I'll continue to mask while traveling. Will you?
Something so simple and easy to do became so political and now, here we are.
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I GOT ON A PLANE hours after a 35-year-old Trump-appointed judge deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association struck down the federal mask mandate for travel. American Airlines hadn’t changed its rules yet, so I felt safe (it also helped that the pilot was named John McClane — thinking of you, Bruce Willis!)
It’s ridiculous that masking became political two years ago and we have paid an awful, global price. The removal of this mandate is going to have consequences as passengers continue to spread the virus and staff shortages happen more often.
Even in the best of times, a plane is a potential superspreader, so imagine what happens when no one is wearing masks during the third year of a pandemic.
I am just back from traveling in Scandinavia, Dubai and India, where people wore masks without a problem while traveling. I will continue to mask while traveling and hope you will, too.
As upset as I am about the end of the masking mandate, some of the responses to a terrible take by Nate Silver have put a smile on my face. Yes, he’s a smart election statistician, but he’s shown this entire pandemic that he understands little about public health. The Lincoln tweet below is a perfect.
Nate Silver @NateSilver538The average American spends something like 5 hours per year on a plane. The mask mandate might be good or bad at the margin, but it is very unlikely to make a major difference in the overall course of the coronavirus.
Ryan Famuliner @RyanFamuliner@NateSilver538 I'm asking you to seriously consider: in what way is it helpful for you to continue weighing in on these issues? What actually valuable knowledge, expertise or experience to you bring to the table that is helpful to people making their way through a highly deadly pandemic?
Thank you for your support of four years of this newsletter or a subset of that time. So grateful to you all!
A Message from Armory Square Ventures
On April 27, 2022, Upstate Capital Association of New York will bring together a thoughtful group of innovative leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to continue conversations on catalyzing startup formation and investing deliberately across all of New York State.
The conference will take place in Syracuse, and the focus will be on forging and growing investor and startup connections upstate and downstate. Seth Levine from Foundry Group and Elizabeth MacBride will keynote and discuss their new book, “The New Builders.”
Armory Square Ventures (ASV) Managing Partner Somak Chattopadhyay will moderate a conversation on venture and philanthropy with Meg O’Connell and Eric Allyn, both affiliated with the Allyn Family Foundation. ASV Partner Pia Sawhney joins a panel of judges at this year’s New York Business Plan Competition that day.
The competition’s top 6 student-led teams, solicited from a pool of applicants statewide, will compete for a total of $50,000 in cash prizes.
To register and learn more, visit Upstate Capital’s Venture NY event page.
Tech Tips w/ @newyorkbob: Newcomers Electrify 2022 New York International Auto Show
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel seemed a little closer last week as the New York International Auto Show opened its doors to the public for the first time since 2019. After two years of shuttered dealerships, computer chip shortages, stalled assembly lines and now rising gasoline prices, the show provides a much-needed dose of pure open-road optimism.
For 2022 the show offers attendees a chance to see and touch many new automotive technologies and even includes test tracks where visitors can ride in the new electric vehicles and experience the instant acceleration and quiet, jitter-free rides afforded by electric engines.
While the return of the auto show is a welcome sight, it’s clear that things aren’t up to full speed yet. Some major automakers like Mercedes-Benz weren’t there, while others like GM limited the number of models they brought along. The shorter exhibitor list allowed new automakers like Austria-based Deus Automobiles and VinFast, based in Vietnam, to garner extra attention.
VinFast, which is planning a new assembly plant in North Carolina, showed off three electric SUVs: the small VF7, mid-size VF8 and full-size VF9. The VF8 and VF9, both of which are expected to arrive in the US late this year, will support Amazon Alexa voice technology for touch-free control of music, navigation tools, lights, heating and other functions.
The company said a time-saving Plug & Charge feature in the VF8 and VF9 will allow Electrify America’s public charging stations to instantly identify the VinFast SUVs and their owners’ payment methods and start charging as soon as the charging cable is connected. VinFast said 60,000 international customers had already placed reservations for the VF8 (starts at $40,700) and VF9 (starts at $55,500).
If you have a few million dollars handy, you might be ready for the Deus Vayanne, a super-sleek all-electric “hypercar” unveiled at the show. The Vayanne earns its “hypercar” status thanks to its super-muscular 2,200-horsepower engine, which accelerates the two-seater from 0 to 62 mph in 1.99 seconds and supports a top speed of 248 mph.
The Vayanne’s body, interior design and electronics were developed with Italdesign of Torino, Italy, and Williams Advanced Engineering of Oxfordshire, England. Pricing wasn’t announced, but the handmade, high-powered nature of the Vayanne, of which only 99 will be made, will probably place the price tag in the stratosphere.
The New York International Auto Show runs through April 24 at the Javits Convention Center.
The Trump Administration’s initial response to the Covid19 pandemic was atrocious, and cost millions of lives. This thread from ProPublica’s J. David McSwane is at once completely surreal and utterly infuriating. So many grifters made so much money, and there will likely never be a full accounting.