Embedded above and on YouTube here:
This is a working particle accelerator built using LEGO bricks. I call it the LBC (Large Brick Collider). It can accelerate a LEGO soccer ball to just over 12.5 kilometers per hour.
If you haven’t watched it yet, clear a few hours from your schedule at some point and watch the two-part Frontline special on the NSA and Edward Snowden that ran in May.
It’s called “United States of Secrets.”
Even if, like me, you think you understand the history of the NSA and the general technical aspects of what Snowden leaked, you may be surprised. Very much worth a watch.
Part 1 is stream-able via the PBS site here.
Part 2 is stream-able here.
My newest story focuses on a rapidly expanding startup, Lazada Indonsesia, that’s aiming to be the country’s Amazon.com. The piece also looks at the promise of e-commerce in the populous country.
JAKARTA—Executives at Lazada Indonesia, a fast-growing e-commerce startup aiming to be the Amazon.com of Southeast Asia, faced a couple of unexpected challenges when they opened a cavernous new warehouse outside Jakarta last year.
The executives, who hail from Europe, were forced to build a special, refrigerated room after realizing that some perfumes they stocked were evaporating in Indonesia’s tropical heat.
Then there was something even more surprising: Staffers were forced to hold a special ceremony to rid the warehouse of what the staff feared was a ghostly presence lurking in the facility.
Challenges are par for the course at Lazada Indonesia, founded in Jakarta in 2012 and partly funded by Rocket Internet AG , a Berlin-based tech incubator that went public last month. Indonesia’s e-commerce market is still small, and Lazada had to build a lot of what it needed from scratch. But the company is plowing ahead so it can get a head start in the country over international giants like Amazon.com Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and eBay Inc.
Meanwhile, I wrote an accompanying post for our Digits blog about some of the local competitors Lazada is battling in Indonesia:
E-commerce startup Lazada is moving quickly in its quest to become Southeast Asia’s Amazon.com.
But as the company expands its operations in populous Indonesia — which analysts say is on track to be the region’s most lucrative market — it’s battling not just big multinational players like the Seattle-based behemoth. It’s also competing with some popular homegrown sites, too.
Lazada Indonesia, a business-to-consumer site founded in 2012 that offers everything from Xiaomi smartphones to bedding and badminton rackets, sees more visitors than the likes of Amazon, Alibaba and eBay in Indonesia, according to data from research firm SimilarWeb.
But several local shopping sites, little known outside Indonesia, are also hugely popular in the country of more than 240 million people.
At the top of this post: An image I snapped inside Lazada’s warehouse outside Jakarta.
I’m late in noting this, as it was released several weeks ago, but:
Not perfect, but a remarkable film.
*A and I saw it at Shaw Theaters Lido here in Singapore.
Online and in yesterday’s WSJ Asia print edition: my Q&A with Evernote Chief Executive Phil Libin.
He discussed innovation in metropolises, challenges Evernote will face in an era of wearable devices and smart appliances, and…his love of durians.
Of course, it took years of planning to execute.
Check out this really cool animated GIF to see how everything came together:
— Meredith Frost (@MeredithFrost) November 13, 2014
As I wrote here:
Twitter Inc. plans to open an office in Hong Kong early next year to serve greater China and tap advertising revenues from Chinese companies that are quickly expanding, an executive said.
Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that the office will mainly house sales staff, though he declined to say how many. The office is set to open in the first quarter of 2015.
“The real main focus of the office will be sales,” Mr. Rao said. “Building sales capability to work with agencies and advertisers domestically in Hong Kong and Taiwan and those Chinese advertisers looking to go global.”
Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009 due to government concerns it could be used to organize protests. Asked if plans for the Hong Kong office signaled Twitter’s eagerness to enter China should the government lift its restriction, Mr. Rao said, “We would love to have Twitter” reach people “everywhere in the world including China.” But, he added, “Unfortunately, we can’t. That’s not our choice. We don’t control that decision.”
Click through to read the whole thing.
The story was picked up by financial newswires, various news organizations and several tech blogs.
I Tweeted this yesterday:
Xmas spirit: It's only early November, but the Santa hats are in full effect at this Singapore cafe! pic.twitter.com/b3IHFpCsK4
— Newley Purnell (@newley) November 5, 2014
One question: Does this mean the staff at my local cafe will be wearing these caps for the next seven weeks?