May 17th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Rebuilding a Capital, It Will be Cool Nowhere This Summer

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” So says the opening narration of The Six Million Dollar Man. Seriously adjusted for inflation, the story of Steve Austin relates to the saga of Jakarta, Indonesia’s sinking mega-capital. The government of Indonesia is on a quest to rebuild the capital, to be called Nusantara, 800 miles away. While Steve Austin got a few new and improved bionic parts, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is looking to build his new capital from scratch. But the underlying goal remains: To build a better stronger city. Hannah Beech NYT (Gift Article). Welcome to Nusantara:
The audacious project to build a green and walkable capital city from the ground up
. “Mr. Joko’s ambitions go far beyond saving Jakarta’s residents from the sea. Nusantara won’t be just any planned city, the president asserts, but a green metropolis run on renewable energy, where there are no choking traffic jams and people can stroll and bike along verdant paths. The new capital, which is known in Indonesia by its abbreviation, I.K.N., will be a paradigm for adapting to a warming planet. And it will be a high-tech city, he says, attracting digital nomads and millennials who will purchase stylish apartments with cryptocurrency. ‘We want to build a new Indonesia,’ Mr. Joko said. ‘This is not physically moving the buildings. We want a new work ethic, new mind-set, new green economy.'” There are of course a lot of doubts about whether Indonesia can really pull this off. That said, there were also a lot of doubts about whether the Bionic Woman could rip a phone book in half, and yet


Nowhere to Hide

“Already, a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest is breaking records, with many places more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit above the seasonal norm—temperatures that climate change has made as much as five times more likely. Typhoon season has struck the other side of the globe. The exact severity and frequency of the coming heat, fires, and tropical storms is uncertain, but years of record temperatures, sweeping wildfires, and 100-year hurricanes and floods have established a terrible, if loose, standard for what the next few months might bring.” Forecast: Nowhere Should Expect a Cool Summer.


CTRL Altman

“My worst fears are that we—the field, the technology, the industry—cause significant harm to the world. I think that can happen in a lot of different ways.” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman told Congress what it wanted to hear and even went so far as to suggest that the government regulate AI. (It’s more likely that AI will regulate Congress.)

+ Compared to most Congressional questioning of tech execs, this was a love fest. WaPo: How OpenAI CEO Sam Altman won over Washington — for now. (Serious question: I wonder if Altman used ChatGTP to hone a message that would be most likely to appease Senators.)


To the Victors Goes the Victor

“San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich once remarked how the franchise had already received all the luck it could possibly ask for. The two previous years the Spurs ended up with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, they walked away each time with a player who would end up in the Hall of Fame. But the Spurs got yet another lucky lottery bounce Tuesday night, winning the 2023 NBA draft lottery and the right to select French super-prospect Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick.”

+ Wembanyama, a 7’3″ prodigy from France is the most hyped major sports draft pick of a generation. Can it go as well as it seems like it will go? SI: Inside Victor Wembanyama’s Plan to Dominate the NBA Like Never Before.


Extra, Extra

Something to Cite for Sore Eyes: NYT (Gift Article): The Best and Worst Habits for Eyesight.
“Are carrots good? Is blue light bad? Experts weigh in on nine common beliefs.” Pro tip: Eat carrots, save your money on bluelight filtering lenses.

+ Boot Call: “A small round key has unlocked a world of fame and fortune for two balaclava-clad women who are among the most in-demand entrepreneurs in Atlanta. That key is one of a handful the so-called Boot Girls use mostly around Buckhead, an upscale Atlanta neighborhood, to unlock metal brackets attached to vehicles parked on private property, like one Jaguar on May 5, when I spent the evening with the boot removal Robin Hoods.” A ride with Boot Girls, 2 women challenging Atlanta’s parking enforcement industry.

+ Extreme North: “North Carolina is an unusually critical state for abortion rights: It has become a haven for those seeking abortion in the post-Dobbs South. In the months following the Supreme Court’s ruling, North Carolina saw the single highest increase in abortions of any state in the country — largely due to out-of-staters coming in from nearby states where the procedure is heavily restricted or banned. The new law, which goes into effect July 1, could have a significant impact on abortion access in the United States writ large.” What North Carolina’s abortion ban does — and why it matters.

+ Self Defendant: “While the Mexico State court found Monday that Ruiz had been raped, it said the 23-year-old was guilty of homicide with “excessive use of legitimate defense,” adding that hitting the man in the head would have been enough to defend herself. Ruiz was also ordered to pay more than $16,000 in reparations to the family of the man who raped her.” She killed the man raping her. Now Mexican woman faces 6 years in prison.

+ Desantis Clauses Coming to Town: AP: DeSantis signs bills targeting drag shows, pronouns, bathroom use and transgender children. (This is what running for president looks like in an age of unmitigated idiocy.)

+ Tell A Vision: There’s a new company giving away televisions. But there’s a catch. A few of them. This TV could be your new best friend — but, like, a terrible friend who gossips about you constantly.


Bottom of the News

“Taco John’s, which has about 400 locations in 23 states, trademarked ‘Taco Tuesday’ back in 1989. Now, Taco Bell argues it should be able to get in on using the popular phrase – with no legal ramifications.” (Stick with restaurants that call it El Martes de tacos.)

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