Hello, hello! 👋🏻👋🏻
Welcome back to another edition of Tidbits covering all the recent things worth talking about in business, media, and technology.
🗺 World Affairs + Geopolitics
#1 China Insists Party Elites Shed Overseas Assets, Eyeing Western Sanctions on Russia
China’s Communist Party will block promotions for senior cadres whose spouses or children hold significant assets abroad, people familiar with the matter said, as Beijing seeks to insulate its top officials from the types of sanctions now being directed at Russia.
The directive came as Mr. Xi seeks to minimize geopolitical risks for the Communist Party amid concerns that officials with overseas financial exposure could become a liability if the U.S. and other Western powers impose sanctions against Chinese leaders and their relatives, similar to what was done against Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the people said.
In 2014, the party said it discovered some 3,200 “naked officials” who sent spouses and children abroad and stashed financial assets overseas and demoted about a third of them, citing their seniority and their families’ refusal to return to China. Beijing has also gone after offshore assets linked to economic fugitives, as part of its “Fox Hunt” and “Sky Net” campaigns against alleged white-collar criminals and corrupt officials.Source: WSJ
The financial decoupling of the world’s two largest economies will likely continue. I’m not sure it’s salvageable because there is no longer any mutual trust, and the weaponization of the USD as part of the Ukraine war reveals a very, very high price for any country that is considering actions (or at least fears of the appearance of doing so) that are antagonistic to the US.
Changes to the financial relationship will have significant consequences for global financial assets as well as real assets that are highly financialized (like real estate).
Although the concern seems to be Russia-type sanctions, I’m sure it is also becoming increasingly clear to governments around the world that your citizens may not be loyal to you if a significant portion of their wealth is somewhere else, like this:
#2 Justice Department Sues Vegas Magnate Steve Wynn To Register As Agent Of China
The Justice Department is suing hotel magnate Stephen Wynn to force his registration as an agent of the Chinese government who allegedly lobbied for the removal of a Chinese businessman seeking asylum in the U.S.
In a news release, the Justice Department alleges that between June and August of 2017, Wynn contacted former President Donald Trump and his administration officials to relay China’s request to “cancel the visa or otherwise remove from the United States a Chinese businessperson” who had sought asylum in the United States.
“The Justice Department accuses Wynn of lobbying for China to protect his business interests,” according to the news release, which notes that Wynn’s company-owned and operated casinos in Macau, a special administrative region in China.Source: USA Today
In a world where we (and our assets) are mostly free to move about, the idea of citizenship and loyalty to one’s country is unfortunately becoming more fluid, especially for people that have the means to move abroad permanently. Citizenship (and residence) is just a minor detail. If your money and family is based abroad beyond the reach of your government, how loyal can you truly be?
The US and China are now finding out.
Three years ago, we discussed the end of politics-free Capital. That vision of the future is becoming truer with every passing day. Capital has never been entirely free of politics, but for the two decades following the pause of the Cold War from 1990-2010, we were all able to at least dream a temporary dream.
🛡 Defense and Cybersecurity
#3 US Warns Firms Remote Employees Could Be North Korean IT Workers
Today, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, issued an advisory to alert the international community, the private sector, and the public to attempts by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and DPRK information technology (IT) workers to obtain employment while posing as non-DPRK nationals. The advisory provides detailed information on how DPRK IT workers operate and identifies red flags to help companies avoid hiring DPRK freelance developers and to help freelance and digital payment platforms identify DPRK IT workers abusing their services.Source: US Treasury
A reminder that the Internet has created a new backdoor to every country and economy globally that flies under the radar of real-world military defenses and border controls.
#4 Collective Cyber Defense and Attack: NATO’s Article 5 After the Ukraine Conflict
Recent state activities demonstrate how cyberoperations can have physical consequences. In the summer of 2020, Iranian hacking of Israeli water treatment facilities came close to over-chloritizing the water, changing faucets into poison dispensers. More recently, in February 2022, in an attempt to cut communications within Ukraine, Russian cyberattacks on Viasat satellite networks disrupted German windmill electricity generation and distribution. Additionally, Russia has in the past—and continues in the current war as recently as April 2022—to target electrical power generation and distribution systems with cyber effects and to harm Ukrainian civilian and military infrastructure. As the above examples show, cyber attacks are not limited to online locations but their impact can be felt in the physical world. As a result, NATO must prepare for these activities to grow and expand.
