The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future
We're there. The future that visionaries imagined in the late 1990s of phones in our pockets and high-speed Internet in the air: Well, we're living in it. "The third generation of data and voice communications -- the convergence of mobile phones and the Internet, high-speed wireless data access, intelligent networks, and pervasive computing -- will shape how we work, shop, pay bills, flirt, keep appointments, conduct wars, keep up with our children, and write poetry in the next century."
Retracting "Mr. Daisey & The Apple Factory"
I have difficult news. We've learned that Mike Daisey's story about Apple in China - which we broadcast in January - contained significant fabrications. We're retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth. This is not a story we commissioned. It was an excerpt of Mike Daisey's acclaimed one-man show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," in which he talks about visiting a factory in China that makes iPhones and other Apple products.
Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.
What It’s Really Like to Work at Google
Google. It’s one of the most common household words in today’s modern society, and yet for a company that is used by most of us essentially as an algorithm, it tends to trigger a highly emotional response when overheard. It’s a dream job for college students nearing graduation, a highly coveted invitation to lunch by friends and colleagues who work near campus, and the bane of existence for those who produce content for the Internet. For several years, most of the public has seen quick glimpses of the life of those who work at Google: offices filled with primary colors, couches, large kitchens, massage chairs, and even hammocks. There’s no doubt that working at Google comes with perks; not only does Google provide the traditional benefits like health insurance and extremely competitive pay, but Googlers are treated to free breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, free on-site massages, car detailing, on-site fitness centers, and even napping pods.
This Is Why You Don't Go to the Gym
We can't keep our own fitness promises for the same reason that addicts are addicts and Congress can't pass deficit reduction
The Myth of Japan’s Failure
DESPITE some small signs of optimism about the United States economy, unemployment is still high, and the country seems stalled. Time and again, Americans are told to look to Japan as a warning of what the country might become if the right path is not followed, although there is intense disagreement about what that path might be. Here, for instance, is how the CNN analyst David Gergen has described Japan: “It’s now a very demoralized country and it has really been set back.”
How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body
On a cold Saturday in early 2009, Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus, was giving a master class at Sankalpah Yoga in Manhattan. Black is, in many ways, a classic yogi: he studied in Pune, India, at the institute founded by the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar, and spent years in solitude and meditation. He now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and often teaches at the nearby Omega Institute, a New Age emporium spread over nearly 200 acres of woods and gardens. He is known for his rigor and his down-to-earth style. But this was not why I sought him out: Black, I’d been told, was the person to speak with if you wanted to know not about the virtues of yoga but rather about the damage it could do. Many of his regular clients came to him for bodywork or rehabilitation following yoga injuries. This was the situation I found myself in. In my 30s, I had somehow managed to rupture a disk in my lower back and found I could prevent bouts of pain with a selection of yoga postures and abdominal exercises. Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way. With it went my belief, naïve in retrospect, that yoga was a source only of healing and never harm.
Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually
Electronics retailer Best Buy is headed for the exits. I can’t say when exactly, but my guess is that it’s only a matter of time, maybe a few more years. Consider a few key metrics. Despite the disappearance of competitors including Circuit City, the company is losing market share. Its last earnings announcement disappointed investors. In 2011, the company’s stock has lost 40% of its value. Forward P/E is a mere 6.23 (industry average is 10.20). Its market cap down to less than $9 billion. Its average analyst rating, according to The Street.com, is a B-.
Why there are no children and we should think less
“Leo, but how are you different from a child then. They do it exactly the same. They don’t think, they don’t reflect, they just do, fall down, get up again, and do it over and over again. They only live through their experiences. As a grown up you are different, you have to act differently.”
Too Much Information
When the generation-defining writer David Foster Wallace took his own life in 2008, he left behind an unfinished novel, The Pale King, that will either serve to round out his transcendent body of writing or place a haunting question mark at the end of his career. John Jeremiah Sullivan holes up with the new book and considers the legacy
I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping...
