Tsundoku is the act of acquiring books and not reading them.



Picture From BuzzFeed Article: 17 Spectacular Bookshops In Australia To See Before You Die

There’s A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books Than They Can Actually Read

Hello, fellow book hoarders.

Katherine Brooks

By Katherine Brooks

Apr 19, 2017, 05:00 PM EDT| Updated Apr 23, 2017

Book hoarding is a well-documented habit.

In fact, most literary types are pretty proud of the practice, steadfast in their desire to stuff shelves to maximum capacity. They’re not looking to stop hoarding, because parting with pieces of carefully curated piles is hard and stopping yourself from buying the next Strand staff pick is even harder. So, sorry Marie Kondo, but the books are staying.

The desire to buy more books than you can physically read in one human lifetime is actually so universal, there’s a specific word for it: tsundoku. Defined as the stockpiling of books that will never be consumed, the term is a Japanese portmanteau of sorts, combining the words “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”).

We were reminded of the term this week, when Apartment Therapy published a primer for those looking to complete book-hoarder rehab. Several blogs have written on the topic before, though, surfacing new and interesting details about the word so perfect for book nerds everywhere.

While most who’ve written on the topic of tsundoku use the word to describe the condition of book hoarding itself, The LA Times used the term as a noun that describes the person suffering from book stockpiling syndrome, or “a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor, on shelves, and assorted pieces of furniture.”

Tsundoku has no direct synonym in English, Oxford Dictionaries clarified in a blog post, defining the word as “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.” An informative subreddit provides even more context, explaining that “the tsundoku scale” ranges from just one unread book to a serious hoard. “Everyone is most likely to be ‘tsundokursed’ one way or the other,” it warns.

According to Quartz, tsundoku has quite a history. It originated as a play on words in the late 19th century, during what is considered the Meiji Era in Japan. At first, the “oku” in “tsunde oku” morphed into “doku,” meaning “to read,” but since “tsunde doku” is a bit of a mouthful, the phrase eventually condensed into “tsundoku.” And a word for reading addicts was born.

Speaking of addictions ― the term “bibliomania” emerged in England around the same time as “tsundoku.” Thomas Frognall Dibdin, an English cleric and bibliographer, wrote Bibliomania, or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance in the 1800s, outlining a fictional “neurosis” that prompted those suffering from it to obsessively collect books of all sorts.

Bibliomania has a dark past, documented more as a pseudo-illness that inspired real fear than a harmless knack for acquiring books we won’t have time to read. “Some collectors spent their entire fortunes to build their personal libraries,” Lauren Young wrote for Atlas Obscura. “While it was never medically classified, people in the 1800s truly feared bibliomania.”

Tsundoku seems to better capture the lighter side of compulsive book shopping, a word that evokes images of precariously stacked tomes one good breeze away from toppling over. While there’s no English equivalent quite as beautiful, no one’s stopping you from incorporating the Japanese word into your regular vocabulary.

“As with other Japanese words like karaoke, tsunami, and otaku, I think it’s high time that tsundoku enter the English language,” Open Culture wrote in 2014. “Now if only we can figure out a word to describe unread ebooks that languish on your Kindle. E-tsundoku? Tsunkindle?”

Portland was named by a coin flip.



How did Portland get its name? (And who doesn’t know the right answer?)


It’s a story that every third-grader in Oregon knows. As recounted by PDXHistory.com:

Portland got its name when Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove flipped a coin in 1845. Lovejoy was from Massachusetts and he wanted to name the new settlement Boston. Pettygrove was from Maine and wanted to name the new town Portland. Pettygrove won the coin toss two out of three times and the rest as they say is history.

As Travel Portland (formerly POVA) notes, it actually happened – and the historical penny is on display at the Oregon Historical Society. And just a month ago, the Oregonian’s history columnist said Asa Lovejoy “famously flipped the coin that gave Portland its name.”

Just about everyone in Oregon knows this story.

But do you know who does NOT know how Portland got its name?

From yesterday’s OPB News:

You heard that right. Gordon Smith believes that “Portland is called Portland because it’s a Port.”

No, Senator Smith, it’s not.

Portland is called Portland because the city’s founder, Francis Pettygrove, won a coin toss. Otherwise, we’d be Boston.

This is just embarrassing.

It’s illegal for supermarkets in France to waste food.

