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The Gates-and-Buffett Effect

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Paul Allen to give billions to philanthropy. The co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the NBA's Portland Trailblazers announced on Thursday that he plans to use more than half of his $13 billion fortune on philanthropy, The New York Times reports. "Mr. Allen is among a growing number of wealthy philanthropists who are publicly stating their commitments to giving their money away in response to a call from Mr. [Bill] Gates and Warren E. Buffett." Buffett recently started a program called The Giving Pledge that "aims to get the country's billionaires to devote half their fortunes to charity." Who's already in? Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad as well as venture capitalist John Doerr, with his wife, Ann.

Financial reform for entrepreneurs. A law designed to curb the financial abuses that helped inflate the housing bubble and then caused the credit crisis and recession in 2008, passed Congress yesterday. The bill is focused on the banking sector, but it had caused a minor row in the entrepreneurial community over a provision that would have raised the minimum asset requirements to be a considered an "accredited investor" in start-up companies. That provision was stripped from the final bill, and venture capital firms will not be subject to full SEC oversight. The Wall Street Journal rounds up reactions from economists and, curiously enough, farmers.

Tesla's electric SUV. It's actually going to be a Toyota Rav4. Tesla and Toyota announced today that they've designed a prototype of an electric Rav4 crossover SUV, and the Rav4s should be in production by 2012, CNN reports. Vroom vroom.

What's the verdict on the trailer for the Facebook movie? The full trailer for the Facebook biopic The Social Network hit the Internet yesterday. We called it "painfully cheesy. But also kind of fun." Defamer called it "creepy" and the choice to package the movie as a "deep, dark drama" misguided. The trailer features a heavy-handed score: the Scala Choir's remake of Radiohead's Creep and reveals director David Fincher's and actor Jesse Eisenberg's willingness to play CEO Mark Zuckerberg like a "sniveling Harvard nerd warring with other sniveling Harvard nerds over a computer program." Check it out for yourselves.

Rival wants Playboy. In your daily Playboy Enterprises Inc. update, the owner of Penthouse offered to buy Hugh Hefner's iconic company for $210 million. As MSNBC reports, "the desire for adult-themed entertainment is heating up."

Passing the torch. Hal and Hank Steinbrenner have big shoes to fill now that their father George, legendary owner of the New York Yankees, has died. As the Wall Street Journal points out, they're not the first family to take on the hefty responsibility of carrying on the family sports enterprise. And as with any small business, succession planning is key. According to the story, two years before Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller died, he began preparing his kids to take over the team. "I remember my dad handed us a four-subject collegiate-ruled spiral-bound notebook and he said, 'You guys are going to want to take notes,'" Greg Miller tells the Journal. "And the succession process formally began." Check out our guide to handing over the family business here.

The newspaper of the future? Hawthorne Labs, a new start-up based in Palo Alto, California, is aiming to create something that will revolutionize the way we read news. So far, it's just an iPad app, though. Founded by former Google News and Bing engineers Shubham Mittal and Prasanna Sankaranarayanan, along with Evan Reas (who calls himself a "bizhacker" in his company profile), the start-up has created an application called Apollo, which uses an algorithm to guide users toward personalized content similar to the stories they've already spent time on, "liked." At Apollo's launch (groan), it was crawling thousands of blogs and news sites to draw in content from a variety of news categories, such as Business, Tech, and Sports, TechCrunch reports. Is it really the future of news, or just an aggregation with a slick interface? We'll leave that for you to decide.

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Last updated: Jul 16, 2010

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.




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