Safe Rides for All

This past year one of the fastest growing companies that has been making a lot of waves in the transportation industry launched in Columbia. Uber, and the service known as UberX, is a ride sharing company designed to improve the experience for customers of the mobile-app-based transportation network. Rumors have swirled around the company and their legality, but that has not stopped the company’s growth. Uber was recently valued at $40 Billion. They are easily the largest player in this new ride-sharing industry that they pioneered.

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The concept behind Uber is ride sharing. Anyone can sign up to be a driver, and work their own hours. It allows significantly cheaper rides for consumers, and is a much more pleasant experience. It is driving many established taxi services out of business. The issue that has arisen is corruption. Governments make a large amount off of taxing taxi companies. Uber is technically a ride sharing company, and not a registered taxi service, and therefore doesn’t have to pay the same taxes. Because of this they are dragging their feet as much as possible to allow ride share companies to function legally. On June 11, 2014, European taxi drivers intentionally gridlocked major streets in protest of the “unregulated” taxi app.

The newest development against Uber is the largest. According to Fox Business News, Melrose Credit Union, the city’s biggest financier of taxi licenses, has threatened New York Mayor Bill de Blasio with a multi-billion dollar lawsuit unless the ride-sharing company begins to comply with the city’s taxi laws. Melrose claims that according to the law, only licensed taxis can pick up street hails, and that Uber vehicles routinely violate this law. If successful the city could be on the hook for $15 billion in damages, Melrose said in its letter to de Blasio. An Uber spokesman weighed in on the suit, saying that “Big taxi should spend more time focusing on improving service quality and expanding options for New Yorkers rather than protecting the status quo and stifling competition,”

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Uber may have much larger plans than simple ridesharing though. Many large automotive companies, as well as Uber, have been clamoring for the chance to get their hands on Nokia’s HERE mapping unit. Uber offered as much as $3 billion for the unit. This is reportedly to help as the company moves to stop being dependent on Google Maps, and enter the logistics business themselves. The reason other automotive makers are interested in the program as well is very foreword thinking. Upscale companies such as BMW and Mercedes are in the process of engineering self-driving cars. This type of product would require extremely accurate maps, such as HERE. Acquiring HERE would allow Uber to transport much more than just people.

Here’s to hoping Uber can navigate through all the politics, to continue providing a great product to consumers.

 

 

 

Mr. Bond

James Bond is one of the most iconic film characters in existence. After 23 hugely successful films it is no surprise that there is a huge fan base spanning generations and geographies. The 007 franchise is the single highest grossing franchise ever after adjustments for inflation. There has been quite a bit of controversy involving the modern adaptations of the famous franchise.

Recently the trailer for the newest addition to the franchise, Spectre, was released. The star of this film, along with Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, and the original Casino Royal reboot, is Daniel Craig. Craig is, in my opinion, the best Bond to date. But this is probably the same way Christian Bale is the only true Batman.

The largest controversy in the Bond history has just recently come to be an issue. There has been much talk of Idris Elba being cast as the next 007 once Craig lets the part go. The 43-year-old actor is most well known for his work in Thor, Prometheus, and Pacific Rim.

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Outrage was recently sparked online after former 007 actor Roger Moore was interviewed saying that Elba was not “English-English” enough to play the famous spy. Ian Flemming’s description of bond was “Name: Bond, James. Height: 183cm, weight: 76 kilograms; slim build; eyes: blue; hair: black; scar down right cheek and on left shoulder; signs of plastic surgery on back of right hand; all-round athlete; expert pistol shot, boxer, knife-thrower; does not use disguises” in the novel From Russia With Love. No actor in the movies’ history has matched this description exactly. Bond has been portraid by Sean Connery, a Scott, Timothy Dalton, a Welshman, Pierce Brosnan, an Irishman, and Sir Robert Moore, an Englishman. Elba was born and raised in Hackney, London.

After last year’s Sony email leak, top Sony executives were shown to be thinking, “Idris should be the new Bond”. Outrage was sparked online after the release of Moore’s comments. However Elba never responded. When asked about the role “I blame Daniel” Elba joked. “Honestly, it’s a rumor that’s really starting to eat itself,” he said. “If there was ever any chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone.” Personally, I think Mr. Elba would make a great Mr. Bond.

 

 

Sprang Break!!!

Spring Break is a right of passage for college kids around the world. Every year in the U.S. sometime around mid-march, thousands of students perform the grand migration down south for some grand relaxation after mid-terms.

For Mizzou, there is a pretty set schedule of what each year will entail. For freshman, this means Panama City Beach, or PCB. Specifically the Holiday Inn if you’re doing it correctly. All of Mizzou freshman gather packed into small rooms on about 15 floors, and head down to the beachfront every morning, Gatorade jugs full, and then things get somewhat out of control. I have heard stories that would make Chuck Norris cringe. My roommate got peed on in an elevator.

Sophomore year means Gulf Shores, Alabama. Everyone is a little more mature. And everything is a little more laid back. Two miles of rental beach houses fill up, and people get a little weird with their housemates. I am currently writing this from the kitchen of one such house, while everyone else is on the patio partying.

Junior year people tend to either take the break to work on internships or go to a slew of other places. Such as Padre Island or Colorado. Finally Junior year everyone has their last hoorah down in Mexico. Usually either Cabo or Cancun. Obviously it’s much harder for me to elaborate on these last two not having been yet.

I was curious how Spring Break here in the states compared to breaks for other places in the world. Obviously anywhere in Mexico would be a major place to be for Spring Break, just because so many other places congregate there. Coupled with a lack of government enforcement, Mexico easily gets the craziest.