Post First Published: 10/08/2022 7:03 PM Post First Updated: 9/09/2022 11:22 AM


Food banks and other charities welcome law making large shops donate unsold food and stop spoiling items to deter foragersThe Guardian.Angelique Chrisafis In Paris. – Friday February 5 2016 03.03 AEDT.

France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks.

Under a law passed in 2016 unanimously by the French senate, as of Wednesday large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Charities will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat.

The law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. The campaign, which led to a petition, was started by the councillor Arash Derambarsh. In December a bill on the issue passed through the national assembly, having been introduced by the former food industry minister Guillaume Garot.

Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia until 2013.

Post First Published: 10/08/2022


Many Russians consider beer a soft drink – a light refresher that can be guzzled on the way to work or sucked down in great quantities before a picnic and a swim in the river.

Hard drinkers sniff at its weakness, as the saying goes: “Beer without vodka is like throwing money to the wind.”

Until 2013, the brew has been considered a foodstuff along with all other drinks under 10 per cent in strength. An array of international and local brands from Amstel to Efes and Baltika to Zhiguli could be bought from street kiosks or at railway stations, as well as from countless 24-hour corner shops, just like fruit juice or mineral water.

Morning or evening, people supping from cans or bottles are a common sight in parks, squares and on Moscow’s Metro.

The average Russian drinks the equivalent of 32 pints of pure alcohol per year and about 500,000 deaths annually are thought to be drink-related. That includes a large number of about 30,000 annual road accident deaths and of several thousand cases of drowning.

Vodka remains the most popular – and most damaging – alcoholic drink in Russia but beer has been steadily advancing on it in recent years.

The new measures restricting sales could be a blow to beer’s challenge.

Isaac Sheps, the chairman of the Union of Russian Brewers, claimed that cutting access to beer – including attempts by some regional governments to ban sales after 7pm or 8pm rather than 11pm – could be damaging to health.

“It will be tougher if you want to buy a beer on the way home from work, or pop down from your apartment,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“So you have to stock at home. And stocking beer is more problematic than stocking vodka. It’s bulky, it’s big, there’s no room for it in small homes. It’s much easier to buy two bottles of vodka and manage for your instant need for alcohol.

“So it’s quite ironic that this attempt to improve health and lower alcoholism could have the opposite effect and cause people to drink more harmful spirits.”

Apple’s iPhone has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer.



From: Apple’s iPhone Is Now Worth More Than All Of Microsoft. Forbes. By Tim Worstall. Aug 19, 2012,08:43am EDT

This is an entirely stunning statistic: Apple‘s iPhone sales are now worth more than all of Microsoft:

One Apple product, something that didn’t exist five years ago, has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer. More than Windows, Office, Xbox, Bing, Windows Phone, and every other product that Microsoft has created since 1975. In the quarter ended March 31, 2012, iPhone had sales of $22.7 billion; Microsoft Corporation, $17.4 billion.

Now when we say “worth” there’s a number of different things that we can mean. One way would be to try and measure the stock market value of the iPhone against all of Microsoft for example. But this isn’t something easily done: sure, we could make attempts at it but we’d not get very close to a decent result. Too much of the value that we ascribe to Apple is of the entire ecosystem, including the company’s reputation for style, for us to really be able to pull out separate market valuations for a specific product.

We might also try looking at profits: we know what those are for Microsoft but pulling them out for the iPhone alone would be difficult. Partly the problem above, we’re absolutely certain that the iPhone makes more profits as an Apple product than it would if exactly the same item were being sold by anyone else. Partly also how it influences the whole Apple ecosystem: what portion of iTunes profits should be ascribed to the iPhone, what to the iPad, what to entirely other systems?

While it’s not really correct, for “worth” implies a stock value not a flow value, and sales is a flow not a stock, the easiest of the available numbers to use is just that: compare the sales. And as Vanity Fair notes, the value of sales of iPhones is now greater than the value of the entirety of Microsoft’s sales.

And the thing is, that’s not really the most remarkable thing about Apple’s recent achievements. The truly strange thing is that they’ve managed to gain this level of sales while making software style margins on selling hardware. That’s the trick that no one else is managing at all.

There’s a Starbucks coffee cup in every scene of Fight Club.

Post First Published: 9/08/2022 7:26 PM Post First Updated: 3/09/2022 12:48 PM


Eagled-eyed fans have noticed the Starbucks cup Easter eggs hidden throughout Fight Club. But why are they there, and what do they mean?

