I'm an entrepreneur and scientist. As an entrepreneur, I founded CardVine. As a scientist, I study evolution, ecology, genetics, and genomics. Learn more about me at http://ralphhaygood.com/.
"Who are we going to clone first?" Obviously, Dick Cheney. He's already one of the Undead, so clearly his will to immortality is strong, and of course he's well known to have truckloads of money and no scruples whatsoever.
@deepomega If only more of those trolls would leave Facebook in a huff. They stink up the place even worse than Zuckerberg and company's cockamamie advertising schemes.
@Clarence Rosario So true. A couple of years ago, I spent six months living in Silicon Valley, Atherton, to be exact, home of many of these people. Why anyone would choose to stay there is beyond me. As Ken Layne wrote here awhile back, "Silicon Valley is a dull and ugly landscape of low-rise stucco office parks and immense traffic-clogged boulevards [and, I would add, sprawling tracts of staggeringly overpriced mcmansions]...There is nothing to do, nowhere to go." (http://bit.ly/13evvrO)
"Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I'll tell you. A borderline sociopath." Of course, to the extent this is true, it's because the world is largely run by well-over-the-borderline sociopaths.
Thriving cultural hubs don't happen because tycoons decide to make them happen by throwing money around. If Hsieh is serious, maybe he should start a university, like James Duke or Leland Stanford did, which might eventually attract enough smart, industrious, and creative people to matter. Or maybe it's too late in American history for that strategy to work anymore. Anyhow, urban revitalization in places like Durham, NC, where I live, is a long, messy, and organic process involving people like artists, musicians, and restauranteurs who are unlikely to move somewhere just because some zillionaire is spending wads of cash there.
It would help to be somewhere more prepossessing than Las Vegas, too. I've spent time in Las Vegas. It has about as much soul as a paper cup. (Raymond Chandler said similar about Los Angeles, where I grew up, but Las Vegas is worse.) The town barely existed before World War II, and it grew up almost exclusively as a tourist trap. The surroundings aren't bad if, like me, you like deserts (e.g., Red Rock Canyon is lovely), but the town is an island of hotels and casinos in a sea of suburban sprawl. There's no there there, and it would take a lot more than an outcropping of venture-backed startups to change that.
"Wisconsin death trip" is a weird, fascinating, and depressing book unlike any other I've ever read. I highly recommend it. It inspired a film with the same title, which is surprisingly good. Among other things, the film juxtaposes material from the book with scenes of present-day Black River Falls, which suggest the craziness of a century ago is far from over. Neither the book nor the film situates events at Black River Falls in the larger context sketched by this post, which is a reminder that the triumph of industrial capitalism and colonialism was a sordid and squalid affair that caused enormous amounts of gratuitous suffering and waste.
On the contrary, I remember when my mother - who in turn dimly remembered the Great Depression and was therefore a Nervous Nellie about spending money on anything ever - freaked out over paying $34,000 for a house in suburban Los Angeles. Of course, two years later, she sold it for a third again that much.
Then again, I rent an apartment, so I'm not actually a member of "the buying public," partly because I remember real-estate bubbles past (but mostly because I can't stand spending time or money on home maintenance).
"One of the best was writing for The Awl these past six months." "Was"? I hope you aren't leaving already. This post, like so many others of yours, is simply terrific, easily the best thing I've read today (and I read far too much). Then again, this country is a bad place to grow old, so I couldn't blame you for heading somewhere better, if that's what you're up to. Anyhow, if you're leaving The Awl but planning on writing somewhere else, do tell us where, so we can read you there.
No need to read about it - we'll probably feel the tramping from all the way across the Atlantic.
"When will we get some actual economists on Twitter." Well, there's
Granted, it's just announcements of blog posts and columns by The Shrill One. But actually writing or reading anything longer than a one-line joke on Twitter is a form of masochism anyway.