May 19, 2014
1. Life’s a Twitch
Google is reportedly in talks to acquire a site called Twitch for about a $1 billion. A billion for Twitch could be the first really good buy in tech in a long time. And it’s the only recent deal my kids care about. Twitch is a site where people watch other people video games. That might sound nuts to you, but it’s huge. Here are the four leaders when it comes to the percentage of U.S. peak Internet traffic: Netflix, Google, Apple, Twitch.
+ Quartz: “Here’s why the deal makes sense: Last year, some 15 million people watched Major League Baseball¹s World Series. More than twice as many watched the Season 3 World Championship of League of Legends.”
+ Twitch isn’t all about video games. There is some other less surprising content among its most popular streams.
+ Watching other people game is big among kids of all ages. There’s not a kid in my son’s second grade class who hasn’t heard of Stampy.
+ If all this makes you nostalgic for an earlier era of electronics, take a trip to Galloping Ghost, the largest arcade in America. Want to get even more nostalgic? The Rubik’s cube just turned 40. Here are a few fun facts. (I could never complete the cube, so I followed my aptitude to the Pet Rock.)
2. Being Too Direct?
In other deal news, AT&T is planning to acquire DirecTV for $48.5 billion. NPR shares some reactions to the media industry’s latest mega-merger. Soon there will be only two giant companies in media. One that provides your connectivity. And one that ignores your customer complaints.
+ One key to getting the deal done: DirecTV’s highly valuable deal with the NFL.
3. Shanghai Surprise
“For the first time, we are exposing the faces and names behind the keyboards in Shanghai used to steal from American businesses.” There will likely never be any arrests, but the Justice Department has filed cyber-spying charges against the employees of a foreign government.
4. Passing the Smell Test
There’s no effective early detection test for ovarian cancer. But researchers have found something that can be 90 percent successful in identifying the scent of the disease in tissue samples. The nose of a dog.
+ “Out in front of America¹s troops, combat canines and their handlers lead the way onto the most dangerous battlefields on Earth.” From NatGeo: The Dogs of War.
5. Say Hello to My Little Trend
When Medellin was the hometown of Pablo Escobar, the city was the most violent place on the planet (more than twice as deadly as today’s most dangerous city) and “was the center of an illicit empire that supplied 80 per cent of all America¹s cocaine.” Today it’s a thriving tech hub that hopes to be South America’s Silicon Valley. (Only this time they’ll be selling something even more addictive.)
6. Let’s Meet in the Middle
“Barring some extraordinary advances in technology that we currently do not foresee, you are left with the options of retreating from coastal areas not only in the United States, but around the world, or building fortifications against rising sea levels that would make the projects that we now see in places like the Netherlands look like child’s play.”
+From The New Republic: Climate change will force us to abandon coastal cities. We’d better start preparing right now.
+ When she’s not wreaking destruction, Mother Nature can being awe-inspiringly magnificent. Check out this supercell time-lapse.
7. Punt, Pass and Cricket
“India needed more than cricket; what India needed, Zeller said, was American football: ‘the ultimate manly, gladiator sport.’” An LA businesswoman named Sunday Zeller has been trying to sell American football in India. During the first season, there were games without a single spectator in the bleachers. But that’s starting to change.
8. Let’s Commence
“The world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.” That was Aaron Sorkin addressing the graduates at Syracuse in 2012. I’m not sure I buy Sorkin’s math (why would you get up one time that you hadn’t fallen?), but I appreciate the sentiment. If you’re looking for some inspiration (or you’re a recent grad with no job prospects and a lot of time on your hands), NPR has put together a list of the 300 best commencement speeches ever.
9. A Major Turnoff
“One federal judge has compared its lawsuits to an ‘extortion scheme’ writing that many defendants, whether they committed copyright infringement or not, would rather settle than face the costs and potential embarrassment of fighting their cases.” What would you do if an adult site filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against you? That’s a question a lot of people have had to answer. Meet Malibu, LLC, the company that has filed a third of all copyright litigation in the past year.
10. The Bottom of the News
“The bitch of it is there¹s no planned obsolescence. When people say, ‘I’ve got my grandmother¹s pan,’ I say, ‘That¹s not helping me a damn bit.’” It’s not easy being in the cast iron business. (I’ve always preferred Valyrian Steel.)
+ Andy Samberg returns to SNL and brings a killer digital short. Don’t miss the DJ known as Davvinvii.
+ Looking for the latest crop of eligible singles? You might want to try a site called Farmers Only. Meanwhile, back at the ranch…