The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of coffee, grab a seat outside, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• Where do aliens come from? They won’t arrive on spaceships: The first reason for scepticism is, simply, the tremendous distance involved in any voyage from even the nearest habitable exoplanet (Proxima Centauri, about 4.25 light-years away). If such a distance can be traversed, this is almost certainly not going to happen by a means of transportation that bears any resemblance, or evolutionary connection, to the horse-cart or the school bus, as our own space shuttles still do, and as virtually all reported UFO descriptions do as well. It would simply not be fit for interstellar travel. (UnHerd)
• Lord Of The Deep: It’s said there is more treasure at the bottom of the ocean than in all the world’s museums. A new breed of deep-sea prospector has emerged from London and Wall Street, using robots to scour the sea floor. Some call them marine disrupters. Others see plunder. For years a shipwreck hunter has battled governments and rivals over the ocean floor’s riches. He’s kept his identity a secret, until now. (Businessweek)
• How China took over the world’s online shopping carts: Chinese e-commerce platforms like Shein, Temu, and TikTok Shop are going global with big ambitions. (Rest Of World)
• The stones left unturned in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial: From billions of mysterious Tethers to the apparent identity theft of Thai sex workers, many questions remain about what happened at Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire. • The stones left unturned in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial: From billions of mysterious Tethers to the apparent identity theft of Thai sex workers, many questions remain about what happened at Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire. (Mollywhite’s Citation Needed)
• Erewhon’s Secrets: In the 1960s, two macrobiotic enthusiasts started a health-food sect beloved by hippies. Now it’s the most culty grocer in L.A. (The Cut)
• DAK and the Golden Age of Gadget Catalogs: How can that be? It’s simple. For a decade, I’ve been snapping up copies of a certain gadget catalog, one by one, when they’re up for auction. Collecting and waiting. The catalogs were disposable, and that means not many people kept them. But, to me, they tell a critically important story of the golden age of electronics, gadgets, copywriting, and sales. They deserve to be preserved. And I’m the guy to do it. (Cabel)
• What It Means to Be a Texan Is Changing in Surprising Ways: White people make up a declining minority in Texas, even among those born in the state. And all those people moving in? They’re as likely to be Black, Hispanic or Asian. (New York Times)
• A Beginner’s Guide to Looking at the Universe: The James Webb telescope is a giant leap in the history of stargazing. Our view of the universe will never bethe same. (New York Times)
• ‘Fear of Flying’ Is 50. What Happened to Its Dream of Freedom Through Sex? With its feminist take on sexual pleasure, Erica Jong’s novel caused a sensation in 1973. But the revolution Jong promoted never came to pass. (New York Times)
• ‘People just fall off him’: How Ja’Marr Chase makes first tacklers miss at an elite level: “I just don’t remember anybody ever tackling him with the first hat to the party,” Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “He’s making the first person miss.” Unlike elusive running backs taking handoffs and even receivers capable of darting through open space for yards after the catch, Chase’s rare ability to make the reception and immediately discard the first tackler serves as his specific.’ (The Athletic)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Brad Gerstner, founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital. The tech-focused fund started in 2008 and invests in both public and private firms. Gerstner began as an entrepreneur and has had multiple exits, including travel startup NLG (to IAC). Openlist.com, (to Marchex) and Farecast (to MSFT). He also was an early investor in Zillow, Real Self, Nor 1, Instacart, Expedia, Silver Rail Tech and Room 77. After returning $7B in profits to its LPs, Altimeter currently manages $7B in assets.
Where Do Unicorns Come From?