- The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever
It’s been several years since I stopped reading comics, but when I did I devoured the Ultimate universe comics from Marvel. I didn’t know that it was winding down (not by choice) so this was news to me, and it is always interesting to hear some of the back story behind the genesis of the idea.
The history of Ultimate Marvel is, in a way, a story about warring approaches to a reboot: Bendis’s and Millar’s. Bendis wanted to polish the old archetypes; Millar wanted to aggressively critique them. Bendis sought timeless stories; Millar craved biting contemporary political critique. Bendis was looking to inspire; Millar aimed to disquiet. As Bendis put it: “I’m writing about hope and he’s writing about nihilism, and I know he doesn’t always think he is, but he is. Constantly.”
- In Flight
An article that has been going around, written by a pilot, about what happens on a routine trip from London to Tokyo. There’s a lot of colorful English being used but beyond the high school english assignment, there are some interesting tidbits that you wouldn’t be aware of unless you were a pilot.
INTAK is a waypoint. An airplane typically navigates through sky countries along a route composed of a few radio beacons and many waypoints. Waypoints are defined by coordinates or their bearing and distance from a beacon, and by a name, which typically takes the form of a five-letter capitalized word — EVUKI, JETSA, SABER — that’s pronounceable and distinct to controllers and pilots regardless of their first language. Waypoint names are the sky’s audible currency of place, atomized and distinct.
- Viacom Is Having A Midlife Crisis
Viacom used to be great, but the owner is not as involved anymore and it seems like it’s going downhill because of that. Of course, no one wants to admit that that is the reason…
Dauman has taken an unusual tack when he’s spoken to analysts about Viacom’s recent performance. The lower ratings for its programming, he says, aren’t the result of the rising popularity of YouTube or poor creative choices at Viacom. Instead, the loss of viewers is an illusion, he says. The fans are there in growing numbers. They just aren’t being properly counted. According to Dauman, Nielsen’s ratings fail to account for the TV that people consume via apps on their smartphones, streaming devices such as Roku, desktop websites, or various video-on-demand services. “Inadequate measurement undermines innovation,” Dauman said during a recent earnings call, “and disproportionately impacts those leading programmers like us who effectively provide the multiplatform experiences that viewers demand.”
- When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China
A primer on how WeChat is different and why it’s successful in China. I tried using WeChat and Weibo in the past but since I can’t read Chinese, it was a non-starter for me. I guess I’ll have to wait until some company in the Western world brings over the idea.
This focus on function over social has significant consequences for brands. Where brands must rely on static, one-size-fits all blasts in U.S. social networks — and users are confined to only liking, favoriting, commenting on, or sharing posts — WeChat shows us what’s possible when brands are offered more options for interacting with their users. For example, where Starbucks could post an offer for all users on its Facebook page, on WeChat, it could theoretically also allow a user to inquire after their gift card balance, place a favorite drink order, find the nearest store without having to specify intent, or receive a promotion tailored to drink preferences based on the weather in that city. Where a celebrity like Taylor Swift can share 140 characters about her upcoming concert on Twitter, on WeChat, she could send a concert discount code to users who purchased her album, or charge users a small fee for daily pre-recorded morning greetings (some celebrities in Asia actually already do this!).
- How Canada’s economy went from boom to recession so fast
Not surprisingly: lower resource demand and China.
By the time the smoke cleared, nearly $3.2 trillion had been wiped off the Chinese stock market—or, about twice the value of India’s entire stock market value. Put another way: Greece’s total government debt—the cause of austerity measures, panicked bailout renegotiations, and even a referendum—is only $375 billion, or about one-10th the amount lost by Chinese stock traders.