Thursday, February 22nd, 2024


Buy the Dip

Lay's, Doritos, Ruffles, Fritos ... Humans are addicted to chips. It turns out the market is too. For the first half of this week, the stock market (which is increasingly driven by a decreasing number of companies) was sliding as investors worried about the earnings of one company: Nvidia. At the risk of getting overly technical, Nvidia makes the stuff the powers the things that make AI do whatever it's doing that makes you go wow and uh oh at the same time. The market was worried that the leading indicator of AI growth had gotten ahead of itself after many quarters of incredible growth. Maybe, the market seemed to wonder, we'd built up another stock market bubble. Then Nvidia's earnings came out. If this is a bubble, it's one filled with cash. And the same can be said for for the pockets of investors who had pushed all their chips on the Nvidia table as the stock just realized the biggest single day marketcap gain in history—which came about in part because of the selling earlier in the week. What can I say? When it comes to chips, buy the dip. But this isn't just a story about a stock price. It's a story about how AI is driving the technology industry, which means it will increasingly be a driving factor in our lives. According to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, "Accelerated computing and generative AI have hit the tipping point. Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations." (I would have said that demand has hit a chipping point, but I write a newsletter with no revenue model...)

+ Fortune: "Customer demand for Nvidia chips is so far above supply that CEO Jensen Huang had to discuss how ‘fairly' the company decides who can buy them."

+ It's not just Nvidia. Chips run the world. AI needs more chip power. And there's an international battle to get the edge. Nvidia's boom, Intel's big plans show how AI has turbocharged chipmaking.


You Had Me at Hello?

Many thousands of AT&T customers suffered a fate that is at the core of human fears in the modern world. Their cell connection wasn't working. The outage was a reminder of just how much of our lives is connected to our connectivity. AT&T customers hit by widespread cellular outages in US. Here's the latest from CNN. Unsurprisingly, the Netflix movie Leave the World Behind (in which a cyberattack knocks out vacationing family's devices) is trending. You should probably watch it ... while you can.


Democracy’s Weak Spot

"Ukraine could win, if Americans would help; but our weak men have cut off the weapons. Musk spreads Russian propaganda. Vance amplifies Russian foreign policy. Trump follows Putin's wishes. Johnson maneuvers for months to block a vote on aid to Ukraine. And so the Ukrainians, fighting for their lives, run out of artillery shells, and must withdraw from losses from Avdiivka. The weak man kills because he lacks the energy to act and consumes the energy of others. He scorns those who struggle with real danger, and want them to fail and die." Timothy Snyder on the Americans selling out democracy and our allies. Beware the Weak Man.

+ I wrote about this troubling topic yesterday. Right Here, Right Now.


Fake It Til You Break It

He was immediately associated with the Super Bowl parade shooting in Kansas City. His name "has been linked to a number of other recent events: an explosion at a border crossing in Niagara Falls, shootings in Las Vegas and Prague, a sexual assault on the London Underground, a gas explosion in Texas and others." But there's no evidence that he's involved with any of these incidents. In fact, there's no evidence that he exists at all. Super Bowl parade shooting: The real story behind fake criminal 'Sahil Omar.'


Extra, Extra

Hack Saw: "The cache — containing more than 570 files, images and chat logs — offers an unprecedented look inside the operations of one of the firms that Chinese government agencies hire for on-demand, mass data-collecting operations." WaPo (Gift Article): Leaked files from Chinese firm show vast international hacking effort.

+ Buffalo Soldier: "Behind the veneer of a veteran U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, they alleged, was a turncoat on the take from the Buffalo Mafia, offering an 'umbrella of protection' that derailed investigations of his childhood friends, covered for a sex-trafficking strip club and even helped a connected high school English teacher keep his marijuana-growing side hustle." DEA agent on trial accused of taking $250K in bribes from Mafia. (Sounds like he undercharged.)

+ She Must Be in the Front Row: "It is a sharp contrast to other countries, where men dominate fandom. Experts have a variety of explanations, including the influence of K-pop culture." NYT: Women Outnumber Men in South Korea's Sports Stadiums.

+ Sharpen Your Number 2 Pencils: SAT resurgence: Yale is latest elite college to drop test-optional policy.

+ The War on Health Care: "The dominoes are beginning to fall in Alabama where a recent state supreme court ruling grants fertilized eggs the same rights as children. The state of Alabama's largest hospital is now pausing a major procedure used in helping women get pregnant."

+ Max Out: NYT (Gift Article): In Alaska, the Rare Thrill of ‘Wild' Ice Skating. (I wouldn't want to try it, but it makes for a hell of a photo series.)


Bottom of the News

"For the millions of workers who find going into the office stinks, some executives say they have a remedy: Make the office smell better." WSJ (Gift Article): The Boss's New Secret Weapon: Pumping Perfume Into the Office. (I can only be productive in a very specific scent environment. I love the smell of Beagles in the morning.)

+ Economic indicator? Tooth fairy payouts drop for first time in 5 years. (Luckily for my kids, I used to put Nvidia shares under their pillows.)