NATO must adjust its thinking regarding methods of warfare as cyberspace operations—both destructive attacks and disinformation—continue to grow in complexity and in certain areas even replace traditional kinetic operations. To fulfill this role in kinetic as well as non-kinetic realms, NATO must be prepared for hybrid forms of warfare and present slated to join the alliance a cohesive and tailored response to transgressions.Source: European Leadership Network
A growing number of voices are beginning to advocate for more policy clarity around cyberwar. If NATO’s Article 5 is amended, NATO could be pulled into conflict if attacked in cyberspace. And these shifts in policies are unlikely to be confined to NATO. Many countries are likely rethinking their policies in this area.
The US and allies have historically been very heavy handed when it comes to cyber operations for intelligence purposes (as you probably know from the Wikileaks debacle). Western media (perhaps some bias here) have long also noted China’s usage of cyber operations for economic purposes (e.g. pilfering of trade secrets). However, the world is coming ever closer to the day where cyber operations may be used for widespread military purposes (e.g. shut down electric grids, perhaps cause a nuclear accident, disrupt energy supply chains, etc).
🤑 Economics + Markets
#5 China’s Economic Activity Collapses Under Xi’s Covid Zero Policy
China’s economy is paying the price for the nation’s Covid Zero policy, with industrial output and consumer spending sliding to the worst levels since the pandemic began and analysts warning of no quick recovery.
Industrial output unexpectedly fell 2.9% in April from a year ago, while retail sales contracted 11.1% in the period, weaker than a projected 6.6% drop. The unemployment rate climbed to 6.1% and the youth jobless rate hit a record. Investors responded by selling everything from Chinese shares to US index futures and oil.Source: Bloomberg
After surprisingly good data in February and March, April data came in very weak. Although Shanghai is now beginning to take steps to reopen, other parts of China are now contending with Covid spread. Early action will likely prevent the prolonged, deep lockdowns seen in Shanghai, but the price is light / moderate but likely longer duration disruptions all around for a while.
In response to the deepening economic pressures, China’s central bank cut lending rates more than expected a few days ago. The question is whether it can sustainably boost confidence.
Confidence is a strange thing. When you have it, you don’t have to do too much to sustain it. When you don’t have it, you have to do a lot to convince people the world isn’t ending.
#6 Here’s What Walmart, Target, Home Depot And Lowe’s Tell Us About The State Of The American Consumer
Four major retailers — Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s — reported quarterly financial results this week, and they each offered a different perspective on where and how people are spending their money.
Walmart said some of its more price-sensitive customers are beginning to trade down to private-label brands, while Home Depot emphasized the resiliency among its customer base, a sizable percentage of which is professional home builders and contractors.
Analysts and investors didn’t anticipate that the two big-box retailers [Walmart and Target] would take such a massive hit to their profits in the latest period as supply chain costs weighed on sales and unwanted inventory, such as TVs and kitchen appliances, piled up.Source: CNBC
A number of retailers have shocked investors with slowing sales and margin / supply chain issues over the last few days. This comes after many ecommerce players already reported weakness from reopening headwinds. However, the offline retailers are struggling with issues of their own.
#7 Tiger Cubs Among Equity Hedge Funds Crushed by 2022 Tech Wipeout
The biggest stock hedge funds are delivering some of the worst returns in years with the collapse of technology shares — a sector that created riches over the past decade.
Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, one of the most successful equity hedge funds of the past two decades, posted the industry’s largest loss so far in 2022, with the tech rout helping to erase $16 billion from its hedge and long-only funds. The flagship fund dropped 15% in April, extending its decline for the year to 44% and eliminating almost all of its gains since the start of 2019. The Nasdaq 100 more than doubled in that span.Source: Bloomberg
Almost as bad as Softbank’s $26 billion loss.
There is a lot of pain all around. Although many assets now look cheap, few are looking to play hero ball.
For a look at what stocks may have done them in, see here. Sadly, the Paper Portfolio is exposed to some of these names.
👻 Cryptocurrencies + NFTs
In case you haven’t heard, one of the largest stablecoins have collapsed, sending a significant confidence shock through the crypto community:
#8 Cryptocurrencies Drop Further as TerraUSD’s Woes Cloud Outlook
Cryptocurrencies resumed declines as the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin triggers a flight from many popular digital tokens.
Bitcoin shed as much as 6.1% on Thursday, falling below $27,000 to the lowest since December 2020. Ether slid up to 12%, while tokens like Avalanche and Solana that underpin some key decentralized finance protocols also retreated.
