Discover more from Weekend Briefing
Weekend Briefing No. 504
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
The first story in the briefing is my interview with Shane Parrish on how to make smart decisions. The conversation centers on his new book Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results. I loved the book and would highly recommend checking it out.
You know what pairs well with Clear Thinking? My October playlist. Enjoy.
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6,000 — Ever wanted to diversify your music genres? Well, here's one incredible, regularly updated website where you can explore 6,000 genres of music.
2 — Scientists discover two types of brain cells that appear to protect against dementia and Alzheimer's disease, even if other increased risk factors are present.
8 — Weekly mortgage applications for U.S. home purchases fell to the lowest weekly level since 1995, as rates are now at nearly 8%.
Few things will change your trajectory in life or business as much as learning to think clearly. Yet few of us recognize opportunities to think in the first place. In his latest book Clear Thinking, Shane Parrish gives you the tools to recognize the moments that have the potential to transform your trajectory, and reshape how you navigate the critical space between stimulus and response. In this conversation, Shane and I discuss: 1) Why best performers consistently make good decisions. 2) How positioning can work to your advantage. 3) The enemies of good decisions. 4) How to be “long-term lazy.” 5) Entrepreneurship and fatherhood. Check out the video interview. If you dig it, please like and subscribe. YouTube (48 minutes)
The Ring of Fire Debate
The pace of the global transition to electric vehicles depends on the future of a remote region in Canada known as the Ring of Fire. Located underneath a distant, swampy expanse of spruce forests and meandering rivers in Northern Ontario that is cut off from major roads, the Ring of Fire is seen by industry and government officials as one of the world’s most important untapped sources of nickel, copper and cobalt — metals essential for making the batteries that power electric vehicles. But the precious commodities are buried under a vast ecosystem of peat bogs, known by local groups as “the breathing lands,” that hold more carbon per square foot than even the Amazon rainforest. Digging them up could trigger the release of more greenhouse gas than Canada emits in one year, turning one of the earth’s biggest carbon sinks into a major source of emissions, say climate advocates. A debate over how, or whether, to tap into this mother lode, located more than 700 miles Northwest of Toronto, has touched off a fight between mining companies, climate advocates and indigenous groups while demand for cleaner energy and electric vehicles has surged worldwide. Wall Street Journal (13 minutes)
An Unexpected Path to Freedom
Thanh Tran was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a crime he committed when he was 18 years old. Ten years later, a prosecutor brought Thanh’s case back to court for a second look using a new law. He crossed the San Quentin Prison gates last summer walking out toward a crowd of his closest friends, colleagues, siblings, wife and daughter who all awaited him to celebrate his freedom. Thanh was finally home, thanks to the very prosecutor who first sentenced him to prison. Through the work of For The People — a DRK portfolio organization who worked to pass the nation’s first-ever “Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing Law” — a law that activates the power of prosecutors to revisit and remedy unjust sentences. Today, there are many in our prisons who can be safely released, and prosecutors are uniquely positioned to look back at their sentences. The original sentence may have been too harsh, stemmed from outdated policies or the person has turned his or her life around while on the inside. With this new tool, prosecutors have the ability to reunite families, restore communities and bring this new vision of justice nationwide. DRK Foundation (Sponsored)
Our Second Home
NASA is now plotting a return to the moon. This time around, the stay will be long-term. To make it happen, NASA is going to build houses on the moon — ones that can be used not just by astronauts but ordinary civilians. It believes that by 2040, Americans will have their first subdivision in space. Living on Mars isn’t far behind. The U.S. space agency will blast a 3-D printer up to the moon and then build structures, layer by additive layer, out of a specialized lunar concrete created from the rock chips, mineral fragments and dust that sits on the top layer of the moon’s cratered surface and billows in poisonous clouds whenever disturbed — a moonshot of a plan made possible through new technology and partnerships with universities and private companies. New York Times (9 minutes)
New Malaria Vaccine
Malaria is still a deadly disease for many people. In 2021, there were 247 million cases of malaria and 619,000 people died, most of them children under the age of five. More than 95% of malaria is found in Africa. Malaria kills mostly babies and infants, and has been one of the biggest scourges on humanity. The good news is that a cheap malaria vaccine that can be produced on a massive scale has been recommended for use by the World Health Organization (WHO). The vaccine has been developed by the University of Oxford and is only the second malaria vaccine to be developed. Each dose of the new vaccine costs $2-$4 and four doses are needed per person. That’s as effective as the existing vaccine but is about half the price. The world's largest vaccine manufacturer — the Serum Institute of India — is already lined up to make more than 100 million doses a year and plans to scale up to 200 million doses a year. BBC (6 minutes)
Ideas are most powerful when they’re wrapped in a compelling story. I, Pencil is such a story. The author’s main point — economies can hardly be “planned” when not one soul possesses all the know-how and skills to produce a simple pencil — unfolds in the enchanting words of a pencil itself. Here is an excerpt: I am a lead pencil — the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write. Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do. I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me — no, that’s too much to ask of anyone — if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because — well, because I am seemingly so simple. Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one- and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year. Foundation for Economic Freedom (9 minutes)
The Agricultural Revolution
I really like this YouTube channel CrashCourse. This is an iconic episode in which John Green investigates the dawn of human civilization. John looks into how people gave up hunting and gathering to become agriculturalists, and how that change has influenced the world we live in today. Also, there are some jokes about cheeseburgers. CrashCourse (11 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.
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Inflation is taxation without legislation. - Milton Friedman