All these places, despite their wealth and seeming sophistication, are embarking on their ambitious plans without ever having conducted any kind of detailed engineering study of how their new proposed energy systems will work or how much they will cost. Sure, a wind/solar electric grid can function with 100% natural gas backup, if you’re willing to have the ratepayers foot the bill for two overlapping and redundant generation systems when you could have had just one. But “net zero” emissions means no more fossil fuel backup. What’s the plan to keep the grid operating 24/7 when the coal and natural gas are gone?

Biden Administration Offers Bonuses to Doctors Who Implement ‘Anti-Racism Plans’

As part of its effort to promote Chinese culture abroad, the state has pushed international organizations to accept Chinese medicine as a legitimate healing art. In 2018, the World Health Organization included it in its influential International Statistical Classification of Diseases. This is a diagnostic tool used by more than one hundred countries to classify disease and death, making it possible to compare statistics, guiding how insurers cover illnesses, and setting research agendas. The WHO included a supplementary chapter, for optional use only, of 150 disorders and 196 disease patterns that originated from Chinese medicine and are now commonly used in East Asia.

Many years ago, a McKinsey study concluded that nobody in the developing world would buy smartphones because they were too expensive. Based on that study, they held off on launching a smartphone for another three years.

the number of people who were homeless at one point in 2020 or during the entire year was 40,800.

Construction of radio equipment in a Japanese PoW camp.

FDA should need only ‘12 weeks’ to release Pfizer data, not 75 years, plaintiff calculates

China’s top influencer was fined $210 million and erased online

Stablecoins find a use case in Africa’s most volatile markets

I wanted to end 2021 the same way I ended 2020: by asking fifty top thinkers in technology to finish the sentence: “The next big thing next year is…”

Austria, one of the most repressive European countries during the coronavirus pandemic, has recently overtaken Sweden in terms of total covid mortality, showing that almost all government interventions have been ineffective and unjustified.

Bottom line: we now have more stronger data that on average, more medicine doesn’t improve health. Though of course for people committed to buying useless medicine insurance can cut financial stress. Update your beliefs accordingly.

Wenzhou Christians Banned from Gathering to Contain Covid, while Restaurants Remain Open

A thread on the Apple & Google contact tracing scheme

I am not a fan of the tracking business models Google and Facebook use, among others (and Apple to some extent). Thus I find this sausage making tale interesting and largely familiar.


The Times’ Boeing expert offers context on ‘Flying Blind’ — and the sky-high challenges the company faces

“It’s like they want to appear like they’re doing something, but aren’t as concerned about actual impact,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist.

U.S. Housing as a Global Safe Asset: Evidence from China Shocks

I think there are actually two quite distinct supply constraint stories. One is the supply chain stuff that we all talk about. And the other is the Great Resignation, the surprise drop and persistence of low labor force participation.

For example, any of us can easily access Baidu, but Chinese officials block Twitter and other U.S. social media in their own market, even as they deploy those same platforms to spread propaganda abroad. The state-owned China Daily is available right here in Washington, but private U.S. news outlets like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are banned in China. Foreign cloud service providers must enter joint ventures with PRC firms, but Alibaba has its own data centers in the United States. Most American movies cannot be shown in Chinese theaters. These and other lopsided market access barriers have persisted for years.

Central banks first stop bond buying and then raise interest rates. Whether U.S. bond buying programs actually lower treasury yields is debatable. But there is no question that the ECB’s bond buying keeps down Italy’s interest rate, by keeping down the risk/default premium in that rate. If the ECB stops buying, or removes the commitment to “whatever it takes” purchases, debt service costs will rise again precipitating the doom loop.

The effects are long term, but the achievements are incremental and can be implemented by website owners without being dependent on anyone else or waiting for a network effect. You can do this now for your website, and that already would be a positive outcome. Like using a recycled shopping bag instead of a taking a plastic one, it’s a small individual action. This article is meant to provoke and lead to individual action, not propose a complete solution to the decaying web. It’s a small simple step for a complex sociotechnical system. So I’d love to see this happen. I intend to keep this page up for at least 10 years.

Self-identified Christians make up 63% of U.S. population in 2021, down from 75% a decade ago

Why do we so seldom see people smiling in painted portraits? Nicholas Jeeves explores the history of the smile through the ages of portraiture, from Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Alexander Gardner’s photographs of Abraham Lincoln.

