Weekend Briefing No. 477
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend and welcome to April!
Last week, I asked about your purpose in parenting. I thought I’d get a couple dozen responses. Instead, 148 of you gave your perspective. Thanks so much. I’m still sifting through the data, so hopefully next week I’ll be able to share my findings.
In the meantime, enjoy my April playlist.
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$35,000,000—An ultra-rare pink diamond is expected to sell for more than $35 million at auction.
61%—People bought lots of Crocs during the lockdown. Quarterly sales were up 61% as of last month, so the thought is that growth is not going to reverse anytime soon.
150—An asteroid safely passes between the Earth and the moon on Saturday, an event that happens roughly once per decade; the object is estimated to be around 150 feet wide.
The Future of Travel
Experts believe that by 2070, travel won't require passports, suitcases, tour guides or translation dictionaries. In the future, checking in and going through security may require nothing more than a beating heart. The experts are forecasting that passengers’ heartbeat signatures, which are unique to each person, will be used alongside their biometric information to check a person’s identity. They also believe that plane seats will be able to adapt to a person's body shape, and optoelectronic inflight entertainment will see content beamed directly to passengers’ eyes. That’s not all. A language hearing aid will translate other languages in real time, making the term “language barrier” a thing of the past. Once you arrive at your destination, a tailored hotel stay will be waiting for you. The experts expect smart rooms that allow guests to choose their desired bed firmness, room temperature and ambient music to be introduced. Advancements in 3D printing will mean you can arrive without a suitcase, as you will simply print the clothes and items you need when you arrive, only to pop them in a recycling bin when returning. Time Out (6 minutes)
Which of these travel predictions are you most excited about?
Public Benefit Corporation Myths
You may have heard of public benefit corporations (PBCs), but there’s a lot of bad information out there about them. In this four-minute video, I attempt to set the record straight by debunking five myths about PBCs. The myths are: 1) PBCs are nonprofits. 2) PBCs are tax exempt. 3) PBCs are the same thing as B Corps. 4) Venture capitalists don’t invest in PBCs. 5) PBCs can’t go public. Check out the video. While you’re there, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to my channel. YouTube (4 minutes)
Investors earn 325% annualized return (really)
While the most aggressive pace of rate hikes in history was throwing the global economy into turmoil, one under-the-radar asset saw a monumental gain. It may surprise you to hear that it was a sculpture offered by the fractional art investment platform Masterworks. After just 36 days, investors were able to profit for a 15.4% net gain, a triple-digit return on an annualized basis. While it’s not common for Masterworks to get a profitable exit that fast, it goes to show how the world’s ultra-wealthy view art as a desirable safe-haven asset. In fact, every one of Masterworks’ 12 exits has returned a profit to investors, totaling more than $30 million in payouts. That’s why Masterworks is offering Weekend Briefing readers priority access to its latest offerings by skipping the waitlist with this exclusive link. Skip the waitlist. Masterworks (Sponsored)
In a bid to combat human-caused climate change, one state in Germany is rolling out a fleet of passenger trains powered entirely by hydrogen. Five of these “zero-emissions” trains began running late last month in Lower Saxony, a state in the northern part of the country. And over the next year, the regional rail line intends to replace all its diesel-powered trains with this new alternative. The high-tech trains, called Coradia iLint, combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce power. The byproducts are only steam and water, and any heat created gets recycled and used to power the trains’ air conditioning systems. They’re expected to keep some 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year. Smithsonian (6 minutes)
Break the Cycle
If, like most Americans, you find that your app-checking has become a handy distraction or a way to kill time when you’re bored, you can teach yourself to break the habit and build healthier habits instead with this three-step process for breaking the cycle. 1) Recognize that you’re in a habit loop. Take stock of the fact that you have a compulsion to refresh your work emails even on vacation, for example. Write these issues down so you can keep a record of what you’d like to address. 2) Ask yourself a key question that can apply to any behavior: ‘‘What am I getting from this?” This will help you to recognize what’s good and what’s a waste of time. 3) Identify the bigger, better offer—the best rewards help you break the habit loop. This involves asking ourselves what checking social media feels like, choosing to be curious (which is intrinsically rewarding) about why we want to know what’s happening on Instagram or in our inboxes. We can then compare these feelings with how we feel when we read or exercise, for example, to identify which is the more rewarding activity. MIT Technology Review (7 minutes)
If you live in any sort of winter climate, you have, at one time or another, wrestled with the two great mysteries of cold weather life: 1) Why does 50°F in the fall make you want to bundle up while 50°F in the spring make you want to go for a walk in short sleeves? 2) Why do kids wear shorts during the winter or go without coats when it’s literally freezing out? This short video answers both questions with one magical substance: brown fat. Vox (5 minutes)
This is a fun tweet thread from Tim Urban with 22 mind-blowing images. Some of my favorites are: 1) What a water droplet looks like at 6,000 frames per second. 2) A global population density map. 3) In 2009, the Institute for Highway Safety staged a head on crash between a 2009 Chevy Malibu and a 1959 Bel Air. The same crash that would have instantly killed someone in 1959 causes a few light injuries today. @waitbutwhy (7 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T.S. Eliot