The crypto sector overall is nursing heavy losses for the week and sentiment remains fragile. Stablecoins are key elements of the crypto market, where traders park funds as they move in and out of other tokens. The various stablecoins taken together are worth well over $100 billion, and a widening loss of confidence could be an existential test for the digital-asset ecosystem.
The TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin — also known as UST — has been bouncing between 30 cents and 90 cents and was around 66 cents as of 6:18 a.m. in London. Backers of the coin are trying to raise about $1.5 billion to shore up the token after it crashed from its dollar peg, according to the founder of a firm that was approached about the deal.Source: Yahoo
After the article was published, Terra failed to raise funds. Terra is now effectively at 0.
Here’s a good article that discusses the domino effects that may play out in the near future:
#9 Terra $45 Billion Face Plant Creates Crowd of Crypto Losers
This week’s undoing of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and its sister token Luna has ramifications for all of crypto. First, there’s the immediate impact: The rapid collapse of a once-popular pair of cryptocurrencies sent a ripple effect across the industry, contributing to plummeting coin prices that wiped hundreds of billions of market value from the digital-asset market and stoked worries over the potential fragility of digital-asset ventures.
Then there are the knock-on effects. In addition to delivering punishing losses to individual users and investment firms, the spectacular failure of a market darling like Terra threatens to have a cooling effect on the fundraisings that have jacked up crypto startups’ valuations in recent years. Venture capitalists who have long been some of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders may not have quite the same risk tolerance now — especially those directly caught in the crossfire.
“It’s something the scale of which crypto has really never seen in terms of a top-five project just absolutely imploding,” said Matt Walsh, founding partner of Castle Island Ventures, a blockchain-focused VC firm. Almost $45 billion evaporated from the market caps of TerraUSD (known as UST) and Luna over the course of a week, according to CoinGecko.Source: Bloomberg
The shocking thing is that the creator of Terra / Luna, Do Kwon, had already previously failed with a very similar effort a few years ago. Despite that failure, he seems to have had mightily high confidence for the success of Terra / Luna.
The question is what happens to the largest stablecoin, Tether?
I hope people learn the right lessons this time around. People should try trying algorithmic stablecoin structures. These have repeatedly failed. It’s interesting that Vitalik (the founder of Ethereum) is proposing solutions that sound an awful lot like how fiat currencies work.
#10 Robinhood Launching DeFi Wallet To Rival Metamask
The new wallet will be a standalone application from Robinhood’s existing stock and crypto platform and function similarly to other non-custodial wallets like MetaMask, the US brokerage announced at crypto conference Permissionless on Tuesday. Still, Robinhood is hoping that the sleek and intuitive design of its new app will make engaging with web3 destinations less cumbersome for newbies. The firm plans to fully roll-out the product to its entire user base by the end of the year.
Another bonus: the firm plans to cover gas fees, which during certain periods of activity can make swapping coins prohibitively expense.Source: The Block
After presumably incinerating most of their retail clients’ capital through aggressive encouragement of risky option bets, Robinhood is now moving deeper into crypto. I’m not sure how much better this will work out for their clients, BUT the crypto ecosystem could benefit from the addition of a company like Robinhood that is extremely focused on reducing trading frictions. Crypto is much too complicated right now.
#11 Crypto Exchange FTX Expands Into Stock Trading
Crypto exchange FTX will let customers trade stocks and exchange-traded funds on its popular trading app alongside bitcoin and dogecoin.
The app could ultimately offer trading in other asset classes, such as futures, all within the same interface, said FTX.US President Brett Harrison. “What we eventually want to offer is an everything app for financial services,” he said.
FTX plans to offer commission-free stock trading, like most major U.S. online brokerage firms. But it won’t route customer orders to high-speed traders in exchange for cash, a controversial practice known as payment for order flow, Mr. Harrison said. Payment for order flow has come under increased scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators since last year’s frenzied trading in GameStop Corp. and other meme stocks.
That means FTX will lose money on stock trades, relying on profits from crypto to subsidize the new service. “We don’t necessarily have to see a profit on day one,” Mr. Harrison said.Source: WSJ
One of the larger / rising players in crypto is moving the other way, though. FTX is moving into stock / fiat financial products trading. Whereas Robinhood plans to reduce crypto trading fees by bringing the same type of payment for order flow (PFOF) arrangements common for stocks to crypto, FTX is planning on cutting fees in stock trading by simply subsidizing it with the high fees they are collecting in crypto.
