TIME movies

Netflix to Release First Original Movie

US Online Streaming Giant Netflix : Illustration
The Netflix logo is seen on Sept. 19, 2014, in Paris Pascal Le Segretain—Getty

Skip the line — or just skip the theater altogether

Netflix is planning to release its first original movie, a sequel to Ang Lee’s martial-arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so charting new territory for the Internet-streaming firm.

Netflix said Monday that it is partnering with independent producer the Weinstein Co. to release Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend to all subscribers on Aug. 28, 2015. The film, directed by Hong Kong’s Yuen Wo-ping, will also premiere at the same time on some global IMAX theaters — but it will not hit mainstream cinemas, Netflix said.

The deal between the streaming service and the production house threatens to upset to the traditional model of releasing movies: put them out first in cinemas and then wait months before making them available on DVD and streaming services, including Netflix. Indeed, Netflix said the film is the first of several feature movies it has in the pipeline.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, told the New York Times that the deal would prove to Hollywood that moviegoers are consuming films in new ways — and are also ready for a new way of releasing films.

“What I am hoping is that it will be a proof point that the sky doesn’t fall,” he said. “These are two different experiences, like going to a football game and watching a football game on TV.”

Netflix, which this month expanded into the European market, has already released its own original series, including hits like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. The company releases all episodes of each show all at once, letting consumers binge-watch rather than suffice with weekly doses.

“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” said Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Co., in a statement.

Netflix’s new film will star Michelle Yeoh, who will reprise her role from the original film as warrior Yu Shu Lien. Donnie Yen, of the Ip Man franchise, will star as Silent Wolf.

TIME

Are You Making as Much Money as Your Friends?

Use this calculator to find out

The latest Census data on American incomes drove home a troubling fact: people aren’t making as much as they once did. The median household income in the United States in 2013 was $51,939, down 8 percent from 2007 when adjusted for inflation. Though the recession technically ended several years ago, large numbers of people continue to suffer from flat wages and rising prices.

But while the middle class continues to suffer, many slices of the population are doing better. Using individual-level Census data for 2008 to 2012—15 million records in total—TIME crunched the numbers for every demographic by gender, age, education and marital status.

The following calculator will tell you how your salary stacks up and how that’s changed over time. (The information you enter is not recorded. In fact, it never leaves your computer.)

These charts show individual personal income—money respondents received from any source—and only include people who worked full-time in a given year. (While unemployment was a tremendous scourge during the recession and its aftermath, including it here would confound an analysis of how income has changed.)

Since 2008, incomes have increased by 5.1 percent among all surveyed, while inflation rate over that time was 6.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic figures. (In other words, if your income increased by less than 6.6 percent, you lost purchasing power over that period.) But not all groups are falling behind. Married women between ages 41-50 with professional degrees saw a 16.6 percent growth in income over the past five years, the largest gain of any subset of the population for which there were at least 1000 respondents in the data. At the opposite end of the spectrum, men between 22 and 25 with some college education but no degree saw their income fall by 16.7 percent.

Gender

Women are recovering from the recession slightly faster than men, though men make considerably more overall.

2008 2012 Change
Women $31,000 $32,500 4.8%
Men $43,000 $46,000 4.7%

Age

Americans in their 20s saw the highest cut to their salaries since 2008.

2008 2012 Change
18-21 $12,200 $12,000 -1.6%
22-25 $23,000 $21,000 -8.7%
26-30 $32,000 $32,000 0%
30-35 $38,000 $39,500 3.9%
36-40 $41,000 $42,100 2.7%
41-50 $43,000 $45,000 4.7%
51-64 $45,000 $46,000 2.2%
65+ $41,400 $46,000 11.1%

Education

Those with less education have recovered the slowest, if at all.

