Last week I was coming at you from Korea, and this week I’m in Japan. I went to visit the site where the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on civilians yesterday, and I continue to feel that country’s really gotten off easy for such a horrific act — which, to be fair, is only one short chapter in the long story of the brutality it’s unleashed upon the world. (Vincent Bevins’ The Jakarta Method is kind of the go-to account of that, if you’re interested.)
I was also struck by how poor the quality of Google and Apple Maps were in Korea, and how you really had to download a local app like Kakao or Naver Map if you really wanted to find anything and get good directions. We often talk about how it’s just impossible to imagine people using services that aren’t from the dominant US conglomerates and how difficult it is to develop domestic alternatives, but I’d be interested in learning more about why that doesn’t seem to be the case with maps in Korea. By contrast, Google Maps is great in Japan.
Anyway, since I’m sort of on vacation this week, I have no further commentary and I may not have a regular issue this coming week (we’ll see). If you haven’t read the piece I sent out on Friday though, I highly recommend it. It’s had some great feedback so far, and it pulled inspiration from the work of Ursula Le Guin, who’s long been one of my favorite authors.
If you need something to listen to in the coming days, I also spoke to Jason Koebler and Samantha Cole, a couple of the cofounders of 404 Media, over on Tech Won’t Save Us. It’s a new publication from former Motherboard staffers who are bringing their critical eye for tech to a own reader-supported publication. We had a great chat!
As always, if you want all the recommended reads, labor updates, and other news you might have missed, make sure to become a paid subscriber! You’ll also be supporting the work I put into the newsletter every week. While I don’t have commentary this week, I did break down some of the things we learned from an excerpt of the Elon Musk biography coming out later this month. No surprise, the guy sucks!
Anyway, have a great week!
PS — Did you catch that the Burning Man crowd are stuck in the mud in the middle of the Nevada desert and now a bunch of ghouls like Neal Katyal and Grover Nordquist are admitting they were among the attendees of the supposedly countercultural event?