Former President of the United States Barack Obama now has the most liked tweet ever.
It’s not surprising to find out it has a message of positivity in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Our current Burnt Cheeseface President knows nothing about positivity or compassion. He would rather spend time lamenting the removal of Confederate monuments.
In New York, rents are increasing twice as fast as wages:
What’s worse, StreetEasy found that rent increases haven’t risen equally across the various income brackets or rent price points. For instance, apartments priced at the bottom fifth tier of the market have spiked 4.9 percent annually since 2010 while homes in the top fifth tier of the market appreciated annually by three percent, on average. In essence, the lowest priced apartments have seen their rents increase the most.
With that, New York City’s lowest wage earners have seen their paychecks increase the least since 2010, yet wages for the city’s highest earners have grown the greatest. The combination of steep rent increases paired with minimal wage gains for low-income New Yorkers have forced many to spend an unreasonable amount of their income on rent.
I lived in New York for over 10 years, but with the way rents are continuing to go, I won’t be moving back any time soon.
A few months ago I read The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen and he spends a good deal on this income/rent disparity:
Indeed, in this new world the performance of income and social mobility is rather disappointing. In spite of the people who are doing great, the data indicate that the upward mobility of Americans, in terms of income and education, which increased through about 1980, has since held steady. Partly this is because the economy is more ossified, more controlled, and growing at lower rates. It’s also because it is much more expensive to move into a dynamic city, an option that gave many a way of making economic progress in times past. Two researchers, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, estimate that if it were cheaper to move into America’s higher-productivity cities, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would be 9.5 percent higher due to the gains from better jobs. Yet no one thinks that the building restrictions of, say, San Francisco or New York will be relaxed much anytime soon. Most of the complacent class just doesn’t see building restrictions as an urgent issue, and even if they understand the problem intellectually, as many of them do, the selfish incentive to make changing restrictions a priority just isn’t there.
New York has turned into ‘a playground for the rich.’ This is unfortunate because it keeps out keeps out a key demographic that gives New York it’s rich culture: artists (painters, musicians, writers, designers).
The new BMW 8 Series Concept looks like a straight up shark.
Trump’s Council of C.E.O.s in Disarray Following Remarks on Protest:
President Trump’s main council of top corporate leaders appeared on the verge of disbanding on Wednesday, said people briefed on the matter, following controversial remarks from Mr. Trump on Tuesday when he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
Late Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group and one of Mr. Trump’s closest confidants in the business community, organized a conference call for members of the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
On the call, the chief executives of some of the largest companies in the country were debating how to proceed.
One option under serious consideration was disbanding the forum altogether.
If the forum does survive, several C.E.O.s were expected to resign from it.
This how you hit Trump where it hurts, with business.
Trump prides himself on his business acumen and all the connections and “friends” he has in the business world, so there’s nothing more insulting to Trump than to have his business council collapse.
It may not affect his pocket book, but it’s a loss and it’s symbolic.
Update: Trump is throwing in the towel with his “Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum,” as a winner does.
A product manager and Kalanick apologist is leaving Uber:
Chris Saad, a product manager of Uber’s developer platform, is leaving the company after close to two years, sources tell Recode.
Saad, who worked on creating technology tools for developers looking to integrate Uber services, has been vocal about his disappointment with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s forced resignation.
“Travis embodied (and in some cases taught) me these things,” he wrote in a Facebook post in the hours after Kalanick’s resignation. “There wasn’t a moment or a minuscule detail that he noticed that he didn’t immediately spring into action to help me solve — with that wry smile and enthusiastic glint in his eye. The cost of losing him as Uber’s CEO will be incalculable.”
If there’s a huge cost because of Kalanick’s ouster, so be it.
When Kalanick was CEO of Uber they used their technology to evade law enforcement, maintained a hostile, sexist work environment filled with sexual harassment cases, and didn’t (and still don’t) want to pay their drivers as employees.
One year ago the much-anticipated video game ‘No Man’s Sky’ was released but it did not deliver on many of the features it had promised and subsequently faced a big backlash from many disappointed buyers.
My brother was not one of the disappointed buyers and rather than take the short-sighted, reactionary view, decided to give it a chance.
