Apple = 5.4% of Taiwan’s GDP

A ton of manufacturers that Apple gets parts from are located in Taiwan, and it shows.

Taiwan’s 2013 gross national product was $499.8 billion, so this would translate to Apple making up around 3.6% to 5.4% of the country’s GNP, a measure that includes offshore production by Foxconn and other suppliers.

Never ending lego

In terms of things that happen constantly but you never think about, I think shipping Lego across from the world to store shelves in the US ranks pretty high. However, in 1997, one of these ships en route from Tokyo to New York ended up losing an entire shipping container of Lego (4.8 million pieces) into the sea after an ill-timed wave. And, if you thought the Exxon-Valdez was bad, nearly 17 years the Lego are still washing up on shore. Ironically, some of them are nautical themed, and I can’t decide if this is the greatest beach in the world.

PS — on the plural of Lego via here:

Technically, the official plural form for more than one element of LEGO is “LEGO® brand building bricks”. That’s ridiculous, though, so most LEGO fans refer to one or more bricks as “LEGO”, following the grammatical convention of “fish” and “sheep.”

Secret US conspiracy to start a war with Russia

According to (Putin’s) Russian media, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 might be a conspiracy by the American government to start a war with Russia. My favorite theory is:

On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes. Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile.

This is obviously in stark contrast to the American media talking points about Putin being a murderer or Russia implicitly allowing someone to shoot a civilian plane. Who said the Cold War ended?

A black hole on earth (literally)

A la Wile E. Cayote above, you yourself will be able to fool people with a black hole if you can get your hands on this new material scientists in England created. Description from the article:

It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing.

Still no idea…

A couple of months ago I posted this about the sudden decline in US miles traveled in vehicles. Here’s another graph showing the same phenomenon that I still have no idea about…

Day in the life of an NYC taxi

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.10.18 AM
Amazing visualization of single NYC taxi throughout the day with data on routes and fares. Every time you reload you should get another taxi. I already found one cabby that was like 2x as fast as the others ones I looked at. Some of these were taking like 70+ passengers and total fares over $800 a day.

Where in the world is Lebron James going?

A little over four years ago, Lebron James went on national TV and announced at the end of an hour long special where he was going to be playing basketball for the next few years. As soon as the special ended, Lebron James was obliterated by fans and the media. People called him a traitor for leaving his hometown. Fans burned his jersey in the streets. Others analyzed the racist undertones surrounding the entire thing. It was at a weird intersection of sports and fame.

Now, it’s four years later and Lebron has to make another decision. Ignoring all the real basketball and competitive reasons one might consider, people are freaking out again. This time it’s not as much about hating Lebron James (at least not now that his decision isn’t public), but its a weird obsession with simply founding out where he will end up this time. People are analyzing his personal website for hex values or staking out his personal home to see where his luxury cars are being moved to try to get clues.

It almost seems inevitable in this age of constant news and information, but it feels so weird to think about the actual minutiae of the actual event. And not just in the existential ‘nothing matters’ way, but in the like day-to-day way that one might ask themselves: why do people care so much?

I’m as guilty as the next NBA fan who checks twitter constantly. But, it’s a weird culture we’re in now and realizing that you’re incumbent in it.

Update: Lebron ended up in Cleveland, which he announced in a classy letter for Sports Illustrated. Everyone’s generally happy about this.

As of today, the pre-1982 US penny is worth 213.97% its assigned value.

I always hear that the metal in pure copper pennies is worth a lot more than their $.01 given value, and, as of today, that value is freaking over double! Although the new pennies are about 4 times cheaper to make than these older ones, they’re not that good in terms of (cost to make/value) ratio at 59.98%. Time to jump on the get rid of the penny bandwagon.

Here are some other interesting coins:

  1. The current nickels are at about 101.59% (cost to make/value).
  2. There is a $20 coin worth $1295.09 (1907-1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle).
  3. As recently as 2013, there was a $1 coin that is worth $21.4085 (1986-2013 Silver Eagle).