From: Fight Club’s Starbucks Cup Easter Egg & Meaning Explained ScreenRant. BY NIALL GRAY UPDATED JUL 22, 2022

Spotting the Starbucks cup Easter egg in Fight Club has long been a hobby of many of the film’s most hardcore fans, but what exactly does it mean? Despite receiving early mixed responses, Fight Club has since become considered one of the greatest films of the ’90s. It’s a film that’s as deep as it is memorable, and as such, its fans have had fun closely examining every inch of the film for Easter eggs inserted by director David Fincher.

One such Easter egg is the film’s use of Starbucks coffee cups. In almost every single scene of the film, a cup can be spotted emblazoned with the Starbucks logo, and it’s something that adds an extra layer to the film to make it all the more rewatchable. In a film like Fight Club – and from a director like David Fincher – the cups are obviously more than just… well, cups. So what exactly do Fight Club‘s Starbucks cups mean?

From another director, it would be easy to dismiss Fight Club as little more than an excuse to have a shirtless Brad Pitt work out by beating other shirtless men senseless. From Fincher, though, there are always deeper themes, and his intense attention to detail is something that always bleeds through into his movies. Fight Club‘s Starbucks Easter egg is a prime example of this, as Fincher clearly went to considerable lengths to hide the cups in each scene of the film. By having the Starbucks logo so regularly and so subtly placed throughout the film, Fincher actually highlights Fight Club‘s point about consumerism.

From another director, it would be easy to dismiss Fight Club as little more than an excuse to have a shirtless Brad Pitt work out by beating other shirtless men senseless. From Fincher, though, there are always deeper themes, and his intense attention to detail is something that always bleeds through into his movies. Fight Club‘s Starbucks Easter egg is a prime example of this, as Fincher clearly went to considerable lengths to hide the cups in each scene of the film. By having the Starbucks logo so regularly and so subtly placed throughout the film, Fincher actually highlights Fight Club‘s point about consumerism.

Hiding so many cups in plain sight points out the way in which the audience is conditioned not to notice product placement. The way in which the film criticizes modern society has actually led many to label Fight Club the perfect Joker origin story, and its Starbucks cup Easter egg is yet another layer to the film that furthers its societal critique. The specific use of Starbucks may seem like the director has a personal vendetta against the coffee chain, but speaking with EmpireFincher actually said of Fight Club‘s Starbucks cups:

“We had a lot of fun using that — there are Starbucks cups everywhere, in every shot. I don’t have anything personal against Starbucks. I think they’re trying to do a good thing. They’re just too successful.”

The Starbucks cup Easter egg makes Fight Club even more rewatchable and makes for an interesting inclusion in one of David Fincher’s and Brad Pitt’s best movies. Like with all of Fincher’s films, it’s a testament to the director’s attention to detail and willingness to put the finest of points on his film’s deeper themes and symbolism. Not only is it a subtle dig at consumerism, but Fight Club‘s Starbucks cup Easter egg is also a fun addition to an excellent film.

Read More: Fight Club’s Starbucks Cup Easter Egg & Meaning Explained

While shooting “The Blues Brothers” movie, they had a budget for cocaine.



We had a budget in the movie for cocaine for night shoots,” Dan Aykroyd tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Ned Zeman of the careening, madcap production of John Landis’s 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers, in which he starred alongside John Belushi. “Everyone did it, including me. Never to excess, and not ever to where I wanted to buy it or have it. [But] John, he just loved what it did. It sort of brought him alive at night—that superpower feeling where you start to talk and converse and figure you can solve all the world’s problems.” From the impulsive and inspired 1979 movie pitch (“John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?”), through the torturous journey of a project by turns musical, comedy, buddy movie, and bloated vanity proj­ect, Zeman chronicles the triumph of a film (and its stars) that often seemed beyond salvation.

In the feature, which appears in the January issue of V.F., Zeman uncovers the wild antics alternately plaguing and fueling the production:

The DEA spends an average of $4.20 for every marijuana plant they uproot.

Post First Published: 9/08/2022 Post First Edited: 17 September 2022


From: The government spent $18 million destroying marijuana plants last year – By Christopher Ingraham. Washington Post. April 15, 2016 at 10:18 AM EDT.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s controversial cannabis eradication program continued apace in 2015, new numbers released by the administration show. In 2015, local, state and federal authorities uprooted roughly 4.1 million cultivated marijuana plants in all 50 states, down slightly from the haul of 4.3 million plants in 2014.

Federal spending on the program remained at $18 million dollars, consistent with levels seen in previous years. That works out to a cost-per-plant of $4.42, up slightly from a cost of $4.20 per plant in 2014 (yes, really).

