The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Mocha Java coffee, grab a seat by the pool, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• Dear Earthlings: Please stop obsessing about UFOs My strong suspicion is that the number of UFO sightings that involve actual alien beings, from deep space, with the tentacles and the antennae and so on, is zero. I would put the likelihood at 0.0000 and then add some more zeros, before eventually, begrudgingly — because I’m so intellectually flexible — putting in a little 1 out there somewhere to the right, a lonely sentinel, because who knows? (Yes, I’m saying there’s a chance.) Sorry to disappoint you, this science writer says, but there’s zero evidence of aliens. (Washington Post)
• How the explosive growth in satellites could impact life on Earth Satellites are set to grow by 1,000%+ in the next decade. They might help us predict pandemics and save the planet. (The Hustle)
• Why A Secretive Chinese Billionaire Bought 140,000 Acres Of Land In Texas Sun’s decision to invest in Texas also highlights the difficult situation facing China’s moguls. Over the past few years, the Chinese Communist Party appears to have grown more antagonistic toward private enterprise and wealthy business people. In recent months Chinese authorities reined in globetrotting billionaire Jack Ma, moved to restrict overseas listings and ordered educational companies to become non-profits. Tycoons like Sun, who thrived under Chinese state-backed capitalism, may be feeling pressure to move capital abroad as they grapple with the shift in political winds. (Forbes)
• Status Monkeys Analyzing NFTs as Social Networks Before the full Metaverse arrives, there’s already something happening that’s bigger than jpegs. NFTs are starting to feel a lot like a new kind of social network that sits above other social networks and communities — something of a Superverse — and there’s no better framework to evaluate a social network than the one Wei put forth in Status-as-a-Service (StaaS). (Not Boring)
• The Way the Senate Melted Down Over Crypto Is Very Revealing I want to explain why crypto matters, even if you think Bitcoin is just goldbuggery for nerds. The technology is evolving to be much more than a digital currency, and Silicon Valley sees it as the digital infrastructure atop which the next internet will be built. Then I want to trace the fight that consumed the final days of the bill, because this was just an early skirmish in what will be a much longer campaign. (New York Times) but see also Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble Yes, it’s driven by greed — but the mania for cryptocurrency could wind up building something much more important than wealth. (New York Times)
• Animals Can Count and Use Zero. How Far Does Their Number Sense Go? Crows recently demonstrated an understanding of the concept of zero. It’s only the latest evidence of animals’ talents for numerical abstraction — which may still differ from our own grasp of numbers. (Quanta Magazine)
• If Einstein Had The Internet: An Interview With Balaji Srinivasan Technology as determinant of historical cycles in market and government influence, why culture has stagnated despite advances in the tools that make it, how wokism will lose, and more! (Time Well Spent)
• It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder. Digital distractions such as social media and smartphones wreak havoc on our attention spans. Could they also be making us less ethical? (Vox)
• “The Segway Is Going to Change the World” As the new millennium dawned, a mysterious invention from a charismatic millionaire became a viral sensation—then went down in flames. Ever since, I’ve wondered: Was it all my fault? (Slate)
• Still Unsure About Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine? Start Here. We’ve collected some of the most common concerns with vaccination mentioned by people who are vaccine hesitant, and we’ve provided evidence-based responses to each one. If you or someone you know share any of these concerns, click through to see what information is out there to help you make this important decision. (FiveThirtyEight)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. The bank has helped fund more than 30,000 start-ups, 50% of venture-backed tech and life science companies in the US, and 69% of U.S. VC-backed tech + life science companies with an IPO banked with SVB.
Since the Gold Standard ended 50 Years ago, the S&P 500’s total return = 20,000% this week, while gold returned = 4,200%
Source: Dave Wilson’s Chart of the Day
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.