“You still got to play within the game, but having so many coaches throughout my career, it’s like you got to prove your worth, prove your value, prove you can play every new situation you get into because, especially with me, they always want to put me in a box: ‘Just drive and dunk it.’ ‘Just play defense, get steals.’ ‘I don’t want you shooting the ball,’” Iguodala said. “One year, I was told, ‘Stay away from 3s. Limit your 3s, limit your 3s.’ I shot 40 percent from 3 that year, because I was just like, I got to prove myself each and every time.”
At the hotel, a second person approached Iguodala as he sat quietly. It was an excited fan. “Welcome to the Bay,” he said. “We need you.”
Iguodala thanked him. The fan went on his way. “I still think that my game isn’t respected,” Iguodala said later. “So when they say I need you — and I’m not being arrogant — I think y’all need me more than you think you do. And I’ll show you. I just can’t wait to show it, even if they won’t be able to see it.’”
ACT 2: YESTERDAY, HE SPEAKS OF THE MISOGI
Two days later Kyle is on the phone, on an off day, sounding relaxed. He has a theory about how he did it. It sounds a bit far-fetched, maybe, but do you have a few minutes?
Hear him out. It’s important.
Most of the guys on the team haven’t heard it.
Most of them, he thinks, probably wouldn’t get it. Here he is:
“There’s a jiu-jitsu concept that was introduced to me this summer called the misogi. It comes from the idea that as we get older we take fewer risks, think more inside the box, get more careful, make more decisions based on fear. To combat this, once a year you do something that you’re not sure you can do. That’s the misogi. I’m not talking a marathon — lots of people do that. It’s more like, climb to the top of the farthest mountain you can see. That’s where I’m gonna go.
“So as my trainer is telling me all this, I’m like, ‘Yes, I get this.’ I feel it. I feel it in my basketball game. I want to work on different moves, catch and shoot faster. But what are we doing?
“He says, ‘Have you ever stand-up paddleboarded before?’ No. But I’m in. ‘How do you feel about paddleboarding from the Channel Islands to Santa Barbara? Twenty-five miles across open water?’ I’m in!
“So we practice seven or eight times. Then we took a boat to the islands in early September. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of the ocean, on a 13-foot board called the Big Easy. I was with two friends. We had packs. A boat followed us: Every few hours they’d throw us Gatorade, water, a Clif Bar. The first few hours, I kept falling. I had to paddle from my knees. Maybe six hours in, getting baked, this pod of dolphins comes flying in from nowhere. They’re under us, around us. It was magical. Out of a movie! I was like, ‘Yo! Come with us! We’re gonna make it!’ I started paddling really fast. Then, an hour later, this dorsal fin pokes out of the water near us. And it keeps going up and up and up. This thing was like two and a half feet tall, and it comes for us. It comes for us! I was like, ‘Is that a killer whale? It’s so big!’ But there are no killer whales in Santa Barbara.
“The guy in the boat jumped up and said, ‘That’s a mola mola.’
“I said, ‘Does it have teeth? We’re so scared.’
“We’re standing our boards with our paddles in our hands. Turned out it was a 2,000-pound fish.
“I could talk about this for a long time.
“The point is, as we’re paddleboarding … there wasn’t a tree, there wasn’t a corner, there weren’t mile markers. You had to break it down even smaller. Into the stroke. So I sat there and tried to perfect my stroke each time I pull. The angles of how I’m pulling the paddle back and going forward. How long I’m going. How I’m using my wrist. All these things. You try to make the stroke perfect. It took nine hours.
“My bones felt hungover for like two weeks. Training camp started and I thought I was in bad shape. But I recovered, and I think I’ve become more serious about my shot. My mechanics. My revolutions. The stroke.
“That’s what the misogi did.”
In February, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote an excellent and nuanced examination of the paradox of Ender’s Game, and the tricky negotiation of consuming valuable works by reprehensible artists. In the 1930s and 1940s, George Orwell produced article after article trying to navigate the treacherous intersections of literature with the personal and political. But even now, there’s no map. It is unconscionable to keep supporting Card, to buy his books, to afford him any further platform. But if we all walk away and keep walking, someday a kid is going to reach for the touchstone that I clung to — and come up empty.
Once, early in our correspondence, Card and I talked about villains. I don’t remember the exact words, but Card’s advice stuck with me: to find something worth loving in every antagonist. It’s the lesson that made Speaker for the Dead my partner’s favorite book in the Ender series: that no one is all good or all bad; that most of us live the lives we think we have to.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska” are the current standards of what a serious Hollywood movie looks like. “American Hustle” offers so many easy pleasures that people may not think of it as a work of art, but it is. In the world that Russell has created, if you don’t come to play you’re not fully alive. An art devoted to appetite has as much right to screen immortality as the most austere formal invention. ♦
And that’s what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.
That’s the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we’ve managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people’s racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.
And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans. And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it’s not just about race, it’s about something even more terrifying. It’s about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?
So how does it get better? In 1932, it got better because they dealt the cards again and there was a communal logic that said nobody’s going to get left behind. We’re going to figure this out. We’re going to get the banks open. From the depths of that depression a social compact was made between worker, between labour and capital that actually allowed people to have some hope.
How a Custom Chip Creates a Cascade of Consequences
The even greater undertaking with the new Reader, however, was the development of a custom chip, built from the ground up. “It’s not typical for a startup to do that,” Dorogusker says. “It’s a little bit of upfront cost to build this from scratch.” But the benefits were huge. After all, this tiny fleck is the brains of the operation. And by building their own chip, Square was able to improve several aspects of the product–its performance, its size, and its overall reliability–in one stroke.
