“My [UberX] driver turned out to be a Google employee who said he drew the lucky H1-B visa straw to get out of Bulgaria … he told me he works at the company’s Mountain View campus, but started driving for UberX for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays to send money to a family of four kids he met on vacation, who couldn’t afford to go to school or even shoes. ‘I just calculated that if I work four hours of a week, I can clothe all of them,’ he told me. ‘For so little, it’s amazing what you can do.’”—(via Valleywag)
"Regulators might be tempted to agree with Comcast that its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock poses no threat to competition… But the issue with cable mergers is not that they reduce or eliminate head-to-head competition for subscribers, because most cities…
My post on Americans starting to recognize class realities has brought some predictable reactions, which I’d place under two headings: (1) “But they have cell phones!” and (2) it’s about how you behave, not how much money you have.
My answer to both of these would be to say that when we talk about being middle class, I’d argue that we have two crucial attributes of that status in mind: security and opportunity.
By security, I mean that you have enough resources and backup that the ordinary emergencies of life won’t plunge you into the abyss. This means having decent health insurance, reasonably stable employment, and enough financial assets that having to replace your car or your boiler isn’t a crisis.
By opportunity I mainly mean being able to get your children a good education and access to job prospects, not feeling that doors are shut because you just can’t afford to do the right thing.
If you don’t have these things, I would say that you don’t lead a middle-class life, even if you have a car and a few electronic gadgets that weren’t around during the era when most Americans really were middle class, and no matter how clean, sober, and prudent your behavior may be.
"Remember when you could be utterly stupid without the whole world finding out…" (@lorcanRK)
I’m still fascinated by things going viral.
Not sure if public idiocy is a good or bad thing. I don’t like how people confuse the right to free speech with the offensive nature of being a bigot. Sure, we have rights to a lot if things but that doesn’t mean we won’t be criticized for exercising those rights. And to be clear, we don’t have the freedom to hate speech.
I scratched my head a little after watching the Amazon Prime Air video (see here), and considered the impact of delivery drones and autonomous vehicles on the future of work:
[…]the big question about drones and autonomous vehicles in general is about the impact on work. Right off the bat, the several million people (mostly men) employed as truck and delivery drivers will be out of a job. Yes, some of them might get work in the Amazon warehouses, but as soon as AI and robots are up to it, those jobs will be gone too.
This won’t be limited to megacorporations like Amazon, although Amazon might be planning to leverage this as an additional industry disruptor, like they’ve done with Amazon’s elastic computing technologies. Imagine a local florist, Bette, in downtown Beacon NY (my home) wanting to make a delivery to a local customer’s home. No longer reliant on Ralph, her former part-time driver, she simply logs into Amazon Prime Air, types in some details, and twenty minutes later a drone touches down in the loading zone outside her store, picks up the flowers for Mrs Johnson, and takes off for North Brett Street.
Of course, her flowers arrive by an autonomous truck three times weekly, and her Samsung Smart Pallet communicates with the truck, gathers her flowers, and brings them to her cold room, without the services of Sheila, her former part-time assistant.
But Ralph and Sheila are off starting microbusinesses, where autonomous vehicles make the economics work.
Now that my new job is in San Jose, I have a brand new city to explore and a whole lot of restaurants to try!
Here are some standouts so far:
La Victoria Taqueria a.k.a. LaVic’s — By complete surprise, I had the best quesadilla I’ve ever had IN MY LIFE here. I know, bold claim. But it’s really that good. Don’t forget to add the orange sauce!
Crema Coffee — This place service above average coffee (even by Bay Area standards) in a cute place. Plenty of tables, chairs, and couches. Fun fact: they roast coffee beans on site!
Cafe Rosalena — Takes the breakfast burrito category to a new level (and a new size)! Lots of options here, I’ve only had the chorizo but I’ll definitely be back to try the others.
San Pedro Square Market — Okay, just ignore their poorly designed website and trust me (and these people on Yelp), this place is really cool! It is huge, feels like you’re in a huge barn with garage doors (exposed beams, exposed brick walls, etc.) and there are countless restaurants, bars and sweets. Would love to come back and try all the different places in here and check out some of their evening/weekend events. Looks like they also have great outdoor seating as well as space for live music and movie screenings.
That’s all for now — although I will say I am delighted that I just discovered that they opened an Ike’s within walking distance from my office!