For fiscal year 2014, the DEA estimated that the asset forfeiture program provided $18 million dollars to fund the cannabis eradication program. At 4.3 million marijuana plants destroyed, that works out to a cost of about $4.19 per plant. For simplicity’s sake, let’s round that number to the nearest dime and call it $4.20.

The DEA’s program provides funding to 128 state and local law enforcement agencies to aggressively search for, seize and destroy illegal marijuana grows across the country. Much of the money for the program comes from the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund, a controversial program in its own right. In many states, the eradication program money is used to fund aerial operations involving helicopters scouring the countryside for marijuana. Sometimes, overzealous or untrained officers seize perfectly legal plants, like okra, mistaking them for marijuana.

Last year, a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tried to pass legislation to redirect marijuana eradication funds to perhaps more productive uses, such as domestic violence prevention programs. The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and Lieu is dismayed to see the program continue. “Marijuana needs to be removed from Schedule I classification, and DEA should stop this wasteful program,” he said via email.

Indeed, eradication programs continued last year in states such as Washington and Oregon that have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use. While full state breakdowns aren’t yet available, a DEA spokesman said that just under 36,000 marijuana plants were destroyed in Washington last year at a cost to federal taxpayers of about $950,000, or roughly $26 per plant.

The DEA did note, however, that at least two states declined to accept federal eradication funds last year: Alaska and Colorado, where marijuana is now legal. Those states conducted their own enforcement efforts against illegal marijuana grows.

In many ways, the federal marijuana eradication program is a holdover from the earlier days of the drug war. Four states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult use, several other states are hoping to do so this year, and a growing chorus of researcherslawmakersdoctors and the general public is calling on the federal government to change course on marijuana policy.

“It makes zero sense for the federal government to continue to spend taxpayer dollars on cannabis eradication at a time when states across the country are looking to legalize marijuana,” Lieu said. “I will continue to fight against DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in Congress and work to redirect these funds to worthwhile programs.”

Jonah Hill snorted so much fake cocaine while filming “The Wolf of Wall Street” that he got bronchitis.


From: Jonah Hill: ‘Snorting fake cocaine in a Scorsese movie is pretty iconic’ (The Guardian Interview With Hermione Hoby, 2014)


Being cast in The Wolf of Wall Street, Scorsese’s biopic about Jordan Belfort, the New York stockbroker multimillionaire played by Leonardo DiCaprio, has evidently been nothing short of a dream. “[People] can diss me all they want on a blog or in a magazine and I’ll just be like: ‘Whatever, man. Scorsese thinks I’m awesome,'” Hill recently told an American journalist. He tells me he was terrified of jinxing his audition for Donnie, the orthodontically challenged, pastel-shirted degenerate who becomes Belfort’s sidekick after meeting him in a diner, so he didn’t tell anyone. It’s a sterling part, with Donnie being drawn into a life of excess and greed, and in many ways it’s Hill’s film, despite the actor taking on another supporting role (Moneyball paired him with Brad Pitt and 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum). “Donnie’s very entertaining,” says Hill, “because there’s no impulse control, no morality at all. He does whatever he feels like that second without considering anyone else. He’s just pretty vile.”

The film itself has a similar feel: relentlessly entertaining but brazenly, outrageously amoral. I tell him watching it felt a bit like eating a whole chocolate cake; delicious at first, but you soon start to feel sick. Hill nods. “We had orgy scenes and shooting those was pretty repulsive – naked people in a confined space for 18 hours a day. It was not sexy at all.”

And then there were the avalanches of “cocaine” – vitamin D powder hoovered up by Hill and DiCaprio line after cigar-fat line in every scene. “I snorted so much of that stuff that I got, like, bronchitis!” Hill laughs. “My lungs were filled with powder and I got really sick for a month and a half. But, I mean, I’d do it again in a second. The first time you snort fake cocaine in a Scorsese movie you feel like… I don’t know!” He winces. “I got embarrassed because I said that it’s every actor’s dream. I guess it’s not, but to me, it’s a pretty iconic thing to do. “

There’s a moment where he lurches in slow motion around DiCaprio’s shoulder at a pool table, quaaluded to the point of collapse. “And it’s just so cool-looking!” he pants. “Scorsese’s the person who does that better than anyone in the world. I was so excited to get to be shot, in slo-mo, doing drugs in one of his movies.”