2008 2012 Change
Less than high school $23,000 $22,300 -3%
High school or equivalent $30,000 $30,000 0%
Some college, no degree $33,200 $33,000 -0.6%
Associates $40,000 $40,000 0%
Bachelors $50,000 $53,000 6%
Masters $65,000 $69,000 6.2%
Professional degree $100,000 $102,100 2.1%
Doctorate $88,000 $90,000 2.3%

Marital Status

Single Americans are generally younger than other demographics shown here. This is consistent with median income changes by age.

2008 2012 Change
Single (never Married) $26,400 $26,200 -0.8%
Married $43,000 $45,000 4.7%
Separated or Divorced $37,000 $38,300 3.5%
Widowed $34,000 $36,400 7.1%

Methodology

The inputs for the calculator are determined by Census categories for gender, age, educational attainment, and marital status. The data was extracted from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series project (full citation below). IPUMS aggregates individual-level responses from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an annual sampling of 1 percent of the population. The complete codebook for the extract, which can be used to recreate the complete dataset, is available here.

The analysis is limited to those who were at least 18 years old and coded as a “5” or a “6” in the WKSWORK2 column, meaning they worked at least 48 weeks of the previous 12 months. To allow for a sufficient sample size, individual years of age were bucketed into the ranges displayed in the interactive. Some similar educational levels and marital statuses were also combined.

Once the data was bucketed and grouped by unique combinations of demographic traits—married women from 51-64 with an associate’s degree, for example—we took the median of all of their incomes. This involved first accounting for the fact that not every person has equal weight in the sample. IPUMS provides a PERWT variable. After adding each person to the pool a number of times equal to his or her statistical weight, we took the median of the pooled values. In almost all cases, this “weighted median” was very similar to a naïve median calculated by considering each respondent to have equal weight.

Figures were then spot checked by replicating this process from the raw data in two different computational platforms, R and Mathematica. Any subpopulation with fewer than 50 respondents is not included.

Citation

Miriam King, Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Sarah Flood, Katie Genadek, Matthew B. Schroeder, Brandon Trampe, and Rebecca Vick. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 3.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.

TIME Autos

Harley-Davidson Puts the Brakes on 105,000 Hogs

The Harley-Davidson logo is seen on the gas tank of a new motorcycle at Oakland Harley-Davidson on July 19, 2011 in Oakland, California. Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson reported an unexpected rise in second quarter profits and their first U.S. sales increase sonce 2006 with earnings of $190.6 million, or 81 cents per share, compared to $71.2 million, or 30 cents per share, one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The motorcycles have a problem with the clutch

Hog riders may need to take a look at their bikes, because the recall bug has bitten the motorcycle world in a big way.

Harley-Davidson announced this weekend that it is recalling more than 105,000 motorcycles for issues related to the clutch, plus 1,384 bikes for potential fuel tank issues.

There have been 19 reported crashes as a result of the clutch issue, though no deaths and only three minor injuries have resulted.

This isn’t the first time the American motorcycle brand has been hit by a recall this year. Harley recalled more than 66,000 bikes in July, citing possible problems with the front wheel.

Following the recall scandal that has plagued General Motors for much of this year, auto manufacturers are being extra cautious when it comes to recalls in an effort to avoid any allegations of not taking action fast enough.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME deals

DreamWorks Animation Mulls Selling to a Japan Bank

Shrek Dreamworks
Dreamworks

Studio’s board reportedly met last week to consider the $3.4 billion bid

DreamWorks Animation, the studio owned by film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, may have unexpectedly found a buyer in Japan’s SoftBank.

SoftBank, the telecommunications company owned by billionaire Masayoshi Son, offered $32 per share for DreamWorks, a 43% premium to the stock’s closing price Friday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The DreamWorks board held an emergency meeting last week to consider the $3.4 billion bid, though no official decision has yet to be made.

At this stage, SoftBank is only in talks with the animation company. The deal has not been formally considered by senior executives and at this point is unlikely to be finalized, sources told Bloomberg News.

DreamWorks CEO Katzenberg had previously looked for a buyer for the animation studio. His company has struggled at the box-office in recent years, losing money on such offerings as “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which required a $57 million write down. To try to cover losses on the film side, Katzenberg has invested heavily in the television business, including purchasing online video network Awesomeness TV.

