April 8th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

When the Chips are Down, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

We have a small problem. Actually, it’s a big problem, too. Our world is run by tiny transistors, some of which “are 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.” (At my age, my actual hair is about the same size). These chips are in short supply which is one very big factor slowing supply chains and driving up inflation. To increase the availability of these tiny products, corporations need to build “gigantic, ultraclean factory room floors that can be seven stories tall and run the length of four football fields.” The NYT takes a really interesting (Intel) inside look at how semiconductors are fabricated and what it will take for America to build up a semi-charmed life kinda life at home. (Maybe we should stop with the semiconductors and just go with whole conductors. This is America!) The Huge Endeavor to Produce a Tiny Microchip. (A Gift Article from me. It’s just a small gesture.)


Le Pen and the Sword

The sick targeting of civilians by the Moscow Murderer shows no signs of slowing down. Russia is torturing and murdering civilians on the ground. And from the air, they’re hitting those civilians trying to flee. Missile kills at least 50 at crowded Ukrainian train station. “Photos from the station in Kramatorsk showed the dead covered with tarps on the ground and the remnants of a rocket with the words ‘For the children’ painted on it in Russian. About 4,000 civilians were in and around the station at the time of the strike, the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor-general said, adding that most were women and children heeding calls to leave the area before Russia launches a full-scale offensive in the country’s east.”

+ Russia’s strategy of targeting civilians is in part driven by their failure gain ground against those who are armed. How an All-Volunteer Ukrainian Battalion Freed Nova Basan and Three Other Ukrainian Towns.

+ The battle over Putinism isn’t just military, it’s also political. And one of the fronts is in France. Get ready for a scary fortnight in French politics: a Le Pen presidency really is possible. And from AP: Why this week’s French elections matter to the wider world. We’re losing the last of the greatest generation and those who survived Hitler’s genocide. It’s no coincidence that we’re ceding ground to fascism and authoritarianism just when those who know it when they see it are no longer around to warn us. So let me channel their message: What you think you’re seeing is exactly what’s happening.


Here Comes the Judge

“‘I could see it as a day of hope, a day of promise, a day of progress, a day when once again the moral arc of the universe — as Barack (Obama) used to quote all the time — bends a little more toward justice,’ Biden said at a boisterous event on the South Lawn of the White House. ‘I believe so strongly that we needed a court that looks like America.'” Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Friday her confirmation as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court showed the progress of America, declaring, ‘We’ve made it — all of us.'”

+ Video: “In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: I’ve been digging Life and Beth on Hulu. It stars Amy Schumer and Michael Cera. Bonus, I also like a band called The Beths.

+ What to Hear: Wet Leg is a band as quirky as its name. It’s fun, it’s weird, it’s indie, and it’s members are as surprised as anyone that the band has become a thing all of sudden. Their videos are quirky and fun too. Check em out.

+ What to Dave: On April 18, I’ll be in conversation with the excellent DJ Patil (America’s first chief data scientist) at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. You can join us in person or online. And don’t forget to grab your copy of my book, Please Scream Inside Your Heart.


Extra, Extra

Peter Pipes Up: After tearing up a few hundred dollar bills, Peter Thiel addressed Miami Bitcoin 2022. “Bitcoin, he said, ‘is a movement, and it’s a political question whether this movement is going to succeed, or whether the enemies of the movement will succeed in stopping us.’ The last five minutes of his talk were, of course, dedicated to dunking on these enemies, which he called the ‘gerontocracy.’ Warren Buffett, is ‘enemy number one’ and ‘a sort of sociopathic grandpa from Omaha,’ according to Thiel.” Gizmodo: Peter Thiel Shreds $100s and Mocks the Unwashed Masses at Crypto Conference. Related from NYT: Eager to offset a Democratic advantage among so-called dark money groups, wealthy pro-Trump conservatives like Peter Thiel are involved in efforts to wield greater influence outside the traditional party machinery. (There is a financial and political war going on. It’s unclear that both sides know it’s happening.)

+ Michigan Mishugas: “The historic Gretchen Whitmer kidnap plot case has ended with no convictions. The jury acquitted Daniel Harris on all four counts, and Brandon Caserta was acquitted on the one count of kidnapping conspiracy — so both men are free to go. The jury deadlocked on charges against Adam Fox and Barry Croft, so a mistrial was declared for those defendants.” Ugh.

+ It’s Gotta Be the Shoes: Meet the richest person in Taiwan, who built an $11.7 billion fortune by making shoes for brands like Nike and Vans — and started it all on a pig farm. (Not surprising considering it’s a story about making bacon.)

+ Nice Pants: “The world’s oldest-known pants were part of the burial outfit of a warrior now called Turfan Man. He wore the woven wool pants with a poncho that belted around the waist, ankle-high boots, and a wool headband adorned with seashells and bronze discs. The pants’ basic design is strikingly similar to the pants most of us wear today, but closer inspection reveals the level of engineering that went into designing them.” The world’s oldest pants are a 3,000-year-old engineering marvel. Strong in some places and flexible in others, the pants were designed for horseback riding. (These pants still look better than my designer jeans because I failed to hangdry them.)


Feel Good Friday

“The eventual aim is to develop treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and neurological disorders. The technology is built on the techniques used to create Dolly the cloned sheep more than 25 years ago.” Rejuvenation of woman’s skin could tackle diseases of aging.

+ A mechanic found hundreds of pieces of art in a dumpster. They’re worth millions.

+ “In the days that followed, Dabrowska went to the Polish-Ukrainian border to help refugees there. She took to social media to ask for aid on their behalf.” Schindler’s List’ Actress Who Played Film’s ‘Little Girl In The Red Coat’ Is Now 32 And Helping Ukrainian Refugees Enter Poland.

+ Fortnite raised $144 million for Ukraine relief.

+ Toddler’s friendship with Publix grocer goes viral, inspires charity.

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