.I. is involved in the investigation, and in the past few weeks a number of security firms have been brought in to conduct forensic studies of the penetrated computer networks.
According to two other people briefed on the matter, hackers infiltrated the computer networks of some banks and stole checking and savings account information from clients. It was not clear whether the attacks were financially motivated, or if they were collecting intelligence as part of an espionage effort.
JPMorgan has not seen any increased fraud levels, one person familiar with the situation said.
“Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day,” said Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman. “We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.” Joshua Campbell, an F.B.I. spokesman, said the agency was working with the Secret Service to assess the full scope of attacks. “Combating cyberthreats and criminals remains a top priority for the United States government,” he said.
The intrusions were first reported by Bloomberg, which indicated that they were the work of Russian hackers. But security experts and government officials said they had not yet made that conclusion.
Earlier this year, iSight Partners, a security firm in Dallas that provides intelligence on online threats, warned companies that they should be prepared for cyberattacks from Russia in retaliation for Western economic sanctions.
But Adam Meyers, the head of threat intelligence at CrowdStrike, a security firm that works with banks, said that it would be “premature” to suggest the attacks were motivated by sanctions.
Russian hackers began a monthlong online assault on Estonia in 2007 that nearly crippled the Baltic nation, after Estonian government workers moved a Soviet-era war memorial from the Estonian capital.
Still, security experts say that the stealthy nature of the recent attacks suggests that their motivation was not political.
The American banking sector has been a frequent target for hackers in recent years, with the vast majority of attacks motivated by financial theft.
But not all of them. Over the past two years, banks have been targeted in a series of politically motivated attacks from Iran, in which a group of Iranian hackers flooded United States banking sites with so much online traffic — a method called a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack — that the websites slowed or intermittently collapsed.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Hackers who took credit for those attacks said they went after the banks in retaliation for an anti-Islam video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad, and pledged to continue the attacks until the video was removed from the Internet.
American intelligence officials said the group was actually a cover for the Iranian government. Officials claimed Iran was waging the attacks in retaliation for Western economic sanctions and for attacks on its own systems.
Unlike the attacks traced to Iran, the recent hacks against the American banks were not intended to disrupt the bank’s services but appeared to be part of a financial or intelligence-gathering effort, three people briefed on the investigations said.
Mr. Meyers, of CrowdStrike, said hackers could have been after account information, or even intelligence about a potential merger or acquisition. Security experts said the hackers chose to pursue account information, not disruption, which is the earmark of state-sponsored attacks.
Because JPMorgan had not seen any unusual incidences of fraud, however, it was too early to conclude that the attacks were solely financially motivated.
So why were the banks targeted? Security experts said they could not yet determine whether the attacks over the past few weeks were the work of Russians, or whether they were politically motivated. Indeed, Mr. Meyers said, any such conclusions at this point would be the result of what he said was an effort by security firms to be the first to present conclusive evidence.
Banks are also frequent targets for intelligence agencies looking to collect information about their targets. In 2012, Russian security researchers uncovered a computer virus on 2,500 computers, many of them inside major Lebanese banks, including the Bank of Beirut and Blom Bank. The virus was specifically intended to steal customers’ login credentials to their bank accounts.
The researchers believed the computer virus was state-sponsored and said they had found evidence it had been created by the same programmers who created Flame and Stuxnet, two computer viruses that officials have said were unleashed by the United States and Israel to spy on computers inside Iran.
Authored by Nichole Perlroth via nytimes.com.
Jimmy Kimmel — like the majority of the world — is a major Friends fan.
Apparently, he has spent the past 10 years since the show went off the air writing fan fiction about Rachel, Phoebe and Monica. And on Wednesday's show, he got to perform it alongside the actual Friends cast.
After roping Jennifer Aniston into a scene about Rachel and Ross discussing having sex, Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow pop by to the iconic purple-walled apartment we all called home for years.
Unfortunately, in Kimmel's script, Joey and Chandler have died after being bit by Ross' monkey Marcel.