A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution

Smartphones and on-the-go internet access have made many of our working lives more efficient and flexible. But the requirement for constant connectivity isn’t only a fact of white-collar work—it has spread to workers up and down the income ladder. And while the requirement has spread, the resources that workers need to maintain it are not evenly distributed. Today, more than a quarter of low-income Americans depend solely on their phones for internet access. Amid historic levels of income inequality, phones and data plans have become an increasingly costly burden on those who have the least to spare.

What’s the jankiest piece of tech you’ve seen a company depend on?

Don’t Start With Microservices – Monoliths Are Your Friend – heresy 🙂

More companies are turning to remote monitoring tools to keep tabs on their employees while working from home.

Let’s talk Web3. If you skipped the Technology part, welcome back. Let’s try to summarize what Web3 actually is. Web3 isn’t a clearly defined set of technologies or protocols or workflows, but Web2.0 wasn’t either really. Just like Web2.0 Web3 has certain technological foundations and assumptions but is just as much an aspirational term, a set of overlapping visions, ideologies and goals. In a lot of ways Web3 is doing something and calling it Web3. But with all the contradictions and unclarity a few things are foundational to Web3.

In moving away from fossil fuels, some in aviation are thinking of bringing back helium-assisted flight.

What have we gotten instead of a real postmortem? An insistence that Russia stole the election, the attitude that the voters failed Hillary Clinton instead of the other way around, a remarkable tightening of the vice grip with which activists with bizarre niche politics hold the party’s messaging and values, and the utter nihilism of the widespread belief that the country’s simply too racist and thus no electoral losses are the party’s fault. That’s the tenor of the liberal position post-2016, that the country’s willingness to elect Donald Trump did not reflect any failures of Hillary Clinton or her party but rather that the electorate was full of unrepentant bigots who probably do not even deserve the wise and enlightened leadership of Democrats. Remarkable that the same people so recently laughed at the inability of their opponents to look critically at themselves.


Following his triumph over the Persians and their subjects at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, Alexander the Great advanced south into Lebanon. The Phoenician city-states knelt to him, with the exception of Tyre. Blessed with two harbors and the love of far-away Carthage, Tyre was a threat to Alexander’s supply lines as he prepared to conquer the Persian Empire. From Tyre, the beleaguered Persians could land behind Alexander’s forces and isolate them from Greece, or they could sail to Greece and sponsor an uprising against Alexander with the restless Athenians.

“Take Her Down”: Inside eBay’s Stalking Campaign against a Natick Couple

Facebook staffer secretly advised Andrew Cuomo’s team to ‘victim shame’ accuser

These emails, just released last week, add to the evidence that many leading biosafety experts considered it plausible from the very early days of the pandemic that the virus may have emerged from a Chinese laboratory.

The inexorable rise of identity condiments has led to hard times for the most American of foodstuffs. And that’s a shame.

Global Sequencer

The Popular Family Safety App Life360 Is Selling Precise Location Data on Its Tens of Millions of Users

CIA Director William Burns said the agency has “a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency” on the go.

I Want to See My Friend, Jimmy Lai

A climber found a trove of gems in the Alps amid a 47-year-old Boeing 707 wreck. He gets to keep half.

At the heart of it all is Apple Park. Hankey and Dye enthuse about the qualities of the space. ‘It’s been designed for serendipitous meetings as well as collaboration,’ Hankey says. ‘It’s just so quiet and calming. We never really understood what that would mean for us until we’d been here for a while.’ In Apple Park, the Apple Design Team has found the ultimate tool, a place where technology’s ever-evolving role in society is researched, dissected, developed, and designed before being transformed into physical reality. §

Leaked SoCal hospital records reveal huge, automated markups for healthcare


Oakland police release new lead in killing of KRON4 security guard

One Target store. One huge spike in shoplifting reports. What does it mean for San Francisco?

India recently instructed citizens to refrain from signing up for SpaceX’s Starlink service.

Victor Gao Zhikai, chair professor at Soochow University and a frequent echo of Chinese government positions, two days later described USICA as a geopolitical “Tonya Harding syndrome — whacking the kneecaps of China trying to put China out of commission.” Gao warned that the blowback from USICA includes “a real possibility that down the road the China market is completely closed off for U.S. manufacturers.”

