March 28, 2014: The Week in Review

I had a dream this week that I was Nightcrawler from the X-Men (or something along those lines), as I could teleport quite well (though thankfully I hadn’t grown a tail in the bargain). I wasn’t called upon to save the world, but I did find it quite a pleasant surprise when I realized that I didn’t need to carry my keys with me or wait for the elevator. That was the highlight of my week, but here are a few things that went on in the so-called “real” world:

  • The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution denouncing Crimea’s secession referendum (and Russia’s subsequent annexation of the territory) as “not cool”. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded by giving the UN a wedgie and stealing its lunch money.
  • The search for the final whereabouts of Flight 370 continued as Malaysian officials formally expanded the search area to include nearby parallel universes and asked George Clooney if they could borrow his Syrian spy satellite.
  • Facebook acquired nascent Virtual Reality hardware maker Oculus for $2 billion. In a statement ostensibly prepared by a recent marketing school graduate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play, and communicate.” Facebook expressed its commitment to helping Oculus evolve beyond its initial vision of providing an immersive computer gaming experience to a fully-realized VR platform where users can sit in a virtual conference room and watch a slideshow presentation or be accosted by the virtual equivalent of the Best Buy clerk who keeps asking if you want to purchase an extended warranty while you surf the internet.
  • Shortly after the Facebook announcement, stock prices jumped for every company whose name contained some variation of the word “oculus”, none of whom had any relationship to the actual startup in question (which isn’t listed on any stock exchange), demonstrating once again that the stock market is essentially the glorified equivalent of a bunch of drunken assholes hitting the sports book at Caesar’s Palace during the Final Four weekend.
  • A couple of research articles were recently published, demonstrating that business meetings were a generally ineffective means of making decisions and accurately sharing information. According to one study, “making a decision as part of a group leads to increases in confidence that are not mirrored in accuracy.” Participants who spoke at length during meetings only succeeded in talking themselves into believing that they were correct, but generally did nothing to achieve consensus. Shortly after the studies were published, a number of corporate executives held staff meetings in which they soliloquized for a half hour on the need for effective decision-making and solicited ideas for improving communications, after which a handful of sycophants each took roughly 5-7 minutes to paraphrase what their leader had just said, followed by the appointment of a committee consisting of said sycophants who would schedule a follow-up meeting to align on ideas for improving meeting effectiveness.
  • In a plea for attention thinly disguised as a “please respect our privacy” notice, life-sized Malibu Barbie and aspiring off-key singer Gwenyth (Gwynith?, Gwyneth?; pick one) Paltrow announced that she and husband some-guy-from-Coldplay-who’s-not-worth-Googling will be separating via a process she coined “conscious uncoupling”, which is the lexical equivalent of “sanitation engineer” for the term divorce. She went on to say that she’ll be taking time off from acting to spend more time with her kids, presumably to keep them from getting their asses kicked by classmates on a daily basis for being saddled with the dumbest fucking names in recent human history. Some-guy-from-Coldplay-who’s-not-worth-Googling will continue to make shitty-yet-inexplicably-popular music. Shortly after the announcement, Facebook experienced a brief service outage as the same people who bought Oculus stock rushed to change their relationship status to “Consciously Uncoupled”.
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