Friends cast members have previously quickly reunited for a skit on Ellen, but several of them have denied rumors of Friends movie or TV reboot.
Authored by Neha Prakash via mashable.com.
Within the first twenty feet, Andrew Schmidt was sold on it. Prior to his first visit to Superpedestrian’s office in Cambridge, Schmidt knew enough about the Copenhagen Wheel to see the potential. He had been introduced to the electric bike startup by a friend. The Superpedestrian team was looking for someone to do the sort of marketing work Schmidt was currently doing for Puma. But up until that ride, there understandably was some uncertainty.
“You can hear about it, read about it, but until you actually experience it yourself, you do not fully understand the possibilities,” said Schmidt.
Soon after that initial ride, Schmidt joined the team. He was one of several new hires to the Cambridge firm, which has nearly doubled its size these past three months. The company is expected to double again in size by quarter one of next year, with the first consumer models of the Copenhagen Wheel shipping out before the end of 2014. But as of now, its office on Hamilton Street is still a relatively quiet place.
As the name suggests, the Copenhagen Wheel takes a new approach to the electric bike—there’s no necessary hardware to install other than the wheel itself, and it fits on most standard bikes. The device was developed by MIT’s SENSable City Lab in collaboration with the city of Copenhagen, and was first unveiled in 2009 at the COP15 United Nations Climate Conference. In late 2012, Assaf Biderman—a designer of the prototype and Associate Director of the Sensible City Lab—licensed that technology from MIT for commercial use, and thus Superpedestrian was born.
Operated by a lithium battery packed in a metal disk, the wheel’s motor is self-contained. It manipulates the torque on the bike’s back wheel, giving riders a push as they peddle, propelling the bike up to speeds of 20 mph via power assist. The speed settings for the Copenhagen Wheel can be controlled with a smartphone app.
The Copenhagen Wheel was originally developed with urban transport in mind, but after its premier in 2009, dozens of unique use cases have cropped up. As expected, commuters and recreational bicyclists have expressed particular interest in the e-bike concept, but it also has gotten some attention from unexpected sources: recovering patients of knee replacements, the elderly, people with limited mobility. “We have received a lot of interest from the wheelchair industry,” said Schmidt. “We are interested in exploring opportunities in that space and have filed patents for number of wheelchair applications, but for the time being we are focused on bicycles.”
On Friday afternoons, Superpedestrian offers test rides to the public. During my visit to Cambridge, I waited behind a 40-something-year-old bicyclist, dressed in compression shorts and a performance top. He returned at first quite happy about the wheel, but then went on to question the wisdom of Superpedestrian offering the product exclusively in red. The employee he was speaking to smiled, pointing out the red wheel actually matched the red shade of his bike. The man nodded, and decided to commit.
Who exactly the riders of the next generation of e-bikes will be remains to be seen. Boston’s growing bike culture presents a sizable market for the Copenhagen Wheel, especially considering one of its key benefits of the device is its ability to scale hills. Bike ridership in Boston has more than doubled in Boston since 2007, when then-Mayor Menino launched an initiative to study bike traffic in the city and grow infrastructure for it. Superpedestrian expects the Copenhagen Wheel to make strong headway in this growing urban market for bicycles. “If it’s a young professional trying to get to work, great,” said Schmidt. “If it’s someone older that trying to go to the grocery store and pick up groceries, also great. If it’s someone who lives outside of the city that wants to commute to work or want to get more active, but might have some limitations, I think that there’s a market for all those people.”
Authored by John Wiley via boston.com.
Have you heard of Maritza I. Munich?
The answer is almost certainly no, yet she is a central figure in Walmart’s unfolding bribery scandal. Ms. Munich was a Walmart lawyer who advocated an aggressive response to investigating the scandal but has been silenced by Walmart, which has invoked the attorney-client privilege to keep her from speaking.
It’s yet another example of how companies use the attorney-client privilege to shelter potential wrongdoing, perhaps to the detriment of many people, including shareholders.