SoftBank has significant financial stores to afford the purchase, especially after Alibaba Group went public on Sept. 19. The company holds more than 30% of Alibaba’s shares, which have a market value worth more than $70 billion.

The Japanese telecommunications company has been looking to expand in U.S. media and technology sectors. SoftBank failed to close the deal on its offer to buy T-Mobile US because of regulatory conflicts.

DreamWorks recent expansion into China could make the studio more valuable to SoftBank, especially given its close ties to Alibaba.

Katzenberg helped create Oriental DreamWorks in 2012 in partnership with two other Chinese media companies. The China-based studio produces local-language animation and will co-produce “Kung Fu Panda 3″ in partnership with U.S. DreamWorks.

Alibaba has invested in media assets, including China’s largest online video site Youku Tudou, and is developing a streaming service with California-based Lions Gate.

Katzenberg would likely stay on with DreamWorks. Hollywood Reporter says he would stay for five years to head the studio after an acquisition by SoftBank.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Video Games

The Xbox One Just Launched in China and It’s Super Expensive

CHINA-US-GAMING-MICROSOFT-XBOX
A customer holds Microsoft's Xbox One game console limited edition in an electronic shop in Shanghai on September 29, 2014. Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

The first foreign game console has officially landed in China, after a nearly decade-and-a-half ban.

The Xbox One launched in China today, September 29. It’s a vaguely historic moment, as it’s the first foreign games console to be officially allowed in the country in 14 years. This, after a six-day delay for unknown reasons.

People actually lined up for the box, says Kotaku. That’s despite the price tag of 3,699 yuan, or about $600 — and that’s without Kinect, mind you. The Kinect-less version of the system in the U.S. goes for $399, same as Sony’s PlayStation 4. The Chinese are paying 50% more, in other words.

When the Wall Street Journal wrote about that jacked-up price this summer, it noted the obvious: things like tariffs and exchange rates play a role, so that’s part of it. China’s version of the Xbox One comes with a two-year warranty (we get just one here), six months of Xbox Live Gold (as opposed to 30 days here, and membership is $60 a year), plus a few free games (Powerstar Golf, Neverwinter Online) and discounts on others.

But that still doesn’t explain the 50% hike, even when you take into account disparities between the U.S. and China in household incomes, the level of debt to average income, the number of homeowners with mortgages and so forth. The in-betweeners must be taking a generous slice.

The Xbox One was supposed to go live in China six days ago, September 23. Why Microsoft delayed is anyone’s guess (not to rethink launch pricing, apparently). The challenge Microsoft faces from here is competing with the black market, where foreign-wrought game consoles have been on sale throughout the ban for considerably less moola.

Side musing: I’ve never understood why there’s so much English on the packaging of products sold in countries where English is spoken by a fraction of the populace (less than 1% in China). English is the third most populous language in the world, not the first. But still: “Limited Edition,” in great big West Germanic letters (instead of the Chinese equivalent, which Google Translate tells me should be something like “限量版“) on the side of that Limited Edition Xbox One in the shot above.

TIME Advertising

Facebook Takes Its Ad Game to the Rest of the Web

Facebook Privacy Flaw Exposes Private Photos
The Facebook logo is reflected in the eyeglasses of a user in San Francisco on Dec. 7, 2011. Bloomberg/Getty Images

In a challenge to online advertising leader Google

Facebook is set to share data on its millions of users with companies looking to sell targeted ads outside the company’s social network, taking its ad business to the rest of the Internet in a major challenge to Google.

The company on Monday will launch a new ad platform dubbed Atlas, through which it promises to deliver “people-based marketing,” especially mobile devices. The idea is to leverage Facebook’s vast troves of data on its users to deliver targeted demographics to advertisers and provide metrics on results. Facebook is already the second-largest advertising platform on the web.