Box office revenue at movie theaters "lagged far behind 2010," an article by the AP's David Germain reports. Partly that was because the year lacked an "Avatar." Partly because a solid summer slate fell off in the autumn. Germain talks to several Hollywood insiders who tried to account for the general decline of ticket sales; 2011 had "smallest movie audience since 1995." I have some theories of my own, fueled by what people tell me.
When are you dead?
THE YOUNG MAN HAD FALLEN OFF A CLIFF WHILE HIKING. Now he was in a coma. His doctors in Stanford’s intensive care unit determined that he had suffered massive, irreversible brain damage and would never make a meaningful recovery. His parents, who knew their son would not have wanted to remain in the zombie-like limbo afforded by a mechanical ventilator, decided to withdraw life support. They also wanted to donate his organs. “It was an incredibly altruistic gesture in the midst of a tragedy,” recalls Carlos Esquivel, MD, PhD, chief of Stanford’s Transplantation Division, of the seven-year-old case.
Clark and I met on the Thursday before Labor Day, August 30, 2007. I don’t know exactly when we first said I love you, but the first email exchange containing the phrase, which he casually includes before signing off, is dated October 3 of that year. Nearly four years later, I sometimes type his email address in the search box in my Gmail. Hundreds of results pop up, and I’ll pick a few at random to read. The ease of our everyday interactions is what kills me. The way we spoke to each other about what I’d bring home for dinner or whether it was a PBR or a Grolsch kind of night. In nearly every conversation, there is something that releases the pressure from my chest by forcing a giant laugh.
Time to end the war on drugs
Ten years ago the Portuguese Government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a “war on drugs” approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependency under the Ministry of Health rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response towards drug-dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals to treating them as patients.
You are not running out of time
Tale of two conquerors Early in his political career, Julius Caesar is said to have wept upon reading a biography of Alexander the Great. When asked why, he apparently said, “Do you think, I have not just cause to weep, when I consider that Alexander at my age had conquered so many nations, and I have all this time done nothing that is memorable!”
At 25, Stephen Glass was the most sought-after young reporter in the nation’s capital, producing knockout articles for magazines ranging from The New Republic to Rolling Stone. Trouble was, he made things up—sources, quotes, whole stories—in a breathtaking web of deception that emerged as the most sustained fraud in modern journalism.
Ending the Infographic Plague
Now that Obama's dog has won the War on Christmas, or something, it's time to get down to a war that really matters: the war on terrible, lying infographics, which have become endemic in the blogosphere, and constantly threaten to break out into epidemic or even pandemic status. The reservoir of this disease of erroneous infographics is internet marketers who don't care whether the information in their graphics is right ... just so long as you link it. As a Christmas present to, well, everyone, I'm issuing a plea to bloggers to help stop this plague in its track. Below the break, a tour of some of the more egregious examples, and some thoughts on why they've become so prevalent.
How Facebook Plans To Sell Your Timeline to Advertisers
If you logged onto Facebook yesterday, perhaps you caught a link at the top of the News Feed that read: “About Ads: Ever wonder how Facebook makes money? Get the details.” The answers provided some context on the news that starting in January, Facebook will start integrating a type of ad, called “sponsored stories,” that display your friends faces next to content they have “liked” in larger-sized ads your News Feed mix. “Facebook makes its money from showing you ads,” the company told consumers yesterday and with the ramp up to its spring 2012 IPO, the social network is getting serious about that endeavor. In what seemed like an unrelated move, in September, Facebook announced a brand new type of profile called Timeline, where your whole personal history is laid out by month-by-month, all the way back to your birth. At the time, Facebook described it to consumers as a chance to: “Share and highlight your most memorable posts, photos and life events on your timeline. This is where you can tell your story from beginning, to middle, to now.” By the end of this year all 800 million plus Facebook profiles will have been converted to this new interface.
