“The next four days were a period torn out of the world’s usual context, like a breathing spell with a sweep of clean air piercing mankind’s lethargic suffocation. For thirty years or longer, the newspapers had featured nothing but disasters, catastrophes, betrayals, the shrinking stature of men, the sordid mess of a collapsing civilisation; their voice had become a long, sustained whine, the megaphone of failure, like the sound of an oriental bazaar where leprous beggars, of spirit or matter, compete for attention by displaying their sores. Now, for once, the newspapers were announcing a human achievement, were reporting on a human triumph, were reminding us that man still exists and functions as a man.”– Ayn Rand, from her essay, “Apollo 11”, taken from The Voice of Reason, page 167.
If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward it along to your techno-optimist brethren or the doomers in your life, it's good for both of them.
"For the first time, there is a rocket that can make all life multiplanetary. A fork in the road of human destiny." - Elon Musk
"With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and this flight test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary." - SpaceX
SpaceX Starship launch video. Watch this and get chills. Listen to the team screaming. They will not go quietly into that good night.
Listen to the stoke of the SpaceX team as the stage separation occurred.
You either are for space travel or you wish humanity to go extinct. There is absolutely no middle ground.
Robert Zubrin's argument for why we must go to Mars. An amazing watch. "I believe societies are like individuals we grow when we challenge ourselves we stagnate when we don't...In 1492 England and France signed a treaty, the Borgias took over the papacy, and Lorenzo de’ Medici, the richest man in the world, died. Yet we remember an Italian weaver’s son setting foot in the Americas."
CNN, Bloomberg, and Wall Street Journal with doomer headlines, claiming successful SpaceX launch was a failure. Classic pessimistic media hating on technological progress.
OpenAI letter signed by nearly all employees demanding Sam Altman's return as CEO.
OpenAI’s Misalignment and Microsoft’s Gain - Ben Thompson, this piece was published before Sam returned as CEO, but it is still an excellent rundown.
"I feel like the lesson here is not so much “don’t invest in startups without vetting the board and ideally getting a board seat for yourself,” and more “don’t invest in nonprofits at an $86 billion valuation.” Which I think has never come up before? Like as far as I can tell no one in human history has ever purchased shares in a nonprofit at an $86 billion valuation? Because purchasing shares in a nonprofit, at any valuation, is not a coherent thing to do? But then OpenAI made it happen, for the first time, and probably also the last." -Matt Levine
"The most surprising thing I've learned from being involved with nonprofits is that they are a magnet for sociopaths. One's naive reaction is "Why would nonprofits attract them? Nonprofits do good!" But the defining quality of nonprofits is to make no profit, not to do good." - Paul Graham
Math is language, and should therefore be protected by all laws protecting speech. It is perhaps the form of language most worth protecting, given it shows us the power of language, when properly constrained, to model and inform reality itself. - Matthew Pirkowski
BIG new study: A new AI cancer detection model trained to spot pancreatic malignancies—the most deadly solid cancer— outperformed expert radiologists - Dereck Thompson
Meta has disbanded their AI responsibility team. Good.
"This definition of AI in the new FTC omnibus is *horrendous*. It could apply to most software. This is why we must all get involved. It's much more than AI, they're going after all of software." - Martin Casado
"I continue asking who aligns the aligners, and never receiving a satisfactory answer." - CyberOwl
"The logic of the AI doomer is the logic of the Unabomber. Anything that lowers probability of doom is good. Like banning compute, bankrupting companies, or blowing up datacenters. And these radical Luddites won't stop at ruining their own AI companies. They want to control yours too." - Balaji Srinivasan
"We need AI providers to either be open source, or fully for-profit where the incentives are aligned to serve customers. Otherwise, too much risk with ambiguously motivated boards with too much control. There’s no third way." - Aaron Levie
"First, I view AI as more likely to lower than to raise net existential risks. Humankind faces numerous existential risks already. We need better science to limit those risks, and strong AI capabilities are one way to improve science. Our default path, without AI, is hardly comforting." - Tyler Cowen
"A question for the shitposting ‘utopian’ tech anons who tell us they’re building a god, but a good god: would this powerful machine really have been better off under the control of a giant, soul-crushing, hopelessly-centralized corporation, itself wed to the whims of our government, than it was under the control of a well-meaning “Rationalist” freak show? For what it’s worth, my sense is yeah, probably." -Mike Solana
Signal messaging app expenses rundown.