“People spend more time on more devices than ever before, Erik Johnson, who is heading Atlas, wrote in a blog post Monday. “This shift in consumer behavior has had a profound impact on a consumer’s path to purchase, both online and in stores. And today’s technology for ad serving and measurement—cookies—are flawed when used alone. Cookies don’t work on mobile, are becoming less accurate in demographic targeting and can’t easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across browsers and devices or into the offline world.

“People-based marketing solves these problems,” Johnson added.

Atlas has already signed up with the advertising giant Omnicom Group to test automated, targeted ads, starting with campaigns for Pepsi and Intel.

MONEY Food & Drink

7 Reasons Our Coffee Habit Is Costing More These Days

dollar sign made out of coffee beans
Andrew Unangst—Getty Images

In a relatively short period of time, the American coffee habit has gotten a lot more expensive.

Monday, September 29, is National Coffee Day, when restaurant and coffee chains around the country are giving out free (or extremely cheap) cups of Joe to the masses. The day is quite the exception, however, given how as a nation we are spending more and more on coffee.

Here are 7 reasons why:

We’re drinking coffee earlier in life. A study published this year by S&D Coffee & Tea shows that on average, younger millennials start drinking coffee at age 15, while older millennials picked up the habit at 17. Typical members of Gen X, meanwhile, started drinking coffee at 19.

More of us drink coffee regularly. U.S. coffee consumption rose 5% in 2013, according to a National Coffee Association survey, meaning that today 83% of the adult population drinks coffee; 75% have coffee at least once a week.

And we’re drinking higher-priced coffee at that. Data from 2014 shows that 34% of Americans drink gourmet coffee daily, an increase of 3% over last year. Young people in particular are willing to pay higher prices for coffee: In a new PayPal poll, 18% of people age 18 to 34 said they are willing to pay more than $3 per cup, compared with just 8% of those age 50 to 64.

We eat breakfast outside the home more often. Our fast-moving, on-the-go culture has been blamed as a reason for declining sales of cereal and milk, as more Americans are skipping the traditional breakfast at home and opting for foods that can be eaten on the run, like Pop Tarts and fast food via the drive-thru. In fact, breakfast has become enormously important to quick-serve restaurants because it’s the one mealtime experiencing strong growth lately. Coffee purchased at a restaurant or on the go at a convenience store or café is always more expensive than coffee brewed and drunk at home.

One word: Keurig. “In 2002, the average price of a coffee maker was about $35,” a recent post at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management blog stated. “By 2013, that number had risen to around $90.” Truth be told, it’s still easy to find a coffee maker for $35 or even less, it’s just that the type of machine—the traditional kind that brews ground coffee by the pot—is no longer typical. It’s been replaced by the pricier single-cup brewer that came into the mainstream over the last decade thanks to the Keurig company. For many consumers, the speed and convenience of such machines outweighs the premium one must pay beyond the plain old-fashioned coffee maker. Some 1.7 million single-cup Keurig brewers were sold in the second quarter of 2014, an increase of 200,000 over the same period a year before.

Plus, K-Cups themselves are pricier. It’s not just the single-cup machines that cost more—the cups themselves do too. The price per single-serve K-Cup pod varies widely depending on the style of roast, whether you’re buying a small pack or stocking up in bulk, and how strategically you shop for deals. But no matter how good you are at snagging deals, you’ll almost always pay more for coffee pods than you will for old-fashioned ground or whole bean coffee. One price-comparison study conducted a couple of years ago indicated that K-Cup coffee cost more than $50 per pound, roughly four times the cost of a bag of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts beans. What’s more, K-Cups are subject to a 9% across-the-board price hike in early November. (Side note: Mother Jones and others have pointed out that single-use K-Cups cost more and are worse for the environment than recyclable pod filters, though Keurig Green Mountain has plans to make all K-Cup pods fully recyclable by 2020.)