This week Wired’s Julie Muncy writes to let us know the game is still here and worth exploring:
“Atlas Rises” is the third update since the game’s release, and it feels fundamentally different. It adds a few things players have griped about for ages, like the ability to fly close to the ground or summon your ship from anywhere, but it is ambitious enough be more than a sop to the few faithful fans. By adding 30 hours of story to the game, the update fleshes out a more complex narrative. By allowing players to communicate with others in their vicinity, it lays a foundation for cooperative play in the future. The patch notes drone on and on—new quest system, improved trade, more robust visual interfaces—but taken together they take on a new shape. Hello Games makes an overture to everyone who wrote off the game a week after launch. No Man’s Sky is still here, the update says, and it is a growing thing. Hello Games would prefer you not abandon it so quickly.
I’m happy to hear the game is still evolving and getting better, but I still contend under-promising and over-delivering would still have been a better route to take.
Daniel Cormier called into The MMA Hour to talk to Ariel Helwani about his loss to Jon Jones and his future:
The former UFC champion said he will likely sit out for the rest of 2017 to heal and spend time with his family, but then he expects to get right back into the swing of things. And once he does, he will return with the goal of proving himself worthy of a third shot at Jones.
Daniel. My man. Jon whooped your ass twice. The first time he did it after a weekend of partying and doing coke. The second time he did it sober and focused. It’s not unreasonable to bet he’d beat you if he got an arm cut off. He’s just an all-around superior fighter.
You had your shots. It’s time to move on.
Leaked Microsoft memo reveals high Surface Book return rates:
Microsoft dismissed Consumer Reports’ Surface reliability ratings last week, but a new internal memo sheds some light on the issues that the software maker has faced. Consumer Reports surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found roughly 25 percent of Surface users have encountered issues by the end of the second year of ownership. Paul Thurrott has obtained an internal memo about Microsoft’s response to Consumer Reports, and it appears to suggest that high Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book return rates could have impacted Consumer Reports’ findings.
Computer scientist Alan Kay said, “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” Steve Jobs famously brought it up when he unveiled the iPhone in 2007.
I’m thinking this quote applies to everyone except Microsoft.
White House Acts to Stem Fallout From Trump’s First Charlottesville Remarks:
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — White House officials, under siege over President Trump’s reluctance to condemn white supremacists for the weekend’s bloody rallies in Charlottesville, Va., tried to clarify his comments on Sunday, as critics in both parties intensified demands that he adopt a stronger, more unifying message.
A statement on Sunday — issued more than 36 hours after the protests began — condemned “white supremacists” for the violence that led to one death. It came in an email sent to reporters in the president’s traveling press pool, and was attributed to an unnamed representative.
It was not attributed directly to Mr. Trump, who often uses Twitter to communicate directly on controversial topics. It also did not single out “white supremacists” alone but instead included criticism of “all extremist groups.”
Many people have pointed out Trump can be very specific with his attacks on Twitter, so his vague, macro-level condemnation on the events in Charlottesville is very apparent and disgusting.
This orange-faced, small-handed racist can’t leave office soon enough for me.
SoundCloud stays afloat with emergency investment, as CEO steps aside:
SoundCloud today announced that it has closed the investor round necessary to keep it going for the foreseeable future. As part of the agreement, Alex Ljung will step aside and former Vimeo leader Kerry Trainor will become SoundCloud’s new CEO, with Mike Weissman as COO. Ljung will stay on to “fully focus on the role of the chairman and the long-term.” Billboard reports the exact amount of the investment is $169.5 million, which, says Ljung, makes this infusion “the largest financing round in the history of SoundCloud.”
Companies these days seem to be averse to the stupid, old idea of charging money for a product. It’s all about getting funding, which is not generating revenue.
I know, I know, SoundCloud does charge for their service, but they didn’t until last year.
Seriously, people. If you want a quality product, you have to pay for it. What is so wrong with this idea? This then raises the question, Is SoundCloud a quality service? Many podcasts syndicate their content on SoudCloud, but I get mine from iTunes and I already pay for Spotify Premium.
Remember, when you’re not paying for the product you use, you are the product being sold.
Amazon and Tencent Back Smartphone Maker Essential:
Essential Products Inc., the smartphone maker founded by the creator of Google’s Android mobile software, confirmed it has a new $300 million war chest as it prepares for the seemingly insurmountable task of taking on Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Inc.
The startup on Wednesday unveiled the large roster of investors taking a chance on it, including Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 0.28% and Amazon Inc.’s AMZN -0.69% Alexa Fund. Essential also disclosed that Best Buy Co. stores and Amazon.com Inc. will be its retail launch partners in the U.S.