To an economist, “technology” is the efficiency in which inputs are transformed into outputs. And by that definition, we can already derive a very crude measure of technological progress in agriculture using just this data. A common measure of technology in agriculture is simply yields, which can be thought of as the rate in which one input (land) is transformed into an output (for example, bushels of corn). Technological progress is the growth rate of this efficiency, and so a transparent and simple measure of technological progress in agriculture is just the growth rate of yields. However, since agricultural output fluctuates a lot due to weather (more on that soon), we need to focus on very long-run measures of progress, where year-to-year weather effects are small relative to the overall trend. The figure below plots average US corn yields on the left and the twenty year growth rate of those yields on the right. It clearly shows there has been a dramatic slowdown in the rate of technological progress by this measure (though note progress in yield growth today remains significantly higher than the stagnation that prevailed prior to 1940).

U.S. Copyright Law has gone through many revisions and expansions since the first copyright provision was officially added to the U.S. Constitution in 1790.1 This original provision allowed authors the right to print, re-print or publish their work for 14 years, with the option to renew the copyright for another fourteen years. Today, copyrights can last well over 100 years, with the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extending copyright protection for most works to the life of the creator, plus 70 years.2

Hong Kong’s comeback queen? Carrie Lam on leadership and legacy after 2019 protests. In a wide-ranging interview with Talking Post, chief executive maintains her administration is firmly in charge of running the city.

The Flaccid Horde of Northern Virginia, gorging for decades on the largess of the American taxpayers and donor money in agencies, think tanks, panels, manels, and academia have produced nothing, progressed nowhere but the next line on their resume – intellectually vapor locked and strategically their ideas as stuck in aspic.

Of course, there is fierce debate about whether algorithms could in fact reinforce human biases rather than eliminate them. Others argue some AI products are merely digital snake oil lapped up by credulous HR departments.

Secondly, traditional auto makers, especially in the US, have a cost accounting problem. (We recognize that most people fall asleep at the mere mention of cost accounting, but bear with us, we will be brief.) Having grown up with highly vertically integrated industrial models, they care a lot about keeping factories full to maintain utilization. Apple does not have that problem. In part, because they have offloaded much of their fixed costs to Foxconn. The mantra we often hear is that companies are what they measure. Apple has demonstrated time and again that they do not measure the same things as their competitors. Apple is not going to chase market share or factory utilization, they will chase user demand in the belief that profits will flow from that.

It needs a bandwidth buffer. It can never reach 100% utilization, at risk of inducing latency. The traffic may never exceed, for example, 90% utilization. So, if the Metaverse network is at 90% utilization, no one else can enter. This needs to be managed. Somehow.

WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concern for Peng Shuai

One of Africa’s most professional and powerful militaries has been reduced to an assemblage of conscripts, militia, and remnants of his soldiery that resembles a fighting force but is disorganized and demoralized—and no match for the TDF.”

But what if we flipped startup-creation on its head? What if you start with a mission and values — not founders? For example, at my company Hustle Fund, our mission is to democratize wealth through startups. And to that end, we are furthering capital, networks, and knowledge in startup ecosystems. Even though I’m a founder of the company, it doesn’t matter if I personally work at Hustle Fund or not. It’s the mission that’s important and the people who want to work on that mission. And if no one cares about the mission, then the organization shouldn’t exist regardless of what I, as a founder, think about it. And if you start companies with missions instead of with founders, then you start to attract people who have lived and breathed that mission before. Those people really get it. And those people are also would-be customers or users. And maybe these same people are not only working on this problem together in a cooperative way but are also investors in the problem — both through work and capital.

The goal of this article wasn’t to prove how Electron is always the best choice (it isn’t), but rather, to provide a broad overview of the areas in which it is best suited. For example, you shouldn’t use it for applications with simple UIs, or if you don’t need to go cross-platform. In such cases, choosing the native frameworks will most likely be the best choice. That said, if you need to go cross-platform and your application is sufficiently complex, then Electron is really not bad at all compared to the alternatives, especially when done right. Of course, there are some very bloated Electron apps out there and I don’t like them either, but that’s mostly due to careless developers, not Electron.

The bitter joke of the story is that in San Francisco, the mother works full-time, drains her savings, but still can’t make ends meet and is forced to move away.1 Meanwhile, her daughter has lived on the streets for nine years – in an ironically carefree and stable state.

Watch billionaire investor Ray Dalio defend China’s move to disappear citizens from the public eye by likening it to being ‘a strict parent

52 things I learned in 2021