All coffee is simply getting more expensive. A long-lasting drought in Brazil (the world’s biggest producer of coffee beans) has pushed global coffee prices to near-record highs, and the market may be affected for years to come. Already this year, java junkies have faced price hikes from coffee brands such as Starbucks, Folgers, Maxwell House, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Interestingly, even as coffee has gotten more expensive and economic growth hasn’t exactly been sizzling in recent years, Starbucks sales have outpaced lower-priced competitors Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. What does that show us? For the most part, coffee lovers are passionate about their caffeinated beverages and aren’t going to trade down to what they view as an inferior cup of Joe, even if doing so would save a couple of bucks here and there.

TIME White House

Larry Summers: Obama and Clinton Are Very Different Bosses

The current president is a stickler for punctuality and order, the former Treasury Secretary tells the Nantucket Project. But Clinton? Not so much

“There are differences in working for President Clinton and President Obama,” said Larry Summers in a panel on global finance at the Nantucket Project on Sunday. Summers ought to know: he served as Secretary of the Treasury under the first and Director of the National Economic Council under the second.

“If you have a 10 o’clock meeting with President Obama,” he says, “you should be in your office at 10 minutes before 10, because he might be running early. If you have a 10 o’clock meeting with President Clinton, it’s really okay if you cruise in at 10:05, because he’s not going to be ready until 10:20.”

The differences in meeting styles go beyond punctuality, Summers continued: “If you’re meeting with President Obama, if it’s a 30-minute meeting, at 10:26 his assistant will bring him an index card telling him about this next meeting, and at 10:30, you will be gone. That 30-minute meeting you were supposed to have with President Clinton that was supposed to begin at 10 and actually began at 10:20? At 10:50, he is just warming up.”

Number 42 and Number 44 differ in their approach to meeting prep as well. If Summers gave Obama a memo in advance, he says, “the probability that he would have read the memo was 99.5 percent, and if you attempted to summarize the memo, he would politely but very firmly say, “Larry, I read the memo.” President Clinton? “He might have read the memo. He might not have read the memo. He kind of welcomed your summary.”

While Obama focused on making decisions based on the information his advisers presented, Clinton wasn’t afraid to give his advisers some food for thought. Doing an impression of sorts, Summers recalled the way he’d go off on a tangent: “Larry, you’re talking about the unbanked, people without bank accounts. There was a guy, great guy, used to be mayor of Memphis, he had a program going to help the unbanked—beautiful wife—ran for Congress, I don’t know what happened to him, great guy, you really should look into that program to use unemployed youth to install ATMs.”

Though one was more disciplined and the other more freeform, he said both were effective leaders by staying true to their own styles.

Summers also came to Obama’s defense in the forum when Meredith Whitney, the former stock analyst turned hedge fund manager who correctly predicted the subprime crisis in 2007, said that we’re now in a period of over-regulation.

If it’s really true that there’s a bureaucratic “war on corporations,” Summers asked, then “why is it that the market value as measured by the stock market of American corporate business has grown more rapidly in the five and a half years of this presidential administration than any other administration since 1932? … why is it that corporate profits as a share of our economy are larger than they have ever been before?”

“It’s just an odd kind of war in terms of the results.”

TIME Money

PayPal Co-Founder Takes Aim at Credit Card Industry With New Startup

Yelp Chairman Max Levchin Creates New Mobile Payments Startup Affirm
Max Levchin speaks during a Bloomberg West television interview in San Francisco on Thursday, March 28, 2013. David Paul Morris—Bloomberg / Getty Images

“You have to have a credit card. You have to use it. You are going to get screwed and you know it."

The most miserable year of Max Levchin’s life began in 2002, shortly after he sold off his ownership stake in PayPal to eBay for an estimated $34 million. “At the time, I had a fascination with the color yellow,” Levchin told TIME. He would arrive to work in a yellow car, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and hole up in his executive suite, blending in with the all-yellow office paraphernalia. His former direct reports, who numbered in the hundreds, shuffled past the door, “staring at me every morning,” he recalls, “as I would sort of mope around going, ‘My baby’s now been sold to a giant company’ while wearing a yellow clown suit.”