All of this is made more interesting by the fact that Sam Bankman-Fried (founder of FTX) just bought 8% of Robinhood but claims he has no intention to influence Robinhood’s operations.
💬 Media + Games
#12 Tiktok Reportedly Plans A ‘Major Push’ Into Gaming And Games Livestreamers Could Play With Viewers
Reuters reports TikTok is testing games for the app in Vietnam ahead of a “major push” into the space. A company representative confirmed tests of HTML5 mini-games, saying, “We’re always looking at ways to enrich our platform and regularly test new features and integrations that bring value to our community.”
The outlet’s sources indicate the plan is for ad-supported games that draw from the library of its parent company, ByteDance, which could boost revenue and increase the amount of time people spend on the TikTok app — if that’s even possible.Source: The Verge
Most modern, popular games are inherently social experiences. Games are not necessarily just for loners that want to escape from reality anymore. It’s more like the social experiences once reserved for visits to the mall, board games with family and friends, and other lightly social (and lightly competitive) experiences.
TikTok (and many others including non-traditional players like Netflix) are working to blend social with gaming.
#13 Netflix Exploring Live Streaming For First Time; Plans To Roll Out For Unscripted Series & Stand-Up Specials
Deadline understands that the streamer is exploring the launch of live streaming.
It plans to roll out the capability, which Netflix confirmed was in the early stages of development, for its swathe of unscripted shows and stand-up specials.
It would mean that Netflix would be able to use it for live voting for competition series and talent contests such as its upcoming dance competition series Dance 100 from The Circle producer Studio Lambert.Source: Deadline
Netflix is trying hard to get to what’s next (and find growth). Is it gaming? Is it live streaming / social?
#14 Adyen Expands Global Partnership With Afterpay
Adyen and Afterpay began their local payment method partnership in 2018. A number of Adyen’s merchants already offer Afterpay’s installment payments – including MandM Direct, Revolution Beauty, and Superdry – with more expected to come online. Afterpay, known as Clearpay in the UK and Europe, is now available to Adyen merchants in the UK, France, Italy and Spain.Source: Adyen
Interest in fintech / BNPL has probably fallen off a cliff in recent months with tech taking a beating, but when fintech was in vogue, BNPL was the star of the season. At the time, investors were highly focused on the demand for BNPL. But Capital Flywheels argued that demand was not probably not the most important question to ask (since there is never a shortage of demand for cheap / free money). The most important questions to ask are data + ability to assess risk AND distribution.
This is why Capital Flywheels was not surprised by Square’s acquisition of Afterpay. Afterpay has demand but limited distribution. Square has the ability to distribute via their POS terminals in the US. But Square is mostly a US business at the moment. This is where a global merchant acquiring platform like Adyen comes in.
#15 Square Announces New APIs for Omnichannel Commerce at Unboxed 2022
Cash App Pay for Developers further bridges the Square and Cash App ecosystems, while Checkout API, Booking API, and Terminal API make building commerce apps easier for developers
Cash App Pay extends the benefits of the innovative new checkout experience to Square’s developer and partner ecosystem via Square’s Web Payments SDK. Developers can add the payment method to their Square-powered online checkout flow with just a few lines of code.
Checkout API is a simple, fast way to integrate Square through a Square-hosted checkout page that works via text, website, internal dashboard, in-store, and more. The new version of the API offers flexible configuration; supports new payment methods like Afterpay, Cash App Pay, and Square Pay; and is available in more countries than before.Source: Block
Block continues to make progress in building out their two-sided network between consumers and merchants. Part of this involves extending the consumer ecosystem of Cash App to merchants via Cash App Pay, and part of it involves using Afterpay as a bridge. Afterpay has relationship with some merchants, but not enough. Block can bring Afterpay to more merchants, even while Afterpay tries to strengthen its consumer relationship by becoming more of a commerce-driven app.
Meanwhile, Klarna is doing the same thing.
#16 Apple Shows AR/VR Headset to Board in Sign of Progress on Key Project
Apple Inc. executives previewed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board last week, indicating that development of the device has reached an advanced stage, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
In recent weeks, Apple has also ramped up development of rOS — short for reality operating system — the software that will run on the headset, according to other people familiar with the work. That progress, coupled with the board presentation, suggests that the product’s debut could potentially come within the next several months.
The headset features advanced processors — on par with those in Apple’s latest Macs — as well as ultra-high-resolution screens. Though the first model will offer both VR and AR, the company is also working on stand-alone AR glasses, codenamed N421, for release later this decade. Unlike VR, augmented reality overlays digital information and images on top of the real world.Source: Bloomberg
We’ve discussed the potential launch of Apple’s AR / VR project since 2019, which has unfortunately been delayed due to Covid and other technical issues.
