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Jun 23

Weekly Report: June 25, 2023


Hubris and the Deep Sea

The loss of the Titan, the submersible operated by a private company carrying five people attempting to view the Titanic, has captured the world’s attention for most of the week. After a multi-day search, vessel fragments found on the sea floor mean that the Titan had a catastrophic structural failure and imploded. Mercifully, it would have happened so rapidly that the passengers wouldn’t have realized what was happening.

  • “You know, at some point, safety is just pure waste.” That’s a quote from Stockton Rush, the late CEO of OceanGate who was piloting the Titan. A lot of reports now point to Rush confusing innovation with recklessness, having been repeatedly warned by experts in the past. It took several years for the warned-about risks to manifest.
  • “Regulations are written in blood,” is a common saying. In industries where serious injury or death is a real risk, innovation is slower for a good reason.
  • Hundreds are still missing from the disaster off the coast of Greece, where a boat carrying hundreds of people capsized. It is sad, but not surprising, that media coverage of the two news events has been so incredibly disproportionate.

Top 5

One reason attributed to declining birth rates in developed economies is a reluctance to bring children into a world that feels increasingly messed up. I periodically think about what kind of world my kids will be living in when they reach their 50s, by which time it will be the 2070s. Here is what I think are the most significant global generational issues that will dramatically shape how things unfold in the coming half-century:

  1. Climate change
  2. Declining birth rates
  3. Growing wealth inequality
  4. Political tribalism
  5. The U.S.-China relationship (and the question of Taiwan)

Not making the list for me (yet) are AI, dwindling natural resources, interplanetary travel, and the impact of social media. Disagree with the list? Am I missing anything?

Further Observations

  • Welcome to summer. The summer solstice was on Wednesday — the astronomical beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the year. In Australia, the seasons are defined by calendar months, instead (winter runs from June 1 to August 31).
  • It’s been an unusually cool spring and start to summer in the Bay Area, but Texas is experiencing high heat at the moment. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was forecasted to reach as high as 46°C this weekend. And, El Niño is returning
  • The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list was released for 2023. In the past, some restaurants won so much that they are now on a list where they can’t win again. This year, restaurants in Lima have taken out 4 of the places, with Central taking out the top spot.
  • This week I learned: “Wakeup calls are a long-standing tradition of the NASA program. Each day during the mission, flight controllers in the Mission Control Center will greet the crew with an appropriate musical interlude.” Here’s an archive of wakeup calls from one of the Discovery missions. Some of the songs they played include Stairways to the Stars, Defying Gravity, and the theme from Stargate.
  • About the only time I listen to the radio these days is when I drive Susanne’s car to take my daughter to gym class on the weekend. The drive is only 10 minutes each way, but for the last 3 months, I will hear, without fail, The Weeknd’s Creepin’ at least twice, sometimes three times. (My daughter has heard it so much she knows the lyrics 😅.) It’s really annoying, and I recently stumbled across a video that explains why this is: Why radio stations sound the same.
  • Well, the whole Prigozhin thing was anticlimactic. What was the point?
  • The trailer for Dumb Money just dropped. It’s about the Gamestop saga, u/DeepFuckingValue, and comes out on October 20. Seth Rogan plays Gabe Plotkin. Looking forward to it!
  • Not sure if I will write a newsletter next weekend. It’ll be a short one if I do because it’s quarter end, followed by the July 4 holiday.



  • 📺 The Bear (Season 2)
    I hope they renew this for another season. My favorite episodes were Honeydew (a nice interlude in Copenhagen), Forks (nice to see a troubled member of the crew catch a break), and the incredible Fishes (a double length episode with an ensemble cast). ★★★★

Charts, Images & Videos

Spotted in San Carlos

Hasan Minhaj interviews Barack Obama:

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