After some research online. It seems like nowhere in Europe does spring break quite the same. This is largely because there is so much variation in the times that each school has their different breaks. The education system being different in those countries has a large impact as well.

Enjoy your Spring Break everyone!

FIFA’s Effect on the World

Since its founding in 1930, the Fifa World Cup has grown to be one of the largest recognized sporting events among the globe. After the first World Cup series, taking place in Uruguay, the event has taken place in a different country every four years, and will return to Russia in the year 2018. With preparation for the next World Cup, there is also much discussion whether the cup is completely beneficial to a country’s well-being or if it is possible that there might be more harm done than there is good to the country in the long run. We will explore the perspectives of different countries throughout the cup’s history in the aspects of cultural, economic, and political standpoints to find if hosting the 2018 World Cup is truly as great as it has been hyped up to be. 

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, otherwise known as FIFA, is the sport of soccer’s global governing body. In 1928 Uruguay’s men’s national soccer team retained their title at the summer Olympic games, causing them to be selected as the host country of the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup. The first World Cup included 13 teams representing 3 continents and has dramatically grown since then. Today, the World Cup tournament includes 32 teams from all corners of the world. Since the inaugural tournament, the championship has taken place every four years with the exception of the 1942 and the 1946 seasons due to World War II. The tournament has been played 20 times with only 8 different nations having won it.

Because of soccer’s worldwide popularity, FIFA doesn’t just represent a sport; the organization represents international politics, human rights, major business transactions, and many other categories. FIFA controls the media rights to an event that 1/9th of the world’s population watches and they also control the placement of the World Cup. Because of this, FIFA has a great deal of power and billions of dollars in its sway. As John Sugden puts it in his book FIFA and the Contest for World Football: Who Rules the People’s Game?, “membership of FIFA…is the clearest signal that a country’s status as a nation state has been recognized by the international community.” By simply being associated with FIFA a country automatically gains credibility. With great power comes great responsibility and that is one thing FIFA has taken a lot of criticism for over the years. Issues such as labor disputes, financial mismanagement, and corruption within the organization have all come up. Regardless of all these controversies, FIFA remains to be a global power and the leading force in soccer.

There are many economic, fiscal, and political implications that come along with a country’s hosting of super-sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics. Many question what factors are looked at when deciding what countries should host such events, as well as what the long term effects the host country has.

In 2010 South Africa hosted the FIFA world cup. It has been interesting to see how their country has evolved in the years since then. One major argument for the selection of South Africa for the tournament was the social standing of so many of its citizens. Nearly 50% living in poverty, and a quarter of the population unemployed. Reports state that the South African Government spent nearly $1.48 Billion on construction and renovation of Soccer Stadiums for the tournament alone, let alone all the interior renovation done to the country. Soccer stadiums should not be a place of major political spending of the government.

Another major argument against hosting these tournaments is the wasteful construction of the stadiums. Although, five South African stadiums were able to be renovated, an additional five new stadiums had to be built in order to host the World Cup. These stadiums were built to contain between 40,000 and 64,000 people (in comparison Faurot Field holds about 71,000).The top soccer team in South Africa, the ABSA Premiership, averaged less than 8,000 people in attendance per game in the 2009-2010 season. A mere 2% of the games held that season drew more than 40,000 people. (Forbes) There was not the slightest chance of South Africa being able to put these stadiums to good use after the World Cup was done with them. This has happened to many countries in the past, and now these once state of the art stadiums now sit in ruins collecting dust.

Although there are a few countries that manage to benefit in the long term from these events, such as Sydney Australia, the general outcome is very negative. These mega-events almost resemble a virus, coming in, using the benefits of the country while they’re there, and then moving on, leaving the country to deal with the rotting remains. Meanwhile FIFA has moved on to the next country who so badly vied for the chance to host.

The FIFA World Cup is a time where cultures collide and competition is high.  Japan and South Korea instilled their culture on the world through making a mark on history, inviting everyone into their past, and exposing the world to their lifestyle.  The first cup in Asia was in 2002 when Korea and Japan merged together to co-host the World Cup.  This was the first and last time two different countries have hosted the cup.

This symbolic gesture of unity impacted all those involved.  Since the historical clash of World War II, the neighboring countries have experienced aggressive interactions.  The symbolism of Japan putting past mistreatment by the Allies behind them to unify for Asia created peace in the competition.  Although, there was concern of possible foul play or terrorist acts, the hosting of World Cup 2002 brought both cultures together successfully without hostility.  The competition included festivities and ceremonies that all coincide with the host country’s underlying strive for unity.

Japan and Korea started their festivities prior to the opening ceremony.  With the Flag Festival, “Poetry of the Winds”, they wished success upon the World Cup to promote harmony during the tournament.  Following the South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung’s public welcome, “I declare the 2002 FIFA World Cup open!” the cup began.  Japan and South Korea’s opening ceremony combined both cultures into one unified message.  According to The Journal of Sport Management, Japan and Korea came together and through the focus of a commonly respected sport, sprouted change and unity.  The 2002 World Cup proves that the tournament is constructive for world relations.

 Lastly, this idea of a unification stretches across borders in a way that most countries normally cannot. The World Cup brings countries together despite economic, diplomatic and cultural disputes and disconnections. It allows the world to come together under a common interest. As a result, the FIFA World Cup has grown into a legacy in the last seventy-five years, unmatched even by the Olympics. Its global spotlight, undeterred by international conflict, has given it such a compelling history. Despite the issues of corruption and the dropout from the short lived economic bump for the host country, this exposure of global integration allows for the progression of international relations through something as simple as a soccer tournament.

 This post was written collaboratively by Logan Drake, Tim O’Brien, Colleen Mahoney, Jake Diamond, and Jake Jost.