He talks fondly of DiCaprio “physically tormenting” him in many of their fight scenes. But Hill got his own back. In a scene where their characters share a sushi lunch, Hill is scripted to eat the last piece of sushi. “He has to ask whether I’m going to eat the last piece,” says Hill. “But instead of saying my scripted yes, I decided to say no. And I kept saying no,” he laughs, to the point where they did take after take and DiCaprio was forced to keep eating until he genuinely threw up. “It’s so unfortunate that’s what makes me happy,” Hill says. “I guess that’s my little speckle of Donnie.”

If there’s a speckle of Donnie, it’s hard to see it beneath the nice young Jewish boy who took his mother as his date to the Oscars. This is Sharon Lyn, a costume designer, married to Richard Feldstein, a tour accountant for acts like Madonna and Guns N’ Roses. Hill is their middle child; he has a younger sister and an elder brother, Jordan Feldstein, manager to Maroon 5 and Robin Thicke.

Hill grew up in LA, but it was New York that afforded him his first break. While studying at Bard College he’d put on small plays in a Manhattan dive bar and it was through these that he befriended Dustin Hoffman’s kids. He then so impressed their dad with prank calls and improvised comedy that Hoffman engineered an audition for  Huckabees, the 2004 David O Russell film. Hill got the role but didn’t work again for three years. He’d audition for TV sitcoms, but “I would always get in trouble because I would rewrite all their material because it wasn’t very good. I was 18 and I was like: ‘Oh, they’re going to be so happy – I’m making their material better!'”

Then in 2007 Judd Apatow cast him in Superbad as a hornily deranged teenager alongside a meek Michael Cera, and everything changed. He recalls coming out of his tiny LA apartment, bleary from playing video games, and looking up to see an enormous billboard with his face on it. He owes everything, he insists – the Oscar nomination, getting cast by Scorsese – to Apatow and Seth Rogen: “They are and were so amazing to me.”

I ask him about the Oscars ceremony. Who had more fun, him or his mother?

“She did!” he shouts. “She was sitting next to Brad Pitt’s mom; she was having the time of her life. Owen Wilson’s mom and her were talking all night! All the moms were there. It was a big thing, the moms. I love having her around.”

So much so that he even invited her on set for True Story, a drama out later this year based on the real-life relationship between the journalist Michael Finkel, played by Hill, and Christian Longo, an FBI most-wanted murderer played by James Franco. The film was shot out in the snow in a harsh New York winter and was, he says, “honestly depressing”. “So I was like: ‘Hey Mom, do you want to come hang out for a few months so we can enjoy this time? I miss my family so much.'”

True Story will be Hill’s 30th film, but despite the credits and accolades, the third most popular Google search word for Hill remains “weight”. Today he’s not the rotund of Superbad nor quite the skinny of post- Moneyball; he looks tall and broad-chested, well-groomed, with close-cropped hair.

Did he feel it was important to step away from comedy? “It’s not like I don’t like comedy and don’t like making people laugh – I truly enjoy it. But I realised once I got success in that world, it was… well, I love all different kinds of films. I love dramatic films as much as comedic films. And so when Superbad came out I made a really conscious effort not to star in another film until it was something that presented some sort of different challenge. The reason is, I won’t get better if I just keep working on things I’ve done already.”

Maybe, but it is the non-serious stuff he’s loved for – more recently, the feckless overgrown kid of a cop in 21 Jump Street and the burlesque version of himself in This is the End, where, mid-apocalypse, he begins a prayer with this line: “Dear God, it’s me, Jonah Hill… from Moneyball.”

Not that God needed the reminder – Hill is now pretty much a household name.

“Is that true? In England?” he says, eyes popping happily.

Does he enjoy being famous?

“I never complain about any facet of celebrity or anything because it would be ridiculous to go be in movies and then complain that people know who you are, right?  I don’t really like being famous, it’s not something I ever wanted, but I wouldn’t trade being in movies for anything. And getting people knowing who you are and liking your films allows you to make films.”

He recounts being at a urinal a year or so ago and having the guy next to him lean in, swing his arm round him and snap a selfie. “I’m like: there’s no more vulnerable, private space! But I’ll never complain. I just want to make movies that I want to go see. I’m the luckiest guy ever, because I would go see those movies opening night!”