But the company stopped short of the big reveal: When exactly its $699 titanium-encased smartphone will be available.
Great, Andy Rubin’s company has 300 million dollars. Good for them. They still haven’t shipped their Essential phone.
One more clarification: they aren’t taking on Apple, they’re taking on Samsung. Samsung is the largest manufacturer of Android phones in the world with a 48.7% share. Huawei is a distant 6.4%. They need to tackle Samsung before they tackle Apple.
After reading the features of the Essential Phone, I can’t list any competitive advantages it has. It has top-of-the-line specs (as of 2017) and an edge-to-edge screen (quickly becoming table stakes).
The Essential Phone hardly represents traditional competition, let alone asymmetric competition.
Mazda’s engine breakthrough promises big fuel efficiency gains:
Mazda has made the announcement car manufacturers have been working towards for years: it’s releasing the first commercial compression-ignition gasoline engine. Dubbed SkyActiv-X, the engine will be available in 2019 and promises up to 20-30% more engine efficiency than the current SkyActiv-G, and up to 45% more than Mazda’s 2008 petrol engine.
Current gasoline engines rely on a spark plug to ignite their air-fuel mix. The SkyActiv-X will ignite the air-fuel mix spark-free through compression, like a diesel engine. This, according to the Japanese manufacturer, combines the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to achieve “outstanding” environmental and power performance.
I share my father’s fascination of the perfecting of technologies facing extinction. The basic, underlying design of engines has not changed in over 100 years, but the gains in every aspect — size, speed, weight, efficiency – are incredible.
The truth is technologies rarely get “killed”. Compact discs supposedly “killed” vinyl records and MP3s “killed” compact discs, but neither records nor CDs are dead (yet). In fact, vinyl sales have hit a 25-year high this year.
I’m fairly confident internal combustion engines will eventually be replaced by newer technologies (like electric/battery), but I’d like to think gasoline-powered cars will stick around long enough for me to buy an old muscle car.
Update: Bill Burr brings up a good point on this clip from one of his podcast episodes about why mileage averages haven’t moved much over the last 40 years.
The latest dickeads-in-tech news comes from Google this week:
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.
James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
The imbroglio at Google is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in the tech enclave. Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick lost his job in June amid scandals over sexual harassment, discrimination and an aggressive culture. Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more women are speaking up to say they’ve been sidelined in the male-dominated industry, especially in engineering roles.
It’s good Sundar Pichai fired Damore. Too often we see tech companies remain quiet (at least publically) on these issues and when you remain quiet or don’t take action, it sends a message to the rest of the company that sexual harassment and discrimination is okay. It establishes entitlement. It’s not unlike a parent establishing behavior patterns for their children.
We need not look any further than the President of the United States. We’ve heard him on tape brag about his celebrity status allowing him to grab women by the pussy.
It’s no surprise then to find out Fox News is a close ally of Trump. It also shouldn’t be a surprise to find out the former CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, sexually harassment women at the company. This week Fox News suspended Eric Bolling for sending dick pics to female coworkers and of course we can’t forget Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment charges and the women to whom he gave millions to so they would remain quiet.
I’ve heard people talk about wanting to “empower” their employees to do great things and establish a great culture at their company, but these things have to be implemented through actions at the top of the company.
It’s only through actions at the top that culture and behavior patterns can cascade down throughout the rest of the company, it can never happen the other way around.
The New York Times has an interesting look at how Trump used words to brand his opponents:
The word choice is memorable. But it’s also the repetition that’s important. In its simplicity and consistency, that message is textbook marketing, said William Cron, a professor of marketing at Texas Christian University. “This is what the product stands for,” he said (Mrs. Clinton being the product in this case). Marketing research also suggests that the more we’re exposed to a belief or a brand, the more likely we are to believe that others share or use it. And so by repeating the slogan, Mr. Trump also feeds the notion that Mrs. Clinton is widely believed to be crooked.
Psychologists have another term for what Mr. Trump does here that is so effective. He “essentializes” Mrs. Clinton and his other opponents, like Lyin’ Ted Cruz.
It’s unlikely to happen, but a great way to neuter our abusive president it to take away his platforms. As George Carlin said, “words are all we have.”
I’d love to see what would happen if Trump could no longer tweet.