Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #706

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • Cory Doctorow: What Kind of Bubble is AI? – Locus. Cory Doctorow says there are two kinds of bubbles: Those that leave a crater, and those that leave a scaffolding on which to build the future. The crypto bubble left investors penniless; the Internet bubble left us with the platforms on which we rely today. How do we categorize the AI explosion? Cory’s great at helping me step back and see the broader picture.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Moderna’s Mrna Cancer Vaccine Works Even Better Than Thought – Freethink“In 2020, at the height of lockdown, I was invited to a (virtual) wedding of someone who’d spent a career in science and government. The (virtual) tables were packed with fascinating humans: Former heads of state, authors, and academics. I was seated at the (self-named) ‘Caltech weirdos’ table, along with one of the founders of Moderna and a bunch of other fascinating humans. He explained to me that the company didn’t expect to be fixing Covid. Their tech was initially designed to fight cancer. Fast forward (and after the largest mass trial in biotech history) and it turns out we’re getting cancer vaccines. Nice to have some good news amidst all the doom and gloom of 2023.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The Neglected Clean Heat We Flush Down The Drains – BBC. “I first thought this article was going to be about poo, but it’s really about heat pumps. I remember clearly my third year thermodynamics class, discovering the numbers and simple equations that govern heat pumps, using compression and expansion to move heat from one place to another like magic (Carnot cycle!). It turns out, we can use these principles to extract heat from all the stuff we flush out of our houses, yes poo, but also dish and laundry water, and convert it into heat for houses, as a small community in BC has done. One study estimates that there’s enough energy in flushed water in the USA to heat 30 million homes.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Rise Of The Sectarian University – Compact. “Our world seems to be pulling itself apart in many different ways, and the institutions that have framed the western world for centuries are wobbling under the strain. (I have an undeveloped theory that Western Liberalism was a uniquely well-suited cultural evolutionary model for success when the medium of information was print (and possibly radio and TV), but that the move to the internet has fundamentally altered the information ecosystem in such a way that Western liberalism might no longer be the best adaptive strategy — to be replaced by what we don’t know). Anyway, Greg Conti argues that: ‘universities are to Republicans what guns are to Democrats,’ that is, a wedge issue. No longer are they institutions of learning and understanding that underpin our society.” (Hugh for Mitch). 
  • AI, And Everything Else – Benedict Evans. “I do like trends, data and pathways to understand ‘what’s next’ when it comes to technology. And, while my favorite part of the year is taking all of those components, thinking deeply about them, adding in a sprinkle of business models and trends to make my own conclusions, I do love what Ben Evans comes up with every year. Sure, AI is the easy part (in terms of disruptive technologies that are going to change the business and consumer landscape), but there are some other major forces at play. With that, if you haven’t taken a beat to dig deep into what technology wants in 2024, here’s your chance…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • We’re All Addicted To Cheap Stuff – And Temu Knows It – Vox. “One of the retail cultural differences I notice most between the US and Canada is the growth and impact of the so-called ‘dollar stores’. In the US, there is Dollar Tree and Family Dollar that seen to dominate the landscape (although Five Below is, without question, a fun retail experience). And, in Canada we have Dollarama. The big difference? In the US, these chains are typically anchored in marginalized communities, have less selection and known brands, while in Canada their private label brand is quite good and you can find a myriad of quality brands (the store are often as big and well stocked as other major retailers). They are night and day when you compare them. When it comes to cheaper goods and hype online (#tiktokmademebuyit), we’ve seen everything from Amazon to liquidators to Shein… and now Temu. So, while we remove plastic straws and bags from all stores, it would seem that we’re still mass producing (and purchasing) stuff that is both cheap, often a knockoff (or, as we like to call it now: a ‘replica’), and nobody bats an eye…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on XFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

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