Here at The D&O Diary we read everything so you don’t have to. It was in this spirit that we read the article on page C-3 of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal that in the print version was entitled “Congo Opening Its Doors to Agribusiness” (here) and that contained the single most astonishing sentence I have ever read in my entire life.
The article states: “The Democratic Republic of Congo plans to lease farmland covering an area larger than France in an attempt to attract capital and technology capable of boosting jobs and food productivity in one of the world’s poorest countries.”
Larger than France? What? What in the world are we talking about here?
Let’s put this in perspective — the next sentence in the article says “Congo may lease as much as 650,000 square kilometers (247,000 square miles) or more than one quarter of the central African nation.” For those Americans that have never traveled around France, let me use a point of comparison that may be more meaningful — 247,000 square miles is an area only slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
And because I know that even this comparison still doesn’t mean anything to people on the East Coast of the United States (who think it is a long way from Manhattan to Connecticut), let me add further than we are talking about a geographic area larger than the combined size of the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia, with a lot left over. We are talking about a massive amount of real estate.
How can they possibly have a slug of arable farm land larger than the geographically largest country in Europe that they (and in this instance who really is “they”) can just lease out? Doesn’t it seem likely that if there is farmland of any value that someone is already farming it? Might not the current farmers object to, say, for example, the Chinese, coming in and agribusinessing their farmland? As I said before — what?
While contemplating this, you will want to stop everything you are doing and watch the new video from the group OK Go. Many readers may be familiar with the group’s prior videos including their iconic treadmill video. With this new video the group has outdone themselves. Watch this video and be prepared for things to get way more complicated and astonishing than you think at the beginning that they could possibly be.
This video won’t answer any questions about farmland in the Congo, but the choreography will blow you away. While you are sitting gape-mouthed over the precision of the people movement, use of props, and optical illusions, take a moment to contemplate the camera work. The video was filmed as single, continuously shot long-take that I will not spoil for you by describing how it finishes. (You must watch it ALL THE WAY TO THE END.) I haven’t the slightest idea how the filming of this video was physically possible. The song itself is light and inconsequential. The video, however, is astounding.
The third astonishing thing: Madison Bumgarner. To pitch five shutout innings on two days rest in the seventh game of the World Series? Astonishing. Is there anything better in sports than the seventh game of the World Series, a one-run lead, bottom of the ninth, two outs, runner on third base, and two strikes on the batter? Amazing. By the way, the poor guy from Chevrolet that gave Bumgarner the MVP award probably will calm down, say, in a month or two. With therapy.