But Ms. Munich may yet have her chance to talk. A recent Delaware court decision may not only allow Ms. Munich to talk about what happened at Walmart, it may give shareholders of all companies a way to sidestep the attorney-client privilege when wrongdoing takes place.
Ms. Munich was the general counsel of Walmart’s international division when Walmart discovered that its employees might have been involved in a sweeping bribery operation in Mexico.
The full details are not known, but according to documents disclosed in an article in The New York Times in 2012, Ms. Munich led the bribery investigation as it unfolded in 2004.
Yet she was stymied in both that investigation and others.
It appears that she argued in 2004 for a fuller investigation into Walmart’s possible misconduct in Mexico and against any executive interference.
She was ignored.
In another case, when a Walmart executive decided to have a complaint at the company’s Puerto Rico operations investigated by a company officer instead of the corporate investigations unit, she objected that the investigation was “at the direction of the same company officer who is the target of several of the allegations.”
Not only was she ignored, but Ms. Munich resigned in 2006 in the middle of Walmart’s investigation into its Mexico operations. After a few weeks, the investigation was buried by the general counsel of Walmart’s Mexico operations, a man later implicated in the scandal. We still don’t know the exact reasons for Ms. Munich’s resignation, though in at least one interview touching on the subject she talked about being able “to sleep” at night.
It was only as The Times began reporting for its article that Walmart reopened its investigation and reported the suspected misconduct in Mexico to the United States government.
Since then, Walmart has conducted a widespread investigation that has cost it $439 million as of earlier this year. In addition, many Walmart executives involved in the investigation have left the company.
Yet it’s not finished, and we still don’t know the full story.
This is in part because Walmart has asserted that attorney-client privilege. The deliberations of Ms. Munich and others have been guarded as confidential by Walmart.
“Walmart is fully cooperating with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission through the government’s ongoing investigation,” the company said in a statement to me. “A thorough investigation like this will take time to complete, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Walmart has maintained that not only does the privilege bar its lawyers from speaking, it prevents their documents from being used in court, even if they are disclosed inadvertently.
This has led to some strange situations. Ms. Munich herself has honored the privilege. She has no choice if she wants to continue to be a lawyer. She is now a general counsel of a company based in Puerto Rico. Ms. Munich has stated to her alumni magazine at Arizona State University that “I’m available” to speak to investigators and that because of “attorney-client privilege constraints, they first need to come to agreement” with Walmart. She added that she had “no reluctance” to speak but could not because of the privilege.
That is where things stood until a recent Delaware decision.
The Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund, a Walmart shareholder, has taken steps to investigate the Walmart bribery matter to decide whether directors engaged in any wrongdoing. As part of this suit, the pension fund issued a demand for documents that Ms. Munich had written that were either confidential or had been leaked but could not be used in court because of the privilege. This type of demand is allowed under corporate law to permit shareholders to determine whether wrongdoing has taken place.
Walmart denied the request, asserting the attorney-client privilege, among other things.
But the Delaware Supreme Court refused to side with Walmart and apply the privilege. Instead, the court said there was an exception to the privilege rule for shareholders. The court also ruled that “the allegations at issue implicate criminal conduct” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and that the pension fund was a legitimate stockholder. Accordingly, the information “should be produced by Walmart pursuant to [an] exception to the attorney-client privilege.”
The decision comes as the attorney-client privilege for companies is increasingly under attack. A former tax lawyer for Vanguard has brought a whistle-blower suit against the company, contending it avoided more than $1 billion in taxes and specifically citing privileged communications. These and other cases highlight the exception when executives actually try to report wrongdoing to the government.
Yet, unless a whistle-blower steps forward, the principle remains strong. Despite the widespread involvement of its legal staff, General Motors successfully invoked the privilege to help keep silent on the ignition scandal it eventually faced. Even the Justice Department changed its guidelines in 2008 to remove a provision that penalized companies for invoking the privilege.
