Monday, December 12th, 2022


The Atoms Family

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Lab produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain. I'm a humanities major so my first reaction to fusion is usually confusion, but this appears to be a really big deal (I can tell by the font size used in the headlines). "The result of the experiment is a massive step in a decadeslong quest to unleash an infinite source of clean energy that could help end dependence on fossil fuels. Researchers have for decades attempted to recreate nuclear fusion – replicating the fusion that powers the sun." (Replicating the energy of the sun probably looks pretty impressive on a resumé. Or a Tinder bio.) And we're talking about nuclear fusion not fission, which generates radioactive waste. "Nuclear fusion happens when two or more atoms are fused into one larger one, a process that generates a massive amount of energy as heat." CNN: US scientists reach long-awaited nuclear fusion breakthrough. Half of America is opposed to fusion because it contains the word nuclear and half of America is opposed to fusion because it wasn't discovered on Hunter Biden's laptop.

+ CBS News: What is nuclear fusion? Harnessing the power of the sun to create clean energy.

+ To be clear, we're talking about a tiny amount of energy. But it's a start. Quartz: A US lab's nuclear fusion breakthrough could transform clean energy. "The experiment, conducted within the last two weeks, has generated about 2.5 megajoules of energy, 120% more than the 2.1 megajoules put into creating it. The excess energy generated isn't much, underscoring that it could take decades more before nuclear fusion begins to fuel power plants. However, the shift from net-negative energy generation to net-positive is a result that has eluded scientists for decades and represents a potential turning point in developing this form of alternative energy."


Fee Fi Fo Fum

Everything changed when one of Ticketmaster's pivotal CEOs realized that people attending concerts weren't the company's main customers. Venues were. "Instead of charging venues to use their ticketing system, Ticketmaster offered to pay them with a cut of the service charges. In exchange, Ticketmaster became their exclusive ticketing platform." And the rest is history. Well, there was also the acquisition of LiveNation, owner of about 400 major venues. The Hustle: The sneaky economics of Ticketmaster.



"We also must acknowledge that our fight against C‌‌ovid-19 has been hindered by the profound political divisiveness in our society. In a way that we have never seen before, decisions about public health measures such as wearing masks and being vaccinated with highly effective and safe vaccines have been influenced by disinformation and political ideology." After working on issues from HIV to Covid, Anthony Fauci shares some takeaways in the NYT (Gift Article): A Message to the Next Generation of Scientists.

+ Sadly, this piece is not why Fauci was trending this weekend. That was because Elon Musk has been radicalized and is using his new toy to share his increasingly deranged views. The lastest example was a Tweet that read: "My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci." (Bro, your pronouns are Darth/Vader.) Charlie Warzel in The Atlantic: Elon Musk Is a Far-Right Activist.


Valley Forge

"The Silicon Valley of the '90s was in many ways an expression of the quintessential American story, but an unexpected one: one that involved organized crime, narcotics trafficking, confidential informants, and Asian gangs. It is also part of my family history. Grace, as it turns out, is my aunt. And the company being robbed? It was my mother's." Natalie So in The Believer: Aristocrat Inc.

+ So great to have The Believer back. The first comeback issue is amazing. Subscribe here.


Extra, Extra

Fentanyl Desperandum: "Presidents from both parties failed to take effective action in the face of one of the most urgent threats to the nation's security, one that claims more lives each year than car accidents, suicides or gun violence. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49, according to a Post analysis." WaPo (Free article): Cause of death: Washington faltered as fentanyl gripped America.

+ Iran's Public Hanging: "A court convicted him of "enmity against God" after finding he had stabbed to death two members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force. Rahnavard was hanged just 23 days after his arrest. Human rights groups have warned that protesters are being sentenced to death after sham trials with no due process." Iran carries out second execution over protests. Vox: Iran's months-long protest movement, explained.

+ Freeze Brain: "Once it is connected, the entire unit is placed inside a cylindrical freezer and cooled for more than a day. The processor relies on superconductivity, meaning that, at ultracold temperatures, its resistance to electricity all but disappears. When the temperature surrounding the processor is colder than the deepest void of outer space, the computations can begin." The New Yorker: The World-Changing Race to Develop the Quantum Computer.

+ Family Trip: "How had six members of the same family—Tom and his wife, Dawn, along with four of their eight children—become so swept up in Donald Trump's baseless claims about the 2020 election that they drove 1,600 miles from a small Texas town to help disrupt the peaceful transfer of power? It was, as the federal judge who presided over their case would later say with stoic understatement, 'a puzzle.'" Texas Monthly: The Untold Story of the Insular Texas Family That Invaded the U.S. Capitol.

+ Van Life: "The gang of stranded passengers went downstairs to the car rental area. Carlos spotted Hertz had no lines, so he headed over. He was offered a 15-person van. 'So we rented it. And the rest is kind of history.'" 13 stranded strangers went on a road trip. Here's what happened.

+ Getting into a Pickle: "As pickleball continues to surge in popularity, Major League Pickleball — the buzzy pro circuit that counts LeBron James, Tom Brady and Kevin Durant among its team owners — is gearing up to make a splash."


Bottom of the News

What does the smiley face emoji suggest? How should one take it if you use punctuation in your messages? Well, that all depends. Are you a Zoomer or a Boomer. WaPo (Gift Article): Gen Z came to ‘slay.' Their bosses don't know what that means.

+ The 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.