Maybe it’s finally for real this time since it’s being presented to the Board (mostly composed of outside executives)?
The reporters over at The Information have a fantastic two part series with a lot more details covering the history of the project and where it stands now:
#17 Behind the Apple Design Decisions That Bogged Down Its Mixed-Reality Headset
Four people familiar with the project say the main reason for the delays is that Rockwell hasn’t been able to deliver the high-quality mixed-reality experience he told Apple’s executives he would. Apple’s leaders expect an AR experience far beyond what competitors like Meta Platforms, parent company of Facebook, are offering in terms of graphics, body tracking and latency—the lag between a user’s movements and what they see on their display, according to three people familiar with the matter. A delay of even a few tenths of a second between a user’s head movements and the corresponding perspective changes inside a headset can create nausea.
Other challenges, such as incorporating 14 cameras on the headset, have caused headaches for hardware and algorithm engineers. The cameras include those that will track the user’s face to ensure virtual avatars accurately represent their expressions and mouth movements, a marquee feature.Source: The Information
#18 Google I/O
Google held their annual I/O developer conference a little over a week ago. This recap covers the highlights. Most of the announcements on the device side seem mostly like catch-up with Apple (likely as it increasingly becomes more obvious that the phone and watch are important battlegrounds for AR / VR in the coming years). The more interesting sections are probably the sections on wallet and security / passwords.
🚀 Enterprise Software
#19 Cloudflare Announces D1: The First Integrated Database for the Workers Serverless Platform
Cloudflare, Inc. (NYSE: NET), the security, performance, and reliability company helping to build a better Internet, today announced Cloudflare D1, a simple and instant serverless database. Cloudflare D1 will enable developers to start building database-backed applications using Cloudflare Workers with just a few clicks. Data will be stored close to where their users are, providing lightning fast performance without any of the complexities of installing or managing a traditional database.
“The hardest part about serverless isn’t actually the code, it’s the storage. Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “Cloudflare D1 is built on Cloudflare’s global network, which we believe will allow us to offer one of the largest and most performant serverless databases on the market so no business needs to be bogged down by the cost and complexity of managing their storage.”Source: Cloudflare
Late last year, Cloudlfare announced R2 for object storage at the edge. Now just a few months later, the company is announcing D1 for data / database at the edge. Cloudflare continues to make steady progress towards changing how code is developed and distributed. Cloudflare is building the network computer where the entire datacenter network can operate as a single unit of computing.
People tend to think about how changing inputs can lead to change in computing. For example, the iPhone shifted computing by changing the input device (from your mouse to the finger). Prior to the iPhone, the Mac shifted computing by changing the input device (from a command line to a graphical user interface + mouse).
But the other side of the equation is often just as important – Shifts in how code is developed and distributed. The command line basically requires users to be coders. The graphical user interface altered that requirement. The App Store in the iPhone era also dramatically changed that part of the equation. Now the Network Computer may change it again.
#20 Cloudflare Connect 2022
Cloudflare held its product / investor event a few days ago. The CEO and CFO keynotes are well worth tuning into to understand Cloudflare’s ambition and where computing might be going.
Source: Cloudflare (for CFO session and slides check here)
💉🔬 Health + Science
#21 Anti-Aging Drugs Are Being Tested As A Way To Treat Covid
Covid-19 is far more likely to kill you if you’re old. One reason is that aged immune systems struggle to cope with infections and recover from them. So why not try drugs that make bodies young again? That’s the bold idea now being explored in clinical trials around the world, which are testing drugs that reverse the impacts of age on the body, rejuvenate the immune system and clear out aged, worn-out cells.
“Imagine if, in the pandemic, everyone had the immune system of a 20-year-old,” says Kristen Fortney, the cofounder and CEO. “It would have been very different.”
In a study published in March, mice were given a lethal dose of the virus that causes covid-19. Fewer than 10% of the treated mice died, but all the others did. The drug is currently being trialed in older people hospitalized with covid-19 in the US, Brazil, and Argentina, and Fortney says she hopes to have a better idea of whether it works in people by the end of the year.Source: MIT Technology Review
One of the areas I’ve been fascinated with since 2012 / 2013 is anti-aging and senescence. Much of modern medicine is focused on getting rid of things that cause disease or mitigating symptoms when problems start to arise. But a more intellectually (and biologically) interesting solution is to limit or reverse aging! A lot of the problems we have with disease is addressable by our body’s own natural defenses, but the functioning of the body and its defenses weakens as we get older. I’m very excited by the ongoing research in this area. Some people can live quite long with modern medicine, but modern medicine still hasn’t figured out how to allow older folks to live full lives. Most of the time, it is simply delaying death. It would be wonderful if we can all live more balanced lives until we naturally need to go…and to boot, it might resolve a lot of our issues with disease.