Here Is Godaddy’s Statement In Support Of The Stop Online Privacy Act House Hearing Tomorrow
First, let me thank Chairman Smith for the opportunity to provide a written statement in support of the Stop Online Piracy Act and on the critical issue of combating illegal activity on the Internet. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Ranking Member Conyers, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Watt, as well as the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) for all of your efforts in addressing this important issue. This bill is the result of previous hearings, and months of meetings and discussions with all interested parties. I know that this Committee took into consideration the concerns of all parties during this process, and I applaud your efforts. Go Daddy looks forward to continuing to work with this Committee to fine-tune this critically important piece of legislation in the coming weeks.
Why we haven't met any Aliens
The story goes like this: Sometime in the 1940s, Enrico Fermi was talking about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence with some other physicists. They were impressed that life had evolved quickly and progressively on Earth. They figured our galaxy holds about 100 billion stars, and that an intelligent, exponentially-reproducing species could colonize the galaxy in just a few million years. They reasoned that extraterrestrial intelligence should be common by now. Fermi listened patiently, then asked, simply, “So, where is everybody?” That is, if extraterrestrial intelligence is common, why haven’t we met any bright aliens yet? This conundrum became known as Fermi’s Paradox.
As you stand in endless lines this holiday season, here’s a comforting thought: all those security measures accomplish nothing, at enormous cost. That’s the conclusion of Charles C. Mann, who put the T.S.A. to the test with the help of one of America’s top security experts.
The View from Nowhere: Questions and Answers
“American journalism is dumber than most journalists, who often share my sense of absurdity about these practices. A major reason we have a practice less intelligent than its practitioners is the prestige that the View from Nowhere still claims…”
The Secret History of Kim Jong Il
I first met Kim Jong Il in October 1959. He was a senior at the elite Namsan Senior High School, and I was a 27-year-old professor of Russian at the Pyongyang University of Education. I also happened to have been chosen as a private tutor for the family of North Korean President Kim Il Sung. One day, the Great Leader remarked that he found his son's Russian to be very poor and told me to go to his school and evaluate both Kim Jong Il's proficiency and the quality of Russian education there. Handpicked by Joseph Stalin to rule over North Korea and a fluent Russian speaker himself, Kim Il Sung deemed study of the language essential to relations with the Soviet Union, North Korea's biggest political, economic, and military patron. At the school, I attended every Russian class, made evaluations, and then summoned the 17-year-old Kim Jong Il into the principal's office. The principal, one of the school's Russian teachers, and I, in accordance with Kim Il Sung's orders, jointly administered an oral Russian exam for Kim Jong Il.
Question of a 19 year old Indie iOS Developer
Back in 2007 my father had purchased the iPhone from a shady reseller in Germany, fully unlocked and already jailbroken. Then and there, the iPhone was more like a party gag: the smooth scrolling, the funny accelerometer games and the ability to browse the web – everyone I knew was impressed, including me. On June 28th 2010 I finally joined the Apple Developer Program. I had no prior experience in anything related to programming and when I finally realized that Objective-C was to hard for me to learn on my own, I tried to hire a freelancer from China for $700. Other quotes for the project were astonishingly high. Six months later and with nothing to show for, I abandoned the project. The only way to finish the app with my budget, was to do it myself. Looking back, I’m thankful that I have had this experience early on.
I have a terrible addiction to new ideas. Although I can occasionally achieve a state of flow in my corporate job, I can almost never achieve it in my free time. I’m constantly chasing the new idea dragon. When I look at the past year of output, it’s simply abysmal. All I have to show for it is a smattering of boring client work and the sad carcasses of a dozen abandoned ideas; domain names (over 300 now!), page after page of product sketches, brainstorming notes and pre-launch pages. Sometimes I rationalize it to myself thusly: “It’s okay, you’re learning from this constant generation of new ideas and product concepts. Eventually you’ll land on one that just clicks, and boy you’ll really execute then!” Except I don’t.