Struggling to make sense of the world? You're not alone
2+ years of loss, stagnation, loneliness and more, have us all grasping
Sree’s newsletter is produced w/ Zach Peterson (@zachprague), who took this picture on Bird Lake, just outside of Hoyt Lakes, MN. At one point this week, he said the temperature was -30°F. That’s when Sree’s long-forgotten physics learning kicked in: at -32°, Farhenheit and Celsius are the same (Z already knew this). 🥶
🗞 TUNE IN: Our NYT Readalong guest was long-time columnist, magazine writer and author, Joe Nocera (@opinion_joe). Watch this episode, and our archives, at http://readalong.link/youtubeplaylist. The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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IT’S TOUGH not to be frustrated right now. We’re setting records for Covid19 infections, hospitals across the country are — once again — reaching capacity, and, their widespread availability and undeniable effectiveness, vaccination rates have plateaued.
This is all familiar territory. This time, however, governmental response at all levels has been falling short, and at times embarrassing — summed up perfectly in this incredible tweet:
Schools are reopening - right up until they close again, and there really doesn’t seem to be a true “end” in sight. School closures have proven divisive, but I just don’t think we should be enrolling the youth of America and their educators in a grand crusade for U.S.-style capitalism without their outright consent.
In Oakland, students are organizing:
To me, the entire debate over school closures and other potential lockdown/quarantine measures is just a veneer that shields us from the real issue at hand: We are arriving at the breaking point of the grand American experiment.
I was struck by this tweet from Aaron Freedman:
It’s shocking. And it’s right. The underlying discussion since about the second week of the pandemic — 56 years ago in 2020 — has always been centered on “getting America back to work.” It was never, “how do we band together and help the most people we can for as long as we need to,” and it was never going to be.
These charts remind me of the Sandy Hook school shooting in a lot of ways, and all that we didn’t learn from it as a nation. We just decided, as a country, that it was ok for small children to be mowed down by an angry teenager with an assault rifle. It may be hard to hear, but it’s true — and there are more guns in American households than ever before.
Here we are again. Officially, just under 850,000 people have died from Covid19 — a number that is almost assuredly low. There is an entire political movement built around the idea that “liberals” are lying about a million deaths — so so many of which were completely avoidable. It’s so tragic. And it’s so frustrating.
And it’s frankly hard to make sense of it all. Managing ever-shifting work schedules, remote work, at-risk in-person work, family and school — managing LIFE — is hard enough without a raging pandemic!
I keep coming back to just how avoidable all of this was. That’s the tough part. How avoidable was Donald Trump’s presidency? How avoidable were hundreds of thousands of deaths in America — and countless more around the world?
So much pain and suffering, and so much of it avoidable with a free vaccine easily available - at least in the US.
The reason we are in this position is because a section of Americans - everyday folks, along with leaders and influencers - have made vaccines, masks and science “unAmerican.”
I’ll let Fareed Zakaria have the last word here (if you missed it, he inspired a November newsletter):
A New Year's Greeting from Us:
Abundance and Joy to Sree's devoted fans in 2022.
If you missed it during the holidays, check out our latest news on portfolio companies RealEats and Bentobox in our December newsletter: https://bit.ly/3sfi3a8
Plenty more to come, but until then - stay tuned and stay warm.
The Armory Square Ventures team
Monica Lewinsky gets it exactly right in her tweet. The people who support — or at least sympathize with — the January 6th insurrectionists are all over the place, including on the ballot this fall. These people loathe America.
Tech Tip w/ @newyorkbob: Indy Autonomous Challenge Provides Blazing Finish to Lukewarm CES 2022
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
How safe would you feel in a self-driving car moving at 50 mph? What if we revved up the speed a little, say to about 150 mph? Yes, I’d understand if you’d rather volunteer for space travel.
But the last day of CES 2022, the nation’s largest tech show, made history last week as the Indy Autonomous Challenge, the first-ever head-to-head autonomous-driving Indy-class car competition, came to a thrilling end with the winner safely hitting speeds above 165 mph. Heck, even the driverless pace car hit 95 mph.
The competition, held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was comprised of teams from schools from around the world vying for a $150,000 top prize. It was meant not just as a race, but also as an autonomous-driving-technology showcase.
Each team used an Indy-class Dallara AV-21 race car retrofitted with sensors and other autonomous driving hardware and controls, according to the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which noted that the Dallara cars had a modified version of the chassis used in the Indy Lights racing series.
All teams had the same car but had to come up with their own control software and make real-time decisions based on feedback from the cars’ multiple RADAR and LIDAR sensors, cameras and GPS devices as the fuel-powered cars sped around the raceway. This made for surprisingly entertaining viewing.
The race, which was streamed live, was marked by multiple crashes, both real ones into walls and virtual ones in software which caused the cars to respond slowly to commands, shut down or not start at all. Even minor manual corrections could result in spinouts and shutdowns.
In the finals each car had to catch up to and pass another car moving at a fixed speed. With each round the speed of the “target” car increased.
Team PoliMOVE, an alliance between Politecnico di Milano of Italy and the University of Alabama, won the grand prize when the TUM Autonomous Motorsport vehicle, controlled by a team from Technische Universität München of Germany, went into a controlled spin shortly after the PoliMOVE car safely passed it at 169 mph.
But the real winners here might be the entire assisted- and autonomous-driving industries as they learn and innovate from the many successes and failures experienced during the race.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge and the real and protype electric vehicles showcased by companies like Sony and BMW provided an uplifting end to CES 2022, which suffered from pandemic-induced low attendance—40,000 compared to 170,000 in the last in-person show in 2020—and missing exhibitors and scaled-down product showcases. Hopefully the success of the Indy Autonomous Challenge—and the end of the Covid-19 pandemic—will help CES get back on the fast track for 2023.
One bright spot over the last couple of years has been in the field of space exploration. The Mars rover — and its little helicopter, SpaceX’s reusable rocket revolution, and now, the James Webb telescope. Oh, the things we’ll see! Here’s my friend (not a relation) Hari Sreenivasan (@hari).
Odds & Ends
🗞 TUNE IN: Our NYT Readalong guest this long-time columnist, magazine writer and author, Joe Nocera (@opinion_joe). Watch this episode, and our archives, at http://readalong.link/youtubeplaylist. The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.