He was 27 years old, flush with cash and adrift in an ocean of downtime. If that sounds like your idea of heaven, then you’re no Levchin. “I literally — I think I started hearing voices,” he says. His girlfriend left him. He wrote 10,000 lines of code, a “minuscule amount,” he insists. His friend persuaded him to take a scenic drive along the Oregon coast. “We saw a lot of very beautiful places,” he says, “and I don’t remember any of it other than the fact that Oregon is a really messed up state, economically.”

Nothing could lift his spirits, short of launching another company, which he did in 2004. It was called Slide, and it was a fun ride down the chute toward another sale in 2010 to Google for $182 million, Levchin says.

Today, he knows better than to slip back into the interminable boredom of easy living. He’s in the thick of a third venture, Affirm, and to sop up the last waning moments of his spare time, he also oversees an investment fund called HVF, short for “Hard, Valuable and Fun.” “Fun” has a very peculiar definition in this case — referring to any massive, globe-spanning problem that Levchin might get to noodle over in his scrappy new office in downtown San Francisco.

Affirm’s 32 employees have set up shop on a quiet street lined by venerable brick buildings, some of which withstood the great fire and earthquake of 1906 and have the commemorative plaques to prove it. Here, Levchin is thriving in his element. His girlfriend came back. They got married and had two kids. He still favors the style of clothing that might diplomatically be called “start-up chic,” a puffy sleeveless winter vest, unzipped and revealing a weathered t-shirt that practically whispers, “I’ve got bigger things to worry about than shopping.”

In fact, though, he does worry about shopping. Obsessively. Levchin has been visiting retailers across the country, asking about the state of consumer lending. He sums it up grimly: “You have to have a credit card. You have to use it. You are going to get screwed and you know it.”

Millennials are ditching the plastic in droves. More than 6 in 10 of them say they have never signed up for a credit card, a group that has doubled in size since the financial collapse of 2007. Evidently they’d rather scrimp on their purchases than get snagged on finely printed fees or mired in debt. “Which is wrong,” Levchin says. “If you are living hand to mouth every month you’re not going to improve your standard of living and you’re not going to scale up.”

Enter Affirm, a startup that that offers consumers the option to split payments over time, which a growing number of online retailers have added to their checkout pages. Users can get instantly approved for a loan by tapping their personal phone numbers into Affirm’s welcome page. From that phone number Affirm launches into the murky world of online data. “It anchors you to a whole host of information that is entirely public, or pretty close to public,” says Levchin. It can scan for social information across social media or dip into proprietary marketing databases or combine that with credit histories. In total, the Affirm team has identified more than 70,000 personal qualities that it thinks could predict a user’s likelihood of paying back a loan. If old fashioned credit scores provide a fixed, black and white portrait of the borrower, Affirm claims to capture that borrower in full, moving technicolor.

The company is so confident in its claims that it puts its own money on the line, extending loans to people who are normally considered a risky gamble. Active duty soldiers, for instance, return home with scant credit histories. A raft of regulations require lenders to extend credit to the soldiers, even if the decision goes against their better judgement. As a result, lenders have historically eyed returning soldiers with suspicion.

“I couldn’t care less about the narrative of why that might be true,” Levchin says, “except that I know it’s actually not. From all the loans that we’ve issued I think we’ve had literally 100% repayment rate from active duty servicemen.” Of course, military service is just one of at least 70,000 variables that can tip Affirm in the user’s favor. The formula is complex by design, so that no user can game the system by, say, posting “brain surgeon” as a new job on LinkedIn and then requesting a fat line of credit.

Whether Affirm will truly upend the rules of lending or foolishly rushed in where lenders fear to tread will depend on its ability to collect interest on loans without resorting to hidden fees. After all, credit card companies do that for a reason: It’s lucrative. Affirm, on the other hand, actually alerts users to approaching payment deadlines and clearly states fee rates before they arrive.