I believe him. The way he enthuses about film is guileless, like a kid. He will, however, be celebrating his 30th birthday a few days after we meet. He jokes: “It’s OK, my life’s over, that’s fine” but also says that turning 30 means feeling “a lot more confident about not doing things, you know? This is the first time ever that I’ve felt I’m not going to take a role unless it’s something I’m really passionate about and it’s really going to challenge me. When I decide to play a part, I care about it as much as anyone could care about anything. I started when I was really young and I was always the youngest person in the room. Now I just feel like I have a seat at the table in some way. Respectfully. You know?

“The goal was to work with Martin Scorsese, and I got to do it and that’s all I wanted in my creative life. That was my dream.”

 The Wolf of Wall Street opens on 17 January

More on The Wolf of Wall Street

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In 2013, a fake tweet temporarily wiped out US$130 billion off the stock market.



From : How Does One Fake Tweet Cause a Stock Market Crash? By Christopher Matthews April 24, 2013.

And Fake Tweet Sees $136.5 Billion Wiped Off S&P

At 1:07 p.m. on Tuesday, the Twitter feed of the Associated Press told us that Barack Obama had been injured in an explosion at the White House. The tweet was fake — the product of a hack — but given the events in Boston last week, the news spread like wildfire, garnering more that 4,000 retweets.

The AP quickly addressed the situation, suspending its Twitter account, and alerting readers through associated accounts that the tweet describing an explosion at the White House was the result of a hack.  No harm, no foul, right?

Well, not exactly. According to the Financial Times, that one tweet sent shock waves through the stock market — causing the S&P 500 to decline 0.9% — enough to wipe out $130 billion in stock value in a matter of seconds. The market quickly recovered that value, but the breakneck pace at which the stock market tumbled reminded many people of the infamous 2010 “flash crash,” or last year’s crisis at Knight Capital Management, in which a computer glitch cost the firm $440 million and nearly sent it into bankruptcy.

(MORE: High Frequency Trading: Wall Street’s Doomsday Machine?)

Both of these events were caused by the proliferation of high-frequency trading, or the practice of Wall Street firms using high-powered computers to execute thousands or millions of trades per second, making miniscule profits — that add up in a big way — on each trade.

Though nobody knows for sure what exactly precipitated Tuesday’s volatility, many market watchers blamed high-frequency traders, and more specifically the variety that use algorithms to comb through the internet at lightning-quick speeds, actually “reading” news items and tweets, and making trades based off of that information.

How do these computer programs do this? According to Irene Aldrige, managing partner and quantitative portfolio manager at ABLE Alpha Trading, and author of a new book on high frequency trading, the “method is actually quite simplistic.” High frequency traders compile a list of news sources like SEC filings, business publications, and, yes, Twitter, and tell their computer programs to comb through those sources looking for specific words or phrases like “bankruptcy” or “merger” that signal something about the broader market or specific companies. Obviously, not every instance of a negative word in a story is going to mean that a specific company, or the broader market, is going to lose value, but these programs are able to filter through so much information that in the aggregate, these methods are often money-makers for HFT firms.

(MORE: Are Average Investors Getting Bilked by Wall Street Supercomputers?)

As for Tuesday’s incident, it’s possible that many firms had the words “White House,” “explosion,” or “Barack Obama” in their databases as key words that could trigger selling given the right circumstances. According to Aldridge, “If a trusted news source with a lot of followers like the Associated Press sends out those words close together that may have triggered some selling.” Aldridge says the fact that so many people re-tweeted the message — many of whom were trusted journalists themselves — would likely make the news appear even more trustworthy to these bots.

In the grand scheme of things, Tuesday’s mini-crash was not a big deal. “No long-term investors lost any money,” says Aldridge. The market recovered almost instantaneously, and an optimist may look at the event as an example of high-frequency algorithms behaving in a more orderly manner than they have in the past.

For others however, the event proves that high-frequency traders are nothing more than a fair-weather friend. Proponents of high-frequency trading argue that the preponderance of activity they bring to the marketplace adds liquidity and brings down trading costs. There is probably some truth to this argument, as trading costs have never been lower. At the same time, Tuesday shows that when the going gets tough, these computers tend to sell quickly and run for the hills, actually reducing liquidity when the market needs it most.

In the end however, high-frequency trading isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Twitter. Federal regulators are in the process of developing new rules to reign in volatility caused by trading algorithms, and that will be an ongoing process that will probably take years. But Tuesday’s mini-crash also teaches us that Twitter and news organizations themselves have to be even more vigilant about their own security. After all, it’s not just humans who are reading, and reacting, to information anymore.

(MORE: 10 Best and Worst Sports-Team Relocations in History)

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