Learning to Bowl
Before I get to any of that, I’d like to treat you to the history of my bowling game. Yes, I’m serious.
I am a fairly athletic person. Growing up, I was always picked at least in the top 1/3rd or so of any people, for any sport or game that was being played, no matter what it was. I was a jack of all trades and master of none. This inspired in me a sort of mildly inappropriate feeling of entitlement to skill without a lot of effort, and so it went when I became a bowler. Most people who bowl put a thumb and two fingers in the ball and carefully cultivate tossing the bowling ball in a pattern that causes the ball to start wide and hook into the middle. With no patience for learning that, I discovered I could do a pretty good job faking it by putting no fingers and thumbs in the ball and kind of twisting my elbow and chucking the ball down the lane. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
It actually worked pretty well the more I bowled, and, when I started to play in an after work league for fun, my average really started to shoot up. I wasn’t the best in the league by any stretch–there were several bowlers, including a former manager of mine, who averaged between 170 and 200, but I rocketed up past 130, 140, and all the way into the 160 range within a few months of playing in the league. Not too shabby.
But then a strange thing happened. I stopped improving. Right at about 160, I topped out. I asked my old manager what I could do to get back on track with improvement, and he said something very interesting to me. Paraphrased, he said something like this:
There’s nothing you can do to improve as long as you keep bowling like that. You’ve maxed out. If you want to get better, you’re going to have to learn to bowl properly. You need a different ball, a different style of throwing it, and you need to put your fingers in it like a big boy. And the worst part is that you’re going to get way worse before you get better, and it will be a good bit of time before you get back to and surpass your current average.
I resisted this for a while but got bored with my lack of improvement and stagnation (a personal trait of mine–I absolutely need to be working toward mastery or I go insane) and resigned myself to the harder course. I bought a bowling ball, had it custom drilled, and started bowling properly. Ironically, I left that job almost immediately after doing that and have bowled probably eight times in the years since, but c’est la vie, I suppose. When I do go, I never have to rent bowling shoes or sift through the alley balls for ones that fit my fingers.
Kowloon Walled City was the densest place in the world, ever.
(“Walled City Night Views (from SW Corner), 1987.” Greg Girard.)
By its peak in the 1990s, the 6.5 acre Kowloon Walled…
While putting together our recent series of posts looking at how major brands use the four main social networks I’ve somehow managed to overlook Coca-Cola, so today I have rectified that startling omission.
Coca-Cola is one of those instantly recognisable brands that would rake in fans and followers without even trying, so it’s to its credit that it has active account across the social web.
So, here’s a quick look at how it uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
The point is this: smartphones aren’t going anywhere. But instead of a focusing on the world within the phone’s screen, the smartphone will be tuned more than ever before to the world around you.
You can turn your phone on in Green Bank, W.Va., but you won’t get a trace of a signal. If you hit scan on your car’s radio, it’ll cycle through the dial endlessly, never pausing on a station. This remote mountainous town is inside the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000–square-mile area where most types of electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum (which includes radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, cell signals, Bluetooth, and the signals used by virtually every other wireless device) are banned to minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, home to the world’s largest steerable radio telescope.
For most people, this restriction is a nuisance. But a few dozen people have moved to Green Bank (population: 147) specifically because of it. They say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS—a disease not recognized by the scientific community in which these frequencies can trigger acute symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rashes, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and chest pains. Diane Schou came here with her husband in 2007 because radio-frequency exposure anywhere else she went gave her constant headaches. “Life isn’t perfect here. There’s no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby,” she told me when I visited her house last month. “But here, at least, I’m healthy. I can do things. I’m not in bed with a headache all the time.”
The idea that radio frequencies can cause harm to the human body isn’t entirely absurd. Some research has suggested that long-term exposure to power lines and cellphones is associated with an increased chance of cancer, although most evidence says otherwise. But what these people claim—that exposure to electromagnetic frequencies can immediately cause pain and ill health—is relatively novel, has little medical research to support it, and is treated with deep skepticism by the scientific mainstream.
My photographer, Steve, squints through a computerized scope squatting atop a big hunting rifle. We’re outdoors at a range just north of Austin, Texas, and the wind is blowing like crazy—enough so that we’re having to dial in more and more wind adjustment on the rifle’s computer. The spotter and I monitor Steve’s sight through an iPad linked to the rifle via Wi-Fi, and we can see exactly what he’s seeing through the scope. Steve lines up on his target downrange—a gently swinging metal plate with a fluorescent orange circle painted at its center—and depresses a button to illuminate it with the rifle’s laser.
“Good tag?” he asks, softly.
“Good tag,” replies the spotter, watching on the iPad. He leaves the device in my hands and looks through a conventional high-powered spotting scope at the target Steve has selected. The wind stops momentarily. “Send it,” he calls out.
Steve pulls the trigger, but nothing immediately happens. On the iPad’s screen, his reticle shifts from blue to red and drifts toward the marked target. Even though I’m expecting it, the rifle’s report is startling when it fires.
A second later, the spotter calls out, “That’s a hit!”
We covet diamonds in America for a simple reason: the company that stands to profit from diamond sales decided that we should. De Beers’ marketing campaign single handedly made diamond rings the measure of one’s success in America. Despite its complete lack of inherent value, the company manufactured an image of diamonds as a status symbol. And to keep the price of diamonds high, despite the abundance of new diamond finds, De Beers executed the most effective monopoly of the 20th century. Okay, we get it De Beers, you guys are really good at business!
The purpose of this post was to point out that diamond engagement rings are a lie - they’re an invention of Madison Avenue and De Beers. This post has completely glossed over the sheer amount of human suffering that we’ve caused by believing this lie: conflict diamonds funding wars, supporting apartheid for decades with our money, and pillaging the earth to find shiny carbon. And while we’re on the subject, why is it that women need to be asked and presented with a ring in order to get married? Why can’t they ask and do the presenting?
Diamonds are not actually scarce, make a terrible investment, and are purely valuable as a status symbol.
Diamonds, to put it delicately, are bullshit.
Good resource for web developers.
Old article, but a good info.
Why have family-owned conglomerates founded by ethnic Chinese become key economic factors throughout Asia? The answers are trust and tradition.
One of the most important economic developments since the end of the Cold War is occurring with little notice in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Coastal Zone of China, a remarkable economic change is taking place led by overseas Chinese business families, or what could be called the bamboo network.
Valuable lessons for Western businesses can come from learning how these families came to dominate and to propel the economies of Southeast Asia. With little more than the shirts on the backs, the founders of this bamboo network typically fled China at about the time when Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Like an army of Horatio Algers, they worked hard in their new homes, saved most of what they earned and then put it all into their own businesses.