In short, Affirm has to lend at the right rates to the right people. Fortunately for the company, it has $45 million of venture capital to test run its unified theory of lending. It also has no shortage of potential competitors circling in on the hotly contested field of smartphone payments, from Apple Pay, to Google, to Levchin’s old “baby,” PayPal, all competing for the same “under-serviced” customers, as he put it.

But perhaps Affirm’s greatest asset is Levchin himself, who was practically bred for this kind of work. His mother was a radiologist at a Soviet-era research institute, where she was tasked with extracting reliable measurements from Geiger counters. The old Soviet era instruments spewed out a tremendous amount of error data. Her manager dropped a computer on her desk and asked her to program her way to a more reliable reading. Stumped, she turned to her 11-year-old son and asked, ”Do you know anything about this stuff?” The question kicked off Levchin’s life-long love affair with programming, and it made him acutely aware of what data a machine can capture, and what essential points might elude its sensors. He points out that a heartbeat counter may measure 64 beats per minute, but it almost certainly misses a number of half-beats along the way. Affirm, in a sense, listens for those missed beats.

“The fact that we can look at data, pull it, and underwrite a loan for you in real-time is very valuable, because we can literally decide, ‘Hey, in the last 48 hours you got a new job, that changes things a little bit. Now you’re able to afford more,'” Levchin says.

Maybe that’s a hasty gamble, or maybe it’s sound financing. In either case, it’s Levchin’s idea of fun.

TIME

Stocks Rise at the End of a Rough Week; Nike Jumps

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. stock market bounced back Friday as investors welcomed good news on the U.S. economy at the end of a turbulent week of trading. Nike jumped after turning in higher profits, leading the Dow Jones industrial average higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow was up 178 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,124 as of 2:57 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 17 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,983 and the Nasdaq composite climbed 46 points, or 1percent, to 4,512.

The S&P 500, the benchmark for most mutual funds, remains on track to lose 1 percent this week. The biggest drop came Thursday, the worst day for the stock market since July 31.

A VIEW: A steep drop one day is often followed by gains the next as investors hunt for beaten-down stocks. “After yesterday, it’s only normal to get a little bit back because people tend to buy on the dips,” said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede Trust.

Pride said he expects the market to resume its climb as the economy improves. “I think we’ll continue to grind higher because the economic momentum is still there,” he said. “Maybe the market gets overvalued. So, sometimes a little breather is helpful.”

SURPRISE: After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.6 percent in the spring, the fastest pace in more than two years, the government reported Friday. Some economists expect the momentum to carry through the rest of the year.

SWOOSH: Late Thursday, Nike said its quarterly net income surged 23 percent thanks to solid sales and lower taxes. Both its earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s estimates. Nike’s stock gained $9.68, or 12 percent, to $89.41, the largest gain among the 30 big companies in the Dow.

MOVING ON: Famed bond-fund manager Bill Gross, a founder of bond giant PIMCO, is leaving to join Janus Capital. Janus said Gross, who ran the world’s largest bond fund at PIMCO, starts work next Monday. Janus soared $4.17, or 38 percent, to $15.28.

CAJOLING: An investment fund with a stake in Yahoo sent a letter to Yahoo’s CEO urging the company to consider merging with AOL. Jeffrey Smith, who heads Starboard Value, wrote that a deal could save as much as $1 billion and create a more competitive company. Yahoo climbed $1.59, or 4 percent, to $40.53.

EUROPE: Major markets in Europe were mixed. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.9 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 index picked up 0.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.10 yen from 108.56 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro fell to $1.2729 from $1.2760.

BOND MARKET: Prices for U.S. government bonds fell, nudging yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.54 percent from 2.50 percent late Thursday.

METALS: In commodity trading, precious and industrial metals made slight moves. The price of gold fell $6.50 to settle at $1,215.40 an ounce. Silver slipped 10 cents to $17.54 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.03 a pound.

OIL: Benchmark crude oil for November delivery rose $1.01 to $93.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile exchange.

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