Our painful march to modernity
We know more than ever, and we do less and less with that knowledge.
Sree’s newsletter is produced with Zach Peterson (@zachprague), with a tech tip from Robert S. Anthony (@newyorkbob). Cartoon by Randall Enos.
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WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME to save the planet and everyone on it.
This short thread by Priti Krishtel really gets to the heart of the global health crisis (it is a crisis) that we find ourselves in right now.
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge @IMAKglobalHere’s @PritiKrishtel at the @AspenIdeas Health Festival, reflecting on the #TRIPSWaiver fight and the WTO’s decision: “Trade and health are linked…it’s set in the generational record that you cannot separate these two things.” https://t.co/A1MSArbikg
You could replace any mention of “health” with “climate” or “social justice” and it all rings true. Criminal justice systems across the world are racialized and unjust. Our lack of action on climate change is racialized and unjust. Our lack of investment in providing for a minimum level of security and wellbeing is racialized and unjust.
The thing is, whether your MAGA uncle wants to admit it or not, we actually do know the breadth of the core issues facing humanity, we do have solutions to these problems, and there are things that governments, corporations, and society writ large can do right now to at least begin to tackle them.
And yet, here we are.
The kicker here is that these corporations are right — their influence and access tomorrow is a higher priority than their influence and access in two years’ time. It’s cold, calculating, and it’s all working exactly as it’s meant to work.
Again, we know what the problems are:
I keep going back to this, because I think that that the right-wing-fed fact debate industrial complex is quite clearly the greatest danger humanity has ever seen.
Again, we know what the problems are. We know exactly what they are:
The problems are simply not up for debate anymore:
Yashar Ali 🐘 @yasharThe Jewish Federation of San Antonio says it received information from the FBI of a potential threat to a Jewish community facility in San Antonio. The Federation says that all formal Jewish gatherings at synagogues and other venues have been suspended until further notice. https://t.co/07fqV6fNi1
Amidst all of this societal strife is a climate crisis that has gone from “looming” to “here for some time already, and worse than we could have ever imagined.”
It’s a very real possibility that we are too late on the climate crisis we’ve caused and continue to perpetuate. There has been no meaningful movement from really any industry beyond perfunctory things like paper straws. Recycling is actually down across the board, and only about 5% of plastic used in the US is recycled in the first place.
If there’s a hopeful note anywhere, I’d love to hear it.
A word from Armory Square Ventures
See that piece in Forbes and the original video interview she conducted with Pia for Times of E, a journalism initiative sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and MIT’s Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship & Development.
This week we draw your attention to a column Seth recently published titled "Take Your IRR With A Grain of Salt." He addresses how VC firms measure their returns, suggesting the process is more nebulous as it currently stands than many realize. We encourage you to take a look.
Playtime’s Over: Tech Toy Companies Gear Up for Winter
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 sultry, sunny days of summer are great for relaxing and kicking back, but if you’re a tech toy manufacturer it means one thing: Time to get ready for the winter holiday shopping season.
Last year’s computer-chip shortages and shipping delays caused many cool tech toys to arrive too late for the holiday sales season, leaving many children—and toy company salespeople—disappointed. While some issues have improved, they will still impact consumers this year, according to The Toy Insider, organizer of last week’s Sweet Suite toy showcase for the media.
“If you don’t mind getting last year’s toys…you’ll likely get a good deal,” said Marissa Silva, Toy Insider editor-in-chief in a video press briefing. “But if you’re looking for the hot new items that are going to be heavily marketed…then you’re going to have to spend a little bit more money.”
One interesting tech toy which debuted at Sweet Suite was Snorble, an electronic companion which promises to teach children good nighttime habits. While it uses artificial intelligence and sophisticated audio and display technologies, it focuses on low-tech, screen-free play (a friendly, animated face fills the display).
Snorble, which can be hugged, can play color and audio games and have conversations with children, all of which are aimed at quality sleep, according to Snorble CEO Mike Rizkalla. It also offers stories, music, gamified nighttime wind-down routines like tooth brushing and gentle wake-up tones.
The unit is controlled by parents via a free app and only needs to be connected to the Internet for updates. The $299 unit is expected to be available in the fall.
The Toniebox, a colorful, screen-free electronic box with “cat ears” poking out of the top, provides children with a variety of audio stories depending on which Tonie character is placed on top. The unit is easy to use: The “ears” are pinchable volume controls, a gentle tilt fast-forwards or rewinds a story and a tap on a side jumps forward or back through story chapters.
There are Tonies available for many popular characters, including Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, Blue’s Clues and Disney’s Moana. Not surprisingly, the one-eyed yellow Despicable Me minion is currently sold out. Parents can also purchase Creative-Tonies and record their own stories. Tonies starter kits ($99) include the Toniebox and one character.
Winter will be here soon enough, so shop for tech toys carefully—the bargains may be elusive.