Bard Doors Open: Yesterday, I reported on the impending AI meets internet search arms race. A few hours later, we were introduced to Bard, Google’s version of ChatGPT.

+ Shell Game: “The water in Ogale, a rural community in Nigeria, is so toxic and polluted with oil that it comes out brown and stinks of sulphur. Children and families get sick just trying to bathe or stay hydrated. In Bille, a fishing community of around 45 islands surrounded entirely by water, there are no fish left. Oily water seeps into people’s homes, and, without a source of income, money is scarce. The signs that once warned people of the dangers of chronic pollution are covered in rust.” 13,000 People From the Niger Delta Just Sued Shell for Years of Oil Spills. “As the cases proliferate, Shell has moved toward leaving the region. In 2021, the company announced its plan to leave the Niger Delta and sell its onshore oil fields — leaving environmental disaster and any sense of obligation behind.” And from New Lines Mag: The Oil Thieves of Nigeria. It’s not just what they take, it’s what they leave behind.

+ Austin City Hits Its Limits: “Life in Austin was offbeat, affordable, spontaneous, blithe, and slyly amused, as if we were in on some hilarious secret the rest of the world was unaware of. Even then, the place had a reputation for being cool, but in my experience it was just extremely relaxed, almost to the point of stupor.” Today, offbeat has turned into a steady, rapid beat as Austin has grown and is now America’s fastest-growing city. Meanwhile, longtime locals who can no longer afford the city are told to beat it. Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker: The Astonishing Transformation of Austin.

+ Stone Cold: According to Deadline, Yellowstone (the main and original series) could soon end because Kevin Costner wants out and a(nother) new series could emerge starring Matthew McConaughey. (I always though Yellowstone would ultimately end because there were no people left in Montana to kill.)