Category Archives: Commentary

kuaidi and didi merger — a new moment in Chinese infrastructure

On saturday Kuaidi dache announced that they had agreed to merge with their biggest / bigger rival, Didi dache. Techinasia has a good write up about it, but I took issue with the suggestion that the merger has something to do with Uber.  I went on a twitter rampage about the deal, and Jon Russell told me to write it up (he already has a piece on techcrunch about the merger that has all the details).  I often confuse more words with a better argument, so I’ll just try to channel the twitter brevity but expand my point.  Here goes:

Continue reading kuaidi and didi merger — a new moment in Chinese infrastructure

Three things to read about Ferguson

I’m by no means someone who should have a strong and/or relevant opinion about the events in Ferguson MO.   But I’m reading everything I see to try to understand what’s happening in & to the US.  Here’s a collection of links to people who have interesting things to say:

Killer Mike on Instagram

Killer Mike at a Show in St Louis, the day of the Grand Jury ruling

Ta Nehisi Coates (the Atlantic)

What cannot be said is that America does not really believe in nonviolence—Barack Obama has said as much—so much as it believes in order. What cannot be said is that there are very convincing reasons for black people in Ferguson to be nonviolent. But those reasons emanate from an intelligent fear of the law, not a benevolent respect for the law.

Chris Rock in The Vulture

What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?

I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.

Well, that would be much more revealing.

Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Right. It’s ridiculous.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. […]

(it is a wide-ranging interview: read the whole thing)

FIFA World Cup: when the best event is also the most corrupt

As John Oliver suggests in the video below, FIFA has more in common with Borgia-era Catholic church than the Heifer International-style non-profit bringing the game to the poorest of the poor.

The protests in Brazil are (I hope) well known and better documented elsewhere, the 2018 and 2022 events are in Russia, who banned homosexuality and invaded a sovereign country in the last few months, and Qatar, who seem completely disinterested in ending slavery.  Any sane group of decision makers should immediately expel these countries from consideration, but alas they’ve bought their way in.

But then there’s the mundanity of day-to-day corruption and favoritism that really drives me nuts:

This isn’t sour grapes from Portugal’s tragic comeback goal against the US.  I, like Mr. Oliver, absolutely love the World Cup and all the good things it can represent about the world.  Even the brand sponsorships are George Lois-ian “poison gas” from time to time.  I also love how I’ve been alive for the launch and growth of american soccer to where it will be in 8 years.

I simply want the organizers to show some shreds of the respect for fairness and justice that you provide the backbone for the Laws and spirit of the Game around the world.

Neuroscientist Discovers he’s a sociopath….

… and tells a wonderful story about the challenge of self-realization, from the perspective of someone who understands the brain from both sides: the scientist and the person.

I love a good story that ends in the middle. Story told by the main charachter, without a proper resolution, without a moral lesson, that leaves you wondering how they really made out in the end.
From the World Science Festival, found via Reddit

VICE proves why they are nearly, but not quite, beyond parody

Please look at this screenshot, nabbed from the timeline of @Vice_Is_Hip, a Vice parody twitter account. I love parody accounts, and this is one of my recent favorites.
screenshot from @Vice_is_hip twitter profile.
Let’s dissect this a bit. A parody is funny because it presents something (or someone) real as something ridiculous and/or hilarious, but only by moving the content slightly further than the original voice, not going completely off. This clipping demonstrates just how easy it is to parody VICE: their original content is more ridiculous than the parody content.

VICE is perhaps an easy target in this sense because they’re really the masters and mistresses of Link Bait, the art of making 120 characters (gotta save room for the link!) create a scenario so ridiculous that people will click through, just to find out seriously, WTF?

To give credit where due, VICE’s take on journalism has morphed normal coverage from “look at that fucked up war” to “look at me in the middle of this fucked up war” while also legitimately shedding light (and throwing shade) onto under-reported world events. The best example of both is probably the VICE guide to Karachi, wherein VICE Co-founder Suroosh Alvi takes his epic sunglasses and fashionably over-stretched v-neck into some seriously scary parts of Pakistan.

My internet buddy Jack Huang has nicknamed VICE the “Brovestigation team”, which I think is apt. They may nearly be beyond parody, but I’d bet money that the VICE crew thinks VICE_is_hip is hilarious.

Gotta love it.