The result is that companies have a great incentive to shift anything hinting at legal trouble to their in-house counsel to ensure that it is protected from disclosure. The in-house legal department thus becomes the “cover-up and damage control” arm of the company.
And so we have a strange situation in which the privilege applies, to be used by companies, unless someone steps forward under a whistle-blower provision. Yet, not all crimes and misdeeds are covered by the whistle-blower laws. More important, not everyone wants to be a whistle-blower and bear the stigma that comes with it. The tax lawyer in the Vanguard case, for example, has given up his law license because he views himself as unemployable. Ms. Munich does not appear to want to go so far.
In this light, the Delaware case is yet another chip in the attorney-client privilege, a sensible one perhaps.
The privilege is important because it allows for people to freely discuss their problems and receive good legal advice. But in the corporate context, it has always been an uneasy mix because the company is owned by its shareholders. If the corporation is doing wrong, the shareholders are the ones who are harmed when they bear the costs. The Delaware court decision sides with shareholders on this matter, allowing them to be the ones to decide whether there is wrong.
But even then, the court decision still requires that the shareholders keep what they find confidential unless the privilege is waived. For now, they can use the information only to decide whether to pursue a claim against the directors of Walmart for failing to adequately supervise the Mexican operations. And so we’ll have to wait to find out whether there is a claim from the Walmart lawyer documents.
But as we wait, perhaps the issue of Ms. Munich’s silence should be seen as part of a wider debate. Is it time to cut back privilege or even end it to prevent companies from hiding corporate crimes? In other words, should we let Ms. Munich and others finally speak?
Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of “Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal and the Private Equity Implosion.” E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @StevenDavidoff
Once a much-maligned piece of most guys' wardrobes, sweatpants have grown in popularity over the last couple of years as fashion labels have started to offer their takes on the gym-bag staple. Smart designers saw an opportunity to upgrade their loungewear offerings (no longer called "sweats,") and capture market share for clothes that wouldn't normally get past the front door. Sweatpants became slimmer and more creative, even mixing in patterns and like cable knit. More recently, tapered "joggers" have become popular among men looking to show off their expensive basketball shoes.
This spring, GQ officially declared that there are, in fact, sweatpants you can wear in public. High-end retailers like Neiman Marcus now carry designer sweatpants for men that cost hundreds of dollars.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that traditional athletic wear manufacturers would take notice of the trend, which is what Nike did with its Tech Fleece sweatpant, which have grown a cult following since they were released. The opening at the ankle of the pant, which retails for $110, is cuffed and slim, so it won't get caught on your shoes or drag around the floor of your apartment collecting dust. The pocket design is also smart: The large right pocket has a zipper with another, smaller pocket inside. This is great because sweatpants often have gigantic pockets that leave your wallet down by your knee, which won't happen with Nike's version. And the zip keeps items from falling out when you sit down.
The Tech Fleece pants have received rave reviews all around. Sneaker Report declared them "the most comfortable sweats in the world," and reviews of the pants on Nike's site are very positive. Men's style site Complex even actively covers when the pants are in stock, since they sell out so quickly.
All this buzz was enough to get me interested, and conveniently, Business Insider's office is right next to the 5th Avenue Nike store, so I recently walked over to see if they had any of the pants in stock. Mike Fish, who works at the store, told me that the pants sell so well that whenever a new shipment comes in, people buy several pairs, and then call their friends to tell them they're available. He also said that the pants are one of Nike's most popular items both domestically and internationally. I tried them on (Fish recommended going one size up from your usual) and immediately saw what the hype was all about. The fit from the ankle through the knee was slim, but flexible enough that running in them wouldn't be a problem. They fit well around my thighs and waist. The material was light but felt sturdy, and the pockets were functional.
Even so, I couldn't stomach the $110 price tag, which is around the same cost as two pairs of my favorite jeans. But if you really love lounging, these pants are worth it. And I bet they would go great with the best hoodie ever.
The Tech Fleece Pants are currently available both from Nike and Finishline.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nike-tech-fleece-sweatpants-2014-8#ixzz3BazxJl9T