Chaos came early this season

I can’t remember a week in college football quite like the one that wrapped up yesterday:

  • #2 Oregon loses to unranked Arizona
  • #3 Alabama loses to #13 Ole Miss
  • #4 Oklahoma loses to #25 TCU
  • #6 Texas A&M loses to #12 Mississippi State
  • #8 UCLA loses to unranked Utah
  • #16 USC loses to unranked Arizona State
  • #17 Wisconsin loses to unranked Northwestern
  • #18 BYU loses to unranked Utah State

#9 Notre Dame squeaked out a win against my #15 Stanford. This was one hurt. Both teams were slugging it out in cold, rainy conditions showcasing some of the league’s best defenses. However, Notre Dame scored their winning touchdown with 61 seconds left on a blown coverage by Stanford. Our linebacker went into the flat, but the safety didn’t pick up the receiver like he should have, leaving the Notre Dame wide receiver wide open in the end zone for an easy pass. I would rather get beat by 20+ points than to lose by a single blown play.

And NC State? Well….they lost  0-41 against an unranked Clemson team. This just one week after leading the #1 team in the country through 3 quarters. C’mon Pack, you gotta win an ACC game sometime!

The Hollow Allure of Wall St.

Michael Lewis writing in a recent Bloomberg op-ed:

Technology entrepreneurship will never have the power to displace big Wall Street banks in the central nervous system of America’s youth, in part because tech entrepreneurship requires the practitioner to have an original idea…but also because entrepreneurship doesn’t offer the sort of people who wind up at elite universities what a lot of them obviously crave: status certainty.

I remember being slack jawed when reading about on the staggering number of Ivy League graduates who go to Wall Street. Vox featured an interview by Ezra Klein of Kevin Roose which sheds light as to how Wall St firms accomplish this, and how Silicon Valley compares.

Reza Aslan destroys dim-witted CNN anchors

This is a must-see. Reza Aslan intellectually destroys two dim-witted CNN anchors on the issue of how the mass media portrays Islam.

It’s like you see almost see the moment that they start to realize their naively constructed world view begins to crack.

Following this clip, I quickly looked up a sampling of population numbers for Muslim majority countries:
Saudi Arabia: 29M
Iran: 75M
Iraq: 34M
Syria: 23M
Afghanistan: 31M
Arab Subtotal: 192M
Pakistan: 182M
Total: 374M

Total number followers of Islam: 1.6B (Wikipedia)
% those countries listed above represent: ~25%.

Yet, as Aslan suggests, the US mass media (and these CNN anchors) can’t shake the idea that they want to portray the actions of those countries as representative of the “common place” of life in Muslim countries.

True Detective

Chrissy and I are halfway through HBO’s True Detective, and so far it’s proved to be the most intriguing and remarkable television show I’ve seen in the past few years.

The story follows Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as a pair of detectives who are interviewed in 2012 about their investigation of a dark, ritualistic murder in the Louisana Bayou seventeen years ago in 1995.

true_det_logo

The acting of the two leads in the show — McConaughey in particular — is absolutely stunning, and is fitting of the richly detailed characters they play. The dialogue & writing is surprisingly articulate, sharp, and deep, and the cinematography intense and deliberate. The starked contrast between the 1995 and 2012 versions of McConaughey’s character, and how he brings such utter certainty to both, is a sight to behold.

The result is a show that utterly grabs you and sucks you into its world.

Hong Kong Protests (and shame on US News)

Throughout the day on Sunday, news of massive protests in Hong Kong dominated by Twitter and Google News feeds. There are massive democracy protests going on in Hong Kong, primarily led by youth and student groups. Beijing is enforcing its rule on Hong Kong, and the people of that important city are largely chafing under such heavy handedness.

Tens of thousands of protestors occupied major thoroughfares and blockaged government buildings for much of the evening. The images that flooded by Twitter feed evoked Tahrir Square from Egypt.

hongkong_protests

 

Finally, police fired tear gas and used force to remove protestors.

hongkong_protests2

 

Of course, leave it to the major US broadcast news to barely cover this story. As of Sunday evening, the NBC News and ABC News websites had no mention of the protests, and CBS News  just had 1 story visible after you’ve scrolled down 3 pages. ABC News deserves particular scorn for favoring to report such hard hitting news above the fold like: “What’s next for Derek Jeter?”, “George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s Wedding: Other Celebs Who Wed in Italy”, and “American Idol Judge Randy Jackson Loses on Sale of LA Home”.

Embarassing, but expected.

The Beautiful Game

Soccer, football (whatever you want to call it) has often been called the beautiful game, but for the vast majority of Americans, the only exposure they get to it is every four years for the World Cup. Americans of all ages dutifully wear their red, white, and blue, pack viewing parties, and cheer on their patriots who take the field pitch like good citizens. Not going to lie – I’m that way too. But I was intrigued by this year’s World Cup, and was determined to continue watching football to learn more about the game.

I’ve caught a handful of games here and there — some MLS games, a English Premier League game that comes on ESPN, and two FC Bayern Munich games. My early takeaway is this:

The football we see at the World Cup is actually like amateur league compared to club football. 

I was astonished. Gone are the injury histrionics that American sports fans despise seeing at the World Cup (though I haven’t watched any Spanish, French, or Italian league games yet….). The passing is much more elaborate, crisp, and fast, The offensive sets are more creative, daring, and aggressive. The overall speed of the game is faster, making it seem that the players were all on “turbo” mode.

I asked my two friends who know a lot more about football than I do: Melih & John. Melih wisely pointed out that club teams play and practice together for years versus just a few times a year for national teams. They can be a lot more aggressive when playing with familiar teammates. John, who I can always count on for the wry, salient observation, said simply:

It’s amazing what people will do for their country.
It’s more amazing what people will do for $40 million a year.

You can catch English Premier League games and extended highlights on ESPN2. The WatchESPN app (for Apple TV, iOS) has a huge variety of games from the international leagues that are free to watch too. Since I took some German in high school and wanted to get some more likely-World-Cup players, I’ve picked FC Bayern Munich as a team to follow. Yes, they have a lot of World Cup Champions on their team. Yes, they won the Champions League last year. Yes, they have boatloads of money and are like the NY Yankees in the Bundesliga. But it’s a bit easier following a team that big from thousands of miles away.

The Apple Watch

Last week, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. This long rumoured device represents a completely new product category for the company, and is its first entry into the growing field of wearable technology.

s1_charging

I’m so thrilled and proud of my friends & colleagues at Apple who have spent last couple of years working hard to make these remarkable products a reality. There is still work left to do as the Apple Watch won’t ship until early next year, but all glory goes to the folks that ship it.

I’m just happy to have played a small role in the Apple Watch’s early development, and to have helped develop the wonderful the hardware team behind it.

 

a thought, a spark