On one level, developing a custom chip gave Square total control over the processes at the heart of the product: Decoding the magnetic signal from the credit card, encoding the electrical signal being sent to the smartphone, and all the encryption that happens in between. “We take all of that very seriously,” Dorogusker says. “We know exactly what we need. Off the shelf solutions could do what we wanted but had a bunch of extra.”
In terms of the design of the internals, though, the chip offered another fantastic advantage: an opportunity to ditch the Reader’s battery. The old version relied on a coin cell, which added around two millimeters to the overall thickness of the device. With their own chip, though, Square was able to be much more efficient in their use of power, to the point that they could draw all they needed from the smartphone via the audio jack. As a result, the new Reader dropped the battery and two millimeters along with it. “For the nerds on the team, that is crazy awesome,” Dorogusker says.
It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class that not only had money to buy all the stuff that they needed to live but enough to buy a bunch of shit that they wanted but didn’t need, and that was the engine that drove us.
It wasn’t just that we could supply stuff, or that we had the factories or know-how or capital, it was that we created our own demand and started exporting that demand throughout the west. And the standard of living made it possible to manufacture stuff at an incredible rate and sell it.
And how did we do that? We did that by not giving in to either side. That was the new deal. That was the great society. That was all of that argument about collective bargaining and union wages and it was an argument that meant neither side gets to win.
Labour doesn’t get to win all its arguments, capital doesn’t get to. But it’s in the tension, it’s in the actual fight between the two, that capitalism actually becomes functional, that it becomes something that every stratum in society has a stake in, that they all share.
The unions actually mattered. The unions were part of the equation. It didn’t matter that they won all the time, it didn’t matter that they lost all the time, it just mattered that they had to win some of the time and they had to put up a fight and they had to argue for the demand and the equation and for the idea that workers were not worth less, they were worth more.
I can’t tell you how many people have told me that just don’t get “Lost in Translation.” They want to know what it’s about. They complain “nothing happens.” They’ve been trained by movies that tell them where to look and what to feel, in stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. “Lost in Translation” offers an experience in the exercise of empathy. The characters empathize with each other (that’s what it’s about), and we can empathize with them going through that process. It’s not a question of reading our own emotions into Murray’s blank slate. The slate isn’t blank. It’s on hold. He doesn’t choose to wear his heart on his sleeve for Charlotte, and he doesn’t choose to make a move. But he is very lonely and not without sympathy for her. She would plausibly have sex with him, casually, to be “nice,” and because she’s mad at her husband and it might be fun. But she doesn’t know as he does that if you cheat it shouldn’t be with someone it would make a difference to.
There is wonderful comedy in the film, involving the ad agency’s photo shoot for the Suntory Scotch commercial and Bob’s guest shot on the “Japanese Johnny Carson.” But Coppola remains firmly grounded in reality. The Japanese director seems to be spouting hysterical nonsense until you find a translation online and understand what he’s saying and why. He’s not without humor. The translator seems to be simplifying, but now we understand what she’s doing. There’s nothing implausible about the scene. Anyone who watches Japanese TV, even via YouTube, knows the TV show is straight from life. Notice the microscopic look Murray gives the camera to signal “just kidding.”
What is lost in translation? John understands nothing of what Charlotte says or feels, nor does he understand how he’s behaving. (Ribisi’s acting in the scene where he rushes out saying he loves her is remorselessly exact). Bob’s wife and assistant don’t understand how desperately indifferent he is to the carpet samples. And so on. What does get translated, finally, is what Bob and Charlotte are really thinking. The whole movie is about that act of translation taking place.
Jony Ive and his elite design team at Apple are coffee snobs. And rightfully so.
Coffee is the fuel that drives their brainstorming sessions, which are arguably the most important meetings in the design department. These sessions are where Apple has birthed some of the greatest products of all-time: the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.
In this guest post by Leander Kahney (author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products), you’ll learn the secret coffee ritual performed by Jony Ive’s design team.
Remember: Apple’s standards are notoriously high. As is the case with their products, Apple’s coffee is not for those with meager budgets…or without Monk-ish tendencies.
HOWEVER, for almost every uber-expensive ideal, I’ve indicated the Poor Man’s alternative that I personally use. It’s not hard to cheaply get it about 90% right.
Enjoy the obsessive detail…
Ross, the cult intervention specialist, agrees that the media has a responsibility to its viewers. Oprah brought James Arthur Ray into millions of homes, asking her audience to trust him. She made him wealthy and famous. When James Frey admitted to fabricating portions of his Oprah-endorsed memoir, she publicly chastised him for duping her. When three people died following a teacher Oprah endorsed, the Browns point out, she remained silent. According to Ross, she failed her viewers, and without apology continues to promote “these kind of fringe people that could do the public harm.”
And in the United States, it’s largely caveat emptor when it comes to choosing a teacher. As Ross points out, the $11 billion “self-improvement” industry is largely unregulated (which even market researchers admit is probably hampering it). First Amendment protections offer broad protection for self-help claims. Kevin Trudeau, a late-night infomercial pitchman who claimed mystical connections similar to James Arthur Ray’s, was recently jailed for contempt of court after the Federal Trade Commission accused him of false advertising — including the idea that “coral calcium” cured cancer. But he’s an exception. Most self-help promoters make claims so vague as to be beyond the reach of the FTC or fraud laws.
The Browns worry that their daughter’s death has changed nothing
That puts the burden of being informed on consumers, and the Browns worry that people will find it too easy to blame their daughter for her own death. They fear that people might consider her to be naive or gullible. “‘A middle-aged woman in Sedona, Arizona, who was an idiot, did this stupid thing and is dead,’” George Brown says. “We weren’t going to stand for that.” Kirby was curious, ambitious, and hardworking. As Ginny describes it, she was “drunk on life.” Like Ray, she was constantly reinventing herself. Those characteristics led her to James Arthur Ray.