Some great photos of China by bike

Back in April my friends Tyler, Jeff, Drew & MMC from Factory 5 took internet-famous bike-blogger & photagrapher Prolly is not Probably and the Mission Workshop founders on some long-ass rides around the Yangtze river valley (so… Shanghai and the bits around it).

John’s posted a lot about that trip, but in what I can only imagine was a year-end “inbox zero” push, he just put up some last photos of the journey which I think are great. This one’s my favorite. I call it “Venus de Trash Heap”.

Venus de Trash Heap photo by John Prolly from
Venus de Trash Heap photo by John Prolly from

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.

It’s a dangerous underworld: Google’s Realtime Internet Attack Map

Google is leveraging its access to, and understanding of, internet traffic patterns to create a “realtime” map of internet attacks (DDOS, et al).

I imagine that the traffic flow for which Google can’t (or won’t) identify the source or destination is where the true Professionals are (governmental or otherwise), but the asymmetry of attack sources and destinations that *can be tracked* is fascinating to watch. Should we assume that those are all brazen amateurs looking for easy victims?

This blog is often getting pounded by brute force attacks and various other sorts of exploits that are typical to wordpress blogs. I don’t for a second entertain that there’s someone actually interested in the content here specifically, just the bot-army / spam opportunities of having access to yet another compromised wordpress site. But that, I suppose, is one of the take-aways: it doesn’t matter that this site averages only a few hundred hits a day, there’s more than one unknown entity that sees some value gaining access to something it is not supposed to, from the obvious passwords for financial records to the less obvious wordpress exploits that really only help black-hat SEO types increase SERP or facilitate more spam for whatever their fake/cheap pharmaceutical product might be.

Lock your stuff up, people, and practice good password etiquette. In case anyone’s wondering, I recommend Better WP Security from Bit51.

A Sobering review of the Mid-Autumn Mooncake Economy

Today we’re just past Mid Autumn Festival, but it’s just now I write about mooncakes. I remember when I was given my first mooncake, about 5 years ago. We had some luck in that our first were full of nuts and dried fruit, or in other words, they were actually delicious. In the intervening years I’ve done my best to sample the varying types of mooncakes that I come across, usually with unappetizing results.

I’ve also noticed over the years that the act of gifting mooncakes to family and business contacts is a complex process that, from an outsider’s perspective, seems like a gargantuan waste of money. Here’s a helpful article and Infographic from ChinaFile & Tea Leaf Nation, that explains the “mooncake economy” to me:

ChinaFile infographic explains the MoonCake Economy
Just a teaser — click through to see the full infographic about the MoonCake Economy
Major international brands like Haagen Dazs (marketed in China as “fine French ice cream, by the way) offer ridiculously expensiev Mooncake packs and gift certificates along side the traditional local brands high and low.