The commitment to privacy by Mullvad VPN is epic. You can pay them in cash, they don't even need your email to sign up, and they get rid of all disk storage to run their infra. Nothing is logged.
"A watershed moment: Google now spends more on compute than on people." - Steven Jurvetson, maybe true maybe not. But directionally it's right.
"I want us to build a culture of excellence. Excellence in service to our customers, excellence in our craft, excellence in our respective disciplines, and excellence to each other." -Jack Dorsey Zero interest rate economy is over. Maximum output required. LFG.
"Since I'm investing in deep tech & critical national sectors via our fund I wanted to better understand if deep tech is VC-fundable. So, I did what any engineer would: I analyzed data! TLDR: deep tech is probably the best place to invest today." - Leo Polovets
"The Share of Americans Who Are Mortgage-Free Is at an All-Time High" -Bloomberg
"How can America, where a ups driver can expect a package of pay and benefits worth $170,000 a year, have convinced itself that the global economy which it did so much to create has screwed the working man? Real wages for those at the bottom of the income distribution have been rising modestly for a decade and have accelerated since 2020. Income inequality in the us soared in the 1990s and 2010s but has been flat since then. Sure, the needs to reorganise the economy to slow climate change are real, as is the need to keep cutting-edge technology out of the hands of the People’s Liberation Army. You would love to have America’s economic problems." - The Economist
"I did not come here to guide lambs, I came here to awaken lions." - Javier Milei, Argentina's new president. This will be interesting to watch. He can speak, he's got that dog in him. Argentina's economy has been on a long decline for awhile and rocked by inflation. The voters have spoken and Javier is in. I prefer the speak softly and walk with a big stick type guy. More stable. But we shall see how this plays out.
"We can split the atom, land on the moon, design molecules, and connect every person on the planet. But it will cost $8bn to lay one mile of railroad track in SF. Starship can't launch because of a few bird nests. Once upon a time, bureaucracy let us scale. Now, it is an organizational grift on the productive efforts of a small number of people. Talent and productivity are Pareto-distributed in every organization. A minority of people do the majority of important work. Our ability to execute and build a promising future has been bogged down by endless make-work committees, consultancies, NGOs, non-profits, departments and feel good impact assessments that do little more than virtue-signal and play zero-sum games with other peoples money.Our potential doom will not be born of a lack of ambition, courage, talent, or willingness to execute on a bold vision of the future. It will be because we inject our social institutions with so much friction, protocol, and fear - that we erode our civil liberties, rights, and freedoms in the name of safety.I am convinced the greatest existential threat to humanity is exactly this sclerotic, grubby bureaucracy that holds us back from making substantive, real progress on things that matter." - Andrew Côté
"The evidence is now in, and it is startling. The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the most damaging disruption in the history of American education." - NY Times, "This essay would be better if NY Times went further and admitted school closure was an error. It was perpetuated by poor reporting at NY Times. Specifically by reporters who exaggerated the risk to kids. And downplayed harms of closure. NY Times coverage remains unbalanced." -Vinay Prasad
Trump gaining among hispanic and black voters, analysis by Nate Cohen. A bell weather for how he will do in the general election. It's still early, but there is a real chance he is the next US president. Election betting odds at time of this writing put his chances at 38% and Biden's at 28%.
Everything is priced in. - BuccoCapital Guy
I welcome the deal to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas during its brutal assault against Israel on October 7th. - President Biden
"Al Gore in 1981 criticizing the gutting of state capacity, and anticipating how cost-benefit analysis would be used to cripple legitimate government action." - Lee Harris
ESG has always been about charging higher fees to line the pockets of corporate virtue signalers. A political hack job. Only by ESG logic could fossil fuel companies and tobacco companies have higher "ESG" ratings than Tesla- a company dedicated to moving humanity to sustainable energy. We have a means of determining what is right and what is wrong, it's called government. Leaving this job to unelected executives is a joke. Glad to see it's dying. Bloomberg piece: JPMorgan’s Struggling ETFs Show Demand Crisis for Do-Good Funds - Bloomberg.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is pushing a campaign to do "free" (taxpayer funded) COVID testing for ANIMALS/PETS.
Oakland City Council will hold a special meeting on Monday (11/27) to vote on Carroll Fife's resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. It’d be great if Oakland city hall enacted a ceasefire in West Oakland before branching in to geopolitics. - Joshua Davis