#22 IAVI And Moderna Launch First-In-Africa Clinical Trial Of mRNA HIV Vaccine Development Program
The nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI and Moderna, Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA), a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, today announced that the first participant screenings are soon to start for a Phase I clinical trial of an mRNA HIV vaccine antigen (mRNA-1644) at the Center for Family Health Research (CFHR) in Kigali, Rwanda, and The Aurum Institute in Tembisa, South Africa.
“I think this is a revolutionary approach to HIV vaccine design and development, and I am hopeful that we are on the path to finally realizing an HIV vaccine,” said Etienne Karita, M.D., M.Sc., M.S.P.H., director of CFHR. “This is the first time we are evaluating an mRNA-delivered HIV immunogen in Africa with African scientists and researchers at the helm, building on our longstanding partnerships with USAID and IAVI.”Source: IAVI
IAVI has previously done work around HIV immunogens that can induce the body’s defenses to attack HIV. Now they are conducting a trial with Moderna to use mRNA as the delivery and amplification vehicle.
At its heart, mRNA technology is as much a revolution in distribution as it is a revolution in production.
However, despite my optimism for technology, we should continue to keep in mind that technology is a tool. Tools can be used for good or evil:
#23 Widely Available AI Could Have Deadly Consequences
IN SEPTEMBER 2021, scientists Sean Ekins and Fabio Urbina were working on an experiment they had named the “Dr. Evil project.” The Swiss government’s Spiez laboratory had asked them to find out what would happen if their AI drug discovery platform, MegaSyn, fell into the wrong hands.
Normally, MegaSyn would be programmed to generate the most specific and least toxic molecules. Instead, Ekins and Urbina programmed it to generate VX, an odorless and tasteless nerve agent and one of the most toxic and fast-acting human-made chemical warfare agents known today.
Ekins and Urbina left the program to run overnight. The next morning, they were shocked to learn that MegaSyn had generated some 40,000 different molecules as lethal as VX.
“While we were doing this, we realized anyone with a computer and the limited knowledge of being able to find the datasets and find these types of software that are all publicly available and just putting them together can do this,” Ekins says. “How do you keep track of potentially thousands of people, maybe millions, that could do this and have access to the information, the algorithms, and also the know-how?”Source: Wired
🤔 Hmm… / 😮 Much Wow
#24 What Congress Learned In Its First Public Hearing On UFOs Since 1966
Congress held its first public hearing on unidentified flying objects in decades on Tuesday, centering on investigations about reported military encounters with unexplained objects.
The report concluded that UAP could pose a threat to national security but found no evidence of aliens from the incidents.
One now-resolved unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) video captured by the Navy was explained as lens aberrations and the aperture shape of the night vision goggles used to record the footage.
Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray played another video of a military flyby with a UAP that has yet to be explained.Source: Axios
#25 Mystery Issue Experienced On NASA’s Voyager 1 Probe From 1977
The Voyager 1 probe is still exploring interstellar space 45 years after launching, but it has encountered an issue that mystifies the spacecraft’s team on Earth.
Voyager 1 continues to operate well, despite its advanced age and 14.5 billion-mile distance (23.3 billion kilometers) from Earth. And it can receive and execute commands sent from NASA, as well as gather and send back science data.
But the readouts from the attitude articulation and control system, which control the spacecraft’s orientation in space, don’t match up with what Voyager is actually doing. The attitude articulation and control system, or AACS, ensures that the probe’s high-gain antenna remains pointed at Earth so Voyager can send data back to NASA.
So far, the Voyager team believes the AACS is still working, but the instrument’s data readouts seem random or impossible. The system issue hasn’t triggered anything to put the spacecraft into “safe mode” so far. That’s when only essential operations occur so engineers can diagnose an issue that would put the spacecraft at risk.Source: CNN
It’s amazing that something that has left Earth almost 5 decades ago is still in operation. But if it ever stops working, you can’t just go and fix it because it would take 5 decades to get there unless we figure out how to move faster through spacetime.